Wednesday is positively summery

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:53 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.

PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)

JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.

On the go

Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.

Up next

Dunno, really.

[syndicated profile] seattletransitblog_feed

Posted by Frank Chiachiere

Amtrak-Cascades-Locomotive

Amtrak Cascades, the Northwest’s intercity passenger rail service, will add two new trips between Seattle and Portland by year’s end, a spokesperson for WSDOT confirmed today.   WSDOT officials first unveiled the new timetable (PDF) at a rail advocacy picnic in Lacey on Saturday.

The new trips are being added thanks to $800M in federal stimulus funds, which targeted 20 separate projects along the Vancouver-Seattle-Portland corridor, including congestion improvement, expanded stations, and new Siemens Charger locomotives.   Just two projects remain: the Point Defiance Bypass and the Tacoma Trestle, in coordination with Sound Transit.  Sound Transit expects the trestle project – which will accommodate another three Sounder trips – to finish “before the end of 2017,” the agency said via email.

In addition to the new trips, reliability should improve significantly as well.  BNSF, which operates much of the corridor, will be financially incentivized to ensure 88% or better on-time performance.  On-time performance has previously been in the 75% range, with some years better than others.  Last winter’s performance suffered from a series of mudslides just North of Portland.

Cascades On Time Performance

The new trains are being scheduled with a running time of 3 hours and 20 minutes, and will depart Seattle at 6:00am and 7:45pm and from Portland at 6:20am and 5:40pm. Factoring in the final 7:25pm departure from PDX, it will be possible to day trip from one city to another and spend 9+ hours in town before heading back.

You can read our full interview with the WSDOT rail team to learn more about WSDOT’s plans for the corridor and the efforts to improve the system’s ridership, farebox recovery, and on-time performance.

 

do you speak persian | kaveh akbar

Aug. 16th, 2017 10:53 pm
carthaginians: ([sw] the force is with me)
[personal profile] carthaginians posting in [community profile] poetry
Some days we can see Venus in mid-afternoon. Then at night, stars
separated by billions of miles, light travelling years

to die in the back of an eye.

Is there a vocabulary for this—one to make dailiness amplify
and not diminish wonder?

I have been so careless with the words I already have.

I don’t remember how to say home
in my first language, or lonely, or light.

I remember only
delam barat tang shodeh, I miss you,

and shab bekheir, goodnight.

How is school going, Kaveh-joon?
Delam barat tang shodeh.

Are you still drinking?
Shab bekheir.

For so long every step I’ve taken
has been from one tongue to another.

To order the world:
I need, you need, he/she/it needs.

The rest, left to a hungry jackal
in the back of my brain.

Right now our moon looks like a pale cabbage rose.
Delam barat tang shodeh.

We are forever folding into the night.
Shab bekheir.
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Trump reverts to blaming both sides in Charlottesville including 'violent alt-left'

Note: this headline is an understatement. The morning briefing headline does not pull its punches:

Wednesday briefing: Trump's words of comfort for Nazis

Mic.com: 5 takeaways from Trump's off-the-rails presser on Charlottesville violence

[tumblr.com profile] la-belle-laide points out a hell of a tell:

ALSO? The moment after he asks to define “alt-right” and is told that John McCain said that alt-right were the Neo-Nazis involved, he said: “Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at us – excuse me – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?“

US.

The alt-right Neo Nazis is “US” to him.


I mean, we knew. I don't think anyone who's been paying attention is surprised that Trump thinks this. What terrifies me is that a) he's out-of-control enough to say this shit in public, and b) the Republicans might let him get away with it.

The Hill: WH sends GOP talking points saying Trump ‘entirely correct’ on Charlottesville

[tumblr.com profile] plaidadder comments:

Anyone you see tomorrow saying that, well, you’ll know they’re ‘just following orders,’ and that they always will.

Also, fuck the Republicans who will oh-so-bravely-and-controversially Tweet that neo-Nazis are evil, but not criticize Trump by name.

In fact, fuck the Republicans who will daringly tut and shake their heads sadly at Trump by name over this, but do nothing to stop him or remove him from power.
kore: (Watergate - guilty guilty guilty!)
[personal profile] kore
This goes into the history of the Klan in US politics and it's amazing. Truly freaky photos I have never seen before of tens of thousands of KKK members marching in DC in the 20s.



(What I knew about this before watching the segment: "Al Smith was the Catholic governor of New York who split with FDR and was from LES" and the only reason I knew that was because of [profile] muccamuck talking about their historical Cap fic research)

And then she did a great interview with Carol Anderson, author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, which is amazing.

Anderson's original article in WaPo in 2014 about Ferguson and the backlash of white rage

America is hooked on the drug of white supremacy. We're paying for that today

Why Are Whites So Angry? (NYT review of her book)

Interviews with Carol Anderson on C-SPAN

This was also great: Racism Is 'A Persistent Infection' In White American Culture | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Grand old rags

Aug. 16th, 2017 08:45 am
supergee: (pissed)
[personal profile] supergee
I more and more agree with Jehovah’s Witnesses that pledging allegiance to cloth violates one of God’s explicit instructions. But people are, as Korzybski said, symbol-minded, and they take offense at anyone burning their symbol or even refusing to worship it. Furthermore, they believe that pulling down statues removes their subjects from history when there are still history books (and, as may be more relevant to them, history TV shows). But symbol-mindedness cuts both ways.

My image of the late unpleasantness at Charlottesville is the swastika next to the Confederate battle flag. They always belonged together: symbols of nations that were brutal to a subset of their own population, fought against America because of it, and lost. These people have pledged their allegiance to the Nazi flag, and I hope that enough of our fellow citizens still have enough justified loathing for that particular symbol to judge them by it. Which reminds me…

There is of course no alt-left, no group on the other side anywhere near as hydrophobically hate-ridden as the rabble at Charlottesville. But even if there were, remember: The last time we fought Nazis, we teamed up with the Communists.

Banded demoiselle

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:39 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Banded demoiselle
Banded demoiselle perched on the roof of the woodshed. The toddler was delighted.

We get these damselflies as well as dragonflies flitting through our canal-side garden every year, but they don’t often stop and say hello.
executrix: (Default)
[personal profile] executrix posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
The Women's March organization is holding a convention in Detroit on October 27-29 (Friday-Sunday): "an inaugural conference that will bring thousands of women and femmes of all backgrounds" together for "three days of workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building." Base registration fee is $295 but there are scholarships available.

I C&Pd the registration link, if it doesn't work try womensmarch.com.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-presents-the-inaugural-womens-convention-2017-tickets-36830022589?link_id=1&can_id=8a862b6f2873206cd5111e31602e9c90&source=email-happy-mothers-day-thank-you-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2&email_referrer=happy-mothers-day-thank-you-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2&email_subject=announcing-the-womens-convention

Vienna: Tiergarten Schoenbrunn

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:27 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Fish
Keiki squats down to look at the fish in the polar bear enclosure at the Vienna Tiergarten.

The Schoenbrunn should definitely make the top ten of every visitor attraction list of Vienna, if not the top three. It’s the gigantic former summer palace of the Hapsburgs, and the grounds alone merit at least a half-day stroll to explore fully. There are gardens, fountains, hidden playgrounds, an enormous glasshouse full of palm trees, and even a zoo.

Despite having visited the Schoenbrunn grounds many times, I’d never been to the zoo, which is allegedly the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1752). Now, with two small children, one of whom is animal-obsessed, I had good reason to go. The children and I set out early one morning to travel via the Viennese underground to the palace.

Humuhumu was keen to learn how to navigate the transport system. She got very good at spotting the way to the correct train lines, and proudly announced when the next train would be arriving after we got to the platforms.

It took us 45 minutes to get from our temporary abode to the Schoenbrunn and, conveniently, it was just about Cake O’clock when we arrived. We detoured around the palace entrance and stopped off at an Aida Konditorei, a chain of inexplicably pink cafés that serve extremely nice cakes, coffees and hot chocolates (apart from the one near the opera house – avoid that one; everyone who works there is sick of tourists and very grumpy).

We walked into the Aida and chorused “Guten Morgen” at the round-faced, unsmiling woman behind the counter. She broke into a beaming grin and showed us to the table next to a tiny play area containing toys and books, which the children pounced upon. (Throughout the trip, I encouraged the children to greet everyone we met in German, to say please and thank you in German, to order their food using the German words and, when I felt confident in my knowledge of the right phrases, I coached them to make requests in German. I was astonished at the abundance of goodwill toward us that this produced.) Humuhumu ordered her hot chocolate and cake in German, and was rewarded with an additional pink meringue, which she received with an unprompted “Danke schoen”. When we left, Keiki crowing “Wiedersehen” over my shoulder with his dimpliest smile, the server came out from round the counter and gave each of the children an extra biscuit, which, to be honest, they didn’t really need after all that sugar!

Full of energy, we bounded into the grounds of the Schoenbrunn and raced around whilst waiting for the grandparents to join us at the entrance to the Tiergarten (Zoo). As vast as the Schoenbrunn grounds are, they are not big enough to house a comprehensive collection of the world’s animals, so cleverly the Tiergarten is focused on a limited number of species and provided them with luxurious accommodation.

Keiki and Humuhumu loved the place, particularly Keiki. Once he spotted the meerkat enclosure, we couldn’t get him to finish his lunch. Neither could we readily tear him away from the penguins. In fact, Granddad had a bit of a job keeping Keiki from clambering into their pond to join them. We communed with the seals. We watched a polar bear chewing meditatively on a traffic cone. And, of course, Humuhumu found a climbing wall and had to try everything.

It was a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon, and we will certainly return to the Tiergarten on our next trip to Vienna.

Further photos beneath the cut.
+++ )

when is the eclipse, anyway?

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:02 am
calimac: (Default)
[personal profile] calimac
This is bizarre. I'm going to be outside of St. Louis, and I thought I'd look up the time of the eclipse.

The NASA site says that totality will occur 18.17-18.19. Universal Time. And what is that in something humans understand? Well, here's a Universal Time to Central Daylight Time converter. 18, that's 6 pm if you're not in the army, converts to 1 pm local time. That sounds right; Central Time is 6 hours earlier than the UK, where UT is based, minus one for DST, makes five. So the eclipse will be around 1:18 pm, OK?

But wait! Here's the National Weather Service site, which is linked to from the NASA site, and it says 11:18 AM.

So which is it?
selenak: (Kitty Winter)
[personal profile] selenak
RE: ongoing horror show, err, US national and foreign politics: this is yet another reason why I find the entire Hydra in Marvel comics & MCU concept so stupid, not just in the WWII era, where the sheer logistics (or lack of same) break my brain, but also in the present day. Super-secret organization, master assassins, gadget weapons? This just isn't how fascism works. This is how fascism works. It shouts its goals to the winds and gets itself voted into power.

There is not a single member of the Republican party, nor any other voter who either elected the Orange Menace or by not voting enabled it, who can claim this isn't EXACTLY what they voted for or allowed to happen. Because Agent Orange certainly hadn't kept his views a secret. Nor did his minions.

Reading Wednesday 16/08

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:28 pm
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read:
  • Dzur by Steven Brust.

    I didn't love this; I'm not sure how much it's a weaker member of the series and how much it's me. It is book 10 in a set of 19, of which the last five are still to be written. I may have left it too long since I read the previous volumes, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I decided I couldn't be bothered following all the complex allusions to the meta-structure of the whole series, and as a single novel it's never more than just ok. I didn't find Vlad's voice or Loiosh's asides witty, and the pacing dragged, and I didn't care about the mystery. Because I hadn't been following the chronology properly, the twist at the end wasn't a delightful surprise, it just unsatisfyingly didn't make sense.

    When I was reading 50 books a year, I intended to read the whole series, because both the individual novels and the way they fit together into a complex whole appeal to me. Now that I read more like 15 or 20, I'm thinking I may drop this. Not sure; one weaker book doesn't mean the whole series isn't worth bothering with.

  • A taste of honey by Kai Ashante Wilson. This was a Hugo-nominated novella, which meant that several of my friends read it, and were enthusiastic about it. So I ended up reading the copy from my Hugo packet on the way back from Worldcon, which is not exactly in the spirit of things. And I regret not reading it in time to vote for it, not that it would have made much difference since McGuire's Every heart a doorway (which I wasn't keen on) won by miles.

    Anyway, this is a really amazing fantasy romance story. It's beautifully written, great characters, twisty, thought-provoking plot. The worldbuilding is really deep; looking it up it turns out this is a companion novella in the setting of a novel, which I'm now definitely going to seek out. I had dismissed Wilson's Sorcerer of the Wildeeps mainly because the name is so clunky; I assumed it was parodic or just really generic swords and sorcery.

    It's hard to describe exactly what's so great about AToH without spoilers, but it's a really moving romance, and has a lot to say about choices and sacrifices made for love. [personal profile] jack thought it maybe needed some content warnings; some of the content is about homophobia and abusive parenting. To me it didn't feel like misery porn, it felt as if it centred its variously Queer characters and described some of the bad things in their life as well as the good. But I can imagine some readers finding it hard going.

    Up next: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I'd been meaning to read this, though I'm a little scared of what I've heard about it, and I've now bumped it up my list since the sequel won a second Hugo.
  • delfinnium: forest path (can't see me)
    [personal profile] delfinnium
    Kids are gross: on feminists & Agency

    So I read this article. Kids are on my mind a lot these days, not because I want them, but because so many people around me, around my age, have children. When I went to visit my BFF in Japan earlier this year, I got to spend quite a lot of time with her baby. While I still do not want children, the delight my BFF and her husband and her MIL have in the baby is infectious, and I do love spending time with her. I look forward to seeing how she grows up, and what she might be like as a toddler, as a young child, and as a young teen and adult.

    This article made me think about the things that children undergo - and yes, talking about children like they're children is an issue, I realised, because the way we talk about children has a tendency to treat them like walking, talking furniture, or pets, something to pat and cuddle even if they don't want to be, and even a three year old as in the article who can talk and express his opinions are freely ignored by adults who want to touch and poke him or demand hugs when he does not want to be hugged.

    And then also laughing at the cute things they do - which might be just cute, or could be something that hurts the child because they're trying everything for the first time, and being laughed at for not being able to hold as many berries as an adult can, or not being able to hold a knife and fork as easily as others is... not fun. Not good.

    Children already are sentinent, separate beings. It's something I should keep in mind when interacting with babies and children - especially since I'm getting older - there're going to be more children around I guess.

    Interesting Links for 16-08-2017

    Aug. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm
    andrewducker: (Default)
    [personal profile] andrewducker

    The Blood is the Life for 16-08-2017

    Aug. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
    miss_s_b: (Default)
    [personal profile] miss_s_b

    QotD

    Aug. 16th, 2017 05:24 am
    dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
    [personal profile] dglenn

    "As I hear all the tawdry details of Jenner's story, I am also re-reading 'How Sex Changed' by Joanne Meyerowitz. [...] In it, Meyerowitz discusses the reactions to Christine Jorgensen's coming out in the 1950s, and how both her tale and many others who came out shortly thereafter, were steeped in the same sort of salaciousness as the promotions for Jenner's autobiography.

    "Upon reflection, I realize, too, that every transgender person - and not just the Jorgensens and Jenners - face this same sort of thing. When you are trans, the standards of privacy are thrown out the window. We are expected to share our most intimate details to anyone we come across.

    "Without exception, any time I was interviewed in any depth, I found myself asked about my name prior to my transition, or for photos of myself from my youth, or for details of any surgeries I may have undertaken. It really didn't matter if any of that would be relevant to the story: my disclosure was simply expected.

    "The same standard is not expected of non-transgender people. Maiden names and other such things are considered private enough to be used as security features with banks and other institutions. Non-transgender strangers don't expect details of another's hysterectomies or vasectomies unless they happen to be medical professionals. So many things are naturally considered one's own private business.

    "The minute one divulges one is transgender, however, all bets are off. What's more, to make an issue about such questions is to risk being panned as deceptive."

    -- Gwendolyn Ann Smith, 2017-04-27

    Page generated Aug. 16th, 2017 03:06 pm
    Powered by Dreamwidth Studios