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<------- Greg

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Books of 2017 [2017/01/17 (Tuesday) 16:26 EST]

1) James S. A. Corey: Leviathan Wakes (audio, finished 01-17) The first book of the Expanse series, I started the audio version pretty immediately after finishing the first season of the Syfy TV adaptation. The series has been described as "Game of Thrones in space", which isn't too far off, but the book has a much narrower perspective as it only follows two people's points of view for all but the prologue and epilogue. Both are excellent, however, and now I need to decide whether to continue with the books right now or wait for the second season of the series to air.
2) James S. A. Corey: Caliban's War (audio, finished 01-22) So obviously I just went ahead and continued listening to them. The second had a bit more of the politics that characterized the first TV season.
3) James S. A. Corey: Abaddon's Gate (audio, finished 01-28)
4) James S. A. Corey: Cibola Burn (audio, finished 02-06)
5) James S. A. Corey: Nemesis Games (audio, finished 02-10) [finished the novella The Vital Abyss the same day]
6) James S. A. Corey: Babylon's Ashes (audio, finished 02-18)
7-9) Lev Grossman: The Magicians trilogy (ebook, finished 04-08) Another series of books I had to read after watching the first season of the TV adaptation. I'm glad I'd seen the show first, because the first book focuses on the least interesting character and I probably wouldn't have gotten into it if I didn't know what other stuff was going on offscreen because of the show.
10) Nnedi Okorafor: Binti: Home (ebook, finished 04-15) Excellent sequel to Binti, which I read last year.
11) David Brin: River of Time (ebook)
12) David Brin: Existence (ebook)
13-15) Ann Leckie: Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy (ebooks, finished 08-12) Fantastic scifi trilogy, partly from the perspective of a semi-omniscient ship with thousands of bodies, in a society that doesn't mark gender (so everyone is "she"). I first heard about it from Language Log, and then a friend recommended it when the first one was on sale on Amazon.
16) Charles C. Mann: 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (ebook, finished 08-15) I bought this one shortly after finishing 1491 back in 2011, but read it only in little fits and starts over the course of several years. Every bit as fascinating and compelling as that was, for some reason I never managed to read it in significant stretches until this summer.
17-19) N. K. Jemisin: Broken Earth trilogy (The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky) (ebooks, finished 09-30) Another excellent trilogy read because a friend recommended it on Facebook.
20) William Gibson: The Peripheral (ebook, finished 10-09)
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Books of 2016 [2016/03/29 (Tuesday) 14:55 EST]

1-4) Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2-5) (paper, finished 02-01) Finished the rest of the series in about a month. It was a bit teenagery at times (and probably more predictable for me than for its intended audience), but still very good. At the time of writing this I've borrowed the first book of the spinoff series from the same student who got me these.
5) Adam Christopher: Elementary - The Ghost Line (paper, finished 02-08) A birthday gift from my dad, this was every bit as enjoyable to read as the series is to watch. Christopher clearly understands the characters well and I'll eventually check out Blood and Ink.
6) Jim C. Hines: Revisionary (ebook, finished 03-04) Finally remembered to pick up the fourth installment of this amazing series, which was published a month earlier.
7) Dajo Jago: Robins in the Night (ebook, finished 03/29) Thoroughly enjoyable retelling of the Robin Hood legend, with lots more lesbians and snails and some actual believable diversity (which was complained about in the "negative" review that led me to buy the book in the first place).
8) Nnedi Okorafor: Binti (ebook, finished 07/06) Great novella-length story about a young Himba woman's encounter with "hostile" aliens on her way to an interplanetary university.
9) Nnedi Okorafor: Who Fears Death (ebook, finished 09/20) Excellent novel by the same author. Very dark and depressing at times, as it's partly inspired by genocide in Sudan. I'm glad I read it but I think next will be something much lighter.
10-12) Ransom Riggs: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City, and Library of Souls (paper, ebook, ebook, finished 10/12) Girlfriend lent me the first one to read before the movie came out, and then I bought the other two for Kindle and read them shortly thereafter.
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Books of 2015 [2015/01/30 (Friday) 21:43 EST]

1) Gregory Benford and Larry Niven: Bowl of Heaven (paper, finished 01-30) Cool concept (if a bit Ringworld-y), but the book suffered quite a bit from what seemed like occasional editing lapses. It's like the authors occasionally forgot who was with which other group of characters or something. (Also the nerd in me is skeptical of whether Coriolis forces would exist in a structure as described.)
2) John Marsden: Tomorrow, When the War Began (paper, finished 02-11) A bit teenagery, as one friend put it, but quite engaging. I'm somewhat disappointed that none of the characters (at least in this first book of a series) noted the irony of modern Australia being invaded during the celebration of the anniversary of the British invasion in the first place. (There is one scene in the movie that hints at that, though, which I appreciated.)
3) Mira Grant: Parasite (paper, finished 04-11) Excellent first installment of a series. There's a twist I kind of saw coming from pretty early on, though, which lost most of its punch by the time it was "revealed".
4) Terry Pratchett: Shepherd's Crown (ebook, finished 09/28) Excellent, as everything in Discworld was. Saddest I've ever been to finish a book, though, not because of anything that happened in the story but because I know it's the last time I'll ever get to know more about the lives of these characters I've grown to love over the years.
5) Stephen King: Cell (ebook, finished 11/27) Great as King usually is, and the Boston-area apocalypse went well with my concurrent playthrough of Fallout 4. I'd bought the book months previously and then never got around to reading it for whatever reason.
6) J. C. Hutchins: 7th Son: Descent (ebook, finished 12/04) Unfortunately the only printed installment of a podcast trilogy (though I guess it's not that unfortunate given my affinity for audio books). Also downloaded months (years?) previously on the recommendation of Scott Sigler in his own podcast.
7) Jim C. Hines: Libriomancy (ebook, finished 12/11) The third book in a row that I downloaded way earlier on someone else's recommendation. I suspect I found out about this one through Seanan McGuire's tumblr, and I vaguely remember buying it because the Kindle version was super cheap, and because Hines himself seems like a pretty awesome dude. Excellent concept for a magical world, and it reminded me a bit of the Librarians TV series in its tone and subject matter.
8) Jim C. Hines: Codex Born (ebook, finished 12/17) Equally excellent second installment of the Magic ex Libris series, though with an unfortunately somewhat whitewashed cover. (The character pictured is repeatedly described as having dark skin in the book, and it's plot relevant that she be so, but the cover illustration looks like a Brunette white woman.)
9) Jim C. Hines: Unbound (ebook, finished 12/24) Even better third installment. Disappointingly the fourth one won't be out until early February, but I suppose I can read some paper books in the meantime.
10) Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (paper, finished 12/30) The complete 5-book PJ series was a lovely and totally unexpected Christmas gift from a student, after I said in class that I liked fantasy but hadn't read this series yet.
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Books of 2014 [2014/03/06 (Thursday) 16:24 EST]
Better late than never, I guess?


1) Terry Pratchett: Raising Steam (paper, finished 01-10) This latest Discworld novel seemed to lack something of the others, perhaps because it seemed a bit too fast-paced. Like, there wasn't enough time for character development since he was focusing on the progress of the railroad itself over the course of several months.
(Between that and the next, I listened to audio versions of the remaining Discworld books I hadn't heard yet.)
2) Robert Jordan: The Eye of the World (audio, finished 02-13) I decided to listen next to the Wheel of Time series, since I have friends who like it and I like the fact that I won't have to worry about picking something new for a while, assuming I like these books well enough.
3) Robert Jordan: The Great Hunt (audio, finished 03-04) They're not bad so far, though definitely not the best fantasy I've seen/heard. In addition to being problematic for reasons friends had already told me about, I find myself getting annoyed that the main characters continue to not realize what kind of book they're in and get with the program. It's like, for fuck's sake Rand, obviously you're important on a grand scale. Otherwise why would we have been hearing all your angsty whining for the past two thousand pages?
4) Robert Jordan: The Dragon Reborn (audio, finished 03-20)
5) Seanan McGuire (writing as Mira Grant): Feed (ebook, finished 07-04) (Yes, it has in fact been over two months since I finished a book. Lots of podcasts and tumblr in the meantime.) Extremely good and I look forward to devouring (so to speak) the other two in the Newsflesh trilogy. It's a zombie story, but unlike the super tropey ones I've mostly gotten tired of by now, it takes place 25 years after an outbreak that, while disastrous, didn't actually end civilization or anything like that. Also, since I've been following the author on tumblr for awhile now, I must say it's really nice to read something and know that if I do find something in it problematic, I know the author wouldn't get defensive and close up if anyone pointed it out to her.
6) Seanan McGuire (as Mira Grant): Deadline (ebook, finished 07-11) Also extremely good. I unfortunately read the first chapter of the third book by mistake before starting this one, though, so some of the intended tension wasn't there as I basically knew how this one was going to end.
7) Seanan McGuire (as Mira Grant): Blackout (ebook, finished 07-19) Excellent conclusion. The trilogy somewhat reinvigorated zombie horror for me, though I don't know whether enough to actually want to play all the way through any of the related video games I've already bought and downloaded.
8) Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter: The Long Mars (ebook, finished 07-26) Good, but still clearly the middle book of a series. Some arcs were relevant to the "main" plot only inasmuch as one or two of those characters showed up near the end of the main arc. I'm at least hoping those bits will come together by the end of the series in a way that doesn't seem so disjointed.
9) Tahereh Mafi: Shatter Me (audio, finished 08-05) Enjoyable start to a series. A bit less substantial than some I've read recently, though it seems as though more of the worldbuilding and backstory will show up in later books. The stream-of-consciousness style wasn't ideal for the audio format, I think, but it got better with the protagonist getting more well-adjusted. (She started the book on day 264 of complete isolation, so realistically might have been crazier than she started out in the book.)
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Today in Boston [2013/04/15 (Monday) 21:55 EST]
[ mood | sick to my stomach ]

I don't know who reads this any more, since even when I do get around to reading my friends page from time to time it's pretty empty, but I decided LJ is a good place for this, since the lack of other posting means it'll be easy to find in the future if I need to.
I didn't know anything at all was amiss until I was waiting for my bus outside the nearest subway stop, at around 3:30 this afternoon. I heard an announcement that due to "police action", that particular train wouldn't be stopping at either of the two most central stations on its route. I thought it was odd for it to be two stations, since usually police actions only include one, but I didn't think much of it since I knew the marathon was happening today, so there'd be thousands of people around those stations, and it didn't surprise me if a couple of them had gotten into a fight or someone was injured or something.

While I was riding the bus to work, I overheard someone say, "They found another one," and then also what sounded like something about a woman's leg. I realize now that the leg must have been one of the injuries, which I guess is marginally better than what I had thought at first, which was that they'd found a leg, and it was just one more of what had been several disembodied parts uncovered so far. That understandably had me feeling a bit sick to my stomach as I walked into work.

Then I checked the news and discovered that the "other one" they had found was a third explosive device, and that two had already gone off near the marathon's finish line, killing two and injuring about two dozen.

Previous years, I took groups of students to that very same finish line, so we could watch people right as they ran by among all the people cheering in the stands. I didn't go today, because I was fired from that job and this morning I felt too lazy to go all the way downtown when I didn't have to for work. But I know a lot of people for whom this is a really big deal. They go with their families every year and really enjoy participating in the exciting and festive atmosphere, all the way along the route but especially downtown where it finishes. I know a lot of people who were there today, including some who were still there when it happened and heard it and were caught up in the chaos and panic afterward.

Fortunately, at least from my own emotional perspective, I am so far unaware of anyone I knew who actually got hurt by the blasts. But it still makes me feel sick to think of previous years when I was standing with a group of laughing students and friends right near where this happened today, and I can only imagine how I'd feel if I were personally responsible for leading a field trip of international students down there to see this amazing coming-together event that Boston is proud to host every year, only to have it end so horribly.

And then, in the aftermath, out come the racists. As usual, the very first wild baseless speculations everyone's throwing around are that it must have been Muslim terrorists, even to the point where some news outlets reported that Boston PD had a Saudi national in custody for the attacks. No such suspect exists, but it didn't stop people from leaping to what they assume is the most logical conclusion. And sure, 9/11 was instigated by Muslim extremists, but people are way too quick to forget the other recent terrorist bombings in the US, such as Oklahoma City and the Atlanta Olympics, which were planned and carried out by white, Christian extremists.

But no, it's too difficult to be violently suspicious of average looking white guys. Easier by far to suspect everyone of Middle Eastern descent (or who looks like they conceivably could be) of being somehow responsible for or at the very least pleased about today's attacks. Easier to be angry at every bearded brown guy instead of having to pick and choose which clean-shaven white guys might be terrorists, and which ones are just here to live their lives like everyone else. I have a number of current and foreign students from Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern and North African countries, and it pained me today to have to advise them to be extra careful of their personal safety now and over at least the next few days (much longer if it actually does turn out that anyone even vaguely related to Islam or the Middle East was responsible).

Edit: and holy shit, this picture puts the first bomb at exactly the corner I (and countless others) stood at to watch people cross and get a better view on the Jumbotron they set up there.

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Books of 2013 [2013/03/17 (Sunday) 10:08 EST]
Alright, so I guess this has become my book journal. Here are the ones I've read so far in 2013 (to be updated as I read more, as usual).


1) David Brin: Otherness (paper, finished 01-06) A collection of short stories exploring the quite interesting theme Brin calls "otherness", hence the title. Mostly involving alien life, but also touching on elements within humanity itself that are sufficiently different from the values and mores of the protagonists to be called "other".
2) Stephen Hunter: Black Light (Kindle, finished 01-24) The sequel to Point of Impact, which I read about 15 years ago and which was made into a pretty good movie adaptation in Shooter.
3) Stephen Hunter: Time to Hunt (Kindle, finished 02-06) The next sequel in the Bob Lee Swagger series. Something I quite enjoy about Hunter is that he has a lot of the same attention to detail that I used to like in Tom Clancy, without all the politicizing. Even when writing about Vietnam, which this one does in the first half of the book, which is a kind of extended flashback.
4) David Brin: Kiln People (Kindle, finished 02-20) From what I understand, the movie Surrogates explores a similar view of the future, in which flesh-and-blood people send out copies of themselves to do much of their day-to-day work for them. This one was a lot of fun, and included some really quite terrible puns, which are the best kind of puns, in both the dialogue and in some of the chapter titles themselves.
5) Terry Pratchett: Dodger (paper, finished 03-07) Similar in feel to some of the Discworld stuff, but set in Victorian London, allowing the main character to meet the likes of Charles Dickens and Benjamin Disraeli. It did feel a bit more... "silent" than the Discworld novels, though, perhaps because I've listened to so many of those as audiobooks that I've somewhat internalized the tone and voices of the characters (to the point where those are the voices I hear when reading one on paper).
6) Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter: The Long Earth (paper, finished 03-16) The excellent first installment in what will apparently be an ongoing collaboration between these two, it explores the effects of some kind of quantum fluke that opens up an infinity of parallel Earths to most of humanity, which are themselves completely devoid of sapeint competition for the space and resources we'd need to live there. I should probably read more (or any) of Baxter's own stuff, since thus far it's only been this and his other collaboration with an author nearing the end of his own career, Arthur C. Clarke.
7) Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter: The Long War (Kindle, finished 06-26) After a long stint of spending almost all my transit time listening to various podcasts, I finally read another book when I saw that this one was coming out. It was very good, as was the previous one, but is definitely building up to events in a future third book, which is kind of unfortunate given how much Pratchett's most famous novels (Discworld) can each stand on their own apart from the rest of the series.
8) Terry Pratchett: Snuff (Kindle, finished 07-03) Excellent continuation (possibly conclusion?) of the Night Watch characters' story lines. It does seem like Pratchett is perhaps wrapping up Discworld, as he knows he won't be able to keep writing as prolifically for very much longer. As with the past few I read in text form, it seemed to miss something from the audio books, but it did inspire me to relisten to some of the earlier ones.
9 - 30-something) Reading Snuff made me decide to listen to a bunch of the older Discworld books I have in audio format. I went through most of them by early October.
10+Discworld) Scott Sigler: Bones are White (audio, finished early October) This was his second podcast audiobook short story collection (after Blood is Red, which I listened to last year), which conveniently finished being uploaded as a podcast shortly after I finished relistening to Discworld.
11+Discworld) Scott Sigler: Infection (audio, finished...mid October?) In one of the Bones podcasts, he mentioned coming to Boston on his January tour for the third book in the trilogy this one started. It was pretty gruesome, which is especially hard to get through in an audiobook, so I think I'll read the next one as text. (That way, I can skim over the detailed descriptions of, say, people cutting alien parasites out of their own legs instead of listening to the author read it.)
12+Discworld) Scott Sigler: The Crypt (Book One: The Crew) (audio, finished late October) Some of the short stories I'd just listened to were set in the same universe at around the same time as some parts of the Crypt plotline, which made me want to check it out. Of the three Sigler novels and two short story collections I've listened to, this one was the best. It had hints of Heinlein without the problematic stuff, and set the scene for what I hope is a really excellent series of books.
13+Discworld) Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde: Sleights of Mind (Kindle, finished late November or maybe early December) I'd started reading this one a long time ago, but non-fiction just doesn't grab me the way novels usually do, so I put it on hold every time I got into some compelling fiction. It's a really excellent book, though, investigating magic and magicians as they relate to things we now know (as well as things we've learned through such investigations) about Neuroscience.
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Books of 2012 [2012/01/27 (Friday) 16:23 EST]
Wow, three posts in all of the past year. I've updated more frequently than that, of course, since I edit each year's books post to include new ones as I finish them. I'm a couple weeks late finally posting this one, though.


1) George R. R. Martin: A Game of Thrones (Kindle, finished 01-12) After watching the entire first season at home over Christmas, I promptly bought a package deal from Amazon with the first four books together. Even though I'd already seen pretty much the entirety of the plot from this book, I never got particularly bored reading it. Which is good, since paying for the subsequent three volumes all at once would have been somewhat wasteful had I decided halfway through the first one that I wasn't all that into it. (Which, incidentally, happened with Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, the second two volumes of which I bought shortly after being given my Kindle last Christmas, only to languish on account of my never finishing the first one.)
2) George R. R. Martin: A Clash of Kings (Kindle, finished 01-27) Also fantastic, if rather grindingly depressing at times. I freely admit to using the Kindle's handy "skip to the next chapter" button a lot to check whether certain people lived or not (the title of each chapter is the name of the person whose perspective that chapter portrays, so presumably if I see a name pop up again as a chapter heading it means that person didn't die, without giving away any other information about what happens).
3) George R. R. Martin: A Storm of Swords (Kindle, finished 02-07)
4) George R. R. Martin: A Feast for Crows (Kindle, finished 02-21)
5) George R. R. Martin: A Dance with Dragons (Kindle, finished 03-09) I'm really hoping it's not another five or six years before the next one comes out, like it was for 4 and 5. (Also that Martin lives to finish the series. I don't want another fascinating world ruined by mediocrity like Dune was when Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson finished that series.)
6) William Gibson: Spook Country (Kindle, finished 03-21) The middle of the trilogy that I started in New Mexico and "finished" in December, of Gibson's modern-day setting novels. Enjoyable as his others, and introduced some of the important characters later to appear in Zero History.
7-9) Suzanne Collins: Hunger Games Trilogy (Kindle, finished 03-28) Very good books, albeit rather fast to read and clearly written for teenagers. The movie was also enjoyable, though unfortunately seemed a bit too directed toward people who'd already read the book.
10) William Gibson: Count Zero (Kindle, finished 04-23) Second in the Sprawl trilogy, I now want to reread Neuromancer, which I initially read in New Mexico, and then read Mona Lisa Overdrive.
11) William Gibson: Neuromancer (Kindle, finished 04-29) Better than I remembered it being the first time. Hard to believe he wrote these two before ever laying hands on a computer (which was in 1986 when he began the third book in the trilogy, according to his forward to the first digital printing, back in 1992).
12) William Gibson: Mona Lisa Overdrive (Kindle, finished 05-03) Not quite as good as the previous two, I think partially because shifting between 4 different people's points of view over the course of such a (relatively) short book gives us less opportunity to get to know any of the characters.
13) William Gibson: The Difference Engine (Kindle, finished 05-17) Better as a premise than a book, perhaps. Though maybe the problem was more that I really liked the first protagonist he introduced, only to find that the latter 70% or so of the book is then about someone else.
14) David Brin: The Uplift War (Kindle, finished 05-26) Excellent conclusion to a trilogy that I started, out of order, about 5 years ago in Mexico. I was a bit disappointed at first to discover that while it takes place just after Startide Rising, it doesn't continue those characters' stories. For that, it turns out I need to read the second Uplift trilogy.
15) David Brin: Brightness Reef (Kindle, finished 06-22) And now the new trilogy. Like George R. R. Martin, Brin flips between multiple characters' points of view to tell these stories, but unlike Martin many of his characters are aliens. Though likely not as different as real aliens would end up being, I'm always impressed at how well Brin conveys the different ways of thinking. The character in this one with a massive temporal lobe injury that completely destroys his ability to use words is fairly impressively written, as well. I wouldn't have thought it possible to use words so effectively to convey a wordless existence.
16) David Brin: Infinity's Shore (Kindle, finished 07-02)
17) David Brin: Heaven's Reach (Kindle, finished 07-10) These last two were also fantastic, so I promptly bought another of Brin's novels and a couple of short stories, because the Kindle is dangerous like that.
18) Wil McCarthy: Aggressor Six (Kindle, finished 07-12) Bought on my cousin Matt's recommendation back in May, I ended up liking this more by the end than I had in the middle. I'll probably read more of his now as well, but perhaps not until after I've read some of the multiple other books I've bought but haven't yet read.
19) Larry Niven and Edward Learner, Fate of Worlds (Kindle, finished 08-30 or so) The great conclusion to both the ___ of Worlds series and the Ringworld series, bringing them back together somewhat. I was a bit disappointed that none of it actually takes place *on* the Ringworld, but it was still nice to have the world and characters of ___ of Worlds fit back into the rest of the vibrant Known Space universe Niven has created over the years.
20) Scott Sigler: Earthcore (Audio, finished 10-01) I'd been listening to a lot of podcast stuff, including the serialized short stories of the next one. The last was actually the first chapter of a planned sequel to Earthcore, so I decided to give that one a listen first.
21) Scott Sigler: Blood is Red (Audio, finished 10-03) The aforementioned series of short stories released in podcast form.
22) Terry Pratchett: Night Watch (Audio, finished 12-23) After watching both Going Postal and The Hogfather on Netflix, I decided to listen to this one again on my flights home for Christmas. It remains one of the best in the series, I think, and certainly my favorite of the stories centering around the Watch.
23) Robert Louis Stevenson: Kidnapped (Audio, finished 12-28) Decided to give this a listen after watching the latest Treasure Island adaptation. I had read that one in school, but apart from a vaguely remembered movie version of Kidnapped, which may not even be real, I wasn't at all familiar with this story.
24) Lerry Niven and Jerry Pournelle: Escape from Hell (Paper, finished 12-31) The sequel to their reimagining of Inferno, which I read previously. Also apparently the only paper book I read in its entirety this whole year. (There are others that I likely will finish soon, or at least soonish, though.)
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4th of July Hangouts [2011/06/29 (Wednesday) 21:45 EST]
Anyone even read this any more who's in the Boston area? If so, and if you're interested in hanging out for Boston's fireworks on Monday, check out this map of where we'll be, from about 1pm or 1:30.

Sorry, szungazser, this is probably not as substantial an entry as you'd hoped I would start making again. :-P
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6th Annual BARCC Walk [2011/03/29 (Tuesday) 11:53 EST]
So I'm doing the Walk for Change again for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. This will be my third time walking to help support what I think is a very important organization in the Boston area. My fundraising page is here. From there you can either donate money or register to walk yourself. If you're interested in being on the same "team", ours is called the Cookie Monsters. (A reference to a cookie-and-survivor-support-night idea that some friends of mine had, though I don't think it actually happened more than once or twice.)
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Books of 2011 [2011/03/17 (Thursday) 19:16 EST]

1) Joss Wheden et al.: Serenity: Better Days and The Shepherd's Tale (paper, finished 03-15) Will had both of these, so I read them in the same evening after we finished watching Angel on Netflix.
2) Joss Wheden, Brian Lynch, and Franco Urru: Angel: After the Fall (1) (paper, finished 03-17) With all the time freed up in my evenings now that I've finished the TV shows I had queued up on Netflix, I decided to go out straight away and buy the graphic novel continuations of the same two stories I'd been watching. The Borders across the street from me didn't have the first issues of Buffy, though, so I only bought this one.
3) Larry Niven: A World Out of Time (paper, finished 03-24) One of his earlier ones, I didn't think this was as fully character-developed or engaging as more recent books Niven has written. Still quite enjoyable, though, as I always like the sweeping future-history thing, and this one mostly takes place three million years in the future.
4) Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner: Destroyer of Worlds (paper, finished 03-31) This and the next one are sequels to the two by this pair that I read last year. Again, kind of a side-story/sequel/prequel to other Known Space things I read several years ago, and interesting to see another side of those events.
5) Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner: Betrayer of Worlds (Kindle, finished 04-03) Here we come full circle and meet a younger Louis Wu, the protagonist of the Ringworld series, which was my first exposure to Niven's work. This was also the first book I read entirely on my Kindle, but definitely won't be the last. I should probably read some of my already-owned paperbacks, though, before spending more money on yet more books.
6) Stephen King: The Gunslinger (Kindle, finished 04-08) I've always liked King, so I finally decided to read his magnum opus when I saw that several of the Dark Tower volumes were available as free audio books from the Boston Public Library. Not the first one, though, so I read it on the Kindle.
7) Stephen King: The Drawing of the Three (audio, finished 04-15) Great character development as usual for King. Some odd little left/right inconsistencies as they allegedly walk north along a western coast, though, which were jarring to me, since I tend to visualize things in fairly precise ways when I read. Also, there's the annoying and all-too-common misconception that schizophrenia and multiple personalities are the same thing.
8) Stephen King: The Waste Lands (audio, finished 05-11) Third in the Dark Tower series, this one definitely illustrates King's skill at writing multiple main characters. It feels like all of them are full people, and no one is focused on more than the rest.
9) Stephen King: Wizard and Glass (audio, finished 06-17) It's always kind of funny to me that King is almost always labeled a horror writer. This one was a really excellent western, and kind of made me want to read some of the others he said had inspired him.
10) Stephen King: Wolves of the Calla (Kindle, finished 07-01) I was disappointed that the Boston Public Library didn't have this one as an audio book, and then saddened when I finished reading it and got to King's note about how the guy who'd read the previous several (superbly) had been in a traffic accident and was no longer able to read for a living.
11) Stephen King: Susannah's Song (Kindle, finished 07-20) King wrote himself into this one a bit, which shouldn't be surprising since there wasn't a fictional author with addiction problems to take the place of almost-him, as in so many others. While that's sometimes a vehicle for shameless wish-fulfillment, I think it worked pretty well in this one.
12) Stephen King: The Dark Tower (Kindle, finished 09-05) Kinda dragged through the last one, not because the writing got worse but because I cared less what happened when the group of characters started shrinking again.
13) Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter: Time's Eye (paper, finished 09-19)
14) Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter: Sunstorm (Kindle, finished 09-22)
15) Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter: Firstborn (Kindle, finished 09-30 or so) These three are the Time Odyssey trilogy. Very enjoyable reads, though the end of the third one was made sadder by the knowledge that Clarke went on to write only one more book before his death.
16) Orson Scott Card: Speaker for the Dead (paper, finished 10-13) The characters and overall plot are still enjoyable, but to tolerate the quaint notions about marriage and such that Card slipped in I felt I had to imagine it having been written a few decades earlier. It becomes harder to separate him from his books now that I know what a bigoted asshole he is in real life.
17) Orson Scott Card: Xenocide (audio, finished 10-20) While the use of different voices for different characters makes these a bit more enjoyable than other audio books in some ways, the incredible talkiness of this one in particular makes the inability to skim the philosophical rambling parts rather annoying.
18) Orson Scott Card: Children of the Mind (audio, finished 10-26) Better than I remembered it being back when I read it the first time, and as an audio book, also better than Xenocide, on account of being or at least seeming less rambly.
19) David Brin: Earth (paper, finished 11-15 or so) Nice sweeping account of a possible near future. Brin is one of those writers who can write a fundamentally very optimistic story without denying the problems we face or sugarcoating anything.
20) Charles C. Mann: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Kindle, finished 12-21) Amazing new perspectives on a lot of the history of the Americas before Europeans showed up, which all too commonly gets ignored. There's a big difference between our not knowing the history of something and there being no history to speak of.
21) William Gibson: Zero History (paper, finished 12-28) I'd read his Pattern Recognition back in 2006, when I was living with my aunt and uncle in New Mexico, which was the first of his three set more in the present day than in a futuristic cyberpunk dystopia. I liked this one quite a bit more than I remember liking that, but may need to give it another readthrough. Also makes me want to check out Spook Country, which takes place between the other two and introduces a few more of the characters that featured more prominently in Zero History.
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Okay, Fine [2011/03/06 (Sunday) 10:28 EST]
I had kind of wanted my first post of the year to be this year's book post, but I actually haven't finished any books yet this year. Part of me feels disappointed by that, since I got lots of great books for Christmas, along with a Kindle from my dad, but then another part of me remembers that I'm an adult and I can do what I want with my time, whether or not that's reading novels.

For the first month and a half of 2011 (plus the last couple of 2010), I was fairly busy studying (some of which I did use the Kindle for, while on the bus or train or whatever) for the financial mathematics actuary exam, which I took February 12 (and passed, though I've got another month or so before learning my actual score). That night we had a party here, for my birthday and my roommate's, which was the following week. (My other roommate had her birthday about a month earlier, and no party, so I guess that was included as well. (Does this paragraph have enough parentheses yet?)) It was heartening to see how many of my friends from completely separate social circles nonetheless get along with each other rather well, and are all a bunch of big nerds.

Speaking of being a big nerd, I rewarded myself for finishing the actuary exam by buying a couple of video games, and then when I finished those I watched a bunch of Buffy and Angel with my roommates on Netflix, and then much of this past week was spent on D&D stuff. Not actually playing, mind you (except for last Sunday), but rolling up and equipping and figuring out backstory for a new character, since my last one went evil. (Not as in becoming a jerk, but as in joining up with the lich that my roommate (who's running the game) was planning on having as the big bad guy for the campaign. So my roommate is going to use him as a non-player character and I'm making a new one who'll probably end up fighting the old one at some point.)

Also, last night my awesome friend Jess (who we all call Hanners, so if any of you read Questionable Content that should give you some idea of what she's like) had a salon (in the older sense of the word) at her apartment. Several people got together and had food and drinks and shared various talents with everyone else. I haven't seen the video yet, but there's supposed to be one of me playing the piano here. There were more than a few messy bits, especially in the middle, but seeing as I hadn't played that song for several years, and only got an hour or so to practice on Jess's piano yesterday before people started showing up for the party, I think it went pretty well.

Unfortunately, the first song the last performer played (on the violin) was the Tetris theme. So of course, despite all the other great music she and everyone else played, that's the one that's still stuck in my head this morning...
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I might write a real entry at some point [2010/10/01 (Friday) 10:09 EST]
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Moved [2010/09/04 (Saturday) 06:49 EST]
Moved out of the Hive on Tuesday, into Nade's Walk-In Closet on Wednesday (Nade is what everyone calls Sarah, who is the other person living with me and Will, one of my former Hivemates).

I. Hate. Moving.

This time was made worse by the fact that we used our U-Haul to help two other friends move as well, and were lucky enough to have it be on the hottest day in weeks. The other two friends have first-floor apartments, at least, but ours is on the second, so that was a huge pain (literally). I think, even though it'll cost more, I'm going to pay other people to move all of my stuff next time I have to move.

Next onto the unpacking...

In other news, nothing much to report. Still at the same job, still enjoying all the people there. The most difficult thing about contemplating a different career path is knowing that I definitely won't meet people as interesting as some of the students I know through teaching, and that's a difficult thing to pull myself away from. Still planning to take the next actuary exam in December (I'll get around to registering when we have real internet instead of using Will's phone as a wifi hotspot), since I do know I eventually want to do something else even if the immediate prospect of a job change is unpleasant.

And... that's about it. I kinda feel like any more I'm updating this out of a sense of obligation to updating this, which is why it happens so infrequently. (Okay, so that's how it's been for years now, really.) But I do still read friends' journals, and will probably be back for another post here in a few more months. :-)
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Still Got It [2010/06/05 (Saturday) 17:19 EST]
Just finished the first actuary exam earlier today, and I'm about 90% sure I got every question right (I know I passed already, but won't get the official score report for another 8 weeks or so). So it's good to know I'm still really good at standardized testing.

In other news, I've signed a lease for a place near Davis Square starting in September. While the current situation (with 6 total living here) has been nice, everyone agreed that fewer people would be better, so I'm just going to live with Will (one of my current roommates) and Sarahnade (who currently lives in NH).

There's probably other other news as well, since I haven't posted in here since early April, but I can't think of any of it off the top of my head. I should probably just set up Twitter to go back to updating my LJ once a day, since I post to there from my phone somewhat regularly.
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BARCC Walk this Sunday [2010/04/06 (Tuesday) 11:48 EST]
I know the economy is shitty, but any money you could give for the BARCC fundraising walk this Sunday would still be greatly appreciated.
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I know 5 years is a long time to be resentful... [2010/02/26 (Friday) 10:50 EST]
But seriously, the motherfucking President of the United States of America is giving this year's UMich commencement speech, while we got some guy I'd never heard of who used to work for Xerox...
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OkTrends [2010/02/19 (Friday) 12:07 EST]
While I haven't really used OkCupid for talking with or meeting people in almost two years now, I still really love reading the blog. The latest two entries (one on profile pictures, and one on age) are especially fascinating because they refute some commonly-believed myths about what kinds of pictures you should take and about how women change with age.

In addition to being a free dating site, which makes it better in my opinion right off the bat, it was started and run by the same nerds who brought us Spark.com back in the day. So they occasionally troll through all the mounds and mounds of data they have on dating habits and come out with these statistical analyses based on tens or hundreds of thousands of users. Sure, it's maybe not "scientific" in some sense, but really it's probably better than surveys or whatever, because this is using trends in what people actually do and say, rather than what they say they do and say.

Anyway, that's all for now. Back to work.
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BARCC walk [2010/02/03 (Wednesday) 11:39 EST]
I'm doing the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center's Walk for Change again this year. You can go to my fundraising page to either donate to me or to register for the walk yourself (by clicking the "I want to raise money too" link near the top of the page).
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Books of 2010 [2010/01/06 (Wednesday) 16:16 EST]
Happy New Year!

In keeping with previous years, here's what I'm reading in 2010.
(2007, 2008, and 2009)

1) Terry Pratchett: Carpet People (audio, finished 01-04) One of his few pre-Discworld books, it has apparently been described as "Lord of the Rings on a rug". Which is pretty apt.
2) Terry Pratchett: Strata (audio, finished 01-06) Another pre-Discworld novel set on a flat world (this one planet-sized and quite possibly the inspiration for Discworld itself). As SF rather than fantasy, this one is largely a parody of (and homage to) Niven's Ringworld. Since I'm a huge fan of both Pratchett and Niven (especially the Known Space collection of which Ringworld is a part), I enjoyed this one immensely.
3) Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion (text, finished 01-19) Very good, as I've found all the other Dawkins I've read, and undeserving of most of the religious criticism leveled at it, which as usual seems to come largely from people who missed the point entirely. Seemed to downplay physical and sexual abuse a bit to make the point that religion itself can be a kind of abuse to young children, though, which point I think he could have made much better without trivializing other forms of abuse with a few anecdotes (one his own) of people who were not themselves traumatized by them.
4) Max Brooks: World War Z (text, finished 02-23) Excellent story. I'd heard lots of good things about it from friends already, but it wasn't until my coworkers got it for my birthday that I actually got around to reading a copy. While the zombie genre itself sometimes bothers me with the fact that the zombies are essentially magical, needing no food or water or air or even most of their body parts to survive, I definitely appreciate their creepiness and I also like how world-spanning this book was. Most of the zombie movies folks have made follow one person or small band of people around as they cope with the disaster. This book was rather more interesting, as it covers what happens all over the world as the disease first appears, causes panic, is fought against, and finally beaten back. And once you accept the magical zombie premise, the book is incredibly detailed and well-researched, which I guess makes it fit with the kind of scifi I like: the author gets one major premise to make up, and then the rest of the story should be as realistic as possible around that.
5) Jack London: The Scarlet Plague (audio, finished 03-10) Interesting short story set 60 years after a plague destroys civilization in 2013. London's rather quaint notions about civilization and barbarism were somewhat distracting, and imagining his protagonist in the actual world of the 2010s (instead of how London thought it might be when writing in 1912) made me not really care for him and his racist and classist notions.
6) Richard Jeffries: After London (audio, finished 03-17) Another post-apocalyptic one, this from 1885 and quite a bit better than the last one. Kind of a sudden and unsatisfying ending, though.
7) Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game (audio, finished about 03-23) Helen had this audiobook (and a couple other Ender ones), so I stole them from her to listen to again since it was ages ago that I read them.
8) Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner: Fleet of Worlds (text, finished 04-09) Kind of a prequel to Ringworld, takes place on the Puppeteer Fleet. Pretty good, but lacked something that Niven's earlier Known Space stories had.
9) Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner: Juggler of Worlds (text, finished 04-14) Parallel and a sequel to both Fleet of Worlds and the Beowulf Shaeffer short stories I first read in Crashlander. While it's interesting to see familiar events from a different perspective, having read all those short stories already made some bits of plot rather uninteresting for me because I already knew what was going on.
10) Philip Pullman: The Golden Compass (audio, finished 04-30) Very good, as I knew it would be. Makes me want to see the movie again, since as I recall it seemed fairly faithful to the book, apart from obviously having to leave out parts that would have made it too long.
11) Philip Pullman: The Subtle Knife (audio, finished 05-03) Also quite good, but I feel it either lacked something of the first one or I missed something on account of listening to most of it while doing the 20-mile-long Walk for Hunger and thus not paying enough attention in parts.
12) Philip Pullman: The Amber Spyglass (audio, finished 05-17) The last book of the original trilogy, though now apparently there's a fourth one that I might check out at some point. Very enjoyable, though I couldn't get past the fact that the main characters are like 12, and so my main response to their love for each other was, "You're like 12. You'll get over it."
13) George Stewart: Earth Abides (text, finished 06-02) I read this for the first time back in high school, and wanted to check it out again now that I'm more familiar with other similarly themed books. It was still really excellent, though I think I had a harder time this ...time getting past the fairly undeveloped other characters and outdated gender things and such.
14) Neil Gaiman: American Gods (audio, finished 07-18) Excellent story crafted around the very interesting premise that gods are real and brought to new places by their believers, often to be abandoned there. Kinda made me want to see some tacky roadside attractions, too.
15) Frank Herbert: Dune (audio, finished 08-23) Decided to listen to at least the first few of these again, partly because they're awesome and partly because I'm going to play a very Fremen-like character for a Wheel of Time themed role-playing game soon.
16) Frank Herbert: Dune Messiah (audio, finished 08-30)
17) Frank Herbert: Children of Dune (audio, finished 09-13)
18) Terry Pratchett: Small Gods (text, finished 10-30) I'd skipped this one before because the audio file was messed up and Meaux didn't have her copy handy. (I borrowed it from Sophy's boyfriend Ed after his Halloween party.) Quite wonderful, and I definitely understand why Sophy would be inspired by this one to make her tattoo. It's got some interesting religious commentary, and is pretty stand-alone from the other Discworld books, though I suppose it helps to know something about the ape Librarian of Unseen University to get one small reference.
19) Terry Pratchett: Unseen Academicals (finished 11-07) Also quite good, as is usual for Pratchett. Some described it as feeling like his last real Discworld book, though I didn't get that impression (even though it probably is going to be one of the last, given his aging and Alzheimer's...).
20) Terry Pratchett: I Shall Wear Midnight (finished around 11-14) I was really glad to get one more Tiffany Aching book, since my first introduction to Discworld was Wee Free Men, where she is first introduced.
21) Neal Stephenson: Cryptonomicon (finished 12-11) Though the characters were pretty annoyingly flat at times, the amount of research and humor that went into the overall setting and plot more than made up for it, to make this a quite enjoyable read.
22) Michael Crichton: Pirate Latitudes (finished 12-20) Despite not particularly caring for much of his later sci-fi, this one was pretty good and made me want to take a look at Crichton's other historical fiction (Great Train Robbery and Eaters of the Dead).
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Happy Boxing Day [2009/12/26 (Saturday) 12:21 EST]
Family and presents and everything are nice, but always a bit melancholy as well.

(First saw this picture at Pharyngula, where PZ Myers has a touching post dedicated to his father, who died 16 years ago today.)
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Rape Prevention Tips Guaranteed To Work! [2009/12/14 (Monday) 18:57 EST]
From iblamethepatriarchy, via skeptifem:

1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.

2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.

3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to assault her.

4. If you are in a lift and a woman gets in, don’t assault her. You know what? Don’t even ogle her.

5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not assault her.

6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars.

7. When you lurk in bushes and doorways with criminal intentions, always wear bright clothing, wave a flashlight, or play “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)” by the Raveonettes on a boombox really loud, so women in the vicinity will know where to aim their flamethrowers.

8. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from assaulting women, ask a trusted feminist friend to accompany you when in public.

9. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to assault a woman, you can hand the whistle to your buddy, so s/he can blow it to call for help.

10. Give your buddy a revolver, so that when indifferent passers-by ignore the rape whistle, s/he can pistol-whip you.

Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person; tell her that you expect to be assaulting her later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.

These are 100% guaranteed to work. Its a crazy new approach I have heard about, where people who are actually doing the assaulting are educated about not assaulting others, instead of only educating women to defend themselves.
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Halloween party [2009/11/06 (Friday) 20:06 EST]
More photos are here.

I went as half me and half my evil twin (my sinister half, as it were...)

I'm rather proud of sewing the shirts and pants together successfully, but I'm not sure I'll ever find a reason to wear them again now.
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a guy’s guide to approaching strange women without being maced [2009/10/08 (Thursday) 18:57 EST]
Brilliant article someone recently brought up for discussion on the xkcd forum, so I thought I'd also link to it here.

When you approach me in public, you are Schrödinger’s Rapist. You may or may not be a man who would commit rape. I won’t know for sure unless you start sexually assaulting me. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of guy—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my personal safety.
I'd like to think one could link to this article any time some guy gets pissy about how irrational women keep brushing him off when all he wants is some innocent chitchat, but unfortunately people on the forum have already proved it'll just go over their heads...
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Roman Polanski [2009/10/06 (Tuesday) 16:30 EST]
The list reproduced here is really disheartening. It includes people involved in the film industry who apparently think Roman Polanski's drugging and raping of a 13 year old is merely "a case of morals". To read the wording of the petition, it's as though they think his detention in Switzerland happened because The Man disagrees politically with some art he made. Rather than the reality, which is that he drugged and raped a 13 year old and then essentially fled the country after a plea bargain.

On the other hand, I was glad to read that this list of some of those who think rape should have consequences even if you are a fancy moving picture director includes far more people who I actually know and like. In addition to giving hope that not everyone is horrible, it means it won't be terribly difficult to boycott and otherwise ignore the idiots who signed the first petition.
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Political Science [2009/08/18 (Tuesday) 17:59 EST]
I was in a recent discussion where someone was lumped in with other WASPs as being the sort to always embrace the status quo when it comes to issues of privilege and discrimination and such. Turns out that guy is Native Canadian, and none of W, A-S, or P. It sort of got me to thinking about something I've heard mentioned from time to time on the SGU podcast: You shouldn't base your ethical views on falsifiable scientific claims unless you're planning to change those views in light of further evidence.

It's fine to say that sexist hiring practices are wrong because relevant skills can be assessed directly, and so using sex alone as a proxy for something else like physical strength or intelligence would serve only to reinforce the biases of whoever's doing the hiring. But if you say such hiring is wrong because there are no statistically significant differences between men and women for such-and-such characteristic, then you may have dug yourself into a hole. In general, we probably haven't done enough research into that characteristic for anyone to be able to say for sure, and so you've left yourself open to losing the entire basis of your argument should evidence arise that shows there is in fact a difference.

Relying too much on arguments like that also leads to lots of political objections to basic scientific research. Not ethical objections, mind you. Nothing wrong with saying that perhaps we should take more consideration for the well-being of test subjects and lab animals, for instance. I mean more along the lines of someone on the right objecting to research showing that, say, increased sexual activity in adolescence leads to healthier offspring later in life, or something like that. Or someone on the left objecting to research that shows objectively that newborn boys and girls, absent any social influences, really do differ on average in their levels of aggression or interest in mechanical things or whatever.

Early promiscuity is probably bad for a number of other reasons which outweigh healthy offspring later, and rigidly prescribed gender roles probably cause plenty of serious problems that outweigh any slight benefit of encouraging a small inborn natural tendency. So it should be the promiscuity and prescriptive gender roles themselves that are objected to. Not the research or the researchers involved in discovering more information about the human condition.
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Update [2009/07/14 (Tuesday) 23:03 EST]
Oh, and hey all. Things are going well.

Saw the fireworks again on the 4th with some friends and some of my students, and enjoyed that long weekend which was also the first nice weather we'd had in ages. Then on the 6th we started four weeks of summer schedule at GEOS, which means I don't have to start until 12:30, which has been nice for sleeping in this month, and for staying at a friend's bday party until 3am last Tuesday without worrying that I'd be completely dead at work the following day.

This weekend I went to Newburyport on Saturday for a music festival, and then to Plum Island that night for a small beach fire that ended up getting rained out. Sunday my friend Rebecca came down from NH and we went to see the Tall Ships on their last day in Boston. It worked out well, since she probably wouldn't have bothered driving all the way down just to see them by herself, and I wouldn't have bothered going the single train stop (and shuttle bus ride) from my house to get there if I'd been going alone.

Tonight I did trivia again in Malden with some friends, and our team came in second, which finally qualifies us for the tournament round in another month or so (we've been getting progressively better, but still usually missed the top places by 10 or more points). Could've gotten first if we'd gone with our guts on the last answer, though, instead of chickening out and taking 0 points for no answer instead of risking -5 for a wrong one.

Recently re-signed the lease for this place, which is a nice feeling, since it's the first lease I've signed again since 2004, and is already the place I've lived in longest since leaving my apartment in Ann Arbor. Still have a bit of a travel bug, though. There was some talk among my friends of Morocco in 2010, and I'd kinda like to go to Mexico for their bicentennial in 14 months. But I'd need to save up money for either or both trips to be possible, which isn't something I'm doing very successfully at the moment.

My dad's getting married on the 24th, so I'm going back to Michigan for that, and I invited Melissa, since Heather can't get the time off work and it'd be too short notice for anyone else from Boston. Not that anyone else here would be a better person to invite than her, since she does know my family quite well and was there for me after my mom died and a few times during the following Christmas season and such. While I love my friends here of course, there's definitely something to be said for people I've known and been close to for a decent chunk of my life, rather than just for the past 18 months or so.
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Damn racist nonsense [2009/07/14 (Tuesday) 22:54 EST]
Republican senators sparred with Judge Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday over racial bias, judicial activism and temperament as she presented herself as a reliable follower of precedent rather than a jurist shaped by gender and ethnicity, as some of her past speeches suggested.

I'm really damn angry that she needs to say anything of the kind. Are we to believe that those same Republican senators haven't let every decision they've ever made be influenced by the fact that they are largely a group of privileged straight, white, wealthy, Christian, cisgendered men?

It's fine if their privilege shows through every word they say, but they'll turn around and get pissy as all hell if she ever writes a single judicial opinion that's colored by the fact that she actually might know what the hell she's talking about in a case involving racial minorities or women.

She has to assure him that her "identity wouldn't distort decisions"? The fuck is that?

Kind of like the conservative Protestants who were up in arms about Kennedy being Catholic, as if they hadn't let their own Protestant religious beliefs color the history of American politics from approximately the very beginning.
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"Another post about rape", from Fugitivus [2009/07/02 (Thursday) 17:19 EST]
Sophy posted a link to this, which I think everyone should read.

If women are raised being told by parents, teachers, media, peers, and all surrounding social strata that:

* it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (”mean bitch”)
* it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (”crazy bitch”)
* it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (”stuck-up bitch”)
* it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (”angry bitch”)
* it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (”bitch got daddy issues”)
* it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (”dyke bitch”)
* it is not okay to raise your voice (”shrill bitch”)
* it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (”mean dyke/frigid bitch”)

If we teach women that there are only certain ways they may acceptably behave, we should not be surprised when they behave in those ways.
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Recent twitter updates [2009/06/29 (Monday) 13:02 EST]
Some things I told Twitter that I probably didn't update LJ about:

  • 13:25 Since I was already angry at them, I choose to blame US Airways for Billy Mays's death. #
  • 17:27 There's nothing wrong with personally mourning a celebrity (even (alleged) child molesters...) I'm mostly annoyed by the news saturation. #
Automatically shipped by LoudTwitter
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Something Sophy wrote about George Tiller [2009/06/02 (Tuesday) 23:52 EST]
I wanted to go to the vigil for Dr. Tiller, but fucked up on the time and missed it. So here's what a friend of mine wrote after going:

One of the women there had had one a few years back when she was living in Texas. By the time she could get an appointment she would have been in her 12th week, so he would not do it. She had no one to turn to and she could turn to Dr. Tiller. And he treated her well enough to help make up for the anti-abortion people who harassed her.
Another woman found out in the third trimester her son had abnormalities that meant he would never survive. Then her OBGYN told her he could not do it. She traveled 10 hours to see Dr. Tiller. He let her hold her son, baptize him, take prints of his hands and feet, and say goodbye to him. She was also harassed by anti-abortion terrorists.

Then there was a woman how had her first abortion in 1972, before abortion was legal. It had been the first time she had sex. She had to wait on a street corner at night. Get into a car with 4 large men. Drive with them while blindfolded. Eventually get out and go the the third floor of a building where she was given basically a bent coat hanger and some antibiotics. She had a fever of over 103 for a week, and had to have her nurse roommate get her more antibiotics from her work. When she went to a doctor 6 months later he shamed her and harassed her without telling her if she could ever have children.
I want to make sure no one has to go through that. It still happens in places were abortion is illegal or where doctors are unavailable due to time, space, and money.

He did important work. Work I am not sure anyone else really does (women from NY and MA have been sent to him in Kansas as well). He did it with respect to women.

He actually trusted women (and believed them for once when they said what they needed) and someone killed him for it. I would be willing to die if I could really help people like he did.
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