24 July 2017 @ 12:39 pm
The logic of requiring pedestrians to press a button for the pedestrian crosswalk sign to change, rather than just linking it to the traffic lights.
24 July 2017 @ 11:46 am

Posted by <a rel="author" href="/users/Kat_Rowe/pseuds/Kat_Rowe">Kat_Rowe</a>


Sam thought she was dealing pretty well but, alone in the dark, it's not so easy. Fortunately, a special someone is there to remind her that she's not so alone after all. Post-"Threads", while the gang is on their fishing trip to Jack's cabin. (Previously posted on fanfiction.net).

Words: 2688, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

24 July 2017 @ 11:41 am

Posted by <a rel="author" href="/users/Kat_Rowe/pseuds/Kat_Rowe">Kat_Rowe</a>


"Window of Opportunity" comfort!fic. Jack is nearing the end of his rope after a few hundred repetitions of the day and Sam helps take his mind off of it. (Previously posted on fanfiction.net).

Words: 2629, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

24 July 2017 @ 11:32 am
Saturday was very hot and humid. I did laundry, stumbled home, then stumbled out again to run errands. I ran into a friend (Tom Purdom) in front of a coffee shop so we went inside and got iced drinks and talked about Dunkirk as one does, since we were both planning to see the movie.

I got cash and bought subway tokens and sweated a lot.

Then I met up with C. in late afternoon for the movie Dunkirk, which we saw in IMAX, bass and the sounds of explosions booming from under out seats. I ate popcorn for lunch while watching people get blown up and drown and burn but also get rescued. Sometimes all of the above, in different orders.

This movie was what I call a Spectacle. I liked it best when it was all stark visuals and no dialogue (the dialogue was minimal). The splendid British actors did a great deal with their faces and posture; Tom Hardy as a Spitfire pilot acted almost entirely with his eyes, as the rest of his face was covered in helmet. (Jack Lowden, playing another pilot, was out of his cockpit for more screntime.) The movie was documentary-style, where you don't know the characters' backstory or hopes or dreams (with one exception); you're in the moment throughout, and the moment keeps jumping around, and you can't always keep track of the sequence. I feel I had an experience worth having.

After, being much luckier than those poor people trapped at Dunkirk, we had dinner at a great new tapas place in South Philly called Barcelona. Cue Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe!

24 July 2017 @ 08:29 am
am working on Vividcon plans. we just spent 4 days trying to trap an injured feral cat on our property (we were successful. or rather all the people who did the work were. I was cheerleading and getting sunburned) so we've fallen waaaaay behind.  and today we are off to see a specialist that we've been trying to see for 10 months (he travels doing medical research). and [personal profile] xlorp is in the midst of emergency coverage for 2 co-workers who are out on family leave/vacation. and....

Tags: ,

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I am writing to you as a last resort because my workplace has spiraled beyond dysfunctional and I don’t know what else to do.

I recently started my first full-time job. One of my coworkers, Marley, was assigned to be my mentor and train me on how to navigate the company software, which is very complex, and help me with my projects. Now, from what I understand, Marley does not get along well with our manager, Andi. There is some bad history there from before I started working there, but even I can tell from the snarky tones and general impoliteness that Marley uses to address Andi.

Recently, a new policy was introduced which would change the way we handle our workflow and the priority level of certain projects. Marley took personal offense to this, and some of our coworkers encouraged her to complain to Andi to “stick it to her” and “show her who’s boss.” I missed a day of work because a family member went to the hospital, but when I came back, I learned that Marley had essentially threatened to quit.

I was very shocked and worried, because there were many things I hadn’t been trained on and wouldn’t be able to complete without a mentor. The office environment also became very tense and toxic around this time. For whatever reason, even though Andi sent out an email saying that Marley would be leaving the company, a bunch of people are saying that Andi isn’t really going to fire her or that she “doesn’t have the guts.” Marley also keeps talking to me and working with me as though she has the upper hand and nothing is wrong. She seems really sure that once this is over, there’s going to be some kind of repercussion for Andi. Marley has been here for almost two weeks and there isn’t any official word on when she’s going to be gone.

Half of the office is really involved in the drama; they’re the ones actively taking sides and being really vocal about whether Marley is going to stay or not. The other half of the office is just keeping their heads down and not saying anything; that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks but it’s getting to me and I don’t know why management isn’t doing anything about this. I tried going to my HR rep, but so far the only response is that “the issue is being handled.” I just want to cry because it’s so obviously not and I feel like the office is three steps away from a mutiny.

I come into work feeling like it’s a battlefield. The politics are way over my head and I spend half of my day paralyzed with anxiety. I’m scared to ask questions when I need help because I don’t want to get entangled in one of Marley’s tirades, but there is also a sort of unofficial shaming if anyone looks like they’re taking the manager’s side. I just sit in my seat for 10 minutes planning out how to ask my question and then escape. I can’t eat lunch in the office anymore because I’m scared that Marley will try to talk to me about this. Because I’m the newest employee, everyone seems to think I’m neutral or won’t say anything and keep using me as a sounding board to have these types of conversations with. I’ve been looking for a new job but I’m scared because this is my first full-time job and I haven’t been here for a full year yet.

I just want to be able to do my work without feeling like I’m about to get drafted into a civil war.

Oh my goodness, none of this is your problem. None of it.

Some random pieces of information, and then some advice:

* I don’t know what’s gone on between Marley and Andi, but I can tell you that someone who thinks it’s okay to routinely use “snarky tones and general impoliteness” with her boss is someone with no idea how to handle workplace conflicts and isn’t someone you want to be aligned with. From what you’ve written, Marley is a serious problem, regardless of what Andi’s shortcomings might be.

* Coworkers encouraging Marley to “show Andi who’s boss” are overlooking the highly pertinent detail that Andi is the boss. Marley’s belief that she’ll cause some kind of repercussion for Andi is probably delusional. (Without knowing all the details, I can’t say for sure — but it’s pretty likely that Marley is being naive, which would make sense given what else we’ve seen from her.)

* If Andi has already sent out an email saying that Marley is leaving, Marley is probably leaving and either resigned or has already been told to leave. That could change, of course. If Andi is a weak manager — and it sounds like she is — Marley could try to rescind her resignation and Andi could allow it. That would be a huge mistake on Andi’s side, but there are plenty of bad managers out there.

* If Marley does leave, you will be assigned someone else to train you. If Andi doesn’t realize she needs to do that, you can ask for it to happen. But people leave jobs in the middle of training new staff members all the time, and life goes on. You will be fine.

* You say that when HR told you the issue was being handled, it was obviously not true … but you don’t actually know that. It’s certainly not being handled as swiftly as it should be — they should have shut this all down two weeks ago, if not longer — but that doesn’t mean they’re not handling it at all. Some companies move slowly on this kind of thing, but they do move; it just may take longer than you want it to (and longer than it should).

Okay, now some advice for you:

Most importantly, stop feeling like you have to be involved in this in any way. You don’t have to have any feelings about this other than irritation that it’s impacting your work environment. You don’t have to listen to people’s tirades, and you don’t need to stop asking work questions. If anyone talks to you about what’s going on, these are your new mantras:
* “It’s important to me to stay out of this. Sorry! But I did want to ask you about (work topic X).”
* “I’m way too new to understand any of this, and that’s probably for the best. But can I ask you about (work topic X)?”
* “I’m committed to staying neutral on this one. I’m just too new. So I’m going to bow out of this conversation!”
* “I don’t feel right hearing this, since I’m so new. Can we talk about something else?”

Second, consider talking to Andi and letting her know that the situation is making the environment untenable. She may not have any idea how much Marley is talking about this, and hearing that might give her some additional urgency in acting. I assume you’re worried that if you talk to Andi, you’ll be penalized by coworkers for taking sides, but Andi is your boss. The situation is impacting your ability to get your work done, and she needs to know that. When you talk to her, you can also mention that you’re worried you’ll face repercussions among your coworkers for speaking with her because (a) it’s important for her to know that you (and probably others) feel like that and (b) she needs to know about it in order to ensure it doesn’t actually happen. Now, if she’s a weak manager, she may not be too skillful at (b) — but this is still a reasonable conversation for you to have, and if your coworkers hear about it and don’t like it, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? You’re already miserable there. It makes sense to do the thing that might make things a bit better.

Third, give this a month to play out. A month from now, this may have reached some kind of resolution and things may feel quite different in your office. Of course, it’s also possible that that won’t happen, but right now you’re smack in the middle of it, and it doesn’t make sense to draw any conclusions until you’ve given it some time to play out.

there’s a civil war in my office and I don’t want to take sides was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

this is not in the proper spirit of rumspringa
24 July 2017 @ 10:51 am
The Thor: Ragnarok trailer looks just delightful:

Who knew I'd end up anticipating the third Thor movie over the next Avengers one? But Infinity Wars looks like it will be over-stuffed and unsatisfying on a character level, whereas this looks like quirky fun.

Orphan Black, 5.07, Gag or Throttle )
24 July 2017 @ 10:44 am
This has to be one of the funniest/strangest/stupidest things I've read in a while...and that's saying something.  Someone wants to know if they can take a cup of coffee on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (a roller coaster) in Magic Kingdom.  Just...I've got no words for that.  Sure it's a pretty gentle roller coaster as far as roller coasters go but.....
mr five dollar foot long's sweet caboose
24 July 2017 @ 09:08 am
Hello all! Just letting you know, after a slight delay, matching is going on, and your assignments should be going out sometime today. If you don't have your assignment by midnight tonight, please let me know ASAP!

24 July 2017 @ 09:01 am
I slept last night, but it wasn't great. A big part of that was cramps. Scott's still in bed. I don't know if I woke him when my alarm went off. I got it off in about two seconds, but who knows? That would wake me, but he often doesn't wake for my weekend medication alarms which have a similar duration. Scott came to bed about 4:30. I woke up about then because I really needed the bathroom and was just getting up when he went in there. Which, well, isn't that how it always works?

I managed to use the c-pap all night, though.

I'm a little cranky that, although he stayed up past when it was done drying, he didn't bring up the laundry. I really don't want to face the stairs right now, but that is my only source of clean clothing unless I'm willing to wake Scott.

My month to date word count is 21752. That's the highest for any month so far this year, even if I write nothing else whatsoever. Yesterday, I added about 1300 words to my Captive Audience fic and then realized I may need to make a major alteration in the setting. I'm hoping not, though. Today's writing will mostly be tweaks to the second of my Pod Together stories to try to make the rhythm of certain passages work better for the person doing the podfic.

We were surprised when we went downtown to the library yesterday afternoon-- Apparently Art Fair now includes Sunday. For as long as I can remember, Sunday was tear down and clean up, but one of the employees at the library told me that Sunday's been part of actual Art Fair for a couple of years now.

We stopped by the science and nature center to do some Ingress, and we took back the portals that someone from the other side had captured. We had planned to go into the woods to reinforce the two portals there, but we decided against it because of the risk of ticks. The other portals are all accessible from places that should be much lower risk for ticks (close cropped grass or asphalt). We'll hope no one knocks out those two portals for a while. It can be done from the street because high level bursters have a pretty extensive reach. The portals just can't be captured from there because one has to be much closer in order to place resonators and mods.

I told Scott that we should hope for the other side coming by frequently. He's close to leveling up, and recapturing a portal is worth a fair number of points.
24 July 2017 @ 02:22 pm
In which there's pay off for severa storylines, hooray! And flashbacks.

Who are you? )
Current Location: Bad Wiessee
Current Mood: excited
24 July 2017 @ 08:47 am
The last time I downloaded/watched/screencapped Saving Hope with episode 9 (episode 16 just aired).  I was toying with the idea of downloading 10-16 and starting to play catch up tonight.  But...there's only 2 more episodes to air for the season/series.  So, maybe I should just wait for those two episodes to air and just do it all at once.

In the past I'd done it episode by episode but that changed when I got my new laptop.  When I went to download and install the software I've been using for the downloading, all the security software practically had a stroke and started popping up messages that I'd have to disable stuff, yadda, yadda.  Um...yeah...I'm not going to do that.  I just stuck to using my old laptop to do it but that's a bit of a pain.  Since I'm not using it regularly, it always has something (most often Norton) that has to update RIGHT NOW! when I turn it on which is why I've been putting off downloading the episodes.  I just don't want to deal with that.

So, back to the crux of my problem...do I get the 7 episodes tonight or just wait 2 weeks and get the remaining 9 all at the same time?
24 July 2017 @ 07:48 am
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon reminds us that the 2017-18 school year is coming, and [tumblr.com profile] positivelypt has a post up with links to wishlists for underserved classrooms. You can check out the list, give, and reblog here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] globalsextrendsproject, who are working on an independent research projected aimed at establishing whether there are global trends in stimuli for sexual arousal and the content of sexual fantasies. You can read more and reblog here or fill out the form here. I took a quick breeze through the form and it's primarily short-answer rather than multiple choice, once you get past the demographic stuff.


[tumblr.com profile] stabulous has a post up about Welcome Blanket, a project initiated by the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago and anti-Trump craftivists. They are asking people to send handmade blankets to be exhibited at the Smart and afterwards distributed to refugees and immigrants arriving in the US. The hope is to create 3200 blankets to equal the length of the wall Trump wants to build across the US-Mexico border. You can read more at the link above, and find out how to participate at the official site, which includes activism resources whether you want to actually send in a blanket or not.

News To Know:

[personal profile] brainwane linked to Creative Commons, which is offering grants of up to USD$1000 for small projects ("Salons, campaigns, translations, e-books, printing, collaborations, and more") which grow the global commons. They want help increasing discovery, collaboration, and advocacy towards their mission. You can read more and apply for a grant here.

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] dr-kara's new comic available on ComixOlogy, [Super]Natural Attraction! Kara is well-known to me as a groovy artist who does cool stuff so while I haven't read this yet I wholeheartedly recommend her work. She has a rebloggable post about it here and you can buy and read it here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
24 July 2017 @ 07:56 am
Lois McMaster Bujold says, here:


I am pleased to report that I have finished the first draft of a new Penric & Desdemona novella. (For that peculiar value of "finished" that means, "still dinking till it's pulled from the writer's twitchy hands.")

Title will be "Penric's Fox"

Length, at this moment, is around 37,400 words. It is more-or-less a sequel to "Penric and the Shaman", taking place about eight or nine months after that story.

Final editing and formatting, arranging for cover art to send it out into the world nicely dressed, etc., will take some unknown amount of time and eyeball-endurance, but e-pub will likely happen in August.

My computer file tells me I started typing the opening on March 3rd, but of course there was lead-up to that. It is, in general, hard to tell or remember when a project segues over from "notion" to "planning", although the notion had been with me for some time. Story notions are like a collection of vaguely related objects rattling around in a box; planning starts when some key object that connects them all drops in, and things suddenly get interesting.

Ta, L.
Current Music: Cheshire Moon--Persephone
Current Mood: jubilant
24 July 2017 @ 09:09 pm
look at me! I have feelings too long, spoilery and slanderous towards Nolans for twitter:
westworld s1 )

I'm interested to see where s2 goes!
I do not think after all that I have read Nicholas Stuart Gray's The Apple-Stone (1965); I think I have just read a lot of E. Nesbit, Mary Norton, and Edward Eager, all of whom are obviously in the DNA of a novel about five children—the English narrator and his two sisters plus their Scottish cousins who are known collectively as "the Clans"—who find a strange, ancient, sentient power that brings magic into their lives for about a week and then moves on, leaving mostly memories and just a few things changed for good.

"One touch from me animates the inanimate," boasts the Apple-Stone, the "small, bright, golden ball, about the size of a marble" that assisted in the birth of the universe and gave rise to the myth of the Golden Apples of the Sun; the children find it on the highest bough in the orchard, like a Sappho fragment come to life, and they make enlightening, foolish, dangerous, and kind use of it over the next twelve chapters until it returns to the earth to sleep and restore its power and find another apple tree to bloom from, decades or centuries hence. Most of their adventures have a comic slant, as when they animate the decrepit hearthrug to settle a bet over what kind of animal it came from and never find out because they spend the day having confused their "Lambie" with an actual escaped leopard prowling the moors, or have to play detectives for a lost glove weeping bitterly over being separated from its beloved right hand ("I'm deeply attached to it. I love it"), or create an intelligent, talkative, opera-loving sheep about twice the size of a Great Dane for reasons that make sense at the time. Sometimes the comedy turns spooky, as when they accidentally animate a feather boa and get Quetzalcoatl, who not unreasonably expects a sacrifice for incarnating when called, or an episode with a formerly model rocket triggers an international incident and science fiction, or the narrator discovers an unexpected and unwanted affinity for night flight on a witch's broom. An interlude with an effigy of a Crusader constitutes the kind of history lesson that would fit right into Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill (1906), as some of the children have their romantic illusions punctured and some come away with an interest in astrology and medicinal plants. And the two weirdest, most numinous chapters are the reason I can't be one hundred percent sure that I didn't read this book a long, long time ago: the life and death of the Bonfire Night guy that is partly the sad, passionate ghost of Guy Fawkes and partly a pyromaniac patchwork of the five children whose castoffs and imagination gave it form (as it explains in one of its more lucid moments, "Everyone is a mixture, you know, and I'm more so than most") and the introduction of new magic when the weeping gargoyle off a nearby church turns out to be the stone-trapped form of a medieval demon named "Little Tom," a wild, ragged, not quite human child in tricksterish and forlorn search of a witch to be familiar to. Both of them gave me the same half-echo as Eleanor Farjeon's The Silver Curlew (1953), again without any of the language coming back to me. I might run it by my mother to see if she remembers bringing it home when I was small. On the other hand, it might just be that I know [personal profile] ashlyme and [personal profile] nineweaving.

The Apple-Stone is the second book I've read by Gray and The Seventh Swan (1962) almost doesn't count, since I know I read it in elementary school and all I can remember is that it upset me more than the original fairy tale, which I suspect means I should re-read it. I like this one a lot, non-magical parts included. We learn early on that the parents of the English family are the puppeteers behind the popular TV show Ben and Bet Bun and absolutely none of their children think once of bringing the Buns or the Foxies to life because they find the whole thing desperately embarrassing. (The Clans' parents are rocket scientists and the narrator envies them deeply. "We're fond of our Mum and Dad, and hope they may grow out of it in time.") The children as a group are a believable, likeable mix of traits and alliances, differentiated well beyond obvious tags like Jo's academic crazes or Nigel's artistic talent or Douglas' belligerence or Jemima's imperiousness or Jeremy's daydreaming. They fight almost constantly with one another—the Clans especially, being composed of one Campbell and one Macdonald, are engaged in the kind of dramatic ongoing feud that is half performance art and half really blowing off steam—but close ranks immediately against outsiders, even supernatural ones:

"But I must tell you straight, gentles, that I can't do much of the true Black Art," said the gargoyle. "I'm not one of the great ones. I was never aught but a very little 'un. Horrid tricks I can manage," it added, boastfully, "like makin' folks squint, or muddling their minds, or twisting their tongues so that they stammers and stutters—"

"I c-can do that without your help!" snapped Nigel, going red.

"And I'm muddleheaded enough for everyone," I said, quickly.

"No, you're not!" said Jo, fiercely. "And Nigel only stutters when he's away from his home." Then she turned on the gargoyle. "You'll do no horrid tricks, do you hear? We're not sorcerers. We brought you here to help you."

The creature was still changing during all of this . . . Its hair was long and black, and tangled. Its ears were still pointed, though not as huge and batlike as before. It gave us a scornful grin, and said, "Many sorcerers don't care to admit to it."

If you have not read this novel, you can probably tell by now if you're going to like it. The Nesbit it reminds me of most is The Enchanted Castle (1907), but it feels like itself and it feels like its own time, which is equally important. I am actively sad that the near-fine UK first edition I saw at Readercon cost sticker shock—the library copy I just finished reading is the American first edition and the illustrations really didn't work for me. (I'm sorry, Charles Keeping! Your work for Alan Garner, Mollie Hunter, and Rosemary Sutcliff was great!) Maybe sometime I'll get lucky at the Strand. In any case, the text is what matters most and that I recommend. It is good at the strangeness of things that are not human and it never risks making even the cute ones twee. It's good at children's priorities and the ways that not being an adult doesn't mean not seeing the world. I didn't quote much of a descriptive passage, but I like its language. Anyone with other favorite novels by Nicholas Stuart Gray, please let me know.
Current Music: Against Me!, "All This (And More)"
Arthur D. Hlavaty
24 July 2017 @ 05:58 am
Nine toys my generation* survived.
*Well, most of us, anyway.

Thanx to File 770