My long-delayed trip

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:12 am
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Two years ago, I meant to go to Japan in November. And then I had the most horrible two years of my entire life, and the trip was shelved.

I'm going to Japan in November! I'll be there for two weeks, divided between Tokyo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka. The last is a city further south than I've been before, with some very pretty day trips.

I'm going to use AirBnb, which I also haven't used before, but it looks pretty great. I have two lovely apartments all to myself for cheaper than a hotel room would be, and one room in a house with a lady who cooks breakfast, has a friendly toy poodle named Piccolo, and says understatedly, "I am a former hotelier who worked in the five star hotel. I think I can assist you well during your stay."

Any of you done anything fun in Japan?

Our worst meal in Japan, 2015

Oct. 19th, 2017 05:33 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Posted by Stephanie from Glamorous in Retrospect | http://wp.me/p5ldry-7l
(Finishing up a few remaining posts before we start our next trip.)

On my first visit to Japan, with a friend, we had the best meal of the trip and the worst meal of the trip within 24 hours of each other. We'd gone to Koya-san, the temple complex, and stayed in a temple for two nights and




Categories: #Japantrip2014-2015

Texas Gothic...

Oct. 18th, 2017 06:01 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
...that liminal time that happens every Wednesday at 1PM when they test the
tornado sirens.

Cooking class in Kyoto, January 2015

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:01 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Posted by Toby from Glamorous in Retrospect | http://wp.me/p5ldry-6A

(Resurrecting a post that’s been sitting in the Drafts folder for almost 2 years now, and testing a new crossposting plugin at the same time.)


We are not social people. Well, okay, we’re selectively social. We have our groups of friends that we see now and then, but we don’t generally seek out new acquaintances. This will become important in a bit.


But we do like to cook. When looking for things to do on this trip, Stephanie found this cooking class that covers several Japanese dishes, and includes a main dish of actual Kobe beef. We figured, “Sounds cool!” and signed up.


Read more... )

A time to pull away the football

Oct. 15th, 2017 09:52 am
rydra_wong: Peanuts. Lucy has just pulled away the football and Charlie Brown has crashed onto his back. "And a time to pull away the football," she says. (football -- time)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
So [personal profile] rachelmanija is trying to start a campaign to pull the nuclear football away from Trump's grip.

I Google, and found Charlie Brown's Greatest Misses: Every 'Peanuts' Football Gag Comic. Some of the panels seemed ... strangely apposite.

Free to take, use, modify, do what you will. Pull the football, save the world.

Duma Key, by Stephen King

Oct. 14th, 2017 11:39 am
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Of all the new-to-me books by Stephen King that I’ve read in the last year, this and the middle Dark Tower books are the ones I’ve re-read the most. I’ve re-read Duma Key three times in the last two years, and I can tell it’s a book I’ll keep coming back to. Here’s the first page:

How to draw a picture


Start with a blank surface. It doesn't have to be paper or canvas, but I feel it should be white. We call it white because we need a word, but its true name is nothing. Black is the absence of light, but white is the absence of memory, the color of can't remember.

How do we remember to remember? That's a question I've asked myself often since my time on Duma Key, often in the small hours of the morning, looking up into the absence of light, remembering absent friends. Sometimes in those little hours I think about the horizon. You have to establish the horizon. You have to mark the white. A simple enough act, you might say, but any act that re-makes the world is heroic. Or so I’ve come to believe.

Imagine a little girl, hardly more than a baby. She fell from a carriage almost ninety years ago, struck her head on a stone, and forgot everything. Not just her name; everything! And then one day she recalled just enough to pick up a pencil and make that first hesitant mark across the white. A horizon-line, sure. But also a slot for blackness to pour through.

Still, imagine that small hand lifting the pencil ... hesitating ... and then marking the white. Imagine the courage of that first effort to re-establish the world by picturing it. I will always love that little girl, in spite of all she has cost me. I must. I have no choice. Pictures are magic, as you know.


On the one hand, this is my favorite prose passage in the book. On the other hand, the entire book has that same atmosphere and themes: the magic of art, the bleakness of loss, the terror of opening a door into darkness, human empathy and connections, and, always, how making a mark on paper is both simple and difficult, the dividing line between nothing and everything.

Unusually for Stephen King, Duma Key is set in on the Florida coast – an incredibly vivid and atmospheric Florida, which becomes enough of a character in its own right to make the book a very satisfying sea-soaked, sunset-lit Gothic.

I am pleased to say that this is one of the least gross King books I’ve read, bar a rotting ghost or two. It’s also one of the scariest, in a very classic “terrify by keeping the scary stuff mostly off-page” manner. The Big Bad is never quite seen directly, and is one of King’s creepiest and most mythically archetypal figures.

It’s also one of King’s most heartbreaking books. Almost all the characters are really likable, and if not likable, than still very human. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon opens with, The world had teeth and it could bite you with them any time it wanted. Duma Key is about the beauty and magic and redemption of the world, but also about the teeth.

It begins with a wealthy self-made man, Edgar Freemantle, getting into an absolutely horrific accident while visiting one of his job sites. He loses an arm and gets some brain damage; he’s barely out of the hospital before his marriage has ended, his life as he knew it has ended, and he’s on the brink of suicide.

After some talks with his psychiatrist, he ends up taking up art, which he’d enjoyed as a boy but never pursued, and moving to a cabin in the Florida Keys. There he meets a chatty guy, Wireman, who’s the caretaker for Elizabeth, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s – both of whom have pasts which slowly, heartbreakingly unfold over the course of the book. Edgar finds that painting is his new passion and genuine talent… but his paintings are odd. Eerie. And they can change things…

The first half of the book follows Edgar as he recovers from his accidents, explores his new talent and gains critical and commercial success, and loses some old friends and gains some new ones. The emotional and physical recovery from the accident and its fallout (which doesn't mean he'll ever be the same as he was before) was incredibly well-done and vivid. I don't know if it was technically correct, but it felt very believable.

In classic Gothic fashion, there’s creepy stuff going on simultaneously, but it’s comparatively subtle. I found this part of the book hugely enjoyable even though tons of scenes are just Edgar painting or eating sandwiches and shooting the breeze with Wireman. On the one hand, it probably could have been shorter. On the other hand, I could have happily gone on reading just that part forever.

And then the creepy stuff gets less subtle. A lot less subtle.

This has an unusual story arc. I’m putting that and other huge spoilers behind a cut, but I’ll also mention that even for King, the book has some very tragic aspects— ones which he’s explored before, but there’s one I’ll rot13.com (feed into the site to reveal) because it’s a specific thing that people may want to avoid. Gur cebgntbavfg’f qnhtugre vf xvyyrq. Fur’f na nqhyg ohg n lbhat bar (n pbyyrtr fghqrag) naq irel yvxnoyr, naq vg’f gur ovttrfg bs frireny thg-chapurf va gur fgbel. Nyfb, n qbt vf uvg ol n pne naq qvrf.

If that’s not a dealbreaker, I suggest not reading the rest of the spoilers because even though if I’d sat down and tried to figure out where the story was going, I probably could have, the experience of reading it feels unpredictable; you can guess the outlines but a lot of the details are unexpected.

Read more... )

Also, have some brighter things

Oct. 13th, 2017 03:43 pm
rachelmanija: (Firefly: Shiny Kaylee)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Femslash Exchange 2017 is open! The original fiction stories look especially tempting; also, there's Jane Eyre/Helen Burns. Off to read my gift story (resistance fighter/glamorous '40s singer) now!

Also, have two cats hugging:

Signal boost

Oct. 13th, 2017 03:31 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Pull The Football - Save the World by [personal profile] rachelmanija.

Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.

Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.

Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.

But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!

Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. Passing those bills may literally save the world.


See link for further details. Please signal-boost if you are so inclined.

#PullTheFootball

Oct. 13th, 2017 09:17 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
I've mentioned the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act before. This is the bill that would prevent the US President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war.

But there have been some recent news stories that make it particularly clear why this is important:

NYT: Mr. Trump Alone Can Order a Nuclear Strike. Congress Can Change That.

RawStory: GOP official imagines Kelly and Mattis discussed tackling Trump in the event he ‘lunges for the nuclear football’: report

TPM: Houston, We Have a Problem. LA, Chicago, STL, ATL, NYC, You Guys Too

[personal profile] rachelmanija has a post with everything: explanation, who to contact, scripts, a hashtag and an aspiration to go viral:

[personal profile] rachelmanija: Pull The Football - Save the World

Look, I grew up in the late '70s and '80s and I was a very anxious child who (like so many) read Raymond Briggs' When The Wind Blows way too early because a lot of adults didn't realize it wasn't a children's book, and also a book on how to prepare for all possible disasters (nuclear war included) which I found in my grandmother's house because anxiety is severely over-determined in my family. I still remember about building a lean-to from doors and whitewashing your windows, okay?

(And yes, I know that the UK is unlikely to be a direct target unless things spread and more countries get pulled in, whereas the South Koreans are absolutely fucked, but I can't even start getting into that kind of calculation before my brain shorts out because it's horrific to even be at the point of thinking about that.)

I am not interested in panicking or freaking out because I know that I can't live at that pitch of terror, and I have to secure the blast doors on my brain and not think about certain shit.

But if we do what we can do, we might be able to make the world substantially safer on this one front.

If you're in the US, contact your representatives and signal-boost on social media. If you're not in the US (like me), signal-boost for those who are. Take what action you can, then return to going lalalalait'llneverhappen because that's how we get through our fucking days, okay?

Let's give this one a shot, and may Stanislav Petrov's spirit watch over and bless us.

Pull The Football - Save the World

Oct. 13th, 2017 11:57 am
rachelmanija: (I wrote my own deliverance)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.

Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.

Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.

But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!

Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) Passing those bills may literally save the world.

How to save the world:

1. Contact your representatives in Congress. Ask them to co-sponsor the bill NOW, before it's too late.

2. Contact EVERYONE in Congress who might want to prevent a nuclear war. Usually people only speak to their own representatives. But with the fate of the entire world is at stake, it's worth contacting everyone who might listen.

3. Promote the Pull The Football campaign on social media. Trump isn't the only one who can use Twitter. Get on it and start tweeting #PullTheFootball.

Share this post on Facebook or Dreamwidth. Put up your own post on whatever social media you use. Ask your friends in person. If you know anyone in the media, contact them to get the word out. If you're not American, you can help by publicizing the campaign on social media that Americans follow.

How do I contact my representatives?

1. Resistbot is a free service that will fax, call, or write your representatives for you. Just text the word "resist" to 50409 to begin.

2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the representative of your choice.

I've contacted everyone. What now?

Contact them again. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. One water drop can be brushed away. Many water drops make a flood. Call, fax, or write as often as possible. Set aside 15 minutes every day to make as many calls or faxes as you can in that time. Relentlessness works - it's why the NRA is so successful. If they can do it, we can do it.

What do I say?

Page down for a sample script. Or speak or write in your own words.

Democrats to contact:

Every Democrat not currently sponsoring one of the bills. Thank them for their courage and service to the nation, and ask them to act now to save the world.

Thank the Democrats currently sponsoring the bills. There are 57 in the House and 9 in the Senate. Especially, thank Congressman Ted Lieu (sponsor of the House bill) and Sen. Edward Markey (sponsor of the Senate bill). Encourage them to step up their efforts to make it pass.

Republicans to contact:

The Republicans listed below are the most prominent who have voiced concerns about Trump. This is not an exhaustive list. There are more Republicans who might be receptive. For instance, all the House Republicans who just voted for more aid for Puerto Rico, and all Republicans who are retiring from their seats and so not worried about getting re-elected.

Sen. Bob Corker (202) 224-3344) warned us that Trump is setting the nation on a path to World War III. If you only contact one Republican representative, contact him. Thank him for his courage and urge him to follow through on his convictions.

Rep. Walter Jones (202) 225-3415 is the only Republican to support the bill. Thank him for his courage and urge him to get his colleagues onboard.

Other Republican senators to prioritize contacting: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Marco Rubio, and Bob Sasse.

Sample Script

Hello, my name is [your name.] I'm calling to ask Representative/Senator [their name] to co-sponsor the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.)

I believe Republican Senator Bob Corker when he says we're on the brink of World War Three. No one benefits from a nuclear war. But we can stop it if we choose to. This may be the most important action Representative/Senator [their name] will take in their entire life. It may literally save the world. I urge them to co-sponsor the bill restricting first use of nuclear weapons. Thank you.

Thank you for reading this far! Please share the post before you go.

A feed!

Oct. 13th, 2017 11:13 am
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
[personal profile] estara created a DW feed from the Wordpress RSS feed of the travel blog, so if you don't want to follow us over there, via email, or via Twitter or Facebook, you can subscribe to the feed. Note: I won't see any comments posted there (I could set up an alert, but I'd have to manually subscribe to each and every post, and that's just not happening), so you'll have to post any comments you have over on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

https://telophasetravel-feed.dreamwidth.org/

Improved icon

Oct. 13th, 2017 01:34 pm
rydra_wong: Sign with missing letters, reading "BUI DING A C NTRY THA ORKS OR RYON". (orks)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
(After I saw a screencap of the final version, courtesy of Reuters.)

Nie wieder

Oct. 13th, 2017 10:16 am
rydra_wong: the illuminated Sarajevo haggadah (sarajevo haggadah)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
I know we're all up to our eyeballs dealing with the clusterfucks in our respective countries (and the whole "maybe imminent nuclear war" thing), but this is also happening:

NYT: In Grim Camps, Rohingya Suffer on ‘Scale That We Couldn’t Imagine’

NYT: Rohingya Recount Atrocities: ‘They Threw My Baby Into a Fire’

Content notes for gang-rape, massacre, and all the things predictably involved in what the UN rights chief calls a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

Some analysis:

Washington Post: Why Aung San Suu Kyi isn’t protecting the Rohingya in Burma

I don't know what people in other countries can do, but here are reputable and reliable organizations raising money to help the more than half a million refugees who've fled already:

ActionAid: Emergency appeal for people fleeing Myanmar

Oxfam Emergency Appeal: Rohingya

I'm sure there are other groups on the ground (please comment with links if you know); these are just two I know are solid.

Amnesty have a petition and are trying to get lobbying going on Twitter:

Rohingya: the deadly situation & what to do about it

Various MPs have sent a letter to our shithead Foreign Secretary, so you can see if yours is a signatory and thank them if they are, lobby them if they're not:

Anne Coffey MP: Letter to Foreign Secretary on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

Please add links and suggestions if you've got them..

Crossposting woes

Oct. 12th, 2017 02:05 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Looks like I can't find any services or plugins that crosspost from Wordpress to Dreamwidth right now as my old standby plugin no longer works, and the only other plugin I can find also doesn't work.

Which means that if you want to follow Toby and I on our trip to Europe coming up in a few weeks, you're going to have to use one of these, unless I find something else:

http://travel.mushtee.com
http://www.facebook.com/sfolse14
http://www.twitter.com/telophase
http://www.twitter.com/myrialux

If you'd rather have notifications sent to your inbox, you can sign up using the form in the sidebar of the travel.mushtee.com blog and it'll send you an email every time either of us posts something there.

Anyway, given how little traffic happens here nowadays, I suspect not that many people will be missing it. :)
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
We may be in the gettin’ fucked business here soon.

Blooooaatfliiiies!! Yeah! 61 XP? Seriously? I’ll take it. More than I
expected.

(Picks up gumdrops) I don’t know why I picked up gumdrops. Have some
gumdrops, Boone. (Drops them)

(Shoots a character named Jessup) Jessup is jes’ down! Oh, I can steal
their pencil.

(no subject)

Oct. 7th, 2017 06:54 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Dear people posting your amateur attempts at travel documentary videos on YouTube,

Perhaps you'd get a lot more views if you actually had more video of the beautiful location you're in instead of video of yourself talking about the beautiful place you're in.

Especially do not put up lots of video of your feet walking on a road or staircase or whatnot. Nobody fucking cares.

No love,
[personal profile] telophase, who is looking up videos of Italy and wants to see Italy and not your face

(Note: I'm not referring to people posting their vacation travel videos.I don't care what choices you make for that. I'm talking about people attempting to monetize their channels by posting travel videos about the places they're visiting, a la travel shows on TV.)