Well, I wasn't expecting that!

Jul. 25th, 2017 04:49 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I just won a free one-year subscription to a magazine put out by Cricket! We already get Cricket, so I went with Muse. Fingers crossed that the girls like it.

Family D&D

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:37 am
clawfoot: (geeky)
[personal profile] clawfoot
So! Maize and I went to my sisters' house over the weekend. We arrived on Friday night, around 9pm. We sat and socialized until about 11pm. Then we all made characters.

The process is always slow for beginners, but I knew that dumping all the rules on them at once would just make their heads spin and their eyes glaze over, so I just gave them the bare minimum they needed to make key decisions and we were off.

My sister-in-law (SiL), created an agender Forest Gnome druid named Fungi. They're a nervous talker, form strong friendships, and are obsessed with gardening. They have the background Outlander, and are struggling with the loss of their forest home (destroyed by a wild fire). They have a bad memory and can have a bad temper.

My sister created a male high elf ranger named Dark Cloud. He is an ex-soldier who is always calm, judges people on their actions rather than their words, and loves a good insult, even if it's directed at him. He has a weakness for drink and a "tell" when he lies. He is all about honourable service, although his chaotic good alignment makes it difficult to follow orders that don't adhere to his personal code (see: ex-soldier).

Maize made a male human cleric of Pelor named Chet who has lived in the temple most of his life (background: Acolyte). He values kindness and charity, trusts people way too easily, gets drunk on very little alcohol, and loves to sing (badly).

I made a male half-orc fighter named Sledge who is trying to redeem himself. He is an ex-smuggler who made a mistake and got someone he loved killed. He doubts his judgement a lot and so prefers to follow rather than lead, and he's rash and doesn't follow through with plans too well (dump stat: Wisdom).

Then we went to bed (around 2am).

The next day, after taking the dogs out and having a delicious breakfast, we played! We started around 11am, I think. I had an adventure all ready to go, and we delved in without too much ado.

We played for about twelve hours, with a couple breaks. We broke for an hour around 3pm because my sister had to run out to pick up an order they'd put in at a local butcher, and we took the opportunity to run the dogs again. And we broke again around 6:30pm for a quick dinner. But we were back at it soon after.

Memorable moments:

  • Chet getting drunk about 0.5 seconds into the actual game. I guess that's what I get for starting the game in a tavern when one of the characters is a serious lightweight.


  • Negotiating with a kobold queen who has offered one of her subjects (Meebo) as a guide:
    Fungi: "Is there any further help you can offer?"
    Kobold Queen: "I have offered you Meebo."
    Dark Cloud: "Can you offer anything useful?"


  • Party: walks into a room with a white dragon wyrmling in it. "Let's talk!"
    Wyrmling: *BREATHES COLD*
    Half of Party: *reduced to -4 hp*
    Other Half: *heals unconscious party members*
    Entire Party: *FLEES*


  • Once everyone got healed, Chet successfully negotiated safe passage through the room with the dragon wyrmling mostly through interpretive dance. I am not kidding. I cannot even explain it. It was hilarious and awesome and EPIC.


  • Upon hearing that a bugbear foe was named "Balsag," immediately and permanently referring to him as "Ballsac" instead.


Fun times!

I was right when I suspected that my sister really wasn't all that interested in the game, and that she was going along with it mostly to please her wife, but she admitted on Sunday morning that she did find it a lot of fun and would be interested in playing again. I knew she wasn't into it at first (mostly because I know her pretty well, but also because a GM can always just TELL when a player isn't fully engaged), but I could also tell that she was drawn in pretty quickly. It wasn't long before she turned into an active participant, cracking jokes and coming up with ideas along with everyone else. I am very pleased about that. I'm not claiming credit -- I'm just so pleased she had fun and it wasn't a 12-hour slog for her.

So I would call the weekend a success!

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 03:10 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
New type of soft, growing robot created

On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen

The 19th-Century Lithuanians Who Smuggled Books to Save Their Language

When Young Chinese Ask, ‘What’s Your Sign?’ They Don’t Mean Dragon or Rat

How Checkers Was Solved

'Super Producer' Donates Gallons of Her Breast Milk to Feed Other People's Kids

Balls Out: The Weird Story of the Great Truck Nuts War

The Lonely Lives of Dolphin Lice

Lemon juice has long come in containers shaped like lemons.

When Girls Studied Planets and the Skies Had No Limits

A Search for the Flavor of a Beloved Childhood Medicine

North Dakota’s Norway Prison Experiment

What's It Really Like To Work In A Prison Goat Milk Farm? We Asked Inmates (The issue isn't the work, it's the pay. Pay them actual minimum wage. If you don't want them to use that money, require them to save most of it for when they are released. Even if you don't want to pay them, it seems obvious that not doing so drives down everybody else's wages.)

Cooling the tube – Engineering heat out of the Underground

The Kitten Rental Program is Saving Lives (It's all in the marketing ♥)

When New York City Rioted Over Hamlet Being Too British

Sean Spicer stole a mini-fridge from White House staffers (One can only hope they are now able to reclaim it.)

In South Sudan, a child soldier long thought dead comes back

Schumer, Gillibrand Co-Sponsor Senate Bill That Would Make Boycotting Israel A Felony (Oh, ffs. You can have a perfectly rational reason for criticizing specific policies taken by the Israeli government without hating or even disliking: Jews, Israelis, and/or the modern nation-state of Israel. And I voted for these people! Oh, uh... don't read the comments. Sheesh.)

Israel's struggle to integrate ultra-Orthodox and Arabs raises economic fears

Disabled and disdained: In rural America, some towns are divided between those who work and those who don’t

For Ethiopia’s Underemployed Youth, Life Can Center on a Leaf

How smugglers use trucks with sometimes deadly results

Protecting our children from climate change might take more than just cutting emissions

I have always been a picker

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:09 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I used to pick at my scabs until they bled, and then pick at them again once they healed up. I used to pick at peeling paint - I've mostly stopped that habit. But what I really like to do, really really, is get the peeling bark on trees that exfoliate like that. I've been known to cross the street and then stop for five minutes at a time to get at the London Plane trees on my block.

If I think about it much, when I think about it, I generally would attribute this sort of thing to being autistic. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of people who aren't autistic who do this too, but probably not many who go out of their way to do it for fun. I could be wrong here, of course.

Which is where this gets interesting. I went out to bring my mother her coffee, and before I went in I spent a few minutes with our crape myrtle. And my mother said I was just like her mother.

My mother has a very complicated relationship with me and autism. On the one hand, she swears she knew when I was a small infant. On the other hand, she is eager to downplay any signs of autism that I might ever bring up - especially if they're traits shared with anybody in the family other than her father, who really was undeniably autistic. Either she denies that the traits exist, or she denies that they're quite strong, or she denies that they have anything to do with autism whatsoever. (There are some things she can't do this to, like the topographical agnosia, but otherwise she gives it the good ol' college try!)

So for her to criticize what I'm pretty sure is an autistic trait, and attribute it to her mother instead of her father - well, I could've used this as a segue into my ongoing attempts to speak with her on the subject of the broader autistic phenotype, assortative mating, and our family. But given recent events, I decided instead to talk about exfoliating bark and how I'm sure the reduction of dead bark will decrease the risk of a forest fire in our backyard.

I have rehomed the kittens

Jul. 23rd, 2017 07:29 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
It was a little abrupt, but with all this that's going on I simply couldn't wait any longer. I'm just happy I didn't have to leave them at a shelter. I really think individual care is best for them right now - and that was what they weren't getting from me recently. (Also, boy, those kittens ate a lot, and produced a lot of poop as well! Two small kittens, and they were going through three or four cans of cat food today! The larger size, too, not the mini size.)

They went to a vet before going to their new foster home, and according to the update I got they are in comparatively great health - no FIV, no feline leukemia, and mostly recovered from earlier infection. Unfortunately, the one eye will not improve much from how it is now (there seems to have been some trauma, not just an infection), but the vet said it shouldn't affect her too much either. That's all we can hope for, and not that surprising.

Oh, hey.

Jul. 22nd, 2017 03:28 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Turns out he got captured in the Bronx. Because of course he did! Why the fuck would he hang around Staten Island at all, much less right where he already was? Once he was already escaped, he must've kept running. I know that when I went into the city, there wasn't anybody watching the boat. Why not? Because all the cops in the city and then some were corralled in a 750 foot stretch of Stapleton!

And to top it, the charge is "escaping from custody and possessing a controlled substance and weapon" which is bad, yes, but not bad enough to justify my having to wade through a swamp of cops just to walk the dogs - much less the police breaking into my house, etc.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Sean Spicer has finally grown a backbone.

When asked how he's feeling, he said: "How do I look like I'm feeling? Relieved."

LOL, I bet!

Sanders read a statement from Trump at the press briefing this afternoon.

"I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings," Trump said in the statement.


Dear god, it's like an Onion article, but more so. But listen, Trump, you wanna see great ratings? Just wait until Spicer publishes his salacious tell-all. Bestseller. (He better have a salacious tell-all in the works.)

I'm just disappointed that he made his decision first and then went on the air. I really was hoping to see him give up on national TV. Sigh.

Moonpie has been extra snuggly today.

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:58 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
No wonder! Yesterday must have been scary, with strangers tromping around in her house and her own people weren't there!

And today the kittens have started using the litterbox. They've also stopped avoiding the door, which means I had to chase down Kid Blink and return her to her room. But she's definitely getting more used to humans - catching her was trivially easy.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
And she is back home. It's unfortunate that she missed another day of school due to all this, but at least it doesn't look like there's much risk of foster care. I don't think that'd help her education much.

Her dad has been caught. It must've happened in the morning, because as recently as late last night, when Michele dropped me off, there were cops peering in the car windows.

Conversation from the hospital:

Me: Oh, hey, Mommy, did you speak to your brother yet?
Mom: Yeah, I called him last week.
Me: Okay, but do you think you should call him soon?
Mom: I was going to call him Saturday. That's his birthday.
Me: ...
Michele: Oh, wonderful! "Hi, happy birthday, and by the way...!"
Mom: Oh, it's a minor stroke!
Michele: "Good news, bro, I had a stroke of luck!"

So my mother had a small stroke.

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:34 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
She's talking just fine (which is great, she's a real chatterbox) and even though she has some weakness on one side, it's already improving.

And while we were gone dealing with this, the cops broke into our house to search for our escaped neighbor. Which is ridiculous - they didn't have a warrant, and they certainly didn't have probable cause, and they definitely did not have our consent to a search.

I must say, they're really pulling out all the stops here. The cops, the state troopers, a joint NY/NJ task force, a helicopter... all this for some dude who ran out of his house, handcuffed, in his undies. It's either overkill, or they're hiding something big.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
They were already a bit more semi than feral, and now they've been upgraded! Nellie is Sociable, and Kid Blink is Friendly But Shy. It is crucially important that we don't fall into the trap of giving Nellie more attention just because she is friendlier.

***********


Found: A Letter to the Future From 1995

Your car has just been crushed by hagfish: Frequently Asked Questions

More Than Bread: Sourdough As a Window Into The Microbiome

A Window Into Windex

How Cellophane Changed the Way We Shop for Food

Scientists marvel at creatures' 'precise' body clock

Hyenas spark admiration, not fear, in Ethiopia's Harar city

Marrying Later, Staying Single Longer (Nifty animated graphs!)

The Power of Inclusive Sex Education

Tech giant releasing 20 million mosquitoes in Fresno; that's a good thing, really

Tribes commit to uphold Paris climate agreement

Under siege by liberals: the town where everyone owns a gun

The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates

Swiss glacier yields bodies of couple missing for 75 years

The Prisoner Who Painted Dachau’s Horrors (Some of the paintings are reproduced in the article.)

Puerto Rico economic crisis hits island's only zoo

The Summer of Misreading Thucydides

'Inappropriate' and 'Insulting.' Most Americans Disapprove of Trump's Twitter Use

More hospital closings in rural America add risk for pregnant women

Republican attempts to replace Obamacare fail

Separatists proclaim a new state to replace Ukraine

A video of a woman in a skirt sparks outrage in Saudi Arabia

Australians see woman's shooting by police as US nightmare

Children of the Opioid Epidemic Are Flooding Foster Homes. America Is Turning a Blind Eye.

'It's raining needles': Drug crisis creates pollution threat

UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials

Gotta clean the kitten room tomorrow.

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:10 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I'll have to do it with them there, which isn't ideal, but what can you do?

(And they progress so rapidly! They no longer panic when I stand up, but just kinda look at me.)

***********************


City birds use cigarette butts to ward off ticks

Artificial Intelligence Learns to Walk

Southern-style barbecue is spreading around the world, turning weekend grillers into would-be pitmasters. Meet a real baron of barbecue – ‘Big Moe.’

Unsucking the Classics

10 Coolest Ice Cream Traditions

Jerry Foster: King of the Wild Blue Sky

A Refugee Family Arrives in Arkansas, Before the Door Shuts

Maduro foes: Over 7 million vote in Venezuelan referendum

6 Terrifying Powers You Didn't Know The Government Had

Despite low approval rating and controversies, Trump pushes forward

Trump Cuts Over $200 Million from Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs

Sessions Argues ‘Sanctuary’ Cities Breed Crime By Citing Study That Says They Don’t

As US hits 50,000 cap, refugees must prove they have American connections

Amid disputes, Indonesia renames part of South China Sea

200 Environmentalists Were Murdered Last Year

A Tide of Opioid-Dependent Newborns Forces Doctors to Rethink Treatment (The Atlantic asks the same question I had: Where was all this rethinking and non-judgmental reporting when these "opioid-dependent newborns" were mostly black?)

My Visit With One of the Forgotten Prisoners of Guantánamo

The unwanted: Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

In shadow of crackdown, Turkey commemorates failed coup

Turkey’s Erdogan turned a failed coup into his path to greater power

Year after coup, Turkey's opposition on the march. But to where?

Here are some of the toughest battles still to be fought against ISIS

Vaccine deployment for cholera suspended in Yemen

In St. Louis, America's nuclear history creeps into the present, leaching into streams and bodies.

Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
And on the way I sat in the same car as one of my sister's friends, which was fun. She texted Jenn that there was a woman there who looked just like me, and Jenn texted me that she was 95% sure I was sitting opposite Melissa. And so I was! So I showed off J's awesome backpack, because it has a hood and a cape and is just the coolest backpack ever.

And then I picked up my CSA and headed home, and by the time I reached the boat I realized... I had actually managed to not eat anything all day. It was really hot! I wasn't hungry! But that won't do, and I was starting to get cranky, so I took my remaining $4, borrowed $3 from the boys' mom, and bought myself some food from Wendy's.

This is where the older boy spoke up: I like Wendy's food. They're my second favorite, after Burger King. I don't like McDonald's at all.
Me: Why not?
Kid: Because it'll make you fat!
Me: Hm. *munchmunchmunch* Are you perhaps operating under the impression that Wendy's or Burger King are somehow healthier than McDonald's?
Kid: ...aren't they?

It's interesting how kids get these ideas, isn't it? (Of course, I took pains to point out that skinny != healthy, and that fast food in moderation can be part of a healthy diet so long as you mostly eat healthy and get a reasonable amount of exercise, and that at his age he shouldn't be thinking about his weight at all.)

I should really start referring to him with a letter, like I do with most kids. Trouble is, his usual name is his initials already! So I can't just use those. He likes the Flash, maybe I'll call him Flash. Can't just keep calling him "the older boy", it's ridiculous.

*************************************


Canceled $30K wedding becomes dinner for Indiana homeless

Actor and rapper Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, commissioned Sam Spratt to do the art for his 2012 mixtape “Royalty.” However, the project took on a life of its own and Spratt created ten limited edition prints inspired by Norman Rockwell.

Jane Austen, Home Brewer

The Story of the ‘Portofess,’ the Prank Confessional Booth at the 1992 Democratic Convention

New boy muppet in Afghanistan promotes gender equality

How transgender-friendliness may help in battling female-unfriendly toilet culture (In their analysis, they forgot two factors as to why women wait longer on line to pee. First, cisgender women have smaller bladders even we aren't pregnant, and sometimes we have to handle periods, two things which make us visit the bathroom more often. Even a small increase in potty usage can lead to lines. Secondly, children, regardless of sex and gender, are more likely to use the ladies' room than the men's room, because they're more likely to be with a female caregiver. Add that to the factors they did mention and - yikes!)

Sword belonging to commander of black Civil War unit found

If Disney Princesses Were Engineers…

Filipino church feeds expansion by buying ghost town in US

Generous people live happier lives

Baby squirrels are more likely to survive if they’re born early (The article just restates that in a wordier way. Ignore the words, look at the pics. SQUEE!)

How Goofing Off Helps Kids Learn

The Insolent Chauffeurs of America’s Early Automobile Era

‘400 years is long enough’: Virginia’s ‘first contact’ Indian tribes demand federal recognition

Females with autism show greater difficulty with day-to-day tasks than male counterparts

A Victorian Wife's Best Friend: The Role of Cats & Dogs in Cases of Spousal Abuse (This is not, of course, limited to the past.)

The Librarian Who Took On Al-Qaeda

A small, vocal group of Conservative rabbis is pushing the movement to accept marriages between Jews and non-Jews. The fight is really about the future of the religion.

After a Harrowing Flight From U.S., Refugees Find Refuge in Canada

A mission to the Pacific plastic patch

She’s His Rock. His Parole Officer Won’t Let Him See Her.

America Keeps Criminalizing Autistic Children

Police killings: the price of being disabled and black in America

The Reckoning Over Young Prisoners Serving Life Without Parole

Should NYPD lawyers step in to prosecute? Protesters say no

Mass Arrests of Protesters: Outrageous in Russia, Barely Worth Mentioning in US

Pakistan’s secret atheists

Rohingya villagers tell media of abuses during army crackdown

One of my friends has been published!

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:31 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
She has some writing in this book: All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism. If this is the sort of thing that interests you, you should definitely pick up a copy.

Or, if you're more in the mood for picture books, she hasn't written this one but I still need, like, a dozen copies: Why Johnny Doesn't Flap: NT is OK!

I tell you, this time Amazon's recommendations are exactly right.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Hi all :)

I was super bored, and went through Ursula Vernon's subscriber list. If this is all too weird, poke me and I'll unsubscribe.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
In the good news, the antibiotics are working. They're not sneezing as much, their breathing is very much improved, and there's no visible gunk in their eyes. In the bad news, Kid Blink's damaged eye is still filmed over. It's not clear whether she has any vision in it at all, actually. It doesn't seem to slow her down, at least.

They are habitually hiding when people enter the room... but when I shifted the bed a little they came out and purred at me. This is probably because they thought I had food. No such luck - Eva had already fed them, and since I know kittens who haven't gone hungry will eat until they vomit, and these kittens have, I didn't want to risk them upchucking even a little bit of their medicine. I'll feed them later. Nellie came close and let me pet her, even putting my hand over her eyes! But when I attempted to move her to my lap, she bolted. Conclusion: I'm definitely not the first one to try snatching her up. And Kid Blink also came and sniffed my fingers and gingerly rubbed against my hand for a second, which makes me feel really good about her prospects.

I meant to talk to my neighbor today, but I forgot she goes to Mass, and I don't know when she'll be home. I should leave a note on her door.

Kitten update

Jul. 15th, 2017 08:44 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
With her sister for company, Nellie has decided she is scared of humans after all. Luckily, a little more food helped there, and once they'd eaten enough to make their tummies bulge out, I tossed around a cat toy for a bit, gave them something to do besides hide in a corner and avoid me. Kid Blink still isn't interested (though she's interested enough in food to get real close) but Nellie came and pet me a few times, and let me pet her so long as my hand wasn't at all in her face. I accidentally did that once and she bolted, and wouldn't come out again. Playtime is over, but I'll try another session in a few hours, before I go to bed. I'll also bring down some books and read there for a while. I'm contemplating the merits of sleeping down there. Pro: kittens can get used to me. Con: no a/c, and kittens are nocturnal. They might "get used to me" by jumping on my face!
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
A bit shy, but pretty, and young enough to warm up to humans if they have love and attention! Pass it around. I'd like to save myself a very long trip to the animal shelter if I can.
Page generated Jul. 26th, 2017 02:51 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios