2015-03-15 Recently Read

Susan O'Malley Poster
Cool stuff I’ve read recently.

Andrew Keir: Split ink Fountain Printing
ypically when printing, a single colour only is used in each ink fountain (pictures to follow), and while gradients can be printed using modern process colour printing – the standard mix of cyan, magenta, yellow and black found in your average home/office printer – printing methods like letterpress are typically limited to solid colours as a wooden or metal block stamps a colour into the paper stock, a method which doesn’t allow blending of multiple densities and layers of ink. By blending inks directly in the fountain, split fountain printing allows for some wonderful effects in letterpress and screen printing which otherwise wouldn’t be achievable, combining blends of colour with the more exotic stocks and debossing effects that aren’t available with standard offset printing.

Susan O'Malley Poster

The Morning News: Cities Don’t ♥ Us
Our urban future is upon us, city planners tell us, but residents’ on-again, off-again relationship with their surroundings makes them want to say goodbye to all that.

London Review of Books: Why didn’t you just do what you were told?
Jenny Diski
A few years ago, someone asked how it came about that I ended up living with Doris Lessing in my teens. I was in the middle of the story of the to-ing and fro-ing between my parents and was finally reaching the psychiatric hospital bit when the man said something extraordinary, something that had never occurred to me or to anyone else to whom I’d told the story.

‘Why didn’t you just do what you were told?’ he asked.

Priceonomics: The Time Everyone “Corrected” the World’s Smartest Woman
When Marilyn vos Savant politely responded to a reader’s inquiry on the Monty Hall Problem, a then-relatively-unknown probability puzzle, she never could’ve imagined what would unfold: though her answer was correct, she received over 10,000 letters, many from noted scholars and Ph.Ds, informing her that she was a hare-brained idiot.

Washington Post: Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right.
Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

Posted in Arts & Crafts, Books, Recently Read Tagged with: , , , ,

2015-02-19 Recently Read

The New Yorker: R U There?
“A new counseling service harnesses the power of the text message.”

David Carr, New York Times: “Calling Out Bill Cosby’s Media Enablers, Including Myself
“What took so long is that those in the know kept it mostly to themselves. No one wanted to disturb the Natural Order of Things, which was that Mr. Cosby was beloved; that he was as generous and paternal as his public image; and that his approach to life and work represented a bracing corrective to the coarse, self-defeating urban black ethos.”

hyperallergic.com: A Portal to Unite the Smithsonian Libraries Artists’ Books Collection
The project to get the Artists’ Books Collection site up was years in the making, with cross-institution collaboration from the Smithsonian American Art Museum/ National Portrait Gallery Library, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library, Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library, and the Warren M. Robbins Library at the National Museum of African Art.

Typespec: Raised from the dead: Doves Type in digital form
“The Doves Type legend is one of the most enduring in typographic history and probably the most infamous. It’s the story of a typeface and a bitter feud between the two partners of Hammersmith’s celebrated Doves Press, Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker, leading to the protracted disposal of their unique metal type into London’s River Thames. Starting in 1913 with the initial dumping of the punches and matrices, by the end of January 1917 an increasingly frail Cobden-Sanderson had made hundreds of clandestine trips under cover of darkness to Hammersmith Bridge and systematically thrown 12lb parcels of metal type into the murky depths below. As one person so aptly commented on Twitter recently, this notorious tale bears all the hallmarks of a story by Edgar Allan Poe.”

NY Magazine: Why Oklahoma Lawmakers Voted to Ban AP U.S. History
“The conservative lawmakers’ issues with the course, which was taken by 344,938 students in 2013, can be traced back to retired high-school history teacher Larry S. Krieger. Two years ago, the College Board released a revised framework for the exam, which took effect this fall. Krieger was incensed by the changes. “As I read through the document, I saw a consistently negative view of American history that highlights oppressors and exploiters,” he said during a conference call in August, according to Newsweek.”

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2015-02-09 Recently Read

Subtraction: Color Grading Movies
How digital color manipulation of a movie can drastically change the tone and meaning of the subject.

The Morning News: The Books
A long and fun essay on the subject of a couple combining their library after having lived together for sometime. One of the things Stephanie and I have never done is combine our books. Mine are in the library and hers are in the dining room, although both of us have books that spill out to other rooms of the house. My organizational automaton has toyed with the idea of combining our books and getting them all in order, but it’s a daunting task, and one filled with emotional pitfalls.

The New York Times: The Fire on the 57 Bus in Oakland
The emotional fallout of a teen boy who set a trans teen on fire on a bus in Oakland, California.

the head in: Chet Baker Sings
Baker first sang “My Funny Valentine” in 1954, and the rendition – a stark, melancholy one – was released on Dick Bock’s Pacific label two years later on the record Chet Baker Sings.

The Economist: Inside the box – How workers ended up in cubes—and how they could break free
Other cubicle-related health problems have taken longer to emerge. Because cubicles provide only the illusion of privacy, not the real thing, they do nothing to stop infectious diseases. Sharing an office raises the chances of getting more than two colds a year. In 2011 Danish scientists found that workers whose offices held at least six people took 62% more sick leave than those in private offices. And last year Swedish researchers studying the link between office layouts and illness found that people who worked in open-plan offices had the highest risk of becoming ill. The reason, they concluded, was more than just the easier spread of infections. Stress caused by lack of privacy and workers’ inability to control their surroundings played a part, too.

Posted in Recently Read Tagged with: ,

2015-01-29 Recently Read

Grantland: How ‘Selma’ Got Smeared
As a member of more than one marginalized group of people, I can attest that these sorts of conversations with allies happen all the time wherein the needs of the marginalized group end up being subservient to the plans of their allies, who have more power and are able to set agendas and timelines that are at odds with those of the people they purport to aid. So the fact that Selma found a way to depict that sort of interaction is important to our understanding of the civil rights movement, and if minute historical detail was bent slightly in order to show that sort of interaction onscreen, I’m okay with that.

The Atlantic: Why I Am Not a Maker
When tech culture only celebrates creation, it risks ignoring those who teach, criticize, and take care of others.

Wikipedia: Searles Chinese Room
The Chinese room is a thought experiment presented by John Searle (b1932) to challenge the claim that it is possible for a computer running a program to have a “mind” and “consciousness” in the same sense that people do, simply by virtue of running the right program.

Good.Is: How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts
In late 2009, Lynn Zwerling stood in front of 600 male prisoners at the Pre-Release Unit in Jessup, Maryland. “Who wants to knit?” she asked the burly crowd. They looked at her like she was crazy.

Pacific Standard: The Greatest Rock Show I’d Ever Seen
How one guy’s beloved memory of a long-ago rock show turns out, when he rediscovers a record of it, to be quite different than the show as he remembered it.

Stairs upward

Posted in Movies, Recently Read, Technology Tagged with: , , , , ,

Laws of Public Accommodation and the LDS Church Statement about “respect”

Lesbian Wedding Cake Topper

Laws of Public Accommodation state that you are not allow to discriminate in providing services to the public if you run a business that is open to serve the public. So if you bake cakes, or do wedding photography, or open a restaurant, you have to accommodate members of the public who come to you to pay for your services. If you are a pharmacist, or an emergency medical technician, or a doctor, or a police officer, you cannot turn people away from your service if they are in a wheelchair, or if they are a person of color, or if they are female, or if they fit into a number of other categories. There are no religious exemptions to public accommodations laws, so what you believe or where you worship is not a legally an excuse for turning people away from your public-facing business, according to current law.

The current U.S. law on the books regarding public accommodation is a part of a back of a larger block of civil rights laws that are grouped under this title – U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21 — Civil Rights.

Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code prohibits discrimination against persons based on age, disability, gender, race, national origin, and religion (among other things) in a number of settings — including education, employment, access to businesses and buildings, federal services, and more. Chapter 21 is where a number of federal acts related to civil rights have been codified — including the Civil Rights Act of 1866, Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

Here is what the “public accommodation” section of that larger group of laws states – 42 U.S.C. § 2000a : US Code – Section 2000A: Prohibition against discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation

(a) Equal access All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin. (b) Establishments affecting interstate commerce or supported in their activities by State action as places of public accommodation; lodgings; facilities principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises; gasoline stations; places of exhibition or entertainment; other covered establishments Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this subchapter if its operations affect commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State action: (1) any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence; (2) any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises, including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment; or any gasoline station; (3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena, stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment; and (4) any establishment (A)(i) which is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or (ii) within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment, and (B) which holds itself out as serving patrons of such covered establishment. (c) Operations affecting commerce; criteria; “commerce” defined The operations of an establishment affect commerce within the meaning of this subchapter if (1) it is one of the establishments described in paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this section; (2) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of this section, it serves or offers to serve interstate travelers of a substantial portion of the food which it serves, or gasoline or other products which it sells, has moved in commerce; (3) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (3) of subsection (b) of this section, it customarily presents films, performances, athletic teams, exhibitions, or other sources of entertainment which move in commerce; and (4) in the case of an establishment described in paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of this section, it is physically located within the premises of, or there is physically located within its premises, an establishment the operations of which affect commerce within the meaning of this subsection. For purposes of this section, “commerce” means travel, trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, or communication among the several States, or between the District of Columbia and any State, or between any foreign country or any territory or possession and any State or the District of Columbia, or between points in the same State but through any other State or the District of Columbia or a foreign country. (d) Support by State action Discrimination or segregation by an establishment is supported by State action within the meaning of this subchapter if such discrimination or segregation (1) is carried on under color of any law, statute, ordinance, or regulation; or (2) is carried on under color of any custom or usage required or enforced by officials of the State or political subdivision thereof; or (3) is required by action of the State or political subdivision thereof. (e) Private establishments The provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the facilities of such establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of an establishment within the scope of subsection (b) of this section.

This morning, the Mormon Church held a press conference saying that they supported LGBT rights – up to a point. They believe that LGBT people should not be denied housing or employment or basic civil rights. BUT – they asserted that they felt that LGBT people should not be added to U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21. They didn’t say it in so many terms; they talked about “respect” and how LGBT “activists” had done terrible things to “disrespect” the religious beliefs of LDS Church members.

Apparently pouring millions of dollars into Prop-8 and trying to deny LGBT people basic civil rights, causing LGBT people emotional & financial hardship and pain, is perfectly “respectable” but fighting back for your basic civil rights after being a marginalized group of people for centuries is not.

But their meaning is pretty clear based on the language they were using. This public press conference is a dogwhistle to their members urging them to pour money into a number of lawsuits that are currently moving through the courts where gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals are seeing redress after being denied public accommodations by business owners citing “religious freedom” as their reason for discriminating against people seeking their services.

If we were just talking about wedding cakes and photographers, this might be an easy issue to dismiss – you can just get a different florist or cake baker, right? But we are not. There have been cases of LGBT people denied emergency medical care, medication that they needed for their health, and police protection because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. LGBT people have been denied access to hotels and vacation spots, homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters based on the claims of “religious belief” of the owners or employees of those businesses or services. Some of the cases of denial of public accommodation are in serious, life-or-death situations. People have been irreparably harmed or killed because of this discrimination.

The LDS Church is attempting to frame the civil rights debate over public accommodation for LGBT people as one of “respect” – that LBGT people are being “disrespectful” of the church’s religious beliefs if they are seeking legal redress for being discriminated against. That legal and civil actions, including direct action that LGBT people might take in asserting their rights, are “disrespectful” and “attacks” and that the church is a victim if people challenge the discrimination against them on the basis of their religious beliefs.

It’s an interesting framing, and one that LDS members are anxious to push – I’ve already run across two sets of LDS church members anxious to cast themselves in the role of victim in the debate following this morning’s press conference. Unfortunately it’s also a framing that the average American is primed to accept as legitimate, given the complete lack of understanding of basic civil rights laws in the United States. Hopefully as these lawsuits move through the courts, the legal system won’t be as fooled by the manipulation of language as the average member of the public.

Posted in GLBT Issues, Religion Tagged with: , , , ,

The Coolest Roadside Attractions In Every State

Via Buzzfeed –

The Coolest Roadside Attractions In Every State.

I need to update my ‘big things’ photos and Stephanie and I are up for a summer roadtrip, so – let’s go.

Bob's Java Jive

Posted in Big Things Tagged with: ,

Werner Herzog: Develop your own voice

Clouds

Via Jason Kottke: 24 pieces of life advice from Werner Herzog

Paul Cronin’s book of conversations with filmmaker Werner Herzog is called Werner Herzog – A Guide for the Perplexed. On the back cover of the book, Herzog offers a list of advice for filmmakers that doubles as general purpose life advice.

1. Always take the initiative.
2. There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
3. Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
4. Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
5. Learn to live with your mistakes.
6. Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
7. That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
8. There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
9. Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
10. Thwart institutional cowardice.
11. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
12. Take your fate into your own hands.
13. Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
14. Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
15. Walk straight ahead, never detour.
16. Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
17. Don’t be fearful of rejection.
18. Develop your own voice.
19. Day one is the point of no return.
20. A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
21. Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
22. Guerrilla tactics are best.
23. Take revenge if need be.
24. Get used to the bear behind you.

Good stuff. (There’s a photo of Herzog with a bear behind him on the book cover jacket, which explains #24)

Posted in Inspiration Tagged with: , , ,

Recently Read: Preserving Artist Mary Nohl’s Home

Mary Nohl House

Via Hyperallergic: A Single Woman Is a Witch: Battling to Save the Art Environment of Mary Nohl

Over a period of 50 years, the artist Mary Nohl transformed her yard as well as the interior and exterior of her cottage into an environment that stands in conversation with the surrounding land, lake, and her childhood memories. Almost immediately after the first cement sculptures materialized in the 1960s, she became known as “The Witch.” Elaborate myths grew from her industrious acreage. Stories of murder, mayhem, and longing were broadly considered fact by a cross-section of the local populous. Nohl worked alone, from her home. Lacking a husband and prescribed social role, she was a very suspicious character, indeed.

….

Over four decades, Mary Nohl kept making and building. Stories took hold, about how she’d murdered her family and buried them under the sculptures, or how her husband had been lost in the lake and the sculptures were to beckon him home. All the stories inserted the “missing” husband and children. The cottage became a frequent late-night stop for teens drawn to the counterculture strangeness of the place. Others came and left notes of gratitude in her mailbox.

Nohl died in 2001. She left nearly $10 million dollars (her attorney father had invested well) to a foundation to award yearly fellowships to individual artists in Milwaukee and nearby counties. She donated her house and all of its contents to the Kohler Foundation, which preserves art environments. Thirteen years later, however, little has been done to secure the site. The Kohler ran into opposition from Nohl’s wealthy neighbors — they objected to even the most restricted use of the house as a museum or study center. The building fell into disrepair and with each new winter has become increasingly fragile, weathered, marooned in uncertainty. Then, in March of this year, the property’s current owner, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, issued a press release stating that it had given up preservation efforts and will move the house and yard sculptures to Sheboygan County, where it is located. The center will sell the land to fund the move.

Sad that the foundation charged with preserving the house has just given up.

Mary Nohl House Fireplace

Posted in Arts & Crafts, Feminism & Women's Issues Tagged with: , ,

First snow of 2015

A few inches of light, fluffy snow.

Posted in My Photos Tagged with: , ,

Myers-Briggs Personality Test Result

Myers-Briggs Test Result

INFP

I don’t remember getting this test result in the past, but I’d have to search my Facebook timeline for the last time I took it to see.

Who knows how long that test page will be around, so I’m copying the whole INFP results here:

INFP PERSONALITY

INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

INFP personalityBeing a part of the Diplomat (NF) personality group, INFPs are guided by their principles, rather than by logic (Analysts), excitement (Explorers), or practicality (Sentinels). When deciding how to move forward, they will look to honor, beauty, morality and virtue – INFPs are led by the purity of their intent, not rewards and punishments. People who share the INFP personality type are proud of this quality, and rightly so, but not everyone understands the drive behind these feelings, and it can lead to isolation.

All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.
J. R. R. Tolkien

WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE, BUT KNOW NOT WHAT WE MAY BE

At their best, these qualities enable INFPs to communicate deeply with others, easily speaking in metaphors and parables, and understanding and creating symbols to share their ideas. The strength of this intuitive communication style lends itself well to creative works, and it comes as no surprise that many famous INFPs are poets, writers and actors. Understanding themselves and their place in the world is important to INFPs, and they explore these ideas by projecting themselves into their work.

INFPs have a talent for self-expression, revealing their beauty and their secrets through metaphors and fictional characters.
INFPs’ ability with language doesn’t stop with their native tongue, either – as with most people who share the Diplomat personality types, they are considered gifted when it comes to learning a second (or third!) language. Their gift for communication also lends itself well to INFPs’ desire for harmony, a recurring theme with Diplomats, and helps them to move forward as they find their calling.

LISTEN TO MANY PEOPLE, BUT TALK TO FEW

Unlike their Extraverted cousins though, INFPs will focus their attention on just a few people, a single worthy cause – spread too thinly, they’ll run out of energy, and even become dejected and overwhelmed by all the bad in the world that they can’t fix. This is a sad sight for INFPs’ friends, who will come to depend on their rosy outlook.

If they are not careful, INFPs can lose themselves in their quest for good and neglect the day-to-day upkeep that life demands. INFPs often drift into deep thought, enjoying contemplating the hypothetical and the philosophical more than any other personality type. Left unchecked, INFPs may start to lose touch, withdrawing into “hermit mode”, and it can take a great deal of energy from their friends or partner to bring them back to the real world.

Luckily, like the flowers in spring, INFP’s affection, creativity, altruism and idealism will always come back, rewarding them and those they love perhaps not with logic and utility, but with a world view that inspires compassion, kindness and beauty wherever they go.

Famous INFPs:

William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, Björk, Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, Lisa Kudrow, Tom Hiddleston, Homer, Virgil

Fictional INFPs:

“Frodo Baggins” from The Lord of the Rings “Anne of Green Gables” “Fox Mulder” from X-Files “Deanna Troi” from Star Trek “Wesley Crusher” from Star Trek

Posted in About Me Tagged with: , , ,

Smithsonian’s museums of Asian art available for download

The Ramayana (Tales of Rama; The Freer Ramayana), Volume 2

The Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler art galleries put more than 40,000 works of art online that are downloadable for non-commercial artistic purposes.

With a new year, the Freer|Sackler launches a new initiative: Open F|S. We’ve digitized our entire collection and today, we’re making it available to the public. That’s thousands of works now ready for you to download, modify, and share for noncommercial purposes. As Freer|Sackler Director Julian Raby said, “We strive to promote the love and study of Asian art, and the best way we can do so is to free our unmatched resources for inspiration, appreciation, academic study, and artistic creation.” More facts and figures about the project can be found in the infographic below.

Posted in Arts & Crafts Tagged with: , , , ,

Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Rulins

Song writer Woody Guthrie’s new years resolutions as written in his journal for the year 1942. #19 is my particular favorite.

Woody Guthrie's New Year's Rulins

Transcript
NEW YEAR’S RULIN’S

  1. WORK MORE AND BETTER
  2. WORK BY A SCHEDULE
  3. WASH TEETH IF ANY
  4. SHAVE
  5. TAKE BATH
  6. EAT GOOD – FRUIT – VEGETABLES – MILK
  7. DRINK VERY SCANT IF ANY
  8. WRITE A SONG A DAY
  9. WEAR CLEAN CLOTHES – LOOK GOOD
  10. SHINE SHOES
  11. CHANGE SOCKS
  12. CHANGE BED CLOTHES OFTEN
  13. READ LOTS GOOD BOOKS
  14. LISTEN TO RADIO A LOT
  15. LEARN PEOPLE BETTER
  16. KEEP RANCHO CLEAN
  17. DON’T GET LONESOME
  18. STAY GLAD
  19. KEEP HOPING MACHINE RUNNING
  20. DREAM GOOD
  21. BANK ALL EXTRA MONEY
  22. SAVE DOUGH
  23. HAVE COMPANY BUT DON’T WASTE TIME
  24. SEND MARY AND KIDS MONEY
  25. PLAY AND SING GOOD
  26. DANCE BETTER
  27. HELP WIN WAR – BEAT FASCISM
  28. LOVE MAMA
  29. LOVE PAPA
  30. LOVE PETE
  31. LOVE EVERYBODY
  32. MAKE UP YOUR MIND
  33. WAKE UP AND FIGHT
Posted in Culture, Music Tagged with: ,

New Year’s Resolutions – 2015

New Year's Cats

My theme for 2015 will be “Simplicity.” My goal to shed clutter in all areas – streamlining, simplifying, focusing on the important and finding a state of zen. Some things I hope I can accomplish:

  • Be more active – painting, cleaning, organizing and discarding are activities that will help.
  • Finish writing and figure out how to market my novel
  • Do a lot of reading
  • Get siding repaired & house painted
  • Get the guest room organized
  • Rip ALL the CDs!
  • See my sister and her kids
Posted in Journal Tagged with: ,

2014 Year in Review

For our household, the year 2014 was overshadowed by Stephanie’s mother passing away in mid-May from cancer. She didn’t want an obituary, funeral or memorial service, but I’m unable to let go of the year without acknowledging the kind of person she was. This song makes me think of her.

Stephanie’s mom was well-read and very connected to literature and political issues, had a strong sense of empathy, justice and equality and cared passionately about making the world better. We lost a guiding light for how to observe and attend to the moral arc of the universe.

Cecily

2014 did have some wonderful and bright moments during the year. My younger brother got married in June in Jamaica and we traveled with the family to attend, which was much needed vacation and happy event with family.

We spent some time riding on the cultural trail and enjoying Indianapolis, which is really coming into it’s own as a creative cultural space. We saw several local theater productions that I really enjoyed. I stumbled across The Art Assignment and fiddled around with doing some creative works for that, although I never had much time to get it done.

Our own marriage because officially legal this year in our home state as same-sex marriages were legalized in Indiana and many other states as well. To celebrate we went downtown to hand out flowers to couples who were able to get married for the first time.

Stephanie delivering flowers for same-sex couples getting married

My nieces and nephew are getting a bit older and more entertaining (that’s what they’re supposed to do, right? entertain us?). In the fall my dad and step-mom Carol came to visit Indiana and we all stayed at the West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana, which was a real treat, and visited Holiday World Theme park. Stephanie’s niece Raven came down to see us with her BF Chris and we took them to the Zoo and Dave and Busters.

Stephanie got a mostly full-time editing job at the end of the year that will go through March and hopefully beyond that if things work out well. She seems a lot happier and more fulfilled, which is awesome. Stephanie also knitted a bunch of hats this year to sell and a friend’s clothing shop, which kicks all kinds of butt, and she’s been working in a retail position for a friend of hers that does makes and sells homemade goods, which means Stephanie has continued to be introduced to cool people who are doing creative and entrepreneurial things in Indianapolis.

Stephanie at Pride

I finished NaNoWriMo again, for the fourth straight year, thus proving I can write a lot of stuff down. I took some writing classes at the Indiana Writer’s Center, went to the GenCon Writer’s Symposium, and a took a one day writing workshop put on by Writer’s Digest. I feel like my writing is vastly improved, and I hope what I’m working on now will actually turn into a real thing.

The end of the year started looking up, and we were able to spend time with friends and enjoy ourselves.

We had a funny happy problem in October and November – we had a mama kitty and four kittens living under our deck. This is the second time we’ve had this issue (the first we never caught them and they moved away.) This time we succeeded in catching all the kittens and mama kitty, and we found homes for the kittens with our friends. Mama kitty got fixed and is in a swanky heated kitty shelter on our front porch, complete with heated water dish and regular food.

I really enjoy what I’m working on at work these days, and I think it will have some impact on how our company does, which I hope is a good thing. I traveled to Denver and Chicago for work this year, and Stephanie went with me to Chicago to enjoy the town.

On the personal designing stuff front – I sold an absolute TON of stuff in my Redbubble online store – and I pledged to donate everything I made from the LGBT collection to the Indiana Youth Group (I’ve done this the past two years). This year my LGBT store exploded and I made almost $200 bucks that will be passed along to that very cool organization.

Looking over last year’s resolutions or “goals” – I did much better than I expected. Aside from these:

  • Get siding repaired & house painted
  • Get the guest room organized
  • Rip all the CDs – we’ve had our music library in a state of limbo for years. It’s time to get this done.

I did very well at most of the goals I set last year. And there were household things that came up that we accomplished that we didn’t expect – we had the deck rebuilt when part of it collapsed, and I rebuilt the grill because it needed new innards. And we did lots of other fun stuff around the house, including gardening, knitting and caring for the pets – Spike, Huckleberry, Dru, Annabelle and the fish.

Posted in Journal Tagged with:

Annual “Best of” Lists for 2014

A small selection of “best of” lists from 2014.

The Man Booker Prize – 2014 Finalists
— awarded to The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel by Richard Flanagan

Pulitzer Prize – The 2014 Winners Fiction Finalists
— Awarded to The Goldfinch: A Novel by Donna Tartt

Newbery Medal Award 2014 Finalists
— Awarded to Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

PEN – Literary Awards Winners 2014

New York Times – 100 Notable Books of 2014

New York Times – The 10 Best Books of 2014

The Washington Post – The ten best books of 2014

Publisher’s Weekly – The Best Books of 2014

Amazon – The Best Books of 2014

Good Reads – Best Books of 2014

Autostraddle – Top 10 Queer and Feminist Books of 2014

Mother Jones – The 19 Best Photobooks of 2014

MotherJones_2014-Dec-23

New York Times Sunday Book Review – The Best Book Covers of 2014

All Our Names

Buzzfeed – 24 Movies You Probably Missed This Year, But Should Totally See

Buzzfeed – The 39 Most WTF Moments Of 2014

Reuters – Best photos of the year 2014

Wall Street Journal – Year in Photos 2014

Photo of Year 2014

Nasa on Instagram

NASA on Instagram 2014

IO9 – The Most Amazing Science Images Of 2014

Science Photos 2014

Mubi: Best Movie Posters of 2014

Frank Movie Poster

Rolling Stone – Rob Sheffield’s Top 25 Songs of 2014

Posted in Culture Tagged with: , , , , ,

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

NaNoWriMo Winner 2014

This is my fourth consecutive win. It sort of feels a little less-satisfying that the others. For one thing, I’m writing something that’s intensely personal, so I kind of felt pretty drained by it. Also, there was a lot of research involved because it’s historical fiction, so even when I wasn’t writing, the topic was all-consuming of my time. I have a bibliography with 20+ titles on it, and links to hundreds of websites. I have a web folder full of images, maps, and two different pinterest pages, one for the novel and one for one of the main characters.

Another reason I feel drained is because it isn’t done – and I have two other unfinished novels that I haven’t been able to get past the 75% mark. This novel I plotted out far more than the others, and I feel like it has a better chance of having some resonance, but the last two days of writing were excruciating and involved me basically throwing junk on the page. I’m so far off my outline it isn’t even funny, and I definitely need to regroup.

NaNoWriMo is great for getting a ton written in a short amount of time and staying motivated. It’s terrible for causing burnout. And all my efforts to pick up the threads and try to finish at a less punishing pace in the months that follow NaNoWriMo have fallen into failure in the past.

I’m committed to changing that scenario this year and getting the book to something readable to others. But I also need to take the month to do some reading as well.

So basically, I’m optimistic, but dazed. Which is probably normal for me, right?

The running tally of my word count this year. Compared to last year, I was far behind most of the time, rather than ahead. I didn’t plan my resources properly and I let a lot of distractions in the door this year, which didn’t help.


1. 1,667 - 4218 (4218, +2551)
2. 3,334 - 1691 (5909, +2575)
3. 5,001 - 1060 (6969, +1968)
4. 6,668 - 1701 (8670, +2002)
5. 8,335 - 1051 (9721, +1386)
6. 10,002 - 126 (9847, -155)
7. 11,669 - 1031 (10878, -791)
8. 13,336 - 3922 (14800, +1464)
9. 15,003 - 1817 (16617, +1614)
10. 16,670 - 1762 (18358, +1688)
11. 18,337 - 0 (18358, +21)
12. 20,004 - 0 (18358, -1646)
13. 21,672 - 0 (18358, -3313)
14. 23,338 - 0 (18358, -4980)
15. 25,005 - 4720 (23078, -1927)
16. 26,672 - 3747 (26825, +153)
17. 28,339 - 1837 (28662, +323)
18. 30,006 - 638 (29300, -706)
19. 31,673 - 0 (29300, -2373)
20. 33,340 - 161 (29461, -3879)
21. 35,007 - 366 (29827, -5180)
22. 36,674 - 4782 (34586, -2088)
23. 38,341 - 2268 (36854, -1487)
24. 40,008 - 440 (37294, -2714)
25. 41,675 - 4656 (41950, +275)
26. 43,342 - 1734 (43684, +342)
27. 45,009 - 813 (44497, -512)
28. 46,676 - 23 (44520, -2156)
29. 48,343 - 2733 (47253, -1090)
30. 50,010 - 2747 (50179, +179)

Posted in My Writing, Writing Tagged with: , ,

The Naming of Cats

by T. S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey–
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter–
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum-
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover–
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

Smudge Kitten

Noro, Truesdale, and Purl

Posted in House and Home, Poems Tagged with: , , , ,

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed to memorialize people killed by prejudice against transgender and gender-variant people. It also raises public awareness of hate crimes committed against transgender people – an action the media doesn’t do well, as we saw during the reporting of Indianapolis resident Ashley Sherman’s death. Day of Remembrance publicly identifies (where possible) and honors victims of violence, especially those that might be forgotten due to living in marginalized circumstances or due to deliberate or unaware misgendering of the victim after their death. We recognize that transgender people are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents and friends.

81 transgender people were murdered around the world in 2014, the vast majority of them women of color, including one woman, Ashley Sherman, who was murdered here in Indianapolis, Indiana last month. Her killer is still unknown. In 2003, Indianapolis resident Nireah Johnson was murdered as well; fortunately her killers were brought to justice and incarcerated for her death and the death of her friend Brandie Coleman.

Ashley Sherman

Posted in Feminism & Women's Issues, GLBT Issues Tagged with: , , , , ,

M.r B Natural – a MST3K short

“Is that Liberace’s Mom?”

IMDB: Mr. B Natural

Posted in Funny Videos, Movies Tagged with: , ,

NaNoWriMo 2014 Book Cover and Current Word Count

Every Word is True

The working cover I made for my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. (Spoiler alert: some words might not actually be true.)

Also, a handy graphic that updates with my word count so you can see what I’ve got going. I’m at 8670 words, above word count for day 4, and I have a pretty good idea what’s coming next. I hope.

Posted in My Writing Tagged with: , , , , ,

Benny – Little Game

Posted in Feminism & Women's Issues, GLBT Issues, Music Tagged with: , , , , ,

The Boston Electric Protective Association

From Boston: Its Commerce, Finance and Literature (with Illustrations) 1892

Boston Electric Protective Association

A bit of research I’m doing for this year’s NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Participant 2014

Posted in My Writing Tagged with: , ,

Another black trans woman murdered, mis-gendered & mis-named in Indianapolis

ashley-tajshon-sherman

The body of Ashley (nee Tajshon) Sherman was discovered on the east side of Indianapolis on Sunday evening by a police officer who was making a traffic stop in the area. Ashley was a black trans woman who identified as female according to family members, and called herself Ashley according to co-workers. She had been the victim of numerous cases of harassment and abuse, and was a runaway at age 12. Police later updated their reports with the information that Ashley had been shot in the head. Neighbors in the Tudor Park Condominiums report hearing a shot around midnight that evening.

Initial coverage of Ashley Sherman’s death was complicated by the police and local media mis-gendering her as male after initially identifying her as female, and mis-naming her as her birth name instead of her chosen name. Misreporting trans women’s murders by mis-gendering has been linked to problems with tracking murders of trans women nationwide and hampered police investigations of those murders. Mis-naming murder victims contributes to lack of police evidence as they attempt to speak to friends who might have known the victim by their chosen name but not their birth name.

GLAAD’s guidelines on trans people call for media to correctly identify and name trans people in news stories by their chosen names and gender markers.

GLAAD Media Reference Guide –Transgender Issues

GLAAD Media Reference Guide – In Focus: Covering the Transgender Community

Fox 59’s coverage currently mis-genders Ashley and mis-names her – Homicide investigation underway after officer finds body near road on east side (originally: Woman’s Body Found Near Road on City’s East Side)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 27, 2014) – A man’s body was found near the road on the city’s east side early Monday morning.

An Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer was driving near the Tudor Park Condominiums near the intersection of East 38th Street and North Mitthoeffer Road around midnight when he looked out his car window and saw the deceased person. The officer had just finished a traffic stop nearby.

Officers collected evidence from the scene and removed the body. Detectives say the man, identified as 25-year-old Tajshon Sherman, had been shot in the head.

Sherman was listed as a runaway at the age of 12 and has been mentioned in dozens of Marion County police reports since then. Several of those cases list Sherman as the victim of harassment or abuse. Others list Sherman as the suspect in prostitution and commercial sex arrests.

The exact cause of death will be determined following an autopsy. However, police said they are investigating this as a homicide.

If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

Initially Fox gave Ashley correct pronouns in the video report, but “corrected” their written story after police identified Ashley and “updated” their report. Evidence of the initial story remains in the link to the news item: http://fox59.com/2014/10/27/womans-body-found-near-road-on-citys-east-side/. In addition, the sensationalism of noting Ashley’s arrests for sex work contributes to discrimination against her, as evidenced by the comments on some of the news reports about her.

The IndyStar similarly reported and then misreported Ashley’s discovery, as can be seen in their news story – Body found on Far Eastside ruled homicide

Police have identified the person whose body was found late Sunday night on the Far Eastside as 25-year-old Tajshon Sherman of Indianapolis.

Sherman’s body was found in the 3600 block of Tudor Park Drive about 11:40 p.m. Sunday, said a dispatcher with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

That is the area of Tudor Park Condominiums, which are east of Post Road and south of 38th Street.

Police have ruled the death a homicide.

The body was found outdoors in a grassy area along a road by an IMPD officer who spotted it as he drove past the area after making a traffic stop, IMPD Sgt. Kendale Adams said. Police originally identified the body as a woman’s but later said it was a man’s.

The body appeared to have sustained severe head injuries, Adams said. Police are unsure where or how the man was killed.

Anyone with information that could prove helpful to investigators may call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS (8477).

WISH-TV’s coverage is mixed on identifying Ashley as she identified. They mention that she identified as female but neglect to mention Ashley’s chosen name and use her birth name instead – Mother calling for justice in Tajshon’s murder

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An Indianapolis mother calls for justice after learning her child was found shot to death near the side of a road.

Deshea Sherman is pleading for whoever is responsible to come forward. Late Monday afternoon the Marion County corner identified the victim 25-year old Tajshon Sherman.

“That was my son. He had a life like everybody else did. He didn’t deserve to have to die like this,” Sherman said.

You could hear the pain and heartache in Sherman’s voice. She’s grieving about the tragic death of her son Tajshon. Police found the 25 year-old’s body lying under a light pole outside Tudor Park Condominiums. Investigators said Tajshon was shot to death.

“He didn’t deserve to die like that; no body deserves to be shot and killed,” said a family friend.

Family and friends gathered at the crime scene to console one another. They said Tajshon lived as a woman. The lead detective on the case was also on the scene looking for more clues into Tajshon’s death. He said right now they are not investigating Tajshon’s death as a hate crime.

“Everybody knew what he was and what he was about. That was still my child,” said Sherman.

“Shon was like a brother to me; he called me brother. He stayed at my house,” said family friend Kenneth Hearn.

Marleeta Wilcox lives in the east side neighborhood. She didn’t know Tajshon, but brought this small brown teddy bear to the scene.

“It’s just sad that (it) took someone’s child, somebody’s relative. Somebody loved that person and now they are gone,” Wilcox said.

“Not only did you hurt our family, but you hurt your own family for the crime that you have done,” said a family friend.

“You was wrong for what you did, you could have just let him go,” said Sherman.

Sherman said she will always be proud of Tajshon.

“Still proud to be his mother to this day and I love him no matter what and I just want justice done for him,” she said.

Police are not sure if Tajshon was killed where the body was found or if the body was dumped there.

It was after midnight when an officer on patrol doing a traffic stop found the body.

Anyone with information that could help police should call Crime Stoppers at 262-TIPS.

Tuesday at 5 p.m., the family will hold a candlelight vigil in the same spot where Tajshon’s body was found.

WRTV-6 has done better about telling Ashley’s story, although identifying her as trans might help police investigate her murder and they aren’t using her chosen name – Woman’s body found in east-side yard

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis police are investigating the death of a 25-year-old woman whose body was found Sunday night.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said the woman’s body was found in the yard at 3752 Tudor Park Drive, which is near the intersection of 38th Street and Mitthoeffer Road on the city’s east side.

The body was later identified as Tajshon Sherman, 25, of Indianapolis. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

Police spotted the body during a routine patrol of the area.

In 2003, 17-year-old Nireah Johnson, a black trans woman was murdered after a man she was interested in found out she was trans. Nireah was killed along with her friend Brandie Coleman. News coverage of the two young women’s deaths was complicated and sensationalized by the mis-gendering and mis-naming of Nireah, which continued long after her death. She is currently buried at Crown Hill Cemetery under her birth name, Gregory Johnson.

Posted in Feminism & Women's Issues, GLBT Issues Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Publisher’s Weekly: The Top 10 Essays Since 1950

From Publisher’s Weekly: The Top 10 Essays Since 1950.

Robert Atwan, the founder of The Best American Essays series, picks the 10 best essays of the postwar period. Links to the essays are provided when available.

Fortunately, when I worked with Joyce Carol Oates on The Best American Essays of the Century (that’s the last century, by the way), we weren’t restricted to ten selections. So to make my list of the top ten essays since 1950 less impossible, I decided to exclude all the great examples of New Journalism–Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Michael Herr, and many others can be reserved for another list. I also decided to include only American writers, so such outstanding English-language essayists as Chris Arthur and Tim Robinson are missing, though they have appeared in The Best American Essays series. And I selected essays, not essayists. A list of the top ten essayists since 1950 would feature some different writers.

To my mind, the best essays are deeply personal (that doesn’t necessarily mean autobiographical) and deeply engaged with issues and ideas. And the best essays show that the name of the genre is also a verb, so they demonstrate a mind in process–reflecting, trying-out, essaying.

James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son” (originally appeared in Harper’s, 1955)

Norman Mailer, “The White Negro” (originally appeared in Dissent, 1957)

Susan Sontag, “Notes on ‘Camp’” (originally appeared in Partisan Review, 1964)

John McPhee, “The Search for Marvin Gardens” (originally appeared in The New Yorker, 1972) (subscription required).

Joan Didion, “The White Album” (originally appeared in New West, 1979)

Annie Dillard, “Total Eclipse” (originally appeared in Antaeus, 1982)

Phillip Lopate, “Against Joie de Vivre” (originally appeared in Ploughshares, 1986)

Edward Hoagland, “Heaven and Nature” (originally appeared in Harper’s, 1988)

Jo Ann Beard, “The Fourth State of Matter” (originally appeared in The New Yorker, 1996)

David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster” (originally appeared in Gourmet, 2004) (Note: the electronic version from Gourmet magazine’s archives differs from the essay that appears in The Best American Essays and in his book, Consider the Lobster.)

Posted in Writing Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux – SBNation.com

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux – SBNation.com.

Posted in Brain Food Tagged with: , , ,
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