Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lots of editing! Lots of fun! Hay fever!

Writing – No writing of my own to report; just editing up a storm! Will update the Market List as soon as I get a window of free time. New Diversicon Web site is up! Will continue to add content as opportunities arise. Our recent cold snap convinced the plants to let loose their pollen, so I'm either blowing my way through boxes of tissue (it's as though a spigot has been turned on full force at the bridge of my nose) or stoned/asleep on drugs. Makes it hard to be productive -- wah!

Political RantShame on the Republican Party for pressuring Senator Larry Craig of Idaho to resign after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor. How disrespectful to the people of Idaho who elected him to be their representative. He’s up for re-election next year, so let Idahoans decide whether to send him back to Washington. They may choose not to vote for him because he’s gay (despite his protestations, I’d bet on it) and they don’t like gay people. Or they may choose not to vote for him because he’s living a lie and they don’t like liars. Or they may choose not to vote for him because he pled guilty to a crime and they don’t like criminals. But it’s their decision. And for heaven’s sake, it’s not as if he was caught accepting bribes to vote a certain way. He’s just a tortured soul in the closet, living on the down-low, trolling for anonymous sex in public restrooms. If there was ever a time for compassion (remember the phrase compassionate conservatism?), it’s when a man from a conservative family, community, and church, who stands to lose career, friends, and loved ones (and, he may well believe, his immortal soul) by coming out, even to himself, is outed. The Republican Party’s stance should have been, “We extend our compassion and prayers to our colleague during this challenging time for him and his family and trust him to make peace with his family, the law, and the people of Idaho. His behavior does not intersect with his performance as a U.S. senator; therefore, we see no reason to take action against him in the Senate.” Instead, we get this frantic distancing by conservatives paranoid about the faintest whiff of homosexuality. I’m beginning to believe that most conservative political and religious leaders are closeted gays, fueled to anti-gay fervor by their own terror of discovery.

Family – The cooler weather is making everyone frisky! Cubby’s had several trips to the dog park recently, where he plays and plays and runs and runs. Also, the cooler it is, the more playful Bootsie gets, attacking everything in sight, and the more friendly she gets (when she’s not attacking you). Doug says that in his office, she likes to sit under his lamp and huddle against the side of the laptop, warmed on both sides. Why maintain your own body heat when human appliances can do it for you?

And I got more fishies! Added a couple of oto catfish to clean up algae and scuttle about cutely. Added four glowlight tetras to de-stress my two remaining glowlights, who were spending all their time hiding glumly beneath the Amazon sword plants. Added another male Boesemani rainbowfish to inspire the rest of the rainbowfish (1 male, 3 females) to more activity. I’m happy to say they’re all doing well so far, even the tetra who’s missing an eye. The clerk noticed the missing eye when bagging them and asked if I wanted a different fish or to be charged only for the three intact ones. I immediately said to charge me for three and I’d try to give the injured fellow a good home. It schools with the others, eats well, and doesn’t seem at all spooked by the larger fish. I think the missing eye just makes it more interesting.

CultureHave been on a Liz Williams kick. Demon in the City (2006) was a good book, though relying perhaps too much on external action and lacking the internal reflection that would have made it as good as Snake Agent (2005). As well it perhaps could have used one fewer characters and 10 percent less running around (the author splits the characters up, the author arranges for them to run into each other, the author splits them up again . . .). I began to get a small sense in places that the mechanics of the world building were being made up as the author went along rather than being part of an integrated whole that was being discovered. Also, I felt that a leading character who did pretty horrible things got off too lightly. Precious Dragon (2007) suffered from some of the same problems as Demon in the City but felt like a better book, maybe because it had more of Detective Inspector Chen in it. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, due out in 2008. I’m now reading her The Ghost Sister (2001), a science fantasy set on a world long ago settled by humans who are now quite divergent in biology and culture, and I’m enjoying it tremendously.

Also watched a good bit of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Enjoyed Federer, Djokovic, Henin, and Jankovic tremendously.

Home & Garden – Had a risk of frost last night with temps dipping into the 30s, but all my plants look fine, and we’re supposed to get some warm weather yet. Hoping the peppers get a chance to recover from the depredations of the doggies! I could just throttle them!!! They're much worse than rabbits.

Fun!

  • This article in the L.A. Times discusses a scientific study of the differences between the brains of political liberals and conservatives. Very interesting!
  • Verlyn Klinkenborg writes a lyrical description of the beauty of Roger Federer’s tennis for the New York Times.
  • Laura M. Mac Donald offers this brilliant opinion piece on the Craig “scandal” for the New York Times, reprinted at Congress.org.
  • Check out this rocking response to a New York Times article on nerdiness and race at Laurie Toby Edison’s “Body Politic.” And check out this first-person description of the barriers that an African-American role-playing gamer faced at orgtheory.net.
  • And finally, be aware that corporations and government monitor Wikipedia and anonymously (though not anonymously, thanks to WikiScanner, a project of computer science grad student Virgil Griffith) edit the articles in self-serving ways. The New York Times article is here.