Wiscon panel/event ideas

Jan. 27th, 2015 02:08 pm
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
Hey, anyone want to help work up any of these ideas as Wiscon panel descriptions? They're listed with the name(s) of the people I talked to about them.

• there are several entirely different WisCons going on simultaneously (jesse the k)
• "The Structural Underpinnings of Social Isolation" (jesse the k)
• "a panel that isn't about picking people up for sex, but meeting folks one has an emotional/intellectual spark with" (possibly for dating in the future. ACE-friendly) (sophy)
• "carbon dating fairy": which books have aged well, how and why? Not so much about which books the various $suck and $fail fairies have visited, but which ones feel modern even after decades (Dune?), which ones are classics for every age (Tolkien?), and which ones remain attached to the era they were written but stand as great examples of that era's writing and concerns (PKDick?) * Is SF more likely to age badly than fantasy? * How much of a role does writing style play in the feeling of aging well or poorly? Some other books/authors: _War for the Oaks_, Piserchia, _God Stalk_, McCaffrey, Le Guin (the OH)

thoughts on spiritual community

Jan. 27th, 2015 02:03 pm
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat

Almost all of my spiritual practices that involved other people have taken place in small groups. This article suggests that small groups work better than large ones because of the way human social brains are wired.

Reading it, I suddenly realized part of the reason I'm reluctant to get more involved in my local sangha (http://insightmeditationcenter.org) is because I have no experience of doing spiritual stuff in the context of more than 4–8 people. (I went to a big church with my parents when I was growing up, but that wasn't at all spiritual for me.) I've gone to the sangha to sit but I don't take part in planning or running things. Sitting with others is different from sitting alone, which is also true for me in other spiritual activities—some kind of group energy is generated. But my limited attempts to socialize with people at the sangha haven't brought a strong feeling of connection.

I couldn't necessarily say this is all due to human brain limits on the number of people we can know well, though, because I've always built or joined as a founding member covens and other spiritual groups instead of joining an already established one, and I think that makes a difference to me, along with the number of participants.

Also my tendency to other myself (thinking "I'm too weird for these people," in the absence of any corroborating data) is active at the sangha because I don't know the people from other contexts. There was an LGBQT* retreat last weekend and I wanted to go, but I couldn't drag myself out of bed early enough (why do Buddhists always start things so effing early?).

(no subject)

Jan. 27th, 2015 09:10 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Cordelia's friend's brother had asthma issues yesterday, but the kids came over anyway. They just brought his inhaler. He didn't seem to me to be having trouble, but then, I'm not in his body, so I wouldn't know unless it was quite bad. The asthma did mean that, when the girls went sledding later in the day, he wasn't able to go along. He must have been disappointed, but he didn't complain.

I didn't end up doing any writing yesterday. Instead, I poked around on AO3, looking for things to read. The problem is that I'm really not into any of the big fandoms and so hesitate to try fics in them. I did find one long story that I enjoyed.

Scott got ambushed with overtime last night. Somebody on second shift called in sick, so they needed coverage at the last minute. He's hoping that this will mean that he only has one more overtime shift this week (he's signed up for his usual 3-7 Saturday morning). We could handle him working late again tonight if we had to. He needs to pick up a prescription for me tonight, but they're open until 9, so he could do that even if he works until 7. We have stuff going on in the evening both Wednesday and Thursday, so we very much need him not to have overtime then.

The sixth grade band/orchestra concert is Thursday. It was combined with a concert by the third, fourth and fifth graders, but somebody realized that there was no way they could fit that many parents into the multi-purpose room, so they split the concert. The third, fourth and fifth graders will start at 6:30. The sixth graders will start at 7:30. I'm kind of surprised they didn't put the fifth graders with the sixth graders so as to completely split the audience. I'm not convinced that all of the parents of the third, fourth and fifth graders will fit at once. One good thing about starting later-- We'll have plenty of time for dinner.

Cordelia's friend left her iPod here yesterday. That wasn't a really big deal; she just called and asked me to have Cordelia bring it to school. The annoying part was that she has an alarm set for about 6:45 in the morning that woke both me and Cordelia. I don't know if that's when she gets up on when she has to leave to get to the bus. It could be either.

I ended up getting up earlier than I usually do these days. I was awake enough when Cordelia came in to say goodbye that getting up made sense. I have to link find today. I want to make banana bread, too, and write.

biopsy results

Jan. 27th, 2015 02:49 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
Abnormal cells that are not cancer, but still get me a date with a surgeon.

new term, same connotation?

Jan. 26th, 2015 09:54 pm
jadelennox: A fish-shaped candle holder in the snow (fish)
[personal profile] jadelennox
Warnings for language and sentiments, obviously.

I am enough of a New Englander that "wicked redacted for the obvious ableist term )" has a unique connotation that I've never found a replacement for. I don't use that descriptor anymore, but I would love a replacement with the same connotations.

I wouldn't mind a replacement for "transphobic term for a group in which men predominate )." It doesn't have unique connotations, per se, but it is humorously snide in a way I enjoy. But all the the alternatives I've though of are also transphobic, because they all rely on synecdoche for the humor.

Otherwise usually when I'm looking for a replacement for a word I realize the connotation itself is one I'm trying to avoid, not just the term and its associations. Eg. when I wanted to replace racism and classism )

(Consider this a warning label that people might talk about similar problems in the comments.)

(no subject)

Jan. 26th, 2015 09:04 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
We will have to go into town to the library some time in the middle of this week. We went to the library yesterday around 4:30. At 5:30, two holds came in for Cordelia, and one came in for me. Those holds will expire on Saturday, and they are things we want. Well, I could probably let the CD that's waiting for me go, but Cordelia wants her two books badly.

I didn't do any writing yesterday. I'm not entirely sure why. I sort of felt like I didn't have any space for it, somehow. I don't know if I'll write today. There's no school, and, as usual, I've got extra kids. I'm not at all sure about writing PWP stuff when the kids are around.

I'm debating posting my two stories for The Pretender to a fandom specific archive, but I'm not sure. The archive doesn't seem to be very active in terms of new stories being posted, and I can't tell how many people actually visit and read there. Then again, what harm could it do? It's just a bit of time to figure everything out.

Then again, right now, I'm in a different room than they are (They're playing Just Dance, either 4 or 2015, and kicked me out of the living room for the duration. I'm not entirely sure I should be allowing Just Dance. I know that the eight year old boy is having asthma issues. I'm to give him medicine at 11 and again at 3. I don't know if Just Dance is likely to set him off or if he can be trusted to judge what will set him off. I guess I'm relying on his older sister to know.

I didn't sleep very well last night. I made the mistake of having a piece of bread some time between 10 and 10:30, and that meant reflux for most of the night. The bread was really good, though, fresh potato bread. It wouldn't have been nearly as good today. I'm not sure it was worth it, but it was really good.

Scott cooked turkey burgers last night, six of them. There's one left. I may have it for lunch today. Then again, our guests' mother sent chicken patties. There's likely to be enough of those for me, too.

With the addition of the new pants I just bought (I've discovered that double layering pants keeps me a lot warmer, so I'm wearing stretch pants and regular pants under my dresses), Scott's and my laundry has gone from just barely fitting in two loads to definitely needing three loads. I'm not pleased by this because three loads is as much as I can reliably get done in a day, and Cordelia's stuff needs washing, too. I can do four or even five loads in a day if I get started early and change everything over as soon as I possibly can, but I'm unlikely to do that. I may just have to resign myself to doing some of our laundry on Mondays. Cordelia's stuff still needs to be done every Sunday; she doesn't have enough pants to stretch an extra day.

You can't control the weather

Jan. 26th, 2015 07:38 am
jadelennox: A fish-shaped candle holder in the snow (fish)
[personal profile] jadelennox
I finally come to terms with believing that it is perfectly acceptable for me to love 3 feet of snow and blizzards and dangerous winds and ridiculously cold conditions, because I don't control the weather. Yes, bad weather hurts people, especially poor and disabled people, but my enjoying the snow is not actually going to increase its odds of falling.

If I were Ororo Munroe, I would have a moral dilemma. But I'm not.

(no subject)

Jan. 25th, 2015 06:50 pm
cahn: (Default)
[personal profile] cahn
Some random scattered thoughts on finally having a smartphone:

Interestingly, my primary reaction has been to be really annoyed at the lack of pockets in women's clothes! Previously this didn't really bother me as much, because I didn't have anything I wanted to put in them enough to get more than a trifle annoyed about it. Now I always want to have the smartphone with me, and it is really annoying when I don't have a place to put it. (To be perfectly fair, it is not just because I am addicted to the smartphone. It's also that right now at work I am often working in two different locations in the building, one of which doesn't have a work phone or email, and so I do actually need my own phone with me in case D or E's school, for example, needs to reach me. Which has happened.)

Right now I am jamming it into my one pair of maternity jeans with pockets (maternity pants appear to be Even Worse than normal women's pants about pockets) and wearing fleece around a lot when not wearing those pants. I also bought a couple of maxi skirts (dual-use in that they are mostly wearable during pregnancy, but hopefully also will fit afterwards) with pockets to wear to church. My goal is that from now on, at least while I have a good job, I am only going to buy clothes with pockets from now on to the best of my ability. (In non-professional settings, having pockets is not quite as necessary for me, though still vastly preferable.) Such clothes do seem to exist here and there, although also appear to in general to be rather more expensive than clothes without pockets (or with useless pockets). I also don't know what to do about dress pants, which as far as I can tell don't come with anything but very small non-smartphone-friendly pockets, except maybe getting a pair custom tailored. (That being said, dress pants are probably not actually something I need to be super concerned about, as most of the times I would be wearing them I would be in situations where I am actually required not to take my phone with me and/or would also be wearing a blazer, which could have pockets.)

I mean… I understand that women's clothes are built to show off our nice curves and not to Put Things In. And, I mean, I like showing off my nice curves (such as they are), but… it also… seems kind of sexist that I should be wearing clothes for that reason, whereas as I pointed out to D (and he enthusiastically agreed), men would rise up in arms and refuse to buy a pair of pants (or jacket, or blazer) that didn't have pockets. Deep pockets. Lots of pockets. Plus which, it looks kind of stupid to be carrying around either a bag or a smartphone in my hand at work, and why is it that I have to look stupid and the men I work with don't? Bleah.

Other non-pocket-related smartphone items:

-I'm doing a LOT more texting. It is suddenly clear why everyone else likes texting so much. When I can see more than one text on my screen and scroll through the whole conversation, it's pretty nice.

-The thing that has made most difference to me is the calendar/tasking app. It's really nice to have all that in one place. Previously, it was too much trouble for me to keep a google calendar synced, partially because whenever I wanted to put something in the calendar I invariably didn't have the computer around, or the work firewall was being irritating again, or something. So I actually had a paper calendar I carried around, which was also not ideal. And I use the "tasks" checklist a lot.

-The other thing I'm using more than I'd expected is the camera. Not for taking pictures of E, as one might expect (though I have a couple of those). It turns out to be very useful when coaxing E not to pick flowers, or clean up a duplo building she's very proud of; we just take a picture of it, and then she can go on her way knowing that the picture is there forever. (…no, she has never yet actually requested to access the pictures. Just knowing it's there is enough, I guess!)

-The thing I am not using that I expected to use more of is the GPS/maps. Much of this is pure luck/timing; it just so happens that since Christmas I haven't been anywhere new.

-I'm pretty happy with the Android app selection so far. I don't need my phone to do much out of the ordinary, and so far everything I've wanted it to do has been pretty simple and there's been an app for it.

-Google has gone from knowing a scary amount about me to… knowing a really scary amount about me. Not sure I like this.
ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)
[personal profile] ellen_fremedon
Tonight's dinner was a definite win. Two lamb shanks, browned in oil. Two small onions, chopped large and sweated in oil + rendered dripping, with large quantities of cumin, coriander, fenugreek, and smoked paprika, and smaller quantities of white pepper, cinnamon, and saffron (bloomed in water). Braised with a baby red kabocha squash, peeled and chopped; a handful of baby turnips, halved or quartered; a can of chickpeas, a can of tomatoes, juice and zest of one lemon, two Turkish bay leaves, and two handfuls of prunes. (One would probably suffice, if you're less fond of prunes or want a less sweet stew.)

Add water, if necessary, to almost cover shanks. Braise in a covered pot at 300F or less-- my oven was at about 275 most of the afternoon-- until the meat is falling off the bone and the shanks are coming apart at the joint. Let sit, off heat, still covered, until cool enough to shred the meat back into the stew. It should get quite thick.

With the chickpeas and squash, it doesn't need a lot of additional starch-- just something to sop up the extra sauce.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
Great essay about design of female warrior characters in video games. Because "Not all women have breasts as big as our heads."
Via [personal profile] silveradept, managing your life when you have impaired executive function (but also could apply to managing when you have other kinds of disabilities).
1. Probably the most important part in my experience: especially if you’re having bad executive function problems, you get a star for every success. Metaphorically speaking. Put the dishes in the dishwasher? Star (even if you didn’t wipe the counters or empty containers out of the fridge or whatever). Put laundry through? Star (even if you didn’t fold it and put it away and you end up using it out of the pile of clean clothes before it gets there). The biggest problem with executive function malfunctions (and this is science!) is that we get caught in horrible self-reinforcing loops: we expect too much, we don’t achieve all of it, we feel awful for not achieving all of it, we get more depressed/upset/stressed/anxious, our exective function goes down. You want to do the opposite: set small, achievable goals and the celebrate your successes.
"The Debt: When terrible, abusive parents come crawling back, what do their grown children owe them?" (Spoiler: Nothing, but it's hard for some people to make that choice.)
Cab Calloway's Hepster dictionary ("the first dictionary authored by an African-American" according to Barrelhouse words: a blues dialect dictionary.)
Coyotes are the third most common carnivore found in The The Tar Pits Tar Pits (sorry, I mean La Brea) and we can study their evolution relative to that of the gray wolf.
...climate change couldn’t account for the shrinking coyotes. Instead, Ice Age coyotes may have been larger because size was an advantage during a time when there was a broader guild of big predators stalking the land. Once the dire wolves, sabercats, and American lions went extinct, competition for prey ceased to be so intense and coyotes became smaller. Also, many of the large prey animals of the Ice Age – such as horses and camels – went extinct, too, meaning less food on the hoof for coyote packs.
In praise of non-photogenic food

Many interesting excerpts from Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in WWII by Allan Berubé
Sherlock Holmes (TOS) fans take note.
...literary scholar Clare Clarke has uncovered some long-forgotten texts...as she sets out to examine the detective as criminal, the bad guy as the hero and societies where crimes may well go unsolved – as well as London, the books take in Australia and India. She introduces us to a master of disguise (yes, another one), a dodgy private enquiry agent, all manner of indolent young men about town and a bent copper. There is a moral complexity to a number of these novels, she contends, that has previously been overlooked.

Along the way, Clarke places the burgeoning crime fiction genre in the context of the growth of the police force and the modern bureaucratic state.
Interviews with various people in the SF publishing world about SF featuring people with disabilities. Thoughtful but misses some stuff I'm surprised it missed. [And now I wish I had written down what those were, because I had something in mind when I first recorded this in my linkspam collection, but now I can't remember what.]

(no subject)

Jan. 25th, 2015 10:27 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Yesterday, Cordelia spent two hours ice skating with a bunch of other sixth graders. I wasn't clear enough with her about what she was to do with the money I sent with her, so I have to mail a check to one of the parent organizers to pay our share ($5 for skating, $5 for pizza and pop). I'll get that into the mail tomorrow morning.

I absolutely have to wrap my nephew's presents today. It's his birthday today, and I don't want the presents to be any later than they already have to be. Of course, that depends on when Scott can get to the the post office.

Cordelia has put holds on a three books at the library. I'm not sure how she came up with them. I don't think any of her friends suggested them. The books are Anna and the French Kiss (there are about six holds ahead of her on that one), Ruby Red, and Cinder. Both of the latter two should come in today. We'll put off going to the library until they do arrive. She actually read the book I made her select and check out last week, so I'm hopeful that she'll keep checking books out and trying them.

Scott spent several hours yesterday afternoon removing the hood over our stove. We've lived here about seventeen years, and the dratted thing hasn't worked in the least for at least fifteen years. The hood and the duct work it was attached to were bolted to the walls in ways that were very hard to get at. Scott ended up using a crowbar (among numerous other tools). He's put a layer of foil over the bottom of that cupboard because he's not comfortable having naked wood directly over our gas stove. I'm not so worried-- It's a good three feet from the burners to the cupboard.

I'm debating whether I should renew the library books I have due today. I've had them eight weeks already and haven't opened a single one of them. I don't know if I'm going to. I want to; I just can't seem to find the activation energy to start any of them. I will probably renew them. I usually renew twice when I haven't started something. I don't know, though. The books have been sitting on the loveseat for weeks.

I wrote about 1000 words yesterday. I'm still worried that the whole thing is heavily out of character, but at least I'm making progress. The story stands at about 6500 words, and I'm not sure how much longer it will be. It's really a PWP, as much as anything I write is, so it's kind of hard to tell where it should end. I do want to finish today if I possibly can. There isn't much else on today's agenda, but I think it will depend heavily on what Cordelia does-- I don't really want to be writing a PWP while she's in the living room with me.

nearly witches

Jan. 25th, 2015 05:00 pm
littlerhymes: (game set match)
[personal profile] littlerhymes
Hey, check it out, I got a Yuletide New Year's Resolution story! Yessss, I want all the stories about Sarah. ♥

Daughter of Ipswich by [livejournal.com profile] greenet (The Covenant)

What if Sarah was the fifth 'son' of Ipswich, rather than Chase? Loved this AU version of Sarah, becoming calculating and ruthless as she grows into her powers, and how her relationship with Chase drives them both to Ipswich. *cue ominous music*


Also, hey, who's watching the tennis? The Australian Open is my life right now. I'm still crying about Federer and Wozniacki and Kvitova, hahaha.

Aside from Fed, the men's draw is looking pretty normal. My money is still on Nole. My heart also.

Meanwhile the women's draw is super exciting - Sharapova-Bouchard, OMG, Serena-Garbine, DOUBLE OMG, also Venus-Aga and DOUBLE MADISON? I would also be really into Vika making the dream comeback and winning it all. Or Simona getting her maiden slam. :D

January meme, food!

Jan. 23rd, 2015 08:29 pm
cahn: (Default)
[personal profile] cahn
[personal profile] thistleingrey asked about food/recipes I liked!

I really, really like food. I also mostly see cooking as a means to getting yummy food, as opposed to D, who is exactly the opposite -- he enjoys baking for its own sake, but won't necessarily or particularly desire yummy dinner food (he is perfectly happy to eat sandwiches and pizza) -- and these days I tend to gravitate towards recipes that take very little time to put together.

My favorite cookbook in the world is A Flash in the Pan, which sadly is out of print. I love it because it features recipes that are a) relatively fast (although on a given weeknight I'm still likely to resort to pasta or something) and b) feature combinations of ingredients I wouldn't have thought to put together. (Maybe if I were more experienced with cooking I would think of it, but I'm not.) Here is a recipe from that book:

Pear and Sage Pork Medallions )

One more. I adore lamb, and I adore sweet-savory recipes (as, uh, you can see). A long time ago, K sent me a really wonderful recipe for lamb (originally from the NYTimes). I haven't made this in a while. I need to.

Lamb Tagine With Honey, Almonds and Apricots (Mrouzia) )

(no subject)

Jan. 24th, 2015 09:28 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I didn't do any writing yesterday. Basically, Thursday gave me an opportunity to start feeling really self conscious about what I'd been writing and to see all the flaws (for example, the point of view character keeps saying he's going to do things and then doing something else entirely). I think I need someone who knows Weiss Kreuz and is comfortable with smut to help me with the characterization. I want to finish this over the weekend if I can manage it-- [personal profile] indelicateink has posted a challenge to complete something over the weekend, and this is the most likely thing for me to do that with.

I didn't really do much with my day yesterday. I have no idea where the time went.

I did Sit and Be Fit, and I think my choice to do that regularly and to work my way up to Body Electric is a wise one. Sit and Be Fit left me tired which is something it had previously never done. I am way out of shape, and I need to do better. I only did Sit and Be Fit twice this week. Next week, I'm aiming for three times (Monday is unlikely due to having extra kids in the house, but Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday ought to work).

After Cordelia got home (which was about five minutes before I finished Sit and Be Fit), I made cookies while she spent about forty minutes playing Just Dance. So far she's taking it seriously as something she needs to do every day which pleases me. She needs some sort of exercise regularly now that she's not doing sports (even while she was doing sports, she likely needed more exercise-- Sports were twice a week).

The cookies didn't come out very well. I used a cookie recipe for white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies but baked it as bars. The recipe didn't offer any tips for doing that, so I had to guess at how long to bake it. I went with half an hour because I thought I remembered regular chocolate chip bars taking that long. Half an hour turned out to be way too long. The bars didn't burn, but they are really, really crunchy. They were almost impossible to cut. Scott got them out of the pan in one giant piece and hacked away at it until we had serving sized pieces.

Scott had to work 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. this morning. He's really hoping not to have to do it again for a while. Apparently, third shift has hired a new person, so it may not be necessary. It depends on if the new person stays and if they can do the job.

Scott did the grocery shopping on the way home from work, but for some reason, he didn't buy any apples or bananas. Normally, for breakfast, I eat an apple or a banana, and we're completely out (well, we have three bananas that are too ripe for me to eat. Those are going to be banana bread in a few days. It takes two bananas per loaf of bread, so I'll have to figure out something else to use instead of a fourth banana, maybe applesauce or sweet potato). I didn't realize that until after I took my omeprozole, and I have to eat something half an hour after I take that, so I wasn't at all pleased. I had a single serving cup of applesauce which somehow doesn't seem adequate. I'm not sure what to supplement it with. We don't really have anything easy and healthy that isn't already earmarked for lunch or dinner.

wednesday reading

Jan. 23rd, 2015 10:41 pm
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
Turned out I needed a biopsy. Microcalcifications. Should hear the results Tuesday.

• What are you reading?

The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride. I like the voice, which makes me think of Mark Twain. John Brown is preposterous enough to be a Mark Twain character, with his freakish good luck and his inexplicable charisma, and I find it very easy to believe that when he mistakes Henry, the narrator, for a girl, he bulldozes over every attempt to correct him until everyone, including Henry, falls into line. But of course John Brown isn't a Mark Twain character: when he decides that a family he came across at random are pro-slavery, he is equally impervious to correction, and he murders them.

I would be happier reading this book if someone could assure me that Henry, who is the only child, the only Black person, and the only person in women's clothing living with John Brown's army, doesn't get raped.

• What did you recently finish reading?

Yes Please, by Amy Poehler. It's no Bossypants, but I enjoyed it. The bit I liked best was about needing to apologize.
I was a shitty version of myself. The shadow side. I made a lot of noise because I felt bad about hurting someone's feelings and I didn't want to get quiet and really figure out how I felt. I was afraid to lie down and put my hand on my heart and hear the tiny voice whispering inside me saying that I had screwed up.

Your brain is not your friend when you need to apologize. Your brain and your ego and your intellect all remind you of the "facts." I kept telling myself that the only thing I was guilty of was not paying attention. Sure, I was being self-absorbed and insensitive, but who isn't? Sure, I should have been more on top of what I was saying, but wasn't that somebody else's job? Didn't everyone know how busy I was? Didn't Marianne and Chris take into consideration what a NICE PERSON I was? My brain shouted these things loud and clear. My heart quietly told a different story.
I like how accurately she voices the truths that she wishes were not true, in her apology letter from the head, and how unashamedly sincere she is about the part that she wishes were the whole truth, in her apology letter from the heart.

I like this even though it is not at all how I conceptualize my parts. When I discover that I owe someone an apology, the hurt of being criticized, the anger at being hurt, the shame of being in the wrong, those are all heart things. They are feelings, things I perceive directly. Looking at the situation from the other person's point of view; figuring out the difference between what she could see (my actions) and what she could not (my intentions, my history of being a NICE PERSON); trying to imagine what she felt about it; these are all head things, things I get by thinking. I don't perceive them directly. I don't perceive them at all unless I seek them out. Still, this is a useful step in my lifelong quest to learn how to apologize and how to forgive.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker.

writing meme

Jan. 23rd, 2015 08:07 pm
castiron: cartoony sketch of owl (Default)
[personal profile] castiron
Via [personal profile] nineveh_uk: When you see this, share 3 random lines from 3 WIPs.

More like Works In Deep Hibernation, and none of these are likely to be finished, but one never knows.

1. When he was a college freshman, Mitch had thought that Dr. Hathaway had taught him everything he needed to know about unintended consequences to one's actions; then he'd learned that Kent was applying to medical school because Jesus had told him to.

2. A very small child accepts their family as given; if Mummy speaks French to him, or if Daddy practices the piano six hours a day, or if Mycroft sits in the rocking chair shredding pieces of paper until his lap is full of confetti, that is simply the way things are.

3. Alys finally admitted that while Ivan was a good enough boy, and would clearly be an acceptable cog in ImpMil -- and while he was supposedly the first to tackle Vodrodza and save Gregor from assassination, a rumor she treasured -- he was never going to be the leader she hoped for.

Some disjointed thoughts on pedagogy

Jan. 23rd, 2015 04:34 pm
cahn: (Default)
[personal profile] cahn
C. had her physics exam today. I am DONE with tutoring for a while, possibly for a very long time while I recover from this round of it :) I *crosses fingers* seem to have succeeded in the primary (for her) goal of getting her to pass physics, while mostly failing (with some very partial success, see below) in the secondary goal of improving her fundamental math skills, and utterly failing at getting her to see physics as anything but a kind of pointless torture. Thanks a lot, California school board! Oh well.

I had an interesting conversation with my singing teacher this week that started off by her mentioning that she's been really trying to emphasize relaxing the jaw with all her students. It's a difficult thing for her to do, she said, because she naturally relaxes her jaw when she sings, and she can't remember a time when she didn't do this, and so it's hard for her to either remember to tell her students to do this or to figure out singing exercises how to help them do this.

I was interested in this because I have been having a lot of these "wow, how do I explain this?" moments with C. (*) When I told my singing teacher I was trying to teach someone with math difficulties, she mentioned that the math teacher at the school where she works emphasizes, among other things, understanding how to group numbers in different ways quickly and easily — the simple example she gave was that of seventy-five cents: immediately being able to group that as three quarters, or seven dimes and a nickel, or fifty-cents plus a quarter.

Something that's interesting about this is that it's something that all the math geeks I have ever known do naturally. No one had to invest in a fancy pedagogical system to teach us how to do this, although it's true that a lot of us had parents who did this kind of math familiarity as a matter-of-fact sort of thing. (My mom, for example, expected us to be able to compute a 15% tip by taking ten percent and then half of that, and to understand why this worked.) It was something one did, to factor one's address, etc., to understand and be interested in how numbers related to each other.

C. can't do this naturally — how much of this has to do with math not really being a thing with her mom the way it was with mine, and how much of it is her natural bent, is somewhat academic at this point — but it's clearly something that she would have benefited from learning carefully and thoroughly. (And still would, although neither of us have the time or inclination to do it at this point. If she were my kid, though, I would absolutely be investing in some careful math training. It's interesting that even the amount of number manipulation she had to do for physics has been very helpful for her. When I first took her on, she didn't know what a decimal meant, whereas now she understands that 1.5 is the same as one and a half. Yes, she did not understand this in September.)

I do think some of this must be innate ability. The reason is that I think E. can do this kind of thing pretty easily, at least with smaller numbers, without our explaining anything in detail. But other things another kid would be able to pick up without explanation she needs spelled out carefully and thoroughly; I find myself frequently giving her detailed instruction about why another child might be feeling emotion X at a particular time, or why character Y in a book behaved the way she did, or careful specific enumeration of E's potential choices in a given situation.

Anyway… it's just interesting, the kinds of things we expect kids(/people) to be able to pick up immediately and the kinds of things that require careful pedagogical explanations and/or exercises, and it's particularly interesting to me how it can vary, and how teaching can differ a lot based on that ability. (And I wish so much that they gave classes in interpersonal relationships. That is what my child needs! More than math class!)

(*) …like the time when I was trying to make sure she understood the concept of dividing both sides of an equation by the same amount, and she said, "I know how it works with numbers! I just get confused when we do it with letters," and I realized — I'd had other clues as well -- that she fundamentally does not really get the concept of a variable. Which, y'know, is a problem if you're doing physics where it's fundamentally assumed that you understand this. I don't know how to explain this! I feel like I've always understood this, and it's hard for me to figure out how to explain something like that. (I think I could do it with some research and a LOT more time than I actually did have, but I'd definitely have to put some work in it.)

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Jan. 23rd, 2015 01:44 pm
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