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Ramblings of a Conuly
Believing in six impossible things before breakfast
conuly
1. Man, the acoustics in the bathrooms in the secondary waiting room are amazing. First I peed, and then I sang to myself for a minute. (It was a short song.)

2. Bought a man a burger and fries at Wendy's at the boat, but then he wouldn't stop trying to get my attention and thank me again, and it was super awkward. One thank you is enough! Don't make this weird!

3. After the appointment we headed down to Burlington to get clothes (and I made a stop at Trader Joe's to get fruit and salsa, but they didn't have the oranges I like, boo) and it occurred to me, looking around, that there really ought to be more visibly disabled people in crowd scenes. Realism, folks!

4. More somberly, one of my neighbors is going through a real rough patch, and without thinking about it I kind of assumed somebody was helping out and it seems that's not the case, so we're going to go over next week and sit with her dying mother so she can go out and take care of her own looming medical issues. (It's a twofer. I really thought she was getting more help than this already! We've really let the ball drop there, this whole neighborhood.)

This entry was originally posted at https://conuly.dreamwidth.org/2859733.html. If you can, please comment there using OpenID or your Dreamwidth account.
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Also, why is Yoshi's Crafted World so darn cute?

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Last week was mnemonics for calls from some common Eastern North American songbirds.

For reference, here are those same calls in order - top to bottom, left to rightCollapse )

Speaking of birds, yesterday I had to intervene to prevent a young starling from being "rescued" by somebody who doesn't know much about birds. If it has feathers and is happily hopping around, it is fine. Mom is literally right there. It did not fall out of its nest. Young birds in many species leave the nest as soon as they can, because they're safer on the move. Leave the poor thing alone. Even starlings don't deserve this!

(If you do intervene to rescue a baby bird, though, don't worry - you don't need to handraise it unless the parents are dead. The parents will not abandon it because they smell you. In fact, most birds don't have a very good sense of smell, because that's not a terribly useful trait when you can fly. So you can just gently and carefully pick up the young bird and put it in a safe place until its parents return. If you really, really, really think that a baby bird has been orphaned and needs to be rescued and handraised, please bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator, or at least consult with an expert.)

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it sounds like the city is rolling out curbside compostables pickup in our neighborhood by the end of this year!

We actually have our own compost bin, but it simultaneously doesn't produce enough for our entire yard and also doesn't compost quickly enough (or at all) during the colder half of the year - we don't hot compost, we lazy compost. So in the winter it'll be useful to be able, when our bin is full, to give the excess to the city. Plus, it's good for the environment.

Speaking of compost, until the level in the bin drops down a little I'm going to stash all the pulled weeds in the side yard. They can decompose a bit until I can shove them in the bin and stir it all around.

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non-heritable and ends at the age of 35 (if he lives that long, which looks increasingly unlikely), at which point he'll be sent back home. Doesn't sound like he's getting a pension or anything like adequate mental health care, either before or after (cheaping out on mental health care sounds like a really bad way to get a good fighting army, but what do I know?), and since everybody he grew up with in the slave conscript army is now dead I think it's safe to say that the war is not going well and his last-second escape was a brilliant idea all around... but all the same, "forced term indenture" might be a more accurate term. It's a trivial nicety, but I'm gonna stick with it.

Also, we're finally told that in his particular case his indenture/enslavement/conscription is halfway between a tax and a tribute that his planet pays to the mafia evil empire in exchange for being left alone. It's theoretically a lottery system, but in reality the child soldiers are made up of orphans, delinquents, and kids whose families just don't care about them that much. You have no idea how relieved I was to have cleared that up! Wondering about the specific circumstances was taking up entirely too much brainspace. I don't know how my brain decides what to fixate on when reading, but that was evidently it.

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Beauty and the Beast retelling. Okay. Let's check out the negative reviews, those are the best!

At one point Prince Rhen comes to Harper’s rooms to check on her and Harper gets into such a fit of fury based on her circumstances, that she slaps Rhen in the face! I have looked through reviews and no one is outraged by this. Had it been Rhen slapping Harper and their roles reversed, there would be an outcry. Harper was upset that she could not be with her family on earth and was furious that she was separated from them but Rhen is just trying to break the curse and save his people. In order to do that he needs a woman to fall in love with him. The choice to bring her to their realm is nothing personal but Harper doesn’t consider his side of the story or anything but her own selfish concerns. It was Grey that chose to bring Harper back to their Realm but he can only travel between realms one time per season. Even if Rhen wanted to return Harper to Earth, there is no possible way to do so as it is against the rules of the curse.

Harper would also constantly countermand Rhen’s orders to his people and make demands of her own. This showed a total lack of respect for Rhen and it also emasculated him as he let her walk all over him: not an attractive look.


You know what's not an attractive look? Kidnapping and hostage taking! Geez, talk about your skewed perspectives! I don't care what his reasons were, this gal has a legitimate complaint and if ever violence was allowed it should definitely be against the person holding you captive, no matter how polite they are.

Sometimes I do not understand people.

Edit: Although now that I think more about it, I kinda do want to see a gender-swapped Beauty and the Beast. And perhaps a few non-heteronormative versions.

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So, okay, we resigned ourselves to just one load of compost even after multiple people (some Jenn's, one mine) had agreed to help out. My mother was sick so we took an Uber (who didn't speak English, and so we ended up in NJ on the way back, but it all worked out and Jenn gave him an enormous tip) and once we got there do you know what they said? "Oh, we always have a bunch of no-shows, so if you just give us another name and email you can take another load, take as many as you want!"

...

Of course, while we were loading up the car one of the workers pointed out that it's a small car and so we only ended up with one load anyway. Next year's we're going to be on top of this, though! (That's what we say every year, and every year we get a little closer to our goal.)

Tomorrow I'll pull up all the ragweed and as much of the root system as I can, then measure out the beds - the same ones I'll use next year, best to begin as I mean to go on - and buy mulch for the not-beds. Tuesday I'll dig out the beds, get more of those damn roots and rocks out, and add the compost, including from our own bin. And Wednesday I'll sow!

I'm going to basically use the SFG system - and no comments from the peanut gallery! I don't want any "That worked for me but" or "That's stupid I used this" chatter to confuse me! Starting in 2020, and continuing until 2022 I'll fill up the beds another 1/3 of the way each year, so 4 inches at a time, an even mixture of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite (or the equivalent of those last two).

Bare minimum I need a large bed for tomatoes, a large bed for herbs, and a medium sized bed for bell peppers. We always want to grow more types of vegetables than that, and the enthusiasm is there when we plant, but there's never any follow-through. We can do tomatoes and peppers and herbs (the herbs, in my experience, grow themselves) but we've never managed to pick the lettuce or tend the string beans. We should just fill the rest of the beds with flowers. (Jenn points out that my mother's not a fan of organized gardens with beds, but this is probably because you can see in that sort of thing that she hasn't done the upkeep. I suspect it'll be easier to do the upkeep for this very reason, so screw it.)

Next year I want to shove some potatoes in the side yard, which is very shady. I don't know what I'm going to do about that otherwise, though I'm sure Jenn has some vague idea that doesn't involve potatoes. We have an ENORMOUS back yard, and a large side yard, and then we have a sort of side path to the front yard, which is small, and a small front strip. Can't do much with those areas. I'll rip out the bramble briars this year, all three of them, and trim that forsythia down to the ground. It'll grow back healthier once it's been thinned. Rip out all the vines as well. I better move on that this very week before I lose this momentum.

What I want to do when we replace the porch - which must be within a month or two, probably when we do the fence again - is I want to shrink the footage of the steps. Right now the front yard is about 4 feet above street level, and then the porch goes 4 feet above that. The stoop from the sidewalk is a normal width and the porch steps are pretty wide, and they're inconvenient when walking from the back and having to turn, so we mostly go down the neighbor's steps. This is potentially super awkward! But if we narrow the porch steps so they're only slightly wider than the stoop rather than much wider, it'll work better.

My mother will object to this plan because it is change, and my sister will object because it'll upset my mother, but I think if we just go ahead and do it they'll both get over it fast.

Now, our tree lawn hosts one tree and has just enough room for another. And our neighbor on this side, the ones who cut down the pine that shaded the house, they have no street tree. The trees the city mostly puts in aren't tall enough to shade more than the second floor, but I could get a permit to plant a tree just at the edge of their sidewalk that would grow tall enough to shade the whole house. I don't think the city cares, when they hand out the street tree planting permits, if you own the property in question. I think my neighbor might, though. If I went that route I'd have to plant under cover of darkness. (I could just plant without a permit, but then it might be the neighbor who got in trouble if the city noticed and cared. Better to do it the right way.)

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Seeking a book suitable (and positive) for a gender-questioning pre-teen, something along the lines of a Judy Blume novel. Preferably from the point of view of someone AFAB whose parents are supportive either way (and know a lot of out trans folk, including those who are not strongly one gender or the other). That’s probably a unicorn, though.

Comment here if you have any ideas.

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conuly
What else are we not hearing from our representatives?

As always, I'm gonna focus on one small thing, namely, the defense of "Well, it was a private conversation!"

This ought to be self-evident and probably is to everybody who isn't a raging hypocrite, but when you're a public figure in a public place, your conversation is not private. And when you, an elected official, go and air your private opinions in public, they are no longer your personal private opinions that are nobody's business but your own. They're information that the public can use when deciding whether or not to vote for you in the upcoming election or, better yet, to mobilize for you to leave office.

Sorry.

It's one thing to say that Joe Q. Random Truck Driver shouldn't be fired from his job for the things he said at a bar one day, or Dr. Random Doctorperson. Elected officials are doing a very different job, and they got it in no small part based on their opinions, so they're SOL on that front.

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Raccoons
Opossums
Squirrels
Other dogs that she is unfamiliar with which are minding their own business
Other dogs that are NOT minding their own business but are barking at her or approaching too rapidly
Men
Strange adult humans who are in her home
Strange adult humans who attempt to speak to her
People on bikes
People with shopping carts
Anybody who wants to clip her nails

She will bark at all these things. Now, it's a bit situational. She doesn't mind children at all, and is patient with the adults *with* children. If Finn gets to the strange human or dog first and indicates that he thinks they're best friends (he thinks everybody is his best friend who isn't a cat), Moonpie will be shy but curious and certainly will not freak out even if Finn is cozying up to a big dog who is intent on getting right in her face. She is gradually learning not to overreact to the dogs she sees every day. And, oddly, she does better on crowded streets full of people/bikes/dogs/etc than on empty streets where there's only one or two of them passing by.

But it's still a problem and as soon as I can I have to organize proper training on this. Happily, most people actually react positively when a chihuahua suddenly barks at them and has to be restrained (which I am quite diligent about). They wouldn't smile and joke "That's your killer, right?" and say "Oh, she's just trying to protect you!" if she was a pit bull charging at their ankles... though to be fair, if she was a pit bull she'd probably be a lot more chill about people in "her space" (yo, Moonpie, you don't own the sidewalk and you definitely don't own the sidewalk across the street). But it's not right for me to depend on the goodwill of strangers. She's got to stop.

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We're not told if they just rolled up and enslaved some percentage or all of the population, or if this is some sort of punishment for something somebody in his family or general vicinity is alleged to have done against the new space-y overlords, or if it's just a bit of bad luck that when he was a child his family needed cash to pay taxes or whatever and made the painful choice to sell off some of their extra children. I'm beginning to suspect we'll never get an answer to this, which is a pity because I think that would really affect my view of the worldbuilding.

But at any rate, he's a slave, all his comrades are enslaved, they'll blow up if they try to desert escape. The evil military of the evil empire is controlling them through the triple threat of pain, instant death, and the intense loyalty they've been socialized to have for their teammates since childhood - no good running if you leave them behind, right? So far so good, but it still seems that this is an amazingly error-prone and inefficient means of running a military. I mean, coercion is always an inefficient means of getting labor out of people, but it just strikes me as ultimately a bad plan, no matter how many failsafes you think you have, to put the job of subduing new worlds into the hands of the people who are themselves suffering in a very personal way from the time you conquered their world. It sounds like the kind of thing that works right up until the very minute it doesn't and when it stops working, as it's bound to, sooner or later, the fallout will be spectacular and possibly literal.

I don't think the powers that be have adequately thought this through, is all.

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I don't even know what to say anymore.

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It's not the autism. It's not your lack of wealth and youth. Since I assume you would've said if you had some seriously disfiguring condition, I feel safe in saying that you are not that hideous either that you can't get laid.

There are plenty of poor, ugly dudes with limited social skills who have active sex lives with willing, enthusiastic partners. Some of them are even actively hateful towards women and they still manage to find women to sleep with them. I wouldn't sleep with those dudes, but somebody does! A quick perusal of your other comments shows that you're not a vocal misogynist, so you're already ahead of the game here!

But I gotta say, honestly, that your self-loathing pity party is an enormous turn-off. Maybe not for everybody, but probably for most people. I'm well aware that pointing this out isn't actually the same as helping you stop doing that, but I just thought you ought to correctly identify the issue with your sex life.

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that I thought I'd set up for online billing.

Turns out their website is even worse than their phone service, and not only did they want me to give the last four digits of my social security number but they wanted me to tell them the name of my favorite pet. THEY WANTED ME TO PICK FAVORITES.

How dare they.

(Plus, I needed a paper copy of a bill in hand to give some identification number other than the account number, I don't even know why. Surely the account number is sufficient!? Is there such a rash of bad actors maliciously out the get people by paying their gas bills for them?)

Anyway, I still haven't done that, and I think we'll just pay the next bill by damn check. In the mail. I'm strongly tempted to pay in the form of an envelope of singles after all this. My favorite pet? WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE!?

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https://thisfinecrew.dreamwidth.org/198534.html

Note: I will outright ban anybody trying any sort of argument for the abortion bans in Georgia, etc. I don't care if you're "just kidding" or "playing devil's advocate" or even sincere. Go do it somewhere else.

Edit: The Criminalization of Women’s Bodies Is All About Conservative Male Power

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it does make for some fun gallows humor!

Eva: It's all awful, and the world is going to end in my lifetime.
Me: Don't be so melodramatic. The world is not going to end.
Eva: The human race will!
Me: Be reasonable. The human race is not going to end until after you die.
Eva: 2050 is not that far away!
Me: You don't listen to a word I say, do you?
Eva: Yes, I do. You said that the human race is - ugh.
Me: Anyway, you shouldn't worry. I promise, a violent death is the last thing that will ever happen to you.
Eva: You mean it'll be slow and painful?
Me: ...
Eva: Oh. Wait. I hate you.

(I've been like this her whole life and longer, you'd think she'd be used to it by now. At least she calmed down about the slow-moving apocalypse.)

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and there is no way I can get what I want/need to do what I want in the garden this year. So I'm going to settle for just improving the soil and every month until this time next year I'm going to stock up on soil amendments. Next spring, I'll be ready!

I'm buying all that shit!

Quite literally.

On a related note, street trees. For the past few years I've been diligently writing down addresses without trees as I walk the dogs, then coming home and requesting a few trees at a time via the 311 page. And the city has been putting them in, slowly but surely! This doesn't mean people take care of the trees, and for once, my own patch of ground is not the very worst. No, that honor most definitively goes to a particular street where the developers put in the trees themselves in the middle of the sidewalk rather than at the street, and put in these enormous pits for them too. Which get totally overrun with ragweed and dog poop. (Meanwhile, around the corner, where we need the trees because of the bus stop, nothing. And the address of that shopping center is on the other street, so I can't even request the trees because you need an exact address. I requested for the houses across the street and put "also across street" in the comment box and let's hope the city figures out what I mean.)

I am sick of walking the dogs there and looking at the ragweed and trash and poop. I know from example that if you just tend the trees a little, people don't leave their trash there and rarely any poop. (There's always somebody on the poop front.) And these aren't the only trees. I'm probably being a little too optimistic about what sort of things I'm willing to actually commit to, but let's assume I am willing, starting next year, to tend those trees. I've read the city's instructions for how much compost to put out yearly (less than you think) and how far away from the trunk to mulch (further than you think)... but what sort of inexpensive plants grow well under trees from seed (or bulb) without damaging the trees? We're zone 7.

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Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death
is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”


...man, I'm gonna start quoting that everywhere from now on. Gosh knows there are a lot of people who need to stop with this.

The KJV translation is less snappy.

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and I should really go to the store as well.

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Both Earthseed books, bundled, are on a steep sale today.

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Never let it be said that I don't respond to criticism! For them, there's a new poll:



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"Does ASL distinguish between inclusive/exclusive we?"

...you know, if all the very important questions I need to know the answer to were followed up by intensive, serious study on the subject in question, I'd really know an awful lot.

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and I'm going just now, but I have to share two words I learned just now: kolk and riprap. I probably will never have a chance to say "kolk" again, but, as I live in a city of islands it is very possible for me to take walks that allow me to casually walk by riprap and refer to it as such! I actually do this already, except I've never had a specialized word for those rocks before!

...occasionally, I have cause to identify very strongly with Tiffany Aching.

There was a lot of mist around, but a few stars were visible overhead and there was a gibbous moon in the sky. Tiffany knew it was gibbous because she’d read in the Almanack that gibbous meant what the moon looked like when it was just a bit fatter than half full, and so she made a point of paying attention to it around those times just so that she could say to herself: “Ah, I see the moon’s very gibbous tonight....”

It’s possible that this tells you more about Tiffany than she would want you to know.


Anyway, riprap is now my second favorite rock related word, immediately after "chossy" but before "scree".

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where, for Reasons adult Harry is interacting with child Draco. Draco is chewing him out for messing up his school year, Harry is defending himself, and I'm thinking "Gosh, I don't remember the minutiae of my school days in this detail!"

And then it hit me. I really don't. I have a clearer and more complete picture of Harry Potter's school years and classmates than of my own.

Which is probably for the best, but still.

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Which is still great, but I thought I'd post another video. Enjoy! (And don't forget to turn on the captioning!)



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and now consistently seeks out snuggles when the thunder booms instead of hiding who-knows-where. But she shakes the whole time :(

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So, enjoy!

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And I hate having itchy eyes, and I hate it.

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Having put it off long past the time we ought to have done this, we're going to pick up our compost next Sunday, the 19th. The more hands we have, the better, and then afterwards I'll absolutely bribe everybody with pizza and whatever.

Relatedly, if anybody has any rabbit or goat poop (or other composted manure, not picky) they'd like to send my way, let me know. Your pets poop an awful lot, don't they? What a hassle! But so useful for the garden...!

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there are a surprising number of kids who were raised as assassins, and for some reason the comics world thinks that growing up language deprived will make you really good at that. (I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is actually the least plausible origin story, and I think we all know how implausible that makes it. Yes, even less plausible than that one.)

Anyway, after hearing this I suggested to Eva that they all ought to form a crossover discussion group.

Eva: None of them talk!
Me: Hence the need for a group.

She's not convinced.

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doesn't mean there isn't one. Yeah, pretty much any literature worth reading has some sort of political agenda, and just because you want to go "lalala that's not the point of literature" doesn't make you right. Every time an author makes the choice not to have any black people in a setting where black people ought to exist, that's their agenda you're looking at. Every time you watch a movie, and there's eight guys and two women and the women never talk to each other, that's their agenda talking. Every time you read a story about settlers in the West, and first of all there are no black people or Asians and secondly Indians are always either Chaotic Evil or just gone away somewhere, probably pursued by a bear, that's their agenda. If you don't want politics in your fiction, stick to Pat the Bunny.

Also, I don't believe for one minute that your book-diet as a child in the 1980s or whenever was chock full of a demographically appropriate amount of diversity. You can't say that with a straight face.

In other book related news, I read But Not The Aardvark, and it's a worthy follow-up to But Not The Hippopotamus. Some of us aren't joiners, and that's okay.

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I enjoyed it except for three things that keep bugging me. (As always, having a few details bug me is better than perfection.)

Minor spoilersCollapse )

But, you know, those things are small potatoes. (Which are all in Peru at this time in history, I'm just pointing out again.)

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Unlike his awake-time barking, his sleep-time barking is muffled and adorable.

Also, yesterday the guy on the corner with the yorkies said that he loves seeing Finn because he has "such a happy walk" and you don't know how happy that made me to hear. (Today Moonpie was the one bouncing around cheerfully while Finn tried to eat grass. I just don't know sometimes.)

In cat news, Callie has suddenly remembered she loves me and also she loves being clean. We're getting plenty of quality snuggles in. Mama Cat has similarly turned affectionate, but it's hard to snuggle her because she gets overstimulated real fast, and then you regret it. Also, she lies on top of your book while you're reading.

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conuly
I tell you, we're all lucky there were no fingers in the stew.

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conuly
on a better way to cut pineapple.

I have not tried this method yet, but [personal profile] goss did, and the picture is here. Isn't it beautiful!?

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conuly
but I wasn't able to leave a comment somewhere because "recaptcha v. 1 is shutdown".

Meh, I'll leave it here, as it relates to the Firefox debacle: In this particular case, it seems to be a glitch rather than deliberate. You might still be thrilled to nope out, but it doesn't seem to be intentional behavior.

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conuly
Not happy.

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conuly
When we replace the roof, since they're replacing it anyway I'm gonna ask for a skylight right over my bed. RIGHT THERE IN MY EYES EVERY DAY.

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but I say that if you're going to complain that you had "no idea" a book was a romance instead of vanilla historical fiction with few or no romantic elements at all, then your argument is null and void if the cover shows a hot shirtless guy and an equally attractive woman with bare shoulders.

LOOK AT THE DAMN COVER.

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conuly
Just lovely!

But I probably should not have celebrated the arrival of good weather by going to the bookstore....

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utterly uninspired. What's everybody else cooking?

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conuly
Protagonists: Your friend might be the secret serial killer!
Cousin of Fraught Relationship: He's really not.
Protagonists: Where was he when the murder happened?
Cousin: I, uh, can't say, but I was going to, uh, meet him and he's definitely not it.
Me: Because they're secret boyfriends. Obviously.
Protagonists: But you can't prove it! He must be the secret killer! We shall tail him.
Me: Oh boy.
Protagonists: Why, they're kissing! Who could have predicted this scene?

Later....

Protagonists: We have unmasked the real killer. We have also engaged in multiple acts of personal growth, and strengthened our relationship at the small cost of a few (more) burnt bridges and a(nother) war between our families! Hurrah, we are the best detectives ever!
Me: You're really not, though.

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And anything else you might celebrate or not :)

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but at least it's gone now. Plus! Less phlegm! I think my cold is going away!

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Mainly, that those schools are overrated, that test needs a serious overhaul and critical review, and that everybody obsessed with that school (and the others) seriously needs to get a grip and reconsider the life choices that brought them to this place.

But nobody ever takes my excellent advice, and so they won't stop talking about those schools, and so I keep on reading. It's like a very boring trainwreck that I narrowly escaped but not really.

With that said, I have to admire the NY Times slipping in this snide commentary in this article here: “The bureaucrats who run these school districts have swallowed hook, line and sinker the idea of racial diversity” as an essential part of education in America, added Mr. Yoo, who is best known as the legal architect of Mr. Bush’s so-called torture memos.

Man, that's some serious, if factually-accurate, shade.

On the subject of affirmative action, way in the comments to that article somebody quoted Clarence Thomas opining that affirmative action just makes people doubt the merits of blacks. I will go on the record as saying that it is neither his race nor the specter of affirmative action that makes me doubt Clarence Thomas' credentials, capacity for critical thought, jurisprudence, or ethics. In fact, I have made it a long-standing policy to support what he doesn't, just on general principle, and that policy has yet to steer me wrong. So if Clarence Thomas is against affirmative action, that is certainly good enough for me.

(No, I do not intend to get into a discussion here and now about whether or not policies intended to increase representation of some or all racial minorities are good or bad, or if they're racist against other minorities and/or any or all whites, either in the abstract or with regard to specific situations. Not nearly enough spoons for that today.)

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so when I realized she'd never seen or heard of The Sixth Sense, I added it to our movie line-up.

She was actually surprised by the twist. This is such a novel experience, I felt I had to record it for posterity.

We've also watched Empire Records (Eva was deeply caught up in the question of whether or not Joe is actually Lucas' foster father, or if he's just fatherly) and 10 Things I Hate About you (we lost Heath Ledger entirely too soon). Also, unrelated to this all, Jenn and Eva watched Legally Blonde. I was surprised that Jenn had never seen that movie before. She was surprised that I've watched it at least seven times already. I'm not sure which fact is more surprising.

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