Sciencefictiony gadgety thing!

Okay this is just damn cool. A cell phone charger that sucks radio out of the AIR and gets D/C current off it.

Its tiny but hyperefficient receiving circuits can adjust to variations in load and field strength while maintaining a constant DC voltage.



The $100 radio-chargeable laptop could be a few years closer.

There must be uses for this no one has thought of yet – Just the thought of pacemakers and other medical implants that don’t require new surgery every few years is amazingly cool. How long now before we get other kinds of implants… I wouldn’t mind a panel of blinky lights in my own skin, somewhere. Everything can be improved by a panel of blinky lights!

Fainting from exhaustion

I’m so out of it – a long day – good meeting with Tara and Chris – their office has a great aesthetic – mine will remain scungy and jumbledy but i’ll make it nice despite that and a nice place to be – like my kitchen table. Then to work. We talked a lot at lunch with RPA and it’s all work stuff which I should write about in a proper worky place but i’m too exhausted. Talked with my mom (who has really really bad flu). Then home for half an hour. Then to SF to wait with my uncle for the shipping crate – at 8 it still hadn’t come so I went off to have noodles with Caraja – mentally exhausted myself completely – wished I could go back to her house and read comic books and just relax with her and not feel so “on” anymore – instead though we ate our noodles and she asked me a million questions about work which were hard to answer – then back to my uncle’s where I found that alas Vim had flaked out so I was stuck moving furniture. Did okay. Back slightly twinged. It was satisfying to get the move done. Tomorrow will either have to explain to R. how to take 4 trains from the airport to 10 blocks from his house, or just drive him. “Badger, I’ve never even taken a bus, really, I’m from a small town.” He showed me some of his writings, including the texts of several fake 12-step programs like Fear Anonymous and TV anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous Anonymous, all very good. As I was carrying the bureau drawers up the stairs I longed to paw through them in a littlesisterly way. And in fact did paw through the blue books of pennies and liberty dollars and all sorts of groovy coin collections from when he was like 10, which I had copied & had my own penny books. It was fun talking with him – it felt like old times – really in some ways just like when we were little, he has a reality-warping field.

I’m so tired! Stunned with the tired! Can’t be funny… sorry…. so it’s just a bare record of my day so i can remember it later.

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Being popular

Just a random headline from this morning’s paper. It’s such an abomination to talk about a war as “popular” or “unpopular”. For fuck’s sake. Just or unjust, horrible or as un-evil as possible…. WAR…. not the contest for Homecoming Queen. As if the war itself or the substance of it or reason for it could be summed up into it being popular.

Many people my age or a bit older grew up watching war atrocities on tv. I don’t watch tv and don’t know what people are seeing. I should at least be checking cnn. What are the images or lack of them, what are the stupidities or cowardices of reporting, that make it even remotely possible that a war could be “popular”?

I know, the point of the headline is to let us all know that we’re not as stupid as the government thought we were. It’s just so fucked up.

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Brilliant rant from Zoe Williams

Hat tip to oursin. Zoe Williams barrels forward beautifully, and just past the killingly funny bit that slams some crap Fay Weldon said about how more women should fake orgasms so as not to destroy men’s egos, there’s the most awesome punch:

So, from the top: feminism has destroyed men, women, the happy congress thereof, any joyful union that might once have resulted from that congress, and in the event of accidental union, any chance that it might last. Let’s say it lasts long enough to produce offspring, feminism has destroyed our ability to care for and nurture them, destroyed men’s desire to hang around and provide for them, destroyed the confidence of this blighted spawn, craving as it does a mother’s love, and hereby stored up all the social ills commensurate with creating a child heedlessly, and failing properly to love it. If, however, you chance upon a feminist who hasn’t done this, it is because she complacently failed to have children at all, which is a downward spiral for the nation, and, indeed, the race, as well as, naturally, emptying a void into her soul that she will never fill, that will ache with sorrow until her self-induced cancer carries her away. Shucks, I forgot about her getting raped. She’s probably been raped, too, and it was all her own fault.

ZOMG love love love Zoe!!!! This was too hilarious – a brilliant and inciscive rant.

Knitting geeks will bridle at the closing sentence.

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The ERA again!

Hmmm, re-introducing the Equal Rights Amendment! It’s about time. I hope it gets sponsored asap and then I can fight for it, as I wanted to when I was 10.

Further info from Feminist Majority. I don’t understand the process necessary or what happens next but I’ll be reading and trying to figure that out.

Here’s an organization you can join just by signing their petition: 4ERA, mentioned in the Washington Post article. And this “Get Active!” page looks like a good place to start learning more about what it’ll take to make this happen.

So I wonder if the buzz about it right now means that it will become an election year issue? I bet it will.

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The aftermath of Moomin’s party lasted till noon. We hung out and played a few games of “Hey! That’s MY Fish!”, a game of penguins jumping on ice floes. Moomin came with me to SuperSillyDorkHouse, where I doodled around with wikis and various software demos & talking with people, and lured whump and cyn to come there and hang out. It was very barcampy but without a schedule or organization. I expected that towards midnight it would be more party-ish, but instead it just got more intense and the people passed out across their glowing laptops weren’t even drunk. They just hacked themselves into a coma. That was cool.

Sunday, hanging out in the morning with Rook and Moomin, graded papers in a burst of intensity, talked with my uncle, dropped Moomin off at Squid’s house and felt a sudden pang that maybe her stress level was too high for me to be doing that (weight of stress of extra kid responsibility against Moomin being there as a playdate for Iz actually being helpful…) Then to drop off some things for a friend at Borderlands bookstore, met Caraja, bookstore, brunch, got a couple of things at Buffalo Exchange. I had a wild feeling like I could buy anything and not feel bad or guilty…. Anyway, I got a cub scout shirt that fit me perfectly! And a see through beige tank top with black lace on it, made of basically very thin kleenex-like silk, perfect for the summer… and a pink thing from the 80s that is beyond horrible… and a cheap belt because my jeans were falling off. Caraja and I walked to Progressive Grounds. (Ritual was way too crowded.) Some earnest white people in the cafe asked us if we “feel safe living in that neighborhood” and I didn’t feel like getting into it but the whole way of describing a neighborhood as “safe” strikes me as fucked up and frankly I feel safe whereever I go, so fuck that question which always gets asked of women. (Actually I feel like turning it around and asking people if they feel “safe” in their heterosexual nuclear families? Because being in one is more dangerous for women and girls than walking on the street at night by themselves.) And that was too complicated to go into to the earnest Unitarians or non profit helpy people with notepads and pecils and lattes, and so I just said something noncommittal and acted busy, as did Caraja who seemed full of her own unspoken response such as “Dumbasses, do yo think I feel “safe” anywhere I’m walking on the streets in the same way you do, as a transwoman?” though she like me acts with fearlessness and goes everywhere anytime.

I talked about work and my thing with xyzzy, and she told me her most recent naughty adventures plus stuff about her possible next novel/project. At some point I realized I was doing that annoying thing where I interrupt her way too often and she is not interruptible. I am most used to talking with people to whom interrupting and having conversational stacks is normal and in fact a sign of excitement and interest, and I tend to forget that to her, it comes off as rude, beyond rude, and not listening. That was a significant part of our relationship difficulty. anyway she nicely walked back with me to the bookstore to help carry my overly heavy backpack that I had… somehow… filled with books! At 5 or so met up with xyzzy and we drove around in a touristy way for a while going over the bridge and through town and down the big hill with the very twisty road, and thence to a fancyish hotel in the middle of crackland. If you want a very cute funky hotel for a tryst, then I recommend it… I like how the hotel’s site describes the vivid experience you’ll have only steps away from shopping; for some of those steps you’ll step over homeless guys having seizures on the sidewalk. (Of course, I felt just as “safe” as I do anywhere else.) I worry a bit that I’m jumping into things, but I seem to be, or already have, so, there it is. And it was nice.

Yesterday I was going to grade papers and catch up with everything, and I didn’t — instead I got sucked up into thinking about K. Sierra and the surrounding issues and people and posts and I pounded out my immediate polemical reaction, which was a very no fear thing. People were calling me and im-ing and emailing and every few minutes there was a new issue to think about. What that meant for me – I felt I *had* to respond and if I didn’t my silence would be notable and questionable. But I’m still reacting, still in the process of reacting and thinking. And I see other people coming across it and starting the same chain of reaction. What that means for me is that what I think about it is still evolving. I began considering harder the tangle of allegations and the way that was done, and it strikes me as a major mistake that is understandable in mid-freakout, but I would hope that in a bit there would be an apology on her side too for some of that. Also, I began to consider WWS. And I don’t think anonymity is bad. YOu know what really chaps my hide at the moment…. “I nuked the entire site rather than censor any individual.” WTF…. that’s so dumb and annoying. Rather than exercise judgment, negotiate, or… *gasp* “censor” (apparently using any editorial judgment less than nuking a site is censorship? in what sophomoric libertarian-ass universe?), go off in a giant pout and take down a whole site, so that people will then respond as if an even bigger censorship had occurred. So when I write someone and say “Hey, those photoshops of me freak me out, I think they’re wrong, please take them down, they cross the line” rather than do that, a whole group site disappears? I like anonymous snark and when people have said mean-ass snarky things about me, it pisses me off but I’m okay with it. Sometimes it’s even interesting or makes me think; i’m open to criticism and to take it seriously. And I know I risk it on a large scale, the more I write and am online. I agree with MJ that the solution is more openness and wider openness; if everyone’s vulnerable to it then there will be more pressure not to do it. On the other hand I agree that the pressure to be nice and civil all the time (especially to Cuddly Nice Popular People) is annoying and must be bucked. C.L.’s response just reminds me of an ex I had who, if I voiced any objection to a plan, would cancel the whole plan in a snit, like, if I said maybe I’d rather have thai food than indian, that place is a bit too loud… she’d stomp her foot and say “FINE. Then we just won’t go ANYWHERE, you always DO this… you don’t APPRECIATE me…” and would turn around and drive home in a horrible tense silence. That kind of thing ends up being quite abusive emotionally because you know that the mildest of objections or requests could result in the destruction of everything… There are many layers of truth, in other words. I can respond again, and it will be very different from what I said yesterday. But, my no fear message is important, as is the support for her, and I’ll let it stand for a bit. Plus I need to work now. So I’ll come back to it tonight. (When I should, again, be grading papers.)

If only my day had been like this

Best thing ever… if only I had superhero tampons. Especially today. odditycollector tells it like it should be.

Sort of a weird up and down day for me, colored by back pain and various frustrations and worries and semi-private freakouts but then nice that I finished a work thing even if a small one, and it was kind of a convivial day so I felt strangely better about things, though still a little out of my depth… and then Moomin’s party was fabulous even though it was only 3 kids. My feelings about that size being right for him having fun was pretty much right. It was as much as I could handle, personally. They all played and it still felt birthdayish and special. The flying bird was a hit. We shot at it with foam arrows. Rook and Moomin had made an ice age and a rain forest setting. I threw together two treasure maps. Dragonboy’s dad hung out for a bit and made the most excellent woolly mammoth and sabre-toothed tiger noises. The test tubes were a huge hit. They mixed 3 kinds of juice, sugar, crushed strawberries, chocolate syrup, and coke. Presents. Cake. Playing with legos and the catapult and some godzilla monsters. They watched episode 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Swords. Moments of naked dancing about and waving around of naughty bits and declarations of giggly rudeness. (At which we rolled our eyes and sighed and acted like grownups and told them to get dressed… and then I ran out of the room and cracked up laughing where I couldn’t be seen.) More playing.. pjs, some whining, the porcupine poem from Dirty Beasts read aloud. I think they’re all asleep now.

Parties and pain

Poor Moomin had some kind of gas attack this evening and so instead of quiet fun family birthday party with cake and presents, he was howling in pain and sometimes even writhing around…. it was completely horrible. We alternated walking, hot bath, hip gyrating, weird positions, and reading comic books for distraction. But he was super embarrassed to have that all go on while people were over and waiting for him to feel better and go open presents and stuff. I was so cranky (and in pain myself) and trying so hard not to be while trying to help him. But finally he got back to normal. He loved the books, comic books, jacob’s ladder, “wonderful waterful” or whatever that thing is – a water-filled thingamajig with a dolphin that catches rings on its nose, and a button that pumps water to send up the rings – and the Mad Scientists’ Club book from the Acrobat, which I can’t wait to read to him, and the flying windup bird and the paint your own birdhouse and the dragon lego thing called “Aoroara” whose chest lights up blue and green when you press a button on its head.

It was really lovely to see him happy and excited especially after he had just been so miserable for hours and hours.

I thought about people who want to tell younger people what they thought was cool, and how I also want to do this, but what they want from me is for me to listen to what *they* think is cool. I’ll keep this in mind as I get older. Still, Moomin did like the toys I got him that were the same as ones that Minnie and I liked when we were little.

*rant mode*

I am stressed about work and not sure I am reading various situations right, but I have to tell it like I see it, even if that’s wrong. It’s stressful though and I’m fretting.

*most of rant deleted, ugh*

My leg hurts a lot. I had moments today where I couldn’t lift it very well or very far. I have to drag my own leg over just a regular streetcorner curb, and it hurts to haul it around. And then remember not to bend over, and not to stride around since I can only stride with ONE LEG and then drag the other one so it’s better to just act like I’m ambling nonchalantly on purpose. Then for a while the leg would work again. Sitting hurts much more than standing, and lying down is better than sitting, but worse than standing. I remember how I used to have to lift my leg up with both hands just to cross it over the other one! I can’t put on my socks standing up (every morning, this is a proud moment for me.) Grrrrr, stupid leg. I don’t trust it. Bodies suck. Pain is especially exhausting.

I wish this day had gone better.

bad sciatica

The pain from (sciatica or peripheral neuropathy or whatever) is already nasty and it’s not even 10am. I’m going to work hard now while I still have the mental energy. At noon I’ll shop for Moomin’s party at 2 stores down the street from work. Then I’ll work some more but I’m afraid I won’t be at peak mental capacity because of the pain in my leg, foot, and back. Maybe it’ll get better, not worse, over the course of the day? I’m limping, and being careful how I move, and have good back support in my chair and my feet on the floor (with the option to lie on a couch if I need it.) $deity (as whump would say) please let the pain not be nasty or help me have patience and not be cranky tonight for Moomin’s birthday. I used to live with this pain and worse every day and I learned how to deal with it… and promptly forgot when I didn’t need to deal with it anymore.

It is also scary because if my right leg is like this and my left knee also goes out, as it’s prone to do, then I’m limping on both legs, which doesn’t work very well, as you can imagine. Also, when my right leg gets like this, it also has been known to buckle without warning and I fall over. I like to think of it as “gracefully sinking to the pavement”. My fold up cane is in my trunk… 3 blocks away… and right now it should maybe be in my backpack. But maybe that is the paranoia about disability talking and is not realistic. I can’t tell, honestly! Probably just a couple of days of “ow, my back is twingey” and it will blow over completely (as it has ever since 2001-ish). But you see how I can’t help worrying.

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The crazy artist hippie neurotic anarchist insomniac gene

All weekend and yesterday prepped for class and graded and made handouts. Halfway to San Jose I realized I had forgotten the big folder with all that stuff! So had to improv an hour and a half of teaching. I think that turned out fine, but it was stressful and made me feel bad about myself for doing such a dumbass thing.

Lunch with my uncle. Got stuff for Moomin’s party on Friday. I thought I would be late to pick him up from the bad traffic (and bad judgement) but I made it on time! Only just! After calling 3 people and the school!

Spent about 1.5 hours at school talking with teachers and just hanging out. Somewhat annoyed at opacity of school process. Very annoyed at mysterious crap around “The Test” and about general comments and atmosphere of “he should ‘really’ be in 1st grade by his age… developmentally… social… maturity.. etc.” Oh whatever! What the fuck ever! Plus the attitude that education is painful and they must be saved and protected from it, lest they be traumatized by having their spelling corrected or being taught multiplication concept before Piaget, dead French guy that he is, says it’s okay for their inchoate mathiness to possibly handle. Again, what the fuck ever! Annoyed. Anti intellectual hippies! Moomin’s essays cute as hell, but stilted from dumb teaching of 5 point essay structure (too undeveloped to learn times tables, yet writing a 5 point structured paragraph over, and over, and over, and over…). Bah. His report card was lovely and I was especially happy to know that he participates more and checks out less. His teachers *are* fabulously nice, and sweet, and love him, and give lots of the kids individual attention and thought, which they can do because it’s K-2 and they have the same kids for several years. So I appreciate all that part and their work. I think there is a basic philosophical disconnect… like the “let children just be *children*” attitude… well if they’re GEEKY CHILDREN then they need lots of intellectual stimulation! Or, rather than thinking a person is reading “over” their grade level and they don’t know all the words so it’s not developmentally appropriate, realize that they’re learning the words that way, from context and repeated exposure!

At home, I had a million emails to read and answer. I melted down a bit and cried in bed and bled all over and had cramps, the bad first day kind. Entire uterus fell out of me. Blood at the point where it was difficult to handle, and in fact i had been in the tiny miniature elementary school bathroom trying to deal with it… omfg. Out of control. Anyway. I had sciatica on top of that. In fact right now the cramps are much better and volume of insane flow is down to normal, but my whole leg is fucked up and my foot is alternately burning, hurting, and tingling…. peripheral neuropathy or sciatica or whatever you want to call it… I don’t even care what to call it. It’s so random! Sciatica hasn’t happened for months and months. Please let it be gone tomorrow. Oh well! Must endure! Blog, you’re where I whine about it so as not to whine to actual people in realtime!

Despite that I whined to Minnie over chat and called xyzzy and whined and got his counterwhine, which made me feel better since god, at least I’m not THAT whiny (as he pointed out with excellent doublethink that persuaded me that listening to him whine was super entertaining and useful… you see his twisted mind and powers of persuasion?) and then I laid in bed with a heating pad feeling doomed some more. I can’t see xyzzy for days and then maybe on the weekend for some unspecified amt of time and then not for several weeks b/c of travel, which was a depressing thought and then the meta thought that it was depressing or affected me made me feel anxious. At some point I got up and played with Moomin and fed him a snack, and went out to dig in the garden figuring that mild physical activity would improve my mood and help be a distraction from pain. Also to get me the fuck off my computer for a bit. This worked. I dug up the loathsome stinkhorn red net things that were all over the front yard, and de-spiderwebbed and weeded the secret clubhouse. Then I started hurting again, but Nukie had come over and he and Moomin need some supervision when together, and lots of feeding because Nukie is always super hungry even if he has just had dinner. Got to see Peanut a bit too and fed her tortellini. The Acrobat and Pilot got me tacos from the great taco stand down the street and I’m forever grateful! I sat with Moomin to do homework and went over a bunch of his school papers with him and praised him lots. He sang “Red River Valley” with all the verses and choruses, from the back of a Magic Treehouse book & a made-up tune.

Right when I was coming out of total nastiness and despair, Caraja called me just to see how I was doing as we hadn’t talked in a few days, which was really sweet and made me feel way better. We gossiped and she told me a story that was perturbing and yet also impressive. (Detail impossible to blog.) Literary gossip.

Rook came home and took all the right kinds of care of Moomin. They sang songs. They ate ice cream. A bath happened. I did some worky thinking and other stuff, which was interesting and I felt a combination of concern for the issues and excitement that the ideas are exciting and there is so much to learn and think about. Talked with cd and felt slightly dumb and then realized (again) that I’m talking not just to smart people but people who have been thinking about this same thing for several years, and I’m just coming into it from a related but oblique direction, and the fact that I can have a sensible and interesting conversation at all with someone like that means I’m respectably intelligent and my usefulness or future usefulness is apparent.

As Rook washed the dishes I felt a huge surge of gratitude that he was taking up my slack. It has been really rough on me in every way to go from 0 jobs (with school up till recently, and lots of blogging, but still, different) to 2 totally new jobs. It would be so much rougher if he were the sort of person who did not step up to do things. Or if I were fighting with him over housework or bossing him and reminding and nagging. Instead, not at all. He washes dishes, I do laundry. We’ve both been shopping. I think of him romantically in the same breath as the Marge Piercy To Be of Use poem and also think happily to myself that he is a good co-oper (both high compliments…) as well as a feminist man who does not just talk the talk. It is a bigger deal than you might think unless you’ve been in a housewife/stay at home mom role.

Hot tubbed. Aaaaaaah. Life sweet again.

My uncle came home and we had a fun talk that I found strangely heartening. He told a funny story about how when I was 3 and he was 5, he was reading a book and I was reading it next to him and he realized that on every page I was watching him and waiting for when he’d be done. I bet this is true, but probably we were a bit older. I remember reading things like Uncle Wiggly with him, and then all his Alistair McLean books. Anyway, we both have the crazy artist hippie neurotic anarchist insomniac gene, which skipped my dad and grandfather. He showed me his system of musical transcription of chord progressions which helps him be such an efficient teacher and composer and which got him in weird .. not trouble but, people kind of messing with him from big music companies and some “chilling effects” action going on. He listens to a song, transcribes it, and can teach it instantly and he has thousands of songs carefully written into paper notebooks with numbered pages and indexing. So with his fabulous system, even beginning students come for a lesson, want to something new which they bring in on a CD or tape, and walk out half an hour later able to play 2 new songs. If anyone knows of a studio apartment in the Inner Sunset he’s looking for one, and if you want an awesome guitar teacher then let me know and I’ll refer you! He just took over another guy’s teaching business and so has 30 students, but room for more. Anyway, our conversation was fun and we have some basic attitudes in common. I’m glad he’s out of the land of R*msfeld’s vacation home and the various depressing things about living there. He also said the insomnia was killing him and was the root of his alcohol problems (also killing him). Sounds familiar.

It is amazingly soothing to blog all this and get it out of my head.

& so to bed!

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