a) Bradley James is in the fourth season of Homeland. Sorry, Bradley James, I loved your Arthur Pendragon in Merlin, but there were a lot of reasons why I quit watching Homeland in early s3, among them loss of quality and questionable ideology, and I'm not going back.
b) Lucy Lawless is the the second season of Agents of SHIELD. Now this is a show I haven't watched so far; my flist/circle had about two third naysays, one third (all the more enthusiastic) yaysayers about it, there were so many other interesting shows to watch, and also I'm so fond of the MCU I didn't want to risk dampening the emotion by disgruntlement should I dislike AoS. However, Lucy Lawless in the Marvelverse? Must have! (Unless she's only in one episode, I should acertain that first.) (If you recognize where the quote titling this post comes from, you might feel similarly.)
Meanwhile, further news both on the Lewis & Tolkien and the solo Tolkien biopics in planning demonstrate someone's (be the publicity people, the reporters, or, heaven forfend, the scriptwriters) lack of actual knowledge re: Tolkien and Lewis, as is entertainingly pointed out here.
We have a Penny Dreadful vid! And a good one, covering the ensemble and the relationships between same - with one unfortunate exception. Which, sadly for me though not for the vidder and the vid, happens to be the relationship I'm most interested in. There is a complete lack of Malcolm in the vid (and hence also no Vanessa and Malcolm). Which reminds me that last week when someone at last posted Penny Dreadful icons, I was delighted...until I saw there were no Malcolm and no Vanessa and Malcolm icons. Alas. Anyway, back to the original point, which was: a shiny vid about a lovely twisted Victorian Gothic show:
A Shot for the Pain (11 words) by Franzeska
Fandom: Penny Dreadful (TV)
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Additional Tags: Fanvids, ConStrict 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past:
Missing scene type of fanfic covering how old Erik and old Charles reunited, which is just what I need when the angst elsewhere gets too much:
Rescue Me (2492 words) by Unforgotten
Fandom: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Erik Lehnsherr/Charles Xavier
Characters: Erik Lehnsherr, Charles Xavier
Additional Tags: Pre-Movie(s), jailbreak, Reunions
Against all hope, Charles and Erik reunite at the beginning of the Sentinel War.
And lastly, not completely unrelated to the beginning of this post, something only funny if a) you know German, b) have a vague idea about what the Bavarian dialect sounds like, and c) are familiar with a certain 1990s fantasy show made in New Zealand: Xena auf Bayrisch.
Any chance that anyone here can rec them? ETA: Rec your own, if you've written it!
To be fair, I'm not just looking for Elizabeth/John fic, but for basically any SGA or SG1 soulbonding or telepathy fic. Help, please?
(Er, except I am not looking for Jack/Daniel or Sheppard/McKay fics. Nothing wrong with them! Just not my cup of tea.)
- Our WoW guild retreat is this week! In fact, we are leaving tonight after work. Prior retreats have mostly been held in Tennessee or Kentucky -- this year, it's actually in Ohio (Hocking Hills area), which means that it's only about a 2 hour drive (last year's was something more like 6). And one of the positive side effects of having my summer classes canceled is that instead of me only being able to go from Friday afternoon to Sunday, I can go for nearly the whole week. YAY.
- For the retreat, I did some seriously epic baking this weekend & last night. On Sunday I made about 18 doz cookies total. Last night I made my favorite orange bourbon cake. Since several folks asked when I tweeted about it, I've put the recipe under the cut:( Read more... )
- There are some other things going on behind the scenes that I am trying to be optimistic about. Camp NaNo is.. not going super well, but I'm okay with that. I've been knitting and reading a lot. Things are generally pretty decent this week, as far as my personal life is concerned. :)
It’s that time of year again! Arturo and I are headed out to Nerd Summer Camp –also known as San Diego Comic Con– on behalf of the R. From July 24-27 we’ll be live-tweeting panels, writing recaps, interviewing creators, and getting up to all sorts of general shenanigans. You may remember that Art posted last week, asking for creators of colour to get in touch. That still applies– we want to hear from you and provide as much signal boosting as possible.
In the meantime, we’ve got our panel recommendations for Thursday and Friday listed below. You’ll be able to find panel coverage and more from the con on twitter this week via @Racialicious, @aboynamedart, and @wriglied.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature (11am; Room 5AB)
With both Marie Lu and Jim Butcher, this panel is a bit of a catch 22. You can go and here Lu (who is Chinese-American) talk about her great YA Legends series, but you’re also going to have to hear Butcher talk about the Dresden Files which –with his white-washing of Chicago and choie of naming a character ‘Injun Joe’– hasn’t always gone so well. The panel also features Dr. David Brin (Hugo, Locus and Nebula Award-winning author of the Uplift trilogy), Rachel Caine(NY Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series), Jason Hough (NY Times bestselling author of The Darwin Elevator series), and Jonathan Maberry (NY Times bestselling author of the Joe Ledger series) discuss writing science fiction and fantasy novels and their adaptation to TV and movies.
Masters of the Web: Comic Book Movies (11:30am, Room 24ABC)
We love Manu Bennett, who just got done with a stint on the CW’s Arrow, which is our sole reason for reccing this panel on upcoming major comic book movies. Also features: John Campea(AMC Movie Talk), Jeremy Jahns (YouTube film critic), Tiffany Smith (DC All Access),Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis (Schmoes Know), and Jon Schnepp (AMC Movie Talk).
Dreamworks Animation (11:30am, Hall H)
Dreamworks hasn’t announced any details about their huge Hall H panel, but I’m hoping they serve up a few more details or some more footage for their new animated feature starring Rhianna:
This may not be worth waiting in the Hall H line, but definitely keep an ear to the internet that afternoon.
Female Heroes, Then and Now (1:00pm, Room 32AB)
The number of panels focusing on sexism, gender, and sexuality this year is promising. One of the first here doesn’t seem to be particularly diverse, but does promise an indepth discussion on sexism, science fiction, comics, and geek culture with Heartbreakers creators Anina Bennett andPaul Guinan, along with friends Jimmy Palmiotti (Painkiller Jane), Kiala Kazebee(Vaginal Fantasy), Allison Baker (Monkeybrain Comics), and Claire Hummel (Bioshock: Infinite).
Comedy Central: Key & Peele and Introducing Moonbeam City! (1:30pm, Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront)
Key & Peele at Comic-Con! Stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peelebe will the upcoming season of their show (of the same name) on Comedy Central, their new animated show Moonbeam City and their unique point of view, born from “their shared background and experiences growing up biracial in a not quite post-racial world”.
A necessary panel, because clearly creating female characters is hard. This panel promises discussion on the future of female character creation for film, TV, comics, video games, and novels and examine the traps of common tropes, clichés, and stereotypes, while discussing how content creators can create wonderful, relatable, and realistic female characters with moderator Michele Brittany (West Coast Bleeding Cool News correspondent), Neo Edmund (Red Riding-Werewolf Huntress, Kaijudo Rise of the Duel Masters), Charlotte Fullerton (My Little Pony, Ben 10 Omniverse), Clare Kramer(Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Geek Nation), Marv Wolfman (Teen Titans, creator of countless comic book characters), Andrew Robinson (Kaijudo Rise of the Duel Masters, Rescue Bots), and Mairghread Scott (Transformers Prime, Rescue Bots).
The Art of Big Hero Six (2pm, Room 7AB)
Big Hero Six marks the first animated feature from the melded Disney/Marvel conglomerate. Based on a Marvel comic that debuted in 1998, the film is a cute looking, if slightly white-washed, classic tale of a boy and his robot in the fictional city of San Fransokyo. The panel features Walt Disney Animation Studios presents director Don Hall, producer Roy Conli, production designer Paul Felix and character designer Shiyoon Kim who will share the visual development of Big Hero 6.
Greendale Forever: TV Guide Magazine’s Tribute to Community (2:15pm, Ballroom 20)
I feel as if I’m one of the few people who have no need for a sixth season of this show, and definitely not on Yahoo, but here we are. If you still care about what’s happening at Greendale, this panel is probably for you– even if site favourites Troy and Abed are noticeably absent.
Instead we get Community creator Dan Harmon, executive producer Chris McKenna, and cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and Dino Stamatopoulos.
So many panels on female characters and women, so few panels on race and diversity. (Oops, did I say that?) This panel discusses powerful women in pop culture and features Action Flick Chick Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak) has assembled a team of women and men dangerous in their own right: Lesley Aletter (professional stuntwoman), Jenna Busch (Legion of Leia founder), Adrienne Curry (host/model/Tolkien enthusiast), Jane Espenson(Husbands), Alan Sizzler Kistler (TheMarySue.com), Bryan Q. Miller ( Batgirl), and Jennifer K. Stuller (Ink-Stained Amazon).
I highlight these “how-to” panels not for their merits of diversity (but let’s give a major shoutout to panelist and Friend of the Blog, Erika Alexander) but because they do provide good practical and realistic advice from professional writers about getting into the industry. Thursday’s features Brandon M. Easton (ThunderCats , Transformers: Rescue Bots), Geoffrey Thorne (TNT’s Leverage, Ben 10), Jonathan Callan(Ben 10, Generator Rex), animation showrunner Charlotte Fullerton (Ben 10: Omniverse), veteran screenwriter Tony Puryear (the Schwarzenegger film Eraser), and actress/writer Erika Alexander (Maxine Shaw from Living Single and co-creator/co-writer of Concrete Park, a graphic novel from Dark Horse) dishing all the inside dirt.
Breaking Barriers: Transgender Trends in Popular Culture (5pm, room 28DE)
Our first LGBTQ panel of the year includes Tara Madison Avery (Dirtheads, Gooch, Prism Comics) present panelistsDylan Edwards (Transposes), Melanie Gillman (As the Crow Flies), J. D. Saxon (Mahou Shounen Fight!), Elizabeth Lain (F*** the Limits!: The 30-Day Art Project, This Is Where),Ashley Love (Trans Forming Media, journalist, transsexual advocate), and Comic-Con special guest, famed comics historian Michelle Nolan (Love on the Racks: A History of American Romance Comics). They’ll be discussing everything from coming out and transition to navigating gender politics in a world still struggling to understand, cartoonists, writers, and filmmakers are investing their work with unique personal experiences as their characters learn to live and love in new and unexpected ways.
LGBT Geek Year in Review (6pm, Room 28DE)
It’s a shame that so many of the panels I find the most interesting are so late in the day! I’m hoping I have the energy to get to this year in review panel with LGBT activist and columnist P. Kristen Enos (Active Voice, Creatures of Grace) leads a discussion with Diane Anderson-Minshall (The Advocate), Trish Bendix (AfterEllen.com), Matt Kane (GLAAD), and Sean Z. Maker (Bent-Con).
Showtime: Penny Dreadful (6pm, Ballroom 20)
I’m not gonna lie– the idea of Aisha Tyler moderating the Penny Dreadful panel threw me for a loop. It’s a left field decision that I love, even if I don’t quite understand it. Anyway, it’s enough to get the show’s panel on our list despite it’s rather white cast. (However, the show itself is masterfully done and Eva Green is upsettingly good, if you’re looking for a quick watch this August). Tyler will moderate show stars Josh Hartnett(Ethan Chandler), Reeve Carney (Dorian Gray), and Harry Treadaway (Victor Frankenstein
Hip-Hop & Comics: Cultures Combining (7pm, Room 23ABC)
I’ve been to this panel twice at NYCC, so won’t be attending again but do fully encourage that you go see Patrick Reed’s hip-hop panel. Guests haven’t been announced yet, but in the past he’s had names like Jean Grae and Run of Run DMC joining him on stage, so it’s likely to be worth checking out.
Gender in Comics (10am, Room 4)
This panel focuses as much on gender within the books as the business side of the industry. Panelists include comics editor Janelle Asselin, ComicsAlliance.com senior editor Andy Khouri, BOOM! Studios editor Dafna Pleban, comics writer James Tynion IV (The Woods), Image comics director of trade book sales Jennifer de Guzman, and WIRED writer Laura Hudson and IDW publishing editor Sarah Gaydos.
The Black Panel (10am, Room 5AB)
So this would pretty much be the panel of the con to be at. Arturo covers the panel every year, and this year we’ll be tag teaming for a supersized panel with Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow, MAD TV), Ne-Yo (actor, artist, writer, singer, etc.), J. August Richards (Angel, Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Kevin Grevioux (I, Frankenstein; Underworld), Cree Summer (Batman Beyond, Rugrats, A Different World), and Erika Alexander (Living Single, Concrete Park). The Black Panel is produced by Tatiana El Khouri and hosted by its founder, Michael Davis.
Writing for TV: From First Draft to Getting Staffed (10:30am, 24ABC)
I attended this howto panel last year and found it well run, informative, and extremely entertaining. Karen Horne is the VP of NBC programming talent development and inclusion, and she’s joined by Spiro Skentzos (Grimm), Keto Shimizu (Arrow), David Schulner (Emerald City), and David Slack (Person of Interest) to talk about breaking into TV writing with a large Q&A session at the end.
Nickelodeon: Legend of Korra: Book 3 (11:15am, Ballroom 20)
I’ve never seen an episode of Avatar or Korra, but people tell me it’s a thing I should be watching. Join Executive producer and creator team Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino and Janet Varney(Korra), David Faustino (Mako), P. J. Byrne (Bolin), Seychelle Gabriel (Asami), John Michael Higgins (Varrick) and Mindy Sterling (Lin Beifong) for this panel which includes an exclusive sneak peek screening of a new episode for Book 3, “Change.” Moderated by Megan Casey (VP of current series for Nickelodeon).
Milestone @ 21 (11:30am, Room 5AB)
Come for the Black Panel, stay for Milestone! They’re in the same room, back to back, so you’ve really got no excuse not to come. The Milestone @ 21 panel is produced by Reggie Hudlin (Django Unchained, Django/Zorro) and hosted by Phil LaMarr (Static Shock, Mad TV) and features Denys Cowan, (Django Unchained, Green Arrow), Derek Dingle (Black Enterprise magazine), and Michael Davis (The Hidden Beach).
Not to drop any spoilers for the non-book initiated, but the following seasons should introduce the rest of the the now-deceased Oberyn Martell’s family. I’m hoping, if not absolutely expecting, that Friday’s panel might bring some Dornish casting announcements of a POC variety. If not, you’ll still get a full panel of GoT stars, including Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Natalie Dormer as Margaery Baratheon, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Rose Leslie as Ygritte, Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (“The Hound”), Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, and Maisie Williams as Arya Stark.
The Witty Women of Steampunk (2:30pm, 24ABC)
Friend of the Blog Ay-leen the Peacemaker (editor for BeyondVictoriana.com and Tor Books) joins Anina Bennett (Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel), Claire Hummel (Bioshock: Infinite), Robin Blackburn (The League of S.T.E.A.M.), Sarah Hunter (Steampunk model/performer),Sheyne Fleischer ( The League of S.T.E.A.M.), and moderator Dina Kampmeyer (Lady Steam Designs) to discuss a steampunk reimagining a history that never was. They’ll explore multiculturalism, science, sexuality, class politics, and much more.
Big Ideas for Movies: Crossing Borders with Mexican Animation (3pm, Room 23ABC)
If I’m reading correctly, this is a pretty packed panel. The creators and talent behind the new 3D animated film El Americano 3D are teaming up to bring the new face of Mexican animation to Comic Con. The panel features Mexican filmmaker Ricardo Arnaiz and his producing partnersEdward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica), Phil Roman (The Simpsons), Verónica Arceo,Alex Flores, Gerry Cardoso, and Michael D. Olmos. Also joining them include the voice talent,Rico Rodriguez(Modern Family), Raul Garcia (Aladdin), Mike Kunkel (Tarzan), and Richard Pursel(SpongeBob Squarepants) and the voices of Gabriel Iglesias (The Fluffy Movie), Cheech Marin (Cheech and Chong), Kate del Castillo (Under the Same Moon), Erik Estrada (CHIPs), and Lisa Kudrow (Friends), among many others.
Top image by Ben Templesmith via Flickr Creative Commons
Signal-boosting for a friend in Wisconsin (I hope I understood the location properly).
Anyone looking for a super friendly, well-trained 4-year-old? I have been following Robo & his Mom on Twitter for what feels like forever, and he is a Good Dog™, though not great with other dogs (literally the only reason I can't drive over there and take him myself, since it means he and my dog Sergent wouldn't get along).
Please check out gabbysilang's post here, and if you can't take Robo in yourself, at least signal-boost so we can get this great doggie into a loving home.
This work by http://www.swantower.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
This was in the amber display at Malbork Castle, though I’m pretty sure it’s an actual shell carved into a spiral, rather than a piece of amber carved to look like a shell carved into a spiral. Either way, though, it’s lovely.
Cook is still there. Nice guy. Has lost all form with the bat. Is a simply awful captain with the tactical nous of General Percival.
Buttler in for Prior. Good batsman but why replace the worst gloveman in English cricket with the second worst. Think about, if like Prior, he drops two top order batsmen per innings, he needs to avarage 80 before he's in the black. he's not that good with the bat.
No spinner. For Old Trafford? Hello reality.
Stokes, currently averaging around 2 as a batsman gets to keep the "all rounder" spot.
It's really hard not to get the impression that the England team is like a children's gang. If the senior members like you, you are in for as long as you want in. If your face doesn't fit, forget it.
Me:: Disturbing, isn't it. It's against the natural order of things.
LC: Makes me doubt our actions a bit.
Me: How to make Israelis to stop doing war...
LC: 'Your approval fills us with shame.'
I have conflicting feelings about the Commonwealth Games but television last night introduced me to two of my new favourite things.
1. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers - http://www.redhotchillipipers.co.uk/
I mean, I'm not saying I want to listen to a whole album all in one go, because that's a lot of fucking bagpiping. But I have to say that I am here with bells on for the occasional listen to a pop/rock/whatever song covered by bagpipers. Such as, for example, Don't Stop Believing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIv
2. The Barbados rugby sevens team. They aren't quite in Cool Runnings territory, if only because rugby is in fact played in Barbados, but they're not far off. These guys barely train together. There's 27 of them, and 10 live in Barbados and the other 17 live in the UK. One of them was interviewed last night and he said that they considered themselves "the under-underdogs". Guess who they're going up against first? The New Zealand All Blacks and Scotland. (And Canada, but I don't know anything about Canadian rugby.) THE ALL BLACKS, YOU GUYS. And Scotland ... who, well, if their rugby sevens approach is anything like their Six Nations approach, they're a team that theoretically you should be scared of because all of the players play great club rugby. And then you're not scared of them because they fall apart in internationals. They just stand there, looking at each other, all "so, what is this game? what do we do? is there a scoring system? OH GOD, SOMEONE IS RUNNING AT ME, WHAT DO I DOOOOOOO? AND WHY AM I HOLDING AN EGG?"
There in the dim light of the candles, he was settled atop the stairway banister, hunched in on himself, his eyes bright and fevered. She remembered, unwillingly, disbelievingly, what Prasit - Prasit, the were-betta, the ancient enemy of Egberd's clan, had told her:
"Beware the midnight screeching," he had said.
"It's super annoying."
- my were-budgie book, to be the first installment in my hit The Alphas of PetSmart series, which a person has inspired me to write. That person will regret this.
A federal appeals court panel in the District struck down a major part of the 2010 health-care law Tuesday, ruling that the tax subsidies that are central to the program may not be provided in at least half of the states.
The ruling, if upheld, could potentially be more damaging to the law than last month’s Supreme Court decision on contraceptives. The three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with plaintiffs who argued that the language of the law barred the government from giving subsidies to people in states that chose not to set up their own insurance marketplaces. Twenty-seven states, most with Republican leaders who oppose the law, decided against setting up marketplaces, and another nine states partially opted out.
[I]f subsidies for half the states are barred, it represents a potentially crippling blow to the health-care law, which relies on the subsidies to make insurance affordable for millions of low- and middle-income Americans.
The subsidies are in many cases sizeable, sharply reducing the cost of coverage.
About 5.4 million people signed up for health insurance on the federal marketplace through the spring, the government says. Of them, about 87 percent received subsidies.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit — three private employers and four individual taxpayers — argued that Congress intended for the subsidies to go to people in states that set up their own insurance exchanges. They cited language in the law that said the subsidies would be available to those “enrolled through an Exchange established by the State.”
Lower courts, however, have sided with the government, which has argued that Congress’s intent was for subsidies to be available in all states — a meaning it said is obvious from the law’s context.
Via a comment in yesterday's post by hunningham:
How to Read More: The Simple System I’m Using to Read 30+ Books Per Year
It is to point and mock at Little Mr Gradgrind, C21st incarnation:
Now, there are plenty of excellent articles on the web, but generally speaking, the quality of good books is better. Books typically have better writing (more tightly edited) and higher quality information (better fact-checking and more extensive research). From a learning perspective, it’s probably a better use of my time to read books than to read online content.
I might feel more confident about this if I didn't think he was using this time to read Really Useful Books of a kind that will become obsolescent very fast (the sort of thing I see all over airport bookshops).
I usually wake up, drink a glass of water, write down 3 things I’m grateful for, and read 20 pages of a book.... As of today, I’m 100 pages into my 7th book. At that pace (7 books per 10 weeks) I’ll read about 36 books in the next year. Not bad.
Here’s why I think this pattern works: 20 pages is small enough that it’s not intimidating. Most people can finish reading 20 pages within 30 minutes. And if you do it first thing in the morning, then the urgencies of the day don’t get in the way.
Finally, 20 pages seems small but adds up fast. It’s a great average speed.
If time allows, I’ll read at other times as well.... But regardless of what happens during the rest of the day, I still get my 20 pages in each morning.
While working out on his treadmill and glugging down a nutritious breakfast smoothie of kale and blueberries, no doubt.
What if you woke up an hour before you needed to each day and worked on yourself? How much better would you be at work, in your relationships, and as a person?
How much trying to keep my eyes open would I be?
We do not think that the concept that reading can be a pleasure and something one does not grind through at a 20-page a day rate (honestly, that sounds like the reading-reducing maintenance diet for the reading addict, no?) but pursues avidly in any spare moment has really crossed his horizon: '[I]nvest in yourself. Before your life turns into a whirlwind of activity, read a book that will make you better.'
I sure hope this young man does not come across one of the pieces abou the value of playfulness - such as this one encountered recently - because he'll then have to schedule in some time to be freely and spontaneously playful. Or his head might explode...
Give the guy a P G Wodehouse and see what happens.
Though, ghastly though the above may be, I am also vaguely creeped out by this: Outlaw Catalog of Cagey Optimism. No, really, I am not entirely on board with the concepts such as:
* AGGRESSIVE SENSITIVITY. Animated by a strong determination to be receptive and empathetic.
* ALIGNMENT WITH THE INFINITY OF THE MOMENT. Reveling in the liberating realization that we are all exactly where we need to be at all times, even if some of us are temporarily in the midst of trial or tribulation, and that human evolution is proceeding exactly as it should, even if we can't see the big picture of the puzzle that would clarify how all the pieces fit together perfectly.
which make me want to bop him one with a codfish on which I had tastefully calligraphed Desiderata ('Go placidly amidst this, punk').
I am thinking to send Cordelia to Subway on her bike some day this week to buy us lunch. She both likes the idea and is intimidated, more by Subway than by the trip there. I pulled up the menu so that Cordelia could look at it and decide what she wants (I think going in knowing just what to order will go a long way to overcoming her anxiety), and I was sad to see that they no longer have the seafood and crab sub. I loved that one. Ah, well. Some of the other subs look good. Given the pizza last night, I will probably wait until late in the week.
I put chai on the grocery list last weekend. Scott bought two kinds, one in tea bags and one powdered. I haven't tried the kind in tea bags yet, but Cordelia and I tried the powdered. It's pretty tasty. I'm going to leave it for Cordelia to drink, however, because I don't need the calories from the sugar and creamer (Just stopping drinking sweetened tea and juice and pop has stopped me from gaining more weight. That's all I wanted). It's tempting, but I think I can resist.
My sort of plan to exchange Sit and Be Fit for time on the treadmill is on hold. Scott says, and I know he's right, that the basement needs cleaning first. The corner where the treadmill is is piled with stuff, books, furniture that needs to be repaired, a small mattress. I think I could get to the treadmill and use it anyway, but it would be a challenge. I need to make Cordelia pick up her toys. Then we need to sweep and/or vacuum. There are mouse turds near the stairs (which makes me wonder if we have more mice and they simply haven't come upstairs). I'm considering asking our cleaning lady if she can give us an extra hour some week to work on the basement with me. If nothing else, she could get spiderwebs off the bookshelves so that I can put away the piles of books. She'd also help me get past being so intimidated by what needs to be done that I can't even start.
Abstracts and call for participation: The Ethics of In-Vitro Flesh and Enhanced Animals (sponsored by the Wellcome Trust)
When will this conference take place?
18-19 September 2014
Where will the conference be held?
Rothbury, Northumberland, England
The conference will take place at the Rothbury Golf Club, starting at 9.00 hrs on Thursday and finishing at 17.00 hrs on Friday.
Call for participation
Everyone who is willing to discuss the conference themes is invited to participate. As places are limited, early booking is advisable. Speakers will generally present papers in 30 mins, followed by 30 mins of discussion.
How do I register?
Registration is made by paying the fee of £ 30, using the following link: http://webstore.ncl.ac.uk/browse/extra_i
Registration includes the conference dinner on Thursday night, as well as lunches and refreshments on Thursday and Friday. Lunches will comprise a main course, with an option to purchase dessert. For any specific dietary or access requirements, please email Jacqueline.McAloon@ncl.ac.uk. Please note that, for administrative reasons, it is not possible to register for part of the conference. Please also email Jacqueline to inform her whether you would be interested in participating in an informal, pre-conference meeting for drinks and/or dinner on Wednesday evening.
Who are the speakers?
Bernice Bovenkerk, Philosophy Group, Wageningen University.
Amanda Cawston, Faculty of Philosophy and Downing College, University of Cambridge.
Jan Deckers, School of Medical Education, Newcastle University.
Clemens Driessen, Cultural Geography, Environmental Sciences Group, Wageningen University.
Arianna Ferrari, Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
Linnea Laestadius, School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Clare McCausland, Human Rights & Animal Ethics Research Network, University of Melbourne.
John Miller, School of English, University of Sheffield.
Lars Øystein Ursin, Department of Public Health and General Practice, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
Kay Peggs, School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies, University of Portsmouth.
G. Owen Schaefer, Lincoln College, University of Oxford.
Barry Smart, School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies, University of Portsmouth.
Cor van der Weele, Department of Communication, Philosophy and Technology, Wageningen University.
1. Jan Deckers
Welcome and introduction
The consumption of animal products has received increasing bioethical scrutiny for a number of reasons. These include rising levels of obesity, environmental degradation, climate change, zoonotic disease, and moral concerns with the treatment of animals. A novel technology that is being developed, partly to address some of these concerns, is the production of ‘in vitro flesh’ or ‘cultured flesh’, which relies on the isolation of animals’ stem cells and their stimulation into growth in laboratories. This project has already led to the creation of the world’s first in vitro burger, eaten in London on 5 August 2013. Other methods to reduce some of these concerns rely on the modification of farmed animals, either by means of conventional or new (genetic) breeding technologies. For example, some animals have been created with reduced capacities to experience pain, including blind chickens, and various novel technologies are being used to create animals with particular benefits, for example reduced levels of saturated fats, that could be beneficial for the human beings who consume them. This introduction will sketch the potential benefits and concerns of these technologies.
2. Cor van der Weele and Clemens Driessen:
Workshop: Cultured meat and hidden moral concerns: on pathways of transition
The goal of this workshop is to define and compare different pathways of “protein transition”.
In our introduction, we will report on focus group discussions on cultured meat, which show that moral concerns about meat are widespread, also among people who on the surface seem to be happy as meat eaters. Our findings suggest that many of these people are ambivalent about meat consumption and that they put their hopes for solutions on collective rather than individual changes.
Such ambivalent concerns and hopes are typically not credited with much moral interest. But what if we take them seriously? What difference might that make, for example, for our views about pathways of protein transition?
As a next step, we propose to make a joint effort (with all participants) to define and discuss our assumptions on pathways of change. A typology of pathways might be the outcome of this workshop.
3. Linnea Laestadius
Public perceptions of the ethics of in-vitro flesh: What are the implications for development and promotion?
While in-vitro flesh (IVF) is not yet commercially available, the public has already begun to form opinions of IVF as a result of news stories and events drawing attention to its development. As such, we can discern public perceptions of the ethics of IVF prior to its commercial release. This affords advocates of environmentally sustainable, healthy, and just diets with a unique opportunity to reflect on the desirability of the development of IVF, as well as potential modifications that could be made to improve its acceptance. This presentation draws upon an analysis of public perceptions of IVF in 814 U.S. news blog comments related to the August 2013 tasting of the world’s first IVF hamburger. Specifically, I address three primary questions: 1) How does the public perceive the ethics of IVM development and consumption? 2) What do these perceptions mean for the viability and desirability of developing IVF as a solution to high levels of conventional animal flesh consumption? and 3) What do these perceptions mean for strategies to promote IVF? Through these questions, areas for future research are also highlighted.
4. Bernice Bovenkerk
How to articulate objections to ‘enhanced properties’?
Responding to societal objections to the animal suffering resulting from meat prodcution, scientists have proposed the creation of animals with reduced sentience. Even if this could take away welfare problems, one could still ask whether this is a desirable solution that would be accepted by society. Many people object to interfering in animal lives, for example through genetic engineering. In societal discussions, such objections to ‘tampering’ with animal species figure largely, but remain unarticulated. In my view, traditional approaches in animal ethics with their focus on individuals cannot adequately articulate or justify with these objections. As the modification takes place before the animal is born, utilitarian or deontological accounts have difficulty pinpointing the problem. The objections seem to focus on our interference with a species rather than individual animal. Moreover, they seem to focus on our role as humans and what such interferences say about us as one species between the species. I will argue that animal ethics needs a new new perspective that focuses on 1) species as well as individual and 2) the question what our actions mean for our relationships to other species and in turn for our self-understanding as human beings (connecting to philosophical anthropology).
5. Clare McCausland
Moral attitudes towards nonsentient animals
Sentience is a cornerstone of the two mainstream moral attitudes towards nonhuman animals: utilitarianism and rights-based approaches. The former considers that we have obligations to all and only those who have the capacity to experience pain and pleasure and the latter assumes that only sentient creatures have moral rights – indeed some animal rights scholars attribute rights to all sentient beings. The development of nonsentient animals therefore poses a challenge to these views. In this paper I consider the work of Adam Shriver who argues that breeding mice with a genetically modified anterior cingulate cortex may challenge utilitarian arguments against animal exploitation and potentially legitimise factory farming. I suggest both that his arguments may be applied equally well against a theory of animal rights, but more importantly, that there are sound utilitarian reasons for thinking that we ought not to revise our moral attitudes towards animals, whether modified or not, too quickly.
6. Lars Øystein Ursin
The ontology of meat
The double separation of animals from humans and meat from animals has in the 20th century been accompanied by a growing concern with animal welfare. These new views and valuations on animals and meat has taken place alongside an exponential growth in the world’s population and a steady growth in the meat consumption per capita, that has led to an enormous growth in the world’s population of livestock. This has led to an unresolved ethical tension for modern carnivores: Meat is nutritionally beneficial and tasteful, but comes with an unpleasant ethical after-taste. The promise of cultured meat is to remove such a gnawing moral doubt by means of technological innovation. Critics of cultured meat argue that its promotion would be restricted to a mitigation of some unpleasant symptoms of the flawed modernist way of relating to nature, animals and food. It is deeply problematic to aim for an escape from our past and traditions in hunting and farming animals for their meat. We should rather be concerned with and proud of our place in nature as bodily beings in complex interaction with other species, and reflect on the proper – limited – scope of justice in nature. In this paper I will reflect on the ontology of meat in light of the ethos of cultured meat.
7. G. Owen Schaefer
Overcoming the ‘yuck’ factor: the ethical need for an in vitro meat marketing campaign
While the development of in vitro meat is in its infancy, there is some reason to expect it to eventually become a marketable product. Ethical vegetarians should rejoice at this prospect, as it would allow a wide swathe of the population to consume their desired meat products without the degree of animal death and suffering (not to mention environmental damage) associated with factory farming. However, there is a major impediment to general market uptake: general reluctance to eat lab-grown meat. A recent Pew poll found that, in the US, only 20% of those surveyed would be willing to eat in vitro meat. This implies it would be relegated to a niche market akin to current meat substitute products. Those concerned with animal suffering and the environment should hope for much greater market penetration. Ideally, every McDonald’s would use in vitro meat patties – but this requires much greater public willingness to eat the lab-grown burgers. To this end, there is strong ethical reason for animal welfare and environmental organizations to devote resources to marketing and lobbying campaigns aimed at ‘normalizing’ in vitro meat and inducing public interest in its consumption.
8. Kay Peggs and Barry Smart
Suffering existence: the ‘enhancement’ of nonhuman animals and the question of ethics
A significant number of species experience moments of suffering in the form of pain and distress, but for some species existence is virtually all bound up with the prospect and reality of pain and suffering. In this paper we explore the plight of domesticated nonhuman animals who are used as resources for food and for experiments and we do so by drawing on the ‘antinatalist’ view that ‘coming into existence is always a serious harm’. In particular we centre on the genetic modification of nonhuman animal species who are ‘enhanced’ to ‘not suffer’. We centre on this because genetically modified nonhuman animals exemplify the ways in which assumptions about nonhuman animals as commodities are so deeply embedded in contemporary social life and because the acute and growing public disquiet about the treatment and use of nonhuman animal subjects has led to expressions that they should be treated ethically and that due consideration should be given to their welfare. Such concern has given momentum to the pursuit of technological solutions to what are ethical matters concerning the treatment of nonhuman animals, to the genetic engineering of nonhuman animals designed to better fit (in human terms) existing institutional practices and be less sensitive or vulnerable to the pain and suffering to which they are exposed.
9. Amanda Cawston
In vitro meat: a problem dressed up as a solution
The development of in vitro or synthetic meat promises a future of genuinely cruelty free meat, offering a way out for those who are concerned about animal welfare but crave those chicken nuggets. Critics argue that if one is concerned about eating meat (e.g. because of concerns regarding animal welfare, health, environmental issues, etc.), a ready solution already exists: simply abstain from eating it. However, supporters of in vitro meat counter that widespread abstention is at best a far-off goal and, in the meantime, in vitro meat would prevent much non-human animal suffering and hence should be supported on these pragmatic grounds – in vitro meat might not be the ideal solution, but it is better than simply advocating wholesale vegetarianism. In this paper, I take issue with this pragmatic argument for in vitro meat. While I agree that there is a simplistic sense in which in vitro meat would be better for non-human animals (because it reduces their suffering), in vitro meat as a commodity is significantly ethically problematic. Particularly, the development and celebration of in vitro meat risks co-opting the growing awareness of the ethical problems of insatiable and unnecessary consumption: it transforms these anti-consumerist concerns into support for a new product to consume.
10. Arianna Ferrari
Saving animals through technology? Ethical and political reflections on in-vitro meat
In-vitro meat has been occupying the imaginary of natural and social scientists, ethicists as well as some animal welfare and animal rights scholars for a good decade. Through the advancement of tissue engineering and stem-cell research scientists have succeeded to create processed meat products using muscle cells from cows. In-vitro meat holds the promise to save nonhuman animals from suffering and death, to massively reduce the ecological footprint of animal food production, and, at the same time, to allow humans to continue enjoying the taste of meat. However, around this almost perfect “technological fix” there are many ethical and political questions which remain largely undiscussed, such as for example: how will nonhuman animals be kept and treated in order to gain the necessary cells to build in-vitro tissues? Is in-vitro meat really a way to overcome animal exploitation? What is the rationale behind investing large resources for the development and commercialization of in-vitro meat instead of distributing more information around plant-based food and investing in ways of rendering it possible worldwide? My contribution aims to disentangle the normative values in which the research and development of in-vitro meat are embedded.
11. John Miller
Being-with Sub-Organisms: Art, Affect and Cultured Flesh.
As tissue culturing technologies continue to advance, it has become increasingly clear that the world is now inhabited by a growing number of entities with an ambiguous relationship to established taxonomic frames. Even before in-vitro meat (IVM) reaches commercial availability, the biomass of animal tissue living outside of conventional bodies has been estimated at several million tons. Ethical debates surrounding IVM’s emergence often focus on its possible environmental and health benefits (reduced carbon emissions and land-use, lower-fat ‘meat’ et cetera), or on the liberation of animals from violent food production practices. Less attention has been paid, however, to how we might categorise and relate to a new generation of ‘sub-organisms’. What does it mean to share the world with so much insentient flesh? Are the ‘semi-living’ themselves (and not just the animals from which they are derived) worthy of ethical consideration? Since the late 1990s, the artists Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr have been interrogating these (and related) questions in their Tissue Culture and Art Project with installations including Tissue Culture and Art(ificial) Womb (2000), Victimless Leather (2004) and NoArk (2007). Exploring these ‘tissue engineered sculptures’ in relation to the philosophy of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, this paper investigates the role of experimental art in imagining the new ethical terrain demanded by cultured flesh.
This really massively feels like a major milestone in terms of The Self As Researcher: it is the first time in my PhD that I have properly gone "nobody has done this before and I think we need to look at it", and -- I was right. I was right and I'm taking ownership of my project and setting direction. I was right and my supervisor is going to write a grant proposal based on my document, and let me see how the thing is done.
"A 16 years old Palestinian boy, member of one of the terrorist parties that had infiltrated Israel yesterday (Monday) near Nir-Arm, had been captured by IDF forces and transfered to the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. His condition is medium in severity. (Report by Ido Efrati)"
All those Palestinian reports saying we killed "children"? I wonder how they define "children". If the definition is <18, there's good odds that half the Palestinian "children" killed by the IDF in the past two weeks were, in fact, enemy combatants.
(Welcome to the Middle East. Sometimes it sucks.)
The war is still the war - it's getting uglier and more horrible every day. I've reached a level of anxiety where sleeping is difficult (no matter how early I try to turn in, at best I wake up tired instead of a zombie, and my sleep is fitful) and I wish people could respect the way I cope with terrible news I have no control over. Instead my coworkers talk 24/7 about every new horrible rumor, bursting into my office to tell each other the news. UGH. And then my mother calls just to tell me what she's read on the Russian news, and I ask her to stop (I read the news, I am sufficiently informed) and she gets offended at my ~tone~.
The roommate drama is still drama. My current roommate seems to have calmed down a bit? So hopefully spending time with her won't be a horror. But we still have barely any candidates and it's stressful and I have to deal with it every single day.
* I got the grade for the final class of my degree - and it's a really high grade. My academic career has mostly been disaster and despair (AKA doing a degree while working full time) but I got really, really lovely feedback on this paper, so.
* I got a response from my potential thesis adviser (who has been terrible at every interaction with me) and it was basically I've read your paper, and you seem kind of dumb so maybe a thesis isn't for you. It was phrased a little more politely, but overall the message was that. This is depressing on the one hand, on the other it means I am now free to seek a different adviser and move on with this stuff. That too is a kind of progress.
* I've gotten two books I've wanted to read for ages! Now only to find the time for them, heh. The first is Spirits Abroad, a collection of Zen Cho's short stories. I've wanted to read many of them before but never got to because they were published in venues/formats that were uncomfortable for me to access. But now I finally have the book and I'm reading a story a day and they are just all SO FANTASTIC. One day I literally started laughing out loud in my apartment because the story was so hilarious. It's wonderful also because the stories are so specific to a particular place and a particular culture but at the same time are extremely universal as well. I recommend this book to everyone.
Then yesterday I got my copy of Migritude by Shailja Patel. I've only started reading it but I've wanted this book for so long! It contains one of my favorite poems ever. I was delighted to discover it's part prose part poetry, part history part sociology, different POVs, all a form of biography. It's lovely and I can't wait to read more of it.
* I bought tickets to Germany and back! \o/ Basically I will have 3 weeks to spend in Europe, Germany -> London -> France and I've been trying to sort out the dates for SO LONG and now I FINALLY HAVE and I was able to buy tickets and even find lower prices than I originally anticipated. There's still a TON of planning to do, and more flights to book, but at least I have a way to get to Europe now and a way to get back home, and everything else is a bit less stressful.
* Work is still utterly unbelievably busy because I have to deal with loads of extra work, but I've been coping with it better than last week. I'm a bit more on top of where things need to go, now, and how to manage my new clients correctly.
* Tonight will be my last night in the apartment alone before my roommate returns, and tomorrow, oh, tomorrow I will be over at a friend's for a sushi-making evening, and there will be booze. THERE WILL BE BOOZE. I know this because I called and made sure. I CALLED TO MAKE SURE. I mean I knew she'd provide alcohol but I needed to impress upon her HOW MUCH ALCOHOL needed to be provided, since I won't be driving and hence plan on getting as drunk as humanly possible.
* I've been trying to mitigate the effects of being constantly tired and depressed - which tends to mean I want to buy things I can't afford and eat things that are bad for me - and have had moderate success. It's not been perfect, but since something has to go in this equation, I've been relatively OK reigning myself in while still not pushing myself to act as if everything's normal.
By Guest Contributor Keith Chow, cross-posted from The Nerds Of Color
Earlier this week, Lucasfilm announced the addition of two more actors to the cast of Star Wars Episode VII. We do not yet know who the two relatively unknown actors — Pip Anderson, who’s British, and Crystal Clarke, who’s African American — will play in the movie, but I’m guessing their roles must be substantial enough to warrant a press release about their casting. If their characters are indeed prominent, Clarke will join John Boyega and Lupita Nyong’o in making this “the blackest Star Wars ever.”
Still, every time breaking Star Wars casting news comes across my feed, there’s always one name that I hope to see in the headlines:Ming-Na Wen.
For those not in the know, Ming-Na is one of the most prominent Asian American actresses in Hollywood today. Though she has been acting since the mid-80s, her career took off in 1993 when she was cast in the lead role of June in Wayne Wang’s adaptation of the Amy Tan novel, The Joy Luck Club.
Wen also spent over five seasons as part of the main cast of ER as Dr. Chen when the show was at the height of its powers on NBC. In addition to these mainstream roles, her geek cred runs deep as well.
She followed her star-making turn in Joy Luck Club by playing Chun Li in 1994′s live-action adaptation of Street Fighter. In 2001, Wen voiced Dr. Aki Ross, the lead character in the big screen CG-animated Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. And on television, Ming-Na provided the voice of Detective Yin on the Kids’ WB animated The Batman series and starred for two seasons on SyFy’s Stargate Universe. She even had a small role in the 2009 superhero flick Push — alongside future Captain America, and until recently, fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Chris Evans.
Despite this long and impressive filmography, the two roles that have led to Ming-Na’s icon status among us Nerds of Color — and the rest of the world, for that matter — are as a Disney Princess and as a Marvel superhero.
Her turn as the legendary Chinese heroine Fa Mulan in 1998 was a big deal. Not only is Mulan the only animated Disney film set in China, its voice cast of predominantly Asian American actors is still pretty impressive 16 years later 1. Though Mulan has never been depicted as a princess in any Chinese telling of the legend, Disney nevertheless inducted the character into their heavily branded — and super popular — Disney Princesses line, making her one of the very few non-white Princesses to be “coronated,” and therefore one of the very few Asian dolls in the toy aisle.
Last year, Ming-Na officially joined the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Disney’s other mega-franchise — when she was cast as Agent May on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And while I admit that I haven’t been the show’s biggest fan2, it was never because of any issue with the character of Melinda May. (My main problems withS.H.I.E.L.D. were always its Whedon-y bits).
In fact, she was one of the few bright spots on the show for me (this mini-Joy Luck Club reunion, for starters) and her relationship with Coulson is actually interesting. Hopefully, the showrunners give her more to do in Season Two than stand around and glower.
While she was promoting the premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ming-Na revealed that there was yet one more Disney franchise she wanted to be a part of: Star Wars.
Though her interview with Access Hollywood made all the rounds back in October, those of us who had been following her career since Joy Luck Club already knew about her preference for that galaxy far, far away. I think it was in a feature in the now defunct A Magazine where I first learned about her Star Wars fandom and her desire to be in one of the films.
Not sure if this was the issue, but I’m pretty sure the issue came out around the time the prequels were being shot. Unfortunately, the magazine existed before the internet and not even Google can track down the article. But trust me, Ming-Na’s Star Wars fandom runs deep, and in the mid-90s, she was all about being in a Star Wars movie. Up to that point, I had no idea that the actress from Joy Luck Club was a fangirl!
Despite the pleas to be in one, George Lucas wasn’t swayed enough to cast her in any of his movies. I guess in Lucas’ Star Wars universe, the only Asians we ever get to see are:
One of Jabba’s dancers in the Special Edition of Return of the Jedi …
… Uh, Lando’s co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon, Nien Nunb …
… And the Nemoidians in Episodes I-III.
That’s it. That’s the list.
The one time Lucas actually did cast a real live Asian for a role, he cast Bai Ling instead3 of Ming-Na (and subsequently sent that scene to the cutting room floor).
Also, peep the diversity in that deleted scene. By cutting it, all the black and brown people in Star Wars was reduced by 95%!
When Episode III came and went in 2005, no one expected there to be more Star Wars films, and Ming-Na’s dream to be in one went the way of the Jedi after Order 66. But now that Disney has swooped in to resuscitate the franchise, it is the perfect opportunity to let Mulan wield a lightsaber!
Even if she isn’t cast in J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII — or Rian Johnson’s Episodes VIII and IX, for that matter — Disney has already announced that they will be doing standalone Star Wars movies outside the main sequel trilogy. With a new Star Wars movie coming out every year from now to eternity, why not throw a bone to one of the Magic Kingdom’s most loyal subjects?
Not only would it be a dream fulfilled for one of nerdom’s own, but it would be an historic occasion. To win the Disney triple crown of being an official Disney Princess, a Marvel superhero, and a Jedi? Hell, that’s gotta be bigger than the EGOT!
So just like the time I called on Marvel to cast an Asian Americanactor to play Iron Fist, I am once again calling on Disney to do the right thing and cast Ming-Na Wen in a Star Wars movie!
I grew up relatively poor, and I'm not exactly wealthy now, but I can afford a standard of living that I haven't had in a long time, in terms of the size and quality of my home. This apartment is so nice and in such a good place and has so many cool little features that it makes me really nervous. I'm afraid that there's some hidden flaw in the place, or (realistically; it's at the upper end of my rent window) that I won't be able to afford it long term, that I'll be fired and won't be able to afford it at all (unrealistic; I'm good at my job, I haven't done anything to deserve it) or that something terrible will happen as a sort of supernatural retribution. I suspect some of this has to do with undergoing a major personal upheaval in my family when I was eleven -- going from safety to instability in more or less a heartbeat -- but some of it is brain chemistry.
It's terrible to live with mental illness sometimes, of course, but for me some of the terrible is the amount of superstition that goes into my life. If I do X or Y, I'll get result Z, at least I believe, even if X and Y AND Z are unrelated. When you live like that, if something goes wrong, even if it realistically wasn't in your control, it still feels as though it's your fault. I try to break as much of the habit as I can, but I still free-floating worry that because I feel secure and stable (and because I talk about it) something awful is about to happen to make up for it.
I spent a significant portion of yesterday afternoon reading Crowded House, one of the Top 25 New Yorker Free Articles from Longform.org. It's about a disastrous attempt by a hundred different people to sublet one apartment from a scam artist, and what they went through trying to get their money back. Then I had to stop, because I was working myself up into some kind of state.
Everything will be fine. The appliances work, the apartment is price-appropriate, and if something breaks I'm capable of fixing it (I've already fixed the showerhead). I have earned what I have, and while luck may have helped, I put in the work so that it could. I'm just going to keep telling myself that until I believe it.
I harvested my last broad beans over 3 weeks ago, but have only just cleared the trough for further planting. Remembering to cut all the stems just above ground level, leaving the roots in place. This evening I’ll dig them well in, as they contain lots of valuable nitrogen.
Every year, I grow peas and beans in two of my four troughs, as one of the years crops. This year, trough 3, where my peas were growing, I now have salad greens and carrots. In the newly cleared trough 4, I’ll be planting some onions, leeks and spring onions. Next year, these troughs will be where I plant my brassicas – cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower, while the peas and beans will go in troughs number 1 & 2.
Originally published at Food Adventure by Chris Malme. Please read or make comments there.
Copyright © 2013 Food Adventure. All Rights Reserved.
3. Girl Genius, part whatever. I persisted to the end of the section, but I really really didn't see the point. Urgh. Nice to know that there are examples of That Genre I'm Not Interested In where there are major female roles, but I didn't find this any more appealing than the last time I invested more than two minutes trying to find out what the appeal of Girl Genius is. I had expected to like this more than Saga, but nope.
4. The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who - I'm guessing this would have been better on paper, because I scrolled through far too much gumph to get to story. And then I got halfway through before I got bored. Cute premise, and more story than the Girl Genius, but just not interested.
At this point, if it wasn't for the xkcd story, I'd be noping out of this category. But there is one left to read....
5. Meathouse Man. Urgh - before even starting it I'm not sure about it. And the cover - hmm. Better than the Who comic, anyway. The first couple of pages of the story are horrendously off-putting. At that point, I'm thinking that if there isn't some purpose to this, I'll be really angry about having put the effort it - this is one of those situations where I really would like there to be trigger warnings on published fiction, so I could check them and find out what I'm likely to be in for. And I hit about a third of the way through, and I just couldn't be bothered. It might be a boy meets girl story, it might be a boy meets girl and everything turns out alright in the end after much angst and heartbreak, but I wasn't invested and I've already read a couple I struggled to get all the way through.
Conclusion - only one of these that I'm enthused about, and two I'm willing to vote for.
This is the second of the "deep" books, in publication order. It's the first in internal chronology.
There's this interstellar trading empire (well, trading something, they don't rule, as such, but influence continued stability), called the Qeng Ho. They pick up this dude called Pham Something (well, I can't recall the surname) on a planet, because he's expressed an interest in something caleld the On-Off star. The On-Off star is a periodic star with an unusually long cycle. It is dark for quite a few years, then springs into brilliance for another few years. And nothing really explains why it does this.
There's also this completely parallel narrative, happening down on the surface of one of the planets orbiting the On-Off star, where Sherkaner Underhill is a vaguely-arachnoid super-genius.
Then shit happens. It's all very amusing, depressing and possibly triggering. Mostly, to my mind, interesting. Sometimes in a "oh, no, don't run the motorcade full speed into the pile-up!" way.
[ yes, I am catching up with somewhere in the region of two weeks of not taking due care of my bookmeming ]
This has all been explained by my ob/gyn during my last check-up with him, a few weeks ago.
( You need a bit of background information to understand this, so basically, if you don't care how the national health service works in Italy, just skip this )
Since the D-Day is fast approaching, I knew that now was the time to get my GP to write the request for the 5 rounds of CTG. My ob/gyn has explained that the SSN pays for the CTG only during the 41st week of pregnancy. He also said that it's common practice to simply ask your GP to put in the 41st week timestamp on the request, even if in truth you get these tests done the 40th week instead. This is because it's generally recognised that the SSN does its best to pay for as little as possible during a normal pregnancy, due to the never-ending stream of cuts the Italian state has been applying to public expenditure in the last 30 years. If anyone is interested, as far as I know, for a normal pregnancy, the SSN pays for three ultrasounds, one per trimester, a few of the blood tests you have to get done routinely (but not all - HIV, RH factor, Rubella, CMV etc...but I don't remember precisely which are covered and which aren't), and of course your whole hospital stay when you give birth and any treatment/follow-up connected to that.
Unfortunately my lovely GP is on holiday at the moment. So I went to see the doctor who is filling in for her. This meant waiting for my turn for almost two hours, because of course the substitute GP has temporarily a double load of patients, his and the ones of the colleague he is covering for. But that's not a problem, I had my Kindle and since it was not an urgent thing, I really could wait.
When it was my turn at last I introduced myself and explained what I needed. I also showed him my ob/gyn's note which read (translating as faithfully as I can): Patient: falena. Request: 5 CTGs. Pregnancy date: 41st week. Pretty clear, wouldn't you think?
I explained the whole 'you need to put in '41st week' as a timestamp otherwise I'll have to pay for the exams' thing anyway. And here the problems started. The doctor told me he couldn't possibly do that, because the computer tells him automatically what week I am in (true) and that he couldn't change it.
Now, I had my doubts this was the case, because I've had to ask my GP to write requests for certain exams well ahead of the moment I was going to hand in the actual request, and she'd been able to input the 'future' time-stamp with no problem.
However, I felt like I was in no position to question the doctor. I mean, this is his job and surely I was not the first pregnant patient he's had? Yes, my corner of Italy has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, but still...
Perhaps it's my fault for not being able to stand my ground, but I decided to let it go. I'd pay for the damn exams and that was going to be it.
So, the doctor pulled up the drop-down menu on his screen to choose the procedure/treatment he was writing the request for, scrolling down to the letter 'M' for 'Monitoring' and I saw him hesitate. He cheerfully admitted: "Mmm, I wonder which one it is..."
"Well, the proper name is cardiotocography, or at least, that's what Wikipedia told me," I said with a smile, trying to be helpful.
The doctor made up his mind, clicked on one of the options and printed off my request. I thanked him, shook his hand and went out.
As I was climbing up the hill to go back home I read the request more carefully. And that's where I discovered that he'd put in 'ECG monitoring' and only 1 test as opposed to the 5 I need. Now, I have no medical degree but I'm pretty sure they're not going to give me an ECG on Thursday. And even if it was the right test, I'd still need a request for 5, otherwise it means I need to go to the surgery and wait to get another request (or 4). Ridiculous right?
So as soon as I got home I called my ob/gyn to double-check. He was pretty livid that the GP told me he couldn't put in a different timestamp on the request, he says it is routinely done precisely because certain exams need to be booked well in advance. He also confirmed my impression that the substitute GP is a moron, because an ECG =/ CTG.
I tried ringing the substitute GP's office. Several times. He didn't pick up. Which means that tomorrow I have to go queue in his surgery. Again. And get him to a) write a request for the correct test and the correct # of test at the very least b) possibly persuade him to try and change the time-stamp for the pregnancy week. Knowing my chronic inability to deal with conflict and speak up for myself, this sis going to be so not fun.
Yes, it's not a huge problem (I can still fix it) and it's a good thing I didn't leave this til the last minute (the substitute GP doesn't have surgery hours on Tuesday afternoon)...but still. Running into a doctor who is a moron is one of the least pleasant experiences ever. I mean, you'll always meet morons in life, that's the way it is, but when the moron in question is a doctor, it is worrying. *sigh*
Sixth and as far as I know final Codex Alera book.
It is pretty interesting re-reading a six-book series pretty much in "binge" mode (travel, unadvised non-use of sunscreen leading to spending a day pretty much reading, plowing through #2 to #5, with #6 being completed over the next couple of days in drips and drabs). It is something I have occasionally done, but nothing so recent as this, I think.