Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween roundup

Laptop still acting up (maybe gone forever); blogging from the iPad.

By now, the regularity of toddler shootings is old news, as is this brilliant display of what's banned but not deadly .

On and from Svetlana Alexievich. also: love Marlon James.

When the default viewpoint is that male feelings take precedence over women's security.

On harassment in science.

If you really understand what I nonetheless appreciate to be a great explanation, more power to you.

I get not teaching kids gender roles but I'd tell this woman to chill the f* out.

How f*ed in the head do you have to be to ask cosmonauts how they'll manage without makeup.

An insightful set of perspectives about sex in the era of nobody cares.

I love, love this explanation of when it's controlling to make demands about your SO's appearance. Also love these two Ask Polly pieces (yes, I know I already linked to one) about being open about your needs and owning them (see also Modern Love). Actually, Tracey Stewart's profile speaks some to just saying no to people who don't accept you as-is, and to the ethics of eating animals.

The symbolism of Lisa's vegetarianism.

I never tweeted about my cat going down to the kebab shop; apparently I'm the only one.

Most vegetarians who eat meat aren't actually vegetarians.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday roundup

Walt on what makes a strategist.

Health research is often mischaracterized in the press, but the mischaracterization often starts with the press release.

Animals teach us unconditional love, and we start to expect the same from people.

So much truth in this Ask Polly column.

Are you setting up your kids for on-their-own success? Are you?

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday morning roundup

The Central American refugee crisis is still raging, and our policy response is unconscionable,

Another pioneering scientist is outed as an abuser and harasser,

Jon Butterworth's very helpful explanation of neutrino oscillation, but I still have questions.

The weekend

I got a few more comments about my protruding belly last night, but there was mostly peace. There was, of course, complaining earlier in the day about the walk and about how we didn't spend enough time in her favorite store. This is because I had plans with friends during the day, and had told her throughout the morning that if we didn't leave "now," we wouldn't have much time for anything. But there was, nonetheless, a lot of changing clothes, etc. I tried to help her get dressed, but she kept yelling at me. I came down stairs and dad started lecturing me about how I had to be patient with her, but then he went upstairs to help her get dressed only to come downstairs and say, "ultimately, her greatest obstacle is that she's a стерва." I.e., bitch.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

You'll never guess what mom just said to me

Mom: Your belly has grown!
Mom: Yes, it has.

Earlier, over breakfast:

Mom: That hairstyle doesn't work for you.
A.: It's not a hairstyle; it's a mechanism for keeping my hair out of my face.
Mom: It doesn't work for you.
A.: [Shrug.]

Otherwise, much of the same: more dilly-dallying, more complaining about the walk, more ruing the lost treasures.


As usual, it took multiple attempts to get mom out of the house for a walk yesterday. Just when I thought she was ready, she came downstairs in a warm sweater. I asked if she had something underneath--the day before, which was not as warm, she'd shed a layer as soon as we started walking. I wanted to make sure that if she shed a layer, she had another one underneath. Also the other day, she kvetched the minute we got out of the car--about how she wanted to go on the walk at the dog park, and how I didn't know what I was talking about since I'd never been there. Then, she came around and started talking about how beautiful it was by the river.

Quick roundup and ramble

Why Svetlana Alexievich's Nobel Prize matters.

The affirmative consent concept is making strides but has a ways to go.

I'm not linking to the Times op-ed on meditation, which can be summed up by one of its own sentences: it's not snake oil but it's not a panacea. But I have to wonder--for example, as a vegan who is often surprised that people feel like I'm trying to "convert" them merely by talking about my own eating habits, mostly in response to their questions--whether people are really preaching to this guy or merely talking about what works for them. See also: people who interpret existing with breasts as showing off. Anyway, I think there's value in the column: not everything works for everyone and not everyone needs something that may really work for some people. I personally struggle with mindfulness, so I make an effort to meditate. If you don't struggle with mindfulness, more power to you.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday morning

Yesterday was relatively peaceful, by mom standards. I did have to leave the dinner table because she wouldn't stop political ranting and name-calling, but that's every day (even by phone). This morning, I woke up early--and fielded about 20 work emails between 6 and 10am--and tried to get my work out in before mom got up and tried to talk to me while I worked out. I need workout time to myself, so I can clear my head and better keep an unpained face while mom gossips about the neighbors for the 30th time. I got through about half the workout, which is something. Dad left for a medical appointment. Mom talked to me, and then wandered outside. I checked on her occasionally through the window. Just as I was wrapping up, she came back in and started yelling.

She had gone through the recycling bin and brought back all the paper--old circulars and junk mail, including a free calendar. She started screaming and pounding her fists about how dad throws out all her things without ever asking her, and about how everything that is good in the house, she brought or bought and dad never did anything. All he does is move things around and mess with her decor. I finished stretching, and--noticing visible dust--started vacuuming. In part to tune out mom.

I got my parents a new vacuum cleaner last time I was here, and almost instantly filled several canisters' worth. Dad promised that he'd keep vacuuming, but lately he said that it wasn't working as well. The house looked better than usual--the living room floor was not covered in a visible layer of dust, and dad said that he'd been on top of keeping that floor clean because since we cleaned it last time, he noticed the dirt that much more--but there was still dust everywhere. So I vacuumed the living room and the stairs, filling about three-quarters of a canister. Dad got home around that time and mom started screaming at him--holding up the calendar and asking why he tossed it, and saying 'good thing the good trash collectors noticed it and new it wasn't trash, and took it out.' She continued to yell as dad and I emptied the canister and shook out the filter. I took the vacuum cleaner upstairs and filled a full, heaping canister. It was disgusting. I don't understand how they can just breathe all of that in. I keep telling them both that they need to clean everything out and get to the places I couldn't get to because of all the clutter, but it's like talking to a brick wall.

As I was vacuuming upstairs, mom tried to offer me some blazer. I told her it was too big. She insisted that it wasn't. I asked her to let me finish vacuuming. Once I did finish vacuuming, I started dealing with the 14 work emails on my phone--and mom started asking me about the blazer again.

A.: I can tell it's too big.
Mom: I can tell it isn't. Just try it on.
A.: Can I finish with the work stuff?
Mom: Just try it on.

I tried it on. It was--surprise--much too big, but she started arguing with me and telling me it looked great. It is an 8/10, and I am a 00. I said no thank you and went back to work emails.

Mom: Well, you could show some appreciation instead of taking that tone as if I'm just trying to stick you with some piece of garbage.
A.: Thank you, mom. It's a nice blazer, it just doesn't fit.
Mom: Have I told you that your visits no longer bring me any joy?
A.: You have.
Mom: Okay, then.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Old is the new fat

Mom was in the middle of some political rant--probably the same one, about how everyone is getting shot because the President invited all the immigrants in so that they would vote for him--when she stopped and got that look on her face. That "what's wrong with your face" look.

Mom: You've aged.
A.: I wonder how that happened.
Mom: No, seriously: you've aged.
A.: Uh-huh.


Mom: You're looking old.
A.: It happens.
Mom: I don't know. Do I look like I've aged?
A.: Uh-huh.

My parents

On the coffee table next to me, there's a packet of hot sauce from 2003 and a package of sugar from god knows when. Over lunch, I asked what happened to all the decorative plates that were hanging in the (glass-doored) kitchen cabinets. Mom went on about how they were priceless and should never have been there--she even slammed her fists on the kitchen table, in anger, when I said they were always there. She said she would give them to me--she would give me everything--if I had a baby. I told her that was added incentive not to have a baby.

Clothes are piled over the guest bed. Some are torn, but she won't use them for rags or throw them out. Stuff is everywhere.

Oh, and the topic of discussion over lunch was how the President let in all the illegals so they would vote for him, and now they're shooting everyone.

My parents won't leave for the airport until I call them when I land, because they don't want to have to circle, which is fine. So I called them when I landed, and then called them once I was outside to let them know where I was. They said they were stuck in traffic; I told them to call me when they got to the Airport Roadway--it was chilly, so I'd go back in and then go out. So then they call me 20 minutes later to say they can't find me, and they have to circle. I don't care, but they hate circling, so if they just listened, they wouldn't be doing it. I get irritated because this is a microcosm of the bigger not-listening issue, but I guess I should just save the irritation for when it matters.

Thursday roundup

Hi guys! My laptop won't connect to the internet, so I couldn't post until now (I'm at my parents' house; post forthcoming).

Factory farming is a crisis in ethics, but "humane" farming has its own ethical issues.

I heart vegan athletes.
The women in MRA groups are just as f*ed up as the men. And--take it from a gynecologist--they're pretty f*ed up. Need more evidence (from a purely "factually misguided" standpoint)? Women aren't good for colliders, except we totally are.

Crass is not, in and of itself, funny.

I love this Ask Polly response about being your (complete, dark) self in a relationship.

Trevor Noah's "America's African President" is brilliant. As is the Nightly Show's "dick blow-off."