I’ve posted a photo of a penguin tongue before, but I particularly like this one because it shows the cartilaginous barbs they use instead of teeth to hold onto the fish. You can see them at the top of the mouth and on the tongue, but they all point backwards, so slippery fish can be more easily swallowed.
Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
Getting a horse for Christmas when I was 11. Penny and I were soul-friends and I had so many good times with her. Here is a photo of us the next summer: https://flic.kr/p/63nL6f
2. What's the saddest thing to ever happen to you?
Maybe when my 2 best friends broke up with me when we were 11-ish (6th grade). In therapy, I determined this to be a watershed event for learning to shut down my emotions; and also the ringleader probably sensed something gay about me, and that is why she decided to stop talking to me. Also, the way they did it! They just stopped talking to me one day. I was bewildered more than anything.
3. What's the thing that got you the most angry in your life?
Probably at a therapist. I was about a day or two into a hypo-manic episode (?) after coming out and I thought she could help me. She didn't. I did write about it at the time http://sasha-feather.dreamwidth.org/
I got so angry about the Vivid Con ableism stuff in 2010 that I made myself ill. But, that anger has faded. I don't really feel it anymore.
I didn't get angry a lot before I came out; and then I was angry *all the time*; it seems better now a few years on.
4. What's the most frightening thing to ever happen to you?
Scary situations don't really "happen to me" so much as arise from my anxiety. I have gotten super anxious in totally mundane situations. It seemed like the only way out of the problem was to speak, and I was so anxious I could not speak, so I was stuck and frozen. Also, I didn't know why this was happening. Everyone else seemed to have no problem in these ordinary situations, like speaking to a teacher or knocking on a door. Then having random panic attacks sent me to therapy.
In a more traditional sense of frightening-- there was some scary-to-outsiders stuff with the horses, like getting bucked off. But it never seemed scary to me. Animals are easier than people, and that basic fear is easier to deal with than anxiety.
5. What's the most unbelievable thing to happen to you in your life?
a. Getting scholarships that paid for my college education
b. Getting a horse for Christmas!!!11!1!!!
c. Not realizing I was queer until age mumblety
d. getting facial pain that has no real diagnosis
e. Being on the State Champion poutlry quiz bowl team!
Content notes for police violence
Starr Carter lives in a poor neighborhood called Garden Heights. She and her brothers commute 45 minutes to go to a mostly-white private school. It's Spring break and she's a a party in the Garden. She runs into an old friend, Khalil, and they catch up. A fight breaks out at the party and they leave, getting into Khalil's car. On the way home, a cop pulls them over, shoots and kills Khalil. The book is abou the aftermath of these events.
It's first-person and the strong use of voice makes this book real and visceral. Thomas deftly handles a number of difficult topics, such as Starr's complicated feelings about dating a white boy, and feeling torn between two worlds. The story is gripping, and though its long (by YA standards), its a fast read.
I hope to see this as required reading on syllabi.
Why is it on me to learn and improve and not on them to listen to me like they listen to one another? I wondered.
I shall confine myself to remarking that I underlined every second sentence or so of Reset but nobly refrained from writing IT'S SO TRUE!!! in every margin, if only because I was reading it on my Kindle. And that Ellen is a real-life badass superhero and that her Project Include is an authentic Force For Good. And that this book is an pretty good primer both on the structure of venture capital and on what discrimination in the workplace looks like, and how insidious it is and how hard to fight. Okay, I'm done.
I was puzzled by this book until I realized it was the author's first, and that when she wrote it she was not yet the astonishing artist who created Sethe and Beloved. The Bluest Eye deals with a lot of the same themes as the later novel - the crippling legacies of the slaveholding South, the crises of Black American manhood, the extremes to which Black women are driven to make sense of their predicaments. But they are present here in larval form.
Morrison uses the text of a child's early reader as a framing device, and to throw her dark material into stark relief. I realize as I am writing this that it works equally well as an ironic nod to the fact that the author is here feeling her way into her story and her voice.
The great John Leonard gave this book a lovely, generous review.
I knew this book only from the Spielberg movie. I am not a fan of Spielberg; I find him manipulative and his films shallow and cloying. Nothing prepared me for hearing Alice Walker read her own novel aloud. Her performance brings out the vivid poetry and wry intelligence of Celie's very singular voice.
This is the story of the three great loves of Celie's life: her sister Netti, the singer Shug Avery, and God himself. God is fine, I guess, whatever. Shug is one of literature's greatest bisexuals, and I would take a bullet for her. But Celie and Netti are America's Jane and Lizzie Bennett. Their love is vast.
By the end of the book I found myself hanging on every word, and gasping aloud at turns in the plot. You say something like "a modern masterpiece" and it makes it sound like homework reading, but The Color Purple is both great and really, really good.
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The new mattress is great so far, I think. I'm also sleeping with a pregnancy pillow at times (and no, I'm not pregnant and don't intend ever to be pregnant) and it seems to also help with the sciatica stuff. I think. Maybe. (It can be hard to tell.)
+ + +
We now have health insurance through MinnesotaCare! Hooray! Apparently from August onward and I'm still sorting out what we owe for various appointments in August and September and getting those paid for. Sadly doesn't cover the $600+ ER visit in July and I'm cranky about that but we'll cope. There were appeals and all manner of things we had to deal with to get this all sorted out. I think we should be covered for July too given our initial application (that was messed up by a Navigator) was made in June but it is not according to others. Harrumph. But we finally have health insurance we can actually afford and that is a great relief. Now I need to take advantage of it and get all the appointments made.
It works out that the local cheap federally subsidized clinic we've been going to is covered as well as my longtime psychiatrist at HealthPartners so that's excellent. (We went with the Healthpartners plan through MNCare.) I should be able to either go to HealthPartners for an eye exam (as I have my whole life) or to the aforementioned cheap clinic as both are covered. That reallllly needs to be my next appointment given my blurry vision which is blurry. (I really think it's just age-related changes to my eyes but it's trickier to tell for me than most given I'm already both farsighted and nearsighted, among other things. Trying to motivate myself to do that with the thought of new glasses plus, you know, seeing clearer.)
+ + +
I stalled for a bit in my Law & Order: Criminal Intent rewatch, ran into a couple of particularly gruesome episodes which surprised me a bit as I don't think of it as a gruesome show, it's not like Criminal Minds (which I gave up on because it seemed to embrace the truly grisly and gruesome). But that episode with Neil Patrick Harris as a cannibal of sorts? Ew ew ew.
Right after that comes "Great Barrier" which is the Nicole Wallace episode with two different endings. I'm in the midst of that one at the moment.
+ + +
The Minnesota Twins may make the postseason and this is exciting after several years of not very good baseball. Bad baseball. This year the team has been pretty great with all sorts of exciting things going on, during the first half of the season they had a lousy record at home so it didn't feel like the season was going quite as well as it actually was. They've done better at home in the second half so we've seen lots of wins and just plain exciting games.
There are also young players coming into their own, which is great to see.
And then there's Joe Mauer, back to being himself after a couple of years of not doing well due to concussions and changing positions on the field as a result. People were hard on him, but it was clear to those of us who've watched him his entire career that he had to have been struggling with post-concussion symptoms. Heck, in one interview Mauer basically admitted to playing major league baseball while experiencing blurred vision. Can you imagine? He was no longer great at baseball but was still above average. During chunks of at least one season with blurred vision. The big weirdo.
Mauer is my favorite player and it was hard watching him struggle. And certain members of the local media in Minnesota have done their best to make local baseball fans hate the guy. Seriously. Non-local baseball fans are stunned to learn Mauer is hated by a large group of people in Minnesota because honestly what on earth is there to hate about Joe Mauer? Okay, some grumble that he's overpaid but it's not like he's the only athlete who is and it's not like he didn't earn that payday by being the best player in baseball for a time. That's what happens when you award someone for an awesome season or two with a multi-year contract, it just is. And somehow these people who complain forget that Joe Mauer was playing for not a lot of money (as pay for baseball players go) during his first few seasons. The pay for athletes is weird. (Before baseball players make it to the big leagues, they often toil for years in the minor leagues where they are paid far less than even minimum wage and often have to room with host families and do ridiculous things just to find a way to eat. It's bad, you guys, and I get so cranky about this but fortunately there's real movement to improve the situation. I hope. Mauer didn't have to toil like this, but most others do.)
Some of the other things people complain about re Mauer are the sorts of things that seem Very Minnesotan. Minnesotans hating on Mauer for being reserved and Minnesotan is just . . . wrong. And yet many do. Ugh.
Anyway. Watching Mauer get back to being great is a joy, not just because I enjoy watching great athletes be great but because it's a good sign he's recovered fully (or mostly) from his brain injury. I like that. Brain injuries suck and are hard to recover from.
It can be very hard to positively identify certain animals, particularly insects. For example, with dragonflies, you have to know the colour and patternings on their body, but you sometimes also have to know general size, where they’re located, and the time of the year you saw them.
Of course, it helps if they’re also not partially inside of a mongoose.
Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.