Nov 27

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The Illipsis: on Ferguson, riots and human limits

Nov 26

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Not blogging because everything I can think of to blog about feels inappropriate in the context of the Ferguson decision.

I will check in tomorrow and Friday, but most likely regular blogging won’t resume until next week.

Nov 25

Brief Ferguson updates

Ferguson response protests are taking place today in Exeter, N.H. at 5 p.m. (DETAILS) and in Boston, Mass. at 7 p.m. (DETAILS). For folks everywhere else in the country, those two links both lead to a blog that’s got full of listings for events nationwide.

The National Bar Association is calling for federal charges against Darren Wilson. Wilson can still be charged for this murder on a federal level.

I have other thoughts, but they’re personal — like, they’re about me, a white person living in New Hampshire, and about the way Wilson’s non-indictment relates to my life, specifically — which I think would be extremely inappropriate right now.

Nov 24

Darren Wilson was not indicted

I haven’t really got much to say tonight. I’m furious. I am obviously, by an unimaginably large margin, not the most furious, nor the most justified in being furious.

Darren Wilson murdered Mike Brown, and was put on paid leave, and the police and national guard violently suppressed peaceful protests against the Ferguson PD’s complete failure to take any steps against Wilson for his criminal behavior. After over three months, a grand jury agreed that Wilson had done nothing wrong — to such an absolute level of certainty that they wouldn’t even proceed with a trial.

I really hope I don’t have to talk to anybody at work for the next few days because vitriolic anti-cop rants are going to make up like 70 percent of my conversations for a while.

Fuck the police, fuck the national guard, fuck Missouri governor Jay Nixon, fuck Darren Wilson, and fuck the USA.

Nov 21

Re-watching Malcolm in the Middle

Malcolm in the Middle is up on Netflix. I think it’s been there for a couple months, but I only just got around to watching episodes again — which I’ve been meaning to do for a long time.

When I was a kid, it was one of my favorite shows. I’m glad that so much of it seems to have held up. They really nail the atmosphere of constant, random, capricious disorder at home and at school. I’m on episode 4 of season 1 now — the one where Malcolm beats up a 7 year old kid, then has a crisis of self-worth because nobody will take his guilt seriously.

I’m not sure whether I’m going to keep watching it, because I’m not sure whether there are more points in the “This is a great show that I enjoy watching” column or the “This reminds me of way too many parts of my own childhood” column.

I may write something later about this, addressing the obvious connections between the media I watched growing up and the way my sense of ethics developed. For now, I’ll just say I think it was probably good for me to watch a TV show that had the words “Life is unfair” in the theme song, then went on to prove it for a half an hour.

Also, I forgot that the theme song was by They Might Be Giants — and I just didn’t know in the first place that the rest of the music was them, too.

Nov 20

Finances

After several weeks of trying to puzzle through and narrow down the details of my financial history, which involved more than one large chunk of time spent going through my bank records and copying down each transaction of a particular kind, then adding them up with a calculator, I just noticed that my bank has an “Export” button that allows me to extract the data as a spreadsheet.  What has been sloppy, multiple-hour work could easily have been meticulous calculations that took less than an hour to create, permanently save, and manipulate in whatever way conveniences me.

Like, if I had done this right the first time, I could really quickly figure out exactly how much I spend, on average, on fast food per month. Or what percentage of my spending is at the cafe at NECC because I can’t be bothered to arrange to bring food with me to school. Or work out how much I’m spending on gas and project how that’s going to change when I start regularly going to a job that’s a half hour north of me.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to re-work my income and spending in a way that will allow me to move out of my parents’ house slash friends’ couches and right now my spreadsheet has a list of things I’m pretty sure I routinely spend money on, and a guess at how often I do it. My Hulu Plus account has a solid projection on it. Vitamins? Not so much.

It was a major breakthrough about a week ago when I figured out that I had been counting food twice — the amount that was part of my actual monthly spending, and the (much smaller) amount that I was guessing it would cost me to not starve when living on my own.

Does anybody out there know how to adult? Because I was not prepared for this in my 12 years of state education and 18 years of parenting.

Nov 19

Renovating damaged psychological terrain

I’ve been listening to the first Gorillaz album lately.

I listened to the Gorillaz a lot in high school. Mainly, I listened to the first album on a loop, over and over again, while I played Neverwinter Nights. I did that for hours and hours and hours. And for a very, very long time after that, listening to that album brought back nothing but vivid images from the game, and a nostalgic sense of the way I felt around that time. Which wasn’t great — it was during the part of my life where I spent most of my free time alone playing video games.1

I picked it up again because I heard they might be getting together for a third album, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised — the experience has changed. It still reminds me of the game, and the way I felt back then, but that’s just part of the atmosphere, not the whole thing. I’m enjoying it a lot.

This is good news for me! Both because I like the album a lot and I’m glad I can enjoy it again, and because it seems that I’ve gotten to a place in my life where I can start revisiting painful chunks of my past and disentangling the actual pain from the experiences that happened to be adjacent. It means I can start enjoying things I used to like again, and possibly make the whole world a generally less scary and unpleasant place by unraveling the mass of cultural references that remind me of how shitty my childhood was.

I don’t think I’m quite ready to jump into stuff like unpacking all my embarrassment surrounding my performance in Sweeney Todd, but there are some video games I think I want to play again.

  1. NOTE: I don’t think spending a lot of time alone playing video games is automatically bad. I’m saying that, for me, it reflected a lot of loneliness.

Nov 18

Causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917

So I’ve got another paper for that history class. (I’ve actually had another in the meantime — I missed one.) This one’s on the causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917, as you may have gathered from the title of this post.

Paper is below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 17

Sleep

I’m not sure what happened, exactly, but at some point some time very recently, I did something that screwed up my sleep schedule.

It’s weird, because for my new  job I have to stay up later — and I’ve only had two shifts, but it’s not like either of them had me going to bed earlier, but I’m still getting tired around 8:30.

Maybe it’s just the winter. Or maybe I’m undersleeping. Either way, I’m going to go to bed now.

Nov 14

Attempting practical application of solarpunk thoughts

I was thinking today about what I said in my Solarpunk Thoughts — Accessiblilty post, about fonts like OpenDyslexic. And since I’m in my school’s newsroom, and have access to InDesign, I did a little experimenting.

The first experiment I don’t have a picture for, but I made a sheet of all the characters from OpenDyslexic, grayed out, and went over them with pen, trying to add an Art Nouveau feel while still keeping the proportions and weights as close to the original as possible. It looks really possible! I hope adding mild serifs to them doesn’t strongly undermine their functionality. But I think I’m going to need to look more into how fonts get made in order to make something functional with it.

The second experiment had less to do with Solarpunk, but I think would still be pretty relevant — I wanted to see how OpenDyslexic would look in place of Times New Roman as the text block in my school’s paper.opendyslexic-test

 

(Text is from the Wikipedia page on Batman, as of 2014-11-14.)

It seems to me to be a lot more readable, but it definitely loses something of the aesthetic conventions of a newspaper. And, I mean, I’d be cool with dismantling those, but part of the point of a student newspaper is teaching design to the staff, and while I don’t think teaching readability is teaching design wrong, re-doing the paper in OpenDyslexic might make the transition into careers difficult for some of our staff.

So! My next step is going to be research into whether there are any organizations that provide guidelines on, or can give me an idea of, how to set up a more traditional looking text block in a way that is maximally readable to people with dyslexia or who otherwise have difficulty with mainstream design.

(Feel free to let me know if you know of any such guidelines, because I have to leave for work now.)

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