May. 14th, 2017

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thank god i’m not sitting on an airplane for this but i am basically incapable of doing anything else today either, ugh
via http://ift.tt/2rfLUgM:sugarspiceandcursewords replied to your post “thank god i’m not sitting on an airplane for this but i am basically…”

Hey, apparently we’re on the same cycle. Currently curled up on the couch and contemplating caffeine vs alcohol for self-medicating. We shall persist.

oh i tried that yesterday. it actually started friday– i had the jaws-theme thing of cramps but nothing visible for a while, and then it started but not heavily, which is typical. but saturday, here’s the thing, saturday we had to check out of our hotel by 11 but the plane didn’t leave until after 8, so we’d planned on spending the day wandering, and i woke up feeling like there was something trying to eat its way out of my pelvis through the front and back simultaneously, and was like, how am i going to spend the day running around. We went for breakfast and I drank an insane amount of coffee but the caffeine did nothing. Then we walked half a mile through the pouring rain (I mean bucketing, and the two of us trying to squeeze under a tiny folding umbrella from a tourist shop, $7.99 and the button broke the third time we opened it) to a brewery that was having a release party for their summer seasonal. And the way it works in Georgia, they can’t sell beer on premises, but they can sell brewery tours that include tastings, so you get a wristband with six logos, and go to the bar and they cross off one every time they pour you something. 

Let me tell you, six “six-ounce” (they were about eight ounces) pours of beer does more for cramps than all the coffee in the world. 

Helps to pass a day, too. We meant to go to a historic house museum or something but we Did Not. Fuck it, we did the Savannah Tourism thing four years ago, we get the idea. The beer was excellent and it was worth doing. (It’s a neat brewing company– Service Brewing– veteran-owned and operated. I have half a concept of an essay about the weirdness of Southern patriotism and the Army accent vs that damn traitor flag, but. For the record, the historic plaque down at the waterfront talking about the Civil War did have the correct and actual Stars and Bars illustrated on it, not the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia that inexplicably [You Know Why] adorns the state flag of Georgia.) 

I don’t know about today. This is my traditional day of not moving if I can help it, but usually the cramps are a little less severe. (The first full day is always brutal cramps and kind of a lot of blood but not like, unreal. Sometimes, for a bonus round, the cramps make all my lower back muscles go into spasm, which happened yesterday and was fucking amazing and I’m not really over it yet.) The second full day the cramps die down a little– less of a ravenous wolf sensation, more of a bruised exhaustion that flares up into annoyed wolf every time you have to do anything– but the floodgates, as it were, are open, so you best not leave the house or try to accomplish anything. Also like, all my back muscles are sore from cramping up all day yesterday, but it’s just like having worked out too strenuously, not like having been injured, at least. 

I usually don’t medicate on this day, mostly because medicating takes effort, and effort makes the wolf annoyed, so lying perfectly still except to run to the bathroom every 45 minutes or so is the ideal approach. Ugh. 

But you, honey, pour yourself a mimosa or something. Sometimes I do make myself something with tincture of cramp bark if I can find it, but I don’t have any made up and I just can’t be arsed to hunt it down. 

My favorite method of self-medicating with both chemicals is the B-52 Coffee, btw: Coffee, Bailey’s, Kahlua, and Cointreau. Optionally, sometimes i also add blackstrap rum. And sometimes I cut the coffee half-and-half with hot cocoa. I prefer that to Irish coffee, believe it or not.
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wahh i wanted to do laundry today to feel better about the world but it is pouring fucking rain (and there was some hail too, aces) so I can’t hang it on the line and if I can’t hang it on the line what’s the point.

shut up, i do laundry as self-care, it’s weird but that’s how i am. 
via http://ift.tt/2qhFuzr:How Corn Took Over American Farms:

meadowslark:

kenyatta:

Corn’s rise has transformed the American landscape. Rice, the only crop that can compete with corn in yields, has held on to its acreage in the regions where weather and soil conditions allow it to be grown, and sorghum has had a mini-revival on the Southern Plains, thanks to buying interest from China. But the U.S. Corn Belt has moved north and west, taking with it soybeans, the crop that tends to fit best in rotation with corn. The expansion has taken land away from wheat, once the top U.S. staple grain, and completely driven oats and barley from some parts of the country.

Farmers in Cass County, North Dakota, where Skunes lives, harvested 291,500 acres of corn last year—a quarter-century ago, they reaped 80,400. Barley, meanwhile, went in the other direction, with 13,700 acres of grain primarily used for beer last year, versus 109,500 acres in 1992.

“If you drive around Arthur now, you’ll see a couple of wheat fields, and the rest is corn and soybeans. Thirty years ago, you would have seen sugar beets, wheat, barley, soybeans, edible beans, a few sunflowers.”

A good short summary of one of my favorite peeves. The only problem is that it is too short. The Bloomberg pitch fails to examine the underlying public policies that created corn’s differential return.
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beardednegro:

We see you.

Children who’ve lost their mothers

Children whose relationships with their mothers are broken

Women who long for children for whom it hasn’t happened or can’t happen

Mothers who’ve lost their children

Mothers whose relationships with their children are broken

Single fathers pulling double duty

…and countless others for whom this is a difficult day

We see you. You are not invisible. Take care of yourselves.
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Welp.

Replaced both needles on the serger with brand-new ones, in case that was the problem. One of them looked pretty dull, it was certainly time.

Still won’t make a proper stitch, so I unthreaded the whole machine and started again, from scratch, following the diagrams. Redid it three times when the first two turns of the hand-crank made thread slip out of places it was supposed to be. Half an hour of tinkering, and I can tell, the thing’s threaded exactly as it’s supposed to be, down to the last detail.

When I press the pedal, I get three threads together in a kind of stitch, and Needle B’s thread just goes through and stays loose. Won’t join the others.

Rethreaded both needles, double-checked the upper and lower loopers. All is arranged correctly. There’s no reason, by the way, for so much of the looper assemblies to be unreachable except by tweezers; the door you open could certainly go over farther and give you better access, but it just doesn’t, so you can’t really see those assemblies and have to thread them with tweezers and luck. But I am one thousand percent certain they’re threaded correctly; you can tell because the thread goes in and comes out at the right spots, and I followed the directions for which part has to cross over the other part, and such.

But it doesn’t work. The fucking thing doesn’t work. Needle B’s thread won’t join the stitch, the whole thing just spits out tangles that unravel if you pull them straight.

Ughhhhhhhhhhh.

oh, and now our wifi is cutting out so I couldn’t post this post, and lost it (and with Tumblr, if you lose Internet while composing a post, it doesn’t matter if the Internet comes back, your post will never post, you have to delete it and start fresh, and you can copy-paste the text but not the tags) so here are my stupid tags, which I fucking screenshotted because fuck everything.

In short: Fuck everything.
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girderednerve replied to your post “Welp. Replaced both needles on the serger with brand-new ones, in case…”

i am so sorry! i hope it decides to cooperate soon.

I don’t know what else to try; it’s not going to spontaneously just work. I’m out of ideas. I’ve been avoiding it for weeks but I actually need it now, so– I just used up every one of my ideas. I got nothing. There’s nowhere to go from here. 

I read the manual, that’s how desperate I was, and according to the manual, it ought to be working now. 

It’s just not. 

I GUESS THIS FUCKING PROJECT IS GETTING HAND-SEWN!
via http://ift.tt/2rgzaGX:meanderings0ul replied to your post “Welp. Replaced both needles on the serger with brand-new ones, in case…”

Yikes :( Sry. I thought Singers had a good rep? My whole family uses singer sewing machines, me included, and have no issues. But those are strictly sewing machines, not sergers, and I’m pretty sure they’re quite different. Maybe Singer doesn’t make very good sergers :/

The brand has been bought and sold a bunch, and in the most recent years there have been a lot of quality complaints.

My serger actually hasn’t needed repair before. But my machine– I bought a pretty high-end one, and it broke instantly, and was repaired under warranty three times in the first year I had it and then the warranty was up, and it’s now broken a different way so that it’s still usable but is definitely broken. (It only zigs one direction with zig-zags. Any stitches that involve a lot of motion to the left come out squashed or skipped.)

So. I mean. YMMV, but that’s not much of an endorsement, and in fact is exactly what I was cautioned about when I was first shopping around.

And, btw, the dealership that sold it to me used to operate somewhat independently within JoAnn’s, but has now been absorbed almost entirely, and so now there’s no longer anyone I could even really go to complain to about it being broken; nobody’s left who knows anything about the department. I’m on my own with Singer and have to ship it back myself if I want to get it repaired. So I think if I got another one, I wouldn’t even be able to get it serviced under warranty.

However– the local shop that sold the higher-end stuff (Husqvarna, Pfaff) is also gone, so I wouldn’t be able to get warranty service on those either. And for the same level of features (99 stitches including specific ones i wanted, one-step buttonholes, automatic threading) as I got for $400 on the Singer, I’d be looking at a $700 Pfaff, at least. 
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Everything I have tried to do today has turned to shit and instead of trying to enumerate it, I will write about something that is good, that was very pleasant, and some of it was technically today, because last night on the plane ride home, I reread, for maybe the millionth time, Martha Wells’s Death of the Necromancer, (1998) and I was so absorbed in it that I stayed up another two hours after getting home at half-past midnight just to finish it again even though I have read it a million times. My only regret is how long I have to go between readings for it to be fresh enough to be suspenseful again; I can’t read it more than once or twice a year, anymore, and even that might wear it out, as it were.

It predates the steampunk fad, and is not… quite steampunk. No, it’s just High Fantasy-type adventure, set instead of in a medievalish setting, instead in an 1880s-Paris-like setting, including a secondary character who is very, very similar to a Sherlock Holmes archetype (with bonus doctor sidekick).

And the hero is sort of a Moriarity-character– a criminal mastermind, a beautifully-drawn and consistent character with deep motivations and phenomenal detailing. 

The secondary protagonist– I’m not sure how to rank it, but clearly, Nicholas is the protagonist, it’s his story; Madeleine is the most important supporting character, has an important journey of personal development, and is a crucial component in a lot of the action sequences– is also a marvellously complex character. And the two of them have a fascinatingly understated romance– not a new relationship, but an important underpinning of the plot and their motivations. There’s also a wonderful side storyline of addiction, and an exploration of friendship through and despite the weight of a terrible drug dependency.

I’ve mentioned the book before, and included some of my favorite excerpts, so I’ll try to find a different pull-quote this time.

Oh, here: the friendship. Nicholas and his friend Arisilde are discussing the death of Nicholas’s step-father, and Arisilde’s patron, who was executed for necromancy years before; afterward, Arisilde developed a debilitating opium addiction, and Nicholas turned into a criminal mastermind, and it is the driving force behind much of the novel’s background plot.

“What?” The light from the hearth behind them gleamed off the whites of Arisilde’s eyes but his voice sounded almost normal. “Do you think all this wreck and ruin came from that moment? Oh no, oh no, never think that. Watching a good friend hang is a terrible thing but it didn’t do this. I did this.” Arisilde leaned forward. His voice dropped to a whisper but it was as intense as if he shouted. “I wanted to kill them all. It’s not what they did, you see, it’s what they didn’t do. I wanted to pull Lodun down stone by burning stone. I wanted to destroy every man, woman, and child in it, I wanted to burn them alive and watch them scream in Hell. And I could have done it. They trained me to do it. But…” 
Arisilde started to laugh. It was an agonizing sound. “But I never could bear to see anyone hurt. Isn’t that ridiculous?”

“That’s the difference between us, Ari. You wanted to do it; I would have done it.” But the words disturbed [Nicholas]. Arisilde had said some odd things under the influence of opium but hearing him talk this way was almost shocking. […]

Arisilde peered up at him urgently. “You knew I thought Edouard was guilty. You knew because I told you and we talked about it, and then later after the execution I came to you and I said you had been right and I had been wrong, remember? And it was proved later, of course, Ronsarde proved it later, remember?”

“Of course I do. That was when…” I decided not to kill Ronsarde. Nicholas couldn’t finish the thought aloud, not even to Ari who wouldn’t recall this conversation by morning anyway.

“But I didn’t tell you how I knew.” Arisilde let the words trail off. Nicholas thought that was all he meant to say and tried to urge him to stand, but the sorcerer shook his head. His voice perceptibly stronger, he said, “I went to Ilamires Rohan. He was Master of Lodun, then, remember?” 

“Of course I remember, Ari, he tried to defend Edouard.”

Arisilde stood up suddenly, dragging Nicholas with him. Ari was so slender, seeming so weak and languid most of the time, Nicholas had forgotten how strong he was. Ari’s hands were buried in the front of his shirt, almost lifting him off his feet, and Nicholas didn’t think he could free himself without hurting him. Arisilde said, softly, terribly, “He didn’t defend him well enough.”

“What?”

“I went to see him in his study at Lodun. Oh, that beautiful room. I was afraid that my judgment was faulty because I had let Edouard fool me, and he said my judgment was not impaired. He said he knew Edouard was innocent. But he had let the trial go on, because a man of Edouard’s knowledge was too dangerous to live.”

“No.” Nicholas felt oddly hollow. One more betrayal after all the others of that terrible time, what did it really matter? But as the words sank in, and Nicholas remembered the old man, Master of Lodun, sitting with them at the trial as if in sympathy and support, he was astonished to discover that it did still matter. It mattered a great deal.

Arisilde was saying, “Yes, the simple truth, after all the lies. I could have killed him.”

“You should have told me,” Nicholas whispered. “I would have.”

“I know. That’s why I didn’t.” Arisilde smiled, and Nicholas saw the other truth. Ari said, “But don’t think he escaped unpunished. He loved me like a son, you know. So I destroyed something he loved.”

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