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Sunday, July 5th, 2015 04:17 am
This video contains firework foolishness typical of what Chris' family gets up to in Schrodinger's Heroes.  Imagine that this is what Luke, Bo, and their friends are doing on the Fourth of July.  (Warning: dangerous shenanigans and minor injuries.)
Saturday, July 4th, 2015 10:58 pm
"Coming in from the Cold" is the next big piece in its series, dealing with Bucky and his continued issues with that piece-of-crap prosthesis. I'm posting each day within the story as a section unto itself, broken down into post-sized parts.

This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Blended," "Am I Not," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," "Green Eggs and Hulk,""kintsukuroi," "Little and Broken, but Still Good," "Up the Water Spout," "The Life of the Dead," "If They Could Just Stay Little," "Anahata," "Coming in from the Cold: Saturday: Building Towers," and "Coming in from the Cold: Sunday: Shaking Foundations."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Bruce Banner, Betty Ross, Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanova, Tony Stark, Clint Barton, Happy Hogan, Peggy Carter, Sam Wilson, DUM-E, U, Butterfingers.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Mention of past trauma with lingering symptoms of PTSD. Kitchen fail. Tony being a brat. Description of past deaths and self-destructive behavior. Current environment is supportive.
Summary: The Avengers celebrate Memorial Day by going to Washington, D.C. for the festivities. Emotional roller-coasters ensue.
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Family. Fluff and angst. Emotional overload. Coping skills. Healthy touch. Asking for help and getting it. Cooking. Comfort food. Holidays. Medals. Veteran issues. Nonsexual intimacy. Caregiving. Competence. Gentleness. Trust. Emotional confusion. Hope. Crowds. Memorials. Mourning. Letting go. Moving on. Photography. Parades. Storytelling. War stories. Nostalgia. Hand-feeding. Heroism. Public speaking. Flashbacks. Friendship. Counseling. Leaving early. Bots. Tony and his bots. Tony Stark loves his bots. The bots are Tony's kids. Bot feels. Bots being cute. Protective bots. Boundary issues. Territoriality. Making friends. #coulsonlives

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

Read more... )
Saturday, July 4th, 2015 06:52 pm
For those of you not excited by ordinary stuffed animals, you can make a platypus stuffie instead. 
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Saturday, July 4th, 2015 06:39 pm
Adorable cartoon version, not the same as mine, but so funny.
Saturday, July 4th, 2015 01:59 pm
This article talks about how live music is largely inaccessible to people with disabilities.  Much the same is true of any large outdoor event, or indoor ones held in older buildings: problems I've encountered with Pagan events. 

Things you can do about this:

* If you are a site host, check accessibility recommendations and accommodate whatever you can.  Measure access ways and list things like door width, number of steps, etc.  Make sure there is at least some seating for people who can't stand for long periods.  If you charge extra for seating, reserve some at the usual price or better yet free for people with disabilities -- anyone with a car sticker should be able to get the reserved seating.  Include contact information so people can ask questions.  Use input from them to expand the information you list.  Can't afford upgrades you want to make?  Do a fundraiser for a bigger bathroom or a new ramp that won't ruin the historic look of your building.

* If you are a musician, insist that your venue hosts do the above.  Do you do house concerts?  Try to find fans with disabilities who would like to host some!  Chances are, their homes will be accessible.  Sometimes that is one heck of an asset: a house built from scratch for a wheelchair user has a minimum of walls, with spaces instead defined by columns or changing floor style, so that sound carries better.

* If you are a fan, encourage site hosts and musicians to make reasonable accommodations, whether or not you have a disability yourself.  You might also boycott the ones who don't.
Saturday, July 4th, 2015 12:58 pm
Some years back, in one of the Usenet newsgroups I used to frequent, someone posted a "warm fuzzy" description of her town's big 4th of July festival, complete with speech by minister and group-sing of "God Bless America". This prompted a fair amount of discussion on the group, during which I mentioned that it would have been nice had the festival been a little more inclusive. I was promptly called a killjoy, over-sensitive, accused of advocating the removal of all religion from public life, and told that I should go find a REAL offense to be offended about. Other people came to my defense, and it turned into quite a multi-sided discourse. Along the way I came up with the following, which I thought (and several other people from all sides of the discussion agreed) seemed to convey the point I was trying to make very clearly. So I thought I'd repeat it here.


Some 30 or 40 years ago, black people started raising a fuss because almost all children's books -- those in the public schools, and those in most libraries -- contained only illustrations of white people (except for the occasional janitor). They said that the effect of this was to marginalize and exclude black people from mainstream society; in effect, to make them "non-persons".

They were told that they were being ridiculously over-sensitive; that this was just the way things were, and it wasn't hurting anybody; that lack of inclusion wasn't the same thing as exclusion; that they should go find some REAL offenses to fuss about. But they didn't stop fussing.

Nowadays, if we were to pick up a children's book set in contemporary America and find only illustrations of white people, it would seem very strange. We would recognize that the book did not accurately reflect the society in which we live. Black people, and Middle Easterners, and Indian/Pakistanis, and Asians, are no longer "non-persons".

I have a dream -- and some hope of actually seeing it in my lifetime -- that one day it will seem just as strange to think about going to a public patriotic event and hearing only one religion mentioned, for the same reasons. I would like to live to see an America in which Muslims and Hindus and pagans and Buddhists and atheists are not, effectively speaking, "non-persons". But I also know that it will never happen if people like me don't fuss... because right now "Oh, that's just the way things are, and it's not hurting anyone."


In aid of this, I have stopped wearing red-white-and-blue for 4th of July. Instead I wear rainbow colors, because that seems more evocative of the America I want to live in.

Also, I have taken to promoting an alternative Pledge of Allegiance. I believe this was originally composed by Barry Gold.

I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and to the Republic which it established: one nation from many peoples, promising liberty and justice for all.

We have a way to go yet on fulfilling that promise, but I haven't given up hope yet. And while the Constitution is still open to interpretation, it's less corruptible than a symbol that can be assigned any words someone wants to give it.

And this year in particular, I feel as though I have some reason to celebrate -- an entire group of people have just been told that they are no longer second-class citizens.


Rainbow American
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Saturday, July 4th, 2015 09:11 am

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Here is a childhood summer favorite of mine, pineapple upside down cake, that I made to celebrate the holiday.

Mirrored from Five Acres with a View.

Friday, July 3rd, 2015 11:01 pm
"Coming in from the Cold" is the next big piece in its series, dealing with Bucky and his continued issues with that piece-of-crap prosthesis. I'm posting each day within the story as a section unto itself, broken down into post-sized parts.

This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Blended," "Am I Not," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," "Green Eggs and Hulk,""kintsukuroi," "Little and Broken, but Still Good," "Up the Water Spout," "The Life of the Dead," "If They Could Just Stay Little," "Anahata," "Coming in from the Cold: Saturday: Building Towers," and "Coming in from the Cold: Sunday: Shaking Foundations."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Bruce Banner, Betty Ross, Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanova, Tony Stark, Clint Barton, Happy Hogan, Peggy Carter, Sam Wilson.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Mention of past trauma with lingering symptoms of PTSD. Kitchen fail. Tony being a brat. Description of past deaths and self-destructive behavior. Current environment is supportive.
Summary: The Avengers celebrate Memorial Day by going to Washington, D.C. for the festivities. Emotional roller-coasters ensue.
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Family. Fluff and angst. Emotional overload. Coping skills. Healthy touch. Asking for help and getting it. Cooking. Comfort food. Holidays. Medals. Veteran issues. Nonsexual intimacy. Caregiving. Competence. Gentleness. Trust. Emotional confusion. Hope. Crowds. Memorials. Mourning. Letting go. Moving on. Photography. Parades. Storytelling. War stories. Nostalgia. Hand-feeding. Heroism. Public speaking. Flashbacks. Friendship. Counseling. Leaving early. #coulsonlives

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. Skip to Part 8.

Read more... )
Friday, July 3rd, 2015 07:58 pm

Originally published at Noel Lynne Figart. You can comment here or there.

Would you pay $150 to store paper plates?

I have some sad news for you.  There’s a good chance you do.

My husband and I have been on a declutter kick lately and we’re using the Konmari method of decluttering.  We’ve been enjoying the process, as it has been nice for us to be able to have neat surroundings without much work.  Neither of us are much into putting things away and the bar has to be really low for us to want to do so. Part of the Konmari method is getting rid of enough stuff that storage is easy.

Today, we tackled this weird storage area we have between our laundry room and our cellar.  (It’s a cellar, not a basement — dirt floors and walls.  Creepy as all get out and I don’t much like going down there). This is a space that is pretty much good for storage, but not much else.

When we moved into the house, it really became a catch-all for stuff we couldn’t store in the garage, but couldn’t figure out where to store in the house.

Friends, there was stuff we hadn’t touched since we moved in there nearly ten years ago – paper plates, boxes that turned out to be empty but for wadded up newpaper packing, vases we don’t like and never use.  It was a serious mess that we never addressed.

It’s decluttered now and is being used as a cleaning supplies storage for brooms, the carpet shampooer, the vacuum and stuff like that. It’s mostly empty but for those few things, and it’s easy to access what we need.  We like it.

In talking about it with my husband, I did the calculation on how much floor space we have in the house and how much we pay a month per square foot.   One of the things we threw away was a set of paper dinner plate that did take up about a square foot of space.  I did the math and commented to my husband that we had spent $150 to store paper plates WE WILL NEVER USE.  We have glass plates for parties and stuff.  When we eat out on the patio, we just use the regular dishes and we don’t do picnics all that much that wouldn’t be conducive to a bento.   We don’t do stuff that really makes paper plates the more desirable option.

It was a little freaky to realize that those plates had used up $150 worth of storage space over the time we’ve lived here.  We’re going to give them a home somewhere else where people will use them.  But it was really weird to confront that.  Marie Kondo comments that buying in bulk isn’t necessarily saving money, and while I think she goes further with the idea than I would, I do think that calculating what it costs to store those bulk bargains is a useful part of the equation.

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