me

Thunderbird question?

Does anyone know what the little icon that looks a bit like DO NOT ENTER sign that has suddenly appeared on the left end of some of the message lines in my Thunderbird inbox mean?

(Okay, not just "suddenly appeared": I have the bad habit of quickly typing a few random keys when my screen blanks unexpectedly. Which is what I did when it went black about 20 minutes ago. When my screen lit up again, a bunch of messages (apparently everything in one thread) had acquired this icon. Which neither my Google-fu nor cruising the menus have helped me figure out so far.)

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus. It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

Surprised by cheering news

I've been largely avoiding the news for most of the past three years for the sake of my sanity. But I went to the BBC this morning because of the Google doodle on the web's 30th birthday. And while there remains plenty wrong with the world, I also found a trifecta of stories to feel good about:

A heartwarming family story, featuring a mother hugging her son

A Spanish woman freaked out when her (then) daughter came out to her as trans. But seeing mother and son hug today, you wouldn't know it.

The way the story is structured, we first see the mother today, loving and supportive of her child. Only then do we learn it was not always thus.

I've had trans friends — for that matter, gay and lesbian friends — whose parents never did come around. Which would have heightened my reaction to Hugo's mother's story regardless. But structuring it as they did makes watching mother and son hug now all the more poignant.

Good government — in Italy‽

Many years as a news-junkie conditioned me to expect that "Italy" in a headline would lead me to a story of government malfeasance — or, occasionally, of someone in Italian government who was trying to actually do their job being blown up in their car. And much of my reason for avoiding the news since the Brexit vote and America's descent into Trumpery is the extent to which news out of what used to be two of the world's most admired countries has come to resemble what I expect out of Italy. So I took it as a cheering (albeit sadly ironic) turning-of-the-tables to see a headline about government actually governing come out of Italy:

Italy bans unvaccinated children from school
Imagine that: a government faced with mass stupidity refusing to coddle the idiots and let them place innocent people in danger.

MIT alum and Ivy-league-grad partner found company in Brooklyn

Does anyone know Janet Lieberman (Course II, '07)? She and her partner Alex Fine (Columbia; Psych) founded a company in Brooklyn to bring well-engineered products to an ill-served market niche.

Which would totally be a dog-bites-man story were it about two young men rather than two young women — and were their market niche something other than well-engineered sex toys designed by women, for women.

The BBC put up a video about them and their company them that's pretty much a straight startup profile. The reporting is forthright and tasteful — both marks it would have been easy to miss. And the video is almost entirely free from snickering — the sole exception being when the Ivy founder, Alex, cracks up while delivering a remark directly to camera:

There was a hole in the market, and we just penetrated it.
Yes, we did
.
I don't know Ms Fine, of course. But something — maybe just the glint in her eye as she gives up on suppressing her grin — tells me the remark came to her spontaneously during the interview. And that she, like many of my friends, engages in wordplay at a sufficiently high level that, had she come up with such an excellent line beforehand, she'd have steeled herself to deliver it totally deadpan.



After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus.
It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

A moving opportunity

A FOAF needs quite suddenly to move. Like in 48 hours. I'll edit this with more details when I know some; meantime if this sounds like a {mitzvah | opportunity to address karmic balance | cool thing to do} to you, please let me know. (Email is best, or comment here.)

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus.
It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

Feeling Good. For real. Or only a little tentatively, anyway.

I continue to lose weight — and continue to be astounded. Two weeks ago I finally decided it was real and I wasn't really at risk of embarrassing myself half to death by posting about it and then gaining half of it back the next week. Last week I was down another 1.8 kg. Which I decided not to post about it because I know better than to get too excited about movement either direction over any one week. Today I'm down another 1.2 kg.

-15 kg in 12 weeks: I think that counts as a trend.

Today I weigh 130 kg. Hardly healthy — but the least I've weighed since 2011, maybe two years into what I now know would turn out be roughly a decade of backsliding from my post-stroke weight loss.

It continues to mystify me, to feel in some ways more like something that's happening to me than something I'm doing: I don't feel deprived; I'm not struggling with temptation or giving any thought at all to portion control or any of the other apparatus of dieting. But at this point I think it's reasonable to say I've turned a corner. And okay to feel good about it.

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus. It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

A Happy New Year to All - and to All a Good Night!

I'm a tiny bit under the weather - just enough to dull my driving skills oh so slightly and to make staying up late and exposing myself to other people's germs a little ill-advised. Which wouldn't ordinarily be enough to keep me from a chance to visit with friends I don't see often enough. But throw in the earlier rain, the forecast hard freeze, and New-Year's-Eve to top it off and I'd be a fool not to stay home.

So everyone have a lovely time! And stay safe!

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus.
It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

Feeling Good. Or Something.

Ten weeks ago today, I weighed first thing in the morning, swore under my breath, and muttered something to myself along the lines of "I've got to get serious about this before it kills me."

That was probably the hundredth time I've enacted that little scenario in the last few years. But this time it took. As of this morning, I've lost 12 kg in the past ten weeks.


I'm having a hell of a time deciding what to write here. The first time I sat down to write this post, it started four weeks ago today.... The past three years have left me hugely suspicious of anything that looks like good news. But whatever words I come up with to appease the gods lest they smite me for hubris, a part of me is going to expect that when I step outside after posting this, that a piano is going to land on my head. So given that my fate is orthogonal to what I write here, this may as well be it.

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus. It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

Less Hopeless

I couldn't afford to, but I just made my first political donation since the 2016 election. After two years of apathy and despair and generally avoiding the news because it would only make me feel worse, I saw a chance to maybe make a difference in the future of my country. This country I used to love.

People For the American Way was founded close to 40 years ago in response to religious bullying elbowing its way into our national politics in the form of the so-called Moral Majority. PFAW has been fighting rear-guard actions against the worst of the extreme right ever since. Currently that worst is Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And PFAW's major donors have offered to match donations to the tune of 5×.

Which is enough to make me feel like what little I can afford can make a difference. And that maybe telling my friends about it can too.

Donation Link

(That's just the link they emailed me, stripped of identifying information so you don't land on a form with my name and address pre-filled-in.)

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus. It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

Nerd Love!

I love Adam Savage not least for his unabashed nerdiness — and his infectious enthusiasm for other nerds and their work.

Barnaby Dixon is a stop-motion animator turned puppeteer, who's devised his own puppet techne. Which is interesting in its own right, and doubly so for what it lets him achieve artistically.

In a video posted earlier today, Barnaby and some of his puppets visit Adam in his shop. And in the ensuing discussion of Barnaby's techniques and the art he makes with them, Adam's enthusiasm gets turned up to 11. The video is joy to watch.

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus. It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

looking for an interim phone

I lost my phone Tuesday. Skipping the details, I've now given up on finding it, and have ordered a refurb and a new SIM. Which, because I didn't want to pay the penalties for panic shipping, will arrive next week.

But now it occurs to me that not having a cell phone during the first weekend of rush is tempting Murphy's laws.

So: does anyone know of a place in greater Boston that I can walk into and — < 30 minutes later and without a fight about not wanting a new phone or a plan — walk out with a prepaid SIM on a GSM network? And by that same token, does anyone have an old disused GSM phone sitting in a drawer you'd be willing to lend, sell, or give me for the weekend? Or of anywhere non-sketchy that sells such?

Thanks in advance!

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus. It's lovely over here. Join me!
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me

Pick me up at the hospital Tues?

I just got off an hour-long phone with my surgeon's nurse, discussing the stuff I need to do in preparation for my carpel-tunnel surgery Tues. In which I learned something I had not anticipated: There needs to be someone accompanying me home. And I have to let them know the day before who that will be. (I wasn't expecting to drive myself home: I'm going to be anesthetized. But I was figuring on just calling a Lyft. But they're not okay with that: they'll only discharge me into the care of someone who'll make sure I get home.)

So: if anyone would be able to pick me up at Beth Israel Needham sometime Tues, I'd be most grateful. (They don't do operating room scheduling until the day before: so "Tuesday after 10 am; before 7 pm" is the best I can do til sometime Monday afternoon.) If you're willing but don't drive, we can work make that work: The person they discharge me to doesn't have to drive me home: Just accompany me home.

After fifteen years on LJ, I have joined the great exodus. It's lovely over here. Join me!
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