Probably not worth it outside the UK
( Rosh Hashanah )
It's genuinely disorienting to encounter all these spaces where I don't have to educate anyone or fight to be seen for who I am. Other people have already done that work, and leaders have clearly been receptive to it. (Rabbi Lippman is queer, but I don't assume that cis queer people will be welcoming to or understanding of trans people, especially nonbinary trans people.) I get to just show up and be a human being in human community. What an immense privilege. What a gift. Honestly, that might be the thing that gets me to stick with this—just the pure pleasure of being in a place where I didn't personally have to claw out a space for myself.
Josh met me and Kit in the park and we walked for a while (GMaps Pedometer says I walked 3.2 miles today, most of it pushing a heavy stroller with a heavy toddler; my feet and arms are very tired). I teased him that he should be glad I didn't make him meet the rabbi. But this is my thing, really. Maybe it's my latest three-month hobby. Maybe it'll be more than that. We'll see.
Maybe he would be diluted in a larger group? There were only four of us. And neither I nor the other two guys, whom I know from SF book group, are very good at grabbing the talking stick. Still Cameron seemed weirdly controlling. I think more than half the time was just Cameron talking, and he didn't leave spaces where other people could start talking if they wanted to; he'd call on us, like, "What did you think of it? Was there anything else that you liked?" And whenever anyone spoke up without being called on he'd say something like, "Yes, go ahead." He'd actually interrupt a person who was speaking in order to give them permission to speak. When he said he was a history teacher I thought, that explains it.
Essentially I found myself in a mood to ask myself, just how much plastic is passing into the environment via my purchasing habits? Even though I send a lot of it to recycling, that's its own use of energy. Mostly I was looking at my grocery shopping:
- I already take my own reusable bags (or reuse old plastic bags) at the checkout, and for fruit as well. I do like to get the occasional new plastic bag for use as bin-liners; I'm going to try emptying their contents directly into the red bin for a while, instead of tying the bags off and putting them in all together. But I haven't found myself throwing much into the red bin since making this resolution so no data on how that goes.
- A 2L plastic bottle of milk every 7-10 days. And you can't even reuse milk bottles to store water against emergencies; hygiene aside, the plastic breaks down over time. Speaking of emergencies, though, I'd been considering getting a bag of milk powder for my supplies. So I thought I'd try it in every-day use. So far it's worked well in baking, yoghurt-making, hot chocolate, and morning cereal, ie all my normal uses except drinking straight from the fridge, which will wait until summer for testing. It takes a few moments extra in the morning to mix it (my preferred method: boil the jug, dissolve the powder in a bit of boiling water, then add cold to desired strength) but it's become part of my routine over the last couple of weeks so I think I will keep this one up. Bonuses: here at least it's significantly cheaper than fresh milk; no running out at inconvenient moments; and conversely no finding that it's gone sour before I've finished it.
- A plastic bag around my bread each week. I've revived my bread-making to avoid this; to be honest it's the one I'm least likely to keep up. OTOH I have discovered that if I bake the bread and let the oven cool somewhat but not completely, it's a great place to incubate yoghurt overnight. And the bread is so tasty - it's just the time it takes. We'll see. I may just keep going through phases on it.
- A plastic bag of muesli every week or so. I'm experimenting with pick-n-mix (taking my own bags) but pick-n-mix rolled oats alone cost about the same as (budget) prepackaged muesli. :-( Does anyone know why rolled oats and muesli come in plastic, when flour and sugar come in paper??
- A couple of plastic packages of shaved ham every few weeks. (The recycling status of which I was never sure about, so red-binned them!) Careful attention revealed that cheap ham at the deli is cheaper than cheap ham prepackaged. Moreover today I was brave and found out that if you take your own container along they'll use that instead of a fresh plastic bag. (At least the guy I struck today did, and even set the scales to discount the weight of the container though I wouldn't have minded that little bit.) So I just need to keep organised.
Beyond plastic - I've also taken to washing dishes in a tub, and using the water on the garden. (Someone at church has set up her laundry pipes to use water from that on the garden; I think I'd just flood the house.)
And recently I came across SolarAid, a charity whose selling point is that you can 'offset your carbon' from flights you make by funding solar-powered lights for personal use (eg kids doing homework) in developing countries to replace kerosene, which besides emitting copious carbon dioxide is expensive, not that bright, and seriously unhealthy. It seems win-win-win so I looked for a catch but couldn't find any.
Anyway this came at a time shortly after a) I'd made some international flights and b) I'd received a tax rebate from last year's charitable donations so next thing you know I'd apparently donated enough to get sent an example solar light in the mail. It just arrived today, and it's cute and lightweight and works out of the packaging, and I'm weighing up whether it goes in my emergency kit or to City Mission here because goodness knows it's not just kids in the developing world who can't do homework due to lack of money for power.:-(
Making my humor blog's big weekly pieces be a bunch of how-to articles this month has strangely relieved me of my deepest problem: thinking of what to write. Have you seen what I've written recently? Try this if you haven't.
- How To Clean A Thing, a how-to that went horribly wrong.
- On The Problems Of Credit In The 19th Century New England Economy as I try to figure out what you could buy on credit in Norwich, Connecticut, in Like 1890.
- Statistics Saturday: Some Things That Yeah, We’ve Tried Already, They Didn’t Work but thanks for suggesting them again.
- What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? June – September 2017 Adoption!
- World Possibly Ending Sometime Wednesday so I guess we passed that, at least.
- Watching Some Cartoons: Educated Fish as I was thinking Fleischer Studios some.
- In Which I Am Again Baffled By Modern Capitalism but then aren't we all?
- How To Sketch A Thing featuring some art I spent literally four minutes on.
Let's get back to Cedar Point Halloweekends. That's a fun time and place to be.
Mean Streak, several weeks after its closure, and partly torn up for its renovation. The roller coaster train underneath is from Maverick.
Old West-themed building near Maverick, which itself is at the end of the Frontier Trail. The 'White Water Coal Co' suggests to me the White Water Landing log flume ride, itself taken out a decade-plus ago to make room for Maverick. There's several bits of park decoration that have increasingly faded White Water Landing logos or references but since they're all in the Old West part of the park that just makes them fit the theme better.
Entrance to the Frontier Trail at night on Halloweekends. For the Halloween season the trail is dressed up to this steampunk walk-through attraction and making the trees look like that is part of the show.
Entrance gate of the Steampunk thingy on the Frontier Trail at Halloweekends. It hasn't got started quite yet, which you can tell because there's not lasers shooting out of the eyes.
Brass-plated (well, painted) swan on the Frontier Trail as part of the cyberpunk thing. The swan had been part of the Swan Boats ride; others of the swans were sent to Michigan's Adventure. This one went into seasonal performances instead.
Rally of the haunted-house/haunted-walkthrough-area performers at the Luminosity stage. This was new this year, with all the performers gathering for a good send-off just before the witching hour of 8 pm.
One of the performers on the Luminosity stage, set up outside the Iron Dragon roller coaster, in a show that we were a little too far away to hear quite clearly what was going on.
Trivia: In the early 1940s Orlando Scott offered lie-detector screenings of potential employees to high-volume clients at $15 per interviewee. He pledged to test for ``integrity, intentions, loyalty, competency, intuitiveness, stability, alertness, efficiency, ambition, vocational stability, sabotage, etc''. Source: The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession, Ken Alder.
Currently Reading: The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950, Vanessa Ogle.
The high today was NINETY FIVE degrees. That is the hottest day of the entire summer, and it's quite odd for the day before the fall equinox! This weather will continue for several more days. By the time I was up (again) it was far too hot to go for a walk, even in the shady part of the woods. I had to go to the dread mall to walk. I swear, there was an old lady bent over her walker who was moving along at a fast clip, and at one point, she was going faster than me! Oh, the indignity. I managed to pass her just outside the pretzel kiosk, where she ran into a friend and slowed down.
During my midnight episode, I read some more Kim Stanley Robinson. I was part of the way through "Sixty Days and Counting," the last of the Science in the Capital trilogy, and then I got distracted and didn't finish it, so I'm working on it now. If I ever write about these books, there will have to be an entire section hashtagged "Oh Frank Vanderwal NO." This character is really irritating me with his relentless evaluation of every single woman he comes in contact with. He's not as much of a feminist as he believes himself to be, either. For instance, at the gym: " . . . sweaty pink faces, hard breathing; obviously this was sexy stuff. None of that bedroom silliness for Frank--lingerie, make-up, even dancing--all that was much too intentional and choreographed, even somehow confrontational. Lovelier by far were women unselfconsciously exerting themselves in some physical way." Yes, Frank, that's nice of you to find us acceptable for your viewing pleasure at the gym. But has it not occurred to you that there's an inherent contradiction here? How are we supposed to remain "unselfconscious," the way you like us, when we are aware that there's always going to be someone like you watching us? You can't be unselfconscious when you're under surveillance. It's especially perplexing, because it turns out that Frank himself is under surveillance, and he doesn't like it. I wish I could believe that the author did that on purpose to comment on Frank's complacent male gaze, and how he's kind of an asshole. But I don't think Frank's creator noticed that. These are the thoughts I have in the middle of the night.
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Sitting in front of a screen, fighting codeine-generated nausea and an increasingly bleak mood, listening to Steely Dan warble about crossing one's old man back in Oregon, pleading with an unseen authority figure, "don't take me alive" ...
... is not necessarily a shining example of emotional hygiene.
Perhaps it's time to go to bed.
Yes, I know it's only 7:50 p.m.
Can also afford dinner at Pauper's Pub, excellent meatloaf and a frozen margarita, out on the patio under the yellow and falling leaves of the pumpkin trees.
The Indian gardener's son has gone with grass on his front lawn. Foolish foolish Indian gardener's son. Look at your next-door's unavailing attempts to have greenery. Only one house on this street has decent grass, and bets are taken as to whether it's the real thing or an expensive kind of astroturf. Sensible people go with ground cover.
Last April's mouse was invisible except for the magically vanishing bait in the untipped tip-trap. No gnawed bread in the bread bag, no poo on the counters. But I always had a feeling that it was still around somewhere. And thus, when I carelessly left half an unpalatable green-tea mini-mooncake on the table last night, perhaps no surprise that I found much of it demolished this morning, accompanied by large (for a mouse) mouse turds. Tip-trap is now baited with mooncake, and we shall see if mouse has become any porkier since the spring.
Finally figured out where I bought the socks I gave to my Godson, his wife wants her own pair, or he needs his own pair cuz she took his.
Got a couple more things out of the Van, and read some more.
- In this unseasonably warm September, Toronto tenants need more air conditioning than some landlords provide. The Toronto Star reports.
- NOW Toronto notes the launch of a new Kent Monkman canvas, this one depicting a Dutch-Iroquois treaty signing.
- The bizarre story of an ISIS supporter who tried to attack people at a Canadian Tire store is getting more bizarre. The Toronto Star reports.
- There is a possibility the Ontario minimum wage increase could hurt employment outside of well-off Toronto. The Globe and Mail reports.
- If the separatists of Catalonia are triggering a confrontation with the Spanish government to create a majority ... Open Democracy reports.
- Speaking as someone who could be classified as a settler himself, positioning myself and my arguments is key. MacLean's notes the importance of sensitivity to First Nations issues.
- The United Kingdom does seem likely to get the selective access to the EU's markets post-Brexit some want. Bloomberg reports.
- Expensive avocado exports are but some of the complications that could hit North America if NAFTA gets changed. Bloomberg reports.
- Iceland, again, is displaying particular caution towards potentially overwhelming Chinese investment projects. Bloomberg reports.