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I'm considering taking up blogging again. It's been a long time, and I haven't decided if it's going to be here or at a new site. A quick hello before I go tend to my wiggling son is all I've got time for right now. I'll post again soon, maybe ...
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four in the morning
snow is coming down again
cat on the keyboard

thrown off the table
thin red line across my palm
the cat is displeased

fall down bruise my hip
treacherous snowy walkway
it's Snowmaggedon

snow up to my knees
I guess I won't get the mail
snuggle with the cat

no buses running
cannot get to work today
need to leave the house

going stir-crazy
silly town without snowplows
stuck inside for days

unceasing snowfall
at least it's warm inside my
well-provisioned house

staring at the fire
warm cat purring in my lap
we're still snowed in

winter wonderland
beautiful snowflakes falling
hot chocolate steams

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Or, as Pat Rothfuss far more charitably calls them: delicate Northwestern orchids. I love living in Washington. The people are nice, the summers are gorgeous, and the winters are mild. There is a very narrow temperature variance here. When it hits 90°F for a couple days in the summer, NPR tells you to check on your elderly neighbors: no one here has AC, because you really only want it for a few days of the year. However, the narrow temperature band means that when it does get cold here, people freak out. Cancelling or having late starts for school on Monday made sense: pretty much all of the roads were still covered in black ice, and driving was unsafe. The roads were fine by Tuesday, but there were still late starts because of the weather. Odd, but perhaps there was concern regarding the ice on the roads. But today, quite a few districts are either closing or having late starts because it's cold. It's above freezing, and schools are closing because of the cold weather. This totally baffles me. If it were a matter of the diesel having frozen overnight, that would make sense, but it only got to 19°F overnight. Diesel doesn't gel until 15°, and modern diesel has additives to bring that temperature notably lower. So it's not the diesel. At these temperatures, the weather can hurt you, but you would need to be out in it and improperly dressed for quite some time. I am really confused about this.

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Energy: confused confused

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I discovered Harney & Sons a few years ago, and have been consistently impressed with their teas. I'd been wanting to try their Florence blend for a while, so when I happened across it at Uwajimaya, of all places, I picked up a tin. (Equally unexpectedly, I met Mike Harney (one of the sons) there that day. He was doing a tasting in their demo area.) The Florence blend contains hazelnuts and chocolate, two of my favorite things. It's wonderful. About equally good with and without milk, I haven't tried it with sweeteners, since I don't tend to sweeten my tea. If you've had Republic of Tea's Vanilla Almond, it's a similar round sort of flavor, hinting at memories of pastries without actually being particularly sweet itself.

(Cross-posted to communitea.)

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By way of Todd Zywicki over at The Volokh Conspiracy, I bring you the Who (Allegedly) Said It? Game, Rod Blagojevich vs. Tony Soprano edition.

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Mr. Gaiman's most recent journal entry is a fantastic piece on Freedom of Speech, and why we should defend speech we do not like. His particular angle is obscenity in comics, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund's work to protect artists and publishers from having their work declared obscene. ("Obscene" here being the somewhat murky legal definition of the work having no redeeming artistic/political/social merit, not merely the use of four-letter words.)


The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club. If there is something you consider indefensible, and there is something you consider defensible, and the same laws can take them both out, you are going to find yourself defending the indefensible.

*********

I loved coming to the US in 1992, mostly because I loved the idea that freedom of speech was paramount. I still do. With all its faults, the US has Freedom of Speech. You can't be arrested for saying things the government doesn't like. You can say what you like, write what you like, and know that the remedy to someone saying or writing or showing something that offends you is not to read it, or to speak out against it. I loved that I could read and make my own mind up about something.

(It's worth noting that the UK, for example, has no such law, and that even the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that interference with free speech was "necessary in a democratic society" in order to guarantee the rights of others "to protection from gratuitous insults to their religious feelings.")


(Link in Mr. Gaiman's original post, goes to a 7-page lecture, which I have not yet read.) The European Court of Human Rights scares the crap out of me sometimes. Grown-ups do not need "protection from gratuitous insults to their religious feelings." Protection from harassment, absolutely. An essential component of Free Speech is that you cannot be arrested for saying offensive things. Getting in serious trouble for saying something rude is a playground rule. The consequence is getting a timeout, or staying in at recess, not jail time or a fine. Adults do not need to be protected from being offended. Another extremely important component to Freedom of Speech is the freedom not to read things that offend you. If it offends you, don't read it. If it really, really offends you, organize a boycott or a protest. As it happens, the First Amendment gives us that right, too.

Mr. Gaiman makes a lot of excellent points, and I don't have the time to spare right now to give the issue the attention it deserves. The piece is well worth reading. Also, he probably understands this aspect of the law better than I do, as he's been writing things others have found objectionable since before I could read.

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By way of mcsassypants: What has surprised you the most about me (if anything) since joining my flist? Was anything completely unexpected or have I always fit the picture of me you have in your head? Post this in your own journal and see how you have surprised people!

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When it's an "antique firearm," apparently. Eugene Volokh links to a story (above) in which this fact is relevant. He notes: 18 U.S.C. §§ 921-922, which ban felons from possessing firearms, define[s] "firearm" to exclude any "antique firearm," which is to say "any firearm ... manufactured in or before 1898." I mentioned a few weeks ago a case in which the dispute was over the matter of whether the defendant was in fact a felon. I've seen a few of those. This is the first time I've seen a case in which the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the object in the felon's possession was a firearm. In this case, it was "an American double-action revolver that was manufactured between 1880 and 1941." Since the prosecution could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the revolver was manufactured after 1898, it could not get a conviction on the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Eugene ends his post with the following: Fortunately for the prosecution, the felon-in-possession statute also bars felons from possessing ammunition, and the defendant was convicted of that.

It made me giggle.

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Energy: amused amused

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Pat Rothfuss is full of awesome. I already knew this, having recently spent a very pleasant weekend stalking the man. He recently started a contest, via his blog, to raise money for Heifer International. In addition to having a lottery for prizes, and the opportunity to buy some of his books, he is matching any money raised through the team he has set up at the Heifer International website.

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Ok, please nobody point out that this is the sort of thing they teach you in grade school when you're first learning to dress for the weather. I am aware of this. I had forgotten this, or perhaps simply did not really believe it applied to me the same way it applies to everyone else. Lots of warmth-related things don't apply to me the same as everyone else.

Heat escapes through the feet.

This is the first time in my adult life that this fact has been relevant. I got through entire Minnesota and New England winters without ever donning socks thicker than those I wear year-round. (My concession to the weather was my stomping boots, which are a good, thick leather.) On Monday, I was wearing over-the-knee regular sock-weight socks, instead of the lightweight trouser socks I normally wear (same weight as average tights), and I was comfortably warm. On Tuesday, I was wearing tights and no extra sock-layers, and I was not freezing, but cold enough to be very, very glad I keep a pashmina shawl at work. Today, I am wearing tights under warm, cashmere-blend knee-high socks. I had to take my fairly light-weight cotton sweater off when I got to my desk. I'm going to need to put it back on when other people start arriving, as a strappy camisole isn't terribly professional all by itself, but I am waiting until then. So yeah, socks. I need to start wearing socks. I don't have very many of those. So, if anyone is wondering what to get me for my birthday or Christmas, it appears I need more socks. I prefer knee- or over-the-knee length, as I need a layer of fabric between my skin and my braces.

If only I knew somewhere to get awesome socks.

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See, I don't have hot/cold sensation on my feet. I have burn scars to prove this theory. So when my feet started sending me signals that I interpreted as being cold, I assumed this was another sensory oddity. My feet don't get cold, and this sensation is not quite the same as when other body parts get cold, but it registers as "cold" in my brain. I usually wear thin socks or tights. Yesterday, I was wearing thicker socks, and I was warmer than I had been at work in weeks. Today, I am wearing tights, and I am cold again.

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I went to read The Volokh Conspiracy this morning, and at the top of the page was a banner ad that simply said, "I love you frog." I really ought to have just smiled at the random frog love, and scrolled down the page. It's an ad for an unattractive ceramic frog that has "I love you" painted on its back. Also, peace signs. Unfortunate. But the top of the Volokh Conspiracy page still says "I love you frog," and it still makes me smile. It's a good way to start one's day.

P.S., How is it that I have never tagged anything either "love" or "frogs" before now? I'm fairly certain I've discussed both here. Odd.

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Energy: loved loved

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Nothing of much substance, really. I thought McCain's concession speech was incredibly gracious, and Obama's victory speech was downright inspiring. We elected a man named Barack Hussein Obama to the White House by an overwhelming margin. I am in awe.

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Energy: impressed impressed

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There is something utterly hilarious about an 88-year old Supreme Court Justice making the argument that "the F-word, in some formulations, can be very funny." Four years ago, the FCC decided to start cracking down on offensive language on broadcast television. Broadcasters sued to prevent them doing so, and the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case today. Ginsburg is also not buying the FCC's argument that its enforcement isn't arbitrary. She brought up the FCC's allowance for Saving Private Ryan to be aired uncensored. It'll be interesting to see how it comes down.

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Get out, vote, go get free coffee from Starbucks. Krispy Kreme is giving away doughnuts, and Ben & Jerry's is giving away ice cream. Originally, the Starbucks promotion was free coffee if you show your "I voted" sticker, but it turns out, it's illegal to pay people to vote, and election law makes no distinction between a cup of coffee and an envelope full of unmarked bills.

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From 101 Cookbooks, this Vegetarian Gumbo recipe looks like a fantastic way to spend a rainy Saturday.

Vegetarian GumboCollapse )

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Happy birthday, auntieturtle79! I wish you much love and cake!

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It's from ICHB, and it made me smile.Collapse )

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I have a wee Shuffle, and am wondering if there is a device that I can plug into my car to make my iPod play with my car's speakers. A quick look revealed tape player adapters, but I have a CD player and no tape player in my car. I also saw something that looked like it might be what I want, but it seemed to be designed for the bigger iPods that have more places to plug things in. The Shuffle only has the headphone jack.

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I tried on corsets on Saturday, and didn't find any that both fit me and struck my fancy. (It is extremely gratifying when the people selling corsets say, "you're so tiny!" after discarding the second or third corset that was too big.) On Sunday, however, we went back to the dealers' room with the sole purpose of finding a corset for astridsdream. we approached the corset booth, and there was the most gorgeous gold corset on a mannequin. It looked likely to be our size. "One of us is walking out of this room with that corset!" It ended up being me. I didn't really mean to buy a corset this weekend, but the one I have is not terribly well designed, and digs in at the waist. I did need a new one. The assistant laced me up, and I looked lovely. Kitty came over and said, "I want to see cleavage," and rather suddenly laced me up tighter. Done with me, she turned her attention to astridsdream. We didn't get any pictures of either of us in the corsets we bought, but there will be pictures once the entire ensembles are composed. I'm half-wishing I'd let Kitty sell me a chemise, because her stuff is very high quality.

Also on Sunday, I played dress-up at the kimono booth in the dealers' room. This is me with the woman running the kimono booth. I commented that the weekend seemed to feature rather a lot of people tying me up.

Rebecca in a kimonoCollapse )

astridsdream and I weren't the only ones playing dress-up on Sunday afternoon.Collapse )

And finally, a couple more pictures with Rothfuss. These are from Saturday night.Collapse )

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