Ida Lewis’ 175th Birthday
Lydia Nichols, Doodle Artist -- Feb 25, 2017
It wasn’t until perhaps my fourth or fifth visit to the littlest state of Rhode Island that I spotted the unassuming lighthouse nestled on a tiny island of its own in Newport’s harbor. Usually the title “lighthouse keeper” conjures images of men in beards wearing stiff blue coats, so I was absolutely delighted to learn that Rhode Island’s most famous lighthouse keeper was Idawalley Zorada Lewis. Declared “America’s Bravest Woman” before her tenure was through, Ida had been hailed as Newport’s best swimmer and one of its strongest rowers ever since taking over for her ill father as as guardian of the harbor. She made her first save at twelve and didn’t stop until the age of sixty-three.
There are no definitive records of Ida’s rescues and she was too modest to recount them herself, though some were documented in local newspapers and at least one garnered national attention; in February of 1881 she ventured into the bitter winter winds to rescue two soldiers who had fallen through the ice while traveling on foot. This act of bravery caught the attention of President Grant who shortly thereafter awarded her the prestigious Gold Lifesaving Medal. Eleven years after her death, the Rhode Island legislature voted to rename her former home, Lime Rock Lighthouse, as Ida Lewis Lighthouse in her honor.
It's important to remember that being a lighthouse keeper required unwavering courage, sheer physical strength, constant diligence, and a willingness to put one's own life on the line. Ida was so dedicated that supposedly she would rush into inclement weather without shoes or coat so as not a waste a single second. Her life and legacy were not only an honor to research and illustrate, but truly a source of inspiration.
Happy 175th birthday, Ida Lewis!
I did some self-care, slept well, and planned a good Saturday, including a walk in the early morning sun and breakfast out. After breakfast however, on the way out to do errands but before leaving the parking lot, the driver's side window on my car shattered with no provocation. Unfortunately this meant putting off the rest of the day's plans. After cleaning out the car a bit, and taking some time to recover from the excitement and do some research, I turned the car over to a shop to fix the window. And there went my plans for the weekend.
Sometimes I feel like the bad luck charm that drains bad luck out of the general field so others don't have it. While this thought is completely contrary to my general philosophy that there is no intent in the universe, just chaos, I nevertheless find it a comfort.
Deviant Art: https://github.com/dreamwidth/dw-free/
The first problem actually arrives after you're done mimicking the code above. Once you've added a service, you must test it. However, if you simply launch your Dreamhack and run apache, the service won't be added. Instead you will get a very generic list or errors. The most common is something like this: Error: Invalid userprop medium passed to preload_props. How do you resolve this?
Easily enough, kareila asks us to run this command after adding our code (it can be found within the dw folder of your Dreamhack):
/bin/upgrading/update-db.pl -r -p
This updates your database (as I imagine, didn't look too far into it), which then permits you to add whatever service you added to your code.
Create a user. Then test out the new field. It should work.
Attending registration through 7/1/17: $110
Attending registration 7/2/17 and later: $125
Saturday lunch ticket: $25
A spot on the orphan vid table (DVD collection sales): $10
Club Vivid bar wristband: $30 for 21 and over, $15 for 20 and younger
Extra DVD sets: $15
Feel free to ask any questions here or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Supporting membership info to come.
I've somehow for years had the idea that Jack Finney's 1970 novel Time and Again (which I hadn't read) was the basis for the 1980 Christopher Reeve movie Somewhere in Time (which I saw some years ago), which I had misremembered as being titled Time and Again.
I recently picked up the novel (having liked some of Finney's short fiction) and was surprised to see that the cover referred to “a top-secret mission,” which I didn't think had been in the movie; but I figured the movie must have been a loose adaptation. I started reading the book, but quickly switched to skimming; it took a hundred pages (a quarter of the book) before the time travel happened. In my head, I congratulated the writers of the movie on having cut most of that introductory material. And then as the plot developed, I congratulated them again on having switched the focus to be entirely on the romance, which seemed to me to fit more with the book's general air of nostalgia than the blackmail plot did. (I wasn't a huge fan of the movie, but I don't think I got as impatient with it as I did with the Finney book.)
So I finished skimming the book, and thought it was odd that the movie was so very different. And I went and looked up Time and Again in Wikipedia, where a footnote says: “Though a film of this novel has never been made, a 1980 film, Somewhere in Time, features a similar time travel technique. It is based on a 1975 Richard Matheson novel called Bid Time Return.”
...Oh. And sure enough, the articles for Bid Time Return and Somewhere in Time confirm that the movie is based on the Matheson novel, and not on the Finney novel. And Wikipedia suggests that the self-hypnosis method of time travel derives from J. B. Priestley's 1964 book Man and Time. (Although possibly in the movie, it's taught to the protagonist by a guy named Finney? I'm a little unclear on that.)
All of which is relatively unremarkable. But what surprises me is that I made such a strong connection between Time and Again and Somewhere in Time without having ever read the Finney novel. I think that long ago I must have read a description of Time and Again that mentioned the self-hypnosis time travel thing, and I must have just assumed it was the basis for the movie, to the point of even misremembering the movie's title.
Some of the best slaveholders will sometimes give their favourite slaves a few days' holiday at Christmas time; so, after no little amount of perseverance on my wife's part, she obtained a pass from her mistress, allowing her to be away for a few days. The cabinet-maker with whom I worked gave me a similar paper, but said that he needed my services very much, and wished me to return as soon as the time granted was up. I thanked him kindly; but somehow I have not been able to make it convenient to return yet; and, as the free air of good old England agrees so well with my wife and our dear little ones, as well as with myself, it is not at all likely we shall return at present to the "peculiar institution" of chains and stripes.The first-person account is tense and swift. The structure is little rocky, as the Crafts felt it necessary to pause on occasion and build their case against slavery, but the explanation of current law adds necessary context to their story, and was especially helpful for this modern reader.
At one point, the authors speak of two million female slaves, and I thought millions? And turned to Google:
Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America. The Root, Jan 6, 2014Millions.
Only about 388,000 were shipped directly to North America, but according to the 1860 census, the population of the United States was 31,443,321; this included 3,953,761 slaves, representing 12.6% of the total population.
Millions. I don't know if they ever gave us a number when we covered the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in school, if they did, it didn't stick with me, but that number is hitting me hard today. This story, multiplied by four million. And this is one of the few with a happier ending.
After William and Ellen escaped, their owners wrote the president asking for help to retrieve them—the president!—and good old #13 Millard Filmore, who claimed to oppose slavery, "gave instructions for military force to be sent to Boston to assist the officers in making the arrest." Sounds like something our current president would do, overreach and all. In fact, there are a lot of unpleasant parallels to what's going on in the U.S. right now, with families being split up, people arrested and sent away from their homes, and the racism that has never gone away, only gotten further entrenched.
If you're interested in reading this, and it's definitely worth a read, I'd recommend listening to the podcast first (or second!), as it provides some background information the book lacks, though nowhere does anyone explain how the Crafts got so much money for their escape from their "little earnings in slavery" that there was still some left once they reached the North.
Some odd Apple connectors, a couple of DVI to VGA and an iPhone to VGA one which doesn't seem to work unless I'm doing something wrong.
A x2, 2.5, 3 teleconverter, M42 screw. Total cost £12, hopefully profitable.
and (from a charity shop) a story-telling game I've never heard of before called Never Ending Stories. Seems to be aimed at kids but should be playable by anyone, and has some rules that feel a bit like Once Upon a Time plus a map-building mechanic with hexagonal tiles.
Doesn't appear to be based on the book or film by Michael Ende, but interesting. And only cost £1.50
See, if this happened all the time, that'd be one thing, but it doesn't. Some places never get hit by this lack of recognition. Some always do. Mostly, whether or not I'm going to not recognize a place has to do with time of day and year, direction I'm coming from, the weather, my general state of mind, things like that. If the situation is different, the place will look different.
Which is what happened Tuesday. I went to the doctor with my mother, and we took a cab up, as we are wont to do. After we left the FDR drive, everything was going just fine - I saw and identified a large number of landmarks, and had a reasonably good idea of where I was. But the street we usually take was closed off, so we took a minor detour.
This meant that instead of being dropped off directly in front of the entrance, we were dropped off just around the corner. That was enough to turn a place I ought to have recognized immediately into one I had to work out by individual features and reasoning: This is the only hospital branch with a wooden bench outside. This hospital branch has a raised garden with a wall around it that has the most ineffective hostile architecture I've ever seen, and the aforementioned bench has nothing at all to keep you lying down on it in the first place. This is the only hospital branch with a covered passage from one side street to the next, with the entrance proper in the middle of it.
With those few facts in mind, I was able to confidently walk to the entrance and go in, rather than gazing around and hesitantly crossing the street. But it looked like a new place right up until I was actually inside the building. My guess is my mother doesn't even realize I had no idea where I was for a few seconds, or that it never clicked even when I did reason it out. And she certainly knows about that time I got lost in front of my house, and she definitely jokes that I'll get lost if I turn around (this is funny because it is literally true), but if I told her right now, my guess is she'd be shocked. I'm not entirely certain she realizes exactly how pervasive this is, or how serious it can be. (She did, in fact, act shocked afterwards when she asked if I wanted to go to the diner and I turned in the wrong direction. "You've been there before!" Yes, and? You've known me my whole life! Why are you surprised that I'd walk the wrong way to get to a place I've been several times before from here?)
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I have, however, entirely gone off the idea of using The New Colossus for the Juice vocal ensemble piece, due Tuesday. I think I've figured out why I'm having such trouble with this one; it's because I did submit Talvilaulu to their Call for Scores this year, and it wasn't chosen, and I had no feedback. So of course the brain squirrels are trying to figure out why it wasn't chosen, and one option is that the text is, frankly, depressing as all get-out, making it harder to program. That's the "safest" option: all other options have to do with my handling of the text. "No, that's fine," cry the squirrels, "it was definitely the text. We shall find a perfect text for you! Perfect! It has to be perfect!" They are very devoted. They want to keep me safe from rejection, at all costs.
Unfortunately, the squirrels can't read, so they are deciding all texts are imperfect and therefore unsuitable.
This is suboptimal.
I suspect the best way to work around it is going to be to find a humourous text.
I was not at the time 55 though I was within spitting difference of that age. Nevertheless, I felt ferociously angry on seeing that statement. "Trigger Warnings" surely are things that one puts on content because the mere thought of what is warned for is supposed to provoke PTSD. That's what warnings are for, is it not?
I am now past 55. And yes - TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING --
I am still having sex.
Which leaves me in something of a dilemma. I am told, according to the best social justice theory going, that this makes me -- dread word -- "problematic".
Which is where we come on to the life and death of Helen Bailey.
Whom no-one came to help, because she was over 50 and therefore her sex life must be considered "problematic". The fact she was in the hands of a psychopath by then was exactly what she deserved for wanting to have a sex life after 50 in the first place. At least, when it comes to the opinions of people who assume over-55 sex needs a trigger warning.
The sheer waves of suicidal ideation which rise up ever time I think about "Frankly, I warn for 'Old People Sex' if the parties are over 55 or so" are so hard to combat, one might really welcome a serial killer, know what I mean? Bit of attention, at least.
Of course, wanting attention is terribly problematic. And requires a trigger wanrning.
( ghost horses and test fish )
2. Was watching something entirely unrelated when Youtube decided to recommend this clip from yesterday's Graham Norton Show to me. Patrick Stewart (and Hugh Jackman). Also Ian McKellen. Good choice, well done, mood improved.
3. Been thinking about POI dæmon AUs (because I read and liked this one) and how you could play around with the concept with regards to both the Machine and to Root's death, i.e. her dæmon staying, maybe changing, to make the point that she lives on in/as the Machine. The worldbuilding would have to be more grounded for that I think, would need more "scientific" explanatory details, but it could be an interesting way of visualizing questions of personhood and continued identity.
4. Still keeping up with Supergirl, which I started because of last year's Festivids. Not a show I'm particularly fannish about, but I adore Kara, love many of the other characters, and despite some clunkiness, the show as a whole is entertaining and adorable enough to keep me watching.
5. Fanfic reading on the other hand = lots of Marvel at the moment. The build-in "multiple universes" feature of the canon is both interesting on a meta level and lovely for reading.
6. Three "holy shit, this is awesome" DS9 and TNG vids, all of them deepening/expanding my take on canon, which is always the best:
Undisclosed Desires by Purplefringe. Garak/Bashir. Such a classic slash vid, so very very well done.
Disappear by Raven. TNG+DS9. Identity and Violence. Love the idea and the execution. (Also gave me unexpected Data/Troi friendship feelings.)
I Can't Hear the Music by Settiai. Kai Winn vid. Summary: You sell your soul for a leading role. Amazing and perfect for her.