firecat: red panda looking happy (Default) is a collection of science projects that lay people can help with. Most of them involve looking at images and marking things on the images. Apparently it's easier for humans to do some tasks of this sort than computers.

One of my favorites is called Radio Galaxy Zoo. You're shown an image that is an overlay of radio signals on an infrared photo of a distant part of the universe. You click the picture to indicate associations between the radio signals and the infrared signals. I find it easy and calming.

Another easy and calming one involves keeping tabs on penguin populations. Basically you see a photo that may or may not have penguins in it, and if there are penguins, you click them.
firecat: janelle monae (archandroid janelle monae)
Janelle Monae is awesome, and [personal profile] beatrice_otter made some icons of her.

My favorite song of hers is "Tightrope", for many reasons, not the least of which is her dapper tuxedo.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
This one is a real page-turner.

Katherine Lampe writes something like paranormal fiction but her protagonists aren't vampires or shapeshifters. They and other characters in her books have some personal magic power, and also access power and communicate with supernatural entities use a variety of magic forms and rituals that are common in the Americas and Europe. This lets Katherine get her characters into and out of trouble using everything from Tarot readings to shamanic journeying to charms you can buy off the Internet or make with supplies from your local craft store, which I think is a lot of fun. In this story, for example, a love charm ends up implicating someone as a murder suspect.

The relationship between Caitlin and Timber (who are married) is a delightful change from the usual antagonistic romantic relationship (or its opposite, the soulmates-until-the-end-of-time-even-though-we-only-met-two-days-ago relationship) in many paranormal romances.

This novel uses elements and gods from African religions, and the antagonist is an African woman. Because people might feel this is cultural appropriation, Katherine includes an afterword explaining her choices and how she researched these subjects. Because of that and because I'm white and they aren't my religious elements or gods, my enjoyment of the story wasn't affected.

The story shifts between Caitlin's and Timber's POVs. They have really distinctive voices. For example, Timber is much more tentative about communicating with himself verbally. I really sense that his relationship to the world is mediated through his body.

(Spoiler of a general plot point) In this story Timber is subject to sexual harrassment and rape. There are other paranormal novels where a male character has a history of being sexually abused, but I haven't often read one where the abuse happens during the story.

Sexual harrassment is often used as a plot driver in the paranormal genre in ways that make me uncomfortable: there is a trope (I'm looking at you, Charlaine) where male characters use sexual harrassment against female characters as a form of flirting/power-jockeying with other male characters. I hate that, and I am glad that is NOT happening in this book.

I was glad to see Tintri Fionn again, from an earlier book. He's one of my favorite characters.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I went to Kickstarter to help with Spike Lee's latest film:

And this POC superhero comic was mentioned in the comments to that project. The artwork is beautiful.

I was thinking of boycotting Kickstarter because of their $fail in supporting a pickup-artist book that condoned sexual assault. I decided not to boycott them because they apologized materially:
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
A laugh riot that was posted in Making Light in 2005, but I just found it thanks to
[personal profile] moominmuppet

Things I’ve learned from British folk ballads by Jim Macdonald (and many commenters)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Originally posted by [personal profile] kate_nepveu at announcing 2012 Con or Bust auction

I am pleased to announce this year's auction to support Con or Bust, which helps fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF conventions. Bidding starts Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 12:01 a.m. EST (GMT -5) and ends Sunday, February 25, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST. You may post auction offers and make donations now.

For more details, please see these updated posts explaining how to:

As a reminder, Con or Bust is now helping fans attend all cons of their own choosing, not just WisCon as in the past. (Requests for assistance to attend cons in April, May, and June 2012 will be taken from February 15 through 25; see the "request assistance" link for more details.) Because the demand for assistance is greater than before, please spread the word widely!

More information about Con or Bust.

firecat: hello kitty reading a book (reading hk)
I was delighted to discover that the moderators of the excellent LJ community [ profile] 50books_poc, for reviews of books by people of color, have created a sister community on Dreamwidth: [community profile] 50books_poc

The announcement is here along with a request for input on how people want the two communities to interact:
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I have been looking at this web page for the past several days and I have to stop myself from licking the screen.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I volunteer for Peninsula Humane Society, which has built a spiffy new center at 1450 Rollins Rd., Burlingame, CA

Here are some services that PHS offers at the new center:
  • Microchip Mondays --$20 microchip for dogs and cats, no appointment needed.
  • Group Tours -- M-F, 10:30 am- 5:30 pm. Contact Scott Delucchi at 650/685-8510 or
  • Kids' B-Day Parties for ages 6-12, Sundays, beginning soon. Contact Katy Schwarz at 650/340-7022, ext. 308 or
  • Meeting Space for Local Groups and Companies. Hold your next meeting, team-builder or brainstormer at our Lantos Center, Mondays and Fridays, 2-5 pm. Meeting space looks directly into a cat condo! Suggested donation of $100. Contact Scott Delucchi at 650/685-8510 or
  • Furchandise Retail Store. Proceeds benefit shelter animals.
  • 40-45 cats and kittens available for adoption.
  • Watch staff and volunteers working with shelter dogs in our Dog Training/Exercise Park with a retractable roof and water fountain.
In addition:
  • Wing for rabbits, small animals, birds and non-traditional pets
  • Viewing windows for the public to observe our Kitten Nursery and Wildlife Treatment
  • Dog obedience classes
Here are services still offered at the PHS center at Coyote Point:
  • Owners looking for lost pets
  • Owners surrendering unwanted pets
  • Spay/Neuter Clinic and vaccination clinics
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
My Dad has participated in this intermediate-level piano ensemble class for over a year and he loves it. The ensemble has been active for a number of years. They need to recruit a few new members for the next session (12/9 through 3/10) so he asked me to pass the word.

If you know anyone who might be interested, or any mailing list or web forum that might welcome information about the class, please pass it on.

If you want my Dad's e-mail address to make further inquiries, let me know.

Play Piano? Read Music?

Have some fun! Join a unique East Bay Area Piano Ensemble!

The San Lorenzo Adult School Piano Ensemble warmly invites intermediate and advanced pianists to join us.

The class meets Thursdays, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, at
San Lorenzo Adult School
820 Bockman Rd., San Lorenzo CA 94580 (there is an A.C. Transit stop across the street)
Room 16 near rear parking lot.

The room has about 20 upright pianos. We play mainly classical orchestral music transcribed for 2 pianos, 8 hands, but each member of this very compatible group sits at his/her own piano.

If you would like to play in an ensemble, or if your main instrument is not piano but you want some piano experience, come join us! You do Not have to be an expert sight reader to enjoy this group but we guarantee to advance your reading skill.

Call Don Jones at 650-685-8208 for queries or info.

Sign up by WEDNESDAY 12/1/10 through the Adult School Office 510-317-4200 or at our session on Thursday, Nov. 18th. Tuition is $100.00 for 12 weekly sessions from 12/9/10 through 3/10/11.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
This looks like an interesting book:

Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, with N.K. Jemisin, Amal El-Mohtar, Sara M. Harvey, Mike Allen, Shweta Narayan, Meredith Holmes, Georgina Bruce and Matt Kressel

Preorders of the print book available at Torquere Press' bookstore.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
This list by John Scalzi is a good start for understanding what it means to have privilege. Quite a few of the comments are good too (as of right now there are 155 comments).
firecat: fat cat wearing a necklace (
The following is excellent collection of quotes criticizing the concept that trans people need to "disclose" their gender history to people they are dating or thinking of dating.

(Hm, I need a gender icon.)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I was just treated to a really good dinner at the Madison Concourse restaurant, Dayton Street Grill. The restaurant has a new chef since the last time I was at Wiscon (and according to my dinner companion, since last year). It's definitely more than "a convenient hotel restaurant" now, at least for dinner.

They serve three sauces, out of a list of twenty, with each entree. You can either pick your own sauces or they will recommend some. I went with their recommended sauces for the short ribs, and was happy. Not only did the sauces add something to the ribs (which were very tender and came with their own sauce, which was also tasty), but the ribs were served with a risotto I actually liked. (I almost never like risotto...something about the texture.)

Tonight they were also serving some specials, which are supposedly previews of what will be on the menu later this year. One of the specials was "Cheese bread." I'll just say that it's not what it sounds like, and it's superb.


firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
firecat (attention machine in need of calibration)

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