Mystery Flora: After the Storm

I mentioned I took a little ramble up the drumlin and back on Saturday, when the sun decided to pop out and say hello. You know, that doesn’t actually happen in Seattle very often: downpour, then sunshine. That’s more of an Arizona thing. But it happens sometimes, and one seizes the moment and gallops out of the house to enjoy it.

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I Can’t Keep Up With the Added Awesome Anymore

We’ve added even moar vloggers. Superstar vloggers. Outstanding vloggers. This community of ours keeps growing, and keeps getting more amazing, by the day.

I’m going to have to have a discussion with my computer about this whole “I’ll only stream for so long before I kick you off the internet” thing it’s got going on lately. Because now there are videos, right here, where I can’t miss ’em. Also, these folks blog. Regular ol’ text. Images and words and voices, oh my.

Drop by and say hello, or allo, or your greeting of choice.

Ace of Clades.

Christina Rad.

And, I know I’ve introduced them before, but figured I’d mention them again:

Zinnia Jones.

Ashley F. Miller.


Sunday Song: Storm

It’s been a stormy week. Some of the storms are metaphorical, but they had real-life effects. Some of the storms were real, and had real-life effects. I should be in Oregon right now, recovering from a day banging on rocks at Quartzville. But Lockwood and I called that off because the weather kept looking stormier and stormier. Also, Aunty Flow’s doing those “Guess who’s coming to make you miserable!” nudges. When that happens, it’s best not to nudge back by engaging in strenuous physical exercise.

All of this has left me with one song going through my head:

Thing is, I couldn’t see the storm – the real one, I mean (the metaphorical one was bloody fucking obvious and has been for some time). I realized a day or so ago that we did, indeed, have a storm coming in. Silly thing to say, right? I mean, the weather was nice for two days, but the forecast predicted rain for the weekend, what else would it be but a storm? It’s just that rain is Seattle’s default weather. I’ve stopped thinking in terms of rainstorms. A storm system moves in that brings rain, but I don’t see it as a storm, just rain, just ordinary weather. A storm, to my Arizona mind, implies an upheaval, something different, something a bit wild and chaotic. Days upon days of gentle drizzle interrupted by occasional sunbreaks don’t register as stormy. But they are.

And the rain came down hard Saturday. It got serious about the business. It reminded me of the Noah Open, which is what my dad and his golfing buddies named the tournament they played in during an epic monsoon storm in Flagstaff. I could barely see to drive to the mall, but they stayed the course. They’re more hardcore than I am, those golfers. I didn’t step a foot outside of shelter today, and yet this rain was the lightest of spring drizzles compared to the downpour (with lightning!) they played through. But for Seattle, this was a serious storm.

So I did a desultory bit of cleaning, yammered at my intrepid companion over the phone, and then settled down to read up a bit on threat assessment. You’ll see the results of that soon. I decided that, seeing as how it was a dark and stormy day, I’d sink into the bathtub with a book. That’s about the time the clouds went away and the sun came out.

I had a bath anyway. Then I went up on the drumlin and enjoyed the brief sunshine. I was after birds, but the buggers didn’t cooperate. I saw a hummingbird, too small and distant to try to capture with a point-and-shoot camera. One day, I’m going to see about setting up a hummingbird feeder so I can catch the little bastards in action. I’ll just have to ensure I do it right – I remember hearing somewhere that some feeders are harmful, and I don’t want to hurt any hummingbirds. I just want to shoot them with a camera.

I’m rambling, aren’t I? Never mind me. Where were we? Ah, yes, storms. I don’t mind storms, actually. Much. Sure, they sometimes keep me from doing what I’d like, but they’re quite often necessary. The metaphorical one certainly has been. It needn’t ever to have happened. You’d think people who call themselves skeptics would be rational enough to handle the idea of harassment policies without completely losing their shit. But they have, and so there’s a storm howling round us, and when it clears, I do believe we’ll find a shiny, fresh set of harassment policies designed to make everyone’s* experience better gleaming in the sun, because most people in this movement are rational enough to realize such things are necessary. Obviously, also, desperately needed, considering the behavior of those who hate them so much.

Things thankfully haven’t gotten stormy round the cantina, because every single person who’s commented has been brilliant. You’re good people, and I appreciate you more than I can ever express.

You’re my raincoat and umbrella. You’re allowing me to venture out into the storm without worrying about getting too soggy. Thank you.

It’s only going to get stormier before the sun’s out, I’m afraid. But that’s all right. We’ll weather it just fine, all of us together.

Okay, so the lyrics don’t quite match my optimism. Just stick with the title and we’ll get there.

Here’s a good place.

The Finnish, according to Dark Lyrics, translates thusly:

The shadow of goodness covers the tear,
Takes the step to the one found.
Peace may rock the cradle to sleep.
Hope remains, a way to love.
A way to a deep freedom.

All we have to do is weather the storms. And we will, my darlings. We will**.


*Excepting those who must harass to have a good time, but who gives a shit if they’re not satisfied?

**Even if Dark Lyrics is completely wrong about the Finnish. I’m really not sure. Bing (formerly Babelfish, which was far cooler) made a dog’s breakfast of the translation. But if you want a good laugh, go paste this:

Hyvyyden varjo peittää kyyneleen,
löytäneen luo vie askeleen.
Rauha saa, kehto uneen tuudittaa.
Toivo jää, tie rakkauteen.
Tie syvään vaupauteen.

Into here. Yep.

I don’t think Google Translate has anything to fear from Bing just yet.

Prelude to a Catastrophe Series: The Story So Far

You know, I just realized that new readers may have no idea what’s going on when I do the whole “New at Rosetta Stones!” thing. And we’re kinda in medias res. I can imagine some folks don’t realize we’re in the middle of a series, and thus wonder why on earth this weirdo’s so focused on itsy bitsy phreatic eruptions when there’s a whole big boom that blew the top off a mountain.

So, it’s probably time for a lexicon, innit?

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Interlude with Frogs

People may ask, “Dana, your day job entails getting screamed at by people, and sexist bullshit is rampant. How do you remain cheerful in the face of this?” Go on, ask, so I can say, “People may ask….”

There’s several answers to that, some involving rocks, some awesome allies leading the charge against dumbfuckery, and some the amazing regulars I have at this cantina. However, one answer is foremost in my mind at the moment: Froggies!

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Here’s What I Don’t Want to Do At Conferences

I’ve been seeing, in various and sundry threads on the matter, a lot of people babbling nonsense like, “Just report harassment to security and/or the police! And if they don’t take you seriously, look for someone who will!” This is their brilliant solution to the harassment problem. No policy needed! There’s cops and security guards. Problem solved!

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How Not to Handle Harassment

D.J. Grothe, president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, has a disaster on his hands. It didn’t have to be. There is a sentence he could have said at the very beginning, when folks were talking about the need for good, solid harassment policies at conventions and conferences. He could have said, “JREF takes harassment very seriously, and we will ensure a strong policy is in place to ensure speakers and guests are safe at TAM.” Then all he needed to do was to make sure an excellent policy was prominently posted, complete with reporting and enforcement procedures. Had he done so, two prominent women in the skeptical movement would not have withdrawn from TAM due to issues with his handling of harassment and threats.

This was never about TAM until he chose a different route. He chose to make it all about TAM. Those who already know the sordid history can skip this next bit, unless they wish to see D.J.’s spectacular fuck-up once again.

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A Brief History of Speaking Out on ETEV

I’ve spent the past few days immersed in the latest furor over sexism in the atheist and skeptical communities. I haven’t yet read the transcripts for “The Great Penis Debate,” but I’ve read quite a bit else, including many comment threads, and I’m still amazed by the sheer volume of the screeching resulting from something so simple as saying, “Hey, this community can do better than background levels of harassment at conventions – why not encourage conventions to have harassment policies?”

The resulting backlash has sounded much like what happens when you take a toy away from a toddler – only the tantrum is combined with rape “jokes” and other unsavory vitriol. It’s amazing for its sheer volume. It appears the idea that people should be able to enjoy conferences without worrying about harassment, and that policies should be in place for dealing with harassment when and if it happens, will always be controversial to a certain subset of people. Whether those people are spectacularly clueless, despicable, hopelessly contrarian, or combinations of the three is left as an exercise to the reader.

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Post-SSA Week Geology Challenge Wrap-up

Now you see the result of the Wages of Sin™: I get to toss challenges your way and donate my filthy lucre to worthy causes like the Secular Student Alliance. Our Post-SSA Week Geology Challenge was immensely fun – I think next year, we’ll do it all week. If you’ve got geology photos you want to contribute to the cause*, send ’em my way: dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com. I’ll put ’em in a special folder and make next year’s Challenge a little less American West-centric. We could even do something of this sort for Donor’s Choose this fall, eh? This way, you all get to have fun, and the wee bit o’ cash I earn from blogging here goes to where it’ll do some good.

Here’s the roundup of Challenge Photos and Winners:

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