January 20th, 2020


Sleepy Students

This article looks at the problem of students falling asleep in class.

Aside from the issues raised in the article:

* Make sure they don't have an environmental problem interfering with their sleep, such as an unsafe or noisy home.

* Make sure they don't have a physical problem interfering with their sleep, and that they don't have sleep inertia.

* Check their natural biorhythm.  If it's on a greatly different setting than their current school, provide education according to their body clock.  Forcing them to work in the middle of their body-night is ruinous to health and doesn't teach them much anyway.

* Provide interesting material and plenty of activity during the day.  Inactivity and boredom can put even well-rested people to sleep.  This is most likely an issue if many  students are sleepy.

* A tremendous cause of not getting enough sleep is too much homework.  Limit or better yet eliminate homework; schools have 8 hours a day and any more than that constitutes an unreasonable infringement on "8 hours for work, 8 hours for rest, 8 hours for what we will" of a healthy balanced life.  And of course, if students don't get enough sleep because they have too much homework, they tend to do a shitty job in school anyway.

* If they're falling asleep in school, for fucksake let them sleep.  Lack of sleep can kill people.  Also, sleep deprivation is a recognized form of abuse and torture.  Go figure out what the problem is, and after you've fixed it, they'll stop falling asleep in class.  If it's unfixable, leave them the fuck alone.

Vanishing Birds

 We've lost about a third of all birds.

Yes, actually, I have noticed the decline locally.  I'm lucky that I still have some, but nowhere near as many as there used to be.  Every time a fencerow or old farmyard is torn down, the population of local birds immediately drops.  It's not just the loss of habitat they need to live in.  It's that they hop from one clump of trees to another over the barren-to-them cropfields.  The fewer "islands" of habitat, the fewer birds can travel and the less far they go.

Allow me to reiterate how stupid it is to be tearing down trees when the world is getting hotter and the storms are getting wilder.  We need more, not less.

Disaster Is the Mother of Civilization

There's a lot of truth in this.

However, there's also a bit of exaggeration.  Humans invented agriculture long, long before they invented civilization. It dates back to when humans looped around several favorite spots within a territory.   Many seeds will pass through digestion intact, which means all the potty spots had lots of edible plants growing around them.  These were often better than random wild plants because the best plants got eaten and shat out in the same place.  People learned to propagate the things they liked the best.  

The problem is, it didn't look like modern agriculture, so people don't recognize it when they see it. They still don't.  They'll walk right through an Amazon tribe's carefully managed food forest and not see it because it doesn't look like a monoculture.  Even a Three Sisters garden can be overlooked.  To say nothing of forbidding aboriginal Australians from gardening with fire.

I'm a mediocre gardener at best.  But I am considerably better at scattering self-sufficient edibles around the yard.  Mulberries, black raspberries, blackberries, pie cherries, herbs, edible flowers -- it delights me when I can go outside and forage for things to eat.

You Can't Keep Back the Sea

 ... but it was valiant to have tried.

I'll fill in a few unknown parts of the story from ulterior resources:

* When you see something wildly out of its time like that, you're usually seeing evidence for one of two things: a super-gizmologist good enough to engineer a new solution, or someone with enough farmemory to recognize the problem and reproduce a solution.  Another source of exceptional input is spirit advice, but they don't usually tell people to build walls with rocks, so I rate that much less probable.

* And the villagers miraculously listened, which is rarer than you might think and why these things often appear in isolation.  So they had not just one smart and/or mystic person, but the group itself was especially fluent in one or both of those things. That speaks to the likelihood of their survival.

* You can't keep back the sea, but there is one thing you can accomplish by fighting an impossible battle: you can buy time.  They may have known it was a lost cause -- it's not hard to recognize that if water keeps rising, you are going to lose -- but if they had a Plan B which took time to develop, such as preparing another village site elsewhere, then the wall likely served its purpose.

So if I were an archaeologist, I'd take my trusty tapping pole, some portable scanners, and a good handful of interns and sweep straight inland from the village and along the river, looking for that Plan B.  If I could identify where on the river the rocks had been taken from, I'd use both that and the village as reference points to search for the subsequent site, because people who build walls are prone to repeating certain geometric patterns.

Also, don't forget that this is us.  A century or two from now, most of Earth's great cities will be underwater, because so many of them are right  on the waterline.  You know, like that neolithic village.  Here's what it would look like if all the ice melted, but they're underestimating the speed that can happen, and it won't take nearly that much to sink the cities.

Now would be a good time to make a Plan B.

Monday Update 1-20-20

These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Species on the Move
Poem: "Corrup"
Burnout and Heart Failure
Community Building Tip: Pick Up
Poem: "The Great Growling Engine of Change"
Speculative Fiction Needs More Diversity
Antelope Burgers
Poem: "Where Dark Meets Light on the Turning Edge"
January Birthdays (the Arc of Screwed is actually Nov-Jan)
Self-Awareness Question: Moving
Recipe: "Hazelnut Steaklets"
Poem: "Elegant, Mysterious, and Beautiful"
Arguing About Universal Basic Income
Hard Things

There is a half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics running Monday 20-Sunday 26, so check out the discounted poems.

Website updates: [personal profile] fuzzyred has been working on various pages. Aquariana and Dr. Infanta are up to date. Shiv is in progress.  \o/

The [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam ran this past weekend with a theme of "power and corruption." See what I did.

How are you doing with your New Year's resolutions / goals? Since so many people abandon theirs by the end of January, I wanted to make a space for bragging up our accomplishments and encouraging each other. It is also fine if what you learned this year is "this goal / method doesn't work for me."

Nominations are currently open for the Rose and Bay Award in [community profile] crowdfunding. This award recognizes exemplary projects and enthusiastic patrons. It currently features six categories: Art, Fiction, Poetry, Webcomic, Other Project, and Patron. Only 2 categories have nominations and none have them from more than one nominator, so they all desperately need more participation.

These are the handlers for the 2020 award season:
Art: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate art! Vote for art! (0 nominations)
Fiction: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate fiction! Vote for fiction! (3 nominations)
Poetry: [personal profile] readera Nominate poetry! Vote for poetry! (0 nominations)
Webcomic: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate webcomics! Vote for webcomics! (0 nominations)
Other Project: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate other projects! Vote for other projects! (0 nominations)
Patron: [personal profile] ng_moonmoth Nominate patrons! Vote for patrons! (1 nomination)
Please think about your favorite crowdfunded projects and patrons from 2019. Especially if you are a creator, nominate some of your patrons, and boost the signal so your fans will know to nominate your project.

[community profile] snowflake_challenge is currently running. This year the challenges appear every other day, so it spans the whole month of January. This is bringing lots of new people to my blog. :D Welcome, friends! Feel free to ask me if you have questions.
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 1 Introduce Yourself
Fandom Snowflake Challenge 2: Fannish History
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 3 Communities
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 4 Goals
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 5 Friends
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 6 Wishlist
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 7 Promote Yourself
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 8 Rec Fanworks
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 9 Canons
Fandom Snowflake: Challenge 10 Creator

I am working on the year-end perks for my K-fans. Here are the poetry series currently available as collections. Arts and Crafts America, The Moon Door, Clay of Life, A Conflagration of Dragons, Hart's Farm, and One God's Story of Mid-Life Crisis are new this year!  I still need to do P.I.E.

Poetry in Microfunding:

There is one open epic at present.

"Celebrate and Cherish" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Mallory and has 22 new verses. Mallory and family begin exploring the Circle School with a teacher.

The weather has been mostly moderate. It rained a lot again, and the fields flooded (now frozen), covering the road in at least one place (but we could still get through there). Seen at the birdfeeders this week: a large flock of sparrows, a large flock of mourning doves, several dark-eyed juncos, several cardinals, a downy woodpecker, and a squirrel.


Progress on Goals and Resolutions

The internet is rife with dismal observations about how many people fail their New Year's resolutions before the end of January. So I thought it would be nice to check in and see how folks are doing.

Here's my big list of goals. As you can see, I'm smokin' it on checking the list, largely because we're still playing with the Vitamix and making lots of new recipes that I then log. I don't necessarily expect that to last all year, but so far so good. I have started working on at least 10 goals. I have already met 3 goals: selling a poem of 10 lines or less eligible for the Dwarf Stars Award, getting rid of one cookbook that didn't have any recipes we wanted to make, and using a specific storyline as a fishbowl theme. \o/

What's up with your New Year's resolutions or goals?

Half-Price Sale in Polychrome Heroics

This week, the poetry of Polychrome Heroics is on sale for half price from Monday, January 20 through Sunday, January 26. This series is superhero fantasy. It features themes of heroism, coming of age, diversity, identity kink, family of choice, friendship, and cultural engineering. Sale prices range from $7.50 to $283, so hopefully there will be something for everyone.

Prices on open epics are locked at the time of opening; however, if anyone wants to donate to open epics and buy poetry, spending $100 will get you the quarter-price rate on the new poems, regardless of the rate on the open epic(s) you support. There is only one open epic at present, so you're free to open more if you wish. "Celebrate and Cherish" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Mallory. It needs $63.50 to be complete.

We are repeating the special discount for purchases of $100 or more, in which you get poetry at 25% of its original price instead of 50%. (Note that this increases the amount of poetry you get, rather than reducing the amount of money spent; the point is to get this stuff off of my desk. Yes, I can afford it.) That size of donation also makes you a k-fan which comes with some other perks, like a year-end collection of a poetic series. If several folks want to bundle their orders to make the $100 threshold and have one person send it all, that's okay; you'll get the discount and I'll list all your names as donors, but you'll have to decide amongst you who gets the k-fan credit. If you host a pool, please close it the day before the sale closes, so you have time to collect funds and turn them in on time.

Some of the poems are in sequence of related action, so in places there are prerequisites before a poem can be published. They can be sponsored at any time, just might have to wait for publication until something else gets posted first. Those are marked accordingly. I have also made lists of poems which unlock sequels, and poems which have prerequisites.

Linkback perk: The following poems have verses left to reveal. Boost the signal for this half-price sale and tell me which poem you want to extend.
"Mysterious and Impermanent"
"Greater Than the Sum"
"A Lively Feast"
"Between the Normal and the Abnormal"
"Always Carry Your Goodness"
"Crossroads on the Hero's Journey"
"The Arc of the Mental Universe"
"So Often Alone"
"An Iron Fist"
"Mr. Ian Woon and the Excellent Adventure"

About characters and storylines: The storylines feature multiple characters, so if you want poems about ONE specific character, look closely. The thumbnail descriptions here give some indication who features in each poem. The storyline pages are adding precise, complete information about which characters appear in each poem. If you need more than what's already visible, you can ask me.

About timing: If you want maximum choice, shop early. We usually send a batch of things to my parents near the end of a sale, and those poems will be posted as I have time.

About pools: Yes, you can combine your funds with other prompters to get the quarter-price rate. Yes, you can combine your funds with other prompters to buy a bigger poem. Yes, you can offer to match donations by other people. However, the wordsmith is not also a math whiz! After several attempts to find a way that I can work with pools and matches, I have concluded that this is over my head. (I did figure out how to avoid generating fractional pennies, though: all initial prices are now whole dollars, which means they cut evenly into halves and quarters.) So if you want to host a pool or a match, make a post for that in your blog or other venue, then comment here with what you're doing and include a link to wherever the discussion will be. You figure out the poems, you collect the funds, and when stuff is fully funded, you send me the money and the list of what it's for. Then I'll post the goodies. Please close the pool by the end of the sale, so I can start posting pool poems no later than the day after the sale.

Before placing your order, please check this sale page to see what is still unsold! I will try to update the page as things sell, and it's likely to be the case that some poems will be marked SOLD before appearing in posts. People often buy things in batches, which means that selling gets ahead of posting. Also sometimes people ask for the same thing at the same time, so that not all overlaps are preventable. If you have alternate instructions in case you request something that has just sold, please include that in your message; otherwise I'll email you back and ask what you want to do.
Currently available are the following poems. Some are in series chronological order, and others are just kind of stuck wherever, because sequencing Polychrome Heroics is like trying to sequence a dozen different comic book titles from the same publisher. See the thread page for Shiv.

Poems that unlock sequels: "Because We Are All Unique," "Without Diversity" "Alstroemeria," "The Making of a Wonderful Sculpture"

Poems that have prerequisites: "Without Diversity," "Alstroemeria," "Watching The Water Department," "To Be Something Stronger and Better"

39 poems, $8,273 ÷ 2 = $4,136.50
prices from $7.50 to $283

BROKEN ANGELS (2 poems, was $362, sale price $181)

"By Our Every Action"
Story Date: Monday, October 5, 2015
Faster Blaster asks for help with soup issues.
221 lines, was $111, sale price $55.50  SOLD to [personal profile] mama_kestrel 

"A Sanctuary for Those in Danger"
Story Date: Friday, November 20, 2015
New people come to the Broken Angels.
501 lines, was $251, sale price $125.50  SOLD to [personal profile] mama_kestrel 

FORTRESSA (2 poems, was $187, sale price $93.50)

"Quality, Convenience and Tech Experience"
Story Date: Monday, November 30, 2015
Fortressa tries out a bodysuit with lightweight armor.
177 lines, was $89, sale price $44.50

"When Life Throws You Some Curves"
Penny works on designs for a plus-size customer.
Story Date: Saturday, December 19, 2015
195 lines, was $98, sale price $49

RUTLEDGE (5 poems, was $1032, sale price $516)

"Out of Suffering"
Story Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2011-Monday, April 7, 2014
Summary: Ibrahim Khaled makes a long journey from Damascus, Syria to Rutledge, Vermont.
367 lines, was $184, sale price $92

"Because We Are All Unique"
Plagued by shrinking population, a town in Terramagne-Vermont considers inviting Syrian refugees to join them.
840 lines, was $420, sale price $210  SOLD for Mom & Dad

"Without Diversity"
Rutledge citizens debate and vote on the refugee issue.
413 lines, was $207, sale price $103.50
Available for publication after "Because We Are All Unique" has been sponsored and posted.

A florist helps a Syrian refugee in Rutledge.
179 lines, was $90, sale price $45
Available for publication after "Because We Are All Unique" has been sponsored and posted.

"Watching The Water Department"
Students at a French immersion school watch television together and talk about the show, relating it to their own experiences.
261 lines, was $131, sale price $65.50
Available for publication after "Because We Are All Unique" has been sponsored and posted.

SHIV (20 poems, was $5109, sale price $2554.50)

"Work Worth Doing"
Shiv wakes up in an unfamiliar place, and has to figure out how to fit into his new gang.
511 lines, was $256, sale price $128  POOL with [personal profile] fuzzyred[personal profile] book_worm5, and [personal profile] technoshaman 

"A Weird Tension"
When art therapy reminds Shiv of his unpleasant past, he loses his temper.
811 lines, was $406, sale price $203

"Because the Therapist Continues to Grow"
Story Date: Monday, November 24, 2014
Summary: Dr. G searches for places to learn new skills.
200 lines, was $100, sale price $50  SOLD to [personal profile] janetmiles 

"All the Beautiful Lights"
Story Date: Sunday, December 21, 2014
Shiv and Luci enjoy a holiday cruise on Lake Manawa.
824 lines, was $412, sale price $206  POOL with [personal profile] fuzzyred[personal profile] book_worm5, and [personal profile] technoshaman 

"Strange and Twisted Creatures"
Story Date: Evening of Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Molly takes care of Gray after the incident with Chyou.
558 lines, was $279, sale price $139.50

"Survive the Recovery"
Story Date: Sunday, December 28, 2014
Shiv meets with Dr. G to talk about what happened with Chyou.
828 lines, was $414, sale price $207

"A Fine Sweater"
Story Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Summary: Shiv and Luci knit up some of their sari yarn.
223 lines, was $112, sale price $56  POOL with [personal profile] fuzzyred[personal profile] book_worm5, and [personal profile] technoshaman 

"The Cutting of the Gem"
Story Date: Monday, February 9, 2015
Tolli takes Shiv to a rock and gem shop.
555 lines, was $278, sale price $139

"The Most Genius Thing That Man Created"
Story Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Summary: Shiv gives Molly the knife that Tolli and Simon commissioned.
127 lines, was $64, sale price $32

"Wanting a Little of Everything"
Story Date: Monday, March 16, 2015
After several casual meetings, Shiv and Luci finally get together with Bennett for a deeper discussion about kink in general and switching in particular.
1132 lines, was $566, sale price $283

"Conducive to Thought"
Story Date: Monday, April 13, 2015
Shiv begins knitting a brain to help him understand anatomy better.
558 lines, was $279, sale price $139.50  SOLD to [personal profile] librarygeek 

"Another Expression of Art"
Story Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015
Summary: A nutritionist visits Blues Moon to talk about food as edible art and how to make a healthier menu.
586 lines, was $293, sale price $146.50

"Those Tiny, Negative Elements"
When Shiv makes a mistake in Motor City, he tries to make up for it according to local custom. It does not go well.
963 lines, was $482, sale price $241

"The Mixture of Spices, the Subtle Flavors"
Story Date: Friday, June 5, 2015
Summary: Pain's Gray and Shiv discover Indian food.
370 lines, was $185, sale price $92.50

"Delicious Nemeses"
Story Date: Friday, June 5, 2015
Immediately follows "The Mixture of Spices, the Subtle Flavors"
Summary: Gray wants to try making Indian food at home, and Shiv helps.
351 lines, was $176, sale price $88

"As a Form of Cultural Bricolage"
Story Date: Monday, August 3, 2015
Summary: Shiv, Luci, Tolli, and Simon watch a new television show about jerryrigging.
309 lines, was $155, sale price $77.50

"Happy Accidents"
Story Date: Sunday, August 27, 2015
Summary: Shiv takes a lesson in wet-on-wet painting, and gets a suggestion of where to look for more.
180 lines, was $90, sale price $45  SOLD for Mom & Dad

"Happy Little Trees"
Story Date: Sunday, August 27, 2015
Summary: Shiv looks up some old painting videos online and falls in love with the style.
358 lines, was $179, sale price $89.50

"The Sharpness of the Sword"
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Luci is interested in one of the boys at school. The sword really isn't.
126 lines, was $63, sale price $31.50

"The Making of a Wonderful Sculpture"
Story Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Summary: Shiv, Tolli, and Simon visit the Raleigh Metalwork Show.
176 lines, was $88, sale price $44

"To Be Something Stronger and Better"
Story Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Summary: After the Raleigh Metalwork show, Shiv and Tolli make things in the workshop.
462 lines, was $231, sale price $116
Available for publication after "The Making of a Wonderful Sculpture" has been sponsored and posted.

STRANGE FAMILY (3 poems, was $728, sale price $364)

"Serenity, Hope, Balance"
Story Date: Saturday, November 8, 2014
Genna and Pips go shopping in Amilla Vazan.
770 lines, was $385, sale price $192.50

"From Many Emotional Colors"
Story Date: Sunday, November 16, 2014
Summary: Genna and Dom stumble across a batik class on the beach.
137 lines, was $69, sale price $34.50

"Dans une grande âme"
Story Date: Monday, December 1, 2014
Genna does some educational troubleshooting.
547 lines, was $274, sale price $137  SOLD to [personal profile] librarygeek 

OTHER POEMS (7 poems, was $855, sale price $427.50)

"Loss Is Like a Wind"
Story Date: Saturday, April 3, 2010
From a previous backchannel prompt, I got the poem "Loss Is Like a Wind." A drowning death inspires people to take concrete steps to prevent future tragedies.
600 lines, was $300, sale price $150

Summary: Savoir Faire needs to keep moving.
34 lines, 13 verses, was $15, sale price $7.50  SOLD to [personal profile] lone_cat 

Story Date: Monday, February 3, 2014
Fadwa Zaitoun went to extreme lengths to flee Syria.
189 lines, was $95, sale price $47.50

"Into the Thousand-Eyed Present"
Story Date: Monday, 6 April, 2015
Aidan, Saraphina, Drew, and Zipper apply for citizenship in the Maldives.
654 lines, was $327, sale price $163.50  IN MICROFUNDING NOW    

Story Date: Monday, April 13, 2015
Summary: Fairybread's color-changing ability is no use in combat, but that's okay.
84 lines, was $42, sale price $21

"The Robe of Wisdom"
Story Date: Friday, December 4, 2015
Summary: An old patchwork robe assists with meditation, and inspires new ideas.
113 lines, was $56, sale price $28  SOLD  to [personal profile] janetmiles 

"Way Down Deep"
Mrrhow and her littermates talk about what they want.
48 lines, was $20, sale price $10  SOLD to [personal profile] lone_cat 

Goal Fish

I looked up this old favorite today and realized I haven't recced it in a long time. Goal Fish is a customizable activity manager that feeds you one thing at a time, chores or fun.  If you set up an account you can do more, like save your settings.  A friend of mine made it years ago, and it's great for cognitive offloading.  

This is the main page form:



Night-time tasks only?
Are you overloaded?
Inside tasks only?
What's your pain level:
Maximum people available:
Maximum time (in minutes):
Maximum price:

Get tasks

Eyeball Planets

Tidally locked planets tend to have very different conditions on the hot and cold sides.  This isn't a new idea, but the nickname is new and amusing.  It comes from the circular pattern of zones that can make a bullseye design.  This can have various configurations depending on how close the planet is to its sun.  The article includes several illustrations to show how they might look.

I would love to write this kind of setting.  It sounds like so much fun.