March 15th, 2020


Fidget Art

These cuffs were designed for people with Alzheimer's disease, but should work for any other sensory seekers.

Here are some patterns you could use. Just add different stitches, buttons, or other baubles.  This would make a great stashbusting project to use up tag ends of yarn, or that fantastic textured yarn you bought and have no idea what to do with.


Gender Gap in Magic

People are more impressed by male magicians than female ones -- until they try to analyze how the trick was done.

So there's an interesting reason why some people may be less gender-prejudiced than others, if they habitually tend to analyze things.  I do that, but then it breaks most tests about gender bias.  ("Which of these pictures is more competent, Jack or Jane?"  "No information about competence has been provided.")

Cryptobiotic Soil

... forms a crust that protects the desert. It is easily damaged and takes thousands of years to repair itself.

I think it would be fascinating to study this crust and see if there are ways to assist its regeneration in damaged areas.  Perhaps if we were to wet the soil and provide nutrients for the cyanobacteria, that would help.  Or maybe like coral, small pieces of healthy crust could expand to restore broken crust.

Sex and Finance

 Normal people are so insecure.  *eyeroll*

My partner and I have swapped breadwinning capacity several times over the years.  We have been eternally grateful that at least one of us was usually able to put the beans on the table.  It is much better than being broke because you had all your eggs in one basket.

But then, we're complementary in a lot of ways.  This one con, I was doing panels all day, but my partner had gotten permission to go behind the scenes of the costume contest, because they had a room for photographers to shoot the contestants, to cut down on traffic jams.  Really brilliant.  So there I was, crawling around on the floor fetching things out of the camera bag, and shocking people who'd seen me sit panel earlier.  In writing, he's my entourage; in photography, I'm his entourage.  Situational authority.

I feel sorry for people who can't do this.

Sexism really can fuck you up.

Abortion Freedom

 ... is under attack with a ban on abortions of Down syndrome babies.

Does anyone propose extra adoption service for unwanted Down syndrome babies?  Free mental and physical health care for affected families?  A free special needs nanny?  An actual guarantee of special education services that are supposedly owed but rarely available?  I sincerely doubt it.  So unless they're doing those things, I don't buy the premise that they give one solitary fuck about people with Down syndrome.

All the bill would do is increase the rate of unwanted children, which runs up the rate of abused and neglected children.  And let's not forget that women are having babies later in life, when this particular quirk is more common, making this a growing problem.

Everybody wants to meddle, but nobody wants to take responsibility for the results. They just want to fob it off on women.  You know what women are going to do?  Buy pills from a more civilized country and take care of their own health care.

If the baby is not coming out your body, it's not your business.

Abortion in Missouri

 ... has become so inaccessible that women travel to other states to obtain health care.

That's nice for women who can afford to travel.

What I'd really like to see is an analysis of Missouri's ER stats.  Are they seeing the spike in casualties from home efforts gone wrong, or perinatal deaths from people who shouldn't actually give birth, like Texas is, or are enough women able to access care from better states?

Creative Tacos

You can put darn near anything on a taco

I favor two approaches:

* Add individual, novel ingredients to a standard taco bar like corn relish alongside salsa or chive blossoms alongside chopped onions.

* Transmute the entire concept to a different cuisine.
Tortilla -> naan
Ground beef -> chicken tikka
Cheese -> paneer
Sour cream -> yogurt or raita
Mexican chili powder -> Indian red or green masala, shadrasa masala, etc.
Cilantro stays the same

Additionally, a taco bar can be as healthy as the ingredients.  You can put almost any vegetable on a taco.  Some, like eggplant or mushroom, will substitute for meat.  Beans + rice = complete protein.  Lots of fermented live foods such as pickles, yogurt, and cheese work great.  It's basically just a salad in a bread wrapper.

Use your imagination.  Fusion cuisine is one of the few cultural exchanges we haven't fucked up.

Today's Smoothie

Today's smoothie includes:

1 cup guava nectar
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup ice
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
2 tablespoons coconut milk

This one is really quite good.  :D  It is thick and creamy, about milkshake texture (which I like), sort of peach colored, and has a mellow tropical-fruit flavor.  \o/  Definitely a recipe to remember. 

School Meals

 ... are controversial.  Serving burgers and pizza is not healthy.  But when students are forced to take "healthy" foods they don't want, they just throw the produce in the trash.

A big problem is that institutional food just tends to suck.  This can be covered up by cramming it with fat, sugar, salt, artificial colors and flavors to make it seem edible.  Without that, most people won't eat it unless they're hungry enough to eat garbage, and they certainly won't be happy with it.  It's possible to make absolutely spectacular food with healthy ingredients.  But that means buying fresh-picked, preferably organic ingredients in a wide seasonal variety, and preparing them wisely.  That's difficult or impossible to do on a mass scale.  The difference between a Honeycrisp and a Red Delicious is the difference between mouth and trashcan, but that Honeycrisp costs at least 3x as much.  Many people just don't find whole wheat very appetizing, but some whole grains like quinoa or amaranth are excellent.  These, too, are more expensive and not as easy to prepare.

Now, if you have a sensible setup -- say a Montessori or Waldorf school, both prone to family-style meals prepared in family-style kitchens, often as part of teaching older students how to use a kitchen -- you can offer healthy meals with no more hardship than doubling or tripling the cost, and those are private schools anyway so they're not short of cash.

In a public school, unless you plan to triple the budget, change the food-distribution system, and gut the cafeteria to rebuild it, you might as well admit that you can't be arsed to feed children properly.  Because otherwise they're just going to chuck it in the trash unless they are literally starving.

Shifting Risks

Insurance companies are reducing or removing coverage in areas prone to disasters.  That throws more weight onto the state insurance programs.

What they really need to do is declare that some places -- like shorelines and fire chimneys -- are no longer suitable for building in.  That will happen sooner or later, because you can't rebuild indefinitely in a worsening threat zone.  Sooner would mean a more controlled retreat with less money wasted and lives lost.  It would be better to close out the obvious threat zones, but at bare minimum, if a building has been totaled twice, don't rebuild it again in the same place.

New Crowdfunding Project: I Was a Teenage Creature

IWATC is a narrative-focused tabletop roleplaying game that makes the emotional angst of urban fantasy teen-drama TV shows part of the game.

$3,507 pledged of $5,000 goal
94 backers
5 days to go
All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, March 20 2020 11:59 PM CDT


Home Stretch! – The Deadline Approaches! ========================
We're in the last week of the campaign, with five days remaining! The
Kickstarter drive for the I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE RPG ends this Friday at
11:59 pm, and we're very, Very close to reaching our funding goal! The
campaign has, at the time of this writing, reached $3,500.00, which is 69%
of the way to our target total (and a number that fills every (Eros)cubus
with delight, but does not quite make a passing grade, does it?) That's
over two-thirds funded and only fifteen-hundred dollars short of our goal,
and we know there are more pledges coming in. Besides the normal upswing
in activity towards the end of a crowdfunding campaign, this project has
almost two hundred potential backers who are following the campaign but
not yet pledged to is the time! If you know anyone who has
expressed interest in the idea of this game but has not yet committed to
backing it, remind them that time is running out! All of the followers
will receive notice that the funding drive is almost over at the
forty-eight hour mark, but the closer we can get to our goal before that
happens, the more likely the campaign will look to succeed, which in turn
makes it more likely that potential backers will become actual backers.
Please share this campaign on your social media accounts, point it out on
your gaming forums and hangouts, mention it wherever you know fans of
Buffy, Teen Wolf, Charmed, Supernatural, Shadow Hunters, Dresden, or Anita
Blake hang out...heck, we'll even take pledges from Twilight fans! (Hey,
it all spends the same, right?) And just to add some splash to this
update, we'll include the portraits for the character sheets...and these
are just the cover characters' normal "Teenage" selves; the "Creature"
images are even better! If we reach our goal, we'll be able to get even
more art like this included in the IWATC core rulebook! Please share,
pledge, and even increase your pledge if you can, and Ninjacat Stories
will produce the best game we can for you! Thank You!
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