marnanel: (Default)
some things to know about me:

* I may be wrong and often am. If I am, I would like to know, and learn better. But...
* I hate conflict. If you are rude, aggressive, hostile, ridiculing, I'll probably not talk to you.
* I am aware that I am privileged in many ways; if I show unchecked privilege, I appreciate hearing about it and I promise to take it seriously. I expect the same from you.
* Autonomy is important. I would like to hear your stories rather than tell my own. But if your behaviour involves nonconsensual damage to others, especially children, I am unlikely to be sympathetic (to put it mildly). Anti-vaccination people are specifically included here as people who damage children.
* I love hugs and cuddles, but please don't touch me without asking.
* If I have a panic attack, please hang around. Afterwards I will probably go and hide somewhere for a bit, and then I probably won't cope too well with people talking to me.
* If I'm occupied with nothing but my phone in public, that's probably a way of hiding.
* I hate phone calls. I hate making them, and I hate receiving them. Text or email instead, unless it's urgent, or you've arranged it otherwise. (To my parents: yes, you count as having arranged otherwise. But I still prefer email.)
* My pronouns are they/them, though zie/zir is fine too, and other pronouns are all right where I'm not out as genderqueer. If you get it wrong, that's fine. But don't get it wrong on purpose.
* Do not shout at me. Ever.
* I like reconciliation. If we were friends in the past, I probably want to be friends again. There are a very few exceptions, but you know who you are.
* I like vegetarian food, but I'll eat some kinds of meat if that's all that's available. I'm allergic to uncooked egg (and this includes scrambled eggs, for some reason). Eggs in things like cake are fine. Actually, cake is lovely in general.
* I have a bad habit of avoiding dealing with things I don't know how to handle, especially emails I don't know how to answer. In particular, I love getting fanmail, but I'm rather bad at answering it. I'm really sorry: I'm working on it. I do read it all, and it does make me happy, and I love you all.
* Please don't assume I can pick up on hints, or flirting, or that I know any particular social conventions about conversations; please be explicit. If there's something you can't or don't want to talk about, I will pick it up and worry about it if you lie about the things round the edges in inconsistent ways. I really like it when people talk to me about how they want to talk to me and how I want to talk to them.
* I'll try to add trigger warnings to posts and pictures. Again, if I get it wrong, let me know.
* I have triggers of my own. I may have to leave a conversation because of them. It's a PTSD thing.
* Reciting poetry and singing and scripting/echolalia are coping habits.
* I apologise too much. I'm working on it.

Did I miss anything? Questions and comments and suggestions are welcome.
marnanel: (Default)
[ghosts, death; parody of "Streets of London" by Ralph McTell]

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the Tower of London
Face full of grace with a queenly charm?
She's no breath for talking,
she just keeps right on walking
Carrying her head
Right underneath her arm.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And in the topmost turret
You'll meet Sir Walter Raleigh
Cursing at his fall like an angry tar
Looking at the world
With a chip on his shoulder,
Each and every midnight
He smokes a mild cigar.

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.

And have you seen the playroom
Of a pair of ghostly princes?
Such endless games in a place like theirs!
Careful where you sit if you
Accept their invitation:
They don't have ghostly cushions
On all their ghostly chairs

So how can you tell me you're ghostly
And say your life has run out of time?
Let me take you by the hand
And lead you round the Tower of London
I'll show you something
That'll make you change your mind.
marnanel: (Default)

So, here's a happy accessibility thing.

I was sitting in a meeting today, watching the signer-- out of curiosity, because I don't understand BSL-- and he was sitting in front of a plate glass window.

Someone signed (what evidently meant something like) "the sun's in my eyes!"

He looked over his shoulder and replied (what evidently meant something like) "aw crap, there's no blinds."

So of course I got up, and stood behind the signer to block the sun. They both thanked me later-- but standing in front of a window is easy :) The difficult part was happening to notice an accessibility problem that wasn’t my accessibility problem.

And that makes me wonder what other things I've missed.

marnanel: (Default)
CW misogyny, sex, death, patriarchy...

Once upon a time, I was president of CUHaGS, which has quite a large crossover with the Monarchist League. CUHaGS has a tradition that the annual dinner is held at the college of the president, so in my year it was held at Sidney.

People often get up and walk around outside between courses, so that they're sitting next to someone else for the next course. (I don't know whether that's just a Sidney thing.) And I began to overhear Monarchists saying things to one another like "I've just been for a leap", or "I fancy a leap. Want to come?"

Some background here. Despite being 400 years old, Sidney has produced approximately two famous people: Carol Voderman and Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell, as you probably know, killed King Charles I. At the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II had Cromwell's body dug up and hanged, and his head put on a spike. Then someone stole the head.

Centuries later, that person's descendant decided it was a bit creepy having a head around, and gave it to Sidney. The head was buried in the chapel, but its exact location remains a secret known only to the Master and a few Fellows. Otherwise there was a risk that monarchists would dig it up again and use it as a football.

Anyway, I investigated what the people going for a "leap" were up to. Of course the Monarchists hate Cromwell, because he killed a king. It turned out that they often hold dinners at Sidney, get drunk, and go to the chapel, and jump up and down on random parts of the floor in the hope that they're showing disrespect to Oliver Cromwell's head.
marnanel: (Default)

A toddler I know started “reading” a story aloud from a Bible. With permission from their parents, I’ve illustrated the story:

image

People send one another oranges in envelopes.

image

The Princess and the Queen are married...

image

...and sat down at the table to eat sausages.

image

Then they ate sausages again, but this time with mash.

image

Then they ate children.

image

Then they ate sausages again.

image

Then they ate the castle, which was made of sausages.

image

Suddenly, a dragon appeared!

image

They said, “Shoo shoo shoo shoo shoo shoo” at the dragon...

image

...and it went away. The end.

marnanel: (Default)

alan turing invented the COLOSSOS, machine for understanding ger., lat., fr., ect which won the war for BRITTAN cheers cheers cheers. even tho he was a grate pionear of computer sience, the goverment did not respekt him, becos he did not hav a beard.

all mr turing’s discovereys are v popular at st. custards, eg the HALTING PROBLEM, which shos that you canot tell whether or not hedmaster’s pi-jaw will go on for ever.

mr turing also invented the turing test. this demonstrates that a computer is intelegent if a human canot tell whether it is another human. hence super wizard wheez to see whether sigismund the mad maths master wil notice if i send the MOLESWORTH-O-TRON 9000 to maths klass while i stay in bed.

SIGISMUND: molesworth, why hav you not done your prep
MOLESWORTH-O-TRON: is it becos I hav not done my prep that you speke to me
SIGISMUND: what is the square on the hipotnus?
MOLESWORTH-O_TRON: some of the squares on the other sides
SIGISMUND: corekt
PEASON: sir sir i have a question sir
SIGISMUND: what is it peason
PEASON: ; drop table mathematiks; –
(with a grate CRASH the molesworth-o-tron fall to the floor)
SIGISMUND: well i never, molesworth is a computer

thus we see, my deres, that i, nigel molesworth, hav absolutely 0 brane at all.
marnanel: (Default)

[Part 1 is here]

rekursion is not e.g. when you drop a shottput on yor foot and shout D— B— S— ect in front of GRIMES and get yor mouth washed out with soap. it is a way to find ansers in funkshonal langwidges that require BRANE. this is becos funkshonal langwidges never do anything useful exept by side-efect, and who can blame them.

the ordenry way of finding ansers is for one funkshon to aks another thus:

FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hello clouds hello sky, hello peason. who is the strongest boy in all st. custards?
PEASON: er, i dunno. molesworth, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
MOLESWORTH (chest swelling with manly pride): it is i (gramer)
PEASON: it is molesworth. (he burst out laffing)
FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hurrah, i hav my answer. (he skip merily away.)

but a rekursiv funkshon can aks itself for an anser.

FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hello clouds hello sky, hello molesworth. who is the strongest boy in all st. custards?
MOLESWORTH: i shal aks myself. molesworth, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
(i turn around. i am looking into the eyes of a handsom stranger.
could it be MYSELF?)

MOLESWORTH: dere me, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
MOLESWORTH-PRIME: it is me.
(but as i turn to tell fotherington-tomas, we hear the footstepps of the glamorus under-matron PRUDENCE ENTWISTLE)
MOLESWORTH-PRIME: wait! i must veriffy the result. prudence, who is the tuoghest in the skool?
PRUDENCE: you, my sweet.
(she kisses him and they depart arm in arm without me chiz chiz chiz)

rekurshon was invented by som monks in hanoi. they had three huge needels and a hundred disks. they spent hundreds of yeres moving them about it was worse than detenshun. they shud hav just spun them around like radio LUXEMBURG hem hem. anyway one day the americans invaded.

AMERICANS: wot are you doing
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: moving disks around
AMERICANS: why
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: no time to talk, got to move this disk around
AMERICANS: dont drop it on your…
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: oh S— B— D—
ABBOT: report to the scriptorium to have thy mouth woshed out with soap

tho to be fair it is probbly less rude in vietnamese.

Idealistic

Jan. 13th, 2017 01:17 am
marnanel: (Default)
I once told a toddler the story of Plato's cave. She said, "Well, I'm going on holiday there soon."

When she got home, she told her mum, "I'm going on holiday to a cave where you can only see shadows on the wall."

Her mum said, "You've been talking to Marn, haven't you?"
marnanel: (Default)
FRIENDS

They will stand beside you
When all things are good.
And in the times when things are bad
Beside you they have stood.
They always tell the truth to you
As every good friend must
And they are reliable:
Friends you always trust.
They never will say nasty things
About the clothes you wear
They'll stand up for you against others
When you're not there.
You can always trust your friends
To hold your place in queues.
They'll always tell you "You played well",
Even if you lose.
Always keeping by your side:
Friendship never ends.
Yet, after all, we're only human:
Who has friends?
marnanel: (Default)


[Content note: mention of road accidents, and death of children]

Now more than ever, we on the Left need to change people’s attitudes towards the poor and marginalised. Persuasion has three parts:

  • Why should you listen to me?
  • Here are the facts.
  • But let me tell you a story…

(Why should you listen to me about this? Because I’m a writer and I study the structure of stories. Also, because this pattern has stood the test of time: it was set out by Aristotle in 350BCE.)




Who’s speaking: You. Or not. Don’t assume your job is to speak up for the oppressed, if you’re part of the oppressing group. That generally results in speaking over them. People won’t listen, and they won’t have heard from oppressed folk either. Instead, find someone of the oppressed group who’s speaking up for themselves, and use your privilege to amplify them.

Facts are vitally important, and they’re what we do best. We have fact-checkers and myth-busting websites coming out of our ears. But people don’t listen to facts alone.

Stories, worldviews, are the framework for facts.  If someone’s been sold a lie (“immigrants are taking all the jobs and houses”), they’re sold a story to put it in (which starts with “there’s a shortage of jobs and houses”). Then when you point out the number of houses standing empty, it doesn’t fit the story. So it gets ignored, or twisted into something you didn’t say. The answer to false stories is to spread true stories.

Not convinced? Let me tell you a story.


Once upon a time in 1964, the road safety people ran adverts saying “Don’t drink and drive”. They gave statistics. But the adverts weren’t very effective. So they tried a new idea.

The existing story was “Driving drunk is difficult, so I’m more of a man if I can do it.” The new adverts gave them a better story: Here’s a kid who can’t sleep because her father killed someone. Kill your speed, not a child.

And why should we believe what we’re hearing? Because we’re hearing it from actual people who had been injured in road accidents. Even though the people were fictional characters, it still persuades. And now drinking and driving deaths are one-fifth of what they were 40 years ago.


Persuaded? Share it and persuade your friends.


marnanel: (Default)
I'm working on a proposal to add the [dD]eaf/HoH symbol to Unicode. Help, encouragement, and suggestions are very welcome.

The symbol I mean is in image 1 here:

We should probably also include the induction loop symbol (number 2 in the image).

This proposal is about encoding the symbol as an ordinary character: it isn't quite the same thing as an emoji. But some characters can alternatively display as emoji, and in this case I think it should be white on blue, as in 3 above.

At the moment, what we need most of all is examples of the symbols used in running text, as a symbol rather than a diagram off to one side. Here's the sort of thing I mean:



...except that I just made that up, and I'm looking for real examples. Manuals and so on might be good places to look. Can you help?

If you want to see a finished version of the sort of proposal I'm writing, take a look at the proposal to encode power symbols in Unicode. That proposal successfully included the power symbol characters about two years ago. The images in the section called "Evidence of Use in Running Text" are the sort of thing I'm asking for.
marnanel: (Default)
In 2012 the Bishop of Leicester wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian called "There is no place for homophobia in the church." Someone in the comments asked whether an imam would be writing an article called "There is no place for homophobia in the mosque."

There's a lot to say about that, but I want to point out something about jargon. Turning "church" into "mosque" shows that the commenter thought the bishop was talking about a building. But the article's context shows that the bishop meant "the community of all Christians". (I believe the Muslim equivalent is "Ummah"; please do correct me if I'm wrong.)

I hadn't even considered that the headline might mean there was no physical place for homophobia in a building. I suspect the bishop hadn't either. I wonder how much more of what Christians say is obscured by jargon and misinterpreted by almost everyone outside the church.
marnanel: (Default)
Here are some interesting definitions from my personal Plover steno dictionary.

Proper nouns

I have a habit of setting up proper nouns with -LZ on the right hand. (It's unlikely to clash with anything; there's no reason beyond that.) So for example:

"K-LZ": "King's Cross",
"SP-LZ": "St Pancras",

(K-LZ and SP-LZ were for typing out this story.)

Punctuation

"KR-GS": "{^~|”}",
"KR-GZ": "{^~|\"}",
"KW-GS": "{~|“^}",
"KW-GZ": "{~|\"^}",
In the standard dictionary, KW-GS and KR-GS are open and close quotes, respectively. I've remapped them to curly quotes. The straight quotes are moved to KW-GZ and KR-GZ in case I need them.

"-RBS": "{^,” said}",
"SKHRAPLS": "{^!” said}",
Separate chords for typing things like comma, close quote, "said", These save me a lot of time. SKHRAPLS also avoids writing a capital S in, for example, "Woof!" Said the dog (because the exclamation mark makes Plover think you've started a new sentence).

"R-R": "{^}{#Return}{#Return}{^}{-|}",
"R-RS": "{^}{#Return}{#Return}{^}“{^}{-|}",
Because I can never remember the chord for "new paragraph".

"TK-RB": "{^—}",
TK-RB is the standard stroke for a dash, but here it's remapped to an em dash.

Pedantry
"TEUL": "until",
"TIL": "till",
In the standard dictionary, these are until and 'til, respectively. I have remapped them because 'til is not a thing.
 
Others
"OG": "oh",
"PH-R": "Mr {-|}",
"PH-RS": "Mrs {-|}",
"SED": "said",
"THO": "though",
"WAOEU": "why"
The standard strokes for oh and Mr are bizarre and unmemorable.
marnanel: (Default)
"At [Gramsci's] trial in 1928, the official prosecutor ended his peroration with the famous demand to the judge: "We must stop this brain working for twenty years!" But, although Gramsci was to be dead long before those twenty years were up, released, his health broken, only in time to die under guard in a clinic rather than in prison, yet for as long as his physique held out his jailers did not succeed in stopping his brain from working."

- Hoare and Nowell-Smith, "Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci", 1971
marnanel: (Default)
Lessons for the left

1) Our intel failed.
All media is biased, but we read the stuff biased towards our own viewpoint and ignore all the rest. We need to keep up to date with the media biased against us, for two reasons: a) despite the bias, it might be reporting on something we wouldn't otherwise know; b) we need to know what the right wing are hearing, so we can counter it.

2) Electoral politics is important, but it's only one tiny part.
People matter more than polls. We need to spread love and peace where there is fear and hatred, and that can't be restricted to election season. In particular, whenever the right's policies hurt ordinary people, as they will, talk about it to those people. Hear their stories; tell them ours.

3) It's not a game.
Many people on both sides talk as though we're having a football match between the red team and the blue team. I was once at a count where candidates from the left were saying that the opposition's policies would bring hunger and homelessness. The opposition party just booed. They need to learn that there's more at stake than honour, or even principles: people are going to lose housing, heath, and food because of this vote.

4) Angry white people won this election.
Take hope in the fact that white people will be a minority soon! In the meantime, how can we dissolve and deflect this anger, this prejudice, and this fear?

5) Right-wing voters aren't fools.
They're misled, they've been duped, but they're not fools. If you talk as though they were, they'll just assume the left is a load of smug bastards, and hate us more. Especially if you talk about voters without a degree as if they were voters without a brain.

6) People need stories, not just facts.
The right has sold them a story about scarcity: money is scarce, housing is scarce, jobs are scarce. It's a lie: the scarcity is artificial. But people can't accept facts that don't fit into their stories. So, tell them a new story, a true one, and give them facts to support it.

7) Every revolution brings a counter-revolution.
We've done fairly well in the last few years, and this is the predictable backlash. As I said, it won't last, though while it lasts it'll bring injury and death to the most vulnerable people. Let's make sure it doesn't last long.

8) The left is more than just "not Trump".
And this is our chance to move the window further left. Everyone can make some difference wherever they find themselves. Everyone should be as strong as they can. That includes you.

9) Nobody's ever said "no" to Trump in his life.
More people voted for Clinton than Trump, which means there's a lot of us to say "no" as loudly as we can. Help out the ACLU, because freedoms aren't free. And the midterms are in 2018, so make sure he starts to hear a lot of "no" from Congress then.

10) Four years from now
...in 2020, there will be elections in both the UK and the US. This is where we win back lost ground. Go for it.

Comments welcome. If you liked this list, share it: thank you! (Edit: this list was written by me, Thomas Thurman, since people were asking)
marnanel: (Default)
Countee Cullen (1903-1946) was an African-American poet from New York, who deserves to be better known worldwide. Here he discusses the problem of suffering in God's creation, with respect to human racism.

YET DO I MARVEL
by Countee Cullen

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind,
And did He stoop to quibble could tell why
The little buried mole continues blind,
Why flesh that mirrors Him must someday die,
Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus
Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare
If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus
To struggle up a never-ending stair.
Inscrutable His ways are, and immune
To catechism by a mind too strewn
With petty cares to slightly understand
What awful brain compels His awful hand.
Yet do I marvel at this curious thing:
To make a poet black, and bid him sing!
marnanel: (Default)
Often, when I don't understand a poem, I've been glad of people explaining it to me. So I'm paying it forward, by breaking down one of mine for you. Here it is:
I WALKED IN DARKNESS

I walked in darkness. Many a lonely mile,
my eyes and footsteps hesitant and blind,
I sought a kindly light I did not find
in land or ocean, asking all the while
if lightless lives are taken in exchange
for light eternal; still the shades of sight
would whisper, "Even I shall see the light!"
I never thought the light would look so strange.
Not in a temple, echoing and awed,
Not in a palace, glistening and grand,
Nor in my home, nor any friendly land.
But distant, dirty, in a shed abroad,
I met a maiden bloody from a birth
and in her arms, the light of all the earth.
This poem began when Kathryn Rose asked me to write something for Epiphany, which is the day Christians remember the wise men visiting Jesus. Epiphany falls on 6th January, in the darkest part of winter, so I wrote a poem about darkness and light. And because the wise men were on a long journey, and because Christians use light as a symbol for Jesus, I wrote a poem about a long walk in the darkness looking for a light. I was remembering the times I've been walking down a dark country road at night-time, always on the look-out for cars and often tripping over bumps and ditches.
I walked in darkness.
The poem starts with a sudden short sentence. This isn't the usual way poems begin, and it catches your attention.
Many a lonely mile,
There's a pattern of sounds here (an "alliteration"), like this: Many a LoneLy MiLe. All these are sounds you can keep on making ("sonorants"), rather than sounds that stop like "t" and "d". So this reminds you of the journey going on and on.
my eyes and footsteps hesitant and blind
If I said your eyes were hesitant, and your footsteps were blind, it wouldn't make a lot of sense. But it does make sense if your eyes are blind and your footsteps are hesitant. The order of the body parts is backwards from the descriptions. This is called a chiasmus. It feels awkward, to remind you of stumbling in the dark.
I sought a kindly light I did not find
in land or ocean,
John Henry Newman wrote a poem called "Lead, Kindly Light" which uses similar symbols to my poem. But in Newman's poem, the "kindly light" is like a lighthouse-- it shines in front of him all the time he's walking in the darkness, showing him the way to go. In my poem, the wise men are walking in complete darkness. They'd love to see a kindly light, but they can't.
asking all the while
if lightless lives are taken in exchange
for light eternal;
In other words, they've lived their whole life in darkness. So they're asking, when they die, do they get to swap it for living in heaven where there's always light?

"Light eternal" is a symbol for heaven. It comes from an old Latin prayer for someone who has died:

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei
("Give her eternal rest, Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her")

Also, people who are dying often see bright light.

I originally wrote "for light perpetual", but then I realised that some people say "perpetual" with three syllables, like me, but other people say it with four. So I changed it to "eternal".
...still the shades of sight
would whisper, ...
"Shades" means darkness, but it also means ghosts. "Darkness of sight" would mean I can't see, and "ghosts of sight" would mean my sight has died. The double meaning lets me say both at once. Kathryn Rose suggested this.
..."Even I shall see the light!"
People often say that someone has "seen the light" when they start following Jesus. I think it refers to the story about St Paul seeing Jesus as a bright light on the road to Damascus. It left him blinded for a while.
I never thought the light would look so strange.
This poem is a sonnet, and there's a rule that sonnets have a change of subject (a "volta") somewhere around the eighth line. That's where we are now, and I'm finishing this part by giving you a shock. All the lines before this one didn't end with a full stop-- the sentences ran on to the next line. This is called enjambment. But here, we suddenly have a line which is a sentence all on its own. It startles you a bit, like the short sentence in the first line.

When people talk about "seeing the light", they don't explain what the light looks like. In this case, the light I've been looking for all this time turns out to be something I didn't expect. That's what the next part of the poem is about, and this line guides you into it.
Not in a temple, echoing and awed,
Not in a palace, glistening and grand,
You might expect to find Jesus somewhere important, like in a palace or a temple, but that's not where he was. You might remember that two of the wise men's gifts were gold (like you'd find in a palace), and frankincense (a kind of incense that would be used in a temple).
Nor in my home, nor any friendly land.
People often feel safe around people like themselves, and they treat everyone else as outsiders, different and scary. (This is called "othering".) Just as you might have expected to find Jesus in a temple or a palace, you might expect him to be someone safe, someone like you. But in fact Jesus was an outsider: a poor person, a homeless person, part of a nation who were hated, and a refugee.
But distant, dirty, in a shed abroad,
The Bible says Jesus was born in a manger, which is a food trough for animals. You would find a manger in a farmyard, or a shed. "Distant... abroad" picks up on "nor any friendly land", and "dirty, in a shed" picks up on "not in a palace". This is another chiasmus pattern.

Also, there's a play on words here. An old translation of the Bible says that "the love of God is shed abroad"-- in modern English we might say that it was spread everywhere. So we're talking about Jesus as the sign of God's love.
I met a maiden bloody from a birth
The sound pattern here goes M-M, B-B. As we saw earlier, "M" is a sound you can keep making. But "B" is a stop: again, it pulls you up and makes you listen.

The Bible says that Jesus was conceived by a miracle, because Mary was a virgin: she had never had sex with anyone before Jesus was born. "Maiden" usually means a young girl these days, but it once meant a woman who is a virgin.

When a baby is born, there's a lot of blood. (Check YouTube if you want to see videos.) I'm mentioning the blood here to remind you of the "dirty" and "not in a palace" parts earlier: when we see nativity scenes they're always very clean and tidy, and the real thing wasn't clean or tidy at all.

Also, starting the line with "maiden" but ending with "birth" reminds you how strange it is for a virgin to give birth.
and in her arms, the light of all the earth.
One of the first things someone does when they give birth is to take the baby in their arms to breastfeed it. Mary has Jesus in her arms.

When he grew up, Jesus called himself "the light of the world", and he's the light that the wise men have been looking for all this time. (You might know the famous painting of Jesus holding a lantern and knocking at someone's door.)

Kathryn Rose set my poem to beautiful music. Now you've read about the poem, you should go and listen to it!


marnanel: (Default)
They're putting me on methoxsalen next week for psoriasis. Today I went shopping for wraparound dark glasses and gloves you can work a phone with-- because sunshine will seriously burn me, and give me cataracts. "The day star! It burns!!"
marnanel: (Default)
One fine dark night with a fine dark sky
And fine-sliced moon so bright,
A Cat leapt forth with a fine black coat
And paws of moonlit white;
If I should ask you to say her name
I'm sure you'd tell me that
She's Yantantessera,
Tessera, Tessera,
Tessera Tessera, Cat.

She had no humans, she had no home,
She had no meals to eat,
But soon, by means of a friendly purr,
Adopted half a street,
Where twenty humans would serve her food:
They all had time to chat
With Yantantessera,
Tessera, Tessera,
Tessera Tessera, Cat.

The Cats' Home heard, and they swore to find
The Cat a Home, and thus
She started work as a Rescue Cat
Who came to rescue us.
And since that day, we belong to her;
We're proud to share a flat
With Yantantessera,
Tessera, Tessera,
Tessera Tessera, Cat!


marnanel: (Default)
[I commented this in a discussion about the "birds and the bees" talk. I think it's worth posting separately.] Please, talk about masturbation too, and don't wait until puberty. Here's a (very personal) story I've never told in full before. I discovered masturbation when I was about ten, before I started puberty. Nobody had talked about it, so I didn't know it was normal; I didn't even know there was a word for it. So I worried. About a year later I started puberty and of course I became able to ejaculate. And again, nobody had talked about that. They'd mentioned wet dreams, but never this. So I didn't know it was normal, and I worried. A few months later, I got what I now think was some kind of fungal skin infection. The skin where my pubic hair would soon be growing was alternately red and painful, or dry, cracked, and itchy. For all I knew, this was another weird side-effect of masturbation, like ejaculation. And since nobody had talked about the other stuff, I wasn't comfortable with asking anyone about it. So I put up with the discomfort for months. Even after my pubic hair grew, the rash was still visible and I remember deflecting questions in the changing-rooms after games lessons about whether it was a scar from an operation. All that worry and discomfort could have been avoided. Please, remember to talk about it.

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