[Grainy photo of a
I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.
There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.
The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.
I looked back on my journal — ten years now — and realized that I always fall into a posting hole post-WisCon. I intend to post about what happened and then don't, because WisCon generates so many complex feelings. Then I feel like I can't post about other stuff until I get the WisCon posts up, and then it's November and I can start posting again.
So, I promise no WisCon posts (which means I might actually write some) and an update on my current goings-on.( Weather & the dog )
New York Times: Trump and Putin Held a Second, Undisclosed, Private Conversation
Note: it was "private" as in "out of earshot of anyone except Putin's translator" and "not mentioned to the public". It was not private as in "it was held in view of most of the other G20 leaders OMFG ARE YOU KIDDING ME".
Just to make the whole thing even stupider (on Buttercup's part) and more of a blatant power play (on Putin's).
plaidadder breaks this shit down: A Million Encores: Putin And our Playable President
And spells out one point in particular:
Why do we know about this? Because some of the European G-20 leaders were so concerned about this that they called their global risk consultant to get his opinion on it. That’s what Ian Bremmer does: he assesses global political risk for people who want to use it to make investment decisions.
However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.
It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.
I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.
( Cut for more pigeon )
* Anyone know enough about Google Earth to demo how you can make videos that look like that?
* Feminism in scifi about sports
* The psychology of immortality
[Macro image of a great crested grebe sitting on its nest.]
I spotted this great crested grebe brooding on its nest in the canal at Westerdok in Amsterdam. I thought its nest was a remarkable construction: the usual twigs, but also bits of plastic rubbish, and finishing touches of hollyhock. I was also impressed by the two female mallard duck bodyguards who immediately rushed over when I started taking photos. They didn't quack, but eyed me up silently as they circled the nest at a careful distance.
We were staying on a barge nearby for three nights and I checked on the grebe morning and evening. I don't believe it stirred from the nest in that time, so hopefully soon there will be some freshly hatched urban grebes learning to navigate the Dutch canal system!
I also have a small back garden with two raised beds which I use to grow vegetables. I'd had some terrible problems with slugs and birds eating stuff, early in the season, but I bought some netting which seems to have helped. To be honest, though, I feel like I've neglected my back garden a bit as I've been concentrating more on the front garden and have not had much time lately. So, it was a bit of a surprise when I thought I'd better go out there and start harvesting some stuff, and this was my haul!
I do presently have plasma vitamin C levels which (Google tells me) would qualify me for a scurvy diagnosis if I was showing any particular symptoms. Which I'm not, beyond my usual levels of fatigue and physical crud (there's stuff -- flare-up of an old injury, etc. -- which, with hindsight I could construe as maybe related somehow, but basically I'm very well, and said stuff would not have made me suspect that anything was wrong). Possibly I'd get symptoms if I let the deficiency run on longer, but that's an experiment I am disinclined to try.
N.B.: this is on an intake of fruit and veg which should easily supply far more than the RDA from diet alone, plus supplementation of a gramme of vitamin C a day.
Which is absurd mega-dose levels.
It used to be two grammes, as that's what it took to drag my blood levels back into the normal range when this showed up on test results before; this past year I suggested tapering down to half-as-ridiculous and monitoring my blood levels to see if they stayed okay. Which they did, at least until last autumn.
Then I was getting a blood test for something else completely, my GP suggested checking my vitamin C levels, and boom, they have fallen through the floor again.
So now, back to double-ridiculous doses and waiting to re-test.
My medical Google-fu is usually pretty good, but it's failed me so far on this. I've asked my doctor to consult colleagues and see if I should be referred to a relevant consultant or WTF, on the basis that it's such a bizarre and extreme test result we should probably see if there's an underlying reason that could or should be treated (or, for example, something which might cause the test to give inaccurate results).
Anyway, I thought I'd lob it to the hive mind in case anyone's heard of a similar case or know of something that could cause this, because I am so baffled. And I realize that my belief that bizarre medical things should happen because of reasons has been shown to be delusional before, but still.
... maybe I have a tapeworm that consumes nothing but vitamin C.
I can see the god of hands:
flapping in joy,
dancing full of language,
poring over six-dot cells of knowledge,
easing joysticks across broken sidewalks,
torn between frustrated teeth,
cracked and callused and sore,
dowsing for love on screens,
flipping tables, throwing chairs,
juddering to a rhythm of the nerves,
loose and still,
balled into fists,
wrapped around guns
that turn out to be trinkets,
wet with tears.
I can see holiness
in the rising,
in the sharing,
in the reaching out to one another
in the demand
for freedom, food and futures,
even as your forces array against it. [...snip...]
and from Alaina Leary alainaskeys at the NYTimes' very worthwhile disability series: ( clicky ) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/
Thanks to sasha_feather, I'd already read Alaina Laney's great essay on the trope of villains with facial deformities in Teen Vogue.
It has to be a trope, but a dive into TV Tropes has failed me. It's not quite Accidental Public Confession -- something more specific than that.
I mean, as I understand it, the NYT had sources who described a message they had seen in which "Skittles" Jr. was told that the information he was hoping to get was from Russia.
The e-mails he Tweeted show that he he was explicitly told he was going to get "high level and sensitive information" as "part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump."
From the WaPo: The email exchange showed clearly that Trump Jr. understood he was taking the meeting as a way of channeling information directly from the government of a nation hostile to the United States to his father’s campaign.
Here is a journalist who was chasing this story for a year. Here is the sound of his head exploding.
I'm still boggling that they wrote it in an e-mail, "part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump", come to the meeting so we can provide "very high level and sensitive information", maybe I've watched too much spy tv but I vaguely thought there'd be some sort of subterfuge, some sort of nudge-and-wink, if not actual covert communication, but LOLNOPE.
sashayed's commentary: #SUBJECT: wanna come 2 treason meeting #FROM: collusion at kremlin dot ru
(Like plaidadder, I have wondered if it's so absurdly blatant on purpose, as part of a Russian intelligence scheme of some kind. Or maybe everyone's just that fucking stupid.)
And then Skittles forwarded the whole e-mail chain to Kushner and Manafort at their work e-mail addresses.
Also, it's been suggested that talking about "adoptions" is basically standard code for talking about sanctions (the Russian ban on adoptions was imposed in response to US sanctions; re-starting adoptions would presumably mean lifting sanctions):
In which case, if Skittles is actually telling the truth that they went to the meeting and then this wacky lawyer just talked about adoptions so he concluded it was a dead end -- his official line of defense is essentially "I totally wanted to collude, but was too fucking stupid to recognize the quid pro quo being offered."
Also, anyone else have a McDonald's earworm? ("Collusion: I'm lovin' it".)
From midday until approximately midnight on Wednesday 12 July, a number of roads in and around Trafalgar Square and Whitehall will be closed to all traffic. This is due to an event.
However, further Googling suggests that it's just the state visit of the King and Queen of Spain, so false alarm.
Obviously not impossible they might try to sneak Trump in while everything's closed down anyway, but speculation was that they probably wouldn't want Trump backlash hitting the Spanish royals (OTOH, May's made worse miscalculations).