msilverstar: (war is not the answer)
A partial list of Al Qaeda attacks since 1993: Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Tanzania, Yemen, USA, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Pakistan, Bali, Morocco, Turkey, Madrid, Iraq, UK, Somalia... (source: BBC timeline). I'm glad he's dead, so he can't do any more damage.
msilverstar: (viggo-billy tongue)
There's a chance of snow tonight or tomorrow night in the central Bay Area at sea level. The last time was 1974, and before that 1962!

breathless details of snow!!! from the local paper )
msilverstar: (LOTR: Merry eyes closed)
[livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan is a fandom auction set up to help Pakistan recover from the recent floods, with 180% of normal monsoon season rain. Apparently the causes include deforestation, population growth, and climate change. The community is a nice way to give together.

Fanvid! Love the Way You Lie, The Gay Hobbit Remix - Merry and Pippin instead of Dom and Megan Fox, it's fabulous!

Orlando 'really excited' over baby )

Late to the party: we saw Inception. We didn't buy most of the premises and the emotional distance, and even Ed got bored with the video-game chases, shootouts, and bombs. Inception is full of hot men (yay!), and Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard (yay!), but wow, it needs lots of fix-it fic, and my slash goggles are apparently non-existent. Eames/Arthur??? Convince me?
msilverstar: (dom lolly)
By popular demand (three is popular!), what I think about Dominic Monaghan's music video, Love the Way You Lie. It involves lots of half-naked Dom kissing and fighting with Megan Fox, while Eminem raps and Rihanna sings. It's meant to present an anti-family-violence message.

I was open-minded at first, and I do like looking at Dom. But when I started looking at it more closely and surfing people's responses, I began to have fairly strong opinions.

As a consciousness-raising anti-abuse video, it's not very successful. It concentrates too much on the cycle of violence within the relationship and has no escape, just a burning house. It would have been a lot better with a helpline number such as 1-866-331-9474 (National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline), and a link to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline.

The good parts: Dom, and bringing up domestic violence )
The bad parts: very mixed messages about domestic violence )
More views: A Domestic Violence Expert Weighs In On Eminem's New Music Video. A couple of other analyses, both somewhat positive, at Little Pink Book and Reappropriate.

All the intentions were good and worthwhile. All the people involved are young and may not have known much about the topic. It certainly got attention (the biggest YouTube music video so far) and I hope that the audience learns from it, I just worry they won't.
msilverstar: (viggo-elijah 08)
abundantlyqueer is posting fic again! She's done more of the Elijah/Orlando "Dragon Slayer" AU, lots of plot and character tension, still in suspense. And a fantastic Green Street Hooligans fic, Matt (Elijah's character) / Pete (Charlie Hunnum), dialect written so well I could hear his voice: Kick Off.

funny things, free Mac thing, that word doesn't mean... )

More seriously: LiveJournal is purging old journals, the old suspended ones (kicked off for cause), and possibly some deleted by the users. And they're doing it now. Which means that familiar names may show up but are not the same people as they were before. Be careful before friending, k?

off to bed
msilverstar: (vote!)
A friend of mine has gigantic student loan debts, and I want to help so I did a little research and found a newish law which implements Income-Based Repayments so there's a limit to how painful they will make your monthly payments:

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) caps monthly federal loan payments at an affordable level based on your income and family size. If you owe more on your federal student loans than you earn in a year, you can probably benefit from IBR. The lower your income, the lower your monthly payment will be: in some cases, as low as $0. IBR is available for almost all federal loans http://studentaid.ed.gov/vo/students/.

Essentially, they can set it up so you don't have to pay more than 15% of your income if you are working, maybe nothing but accruing interest if you are unemployed or broke. If you repay under the IBR plan for 25 years and meet certain other requirements, any remaining balance will be cancelled (from StudentAid.ed.gov).

More information: IBRInfo.org - tons of info, including an animated video (!) and a repayment calculator, and a May 2010 New York Times series Answers About Student Loans.

Better things to come from the new new education law attached to HCR in March; no surprise, it passed with no support from Republicans. No more publicly-supported private loans any more, and as of 2014 new loans will set future repayment amounts limited to 10% of income, forgiveness after 20 years. USA Today and NY Times

For people with lots of different loans and private loans, start by looking at government debt consolidation options. Right now, if you have private loans and a nasty bank, you are screwed: you can't even discharge them through bankruptcy, and the interest just keeps piling on. However, there are bills in Congress to limit unfair practices and fraud, and limit repayment burden, including bankruptcy protection. These are being pushed by Obama and the Democrats, of course. For more, see the Project on Student Debt

(my links go to legit sites -- there are ugly scams out there: good advice from the feds)

ETA: National Student Loan Data System - see how much you owe, and to whom. I'm glad that's available, it's clearly worth filling out the forms.
msilverstar: (billy-viggo kiss)
Poll #3169 maypoll
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 16


I have *stuff*, what should I post first?

View Answers

research on new ways to deal with student loan debt
9 (60.0%)

catch up on the lotrips listing*
4 (26.7%)

evidence (not much) about women's lives in pre-Islamic Arabia
9 (60.0%)

picspam from the Two Towers-era promo shots from karin-woywod (with permission)
7 (46.7%)

the next chapter of that Dom/Billy/Rachel happy kinky threesome**
1 (6.7%)

picspam of Dom's character in FF lounging around with a nearly-naked woman
2 (13.3%)

the beginnings of an Eijah/Sean Bean commentfic
2 (13.3%)

something completely different (explain below)
1 (6.7%)

ticky box!
3 (20.0%)

ticky ticky bang, bang!
9 (60.0%)

happy ticky in my pants!
1 (6.7%)

something completely different:



*[livejournal.com profile] lotrips LotR RPS fanfic listing which I am way behind on.

**[livejournal.com profile] push_pull_push our ongoing happy kinky threesome AU
msilverstar: viggo with vote t-shirt (vote with viggo)
Health care reform is all very well and good, but I want all my fandom friends to be well and secure right away dammit! So I found some places that might help.

I had a boyfriend working for the 1980 Census (yes, I'm that old), and they kept him on for months after the first wave was over. So please consider applying: it can't hurt.

apply for jobs with the Census )

Americans tend to be conflicted about asking for government help except when they are automatic and/or we feel we've earned it, like unemployment benefits. But we can't really be self-sufficient, not now or here. We need backup, and that's what government should be for.

You may be eligible for medical coverage )


more possible benefits )
msilverstar: catherine tate looking skeptical (skeptical)
I have no real feeling for the iPad, pro or con, though Apple and Steve Jobs's record of getting things right is pretty good lately: iPod, iPhone, OS X, MacBooks. But I have learned that hardware is tricky to get right. My advice is not to be the first to buy something brand-new like this, as the first thousands may be variable quality. These things happen.

iPad comedy sketch from two years ago )

Other than that, my day was awful: I was tired and completely unproductive at work, home, and fandom. *sulks*
msilverstar: candle for lotrips fandom lives (lotrips fandom lives)
I've really admired the fannish generosity in the [livejournal.com profile] help_haiti community. They already have over $45,000 in confirmed donations, and may double that.

I won lotrips fic by: [livejournal.com profile] sema427 (formerly [livejournal.com profile] semaphore27, she's back!), [livejournal.com profile] lobelia321, [personal profile] viklikesfic, [livejournal.com profile] viggorlijah, and [livejournal.com profile] foxtales: fangirl squeee!!!!

So I made my donations to the help_haiti group for UNICEF. and the Doctors Without Borders emergency relief fund. Why that fund and not their Haiti fund? Because non-profits and charities have to work under a zillion constraints, and earmarking donations to specific funds just adds to that, and makes them less able to handle future crises. A good post on the topic.
msilverstar: (leaf)
There are so many worthy causes in the world, but one of mine is The Riverkids Project, which helps kids and families in Cambodia. It's terribly common for girls and women to get lured or kidnapped into sex work, and the Riverkids workers help them avoid that and escape if necessary. I learned about this from an LJ friend and the project just touches my heart.

There are great also presents at The Riverkids Shop, where 100% of profit goes to support the kids. They ship so fast, even from Singapore, about four days; they beat Amazon to my house at least twice! I have a embroidered flower purse that makes me smile every time I look at it.
msilverstar: (fran and philippa)
This is the "Fall back" switch from Daylight Savings Time, so set your clocks to 11 pm at midnight or whenever: you can always check timeanddate.com, just to be sure. I'm going to try and think of it as an extra hour to sleep in or get things done.

ETA to add Our Neighbors To The North
msilverstar: (drowning in splooge)
The fail was back in November when a small majority of voters went against equal marriage rights. The state supreme court just upheld the proposition, because they are bound to decide on the law rather than principle. At least they also confirmed the legal marriages during the interim. But it's not the court's fault, it's the voters' fault, so that's where we have to fight it next.

MarriageEquality.org has a list of protests and actions (mostly in California).

DayOfDecision.com has another list

There are twitter reports from the Sacramento protest at twitter.com/stop8dotorg and from San Francisco at twitter.com/geminiwench with lots of pictures. More coming at twitter #rejectprop8

Couragecampaign.org is proposing a Meet in the Middle demonstration reaching out from the coastal liberal cities to the more conservative inland California.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win -- Ghandi
msilverstar: (a vi)
I've been quiet about Mammothgate (Racefail 09 part deux), partly because it's so easy for me to understand the blindness going on there. I doubt I would have even noticed the assumptions, much less thought of speaking out against them. I just didn't see it either, completely missed the wrongness of handwavingly undoing the existence of all Native Americans for the sake of an interesting story.

Though I have learned that listening is a whole lot better than trying to justify oneself about things that matter like this. The author and defenders didn't think: would they have argued so much if it was a huge anachronism they missed, or a quote from someone 100 years later? Why not shut up and learn, and maybe say Oh shit, I screwed up.

Following a bunch of links I found a fabulous essay by a woman of color writing Science Fiction/Fantasy, Nalo Hopkinson: Looking for clues It's all good, articulate, emotional and inspiring. My favorite bit is this:

... by Samuel R. Delany, which comes from a speech he gave at the Studio Museum of Harlem: "We need visions of the future, and our people need them more than most."

Which is true and right and meaningful but she follows immediately with this:

And yet, that isn't really why I write science fiction and fantasy. It's more like the result, not the reason. Or like the air I'm breathing when I sit down to write.

I hope, very much, we can go on from there.
msilverstar: (viggo 09)
a) "pandemic" just means it's everywhere, not that it's killing everyone. don't panic

b) there have been no deaths outside of Mexico, at this point

c) my tame scientist says that there are probably a lot of infected people in Mexico who have not reported symptoms, so even if there is a death rate of 0.01%, that's enough to explain those numbers

d) wash your hands, a lot. If you work with kids, make them wash their hands

e) some good sources of real information (inspired by linaelyn )
panic is silly
msilverstar: (drowning in splooge)
Monday night: columnist has an Inside look at amazon during the fail

Amazon semi-apology says it was an 'embarrassing and ham-fisted' error )

There was a fabulous post somewhere about the difference between fake and real apologies. I couldn't find that one (anyone have it?) but Seth Grodin has a pretty reasonable apology ranking, and I think Amazon's was about a 7: "We're sorry that this occurred." Better than "glitch", but not really addressing the issues of how someone somewhere can set a configuration switch to change their entire ranking systems.

And now that we know how much Amazon can manipulate the best-seller lists and search results, and how many books are sold through them, it's time to think more about one company having that much power.
msilverstar: (drowning in splooge)
Monday night: columnist has an Inside look at amazon during the fail

Amazon semi-apology says it was an 'embarrassing and ham-fisted' error )

There was a fabulous post somewhere about the difference between fake and real apologies. I couldn't find that one (anyone have it?) but Seth Grodin has a pretty reasonable apology ranking, and I think Amazon's was about a 7: "We're sorry that this occurred." Better than "glitch", but not really addressing the issues of how someone somewhere can set a configuration switch to change their entire ranking systems.

And now that we know how much Amazon can manipulate the best-seller lists and search results, and how many books are sold through them, it's time to think more about one company having that much power.

ETA: fixed link
msilverstar: (drowning in splooge)
  1. Please don't call Amazon today )

  2. What and why of googlebombing Amazon Rank )

  3. a colossally stupid technical/editorial mistake )

Alternatives to Amazon: Local Indie Bookstores, Powell's Books, Borders, Barnes & Noble. Always good to have business diversity, choices, and good old free-market competition.

It doesn't matter why. It expresses the new corollary to Clarke's Third Law, Minim's Law: Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.
msilverstar: (drowning in splooge)
  1. Please don't call Amazon today )

  2. What and why of googlebombing Amazon Rank )

  3. a colossally stupid technical/editorial mistake )

Alternatives to Amazon: Local Indie Bookstores, Powell's Books, Borders, Barnes & Noble. Always good to have business diversity, choices, and good old free-market competition.

It doesn't matter why. It expresses the new corollary to Clarke's Third Law, Minim's Law: Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

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