ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Everything is bigger in Australia.  In this case, 20-pound pinecones falling from on high can injure or kill people underneath.

Who else is thinking it would be fun to drop one on the Spectrum?  Because obviously they're not going to mind the signs.  :D
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 They do shit like this.  And yes, some of them can do that in real life too.  I'm telling you, they are like oldschool D&D mages.  Everybody laughs at level 1, but by level 9 they are fucking unstoppable.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Since these have been posted online, use them for inspiration, not direct copies. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article on how PTSD may be concurrent with or mistaken for ADHD. This is actually true for a variety of other conditions including depression, social anxiety, and explosive outbursts.  

Trauma -- especially if it happens over time, as in PDSD -- causes biological changes that are difficult or impossible to reverse.  While the symptoms may closely resemble those of mental illness, they aren't.  It's a mental injury.  There's a world of difference between being unable to do something because your body/mind built itself wrong or went awry due to internal flaws, vs. getting hit by a truck.  As the article points out, the treatments  differ enough that what helps pure ADHD may be ineffective or actively counterproductive for PTSD.

Why are the numbers going up?  Well, if they're right about the stacking and/or misdiagnosis, it's partly because poverty is going up.  Stress and low resources can do a great deal of damage.  Of course people wind up with problems.  It's worse in children, who have minimal control over their lives or coping skills to buffer the damage.  So if it's not correctly identified, it basically ruins their life.

This really got me thinking about Shiv, and for that matter, a lot of my other supervillains.  Most of them come from a crummy background, especially poor or working class.  Most of them have been abused and/or neglected, often starting from a very early age.   You can see why so many minions can be "bought" for three hots and a cot, why the Marionettes have such a strong Family structure, why Kraken seeks out troubled youth to recruit and offers them an honestly terrific benefits package.  It's also how Shiv wound up in such a mess.  His trauma started so early, he never had a chance to develop the usual skills of self-regulation, and he expressed his damage in some very disturbing ways.  So very quickly he went from being considered a victim to a problem.  But it's not a mental illness.  It's scar tissue.  The symptoms are the same, but the source is different, and none of it is going to get any better without going back and repairing as much of the earlier damage as possible.  Create healthy connections.  Teach coping skills.  Understand that when he acts out, it's not because he's a bad person, but because his life fucking hurts  and he can't help flinching.  And with that in mind, look for ways to prevent him from harming himself or anyone else while he's skilling up.  Or at least minimize it, since he's not actually willing to let go of either the sadomasochism or the criminal profession.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I hate electronic locks because they're so much glitchier than mechanical ones, and can be picked by program instead of manual skill.  But they can also store data which can be very dangerous -- and so can the key fobs that go with them.  It's a serious problem because privacy laws have not kept up with technology.  People use all kinds of computerized gadgets now, and most users have no idea how badly that information can be used to hurt them.  >_<
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is something I'd been thinking about for a while, particularly after writing "The Lights Behind Us." Then we watched a performance and that cemented it. This poem also fills the "exhausted" square in my 8-31-15 card for the Tones and Voices Bingo Fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Granny Whammy and SPOON thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem touches on some sensitive issues. Highlight to read the details, some of which are spoilers. It contains historic references to racism, classism, and possibly also mistreatment of people with special abilities -- the results of which are fatal. Plus some other angst like floundering through a task not really suited to one's skillset and dealing with loneliness. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. Also, this poem is written in two parts, one set in 1955 and the other in 2013, so keep an eye on the timing.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
After about a 20-year gap, the Navy is teaching celestial navigation again.  Someone there fin-al-ly realized that it was a terrible weakness to rely altogether on technology.  With that, my SF story "Clean Sweep" becomes obsolete.  \o/
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls, based on input from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "respect limits" square in my 8-1-15 card for the As You Like It Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the Danso and Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It is a direct sequel to "Fear into Freedom," so if you haven't already read that one, double back and do it first.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Victor Frankenstein in his fancy clothes (Frankenstein)
This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls based on discussions with [personal profile] lynnoconnacht, [personal profile] redsixwing, [personal profile] technoshaman, and [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the series Frankenstein's Family.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Family and horse in front of barn (Hart's Farm)
This poem is from the September 3, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon, [personal profile] rix_scaedu, [personal profile] chordatesrock, and [personal profile] thnidu. It also fills the "sexual extortion" square in my 6-10-13 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been selected in an audience poll as the freebie for the September 1, 2015 fishbowl reaching its $200 goal. It belongs to the Hart's Farm series.

Warning: This poem features some intense topics. Highlight to read more detailed warnings, some of which are spoilers. There are examples of internalized homophobia, negative coping methods, sexual extortion, attempted help that goes awry, a fistfight, emotional angst, and other challenges. And despite efforts to clean up the mess afterwards, it doesn't have a completely happy ending. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This guy tried to rob a martial artist and she throttled him with her mighty thighs

So basically, that's what kind of thing happens when someone annoys Fortressa, only she tends to squeeze hard enough to break something.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the September 1, 2015 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "soothing" square in my 8-31-15 card for the Tones Bingo fest, and the "fun" square in my 8-1-15 card for the As You Like It Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a wonderful essay about childhood learning and ethics.

To this I will add that the stick is one of the first tools or weapons that humanity ever mastered.  Apes still use them today to open rotten logs, fish for termites, etc.  A stick is a little more versatile than a rock, because it can poke or pry.  So it's a very useful tool for exploring things safely.  

This makes it the fundamental tool of adventurous children, and indeed, everyone who sets foot off pavement in most of the South.  This is a stick; the stick is your friend.  Sweep it ahead of you in long grass.  Use it to keep scary things at arm's reach.  Prod things that might be dangerous with a stick, not your finger.  You can also use it to remove things from your path, such as a spiderweb.

As I see more and more calls for taking tools away from people, I worry, because the two things that most separate us from other animals are our wits and our tools.  Taking away tools says we don't have the wits to use them responsibly -- says that humans are no more than dumb beasts.  If people aren't using tools responsibly, it's not because the tools are bad.  It's because the people  don't have the knowledge and skills to be responsible with them.  You can't fix that by taking away the tools, can't foolproof the whole world, because fools are so ingenious.  I once saw someone create a chemistry accident with a can of Lipton tea and some water -- and by chemistry accident, I mean that people in the vicinity fled coughing and hacking from the choking cloud of powder in the air.  You have to teach people how the world works, how to handle the hazardous parts of the world, and how to be responsible with all of that.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
So this rich guy offered to buy an island to host the refugees pouring into Europe.  This would give them a place to stay with others who share their language and culture, without bothering those areas in Europe that really don't want refugees. Furthermore, he cleverly suggested something I've been saying: put immigrants to work taking care of each other, get them building homes and service facilities, etc.  They're just ordinary people who've been run out of home by psychos; they must have useful skills.  And this  guy actually has enough money to make things happen.  I hope it works.

Also this is the point where Italy and Greece should take the offer or else STFU about not wanting refugees on their turf.  Especially Greece, with a very plausible exchange of selling an island, addressing the refugee problem, and getting a little boost and maybe some advice on fixing their mangled economy.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's another good post about trigger warnings and why they are valuable.

When you include notes about content, and your policies, that helps people make more informed and mindful decisions about their lives.  When you include tools -- you may ask for an alternate assignment, here is the quiet room, this is a handout of coping skills because this class handles historic atrocities, if you are having lots of trouble please visit in my office so we can discuss it, etc. -- that teaches people how to handle challenges in effective ways that build resilience.  There are rocks, but you can climb over them.  Here is a rope.

When you do not include notes, you deny people the chance to select the classes that are the best fit for them and to cope with materials presented in progress.  There are rocks and people are dropped on their heads.  If you sustain a concussion it is because you are a pussy, not because the rocks are sharp.

When you include notes but not tools, and allow people to dodge material without compensating in any way, that  is coddling.  The rocks are taken out of the way.  Now nobody can learn how to climb rocks in a relatively safe environment.

The complaints about trigger warnings basically say: "It is okay to hurt people.  It is not okay if you want people NOT to hurt you.  Just get used to being hurt, you pussy."  Because really?  If you have triggers, there is no getting away from them.  The world whacks them all the time.  Especially if they are about sex or violence or both.  And pressuring people to remain silent about being hurt just gets more people hurt, which is also not okay.

When you put content notes or trigger warnings on a class, story, or other material it says: "I am choosing to deal with controversial topics.  I want to understand what happens in the world and hopefully that will help make it a better place.  I want to make it as accessible as possible so that more people can deal with these topics in a safe way."  You don't go into shop class and NOT have safety goggles, I hope.  If you're talking about things like rape or mass murder, and especially about some crackpot thinking those are jolly good ideas, then folks need to know that appropriate safety measures are in place.

Seriously, look around: If there are women, about a quarter of them have experienced sexual violence personally and the rest have at least fended off smarmy approaches. Probably at least one or two of the men are survivors too.  If there are Jews, they will be sensitive about the Holocaust and probably Israeli politics.  If there are black people, they will be sensitive about slavery and racism.  If there are poor people, they will probably be touchy about some money issues.  And if the group is a monoculture, that's likely to cause problems on its own and is not an ideal learning environment.  Explaining the parameters for handling challenges is just part of running a smooth class or other activity.  It is not fun for anybody if somebody has a panic attack because they got blindsided.  It is not effective if people blank out because the material is ghastly and no coping methods are available.

Of course, not everyone is equally good at listing triggers, and it does take time.  So if that's expected at college, you have to allow the extra time and make sure there's a backup person for teachers who aren't good at it.  (Inaccurate warnings are worse than useless.)  If you're doing it as a writer, you can just ask your audience to tell you if they think more warnings are advisable.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here is an article about people emptying out the Little Free Libraries, which are America's answer to public libraries and bookstores closing.

You may also have heard that HitchBOT was destroyed only two weeks into its trip through America.

These actions are not random, isolated, or irrational. Instead they are coherent symptoms of a wider problem, indicating an unhealthy society.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The title says they're for back pain, but they also fix a lot of leg problems.  These help with a wide variety of tendon/ligament muscle, joint, and nerve problems especially those caused by sitting in the same position for hours while you work. Stretching before you sit down, during breaks, and after you get up can reduce long-term tendency for problems.  Stretches also relieve acute pain when it flares up.   Take five minutes to treat a cramp when it first appears and you will lose a lot less time than if you are miserable for hours.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article succinctly explains why Israel is a danger to itself and others.

Based on this analysis, Avigail Abarbanel believes “Israel cannot be reasoned with”, that it “is a traumatised society and it is therefore very dangerous.” Applying family therapy models, she compares Israel to the abusive husband, the Palestinians to the abused wife and the United States to the enabling neighbor.

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