Life Stuff, Music

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Books and Reading

RED LEAVES – by PAULLINA SIMONS with SPOILERS

!!!! Spoilers ahead !!!!!

Red LeavesRed Leaves by Paullina Simons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s either a * or a **** depending on if you let yourself read the last 5 pages.

This novel owes a great deal to Wuthering Heights and The Secret History,if only for setting. Maybe Spencer also has more than a namesake nod to film noir detectives.

It’s a hodgepodge that reads very compellingly once you come to realize that Kristina’s stubbornness and stupidity during the car accident are meant to endear her to you and show that something is somehow broken in her. I found it unputdownable once I realized that Kristina and Albert must have a very unusual if not forbidden relationship. I went straight to Flowers in the Attic and assumed they were brother and sister, or at the very least Romeo and Juliet. Apparently many readers thought the ‘incest’ was a twist only revealed at the end. For me the twist was that he was adopted. In fact, even as Spencer was interviewing the mother, I thought she was lying about the death of the twin, and we would find out he hadn’t died after all.

At the last sentence, I found this the most bewildering novel by Simons I had ever read. Perhaps one of the most bewildering ever. At times, it took almost a spoof of a fantastical novel to it’s heart and seemed to reveal that Nathan/Billy/Albert is the devil’s child we must guard to bring into our innocent and wholesome families and homes. Ha! To me the truly evil people here were Kristina’s mother and father who CAST BOTH CHILDREN OFF with no more parental love, when it was clear the two loved each other. OK – the lack of supervision and immature sexual relationship was bad but surely the wrong done here was not by the boy but by his ‘loving family.’

At least the grandmother got it right.

I was devastated that Spencer didn’t come to his senses in the end, and found it a confusing point of view from Simons who normally is such fated lovers romantic.

View all my reviews

Building the Dream House, Life Stuff

The 676 Different Shades of Of White (and Seagull Grey)

Decision fatigue. It is something that happens.

decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making – Wikipedia

Towards the end of a house build, one of the things you think might be an easy thing to specify is the inside wall paint colors you have been picturing for over a year. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as “off-white” and “seagull grey”. I decided on seagull grey for my bedrooms a long time ago.  It is such a soothing color.  Cool, yet not cold, calming for sleep. And I like seagulls actually. I love them.

So I went to the paint store to pick up the paint sample and color to tell my builder so he would have it ready for the painter, when the time comes. I nearly had a panic attack when I saw that there were probably at the very least 25 shades that could qualify as ‘seagull grey’. And I am not joking, I actually felt like I was having a panic attack. The idea of having to narrow down the decision was completely debilitating. After making so many decisions, the idea of having to make just this one more felt overwhelming. I walked straight back out the door.

It took 3 days for me to force my way back there. I had to formulate a plan that I could live with. So I started taking home four color samples at a time. I would make myself pick my favorite of those 4 by the next morning, then go pick up four more to compare to that one and so on. By the end of the week, I had picked a grey for my bedrooms. And I refuse to look at any more “colors I may like”. I’ve gone with the following:

This is Lady Grey by Berger and I don’t care what brand of paint my painter uses as long as he gets the shade right.

Most people who have redecorated or built or painted know that there are 5 billion shades of off white. So I took a similar approach to the color of our other interior walls.

And now I just have to refrain from revisiting those choices and trust my decision. Because going back and questioning those decisions now might just break me.

 

Building the Dream House, Cats - Pets, Life Stuff

Feline Access Door

 

The most important beings in any place I’m going to call home are the cat(s) who currently own me. Something is just permanently missing without a cat around. Preferably two. If I can get away with it: three.

While we have lived in the US, we have had a strictly indoor only policy for our felines. We learned the hard way that the Eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains harbor many predators. Cats allowed to roam freely outside will, sooner rather than later, fall prey to owls, coyotes, foxes, or even cougars. Everyone we know has a personal story of learning this the hard way.

New Zealand does not have that problem! It is still very normal for cats to live inside and out. So while Booker and Noob, our 4 year old litter mate rescue kitties, will be staying here in Colorado with my son (and my husband when he has to be here for work), I am very much looking forward to welcoming another pair of litter mates. It will be wonderful. In my stints alone without my family in various rental places overseeing the build I have really really missed my cats. I talk to birds now because of it.

 

 

Our home already has a cat access sculpture outside our entry way. It’s a cool statement on the house as well as a way for any cats in my future to access the top floor where we will live.

And, a couple of weeks ago, I made the builders promise to make me a cat flap in the wall behind the couch. They are going above and beyond. It will match my window joinery and sit straight on the floor like an awning window.  Spoiled felines indeed!

House Blog Series

Building the Dream House

7 Month House Build – General update

We are now mid-February, and approaching 7  months into the Dream House Build. I have not posted regular updates as promised. Maybe I’ll get into it sometime, maybe I won’t. Let’s just say building is stressful. Here are the latest set of pics – there are actually more wires and pipes than this shows, but I didn’t get pics last week.

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Now that I have made all the decisions I knew I had to make, and about a million more, I have entrusted my wonderful Project Manager with the completion and come to Denver to be with my husband until we can move in. Actually, we will probably check in one more time before completion, but it’s not set in stone.

I have lots of other posts to make on more specific build topics, but no promises on how often or when!

The Green Door – Building the Dream

 

Life Stuff

In other news


In other news, my oldest son turned 21, my youngest son got an associates degree in science, my husband and I are better than ever, i do not have the ping to game, I miss living with a cat, and rumors are rife when I am absent.

My friends are my friends, my husband and I love each other, it was amazing to get some video calls from BlizzCon and I will probably never miss it again, even if I go by myself.

I know who I am. I know who my friends are. And that is important even if you run away to the edge of the world.

To quote Lily Allen:

“Do we have to

keep talking ’bout

where you think it is I’m from?

I’ma make you see

You don’t know me

You don’t know me

No things never change

No telling some people”

 

Building the Dream House, Life Stuff

ROOF – General update on the house

So if you are paying attention, I am building a house. Well, I am not building, my awesome builder Damian Percival is building it for us. They are amazing. The guys building my home are amazing. I cannot even. In true millennial speak, I cannot even.

Today was a major milestone. We had the roof put on and it was beyond emotional for me. Usually, I go around and talk to my amazing carpenters whenever I feel that things are going well, the weather is shit, or good, or just when I feel like connecting with these awesome professionals.

Today, when I saw the roof going on as I drove slowly past, I started crying. Then I walked into the build after they had left and it was so amazing.

A roof, and plywood going up, makes it so … private. So much like the feeling of the home I know it will be.

It was a big day for me.

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Door – Building the Dream

 

 

Books and Reading, Education, Language and Linguistics, Life Stuff, Politics

The power of research and knowing your sources

Today I want to think and write about this: one specific example of bad journalism/research/fact checking in ONE Cosmo online article I read today. If you don’t want to read my tirade at the state of today’s teens and 20 or 30 somethings, jump to the fun and skip all the stuff between the lines.


This is one example and therefore I probably am not justified in making my next statement. But I am going to anyway:

Rigorous research, healthy skepticism of sweeping generalisations, adherence to questioning your source and ITS methods of data collection and analysis are either 1) Not being taught in schools, or 2) we are allowing people who end up as journalists, social ‘scientists’ and commentators, to graduate from our schools without mastering the process.

In addition, the vast majority of my political, social or philosophical discussions in the last ten years lack NUANCE and an ability to agree on the topic of discussion. If I say, for example, that I believe Hemingway is a better author than Maya Angelou, the conversation changes to my racist white privileged self who needs to check it. No. Argue the merits with me. I’m capable. Trust me. Are you? There seems to be a real inability to actually argue or listen to a finer point that someone is making. They might actually be largely agreeing with you but you are too busy hearing how they are not just saying that the ACA was the best thing EVER.

Yes, I sound like I don’t want you on my lawn. And I really don’t. Especially if you’re going to be so immune to critical thinking and unable to argue a nuanced concept. The problem with that, of course, is that I am acquiescent. And I kind of refuse to silently sit and watch it all go to hell anymore.giphy.gif


So, onto my concrete example from this morning. I chose to speak about this one specific thing because it covers so many of the bases. It is all based around the following sentence in the article linked below. Please don’t get hung up on where I found it. It has plenty to discuss, but I’d like to focus on the ‘fact’ that’s thrown out here:

Blue used to be the color most associated with little girls, due to its association with the Virgin Mary. But Hitler—yes, Hitler—feminized the color pink by forcing gays to wear triangles in that shade during World War II.) – http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/a10280732/gender-reveal-parties/?src=socialflowTW

Now, boys and girls, from reading comprehension lessons in English class, you should have acquired the skill to find the fact I focused on. If we strip away the adverbs and adjectives and other words that set the sentence’s tone we find this assertion:

“Hitler … feminized the color pink … during World War II.”

I have purposefully left out the judgmental “yes Hitler”  and the “and we know he is evil because he hated gays” part. I REALLY just want to focus on the factual statement made by Diane Stopyra in the above article.

tyra-bad.gifI went:  REALLY? We didn’t do pink before?

So, I did a FIFTEEN minute research stint from the comfort of my home desk. It was not exhaustive and did not involve my own gathering of evidence. But I believe I found solid scholarly publication that at the very least put her factual statement in question, and, I would argue, makes it sound simplistic and frankly untrue.

I tried two or three search terms before finding an article on gender and infant clothing colors that had an extensive list of cited sources that I could access quickly.

That article’s citations led me here: Pink and Blue  NOTE: I’m taking a moment to provide the credentials for the article, the publication, and the author between the next two lines.


The article is by Marco Del Giudice, PhD of the University of New Mexico. It was published this year (2017) as a Letter to the Editor in Archives of Sexual Behavior – the official publication of the International Academy of Sex Research, – a journal which has been in publication since 1971 and describes itself as “dedicated to the dissemination of information in the field of sexual science, broadly defined.” I think it seems a legitimate scholarly publication, although I have little knowledge of psychological journals specifically. My own academic expertise lies in legal research, textual analysis and manuscript research. 

I landed on this article in particular because it had more than a handful of citations to support of its sweeping statements about pink and blue clad human infants and toddlers. The majority of the other (admittedly quickly found) articles I saw all relied on one or two quotes and citations that supported their theory.


Yes, I’ve taken you out from between the lines here because it’s important you understand the strength of this particular article’s research and why I chose to rely on it. The author did the following:

I searched theGoogle BooksNgram Vieweron June 7, 2017,
using the 2012 American English corpus (identifier: google-
books-eng-us-all-20120701) and the 2012 British English cor-
pus (identifier: googlebooks-eng-gb-all-20120701). The follow-
ing search phrases were used (case insensitive): ‘‘pink for a girl,’’
‘‘blue for a boy,’’‘‘blue for a girl,’’‘‘pink for a boy,’’‘‘pink for girls,’’
‘‘blue for boys,’’‘‘blue for girls,’’‘‘pink for boys,’’‘‘pink for the
girls,’’‘‘blue for the boys,’’‘‘blue for the girls,’’ and‘‘pink for the
boys’’ (see Del Giudice, 2012). The search was repeated on six
20-year intervals spanning the range 1881–2000, with smooth-
ing set to 20 years to obtain the mean percentage of occurrences
over each time interval. Percentages were summed across search
phrases corresponding to the present-day standard convention
(pink =F, blue =M) and phrases corresponding to the reverse
convention (pink =M, blue =F). Finally, total percentages
were multiplied by 10
7
for readability.

Pink, Blue, and Gender: An Update (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317832997_Pink_Blue_and_Gender_An_Update [accessed Jul 16, 2017].

In other words, it was reasonably comprehensive and analytical and open to a wide range of results.

The results are not as clear cut as Ms Stopyra (remember my original Cosmo writer and her “Hitler did it” assertion?) would have her readers believe. The following screengrab is just a small selection of cited references that Del Giudice found. There is also a beautiful graph that shows a distinct pink tone in both girls and boys and back and forth decades before Hitler decided it was feminine.

DExvyzlV0AAkrBZ.jpgAs an aside, I find it hilarious  that Miss Grey of the Tacoma Times changed her mind 100% from 1909 to 1910 – see the two bottom parargraphs of my picture.

It is my assertion that the idea of an almost universally hated figure like Hitler coming up with the ‘feminising of pink’ suited Ms Stopyra’s narrative perfectly. Therefore she did not question her cited source’s methods or motives of tracing our (apparently sexist and disturbing) association of pink with girls. It fits in with the rest of her article and main point perfectly. Hitler did it, we don’t want to be like Hitler, don’t be bad.  My husband believes these things are done on purpose. I don’t think so. I think it’s just lazy critical thinking and thought-police propaganda. Never underestimate the power of confirmation bias.

Reader beware. I decided that in order to be thorough I had to give Ms Stopyra some credit and check the source of her incorrect assertion. There was a link to her cited source provided.

The Luxury Economy and Intellectual Property: Critical Reflections The book she cites actually looks like it may have some interesting reading and insights.  I have to question though if she actually read the sentence where she saw the word Hitler and understood what the statement being made was. To me it looks like she did a cursory glance, found the two evil words roughly in the same paragraph, and ran with it.

And now, thousands of young girls will tell each other the fact they read.

I mean, we shouldn’t even like pink; Hitler made us think we did.

But we all know purple is the only colour anyway.

*Disturbingly, I’ve just run a search engine check on the author. She writes ‘science’ articles for Salon.com as well.

 

Transmogrification, Video Gaming, World of Warcraft

Instead of leveling pets during pet week I keep getting lost in the Collection Shop addon at the auction house. I’ve been trying to put together a look for my Shaman, but frustration with the mail fashions of Azeroth, I end up shopping for Helvette and my plate wearers.

I’ve been playing around with these Corrupted Soulcloth Pantaloons for a while. I think I finally gave up on matching the clue/aqua in the pants with a tunic and went with the Buccaneer’s Vest. I’ve wanted to give her more of a ‘modern’ feel for a while. Run around in lore friendly robes for 11 years and you start needing a change!

Here’s the result. And one in shadow form.

Wowhead dressing room link.

 

It’s super fun to run around in and stuff, but I’m SUPPOSED to be leveling my Shaman.

My Alliance Shaman.

Sigh.

Blog Challenge, Video Gaming, World of Warcraft

What’s in Your Warcraft Bag?

This fortnight’s topic from Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge is to share what’s in your bags. You’re not supposed to tidy them up first. Well, I recently did that, so they shouldn’t be too bad, right? I will admit that I emptied the mail and sorted things off to alts before I took these screen shots and video (it’s coming when I find a new program to do voice overlay) but my bags are generally well kept if … full of stuff.

Hexweave bags in every slot. Reverse bag and slot ordering courtesy of Bagnon. The ‘Clean up’ ignores the bottom Hexweave bag. It’s the stuff I try not to leave home without.

BOTTOM BAG: Helvette and my ‘main’ alts all have Hexweave bags in every slot. I use Bagnon to organize and do reverse bag order and reverse slot order. So the bottom bag is a Hexweave bag. I mark ‘Ignore this bag’ in the bag cleanup feature. This is the stuff I never leave home without. Too much I’m sure.

Three Hearthstones, the Darkmoon Faire book (I just carry it all the time so I don’t have to worry about whether I have it for skulls or not), an enchanting rod, my pet battle tokens (current goal 500), pet bandages, a food … I don’t have any Legion recipes yet, a health pot, a flask.

Then my fishing gear. That’s Nat’s pole from Draenor, the big bobber, the filetting thingy, and Nat’s Hat. And the Darkmoon Faire thing that lets you collect resources quicker. next is my mojo we got at start of Legion and I never use, and tomes I never use. An enchanting vellum in case.

Arakkoa archaeology thingies because you never know, and two random archy sites in Draenor – mainly to get quickly to pet battles. Miner’s coffee – I mine mainly for archy fragments. A couple of alcohol’s to keep Nat happy when fishing, a random swiftness potion I don’t know where came from, my flower for dead people, a field medic kit I don’t know what’s for, and my Last deck of Nemelex Xobeh which only has ONE charge at the moment – need to get to the Faire!! Inky black to make the world dark, and a random fishing lure.

SECOND TO BOTTOM: Overflow from the first really. I picked up flour and spices and coarse thread for the Faire already. And I have some silly Winterfall beads because of the Sun Darter Hatchling pet thing – post coming. The next two bags are for extra gear and consumables – currently empty because not questing much. Can get full.

TOP BAG: Where I keep stuff I don’t want to mess up and accidentally sell, DE or whatever. Last night, all my Sun Darter Hatchling cave stuff.

Continue reading “What’s in Your Warcraft Bag?”