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All these places I’ve been December 3, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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Nova wanted a post about the places I’ve lived! So here’s the executive summary. (Hopefully vagued-up enough to avoid identity theft.)

I was born in…

Wisconsin

…where my parents lived for the next three years. I don’t remember any of it, but I do blame its influence for the fact that I really, really like cheese.

Then Dad got a job in…

Maryland

Mom worked for a while too, but my understanding is that Dad’s job was the driving factor. He’s the one still working at the same place.

A couple of apartments, one of which I have the faintest memories of, then the house in the suburbs where my parents live to this day. Nothing too elaborate (if you remember the neighborhood from Desperate Housewives…yeah, all those houses are at least twice the size of ours), but nice and stable.

Lived there until…

College

Four years spent mostly in middle-of-nowhere rural MA. Interspersed with a semester abroad in the outskirts of Canterbury, New Zealand, which was great.

After graduation, a friend who was studying in Boston needed a housemate (shoutout to Katy), so I packed up all my stuff for good and moved to…

Massachusetts

Spent the next eight years going through a string of apartments, and housemates, and low-paying temp jobs, in the Boston area. (In the middle of this I went to grad school, though you wouldn’t know it from my employment history.)

For the most part I deeply enjoyed it! Met awesome people, followed cool opportunities, felt generally comfortable in the culture.

But the rents kept rising, while my income kept…not. Then 2016 happened, when my vote (among three million others) didn’t matter because of where I lived. And, you know. That sucked.

I considered moving back to Wisconsin. It’s a swing state, there would be a nice feeling of coming-full-circle about it, and I would get to personally vote against Paul Ryan. But then came offers of support from family members, which were pretty hard to turn down. Which is why now I’m in…

Ohio

As of this writing, still crashing at my aunt’s place. A planned short-term stay turned (by mutual agreement) into a medium-term stay. I’ve officially shifted into apartment-hunting mode, though! This post will be officially out-of-date by some time in January. (Barring any unforeseen complications. Knock wood.)

(December talking meme.)

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*massive sigh of post-moving-to-Cleveland relief* May 31, 2018

Posted by Erin Ptah in Personal.
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I made it!

Staying at my aunt’s apartment in Cleveland, which is in a building tall enough that I can see Lake Erie from the window. All the boxes I shipped ahead of time have arrived — they make a surprisingly small pile in the corner of one room.

My parents showed up for the last few days in Boston, so everything I own that isn’t here is in the trunk of their car. Another couple trunkfuls of stuff went out on the front curb — books, dishes, still-half-full bottles of shampoo and body wash, lamps, fans, two entire cupboards’ worth of unbrewed tea.

All the furniture also went. For a while I was thinking about hiring movers for a few things, but finally decided to let it all go, including the couch I brought all the way from Baltimore and have been napping on since middle school. (It’s the one all the cats have sat on.)

The next-door neighbor complained about all this stuff being outside “when trash pickup isn’t even until next week.” Meanwhile, a regular stream of people came by and took things they wanted. (Guess what race/gender the neighbor was. Guess what race/gender most of the picker-uppers were not.)

My two housemates each cleaned their own rooms, but, for various reasons, made no effort to help with the kitchen or bathroom. (Or return rental equipment, or put general-house-use items on Craigslist, or…I could go on.) So, while Mom focused on helping me pack the last round of boxes, Dad basically scrubbed the whole apartment. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.

And then…at last…to the airport! It had one stop after Boston before continuing on to Cleveland — same plane, just a new flight number — but I guess the computer hadn’t figured that out, because I had to haul my stuff off, get my boarding pass re-scanned, then turn around and haul it right back on.

Didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before. Didn’t get any sleep on the plane, either. Every time I closed my eyes I saw half-packed boxes.

But now I have slept! And eaten. And restocked on conditioner/deodorant/etc from the local CVS. And programmed my webcomics to allow admin access from this IP address.

So far…so good. (Knock wood.)

Vintage subways, eclipses on other planets, and music on X-rays August 19, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom, News Roundup.
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Photos of the Boston construction of America’s first subway system.

“On Jupiter, which has 69 moons, it’s possible for there to be multiple eclipses occurring at the same time. On Pluto, whose moon appears much larger in its sky than the Sun, total eclipses can happen every day for years on end.” [Video]

The only music that was allowed were classic composers, or simple folk tunes, whose words were all about how great socialism was.” So Soviet Russia got an underground cottage industry in illegal music…recorded on discarded X-ray film.

Doctor Who co-creator Sydney Newman advocated a female Doctor in 1986. (As well as some very ’70s companions.)

People tend to lose track of actual facts about the Bible, including how Lovecraftian it is: There are twelve pearly gates, they’re carved from a single pearl each, and they are never, ever closed.

Old stuff: math teachings from 1917, scandalous pop songs from 1909, cat video from 1903 February 8, 2016

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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In reverse chronological order!

Books are Weapons in the War on Ideas: the librarians who worked with the army in WWI and WWII.

“…contractors removing old chalkboards at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a startling discovery: Underneath them rested another set of chalkboards, untouched since 1917.” Historical penmanship and out-of-date multiplication methods ahoy!

“It may seem like a Halloween hoax fit for the eerie October holiday. But officials from the MBTA say the discovery of two tattered rags affixed to strange masks at Government Center Station is all too real.

How a sexed-up viral hit from the summer of ’09—1909—changed American pop music forever.” (Excerpts: “It was used in advertisements for everything from Broadway musicals to pretzels. It was translated by newspapers into Esperanto (“Ho! Vi kaprido!”). It was bellowed by a lovelorn Philadelphian as he leaped from a bridge into the Schuylkill River, attempting suicide. It brought scandal to a church in Geneva, Ill., when a prankster altered the hymnal, adding the line “but, oh, you kid!” to the lyrics of the devotional “I Love My God.””)

Millennial in China taking an excited photo with a bowl of rice. And by “millennial” I mean “circa 1900-1904.” Next time you hear someone complaining about Kids These Days sharing photos of their lunches on Instagram, you can bring up this hard evidence that the generation from a hundred years ago would have done the exact same thing.

The first close-up shot in recorded film was from 1903’s “The Sick Kitten”. In other words, humans have been making cat videos literally for as long as it as been possible to do so.

Check out these 19th-century warnings about that most morally-degrading of modern habits. It leads to crime, mental anguish, weakening intelligence, and corruption among the children! Clearly, respectable people should have nothing to do with…novel-reading.

Post-protest looking-back. November 27, 2014

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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Was at the Black Lives Matter: Boston protest march last night. @BLM_Boston has lots of photos & video. (Donation info.)

This long compilation video has a good cross-section of what was happening, up through police blockade #1. (From around around 2:43 to 2:59 you can see a big white banner with an upside-down American flag taped to it — I was a little to the right of them.)

Here’s a rough outline of the route:

protest

All the protestors were peaceful in Boston. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case everywhere, as you can see by these photos of fires being started and cars getting flipped over oh wait those are photos of white people rioting after sporting events.

(I’m not going to sit here and say all white people are intrinsically violent. I’m just saying, there is a history of meaningless violence in white culture, and it’s troubling. Doesn’t help that 83% of the murders of white people in the US are committed by white people, and there don’t seem to be any leaders in the community willing to speak out about this epidemic of white-on-white violence.)

Donation links for Ferguson itself:

Smartphone app from the ACLU of NJ will upload video from your device to the ACLU server, to keep police from confiscating it and deleting evidence.

Masterpost of “how to counter various racist arguments” posts, articles, and video.

Gonna finish this off with the quote everyone is sharing (or should be) in response to the “what would MLK say?” argument.

“But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
–Martin Luther King Jr., “The Other America“, March 14, 1968