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My walk was the walk of a human child, but my heart was a tree.

"Whenever you see an oak-tree felled, swear now you will plant two."

3/15/20 11:06 pm - the care and feeding of marnanel

some things to know about me:

* I may be wrong and often am. If I am, I would like to know, and learn better. But...
* I hate conflict. If you are rude, aggressive, hostile, ridiculing, I'll probably not talk to you.
* I am aware that I am privileged in many ways; if I show unchecked privilege, I appreciate hearing about it and I promise to take it seriously. I expect the same from you.
* Autonomy is important. I would like to hear your stories rather than tell my own. But if your behaviour involves nonconsensual damage to others, especially children, I am unlikely to be sympathetic (to put it mildly). Anti-vaccination people are specifically included here as people who damage children.
* I love hugs and cuddles, but please don't touch me without asking.
* If I have a panic attack, please hang around. Afterwards I will probably go and hide somewhere for a bit, and then I probably won't cope too well with people talking to me.
* If I'm occupied with nothing but my phone in public, that's probably a way of hiding.
* I hate phone calls. I hate making them, and I hate receiving them. Text or email instead, unless it's urgent, or you've arranged it otherwise. (To my parents: yes, you count as having arranged otherwise. But I still prefer email.)
* My pronouns are they/them, though zie/zir is fine too, and other pronouns are all right where I'm not out as genderqueer. If you get it wrong, that's fine. But don't get it wrong on purpose.
* Do not shout at me. Ever.
* I like reconciliation. If we were friends in the past, I probably want to be friends again. There are a very few exceptions, but you know who you are.
* I like vegetarian food, but I'll eat some kinds of meat if that's all that's available. I'm allergic to uncooked egg (and this includes scrambled eggs, for some reason). Eggs in things like cake are fine. Actually, cake is lovely in general.
* I have a bad habit of avoiding dealing with things I don't know how to handle, especially emails I don't know how to answer. In particular, I love getting fanmail, but I'm rather bad at answering it. I'm really sorry: I'm working on it. I do read it all, and it does make me happy, and I love you all.
* Please don't assume I can pick up on hints, or flirting, or that I know any particular social conventions about conversations; please be explicit. If there's something you can't or don't want to talk about, I will pick it up and worry about it if you lie about the things round the edges in inconsistent ways. I really like it when people talk to me about how they want to talk to me and how I want to talk to them.
* I'll try to add trigger warnings to posts and pictures. Again, if I get it wrong, let me know.
* I have triggers of my own. I may have to leave a conversation because of them. It's a PTSD thing.
* Reciting poetry and singing and scripting/echolalia are coping habits.
* I apologise too much. I'm working on it.

Did I miss anything? Questions and comments and suggestions are welcome.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/330693.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

1/16/17 10:45 pm - wizz for coding! part 2, rekurshon

[Part 1 is here]

rekursion is not e.g. when you drop a shottput on yor foot and shout D— B— S— ect in front of GRIMES and get yor mouth washed out with soap. it is a way to find ansers in funkshonal langwidges that require BRANE. this is becos funkshonal langwidges never do anything useful exept by side-efect, and who can blame them.

the ordenry way of finding ansers is for one funkshon to aks another thus:

FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hello clouds hello sky, hello peason. who is the strongest boy in all st. custards?
PEASON: er, i dunno. molesworth, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
MOLESWORTH (chest swelling with manly pride): it is i (gramer)
PEASON: it is molesworth. (he burst out laffing)
FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hurrah, i hav my answer. (he skip merily away.)

but a rekursiv funkshon can aks itself for an anser.

FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS: Hello clouds hello sky, hello molesworth. who is the strongest boy in all st. custards?
MOLESWORTH: i shal aks myself. molesworth, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
(i turn around. i am looking into the eyes of a handsom stranger.
could it be MYSELF?)

MOLESWORTH: dere me, who is the tuoghest in st. custards?
(but as i turn to tell fotherington-tomas, we hear the footstepps of the glamorus under-matron PRUDENCE ENTWISTLE)
MOLESWORTH-PRIME: wait! i must veriffy the result. prudence, who is the tuoghest in the skool?
PRUDENCE: you, my sweet.
(she kisses him and they depart arm in arm without me chiz chiz chiz)

rekurshon was invented by som monks in hanoi. they had three huge needels and a hundred disks. they spent hundreds of yeres moving them about it was worse than detenshun. they shud hav just spun them around like radio LUXEMBURG hem hem. anyway one day the americans invaded.

AMERICANS: wot are you doing
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: moving disks around
BROTHER MOLESWORTH: no time to talk, got to move this disk around
AMERICANS: dont drop it on your…
ABBOT: report to the scriptorium to have thy mouth woshed out with soap

tho to be fair it is probbly less rude in vietnamese. This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/384707.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

1/13/17 01:17 am - Idealistic

I once told a toddler the story of Plato's cave. She said, "Well, I'm going on holiday there soon."

When she got home, she told her mum, "I'm going on holiday to a cave where you can only see shadows on the wall."

Her mum said, "You've been talking to Marn, haven't you?"

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/384070.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

12/24/16 06:56 pm - A poem I wrote at Christmastime when I was 13


They will stand beside you
When all things are good.
And in the times when things are bad
Beside you they have stood.
They always tell the truth to you
As every good friend must
And they are reliable:
Friends you always trust.
They never will say nasty things
About the clothes you wear
They'll stand up for you against others
When you're not there.
You can always trust your friends
To hold your place in queues.
They'll always tell you "You played well",
Even if you lose.
Always keeping by your side:
Friendship never ends.
Yet, after all, we're only human:
Who has friends?

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/383502.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

12/19/16 04:58 pm - Three simple points to change someone's attitude

[Content note: mention of road accidents, and death of children]

Now more than ever, we on the Left need to change people’s attitudes towards the poor and marginalised. Persuasion has three parts:

  • Why should you listen to me?
  • Here are the facts.
  • But let me tell you a story…

(Why should you listen to me about this? Because I’m a writer and I study the structure of stories. Also, because this pattern has stood the test of time: it was set out by Aristotle in 350BCE.)

Who’s speaking: You. Or not. Don’t assume your job is to speak up for the oppressed, if you’re part of the oppressing group. That generally results in speaking over them. People won’t listen, and they won’t have heard from oppressed folk either. Instead, find someone of the oppressed group who’s speaking up for themselves, and use your privilege to amplify them.

Facts are vitally important, and they’re what we do best. We have fact-checkers and myth-busting websites coming out of our ears. But people don’t listen to facts alone.

Stories, worldviews, are the framework for facts.  If someone’s been sold a lie (“immigrants are taking all the jobs and houses”), they’re sold a story to put it in (which starts with “there’s a shortage of jobs and houses”). Then when you point out the number of houses standing empty, it doesn’t fit the story. So it gets ignored, or twisted into something you didn’t say. The answer to false stories is to spread true stories.

Not convinced? Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time in 1964, the road safety people ran adverts saying “Don’t drink and drive”. They gave statistics. But the adverts weren’t very effective. So they tried a new idea.

The existing story was “Driving drunk is difficult, so I’m more of a man if I can do it.” The new adverts gave them a better story: Here’s a kid who can’t sleep because her father killed someone. Kill your speed, not a child.

And why should we believe what we’re hearing? Because we’re hearing it from actual people who had been injured in road accidents. Even though the people were fictional characters, it still persuades. And now drinking and driving deaths are one-fifth of what they were 40 years ago.

Persuaded? Share it and persuade your friends.

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/383431.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

12/13/16 12:28 pm - Deaf/HoH symbol in Unicode

I'm working on a proposal to add the [dD]eaf/HoH symbol to Unicode. Help, encouragement, and suggestions are very welcome.

The symbol I mean is in image 1 here:

We should probably also include the induction loop symbol (number 2 in the image).

This proposal is about encoding the symbol as an ordinary character: it isn't quite the same thing as an emoji. But some characters can alternatively display as emoji, and in this case I think it should be white on blue, as in 3 above.

At the moment, what we need most of all is examples of the symbols used in running text, as a symbol rather than a diagram off to one side. Here's the sort of thing I mean:

...except that I just made that up, and I'm looking for real examples. Manuals and so on might be good places to look. Can you help?

If you want to see a finished version of the sort of proposal I'm writing, take a look at the proposal to encode power symbols in Unicode. That proposal successfully included the power symbol characters about two years ago. The images in the section called "Evidence of Use in Running Text" are the sort of thing I'm asking for.
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/383146.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

12/10/16 08:39 pm - Jargon obscures

In 2012 the Bishop of Leicester wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian called "There is no place for homophobia in the church." Someone in the comments asked whether an imam would be writing an article called "There is no place for homophobia in the mosque."

There's a lot to say about that, but I want to point out something about jargon. Turning "church" into "mosque" shows that the commenter thought the bishop was talking about a building. But the article's context shows that the bishop meant "the community of all Christians". (I believe the Muslim equivalent is "Ummah"; please do correct me if I'm wrong.)

I hadn't even considered that the headline might mean there was no physical place for homophobia in a building. I suspect the bishop hadn't either. I wonder how much more of what Christians say is obscured by jargon and misinterpreted by almost everyone outside the church.
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/382969.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

12/8/16 02:12 pm - My Plover steno dictionary

Here are some interesting definitions from my personal Plover steno dictionary.

Proper nouns

I have a habit of setting up proper nouns with -LZ on the right hand. (It's unlikely to clash with anything; there's no reason beyond that.) So for example:

"K-LZ": "King's Cross",
"SP-LZ": "St Pancras",

(K-LZ and SP-LZ were for typing out this story.)


"KR-GS": "{^~|”}",
"KR-GZ": "{^~|\"}",
"KW-GS": "{~|“^}",
"KW-GZ": "{~|\"^}",
In the standard dictionary, KW-GS and KR-GS are open and close quotes, respectively. I've remapped them to curly quotes. The straight quotes are moved to KW-GZ and KR-GZ in case I need them.

"-RBS": "{^,” said}",
"SKHRAPLS": "{^!” said}",
Separate chords for typing things like comma, close quote, "said", These save me a lot of time. SKHRAPLS also avoids writing a capital S in, for example, "Woof!" Said the dog (because the exclamation mark makes Plover think you've started a new sentence).

"R-R": "{^}{#Return}{#Return}{^}{-|}",
"R-RS": "{^}{#Return}{#Return}{^}“{^}{-|}",
Because I can never remember the chord for "new paragraph".

"TK-RB": "{^—}",
TK-RB is the standard stroke for a dash, but here it's remapped to an em dash.

"TEUL": "until",
"TIL": "till",
In the standard dictionary, these are until and 'til, respectively. I have remapped them because 'til is not a thing.
"OG": "oh",
"PH-R": "Mr {-|}",
"PH-RS": "Mrs {-|}",
"SED": "said",
"THO": "though",
"WAOEU": "why"
The standard strokes for oh and Mr are bizarre and unmemorable.
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/382232.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

11/16/16 04:29 pm - "Stop this brain working!"

"At [Gramsci's] trial in 1928, the official prosecutor ended his peroration with the famous demand to the judge: "We must stop this brain working for twenty years!" But, although Gramsci was to be dead long before those twenty years were up, released, his health broken, only in time to die under guard in a clinic rather than in prison, yet for as long as his physique held out his jailers did not succeed in stopping his brain from working."

- Hoare and Nowell-Smith, "Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci", 1971

This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/381653.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

11/10/16 12:37 pm - Trump: ten lessons for the left in the UK and US

Lessons for the left

1) Our intel failed.
All media is biased, but we read the stuff biased towards our own viewpoint and ignore all the rest. We need to keep up to date with the media biased against us, for two reasons: a) despite the bias, it might be reporting on something we wouldn't otherwise know; b) we need to know what the right wing are hearing, so we can counter it.

2) Electoral politics is important, but it's only one tiny part.
People matter more than polls. We need to spread love and peace where there is fear and hatred, and that can't be restricted to election season. In particular, whenever the right's policies hurt ordinary people, as they will, talk about it to those people. Hear their stories; tell them ours.

3) It's not a game.
Many people on both sides talk as though we're having a football match between the red team and the blue team. I was once at a count where candidates from the left were saying that the opposition's policies would bring hunger and homelessness. The opposition party just booed. They need to learn that there's more at stake than honour, or even principles: people are going to lose housing, heath, and food because of this vote.

4) Angry white people won this election.
Take hope in the fact that white people will be a minority soon! In the meantime, how can we dissolve and deflect this anger, this prejudice, and this fear?

5) Right-wing voters aren't fools.
They're misled, they've been duped, but they're not fools. If you talk as though they were, they'll just assume the left is a load of smug bastards, and hate us more. Especially if you talk about voters without a degree as if they were voters without a brain.

6) People need stories, not just facts.
The right has sold them a story about scarcity: money is scarce, housing is scarce, jobs are scarce. It's a lie: the scarcity is artificial. But people can't accept facts that don't fit into their stories. So, tell them a new story, a true one, and give them facts to support it.

7) Every revolution brings a counter-revolution.
We've done fairly well in the last few years, and this is the predictable backlash. As I said, it won't last, though while it lasts it'll bring injury and death to the most vulnerable people. Let's make sure it doesn't last long.

8) The left is more than just "not Trump".
And this is our chance to move the window further left. Everyone can make some difference wherever they find themselves. Everyone should be as strong as they can. That includes you.

9) Nobody's ever said "no" to Trump in his life.
More people voted for Clinton than Trump, which means there's a lot of us to say "no" as loudly as we can. Help out the ACLU, because freedoms aren't free. And the midterms are in 2018, so make sure he starts to hear a lot of "no" from Congress then.

10) Four years from now
...in 2020, there will be elections in both the UK and the US. This is where we win back lost ground. Go for it.

Comments welcome. If you liked this list, share it: thank you! (Edit: this list was written by me, Thomas Thurman, since people were asking)
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/381237.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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