Bad Invention: Menstrual Sneezing Powder

There is nothing like a hearty chain sneezing bout to bring on a flood. And there is nothing more annoying than days and days of bleeding all over the place. OPPORTUNITY!

Why not help your Aunt Flo leave town faster by administering my latest and best invention, MENSTRUAL SNEEZING POWDER. Just snort it copiously on day 1 of your period and maybe the blood will fall the hell out of you, all at once.

It can be a cute little kit with the powder and a pair of maroon underwear and hipster packaging. I can see the cartoon art now as the adorable mascot sneezes herself all the way into space on a big flaming red rocketship. & an old-timey, scrolly font on it kind of like you’d imagine would be on a Victorian era box of snuff.

Also great during labor!

We shall make ONE MILLION DOLLARS with this genius invention. (I have to split it with Beth.)

Coughing works for this too, I bet! So get those sheep-sized tampons ready and smoke a bowl, remembering to inhale mightily.

You’re welcome!!!

Frivolous Friday night post

Some things that I own are extra satisfying beyond spark of joy into soul bonded dragon telepathy. Current favorite object, my tibetan wool poncho in shades of soft blue, purple, and brown, with a hood and wooden buttons and a front pouch pocket, long enough and wide enough to go halfway down my legs while I’m sitting down, over both arms of my wheelchair, and covering my backpack on the back of the chair. Pouch is ideal for phone and a handkerchief and even my notebook and pen (for my observations in and around BART stations.) It is like having a cozy tent in the rain, and, if not too rained on, excellent to wear in the chilly mornings on the couch while I drink my coffee. I got it for 35 bucks in the tibetan hippie stuff store in Berkeley.

Also bonded thoroughly with my Jafa boots (style 2159) with buckles, side zippers, blue jean blue with shiny black toes and heels, and special orthopedic inserts. Jafa and Naot shoes (particular soles) and crocs are the only things my feet and ankles can currently tolerate. And, these boots are so natty, so dapper, lots of joyous detail, no weirdly unnecessary femmy touches just like, fancied up with straps and buckles. Obtained from Citi Shoes on Irving in SF, where I swanned in fresh from powerchairing Golden Gate Park like a tiny hurricane, and experienced a funny moment. The people just leaving were somewhat taken aback by me, my hair, my chair, and my magnificent poncho (cannot blame them).

“I LOVE YOUR HAIR” one of them gasped. The shoe clerk zeroed in on what struck her most. “I love your NAOTS” she said, raising her eyebrows at my amazingly neat, detailed, grey and darker grey boots with businesslike, yet also punk, buckles. As if to imply she — unlike those yoiks — appreciated the finer things in life, and the finer points of my personality. “I’ll be RIGHT WITH YOU.” Sometimes I get followed around stores for bad reasons, like the grocery store security guard suspects I’m going to abscond with a whole mop and some Tide squirreled away in my undercarriage, but in this case I was sized up more correctly as a shoe connoisieur, in other words a good mark. I gazed about me with awe. This was a store to nearly rival Astrid’s Rabat on 24th. Someone understands my painful feet and my desire to have cute as fuck shoes, all at the same time! Oh joy!

The other shoe clerk, a callow youth, approached me. “Can I ummmm help you with ummmmm anything,” he said, rolling his eyes like a nervous horse, wondering if I was about to add some sweet sandals to my hoard of shoplifted under-poncho goods and probably also wondering why a crippled lady needs shoes anyway and if he was going to have to take my shoes off for me or something weird like that. “I’ve GOT THIS. I’m on it. Nope, nope,” said the first shoe clerk lady coming out of the back with a hiss and an eagle eye for her commission. The callow youth melted into the back, whimpering. What can I say. The amazing Jafa boots fit perfectly, she got me the most crazypants german orthopedic soles I’ve ever experienced which also cost the damn earth but, whatever it’s my feet; and also polished up and weatherproofed the boots before I got out of there.

Both the poncho and the boots gave me very good service today in the drizzly cold rain. Huzzah!

Frivolous thrift store news

I had a long day and cannot Think any more and I am definitely getting a cold, but here is my daily report. Warning. It will be bullshit. I had a very pleasant afternoon working from Borderlands Bookstore Cafe and scooted myself home via Buffalo Exchange instead of trying to get on a rush hour bus.

My reversible velvet brocade black and purple paisley jacket is now joined by a vintage 80s Joan Walters reversible purple and purple paisley jacket, sort of …. sort of a sport coat/ fake silk windbreaker? — with pockets on both sides! It fit my criteria of being super extra. It’s a monstrosity of a garment. If only it had more magenta it would be 100% great instead of only 95% great.

In other frivolous “news” I have been kinda laughing all day at Azealia Banks insulting Grimes by texting her at 4am that she smells like a roll of nickels.

Best insult I have ever heard. I keep trying to analyze why it’s so good.

Also making my day amazing: There was a road crew re-doing the curb cut that I keep reporting at Lexington and 20th!!! Not sure why they are doing all 4 corners when only one had a missing curb cut. But, it’s fabulous. It’s been bugging me for years as I go up 20th and then realize that I have to either go out in the street or else go back to Mission (or Valencia) and go around.

Overheard while in the cafe: “Oh that smell? It’s someone cooking meth upstairs in the SRO and when that happens then they just dump industrial floor cleaner all over and don’t really wash it so we open all the windows and put on a fan.” I was vaguely impressed at someone knowledgeable enough to recognize what a meth lab smelled like so I took a deep experimental sniff and then really wished I hadn’t because I basically huffed the industrial floor cleaner so hard that my cold cleared up and a door to Hell itself opened up underneath my wheelchair. Pro tip don’t be too curious about the smell of meth labs and there is probably some deep wisdom here about Grimes as well which boils down to don’t text with Azealia Banks at 4am as she will kick you ALL the way downstairs.

Bad invention: Personalized kleenex!

Lately I keep finding little torn up plastic pouches around the house with Danny’s name on them. They turned out to be some sort of personalized vitamins where each packet says DANNY on it and then a little inspirational saying. The vitamins also, I believe, have an app. I find my partner’s propensity to order weird shit off kickstarter endearing and now it’s like had this unforseen side effect that his domestic litter tattles on him!

Germphobic people! do not read any further! And definitely don’t read that post on my past Bad Invention: The Sockerchief!

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This made me think. I have some lifelong terrible habits and one of them is (from equally terrible allergies) leaving a trail of used kleenexes behind me, like an unsavory rat’s nest, and even worse sometimes it’s because I used a kleenex absent mindedly and put it down on the couch next to me because it still had some life in it (WHAT!!!!?!) and then I use it again in a few minutes OR it gets squashed into the couch cushions or falls to the floor and gets a new life as a dust and lint magnet. Or perhaps worse – it goes into my pockets and then through the washer (I mostly use handkerchiefs nowadays to work around these problems.)

You reap what you sow, and the apple does not fall far from the tree, and karma, etc. so it turns out my son not only also has allergies but also scatters little wads of kleenex around as if it were snowing.

Now we come to our bad invention: Personalized Kleenex! The couch cushion cracks would now reveal LIZ or MILO. How handy for blame, but perhaps also for creative re-use. Inspirational messages (going with the trend on the …. i-vitamins? e-vitamins? could be things like:

Bless the hand that gave the blow.
– John Dryden, The Spanish Friar. Act ii. Sc. 1.

Liberty ’s in every blow!
Let us do or die.

– Robert Burns, Bannockburn.

Blow, bugle, blow! set the wild echoes flying!
And answer, echoes, answer! dying, dying, dying.

– Alfred Tennyson, The Princess.

Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds:
At which the universal host up sent
A shout that tore hell’s concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.

– Milton, Paradise Lost. Book i. Line 540.

Or better yet – my favorite!!!!

I must have liberty
Withal, as large a charter as the wind,
To blow on whom I please.

– William Shakespeare, As You Like It. ACT II Scene 7.

For use with an app, I think a printed QR code on each kleenex would suffice. Simply remember to photograph each kleenex before or after the blow, and a special uncrumpling algorithm will sort out the code. This could plot the location of your used kleenexes on a map, display them to your friends via a social network; opportunities for buying new boxes of this substance abound – the more you use the more kleen-coins you earn – Machine learning applied based on your past stored e-kleenexr patterns to predict future caches. Personalized, social, E-Kleenexr 2.0 AI as microcurrency – on the blockchain. How can I drive this into the ground any further? WHERE IS MY ONE MILLION DOLLARS?!

Secrets of married life

It is very strange and mostly nice how everyone responded to our getting married! So glad that we ran off secretly so as to keep all that minimal.

Meanwhile, last night we read some very terrible poetry by that lawyer poet mayor of SF, which led us to try and find songs to sing his horrible sonnets to as we obsessed over the meter, and a particular poem about Andreé’s Pigeon which led us to get extremely obsessed with S. A. Andrée’s disastrous Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897. Tonight after dinner and some excellent pastries and explaining everything about how our day went to each other, I showed off my complex bugzilla queries and Danny is explaining his AMAZING command line email system and fixing a bug in it while also showing me his Beeminder logs.

We are also planning our Vallejo honeymoon cruise since we miss marina life and would enjoy hanging out with the radioactive waste of old nuclear submarines and derelict buildings that are slowly gentrifying into breweries.

Ridiculously meta fanfiction: Barsetshire and Madame Koska

In the last few weeks in my way of consuming books relentlessly when I can’t sleep and am feeling stressed, I’ve been reading all possible Angela Thirkell books that I could find in e-book format. They’re a ridiculous series written and set after World War I in England in Trollope’s fictional Barsetshire. The class politics are terrible and interesting and they’re a bit like reading a more complex Agatha Christie novel without the mystery solving. It’s always interesting to see how a novelist treats writing about the same group of people over time – these books would be perfect for the long intersecting arcs of a long-running tv series.

I finally hit the book “Peace Breaks Out” and felt surfeited of fancy-ass people with vaguely Trollopean names bemoaning the nastiness of their rationed food and the fact that sometimes they have to clean up after themselves. Definitely found myself muttering and cussing them all out, and hating the obvious arcs of the mawkish love stories past a certain point.

But then in the suggested next books, I noticed some mystery books starring Madame Koska – who was the detective in the books written by a fictional novelist, one of the nicest characters in Thirkell’s series, Laura Morland. Mrs. Morland writes trashy detective novels to support herself and her four sons and their household (ie their servants). It’s a running joke how while she is self-deprecating, everyone she meets gushes about how much they love Madame Koska’s exciting world of fashion design.

Perfect…. completely meta-trashy…. the meta has gone 2 levels deep as Thirkell was more or less writing Trollope fanfiction and then the Koska author is writing fanfic of the fanfic. I have just started Madame Koska and the Imperial Brooch – it’s extremely fun and silly.

Bad tests sink ships, or something

As a connoisseur of the caution sign, I really enjoyed these gorgeous, strange, slightly disturbing safety posters from WWII-era Britain. There are stylized warnings about driving at night, about putting an eye out with that thing, about what happens if you are very imprudent with boxes, giant boards, and ladders, and then a jolly man who is ominously having way too much fun with a sort of compressed air power gun.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2016/09/16/modernist_british_safety_posters_from_the_middle_of_the_twentieth_century.html

Here is my new version of the “I didn’t protect my eyes” poster specially for Firefox developers,

I Didnt push to try

And another very silly new poster for developers – based on World War II’s finest modernist art –

Make sure it has tests

Really, I do love caution signs. They’re so earnest. They try very hard to be persuasive! Here are some from my Flickr collection of signs. This beautiful, detailed image of someone falling through rotten boards on a pier and then drowning helplessly is from the long pier at Aquatic Park in San Francisco.

Caution dont fall off the pier

This last one is from an old artillery testing range in Essex that you have to drive through before you can get to the incredibly dangerous and fascinating place, The Broomway. The Broomway is a submerged and mostly unmarked 6 mile long path through ocean quicksand, only usable at low tide. Did I mention the unexploded ordnance, the rapidly advancing tide, and the frequent heavy fog? Also, did I mention there is a tour that takes you over The Broomway on a giant tractor?! Sign me up!

Do not approach or touch any object or debris it may explode and kill you

The wtf-ological imperative

On the last day of Open Source Bridge I had a hilarious random encounter. I was taking some notes and making badges while listening to the lightning talks (which were great). A guy came up to me and gave me a post it note where he had written, “Wikipedia:” and then some links to articles on the categorical imperative, Karl Popper, and a couple more.

He said something like, “You might benefit from reading these, young lady.” Not sure what I said; something like “Ummm thanks. Why are you giving me this?” He said “I like SCIENCE.” I agreed that I also like science, asked his name, and shook his hand. Then I told him it was weird to call me young lady since I’m obviously old enough to be his mom. He went back to where he was sitting and the lightning talks carried on.

I really wondered what was going on. Had I ever met this person? Was he doing this with everyone or was he fixated on me for some reason? I looked at his web site. It didn’t seem odd. Maybe this was just a slightly socially awkward act, and not a Gift of Fear moment from a member of some odd corner of the manosphere. Maybe this is how Dark Enlightenment people try to make frenemies!

At some point later I was standing next to the same guy reading the unconference schedule. I asked him why he called me young lady and why he gave me those links. “Did I do or say anything in particular, at the conference, during my talks, blogging somewhere, that made you think I am in need of special education about empiricism?” He said everyone should have it. “Yes . . . but why me today? What is it? And why call me young lady? I’m 45. You look like you’re in your early 20s.” The guy said it was because of my tshirt. I was wearing my “End Patriarchy” shirt where the word patriarchy is in html markup as an “end” tag; a mildly nerdy feminist joke. He explained that he dislikes postmodernism. I said it was an odd thing to do. He then explained further that he calls every woman “young lady” and that even if I were 70 he would still call me that.

I had to leave the conference to catch my flight so missed out on this puzzling conversation, but I added as I went away that it wasn’t very polite and it seemed even not very empirical of him to classify me as young no matter what. I don’t always care about politeness, it isn’t that really; it’s that his action and the way he talked to me were mind-bogglingly condescending!

I thought about how communication generally happens. I have passed out flyers to people on the street or during rallies or events but usually not as a shorthand to tell them that they’re wrong in real life. Argument at that level generally happens in something that is framed as, well, argument, or public discourse, or has some other teaching, learning, or activist context. But perhaps my tshirt with its feminist joke is like an invitation to philosophical debate! Yes, I asked for it by wearing this outfit…. *snort* I think if this is going to be a movement, the enlightened ones need something more catchy than a torn pink post-it note. There should be some Kantian Chick Tracts for budding deontologists to hand out on the street to anyone who expresses some identity politics or looks like they might edit the Geek Feminism Wiki. Like creeper cards, but you just hand them to people who are sitting in a chair minding their own business! There could be a whole series of philosophical and political comic books that let feminists and other wrong headed folks know where we missed the logic train. It would be especially great as part of a cult to save our scientific souls! Like Less Wrong, but *even sillier*!

Maybe trading cards or a collectible card game so that I could whip out an Instant and like, counterspell the dude’s Karl Popper with a Paul Feyerabend card drawn by Katja Foglio. It really needs more elegance and fun to be playable!

In short I could not take this moment seriously and had trouble believing it even happened. So I honor that WTF by pausing a moment to record it for all time and make fun of it on the internet.

Chick tract

Bad Inventions: Dumpling Compass!

This is hardly a bad invention. It is sheer genius, because dumplings are fucking delicious. And because I don’t have time to create it, I give it to you. The Dumpling Compass!

Dumpling Compass is a phone app that points you towards the nearest dumpling source.

Consider the miracle of the dumpling. The basic idea is some sort of grain delicately prepared and cooked, often surrounding a tasty filling. There are so many nuances to this amazing food. Behold the Wikipedia entry for the Dumpling, and swoon in awe!

Dumplings!

Using Dumpling Compass, you can filter by the doughy substrate (corn, rice, wheat), the method of cooking (boiled, steamed, fried, served in soup), the type of filling, and the national or ethnic background of the dumpling you most desire to find at any particular moment. Your compass will point you to it.

Someone go ahead and build this. You will make ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

Think how useful. Not like the Sockerchief or the Catula.

p.s. Tamales count!

Sub-ether message

Quote of the day, because it’s silly and perfect! Give it a dramatic reading if you dare.

The photophonic visiscreen before Ranger brightened with the image of a stocky reptilian creature that looked vaguely humanoid. Its facial scales flushed violet with pleasure as it said: “Captain Farstar! Greetings from Newtonia. How pleased I am to see you again.” The being spoke good Unilingo that was only faintly slurred by a vague hissing.
“Greetings, Dr. Clay. My blood temperature is increased by your warmth,” Ranger said, using the semi-formal greeting ritual of Cretacia, the director’s native planet. “Did you receive my sub-ether message?”

This is from the opening chapter of The Treasure of Wonderwhat. I note that their ship is named “The Gayheart”.