Going through it

Making my way somewhere

Last update
2020-05-23 06:34:06

    <>I love this article. 💕 Seriously, if you read anything climate-related today, read this.

    "Our brains are hardwired to jump to conclusions without us noticing we’re doing it. When faced with serious and complex challenges such as climate change, we jump to “can’t be done” more readily than “let’s work through this problem and see the solutions”."

    "Research is clear that to overcome fatalism and inspire change we must balance talk of urgency with talk of efficacy – the ability to get a job done. Too little urgency and “why bother?” is the default response. Too much crisis and we become overwhelmed, fatalistic or disbelieving – or a disjointed mixture of all three, which is where most of us get stuck when anyone talks about climate change."

    “After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: if anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately. Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this. I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. Shu dow-a, shu-biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, sho bit se-wee? The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—she stopped crying. She thought our flight had been canceled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late. Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him. We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother until we got on the plane and would ride next to her—Southwest. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out, of course, they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours. She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, the lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies. And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—non-alcoholic—and the two little girls from our flight, one African American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice and lemonade, and they were covered with powdered sugar, too. And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere. And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, this is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped—has seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too. This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”

    — Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.”

    where is that renaissance painting with those two fellers and a giant fucking random skull on the floor that looks like it was accidentally stretched out in photoshop


    somebody please explain

    Someone once told me it’s like that because it was designed to be hung in a stairwell so the skull pops out as you walk past.

    …I guess it works but you have to be at a pretty sharp angle

    There was a whole trend at one point where artists would include something in their paintings (usually a skull, for whatever reason) that’s super distorted in just the right way so that it looks normal if you hold the painting up to a convex/concave mirror. I have absolutely no idea why. But I think that’s what’s going on here.

    In case anyone’s curious, here’s what it looks like when you walk past it irl:

    It does have a 3D effect to it! It’s pretty neat, guess it would be even more impressive to people from the 14th century.

    honestly, people just looking at the skull are missing the real deal here


    You can read any implied text you see in this thing, even the book, that’s how detailed it is. Look at the painting on those letters!


    jesus christ you’re just showing off now, Hans!



    anyway, the skull apparently had some meaning about the transcendence of death, you can only see it clearly when you can’t see the world clearly and vice versa, but man, I’m all about the detail in this guy’s shit

    No, I think you’re missing the real deal here

    When I was a kid, my mom was a judge and my dad was starting his solo practice, and they both worked full time. There were four of us kids between the ages of one and seven (the Just Us League) and no decent daycares nearby, so they hired a nanny.  She had three almost-adult children, and on days when she couldn’t work, one of her kids would substitute. The oldest kid was named Bob, age 18, and he had just finished army basic training when this all went down. Bob did not have the good sense god gave a rock. 

    I have an older brother, Jake, who was seven; then me, Hellen, age five, then Seth, age three, and my little sister Gin would have been one. It was late August, and we were at our nanny’s house, though she was gone for the day. Bob was in charge.

    Bob should probably not have been in charge.

    Bob tried keeping us entertained with board games and tag and movies. Gin took a nap. Eventually he decided to get creative, and sat us down in the living room with a game and vanished into the garage. There was a smashing sound. And then some saw noises. And then some hammering. And then we saw him going around the house to the back yard through the windows, though we were too short to see what he was doing. And finally, he yelled to us to come out into the driveway. 

    Jake and Seth and I trooped out. Bob had both hands behind his back. He stepped up to Jake and revealed what he had in his right hand. 

    It was a wooden sword. It was clearly made from what appeared to be parts of a chair’s legs, cut down and nailed together. He presented this, and announced, “You are Sir Jake, the strongest knight!” 

    He stepped up to Seth and presented what was in his left hand. It was another wooden sword, smaller than the first, also crudely made out of chair legs. He announced, “You are Sir Seth, the bravest knight!”

    At this point, I was practically vibrating in place, waiting eagerly for my sword so I could use it to whale on my brothers, as god intended me to do. I was therefore understandably disappointed to be presented with the business end of a garden hose and told, “You are Miss Hellen, the Water Fairy!”

    “No,” I said. “I want a sword.”

    Bob was confused. “But you get water magic! Magic’s great!”

    “No.” I repeated, holding the hose. It had a spray nozzle set to jet. “I want a sword.”

    “Magic’s great. Magic’s better than a sword.” Bob insisted. “You’ll see. Wait here a moment.”

    And then Bob ran around the side of house and vanished. 

    We stood in the driveway. Jake and Seth poked each other with their swords. I spritzed them idly with the hose, trying to decide which of them would be easier to steal a sword from. 

    And then we heard a quiet wooshing noise, and smelled smoke. 

    We turned. As we watched, a line of fire rushed around the corner of the house, consuming a path of gasoline poured into the dry August grass. 

    We paused and considered this for a few moments. I raised the hose and sprayed a jet of water at the fire. It went out. We glanced at each other. Then we took off running, following the trail of fire, spraying as we went. 

    The fire led in a path around the house to the back yard. As we turned the corner, we saw Bob, clad in a bathrobe and holding a curtain rod, standing in the center of a large ring of burning grass. He cackled manically. “I am the FIRE WIZARD! Your puny swords are useless! Nothing but water magic can defeat me!”

    I promptly blasted him with the hose. He spluttered. The fire did not go out. 

    I turned the hose on the fire itself, spraying a section close to us so that it would extinguish. As soon as there was enough room, Jake charged forward, brandishing his chair leg sword with a battle cry. Seth, always happy to be included, followed. They ran into the circle and began beating Bob around the kneecaps with their swords. I kept spraying. 

    Eventually, Bob the Fire Wizard was brought down and all the fire was extinguished. Seth and Jake continued to work on bruising Bob’s shins, and I quickly discarded the hose to lend my fists and extremely pointy elbows to the cause. Bob lay in the smoldering grass, probably regretting using such sturdy chair legs. 

    Once we’d all tired ourselves out and lay panting in a heap, Bob decided it was time for the moral of the story. “You see, a sword is nothing compared to the power of a little girl with **magic**.” 

    We thought about this for a few moments. Bob nodded wisely. Jake and Seth nodded back. 

    “I still want a sword.” I said. 

    there’s a lot of people in the tags and replies expressing several concerns, which I will address:

  • “Where was Gin?” She was sleeping in a crib on the sunporch. We did this a lot–played outside while she napped–because we could hear her if she woke up and started crying, but were less likely to wake her up. She slept through the whole thing and was totally fine.
  • “You can’t put out a gasoline fire with water.” At the time, my little kid brain assumed that any flammable liquid was gas, but in retrospect it could have been almost anything. It very well may have been something other than gasoline. All I know is I could extinguish it with a garden hose.
  • “What did your parents say?” A lot of swear words at a very high volume.
  • “Did you get a sword?” Yes. Lots.  Here are a couple of them, and also my pet ringneck dove, Arson. You can see how this all may have had some lasting effect on me.
  • image

    Is that a real bird?? :0

    Yes, she’s real. This is Arson, her mate, Larceny, and their idiot children, Forgery and Fraud.


    Arson lives her life constantly wishing she had opposable thumbs so she could light fires.


    What a ride

    The absolute mania of naming your pets after felonies.

    <>My Arch Nemesis: Do you know why I challenged you to this duel?

    <>Me: You want me to stop making puns.

    <>My Arch Nemesis: You’re right.

    <>My Arch Nemesis: I didn’t want to do this. I once considered you a friend. It didn’t have to come to this. But the puns have to stop.

    <>Me: It really is the duelity of man.

    <>My Arch Nemesis: *shoots me instantly*

    <>Me: *holds my bullet-ridden intestines in place* It all lead to this.

    <>My Arch Nemesis: Why *shot* Wont *shot* You *shot* Die?! *shot*