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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in realinterrobang's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, November 26th, 2015
4:29 pm
Employment update
According to the Telco guy, I should have my deets by tomorrow at noon. I sure hope they don't want me to start Monday. Yee.

Current Mood: hungry
Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
12:34 am
Tentatively Employed Again!
Complicated setup: On the 11th, I applied for a job at what I thought was a smallish regional telecommunications company. Turns out that a company for whom they had done telco infrastructure had asked them to recommend or find a technical writer for them, and they put out the posting, and got me.

I had an interview by phone with them, and another phone interview with their client, an insurance services company. I had thought the phone interview with ISC had gone well, and I guess it did.

Today I got a phone call from the guy at the telco, offering me the job, and he followed it up with this e-mail:

Congratulations on the new role with [ISC] and thank very much for accepting our offer of 
$[##] per hour. As mentioned on the call, after a 3 month probation [Telco] will consider
converting you to a fulltime employee.

Again thanks very much, I will let you know of next steps.

During the phone call, he said, "She [meaning the woman from ISC] really liked you," and I said, "Yeah, I got that impression." He said, "Yeah, she liked you so much she didn't even interview the second candidate."

Got it in a walk!

It's not great, in that I'd prefer a long-term thing right now, but I'll take it. The price is right, and I'll get to work mostly from home, with intermittent trips to Toronto, which doesn't sound too bad to me, other than having to leave here killingly early in the morning. :)

Current Mood: content
Monday, November 23rd, 2015
4:35 am
Quotes, I Guess You Can't Have It All, After All Edition
Last year, as I prepared the Thanksgiving dressing, my then 2-year-old grandniece who never slows down for more than a second stood and watched with rapt attention as I broke a half-dozen eggs into the bowl for the dressing. A week and a half later, my niece calls me and says she had gotten so upset with Auri that she had to just call her dad and ask if she could take her to their house and leave her for a few hours. It seems that while my niece took a very quick shower, Auri had gotten into the refrigerator, found a full dozen eggs, and smashed them all over the living room carpet, couch, and chair. I started laughing and my niece said "it's not funny!" so I told her about how she had watched at Thanksgiving while I broke the eggs. I said, "I'm sure when she found the eggs in the fridge she thought, 'hey, these are those things that you smash and stuff comes out of them'." Her mom saw some humor in it then, but it took another episode with yogurt a few weeks later for her to go searching for a fridge lock.
-- jennofark, Alicublog, comments

[F]ormulate your own vision for the Middle East; but at all costs demand that before your leaders take any action that will deal death and destruction, they tell you their vision and tell it to you clearly. Demand that they project that strategic vision with a bright light. Any other way to make war on Daesh would be foolishly stumbling around in the Middle Eastern dark. Again.
-- Dr. Lynette Nusbacher, "Acts of War: Destroy Daesh wisely," Times of Israel blogs

It seemed the Christian thing to do, turn the other cheek so to speak.


So ... that doesn't mean moon him? Hmm. Well, what do you know?
-- Jim Wright, Facebook

I once loudly proclaimed at work “That’s how the dildos went extinct!” Dodos. It was the dodos.
-- Twitter user @bad_girl_rising

Hillary Clinton's resting face is "I just sat through 50 years of mansplaining."
-- Twitter user @louisvertel

You want it all, but you can"t have it...Collapse )

Current Mood: awake
Sunday, November 15th, 2015
9:03 pm
Quotes, We Need Peace Like Air Edition
The controller who was working the pilot of the Delta yells at him, "Take any evasive action necessary! We have an airplane, we don't know what he's doing. Any action at all." This is stuff that's...you would only see in the movies.
-- air traffic controller Dave Bottiglia, interviewed in "Flight 175: As the World Watched," on a near-miss between UA 175 and a Delta jet

When I was in Brussels last month, I was warned in advance by everyone, especially Jews who frequently travel to Brussels, to keep my kippah covered and give no inkling I was Jewish. So I did. One afternoon, I strolled to the Jewish community center looking for minyan and info. There were two soldiers standing guard out front. This is typical for Europe, btw. Any Jewish gathering place or monument gets soldiers armed with automatic weapons and bullet-proof vests. The guards wanted to know why I wanted entrance. Not speaking French, I finally doffed my baseball hat to reveal my kippah. The guards called up to the right person while I waited, hat on hand. The relevant person came outside. The guard said something in French. The JCC guy translated: "they ask you to put your hat back on. They are afraid you wearing your kippah openly like that will draw trouble." That is everyday life for the Jewish community in Brussels. And Brussels is not the worst place in Europe for Jews these days.
-- Harold Feld, Facebook, comments

With this growing understanding of human nature and the workings of the brain, the need for a reevaluation of the criminal justice system becomes imperative. This may not be right around the corner – it could take decades – but it is inevitable.
--Thor, Science-Based Medicine, comments

If there were no Soviet Union to fear, I wonder if our treatment of post war Germany and Japan would have been harsher?
-- p.a., Balloon Juice, comments

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a fellow of the Middle East Forum, has explained in recent blog posts how in some occupied cities such as Raqqa in Syria, the movement has created complicated civil service structures, taking control even of municipal waste departments. He describes the revenue it derives from local income and property taxes, and by leasing out former Iraqi and Syrian state offices to businesses. He shows how this has given ISIS a broad and reliable income base, which is only supplemented by the oil smuggling and the antiquity looting so well described by Nicolas Pelham in these pages.

ISIS’s power is now reinforced by the staggering arsenal that the movement has taken from the fleeing Iraqi and Syrian army—including tanks, Humvees, and major artillery pieces. Reports from 'i.The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal</i>, Reuters, and Vice News over the last twelve months have shown that many Sunnis in Iraq and Syria now feel that ISIS is the only plausible guarantor of order and security in the civil war, and their only defense against brutal retribution from the Damascus and Baghdad governments.
-- Anonymous, "The Mystery of ISIS," The New York Review of Books

Among other things...Collapse )

Current Mood: melancholy
6:36 pm
Why "Daesh" Matters
Precision is a thing. Words mean things. It's very complex to refer to Daesh in all of its various English-language "Islamic State"-related permutations, and on top of that Daesh hates it.

Current Mood: annoyed
8:57 am
What do Paris, Baghdad, and Beirut have in common?
Terrorists love symbolism. It's really important to think of what major terrorist attacks mean as well as what they are. It's especially obvious that Daesh knows, pays attention to, and hates history, particularly of the non-Islamic kind.

Paris, Baghdad, and Beirut have these things in common: All are or were major cosmopolitan centres of learning, art, and culture, and all are or were major Jewish population centres in their respective regions. You can't talk about the cultural history of the western world without talking about Paris, Beirut used to be known as "The Paris of the Middle East," was long a haven for expats and intellectuals (and, let's be honest, spies -- Kim Philby much!), and sat on the uneasy border between the American and Soviet spheres of influence, and Baghdad used to be a major crossroads of the Silk Road, and then the Ottoman Empire, and, even further back than that, was the seat of Jewish learning and the home of the Babylonian Talmud, among other things.

If you think what I've said seems far-fetched, think about Palmyra.

Current Mood: angry
1:25 am
Beirut, Paris, Baghdad...and the Otniel Junction
I'm just sick at heart hearing about the terrorist attacks in Beirut, Paris, and Baghdad. (Irony: Fifty or so years ago, they used to call Beirut "The Paris of the Middle East." Some elderly Orthodox Jewish friends of mine went there in the early 60s and had a wonderful time.)

I want to caution people about thinking that somehow massive force will solve this. It won't. Part of the problem with Daesh is that it runs on an idea. You can't kill an idea with military force. (Do I need to start pulling historical examples, or are all of you smart enough to think of a few on your own?) Part of the problem is that Daesh provides civil and quasi-governmental services to the people under its protection in areas it controls, not unlike what the Taliban does in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan (where the respective national governments have failed or left a power vacuum). Dealing with that is also tricky, because one of Daesh's strong areas is in Syria, which has been ripped apart by civil war, and before that, had a dysfunctional and autocratic dictatorship which overwhelmingly concentrated its service-provision to the large cities and Assad family tribal strongholds, leaving much of the rest of the country without any real benefits of government to speak of. (An ex-client of mine used to do civil society promotion and NGO support in Syria. I'm certain he was here in Canada because the Assads, who didn't like non-Assad-patronized NGOs, wanted to have him imprisoned. He said that a dozen of his colleagues had already been to prison, and if the words "Syrian prison" don't make you shudder a little, you lack imagination.)

I hesitate to advocate the sort of normal conflict resolution or peacekeeping military intervention for this, as it seems to me like in this case that it would be akin to picking sides in a civil war, and I can't see how the Assads wouldn't benefit from it, and I like them almost as little as I like Daesh. I'm also not sure of the bonafides of most of the anti-Assad rebels, since they may be just Daesh in their Friday clothes. I also can't help but surmise that the western world kind of left Syria to twist in the wind a little bit after the fall of the Soviet Union, given that Syria was explicitly "socialist" in the manner of a Soviet client state, which it had been, and I can't imagine that losing its powerful backer and not getting any help improved the situation there, either.

So. Trace back and cut off the flow of arms and money to these people. Freeze their bank accounts. Dismantle their financial infrastructure. Arrest their money-handlers. Arrest their major individual donors. Fuck, for all I care, send the Mossad after them for a nice quick clean assassination or several. Yeah, it's not technically legal, but it does work (viz. Black September), and the Israelis certainly aren't above a little terrorist-killing wetwork. Find out if Daesh has state sponsors, and shut the pipeline down. If there's a Saudi connection, for the love of G-d, isn't it about time to go after them too?

Obviously, what is happening right now isn't working, and doing more of the same will work even less. I think the French and the Lebanese would be smart to enlist as much anti-Daesh international cooperation as they can get (not unlike all the help that was offered to the US post-9/11...and squandered), and use it productively. Bombing Syria even further back into the Stone Age won't help, even if it will make some people feel better...and radicalise more Syrians.

In other news, friends of mine in Israel buried their neighbours today, thanks to yet another Palestinian ambush.

Current Mood: angry
Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
2:15 am
Another sustained shriek of rage and despair
I can't be bothered to count up the number of job applications I've done in the last month or so, which has admittedly been intermittent, since every so often I just freeze for a few days in a spasm of depression, but I did four this morning, and I've had a grand total of three phone interviews, none of which have gone anywhere. Most tellingly, I haven't heard from anybody here in Whitebreadville about any of the jobs here I've applied for, which have been a surprising percentage of the total, comparatively.

I'm seriously resistant to the idea of trying to go back to freelancing, because a) I hate hustling for gigs and doing double-entry bookkeeping; b) it's really hard to build a freelance business back up after years of hiatus, and c) I hate not having a steady paycheque. Also, there are a lot of people out there (lurking on oDesk and Rent-a-Coder and TaskRabbit) who are offering subminimum wage type money for $35/hr work. Yeaaahno.

Also, I am in the middle of a long-term, quite involved personal project, where completing it efficiently is (at this point) completely contingent on getting another job here in Whitebreadville, and while moving elsewhere wouldn't derail it totally, it would shunt it off onto a neglected and overgrown siding which would be difficult to get off again, and make it even harder and more involved to complete. Dammit.

And I'm still trying to get rid of The Sinus Infection From Hell, Yes Again. *sigh*

Also, there hasn't been any new Air Crash Investigation for yonks.

Current Mood: depressed
Sunday, November 8th, 2015
10:38 pm
Quotes, No Palm Sugar Tonight Edition
You can't spell 'blimp' without "B Limp".
-- smut clyde, Alicublog, comments

[T]here are very many people who know more physics than I know. But what they know is more of the same physics that I know, not different physics.
-- Windriven, Science-Based Medicine, comments

It's the responsibility of government not to put soldiers into harm's way except as a last resort, when it's absolutely necessary to do so. When we do send them into harm's way we have to ensure that we've done everything in our power to find other methods to reach our objectives.
-- Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan, quoted in Sandy Garossino, "You have no idea how badass Trudeau's Defence Minister really is," National Observer

The case against the historicity of the exodus is straightforward, and its essence can be stated in five words: a sustained lack of evidence.
-- Joshua Berman, "Was There an Exodus?", Mosaic Magazine

Note to media,we are NOT witnessing another Trudeaumania. We are witnessing StephenHarperIsNoLongerPrimeMinistermania.
-- Twitter user @deAdder

To hell with that; I am a NewTrudeaumaniac!Collapse )

Current Mood: depressed
Wednesday, November 4th, 2015
1:59 am
Quotes, Gerunding Edition
"But it's totally true, I alleged it myself!"
-- Yastreblyansky, Alicublog, comments

History, in general, is more interesting than its caricature.
-- Simba, Science-Based Medicine, comments

Look at Shajayia. I see it every time I go out to our fields, and I can tell you that over the last year, nothing good has happened there. No new houses have been built. It’s like a time bomb waiting to explode. ... For us, a new war would mean that all the hard work we did over the last year would go to waste. To prevent such a war, we need to find a way to improve the situation on the other side of the border as well. If we don’t do that, the next disaster is just a matter of time.
-- Kibbutz Nahal Oz agricultural manager Itai Maoz, in Amir Tibon, "Why I’ve made my home at a kibbutz near Gaza, on the verge of hell," Times of Israel

Muslims are only well behaved when they are weak. When they are strong they are like a wolf or a jackal, in large packs they hunt down other animals.
-- Burmese Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, quoted in Sarah Kaplan, "The serene-looking Buddhist monk accused of inciting Burma’s sectarian violence," The Washington Post

The director of my play asked the audience to "turn off their phones and vibrators" instead of setting phones to vibrate.
-- Twitter user @NotKlingonRed

Yes, another.Collapse )

Current Mood: awake
Monday, November 2nd, 2015
1:59 am
Quotes, Midnight at the Oasis Edition
If you're standing athwart history all you can do is piss on it.
-- Yastreblyansky, Alicublog, comments

I swear to god, economists exist only because we don't have patent-medicine wagons any more.
-- Charles P. Pierce, "American Exceptionalism," Esquire

Never trust any group with the words "Family" or "Freedom" in their name.
-- Phil Bolton, Facebook, comments

This is not how we educated our children; Islam is not a hostile religion even if we have a dispute with some of its followers.
-- Rabbi Shlomo Brin, delivering new Qurans to a mosque burnt by Jewish terrorists, quoted in Benzion Sanders, "The Shiur that Broke My Heart," Times of Israel blogs

If you're fifteen years old on Earth, or younger, you've never lived in a time where people weren't living off the planet. You know, that is now part of the normal fabric of human society.
-- Chris Hadfield, "Chris Hadfield on a big day for space," BBC Newshour

And my sleep cycle was already trashed.Collapse )

Current Mood: awake
Wednesday, October 28th, 2015
3:50 am
Quotes, I'm On a (Blue) String Edition
"promoting the general welfare" doesn't mean "give corporations whatever they want and fuck the rest."
-- montag2, Alicublog, comments

I have never successfully seen a 3-D film in the mode it was intended, and I’m not alone. Depending on the source, it’s estimated that somewhere between 292 million and 730 million people have limited or no stereo-acuity and cannot process three-dimensional cinema. A great many more can do so only with effort and strain. We’re an overlooked minority, many times greater than the percentage of viewers who need wheelchair ramps to access a movie theater, which all theaters are legally required to have.
-- Michael Atkinson, "Seeing 3-D Cinema From the Stereoblind Perspective," The New York Times [2D prints should be required under disability-accommodation legislation. -- ?!]

Objective isn't I, personally, know it happened so there I'm taking my ball and going home. Objective is anyone could run the measurements and come up with the same numbers (within the margin of error of the measuring device).
-- KayMarie, Science-Based Medicine, comments

In the early '60s, I met a lot of women in the counterculture movements and they said, ‘We have some issues too, just so you know.’ And I was like, ‘Oh.’ [Laughs.] ‘What are those issues?’ They said, ‘If we’re going to be equal in society, then we have to be able to control our reproduction. We have to be able to choose if and when we’re going to have children and how many. We don’t have that. We’re at the whim of the pregnancies that come along.’ That was a really important realization for me. I hadn’t understood things in that way before.
-- Dr. Curtis Boyd, in Alex Ronan, "The First Legal Abortion Providers Tell Their Stories," NY Mag

If I'm photographed after I've eaten, I look bigger than before I eat. The challenge is to determine my relation to the absolute.
-- Twitter user @KimKierkegaard (Kim Kierkegaardashian)

Pick up the thread below...Collapse )

Current Mood: awake
Sunday, October 25th, 2015
4:23 pm
Linguistic musery
Since "dogpile" is a word, "catpile" also needs to be a word, referring to sharing body heat and creature comforts (such as a soft place to sleep), as in "I like to catpile with my Cat Pile in my warm bed on chilly nights."

Some days my Cat Pile just isn't big enough, although dealing with more Overly Attached cats would probably tax my ability to function. Two is enough, really.

Current Mood: depressed
Wednesday, October 21st, 2015
11:21 pm
Quotes, I So Totally Voted Edition
Conservatives love small local government because it's easier for grifters to grab control of it and bend it to their own benefit, and, thanks to the trend of turning news media into entertainment outlets, local government tends to not be covered closely.
-- satch, Alicublog, comments

17 year-old Malia Obama playing beer pong is the most outrageous thing the child of a president has done since George W. Bush invaded Iraq
-- Twitter user @NatBaimel

Dear former Prime Minister Harper
Don't feel like you need to look both ways before stepping into traffic.
-- james_nicoll, complete text of post, More Words, Deeper Hole

Today, class, we will demonstrate core criticality. Please try to pay attention.
-- Herr doktor bimler, Lawyers, Guns, and Money, comments

Artists are valuable to a city. If you destroy their communities block by block and do away with affordable work spaces, you're losing character.
-- Carye Bye, "Portland, I Love You but You're Forcing Me Out," Willamette Week

I guess I kind of got to see Trudeaumania twice. First time in theatres!Collapse )

Current Mood: sick
Monday, October 19th, 2015
6:14 pm
If you live in Canada and are eligible to vote, and you haven't done it yet, GET OFF YOUR FUCKING ASS AND GO VOTE, YA MORON.

This has been a public service announcement from your friendly neighbourhood Cranky Technical Writer.

Current Mood: annoyed
Sunday, October 18th, 2015
4:01 pm
Quotes, Snow, Dammit! Edition
When the boys from state security drag me to the satellite office and start smashing my knees and fingers with re-bar, it helps to know if they're totalitarian, or just authoritarian. I'd just hate to be tortured by commies.
-- Fluttbucker, Alicublog, comments

Beans are like that quiet coworker who shows up everyday and does solid work but nobody appreciates because they are not a prima donna and don't promote themselves.
-- mouse, Science-Based Medicine, comments

Arab scholars, writers and politicians have nurtured the Crusader myth of Zionism and Israelism in order to prove that Israel is a Western-colonialist entity in the Eastern Arab area. The Zionist-Crusader analogy sought to create a parallel between the Crusader colonialism of the Middle Ages and ‘Zionist colonialism’ of the Anglo-French variety.
-- Ben-Gurion University of the Negev professor David Ohana, quoted in Lewis Rosen, "Shlomo Avineri and the two-state solution," Times of Israel blogs

Those short-lived, high-mass main sequence stars — such a waste of energy, just begging for redevelopment....
-- nelc, More Words, Deeper Hole, comments

"I wrote a poem," he threatened
-- Twitter user @skullmandible, spotted on imgur

Don"t let it snow, don"t let it snow, don"t let it snow (anymore)!Collapse )

Current Mood: annoyed
Friday, October 16th, 2015
1:07 am
Halacha of Erev Kol Tzaddikim*, or What if Jews Celebrated Hallowe'en?
Jewbellish has the scoop:

1) No trick or treating until sundown. This year not before 5:54PM in the NY area. Children may trick or treat earlier for Chinuch (educational purposes), but it’s preferable if they wait until the zman [nightfall].
2) A scary costume is preferable, but b’dieved (2nd choice), one dressed as a princess or a Minion has fulfilled the obligation of dressing up.
3) One who turns off the lights and pretends to be away is called a sinner!


Our minhag (custom) is to use an old pillowcase, not a plastic pumpkin. Unless given explicit parental (or rabbinical) permission, a pillowcase in current use as bedding is not kosher for use trick-or-treating. One may purchase a new pillowcase for the purpose of using it as a loot bag, but one may not then use it on one's bed.

Local minhag in Edmonton, Alberta between the 1930s and the 1970s was to say "Hallowe'en apples!" instead of "Trick or treat!", but this minhag seems to have died out due to assimilation...

For what it's worth, what the man in the picture is doing is inspecting the pumpkin to make sure it's unblemished and kosher, because it's just as important for your pumpkin to be unblemished and kosher as it is your etrog (citron, used at Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles).

This is probably going to go into rotation with Hilchos Xmas. Just so's you know...

* More or less literally how you'd say "All Hallows Eve."

Current Mood: amused
Thursday, October 15th, 2015
2:19 am
I'm looking for a job again
Technical writing/editing stuff in Southwestern Ontario cities, mostly... PM me if you know anything, please.

In other news, I've pretty nearly spent through the Large Insurance Company's money. That job was expensive, necessitating as it did basically buying an entirely new wardrobe.


Current Mood: annoyed
Tuesday, October 13th, 2015
9:41 pm
How much do I hate whey powder?
Well, I got into some at my parents' house on Sunday, somehow, I suspect in cheap-ass Walmart "bum buns." It's now Tuesday evening, and, while the horrible bloating, bathroom-based recreations of the 1915 Battle of Ypres, and cramping have passed off, the horrible histamine-reaction thing where you just want to peel your skin off so you can scratch it from underneath, all over, persists. I just took some Benadryl.

That's how much I hate whey powder.

It was a greeeeat Thanksgiving. Next year I'm going to tell them all to go jump in the fucking lake. Between that, and my sister having a breakdown at the dinner table because my asshole cousin and her asshole husband kept interrupting her every time she tried to say something, and then my cousin calling my sister a "little bitch" in front of everyone while my sister hustled away in tears, and me feeling like a worm for not defending her, but I've only been on the receiving end of that kind of shit for longer than my sister has been alive and I just didn't have it in me, plus the random outbursts of racism and classism (no antisemitism this time thank G-d), it was fanfriggingtastic.

I haven't slept hardly at all since Sunday because of the itching, so probably in about fifteen minutes, I'm going be comatose. (And of course Jay just stunk up the bathroom, meaning I need to wait before I can brush my teeth.)

Current Mood: pissed off
Monday, October 12th, 2015
5:57 pm
Quotes, Oh How I Hate Whey Powder Edition
Intractable intellectual narcissism is a hell of a condition...
-- EBMOD, Science-Based Medicine, comments

Privilege to fail is not something most people have in this day and age. I've been fired from positions on the basis of a single mistake ... Like many of you, I wish that I could fail and fail and then safely bail out for the next opportunity once my failures reached critical mass, but alas...
-- Andrew Johnston, Alicublog, comments

I refuse to fly on any airline that does not have a pilots’ union.
-- Thirtyish, Lawyers, Guns, and Money, comments

Nobody does evil as thoroughly as those who think they are the agents of the ultimate good.
-- origami Soldier, Raw Story, comments

The secret message of every superhero movie is that vigilantism is heroic. When Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider, he doesn't join the police. The thought doesn't even cross his mind. And nobody in the audience says, "Whoah, wait a minute- Spider-Man is a dangerous vigilante! What gives him the right to act unilaterally, when the state has a legitimate monopoly on force?" What makes Spider-man legitimate, in the eyes of the audience? Is it that the police are so corrupt that Spider-man is forced to act outside the law? No! It's understood that he's helping the police. On the occasions when Spider-man is not appreciated, it's because the sleazy Press has once again stirred up a controversy against a true American hero, who was using his great power to carry out his great responsibility to maintain social order. Sound familiar? Yes, because it's exactly what conservatives say about Zimmerman. It's only a matter of time before scriptwriters decide that it's time to abandon the idea that superheroes never kill. They're going to have an old-school superhero finally SLAY the villain, saving millions of people in the process, only to be pilloried by a sleazy press and ungrateful public. Oh, shit, I almost forgot- that's what the latest Superman movies are about!
-- Anonymous Prof, Gin and Tacos, comments

I want to take off my skin so I can scratch it from underneath...Collapse )

Current Mood: annoyed
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