Becca Stareyes
07 December 2014 @ 02:40 pm
I actually read the comments on this article (a bit*). The article itself is about how being poor means you are one setback from disaster. The example in the article is of a car being towed. The author can't pay the several hundred dollars to get it back until she is paid in a few days. By that time, she owes more in storage fees, so she'll never be able to recover the car -- it's building up faster than her paychecks. So she loses the car. Walking/getting rides/public transport doesn't give her the mobility to get to work**, so she loses her job, which imperils her ability to pay rent on her apartment... and suddenly the inability to get a few hundred dollars at once to fix one screw-up means someone is unemployed and homeless.

Of course, the commenters were all 'wait, are you saying poor people should never be held responsible for their mistakes!?' Of course it isn't, merely that 'unemployed and homeless' is too steep a price for this screw-up, when a middle-class person would just owe an hour of time, a dip into the savings account, and the hassle of finding a ride for a few days.

So, I reflect on the recent publicity of police shootings of predominantly black men/boys (Jim Hines has an incomplete list). In many cases, the police reported some problem, or were called in. And, yet, what in some cases might have been a warning or a citation or even an arrest ends with the death of an unarmed man. I can think of some of my relatives and friends who were a bit wild and stupid as teenagers and young adults, and I note they are alive, despite encounters with the police. People shouldn't die based on police suspicion (or, let's be honest, anything less dangerous than an active gunfight). That is not a reasonable consequence and is not the same consequence as happens to white teens/young adults.

We're not asking for no consequences, we're asking for the same, reasonable consequences for everyone

* Yes, I know.
** Many places in America are set up under the assumption you own a car.
Becca Stareyes
28 October 2014 @ 03:02 pm
So, I got bored and downloaded 6 demo games for my Nintendo 2DS. My pocket reviews here.

Super Smash Bros I haven't played SSB since Melee, and I'm not particularly good at it. And given the modes in the game, I suspect there's not much appeal unless you want to play with other people. And, well, I play video games when I want to avoid other people. Or when I'm in the same room as them, but handhelds and social in-person gaming don't go together.

Pokemon Greek-Gem (OmegaRuby/AlphaSapphire) So the Pokemon game seems to be its own thing. You get given a Pokemon, walk around the city (where you can do nothing, except talk to a few NPCs), go fight Team Magma and Team Aqua, catch a wild Pokemon, play with Mega Evolution, and go home. It shows off the features, but... well, this is a Pokemon game and a remake, so you know what you get. And I didn't get through Heart Gold last time, though I did enjoy Pokemon X. So I suspect that I'm better off waiting on this.

Also I resent that the demo made me play as a boy named Orlando, instead of letting me pick whether I got to be male or female.

Cooking Mama 5/Gardening Mama 2
So I decided to give this a chance. The Cooking Mama demo makes it seem like Minigames: The Game. Which I don't mind except I didn't get a sense of an overarching goal. I'm noting the difference between that and Gardening Mama, which reminds me a lot of the Facebook resource-management games that I find so addictive. I play minigames to get plant seeds, which I grow and then sell to a rabbit, which lets me get money for more seeds and decorations. And there's spots for more stuff later. And no nagging messages to share this with friends or that you need X clicks to finish the quest. I mean, it's not something I'd pay much money for but it strikes me as something I'd waste time playing.

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
So, a cute RPG exploration game about Pokemon and something something shit is going down, but let's help our buddy build a home. I'd play more of this.

Etrian Odyssey
Okay, so the gimmick is that you have to draw your own maps of the dungeons, and there's a resource-management element in that you have both fetch-quests (bring back X to the town for exp) and you need to sell the shopkeeper certain items to unlock equipment, but I'm enjoying it*. The 3DS version is a remake of the DS version that adds fixed characters and a plot.
* I like being able to make my own maps, it turns out. And note things like 'where I can gather Hardwood' or 'weird purple door'.

I've also seen ads for Fantasy Life and I keep meaning on picking up Rune Factory. And this is what I think about when I'm trying to avoid grading.
Becca Stareyes
24 October 2014 @ 09:19 am
So, I signed up for a service called TheFresh20. Basically once a week, it posts five recipes that take 20 new ingredients (in total) and up to 20 'staples'*. I've been using it for a month or two and here's my thoughts.

Read more...Collapse )
Becca Stareyes
14 October 2014 @ 04:54 pm
I think it's finally cooled off enough this week that I can wear fashion scarves with my work shirts and not feel like I'm going to pass out from heat exhaustion.
Becca Stareyes
08 October 2014 @ 07:59 pm
Open thermometer
Bathroom rug
Kitchen/dining chairs
Kitchen/dining table
Shelves. (Lots of shelves; best guess is to buy them as I unpack.)
A desk, preferably one I can have both a computer and paper-writing space. I can use the laptop and my table*, but I'd rather not. Computers and food are not friends.
Comfy chair. I'm debating about whether I want a futon or sofa-bed or something that means I can have guests spend the night. (If I get a cat, the cat then has the important spot next to the human. )
Eventually I should get a TV and stand... when I have time to play console games, I mean.
A nightstand.
A tiny dresser so I don't have to keep my underwear and socks in a suitcase in the closet.

Probably things I'm forgetting. It already drives me nuts that I don't have a medicine cabinet in the bathroom, so my stuff is all around the sink.

Anything that can fit in my car I can get secondhand, otherwise my cheapest bet is probably the kind of furniture I have to assemble myself. (I'm shooting for a step above particle board in quality... except for the shelves. I need a lot of shelves.)

* Or get a table big enough to keep the desktop on and still have space for one person to eat a meal.
Becca Stareyes
02 October 2014 @ 10:46 am
I'm starting to think I need a beta reader for my homework assignments for my general education physics class, to make sure I keep the jargon out.
Becca Stareyes
30 September 2014 @ 10:38 am
So, for those of you who don't know, I'm on the autism spectrum. Back when they separated that out into several diagnoses, I had Asperger's Syndrome*. In general that means:

1. I had few to no problems with spoken language. I was the subset of autistic kids who never suffered a language delay. I did have problems with written language in school: mostly I couldn't write well when I was stressed, so would have meltdowns in class when I couldn't take writing assignments home if I was having trouble.

2. I required minimal accommodations. I've always showed symptoms (according to my mother), but they never were strong enough to mark me as more than 'weird kid'.

My little brother, in contrast, had symptoms that as soon as they were noticed (about age 2), he got a diagnosis of 'high-functioning autism'. It's entirely possible that other members of our family are like me, but never were formally diagnosed.

In general, I treat social skills as a second language. Imagine you come to a country as a kid where no one speaks your language. It's not that you can't learn the language, but all your peers have been learning it since birth, while you know some basic rules about language, you don't know this language. So you learn it. And maybe you can get fluent enough to think in that language, or maybe you can just learn enough to be conversational, but you don't reflexively use it.

It also means I hate the narrative of the autistic kid as trapped. It's a communication barrier, but it's one that often has to be met both ways: if we're 'trapped', you have to help find the place where the barrier is weakest as much as they do. Which means listening. I've heard of non-verbal autistic folks embracing the Internet because they find typing so much easier than a real-time conversation with listening and speaking. Even my little brother (who is verbal) prefers to talk in certain places (restaurants are his favorite) than others -- it's why Mom budgets for going out to eat; because Ben needs that environment, even if it's a Subway, to focus on communicating with Mom and not the distractions at home.

That's why I say it's something to be met both ways. If it's easier for someone to type than to speak, then focus on helping them use that rather than forcing speech. Just because someone is non-verbal, doesn't mean they are non-communicative.

I was thinking about this because of an article about a girl with autism and her cat The little girl, Iris, paints, but doesn't do much talking. The article mentions that she is willing to talk to her cat, Thula. And I can imagine why. Thula doesn't pressure Iris to speak, since Thula doesn't speak English either. And yet, she communicates to Iris, and Iris can communicate back. And if Iris is relaxed, the words probably come easier. And cats are very relaxing companions. (I'm inferring this, based on my experiences and that of other folks with autism, rather than from Iris's own words; if I am stressed out, do not expect anything coherent to come out of my mouth until I calm myself down. And often, I don't understand something until I take the time to put it into little bits, like I'm doing here.)

* No, seriously. Diagnosed by a psychologist in middle school, even.
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Becca Stareyes
21 September 2014 @ 02:58 pm
Your first few grocery store trips will be expensive, because you know all those things in your pantry that you use a lot, but you only need to replace every month (or six months)? Yeah, you need to buy all of those at once.

That and my stuff is still behind me, so I needed to grab a few pans and spoons and a turner. Which... look, I never have too many pans or spoons.
Becca Stareyes
21 September 2014 @ 09:18 am
Finalize everything I need on Monday, and get the bits that go to students up on the course websites. Also turn the course websites on (so students can see them).
Make a folder of everything I have to print as soon as I arrive on campus on Monday, and the stuff that will get printed after my 8 AM class.
Prep for Tuesday. Keep prepping if I can to cover Wednesday and Thursday

Wait for my fridge to arrive.
After it gets here, take a break and buy groceries.
Maybe also buy a desk chair and TV tray to tide me over until I have the time to get real furniture. Also, more hangers. Who knew that 40 wouldn't be enough for my stuff?
(Some of that is that I lived in geeky T-shirts and jeans as a grad student, but wanted vaguely professional clothing as an instructor*. So I now have two wardrobes: the one for work and the one for lounging about and weekends.)

* According to various people, I still look like I could be attending college. In a T-shirt and jeans, I'd probably look even more like a college student. Wearing (at least) non-blue jean pants, a button-down shirt and dress shoes makes me visually distinctive.
Becca Stareyes
20 September 2014 @ 07:29 am
After breakfast, I'll do my dishes and then load the car and check out of the hotel. I'm taking deliveries of my bed and my internet today, so don't expect me to be online.

Not that I should be online. I still have lessons to write.