Update 27 MAY 2017

May. 27th, 2017 12:05 pm
megpie71: Avon looking unimpressed, caption "Bite Me" (Avon2)
[personal profile] megpie71
This week everything happened at once.

I've known for a while that I had an essay due, a rationale and reflection document due, a short story to write (1500 - 2000 words) and a rent inspection due at some point this month. This week, the uncertainty bubble surrounding the date of the inspection collapsed, and we discovered when it was going to happen: this coming Wednesday (it's due in May, Wednesday is the 31st of May, it apparently counts).

For those of you not ensnared in the morass of the Australian rental market, let me describe the joys of a rental inspection to you. Firstly, you get told the inspection is happening at some time on a given day - usually with about a week's notice. The current real estate agency are nice enough people - they narrow it down to "some time between 12pm and 5.30pm", which is positively generous. Before this happens, you need to have the property in a condition which would satisfy either your mother, or your mother-in-law (depending on who has the more rigid housekeeping standards - if neither of these qualify, pick your unfriendly local germophobe). You also need the gardens (if there are any) looking good as well - the local mowing places do a lot of good business out of people who have inspections due! So, once you have the property in pristine condition (including things like cleaning off light switches, wiping down walls and cleaning the oven) you wait for the property manager (if you're renting from a real-estate agency) or the owner (if you're renting directly) to come in and have a look over the place. Now, technically, they're not supposed to be judging you on your housekeeping standards - but we all know this is so much horse elbows, so yeah, they are. If it's a property manager, they come in and often (these days) take photos of the interior of the place, in order to prove you've left the walls where they were when you came in, and to prove the roof hasn't spontaneously fallen in or similar. This, of course, means they're usually taking photos of your goods and chattels as well. Anyway, they come in, do their walk through, make sure you haven't knocked the place down since they were last there, then breeze back out again after making a report for the owner. The whole business takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour tops, but it requires about a week's solid effort in preparation because the place needs to be pristine for them.

This happens every three months, by the way (four a year).

We had the tradesman come around to have a look at the kitchen cupboards on Friday at about 7.30 in the morning. He brought the owner with him, which I would have appreciated knowing about beforehand (while the house wasn't in "complete dog's breakfast" condition, it wasn't quite at "suitable for unknown strangers visiting" levels of cleanliness). Basically, the owner and the tradesman consulted with each other, and I suspect the outcome is going to be a replacement of at least some (if not all) of the kitchen benches. Now, when this will happen (and whether we'll be in the property when it does) is currently all up in the air - our lease expires on the 21st of July, and while I'm going to be talking to the property manager about getting another twelve months in the place nailed down, what may wind up happening is the owner might decide (in the interests of "not disrupting our lives", gods help us[1]) to give us our notice to quit at the end of this current lease, so he can get the tradies in to do things uninterrupted. Now, I don't know whether this is certain, probable or merely in the range of possibilities out there, but it's something I've added to the list of potential worries coming up.

I've mostly finished all the uni assessments - I finished off the editing of my major essay for one of my units this morning (it's been sitting there waiting to be done like an albatross around my neck for the last three or four days, but when I try to do it in the afternoon, my brain basically throws up an "Out of Spoons" error and refuses to parse the wretched thing). I just have the short story to write a first draft of (for workshopping purposes) by Tuesday. Which should be fun, right? But once I've submitted that short story (due the 1st of June) I've finished for the semester, and all I have to do after that is wait for my results.

Of course, this also means I have to go and speak to AtWork regarding Work for the Dole, since at present my university study qualifies as my Work for the Dole activity - and technically they have me on the books as needing to do Work for the Dole until about August or thereabouts. So I need to find out whether I'm going to be breaching my mutual obligation requirements if I don't immediately start doing something else (like picking up litter, sorting rags, washing bottles, or picking oakum) immediately the moment I've handed in this last assignment.

Still going on MFF, have deleted Avengers Academy from the tablet (since it wasn't going anywhere, and was crashing on a regular basis every time I tried to open it) and I'm getting very fond of Final Fantasy Record Keeper, which I've been playing for over a year now, and which hasn't crashed, glitched, or demanded money from me in all that time. Why can't there be more games like that?

[1] The logic here being that having renovations done around us would be disruptive. Which, yes, it would. But having to move out on short notice, and find another place to live in for the amount we can afford (preferably close to uni - that's the main qualifying feature of this place, by the way - it's close enough to the university that we can basically be there within 15 minutes of leaving the house) would be even more disruptive.

Fess up

May. 27th, 2017 12:04 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which of you mentioned "cultural appropriation" to Orson Scott Card?

Also, are Irish accents really as hard as all that for Americans to understand?

Spectacular sunset over the lake

May. 26th, 2017 08:18 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

One of the benefits of being on a higher floor of the hotel, even if this also means a lot of rather tedious waiting for lifts. I was going to take and post a photo, but I really don't think that my present state of tiredness is a good state in which to get to grips with DW photo posting. Also, on essaying to take a photo for later presentation, realised that the grimy marks on the window would be rather obtrusive.

Quite a full day, which started with waking up rather earlier than I had hoped, but not horribly so.

Socialising has taken place. There was going to be a walk, but then it started to rain (I wouldn;t say there was no chance of a walk that day, but not at that particular time).

Also have been on one panel, which I think suffered a little from ambiguity in framing its terms but nonetheless evoked some interesting discussion.

Observations of note: in the stuffed toy and knickknackery shop just around the corner in State Street, there is a stufft swan, right at the front of the window display: also an inflatable pool version. However, I should eschew props for my reading.

Highlights of the Last Week of School

May. 26th, 2017 08:26 pm
everchangingmuse: 900 year Diary from the 1996 tv movie "Doctor Who" (Default)
[personal profile] everchangingmuse
I'm done!!! I've turned in my grades, packed up my room, and am comfortably ensconced on my couch. I don't have to be back at work until early August - two whole months of vacation. Well, except for the things I need to get done over the summer, but those are for July. June, I am taking as a proper vacation month, with all that entails (including a trip away from home!).

While this last week has been incredibly hectic and stressful, there have been some memorable moments. They have brightened my days as I've worked late to make sure I could check out today, rather than go back next week to finish up my work. They are presented in no particular order.

1. The Chickens. This really is the stand-out event from the week. Wednesday morning, as I was walking in, one of my colleagues warned me to "watch out for the chickens" as I went through the courtyard to my part of campus. Chickens? Seriously?

Seriously. Someone - or someones - had gotten into the Ag teacher's chicken coop and brought about a dozen hens up from the field and into the enclosed courtyard at the center of our campus. Our Ag teacher was just coming up with a student and a box when I was crossing the courtyard toward my room, so I decided to help him corral the chickens into a corner to catch and bring back to the coop. As we worked, one of our assistant principals came out to see, and then she ended up helping. And then a few more students joined in. And then the custodial staff, who had been called to help, joined in. We managed to get and safely remove 10 of the chickens as a group, and our Ag teacher left with them in cardboard boxes (it calms chickens down, apparently), one of which was my empty t-shirt box, which I ran to grab when we realized one box wasn't going to hold all the chickens.

I've no idea if this was a final senior prank (this was the morning of graduation), or kids from another school engaging in a bit of "rivalry", but either way, it was an experience. The chickens are all okay, thankfully, and while it was a bit messy on the sidewalk, it was kind of fun to help flush the chickens to a designated spot.

2. Graduation. Misty and chilly with a bit of drizzle. That's how graduation began on Wednesday evening, and while the drizzle and mist went away over the course of the hour and a half outside, we were left chilly and a bit damp. But, the seniors enjoyed themselves. The three student speeches were excellent. The cheers and positive shouts from the bleachers made so many kids smile, even if the shouts weren't for them. Hearing the support of family and friends for their friends made them happy.

I was fortunate enough to end up sitting on the end of a row beside three students I knew, and we ended up sharing looks and quiet in-jokes as the ceremony progressed. After it was done, many people cleared out quickly because rain threatened to start up again, but I was able to see and congratulate many of my former students and club members before everyone dispersed.

3. Review games. My classes all play the same game at the end of the year for a review - a combination of Risk and Jeopardy, writ large on the white board, with the prize of extra credit hanging like grapes for them. The categories and questions vary from class to class, based on the focus of the exam, and the questions are all student-made. The students love this game, and look forward to playing, even if they're pretty sure they'll end up exempt from the final. They get to play in teams and strategize and compete in a healthy way.

The class I'm especially pleased with in terms of how they handled the game is the class that I've had the worst time managing this year. I straight-up messed up with how I handled the class, and how I treated them as individuals and as a class as a whole. They were a mixed-bag of student types, and I let things get away from me. But during the game, they all played well and played hard, knowing that some of their teammates had to take the final. It ended up, when all was said and done, that only two of the students had to come back for their final exam - everyone else was exempt.

And here is where I was especially proud of them. The first place team were all exempt. They asked if they could forfeit their win to the second place teams (there was a tie), so that a person on one of those teams could have the maximum extra credit. The second place team without an exam-taker, and the third place team as well, also asked if they could forfeit their points to the students who were taking the final. The points are only applied to the final exam - they don't go onto the fourth quarter, or final grade. Nevertheless, they wanted their peers to have the most possible points going into the final, in case they got stuck in a section and needed a few extra points. I agreed and told them how kind I thought they were to suggest the idea. And it did end up helping both students.

4. Informal Evaluation. This same class is the only one I asked to write me a reflection on the term. I had a pretty good handle on what went well and what needed improvement in my other two classes, but since this class was made up of so many different types of students, who all had very different ideas about how the same events played out, I wanted their opinions. I tell my students to be completely honest in these reflections, and to give reasons why they liked or hated the things they talked about.

This class has proven over the year that they can speak their minds with honesty. They fill a chart daily with information that helps me plan ahead, and helps me get an idea of how well what happened in class went over. They are not shy in their opinions. And when given the opportunity to write them down, students who don't normally speak up had a chance to say their piece without comment from their peers.

As I'd expected, there were vastly different opinions on certain aspects of class. What one student adored, another found useless to them. But there were common threads through the reflections, particularly in the "what didn't you like and what needs improvement" portion, that rang true. Some of them were written more bluntly than others. Some were long paragraphs, while some were bullet point lists. And as I read, I kept nodding my head. They knew what was wrong with class this year, and some offered suggestions I'm looking forward to trying in the fall when they come back for the next level of Latin. The critiques helped me greatly.

I've brought the cards home with me, so I can refer to them in July when I start school planning. I'm thankful that they trust me when I ask for honesty, and tell them they really can write whatever they're feeling without sugar-coating it. It gives me more insight into how they perceived class, and shows me where my shortcomings and biases are. I can make better choices in class management next year because of their comments.

5. Farewells. Some amazing people are leaving us this year. While I am sad to see them go, I've enjoyed working with them, and will miss them greatly. I was pleased to see how the school handled most of their farewells. We had a mini-ceremony during lunch for our retirees. We celebrated them, and were able to show our appreciation for them.

Not everyone got a heartwarming send-off, however. Those who were changing schools, or whose contracts weren't renewed got nary a mention. The colleague who's been helping me with my Anime Club the last two years falls into this category. Contract not renewed, no recognition of the two years of service to the school. In club last week, we gave him a card and a warm farewell. I've seen him in the building all week, and we've talked about his prospects and such. Today, before he left, he popped into my room and gave me a goodbye hug. I think he got a send-off from his department - I don't see them all much, sadly. But the lack of recognition from administration saddened me. Fortunately, we're facebook friends, so we can keep in touch (I can't wait to see wedding pictures if/when he posts them later this summer).

6. Playtime in the halls! I want to end on a happy note, and this made me very happy. Our exam days are half-days for students. In the afternoons, it's just faculty and staff - and their school-aged children. There are several elementary and middle-school aged kids in our department, and who are friendly with each other. My afternoons the last few days have been marked with the sounds of laughing, soccer balls hitting lockers, and rolling-chair races. They have such fun that I can't help but smile when I hear them. One of my exam-takers today left a balloon in my room, and I passed it along to the kids, so they could play "keep the balloon in the air" if they wanted. When I left, they were running toward the courtyard, balloon in hand, to play out in the grass.

And now, it's done. I won't see the majority of my colleagues until August. I have time to relax and have time to myself, and time to get things moving for next year. I'm going to enjoy my summer, and I'm already looking forward to the stories the students will tell when they come into class after the long break.

Comment Settings

May. 26th, 2017 05:49 pm
kevin_standlee: (Default)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
I have now set the DW comment settings to the same as they are on my LJ: anyone may post, but anonymous posts will be screened. If you're posting anonymously, sign your posts or I may not release it from moderation.
mirabile: (My beating heart)
[personal profile] mirabile
I have been saving so many links, so here they are. Lots of sad and/or upsetting stuff, but that's the fucking world we live in.

Everybody has heard about the devastating explosion in Manchester at the Ariana Grande concert. What miserable fucker targets children? Jesus. Anyway, Ariana Grande was new to me but this touching essay explained who she is and why so many children were at the concert: Manchester's heartbreak: 'I never grasped what big pop gigs were for until I saw one through my daughter's eyes': Music aimed at teenage girls is derided but the likes of Ariana Grande provide the kind of empowering, transcendent experience that terrorists hate. Written by a dad.

I'm equally sure that everyone has read The Atlantic's essay "My Family's Slave," which left me puzzled and disturbed. I found this article helpful: It Is Really Important to Humanize Evil. Normal people -- people who otherwise have no signs of derangement or a lack of a grip on basic human moral principles -- do evil stuff all the time.

Fivethirtyeight has an excellent graphic about mortality rates in the United States. Really shocking differences among different counties, and don't neglect the drop-down box so you can select specific causes of death. Also click the word "play" to see how mortality rates have changed since 1980.

I had never heard of the journal Evonomics before, but somehow I bumped into this essay, The Future of Work, Robotization, and Capitalism's Ability to Generate Useless Jobs. This is something I actually think about, no doubt due to reading so much Kim Stanley Robinson, but what will people do when robots and computers can do most of the work? I firmly believe that if a computer can do a job, it should do the job -- but where does that leave people? That's one of the biggest taboos of our times. Our whole system of finding meaning could dissolve like a puff of smoke.

I blame Nigel Farage for a lot of bad shit. Read him shoot himself in the foot: They Will Always Hate Me: Nigel Farage loves giving interviews. But if you ask him about his connections to Russia and about the consequences of Brexit, he'll put a stop to the conversation. Fucker.

I think this is an important discussion -- nominally it's a review of three books but it's a lot more than that: 'Bullshit is a greater enemy than lies' -- lessons from three new books on the post-truth era. I have the book On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt, and it is absolutely a must-read. Every library must own a copy by now, so go read it. I haven't read the other books discussed in the article, but they sound pretty good, too. [The bullshitter] does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of truth than lies are. You can't say that often enough: BULLSHIT IS A GREATER ENEMY OF TRUTH THAN LIES ARE.

A wonderful speech by the mayor of New Orleans about why they are removing the old Confederate monuments in the city. We have to reaffirm our commitment to a future where each citizen is guaranteed the uniquely American gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Librarians are awesome.

And Then There Were N-One, a short story by Sarah Pinsker that I really enjoyed. Science fiction. Cool.

That's a good place to end, I think. Here in the States it's Memorial Day weekend. It used to be called Decoration Day, which Wikipedia (an interesting read) says originated in the American Civil War. For me, it has another significance: on that day this year, Webster and I celebrate our 37th anniversary.

Scanlations: Yasha ch. 57

May. 26th, 2017 03:34 pm
torachan: sei and rin from yasha (yasha)
[personal profile] torachan


Title: Yasha
Author: Yoshida Akimi
Publisher: Flower Comics
Genre: Shoujo
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Molly
Status in Japan: 12 volumes, complete
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Twelve-year-old Sei lives a normal, quiet life on a small island in Okinawa until one day a strange man who seems to know his mother shows up and tries to kidnap him. After that, nothing is normal or quiet in this sci-fi thriller from the author of Banana Fish.

Chapter Summary: While on the hunt for the diary, Sei and Rin are attacked by a mysterious group of men, forcing the two to work together.



Chapter 57

[ SECRET POST #3796 ]

May. 26th, 2017 06:23 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3796 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 00 pages, 00 secrets from Secret Submission Post #543.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Friday Yardening

May. 26th, 2017 03:34 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is partly sunny and warm.

Round 1, I watered the potted plants on the porch and trimmed grass around the telephone pole.

The mourning dove eggs have hatched into two tiny, fuzzy squabs.  I found a video of one online. 

Raspberries are beginning to turn pink in a few places.  Many of the mulberries are pink.

EDIT 5/26/17 -- Round 2, I pulled weeds around the forest garden.

Also the last shipment of plants arrived today.

EDIT 5/26/17 -- Round 3, I planted three windflowers, two stargazer lilies, and three balloon flowers around the barrel garden; and one White Feather hosta in the purple-and-white garden.

A cool breeze has blown up, downdraft from a storm some distance away.

EDIT 5/26/17 -- Round 4, I planted a white lilac and a black hollyhock.

EDIT 5/26/17 -- Round 5, I sowed more grass in the streetside yard.

It's getting dark, so I'm done for tonight.

Welcome to Books: FMK

May. 26th, 2017 01:08 pm
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
[personal profile] melannen has been culling her bookshelves by playing "Fuck Marry Kill" via poll. In the interests of doing the same, and also getting back to posting more book reviews, I have decided to join her. (I am doing "fling" rather than "fuck" just because my posts get transferred to Goodreads and I don't want EVERY post of mine on there littered with fucks.)

How to play: Fling means I spend a single night of passion (or possibly passionate hatred) with the book, and write a review of it, or however much of it I managed to read. Marry means the book goes back on my shelves, to wait for me to get around to it. (That could be a very long time.) Kill means I should donate it without attempting to read it. You don't have to have read or previously heard of the books to vote on them.

Please feel free to explain your reasoning for your votes in comments. For this particular poll, I have never read anything by any of the authors (or if I did, I don't remember it) and except for Hoover and Lively, have never even heard of the authors other than that at some point I apparently thought their book sounded interesting enough to acquire.

Poll #18415 FMK: Vintage YA/children's SFF
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 31


The Spring on the Mountain, by Judy Allen. Three kids have magical, possibly Arthurian adventures on a week in the country.

View Answers

Fling
11 (45.8%)

Marry
6 (25.0%)

Kill
7 (29.2%)

The Lost Star, by H. M. Hoover. A girl who lives on another planet hears an underground cry for help (and finds chubby gray cat centaurs if the cover is accurate)

View Answers

Fling
15 (60.0%)

Marry
6 (24.0%)

Kill
4 (16.0%)

The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, by Penelope Lively. Lucy visits her aunt in Hagworthy and is embroiled in the ancient Horn Dance and Wild Hunt.

View Answers

Fling
18 (66.7%)

Marry
3 (11.1%)

Kill
6 (22.2%)

Carabas, by Sophie Masson. Looks like a medieval setting. A shapeshifting girl gets accused of being a witch and runs off with the miller's son.

View Answers

Fling
12 (46.2%)

Marry
7 (26.9%)

Kill
7 (26.9%)

Of Two Minds, by Carol Mates and Perry Nodelman. Princess Lenora can makes what she imagines real; Prince Coren can read minds, but everyone can read his mind. (Ouch!)

View Answers

Fling
14 (53.8%)

Marry
5 (19.2%)

Kill
7 (26.9%)

[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Hi Captain,

So, I’ve been attending a salsa dance class the last few months. The class is structured so that you are welcome to come as a single person, and the participants shuffle through partners throughout the class. It’s a lot of fun and the men are generally pretty respectful and appropriate.

My problem is that a young man has been attending the last two weeks, and while he is very polite, his body odor is HORRENDOUS. I really cannot overstate how bad it is. By the middle of class he is sweating profusely, such that there is perspiration dripping off of his nose, and yes, onto his dancing partners (or at least *this* dancing partner, which is my main concern).

I really don’t want dance with him, but I don’t know how to refuse or what to do about it without being rude. I can totally see his attendance in this class as a suggested “assignment” from a therapist or other advice giver (such as yourself!) to get out there and be around people, even if it’s something he’s not comfortable doing.

Do you have any scripts that I can use? I do want to be kind.

~Dreading Dance Class

(She/her pronouns)

Dear Dreading Dance Class,

I’ve gotten a lot of “how do I tell someone they smell” and a lot of “how do I deal with this awkward dance partner” questions that I haven’t answered yet – thanks for this question that lets me combine both!

You don’t have to dance with him (or with anyone that you don’t want to) and if his turn as your partner gets a “No thank you/Not this time/Oh, sorry, I need to use the rest room/catch my breath/make a quick phone call” for now while you work up to talking to him about it, that’s okay. This is as true for The Dance Partner Who Never Stops Talking, Too Much Perfume Lady, and The Brotherhood of the Traveling Hands as it is for Febreezio The Fragrant.

Ideally dance teachers and studios should communicate ground rules for class and issue periodic reminders, for example:

  • Dancing means getting really close to people, so we expect that you’ll wear clean clothes and freshen up before class. Don’t forget to brush your teeth/use breath mints, too.
  • Everyone sweats when they dance so please remember to blot/mop yourself up occasionally – handkerchiefs or bandanas are useful for this!
  • Please avoid strong cologne or perfume due to allergies.
  • We like everyone to dance with everyone else and feel welcome, but you can refuse to dance with anyone or sit a dance out for any reason. If someone doesn’t want to dance with you, or sits out a dance, don’t take it personally – in 5 minutes you’ll have a new partner.
  • If you feel like someone is dancing too close here is how you signal that!/Here is how you signal or ask for permission to dance closer.

Of course, posting general “for everyone” rules definitely don’t magically solve the issue. We all know that Sylvia-in-your-office-who-cuts-a-sliver-out-of-each-of-the-free-cookies-in-the-break-room definitely doesn’t think she is the problem when the office manager sends out the “Please can everyone just take the whole cookie from now on? You don’t have to eat the whole thing, but it’s gross when they’ve all been handled and look like there are bites out of them” emailThe office manager needs to send the email and have a “Sylvia, could you please stop doing that” talk.

When you join a scene or a hobby or a workplace or any social enterprise, certain expectations come with that (There is no talking in the Diogenes Club). If Febreezio doesn’t already know that “It’s okay if you are a naturally sweaty person but dancing close to people means doing what you can to manage your sweat”/”Your usual hygiene game is not cutting it for this level of close contact and physical activity” someone in that scene – you, or the teacher, or another old hand – is doing a kindness if they tell him directly as soon as possible. Communicating those expectations is not persecution.

He will definitely not enjoy the conversation and not feel good! Nobody likes to get told that they stink! It’s embarrassing! But it will also be wicked embarrassing if everyone suddenly needs to take an urgent phone call when it’s their turn to dance with him.

If you want to have the conversation, pull him aside privately (not on the dance floor) and try this script:

Hey, X, can I talk to you real quick about something awkward? Great.

I’d love to dance with you sometime, but I’ve noticed you don’t smell so great today and you don’t mop up when you get sweaty. Can you make sure to freshen up before next class, and bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up sweat?

Casting it as a thing you’ve had to deal with personally can help:

“When I first started coming to dance classes I definitely underestimated how sweaty I’d get. I needed to raise my deodorant game for one thing, and I also realized I needed to bring a clean shirt with me to change into between work and coming here. I’ve noticed you having some of the same issues. Can you make sure to freshen up before next class, and bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up sweat?”

Whatever you do, keep it short and treat it like a normal, reasonable request that you think he will want to follow in order to make you more comfortable as a dance partner.

If you talk to the teacher about it, try:

X is new here, and I’ve noticed that he doesn’t smell so good or mop up when he sweats, so I don’t want to dance with him. I don’t want to hurt his feelings and I want him to have fun and be included here. Can you speak to him about it or do you have suggestions for how to approach it with him?

The teacher should take him aside and say something like:

We’re very glad you’re here, but I’ve noticed* some issues with body odor and sweat today. Please take a shower, use deodorant, and please make sure you’re wearing clean clothes before you come to dance lessons next week, it’s part of being a good dance partner. Also, bring a handkerchief or bandana with you to mop up if you get sweaty.” 

Notice the list: Clean clothes, shower, deodorant, bandana to mop sweat. Now is not the time for vague euphemisms like “be more aware of hygiene.” Either the guy doesn’t know he smells, or he does know but he doesn’t have a good practice to make it stop. You’ve come this far into Awkwardtown, might as well be specific and tell him what exactly you’d like him to do.

As for your worries about driving him away from dance class forever, let’s get some perspective: What if a therapist did recommend for him to come here? What if he is really really really nervous about dancing? What if he comes straight from working a really physical job and doesn’t have time to shower and this is his only outlet for exploring the pleasure of dance? What if it’s a medical issue? What if these are his only clothes what if the closest washing machine and shower are 10 miles away from his house and uphill both ways?

Is that really your baggage to take on?

Isn’t it also patronizing to project all of those possible explanations, excuses, and reasons onto other people? After all, he is an adult man who signed up for and attends a dance class, so isn’t it likely that he can:

a) Take steps to clean himself up before doing a social activity (See Jimmy’s trunk full of wet wipes on this week’s Better Call Saul)?

b) Experiment with and adjust his hygiene strategies if it is in fact a medical issue?

c) Handle 5 minutes of awkward conversation about it?

d) Make choices about how he deals with uncomfortable feelings, whether that’s “Clean up a little better so I can enjoy dancing” or “flee forever…too mortifying…ack?”

When someone is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s very easy to get lost in diagnosing all the reasons they might do it. Compassionate people try to walk in the other person’s shoes, and it’s even more pronounced when you factor in how relentlessly women are socialized to protect men’s feelings. But if you avoid a difficult conversation with someone who is making you uncomfortable because you can’t stop worrying about the reasons or stop generating possible excuses for them, it won’t help the person or solve the problem. It will just put you through a lot of emotional labor without making a single thing better for anyone.

 

*Important: If you are ever a peer or an authority figure who has to deliver embarrassing news to someone, and if it can possibly be avoided, don’t start with “We’ve had complaints” or “Everyone talked about this and we think ____” or “Some people have suggested that you…” I understand the temptation to displace the awkwardness onto the anonymous authority of the group, but it just makes it worse for the person and also risks derailing the conversation with “Who complained?” “What exactly did they say?” The first time you have the conversation with someone, let them save a little face by not making it them vs. the whole group or the whole world. You’re already here delivering the awkward news, so use your “I” statements and own the problem.

Appendix: I’m not a dancer but as a teacher and a manager and a dater and a person with a body, this has been my approach Private Conversations About Smells (And Other Body Awkwardnesses).

Case Studies #1-???: Conversations With Stinky College Students

Odor/hygiene problems are almost always co-morbid with the student falling behind academically, so that’s usually my angle.:

Me: “You’ve been missing a lot of class/You didn’t turn in your last assignment. What’s going on?

If The Stink has crossed to a Truly Problematic place, then I add: “Also, is really awkward and I hate to put you on the spot like this, but I’ve noticed that you don’t seem like your usual self in class lately – you don’t smell good/your clothes aren’t clean – is everything all right?

As you can imagine I find out all kinds of stuff, from “I live in a homeless shelter” to “I don’t know how to do laundry and I’m too embarrassed to ask” to “Showering wastes crucial earth resources and deodorant is just a conspiracy from Big Pharma to make us CONFORM!” … to depression, grief, sexual assault, and other really hard stuff, so I never, never assume what the problem is.

Results/Follow-up:

  • Obviously, deadline re-negotiation and referrals to many campus resources for the hard stuff.
  • For the “Oh, Buddy” Freshmen: “Have you Googled ‘how do I do laundry?’ “No” “Maybe try that? Oh look, here’s a couple of tutorials” “Ok!” “Cool, I don’t want to smell you next week.” “LOL, you got it.”
  • For the “I’m stinky FOR THE EARTH, DEAL WITH MY RIGHTEOUS STENCH” student I’ve had luck with “I get that but if I can smell you from here it’s gotten out of hand for what’s okay in a small classroom or working on a film crew in close quarters. Can you research some environmentally-friendly solutions or schedule the weekly bath for right before my class? I’d sure appreciate it.”

Case Studies: SexyTimes Stink! 2000-present day

Brevity and directness are kindness:

  • I’d very much like to put my _____ on your _____ or your _____ in my _____ but I think you/I/we both need a shower first.
  • Oof, it’s a little funky down here. Can we pick this up after a shower? Awesome.

If you’re close enough to someone that you’re going to put your ______ on their ______, then you’re close enough to say “Bodies are gross sometimes, let’s agree to take mitigating measures.

Case Studies In Which I Was A Manager Of Someone With Awkward Hygiene Stuff

Script/Mad Lib:

“Hey, this is awkward and I hate to put you on the spot, but [you don’t smell good][you aren’t wearing clean clothes to work][you’re probably not aware but when you lean over in that top your whole chest area and bra can be seen (true story!)][that white shirt is see-through please wear an undershirt][there is some other specific thing about your hygiene or physical aspect that is giving me cause for concern].”

If appropriate:

“Have you noticed that, too? That’s not like you at all, so…[Is there anything going on we should know about][Have you had a medical checkup lately][Visited a dentist to talk about that?][Do you need a couple of days off to catch up on Life Stuff like laundry?][Need to make a Target run for something that doesn’t have holes in it before our client meeting?]”

As with students, people who had difficult life reasons got referred to whatever resources could be had, and everyone got a “Hey, this is informal right now – I just wanted to check in with you and talk about it before it becomes a real issue. Please [do the stuff we talked about][take a few days to get it together][take another look at the dress code and let me know if something is unclear or seems impossible] and it will go back to being a non-issue.

By way of contrast, here’s a story about what not to do about The Stinky Guy:

Case Study: The Saga of The Smelly Hippie Guy I Shared An Office With For A Year In The Late 1990s Before I Had Therapy/When I Was Still Terrified Of Conflict

Me: :Agonizes for months about whether to say anything:

Him: :continues to stink:

Me: :Complains about him to everyone who would listen…except him.:

Him: :keeps it funky:

Me: :Tries to get my office moved: :Have a choice of sticking with stinky-but-quiet guy or sharing with a lady I hate who never stops talking: 

Me: :polls my work friends at length re: The Noise or the Funk?:

Me: (sigh) :inertia + Funk:

Him: :wavy stink lines come off him sometimes:

Me: :executes a complex series of trades with everyone in the office until I am his Secret Santa: 

Me: :gives THE GIFT OF TINY FANCY MAN-SOAP & DEODORANT: (We travel a lot for our work so this can be played off as “I got you some awesome travel supplies!”)

Him: “Sweet! Thanks! Hahaha! Are you saying I stink?”

Me: “Hahahaha no. No. Hahahaha. No. Why would you think that?

Him: “Right on!” :gift disappears into desk drawer:

Also Him: :rocks on with his funky self:

Me: :Periodically checks his desk drawer to see if the soap package has been opened or moved:

(It hasn’t moved)

(It never moves)

Him: “I’m going to start biking to work, is it cool with you if I have my bike in here?”

Me: “Sure!”

Me: :buys a scented candle and moves it slowly closer to him each day when I burn it:

Office Manager: All Staff Email: “Reminder: No candles or open flames in the office.”

Me: :buys a carved wooden incense burner and some incense from a street vendor down the block. For some reason tell him that I got it on an international trip:

Him: “I like this incense you brought back!”

Office Manager: All Staff Email: “No incense, either! No fire at all!”

Me: :sprays Glade:

Him: “Ugh, could you not spray that stuff? It’s full of chemicals.”

Me: “Oh…ok.”

Him: “Yeah, and also I just can’t stand the way it smells.”

Me:

giphy (13)

.gif of John Krasinski saying “Oh my god” and pouring wine.

Another month goes by. It’s my turn to take over our department’s “Word of the Week” email. It’s a fun game so I’ll describe it for any office workers reading: Junior staff would secretly take turns picking an unusual word and gaining bragging points by using the word as much as possible in meetings and office communications throughout the week. Points were awarded based on sophistication and correctness of usage, frequency of use (more points for being the seventh person who says “I think we’ve crossed…the Rubicon… here” in the same meeting than for being the first), whether we could say it without laughing, whether we could make the one Cool Boss who has caught on to the game laugh or (better yet!) use it, and (best of all) whether we could make the expression catch on widely among senior staff.

My words that month: noisome, malodorous, putrescent, fetid.

Him: :adopts some kind of all-rotten egg, all-compost lunch routine:

Also him: :keeps on reekin’ on:

Another month goes by. It’s almost a year to the day that we started sharing an office. In summer. In Washington, D.C. aka SWAMPY MCHUMIDPLACE.

Me: :Walks into our office and gags because it smelled like old socks have been dipped in ball sweat, wrapped around road kill, and slow-roasted over a dung fire:

Me: “DUDE, it’scoolthatyoulikebikingtoworkandeverything but it is getting RANK in here. THERE ARE SHOWERS ON THE TOP FLOOR OF THE BUILDING, PLEASE USE THEM!!!! Or bring a change of clothes with you. OR SOMETHING.”

Him: “Whoa!”

Me: (small voice) “I’msorryIdidn’tmeantoyell”

Me: (small voice) “But you stink.”

Him: :smells his own pits: “Wow yeah I am kinda stinky today. Sorry.”

Me: (almost a whisper) “Not just today.”

Him: “There are showers?”

Me: “Yeah! Top floor.”

Him: “Is there a code or a lock or anything I need to know about?”

Me: 7-2-0-1#

Him: “Sweet! I’ll bring a towel with me tomorrow.”

Me: “And…every day?”

Him: “And every day.”

Me: “Thanks.”

Him: “No worries! I hope this wasn’t bothering you all this time?!?”

Me: “Hahahaha…no, of course not. All good. Just…clean yourself.”

Him: “Got it.”

Me: “MaybethatsoapIgotyouisstillinyourdesk?

(It was)

(I had checked 2 days ago)

Him: “GOT it.”

Me: “OkI’mgoingtolunchnow…bye…can I bring you anything back…”

Him: “All good…”

Me: “Ok!”

Him: “Seriously, Jen, it’s all good.

Me: :goes to lunch, brings him back a cookie and a brownie and a coffee:

And lo, he did take regular showers, and behold, a bike makes a pretty good good rack for holding a damp towel, and indeed, when his towel started to get funky I said “Hey time to wash that towel, yeah?” and he smelled it and said “Good grief, yes, I’m sorry!” and we never spoke of it again.

Letter Writer, your conversation with this dancing guy is going to be easier than that, right? Right.

 

 

 

 

 


"You with the Guardian?"

May. 26th, 2017 08:13 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong in [community profile] thisfinecrew
Here's a thought:

If you disapprove of politicians beating up journalists (or winking at other politicians' beating up journalists) and have some spare cash, one possible action would be to contribute to the Guardian -- whose journalist, Ben Jacobs, got beaten up.

There are various options for becoming a member and paying a regular subscription, but you can also make a one-off contribution.

Although they're a British newspaper, their coverage of US issues is very very strong.

They would like to note (in an e-mail sent out to members) that they recently ran pieces including GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies and Trump diehards stay loyal in Montana's 'white man's country' – video:

In that interview, the Guardian's west coast bureau chief, Paul Lewis, challenged Gianforte over his support of Trump's executive order that threatens more than two dozen national monuments in America, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana.

"You with the Guardian?"

May. 26th, 2017 08:10 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
(X-posting to [community profile] thisfinecrew.)

Here's a thought:

If you disapprove of politicians beating up journalists (or winking at other politicians' beating up journalists) and have some spare cash, one possible action would be to contribute to the Guardian -- whose journalist, Ben Jacobs, got beaten up.

There are various options for becoming a member and paying a regular subscription, but you can also make a one-off contribution.

Although they're a British newspaper, their coverage of US issues is very very strong.

They would like to note (in an e-mail sent out to members) that they recently ran pieces including GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies and Trump diehards stay loyal in Montana's 'white man's country' – video:

In that interview, the Guardian's west coast bureau chief, Paul Lewis, challenged Gianforte over his support of Trump's executive order that threatens more than two dozen national monuments in America, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Continuing the Hugo due diligence reading.

Um, not sure what I think about this book. Well-written, definitely. Captivating? I'd say "morbidly fascinating", I want to know more about the world, but I am not sure I want to now about the world. It's... well... in this case a sign of brilliant writing.

Lawn Craze

May. 26th, 2017 01:34 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here's a comic about the lawn craze.  Some further thoughts ...

It goes a lot farther back than postwar suburbs.  Lawns started as a status symbol among European aristocracy.

Advice to stop watering, fertilizing, mowing, etc. or to replace lawns with something else is great -- if it's legal.  In many areas it is not, and people are fined or even evicted for being unwilling or unable to keep their lawn in a manner pleasing to others. Such laws are bad for disability and bad for the environment, but those are things fewer people care about than power. Check the local level of tyranny before trying to solve lawn-related problems.

Reading: The River

May. 26th, 2017 07:19 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I read several of Rumer Godden's novels in my teens, and loved her delicate capturing of the transition between childhood and adulthood, so when I found a couple of her books in the Oxfam bookshop recently I couldn't resist buying them. The River is a very short book, the story of Harriet, the second child in a European family living on the banks of a river in East Bengal (based, as the introduction makes clear, on Godden's own childhood home), during the course of an Indian winter which is the start of growing up for her, bringing her first real experiences of birth, death, love and loss, as well as her discovery of a talent for writing. It's quite insubstantial, and I didn't love it as much as I loved some of Godden's longer novels when I read them, but it's beautifully written and perfectly captures the confusion and isolation of suddenly not being a child any more, but still not being a grown-up.

Tinhuviel Moving

May. 26th, 2017 01:22 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] tinhuviel is moving, but has almost nothing to settle into a new home.  :/  There is a WalMart registry and a GoFundMe page for donations.  If you liked Shiv's housewarming basket, here's your chance to do something similar.

Kitten update, day... 6?

May. 26th, 2017 01:04 pm
seventhe: (chocobo: hey bb)
[personal profile] seventhe
I haven't gotten to post updates this week because I've been sick, plus some absolutely unexpected shit went down at work, but I have nothing but good news about the little family.

Rosa responded well to my cues and figured out how to use the litter box within 48 hr. It's still a bit funny watching her go as she chose one of the kitten sized boxes as "hers", so when she tries to bury it, its with newspaper and blankets as well as litter. We haven't quite learnt communication yet - I feel like she wants something she's warbling for, but maybe it's just attention and pets - and she definitely gets a look of solid relief when I have all 4 kids romping on me, like oh ok you've got this imma nap.

The kittens are all eating on their own, though they're also still nursing. They think that Big Mom is Best Toy, who comes with variations like Chew Pants, Attack Toes, and Climb Up Back. They also doze off on me occasionally in those 5-10 min kitten power naps.

They're all curious about the door. I need a plan of attack.

April 2016

S M T W T F S
     12
345678 9
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated May. 27th, 2017 04:26 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios