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So, does anyone happen to have the Downton Abbey DVDs in region 1 format (that's what plays on USA players) who can tell me if they have English subtitles or closed-captioning? Because my father wants me to get the DVDs ... and I want them ... but this Very Important Information is not listed on either the Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites.

Thanks in advance!
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You were born during a Waning Crescent moon

This phase occurs right before the new moon.

- what it says about you -

You appreciate closure. It bothers you when people promise to do something and then don't follow through. You want to able to right the wrongs of the past. Studying history motivates you to improve the world. You put a lot of hope in the future and look forward to seeing technology and progress improve our lives.

What phase was the moon at on your birthday? Find out at Spacefem.com

This meme is rather disturbingly spot-on.

In other news, I am reading voraciously now that I have a Kindle, and am eagerly adding books based on everyone's recs.

I've just finished "Republican Gomorrah" and think I'll follow with a John Barrowman memoir chaser to cleanse the palate ...
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Name: Dio
Nicknames: Dio is it, but I do have a friend who fiendishly calls me "Di" on occasion.
Birthday: 4 July 1964
Zodiac: Depends, apparently, on esoteric data wrangling. And is meaningless in any case.

Hair: Plenty
Eyes: Underperforming
Height: 5'6''
Body Type: Humanoid (female subdivision)

Relationship Status: Interesting. To myself and themselves, that is.
Kids: 2 nieces, 2 nephews
Pets: Passed away, sadly. I now enjoy pets vicariously through friends and sweeties.
Siblings: Two sisters, one brother

Religious Views: Atheist
Political Views: Liberal progressive
City/State/Country: Southern California, USA

Favorite Color: Various shades of wine and purple seem to be what attract me most Blackberry: purple; Kindle cover: wine-red.
Favorite Flower: Flowers are all charming in their own way. I have no favorite.
Favorite Movie(s): Eating Raoul, for one.
Favorite Song(s): I will pass on this question.

3 random facts about you:
1. I'm allergic to wine, but have no trouble with straight whiskey.
2. I take as many bellydance and ballet classes as I can fit into my schedule, and Lotte Berk/Callanetics once a week.
3. I've been deaf since contracting meningitis at age 6.

Story behind your username:
Diachrony means "change through time." In particular the change in language through time. It resonates with me.

List the 3-5 biggest things going on in your life:
1. Relationships.
2. Work.
3. Dance classes.

Parents: Still alive, still together; myself and one of my sisters live with them.

Who are some of your closest friends? _tallian_, mrsveteran, belmikey, myrrhlyn.

What are some of the things you like most? My friends, cats, guinea pigs, books, fairytale retellings, my Kindle, my Blackberry, reading in general, bellydance, Hell's Kitchen restaurant in MN, really good dark chocolate, whiskey, Joss Whedon's ouevre (mostly), extra sharp cheddar cheese, Zoya nailpolish, mineral makeup, Arcana fragrances, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth ...
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A Holiday Message From Ricky Gervais

This did more to put me in the holiday spirit than anything else I have read lately. I had no idea Ricky Gervais could have such a salutary effect on my mood.

"But living an honest life -– for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity."

Thank you, Mr. Gervais.
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In case anyone's missed it ...

Delicious is vanishing & taking all your bookmarks with it. Link tells you how to save your bookmarks in a file & also export to your browser.

More help: for this project, you may need to turn on file extensions so you can rename the file from .htm to .html...
How to show file extensions in Windows
How to change a file extension in Windows

After that, you might want to try exporting the bookmarks to Diigo ... I'm still waiting to find out if that was successful. Diigo is of course overloaded with import requests at the moment and says they'll send email notification once the import is successfully completed.

Importing Delicious bookmarks to Diigo

And you know? Yahoo did not even bother to officially notify any of its Delicious users of this. I've been adding bookmarks to Delicious almost daily for several years now and had literally thousands saved there - and I only discovered it was all about to vanish on me by accident - I fortunately caught a tweet about it. That is the part that infuriates me. Yahoo bought up Delicious, decided to dump it, and okay, they can do that ... but they didn't care to inform any of the service's users of this decision. That is despicable and infuriating. Grrr Arrrgh!

ETA: It looks like Delicious will stick around ... hopefully without losing any bookmarks ... just not with Yahoo.
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Dear Everyone, you are all far too interesting when I barely have time to read, less to comment, and nevermind updating. How do you have the time and energy to be so interesting? I admire and enjoy you all, and I seethe with frustrated envy.

Never mind me ... Carry on!
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Another fun thing today:

Mapping Stereotypes: the Geography of Prejudice is much more amusing than it sounds!

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Suffragette snark guaranteed to entertain! The Best Thing I've Read All Week. (And if you enjoyed that, there is a link to follow to read the whole thing.)

More vintage humor: Why We Oppose Votes For Men.

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A Boy's Own Genre, or Not

A very funny, scathing takedown of misogynists who wail that women are ruining science fiction.
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Artist Yuken Teruya transforms McDonalds bags into stunning paper trees

Teruya cuts one side of the disposable paper bags and then uses tiny scissors to shape the cut-out part into a tree, folding it down so that, when you look inside the bag, it creates a diorama. The colors on the exterior of the bag pop against the blank interior, and the light that shines inside allows the paper tree to cast the same sort of dappled shadows that a real tree would.

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Awesomeness from Wondermark!

And to go along with the chart below, have a FICTION GENERATOR BUTTON.

The generator weighs four thousand pounds and writes six hundred books a year.

(Pic contains both original hovertext & link to Wondermark site.)

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Greta Christina: How Dare You Atheists Make Your Case! Or, The Fisking of Armstrong, 123

Why are so many believers so strongly opposed to the mere act of atheists making our case? Why is so much anti-atheist rhetoric focused, not on flaws in atheists' arguments, but on our temerity for making those arguments in the first place?

I was recently directed to this screed against the so-called "new atheism" by Karen Armstrong:
In search of an "ultimate concern": How the new atheists fail to understand what religion really means, an edited excerpt from her book The Case for God.  [...]

And I was struck, not just by how bad and tired Armstrong's arguments were, but by the degree to which they were entirely focused on trying to get atheists to shut up. I was struck -- as I am often struck lately -- by how much anti-atheist rhetoric has been focusing, not on why the case for atheism is incorrect or inconsistent or unsupported by the evidence, but on why atheists are bad people for making our case at all.

So let's take this a step at a time. [ ... read the rest ... ]

I've been taking note of this attitude lately.  Many religious people seem to take offense at the mere discovery that someone is an atheist, and even more offense and opprobation if the atheist dares to say anything about their atheism.  (Yes, I do have religious friends who do not behave this way at all - I'm not thinking of people I associate with.) 

I find it ironic that certain Christians are so happy to "dish it out" yet utterly unable to take anything in turn.  Growing up in a fundamentalist church and having read much Christian literature, I know that bashing atheism (as well as different religions or branches of Christianity) in a completely unreasonable and often virulent manner is pretty much Standard Operating Procedure.  Given that, from what I've seen, most Christians truly are ignorant of what atheism really means, while by contrast a majority of atheists (in the United States at least) were initially Christians themselves and are well versed in the scriptures and religious teachings, it seems to me that many atheists have better standing to make statements about religion than most of the religious do to make statements about atheism.  If you shouldn't criticize unless you know what you're criticizing - well, many atheists do know, from personal experience and actual study, what they are criticizing.  How many atheism-criticizing Christians can say the same thing?

So it's rather interesting and somewhat amusing to note how often religious writers lately suggest that atheist writers "tone down" and "be nicer" - rather than actually taking on their points!  Hmmm.

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Check out this Morbid Anatomy blog entry: "Dormitorium: Film Decors by the Quay Brothers" Exhibition, Parsons, NYC

See the full Flickr set here.
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I'm sure many of you have a fantasy bathroom. Mine needs to have this product in it.
(Hat tip to DivaLion)

It'll fit right in with the Boudreaux's Butt Paste, the Anti Monkey Butt Powder and the Poo-Pourri.

(Would my guests be nervous or amused? Hmmm ...)

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Snagged from [personal profile] calturner .

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up? Instructions: Copy and bold those you have read. I've italicized those that are a series and I have read one of the books, or if I have read part of it.  (Any comments are in parentheses.)

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (I'm always planning to read this - I have all the books)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible (not all of it)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

list of 100 )

Grand total:  59

I've read more than I thought ... but most of it was in my teen years and early 20s when I had the mental energy and focus to read great huge chunks at a time.  Now it's taking me months to get through 'Ender's Game' and I tend to read more nonfiction and fewer novels.

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  • Had appointment with Lesley (my hairstylist) today - she was shocked - and thrilled of course - that I asked her to trim a whopping three inches. I blame it on damage from the vicious hair-eating purse.

  • When I pointed to a Latisse advert in People magazine and told her "This really works," Lesley exclaimed "I KNEW IT!! While shampooing I couldn't take my eyes off your lashes - I want that stuff!" ... I only wish they'd come out with something I could smear on my legs and in a month or so have them looking like Brooke Shields' ...

  • Sister & her BFF gifted me with a tank top that says "Excuse me, could you give me a hand...or at least a couple of fingers?" Apparently they had gone "specialty" shopping and couldn't resist. Sister claims I must wear it around the house but I don't think it would go over very well with our mother (actually, I'd probably be asked to explain what it meant. Augh!).

  • I'm starting to itch to get back to bellydance classes. I temporarily quit and went on hiatus - being inordinately sleep-deprived and swamped with projects I have no energy for, it was losing appeal - becoming another thing I "had" to do that ate up energy. It's been, hmm, perhaps a month ... and I really don't want to lose muscle memory. The teacher and co-students are sending messages that I am missed, which makes me want to return even more. Maybe another week?

    And [personal profile] ezagaaikwe bought me a gorgeous hip scarf at Writercon for a late birthday present - it needs using!

  • Also, Twitter is still upeffed. Frown.

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CuriousWombat, a community nurse specialist in the U.K., shares her views  on the health care debacle ... "The wonderful misinformation I see about health care outside the USA would be hilariously funny if it wasn't so totally libellous."

Infant mortality - out of 224 countries the USA is 44th. Your baby is more likely to survive if you live in somewhere like Sweden, Japan, Iceland, France, the UK, Anguilla, the Czech Republic, Wallis and Fortuna (!) Cuba - and 34 other places. The top ten ALL, as far as I can ascertain, have some form of National Insurance/ government financed health care system.

Life Expectancy - the USA has only the fiftieth best life expectancy in the world - and guess what? Most of the countries who beat you have socialised health care. Countries like Japan, Canada, France, the UK. Here on the Rock, with only one small National Health hospital and anything bigger requiring transfer by air to, well a UK NHS facility, we still have a better life expectancy...

I've spent most of the day reading the stories collected over at Liz Marcs' journal.  The contrast between U.S. so-called "health care" and the kind enjoyed by Canadians and U.K. residents (and others with national health care) is astounding and horrifying.

If you have any doubts (or even if not) go read the posts - one for American experiences and one for the experiences of those with national health care.  Liz introduces and links them here, and is still asking for personal stories - if you have anything to share, please do contribute!  I highly recommend reading all the stories in comments, if you can bear it.  As an American, it's immensely depressing, particularly as so many of our own citizenry, through ignorance and misinformation, remain, as curiouswombat has put it, "afraid of good health care."

You may comment anonymously, or using OpenID, so you don't need to have a LiveJournal account.  Please check them out!

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It's been so long, I think I've forgotten how to make a real post.

But I am prepping to take a redeye flight (12:15 AM, arriving in MN 5:50 AM) to visit [personal profile] tallian  and [personal profile] ezagaaikwe  and [personal profile] belmikey and all youse guys who'll be at Writercon in the midst of my vacation.  I thought I really should bestir meself, especially as I won't even be able to read my flist or comment for over a week except for the barest occasional skimming.

[personal profile] tallian  and I will be Writercon airport greeters for the 1-3 PM shift on Thursday - we'll stay on a bit later too and aid [personal profile] amaresu , the greeter scheduled after us.  We should have smiley face stickers on our bodies somewhere visible, as an attractant for attendees who'd like to be greeted and aided in finding their way around.  ([personal profile] tallian  is really the helpful one here, being a native.)  Is anyone on my flist arriving during that time period?

I had a whole thing to post the other day, but was too lazy and sweaty to bother, about my sister getting us lost (twice!) Saturday, on the way back from watching my little niece perform in a musical, driving me around in the hot sun for an hour needing to pee ... the story ended with ice cream and bacon.  It was a good story, mainly because of the ending.  But also, my niece plans to be a singing scientist when she grows up, and that's even better than ice cream and bacon.  w00t!

Going to go finish up my packing.  I hope the airport doesn't lose my one little suitcase!