Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bless Your Heart Dennis Hastert

Festive Rant in honor of the sentencing of Dennis Hastert. Vivid illustration of reasons RantWoman could use an editor and MAYBE should try a different PR tack about life in her own Meeting.

Based on evidence so far a trans woman is far less likely to harm chidlren than a four-term speaker of the House.
Obligatory text-in-graphic, via @DaveWeigel

RantWoman, how are your sex offenders?
[RantWoman does in fact sometimes field questions like this. usually there are multiple interesting threads of the conversations.]

MY sex offenders? You mean the formerly incarcerated known offenders who are now valued members of our community?  Meeting’s sex offenders? Guess what they get to wait in line for attention while RantWoman’s inner blowtorch shines in other directions.

 Bless your heart Dennis Hastert. Thank you so much for being sexual abuser of the day. How refreshing to have you a male politician interested in boys are available to take our minds off the nauseating trail of disgusting history that now tumbles out every time RantWoman hears the name Bill Cosby.

 Bless your heart because my Twitter feed says it’s National Child Abuse Awareness Month, which of course covers a whole bunch of things besides sex abuse, but it’s perfect alongside news about your court case.

 Bless your heart, sir, for trying to pay hush money, for trying to structure the payments to evade banking reporting requirements and for telling stories that did not add up.

 Bless your heart for the young men who have come forward and who get to relive your behaviors toward them every time the prosecutors have to detail the facts behind what you have been indicted for.

 Bless your heart for walking us all through the painful experience of facing behavior that should not be hidden, abuse of trust and authority, betrayal of responsibility to youth. 

 Bless your heart for making RantWoman wonder whether this history of abuse somehow played out in how you served the country as Speaker of the House, third in line for the Presidency. Hasta en las mejores familias.

 RantWoman is sorry you are now ailing, and Bless your heart is the best RantWoman can do for prayer.

 But bless your heart because your story also reminds RantWoman of sex abuse very close to RantWoman, of enough threads to keep a large number of mental health professionals in yachts, that is assuming anyone receiving services could sustain yacht payments. And that does not count one mental health professional who, RantWoman has learned, ai-yi-yi, was arrested awhile ago in connection with a creep one out internet sting.  

Bless your heart for one person dear to RantWoman who has an official “crazy letter” but who has come far enough in her spiritual work  to recognize both that she is well off and that others need to be held as they continue their recovery.

Bless your heart for email and other electronic emanations from someone else: threads in the narrative have shifted in ways RantWoman has to guess indicate encounters with mental heal services that actually help. And please excuse RantWoman for being an arrogant bitch around people who find the Still Didn’t Get the Memo Committee on Email Immoderation daunting: yep. The ONLY reason RanWoman draws the conclusions she draws is because she takes the time actually to READ and consider responses to the communications in question.

 Bless your heart for RantWoman’s longtime school friend who really thinks she ought to be able to read Nabokov’s Lolita, on account of it is supposed to be great literature and all. Never mind that RantWoman’s friend received decidedly inappropriate attention from the Jr. high band director and that somehow is for better or worse saving her from what is in fact a pretty creepy piece of literature.

 And Bless your heart for the choir director from the other high school. RantWoman wonders whether the community might actually have been able to handle him being gay; they definitely should not have had to deal with him molesting students. RantWoman has other friends, male and female who have been abused by teachers. Bless your heart for reminding RantWoman of their stories.

 And bless your heart for showing up in the news around RantWoman when RantWoman isstill trying to dodge a call to truth telling. RantWoman has in fact told many of these truths many times. RantWoman has collected SOME evidence both of being heard and of her Lightalso speaking to things others’ hearts. And yet, RantWoman is called AGAIN to…to SOMETHING, something more than clearness committees with people who have repeatedly silenced her. Please hold RantWoman and everyone in the vicinity of her psychic blowtorch in the Light.

 Bless your heart, Friend around whom RantWoman spent MULTIPLE months trying to get you to hold worship sharing with a certain committee about what it means to be in her Meeting’s sex offenders among us announcement. For RantWoman’s faithfulness to her Light, RantWoman got to listen to said Friend debrief about a small part in another Situation involving end or relationship Drama as well as a teenager caught up in his adults’ challenges. Trust RantWoman, what you needed to debrief about was a SMALL part of the situation. RantWoman is happy to have listend to your distress but still pissed off basically to RantWoman’s ear to have been told to go away afterward. Oh, and said committee was removed from the official announcement. Upon reflection about rantWoman's own experience, Rantwoman would also say that tidings of such matters do not automatically seek out or find the committees officially designated as responsible, a point RantWoman's psychic blowtorch is being more present about that is suitable for this blog entry.

There is such a long trail of further silencing connected with all that, RantWoman is pretty cluntly just in “shit happens” mode, with further allusions to Ben Pink Dandelion’s observations: sometimes people who have absolutely NO gifts in topical areas should collide with roles every now and then so people appreciate the value of having the roles filled by people with the right gifts. RantWoman also notes that said Friend is so clearly called to some strands of witness Rantwoman considers really really important, particularly teaching environmental science to students from countries with no tradition of environmentalism that RantWoman feels particular call to forebearance about other shortcomings. RantWoman feels call to forebearance but RantWoman so far is not entirely successful about actually extending it. Shit happens --and people keep coming to worship together!



--RantWoman is still holding in the Light the story behind RantWoman’s recent post about the Queen of spades and pastoral care.

--RantWoman continues to wonder what is it about her face that causes people to be able to tell her about their restraining order issues.  

--RantWoman guesses she is supposed to be grateful just to have language for the problem of getting quite triggered recently when a former physicist, a deceased member of RantWoman’s Meeting came up in conversation on one of RantWoman’s non Quaker email streams. The former physicist went to work in a social services role. List memories included words that exactly matched RantWoman’s memory and the name came up because of circumstances when the person who first mentioned the Friend was a child, in particular something that probably looked entirely reasonable to all the adults but that made one set of issues worse for the then-child. RantWoman sorted all this out and then filed it in her “gee this is one reason this person is hard to work with and why it is important to keep including what she contributes” file. RantWoman also took note, when checking history for another reason: the then child as a young adult was one of the founders of the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme computing. Talk about more call to truth telling and crip solidarity.


But seriously, how are your Meeting’s sex offenders, the ones you know about?

 One has a very sweet love story: he and hs wife recently celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary. Other than that, this Friend is part of a group of released offenders who regularly speak in the community. They speak with COMPLETE integrity of their past and also of the critical need for prison reform in WA. RantWoman hopes others will feel called to join this work particularly since the work will also involve a call to show up for racial justice, including working with burning concerns for different communities.

And the other one you know about? He is now a registered voter and a member of Meeting. For reasons having NOTHING to do with any violations of all his different conditions, discussions of his situation has a couple times gotten entangled in circumstances he has nothing to do with. RantWoman has no sense of whether there is anything to try to smooth over about those circumstances. RantWoman also thinks this thread is not the best place to speak of other gifts, except for one point: RantWoman is glad other people have FINALLY also indicated encounter with the point that it is not reasonable for anyone to expect this Friend to solve everyone’s anger trigger restimulation issues ever. But help with such problems does sometimes happen sometimes well, we are all ministers of God!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Quarterly Meeting Gratitudes

When all the world is a tippy cellphone camera
Trees at Lazy F, evening

Gratitudes while RantWoman gets in gear for her week:

The ride logistics to get there

Snow along Snoqualmie Pass

Snow on the ground at the site, not a lot but snow.

High roaring creek.

Good roommates


This session’s infrastructure hiccup:
The site said they received word on Monday that there would  be a power outage courtesy of the Bonneville Power Adinistation from 6 am to 8 am on Saturday. Thank you for the advance notice.

Thank you for the peculiar community of people who sleep with CPAP, more than one of whom woke up early because of the power outage. RantWoman does not in fact sleep with CPAP but does need courage about revisiting the issue and getting more and better exercise in general.

Thank you backup generator for breakfast. Thank you everyone for coping with delays in showers and coffee.

Early Elementary!
RantWoman was a guest!  The kids showed Rant Woman the displays they alid out on some tables of  natural materials. RantWoman talked about big pine cones in the NW and much smaller ones in the Rocky mountains. RantWoman has no idea whether the kids will remember this.

The kids asked great questions. They were fascinated by all the things that do not work right about RantWoman’s eyes. RantWoman likes to show what her visual field is like with a test about where, if someone stretches out their arms, they can pull their fingers in and wiggle them and stop when they can see their fingers. RantWoman cannot see the wiggling fingers until they are pretty close to her body. RantWoman think s the kids all did fine at more normal range. Then RantWoman talked a little bit about double vision. RantWoman does not think anyone got that so RantWoman has no idea whether anyone is cross-eyed.

RantWoman has some braille business cards. This time the kids did not get the most comprehensive explanation of Braille but they all got  braille business cards.  RantWoman talked about the kinds of information her white cane proides. RantWoman did not really explain about Ambassador Thwack liking either to lounge in Rant Woman’s bag or to go a little overboard about his tactile communications responsibilities. RantWoman bumped her cane against a couple pieces of furniture to show some sound differences but this was not the time for banging on floors and walls with sticks.

The adults said the kids were spellbound but when the figets got too much it was time for snack.

RantWoman talked about what a pain it is when she drops things soooo after snacks, the kids got to help RantWoman find things when she drops them. The kids had to learn left and right. They had to learn that “Over there” is not such a great concept for RantWoman. And everytime RantWoman dropped her cup, the kids helped her find it!

RantWoman heard all day from parents about all their kids commenting. RantWoman’s favorite comment though, “Mommy, she’s blond.” Um noooo, but

(Note to the sincere folks on a clearness committee who thought rantWoman should go talk to kids. TRUST RantWoman: it is MUCH better to have spent some timestalking to adults first though RantWoman's unintentional blindness tourism business would actually NOT have minded a little less demand and more insightful customers at MANY points!)

Interest groups:
RantWoman was interested to see someone new to Quakers doing an interest group about faith and Practice! RantWoman is glad to hear it went well and MAY try again to probe for details.

RantWoman went to a TRULY non-depressing talk on climate change. RantWoman did not pay meticulous attention to every word but appreciated many voices.

Community night: several WONDERFUL musical numbers

Worship group:
RantWoman found her mind surprising full from responses to one query even though RantWoman herself was better able to respond to the first query after reading all of them.

Soup and salad for Sunday lunch. RantWman is aware that others disagree. Sorry.

RantWoman has a little bit of a sad missing Madeleine Brown.

RantWoman is tender about beloved elders who do not come anymore.

RantWoman is cross and crabby about a topic she is going to have to pick up the phone about and TRY to handle with more finesse than she sometimes manages in this medium.

RantWoman is a little crabby about another moment but is grateful for connections woven by Facebook.

Friday, April 22, 2016

And Introducing....

RantWoman humbly notes an interesting evolution from ZERO people attending an Interest group RantWoman once proposed on "Howling about our Dimishments" or some darned thing. RantWoman has received and has accepted the latest in a trickle of invitations  to visit the Children's program and talk about disabilities.

RantWoman is not clear whether it is Bad Auntie or Worse Auntie who have showed up to help her prepare. Probably RantWoman should simply not become overreliant on weird character development, but in the meantime, besides the concept of "UnNameTags," some possible introductions:

"This is Ambassador Thwack my badly behaved white cane. Sometimes he would rather curl up and lounge in my bag than work. Sometimes he goes overboard on the percussive pedagogy even though he is just supposed to warn me by bumping into things so I do not have to.
   Thwack is a little iffy on the Peace testimony,,,." I also have two other Thwacks, including Deputy Chief of Mission Thwack who is the same length fully extended but folds up more compactly. She likes to roll around on the carpets at certain local technology companies and she is slightly better able to be nice to challenging people...."

"This is Alex the Service python. Do not worry if you cannot see him / her. Zie is having gender identity issues. Very rarely do people have both a service animal and a white cane, but Alex helps me manage Ambassador Thwack's behavior.

Alex's other job is to educate people about service animal issues. Alex recommends the video imbedded in this blog post.
 Really Great WA State Service Animal Video
Alex is non-allergenic and very highly trained. Zir usual focus points: there are two questions it is appropriate to ask.

Is this animal required because of a disability?
[Slightly less interpersonal finesse than a brillo pad social interaction disorder?
Hyperactive BS detector?
Severely Underdeveloped suck-up reflex?
Chronic and Uncontrollable Annoying blind person behaviors?
Terminal allergy to getting run over?
 Hyperventilation in the face of Grab the blind Person and bless Them?
Acute sports conversation phobia?
Chronic need for mental tune-ups via pipe organ?
Pick one or offer your own]

What service or command does the animal perform for you?
--My service python helps me deal with exploding people.
Exploding people? RantWoman GET REAL.
No seriously...

--Some people have elders. My service python is my elder?
Don't worry, the target age group probably has no concept of elder

--Have you never heard of a service python? In the state of WA any animal can be a service animal. Local laws vary in different jurisdictions but the federal standard is that certain breeds of dogs and miniature horses are the only animals that qualify as service animals. There is no set standard for training or certification of service animals. If the handler can answer the questions above  it's a service animals  unless and until serious animal behavior issues arise.

--My service python helps me find lemons dropped onto the kitchen floor and things like hairballs and kitty vomit that I hear happen and need to clean up.

Okay RantWoman, and MAYBE you need a different tagline that last summer's #canetravel tweet about teaching young children to bang on walls and floors with sticks...?

ummm, maybe!

Popcorn kernels left over from Meeting for Worship

From Adult Religious Education
"(talking about institutionalized racism / mass incarceration)...might be do what you need to take care of yourselves..."

SWOON! He knows what triggering is. Okay he's a social work student so one would kind of expect...."

Swoon AGAIN for thoughts that triggering might be understandable, not something too icky for anything but making the triggered person GO AWAY.

No, this acknowledgment did not make RantWoman's eyes itch any less. Nor did it resolve RantWoman's need either to stare at her phone or to do Sudoku just to keep the rest of her head present. But Sudoku or no, RantWoman was present enough to listen to many voices.

From Meeting for worship
"...judge not lest ye be judged..." from Recycled Message Friend only somehow more Germanic because of reference to Dietrich Bonhoffer

RantWoman thought bubbles
WTF? Did we suddenly repeal the 10 commandments?

Mandated reporter laws?

Common sense before things get to the point of needing the mandated reporter law?

RantWoman you know that Friend who says the phrase "fear not" or variants such as "Fear Not for I am with you" appear more than 300 times in the Bible. Go with it... your neighbor as yourself...

...That means I have to love myself? Oh happy day?

...Do unto others as you would have them do unto you...?

RantWoman, recalls Quirky Friend now relocated due to magnetic grandchildren. Quirky Friend says "Why should I assume that someone else will like what I like?"

Vocal ministry about something to do with forgiveness?

more thought bubbles
Wait! How did we get from "Judge not" to Forgiveness?

and forgiveness is not the same thing as forgetting in either one's mind or one's body.

more vocal ministry about community and feeling loved

and a whole pot of popcorn from the event after worship but that gets a separate post.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Blindness Tourism enroute to Quarterly Meeting

Globe nestled in branches of a tree whose branches look like fingers with leaves growing out the ends of the fingers. Use OCR to read the text
Spring Quarterly Meeting Flyer
Hover your mouse to hear
RantWoman's suggested alt text
The following moments of Blindness Tourism and perpetual RantWoman malcontentedness brought to you by new #alttext functions now appearing in various corners of the interwebs. Geek terminology alert; if you have trouble finding God in the geek terminology, breathe deeply and RantWoman can TRY for other points of connection. And if you entirely resent being dragged along on this blindness tourism excursion, consider whether you might ever have dragged RantWoman along on any excursions she really was not that interested in and MIGHT have just been making nice out of politeness.

RantWoman does not do Facebook on an iOS device. Nor does RantWoman feel a call to upload the current Quarterly Meeting flyer to Facebook just to see what the innovative new artificial intelligence #alttext generator for iOS devices would do with the artistic elements of this graphic. But RantWoman has the same question about 3 wonderful photos on the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park that all include a sculpture called Echo and render the concept of Echo visually in interesting ways.

RantWoman's life is not overflowing with people who provide alt text voluntarily, but in the event that something say from an art museum showed up with the sort of thoughtfully crafted art verbiage that are museum curators' bread and butter, RantWoman would not want that text overridden by artificial intelligence creations. Design moment for the next iteration?

Some of RantWoman's blind and blindness network are quite charmed with the new functionality; others see work in progress. Why, though, should sighted people be deprived of the opportunity to appreciate what artificial intelligence creates? What would be a touch-screen equivalent of a hover the mouse to see the alt text?

RantWoman notes that she personally would find OCR for all those endless text in graphics thingies people post on Facebook really fabulous.

But Praise God for Convenient OCR! RantWoman downloaded the image from the Quarterly Meeting Website. Convenient OCR  the function of RantWoman's Windows-based screen reader, JAWS, successfully read MOST of the text in the above flyer. Convenient OCR completely bypassed all the curly italic stuff though.

Suppose for a break we visit Twitter's new  #alttext functions for photos. RantWoman actually fantasizes about options for adding  #alttext at the time she takes photos and having the alttext stay with the photo as it moves through the interwebs. Again, why should sighted users be deprived of the experience of reading what people put in their #alttext?

Here it would occur to RantWoman to experiment with the altexts she has applied on her phone to see what Twitter in IE does with alt text. It would occur to rantWoman to play with this, but not tonight.

RantWoman would be thrilled for a Twitter OCR function, maybe a swipe gesture, not automatic for all the text in graphics thingies abounding on Twitter.

RantWoman has been experimenting with all kinds of junk in the Alt Text on photos she tweets: hash tags, snarky comments, actual descriptions of the visual content. Possibly RantWoman should think more about what actually makes sense there.

Stay tuned?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Memorials with Swedish Sign Language Interpreter for garnish

In the category of still don't know what to do with these entanglements:

Short version of the text: Love your mothers while they are alive because no one can take their place.
Ferrener Husband is VERY sad. His mother passed away 1 year ago this week. This week he learned that his last surviving brother was found dead in the family's apartment in Ufa. Neighbors contacted the police. The police reached out to the Deaf club.

There is SO little I could do; still there is a big spot of affection for all of them. The whole story needs prayers.

I have never regretted making the effort to visit even though there were some daunting moments. There were family photos and stories from O doing theater at the Deaf Club in Ufa before he managed to weave threads together to go to school in StPB. There were oceans of alcohol. There were topics to be dodged all over the place. There was work for O's parents and for O in an airplane plant because historically Stalin figured deaf workers would not spill secrets. It was clear the family all loved each other and the whole story needs prayers.

The most recently deceased, courtesy of the internet
Vl.R.I 2016. O's next younger brother. Liked to wear a suit and tie. Went through an entire business course of some kind with one-on-one sessions with the professor because there is no such thing in Russia as sign-language interpretation for one's classes.

V.B.I 2015 RantWoman's mother-in-law. Small. One night we walked 2 miles in -10 degree Celsius to the apartment of a childhood friend of O's. Listened to Bashkortostan 3, the local non-Russian language radio really loudly. Sent us back to Seattle with a 3-liter bottle of homemade jam. I begged O to leave it with the people we stayed with in StPB but he did not. Flavorwise I know why. The jam survived all the way until the last leg of the flight.
   Met O's father at the Deaf Club and learned RSL from him. Her mother, O's grandmother, did not approve. O remembers his grandmother always protecting the boys from bullying by the other kids. O says his grandmother's sister helped keep her sister and niece alive during WWII. O also says his mother always scored A's in English because a friend of her mother's was the teacher. O's mother delighted in the calendars we brought or sent.

Va.R.I ? Totally Deaf. OD'd. Unclear on what. 12 years younger than next younger brother. Education unclear because family managed to evade his getting sent off clear across town to the deaf school. Fascinated when we visited the Lomonosov Science Museum in StPb. Great fun to watch in other museums: stone deaf so he did not hear the alarms he kept setting off. The museum staff would run after him but they had to wait for O to interpret.

I.R.I ? Completely deaf but managed to communicate with me either by writing notes or lipreading. O's older brother. Wanted us to help him market snake venom. Offered to help raise any child we did not want. Terrifying alcoholic. RantWoman wanted to meet him. RantWoman is a little bit sorry to have pushed because of other manifestations of the terrifying alcoholic issue.

R.St.I ? O's father. Terrifying alcoholic. Somewhat bewildered by all his sons, the pets in residence thanks to Va. Muslim identity important in his own terms. We visited the year Ramadan fell over Christmas and New Year's. This is good for few hours of daylight. Vodka still needed though.

Other than the Turkic radio and the family speaking Russian when the y wanted me to hear as opposed to signing when they did not, I do not remember the sound track. NOr do I have any idea whether Swedish and Russian sign languages are mutually intelligible, but this music seems apt.

Final funny story: in StPb we ran into some Deaf guys from Italy. They had gone to StPB in search of wives but had not made connections and were headed home. People signed back and forth for a long time through the glass between the lobby and the boarding area. The PA kept announcing the flight to Rome and finally I had to get in O's face so the guys would not miss their plane.

Love ya Vlad, will miss you, probably not as much as O does even though y'all had yer differences.... RIP, and out on an up note.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War: Book event April 28, Seattle Public Library

RantWoman heartily endorses this event even though this blog already also contains another event calendared for the same evening:

Syrian-British writers Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami will discuss their new book Burning  Country: Syrians in Revolution and War.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
at 7:00 PM in PDT
Seattle Public Library
Central Library,
1000 4th Ave,
Seattle, Washington 98104

This event is co-presented by the Elliott Bay Book Company and will be held at the Seattle Public Library (1000 Fourth Ave.) Level 4, Room 1. It is free of charge and open to the public.

Leila Al-Shami writes a blog on popular struggles, human rights and social justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective.

About the authors:

Robin Yassin-Kassab is a regular media commentator on Syria and the Middle East. He is the author of the novel The Road from Damascus (Hamish Hamilton, 2008) and a contributor to Syria Speaks (Saqi, 2014).

Leila Al-Shami has worked with the human rights movement in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. She was a founding member of Tahrir-ICN, a network that aimed to connect anti-authoritarian struggles across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Leila Al-Shami says:

I have both Arab and European roots, straddling two worlds and belonging in neither.

I’ve been involved in human rights and social justice struggles in the Middle East since 2001.

I’m a founding member of Tahrir-ICN a network that aims to connect anti-authoritarian struggles across the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

Leila's blog:
a blog on popular struggles, human rights and social justice from an anti-authoritarian perspective

Syrian-British writers Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami will discuss their new book Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War, which the journalist Hassan Hassan says is "poised to become the definitive book not only on the continuing Syrian conflict but on the country and its society as a whole."

Burning Country is a vivid and groundbreaking look at a modern-day political and humanitarian nightmare. It explores the horrific and complicated reality of life in present-day Syria with unprecedented detail and sophistication, drawing on new first-hand testimonies from opposition fighters, exiles lost in an archipelago of refugee camps, and courageous human rights activists among many others...