My distant friend Sally and I went out to dinner and she started asking me about my past relationships. I’ve known Sally for over a decade and she’s never pried into my dating life. I told Sally I wasn’t interested in dating anyways as I am looking for a job and like to online date or meet people through work. She tried to reason me out of all of this which seemed troubling.
A couple weeks ago Sally had a birthday party. She had put the event on Facebook. After our dinner, Sally texted me that her friend John saw me on the invite list and became “interested” in me. She said he might hit on me at the party ( he did not show up). This made me uncomfortable as I hate flirting with strangers. It’s odd but I’ve never even flirted with someone who’s become my boyfriend.
I also don’t trust Sally’s judgment at all. To be blunt I’ve met her friends and they aren’t horrible but they’re the “I don’t suffer fools gladly” type.
John has also been asking Sally about me. He wants to know when I’ve found a job and want to meet him. I have never indicated I want to meet John. I’m refusing, there’s something odd about a person in their late twenties being this invested in someone because of their FB profile. I rarely if ever post on FB. He is also asking me out through my friend which seems manipulative.
Do you have script suggestions?
– No thanks stranger ( female pronouns)
Dear No Thanks, Stranger!
I do have script suggestions! And other suggestions! I’m getting a weird vibe like John scouted you out before the dinner and was pressuring Sally to pave the way for him even back then, and you’re right, this needs to be shut down now.
Step 1: BLOCK that John dude from Facebook and then go ahead and find him on all social media platforms you use and preemptively block him there. Not unfollow, not unfriend, not “hide feed” – BLOCK. Also, consider temporarily changing publicly visible avatars to something other than your face, and locking down security/visibility of any photos of you that are out there. Make sure there is nothing out there to feed his fantasies.
If that seems mean or harsh or unfair, let’s remember: You’re not interested in him at all, you’re already vaguely creeped out by his attention, you are losing nothing from your life by cultivating your internet garden as you see fit. The way he’s monitoring you, asking for updates about your life, and trying to get Sally to set the stage for him but not talking to you directly is odd and he needs to stop it right now, so, help him out with that.
And if this is all projection/matchmaking by Sally, oops, you blocked a total stranger who doesn’t actually know who you are. Not a big deal at the end of the day.
Possible Reaction: John will get the message and leave you and the entire topic of you alone. Good news everyone! This Choose Your Own Adventure Story ends here!
Probable Reaction: John will notice what you did immediately and he will contact Sally to see what happened. Sally will then ping you to talk about John and his Johnfeels of rejection. (If this happens, please keep reading Step 2)
Step 2: Tell Sally that the whole John thing made you really, really uncomfortable and you don’t want her to set you up for any more “hitting on” scenarios or act as your romantic go-between. Also you’d prefer to keep your information completely private where John is concerned, so, you’d appreciate it if she didn’t update him on your job search or your life or pass on requests from him.
Possible Reaction: Sally will say, “Oh wow, sorry for making you uncomfortable, I get it, don’t worry about a thing.” If this happens, keep enjoying whatever you enjoy about your “distant friendship” with Sally! Here endeth this Choose Your Own Adventure Tale! Yaaay!
Possible Reaction: Sally will be hurt that you didn’t appreciate her matchmaking efforts or feel bad for John and think you’re mean for rejecting him and she’ll double-down on John advocacy. If this happens, please continue reading Steps 3 and 4.
Step 3: Do not give Sally reasons for your rejection of John. “I prefer not to.” “I’m just not interested.” Don’t pick apart his actions or his undesirable qualities or give excuses about being busy – she’ll use whatever you say to convince you to “give him a chaaaaaaaance.”
Step 4: If Sally continues sharing your info with John and trying to play matchmaker in your life, block Sally or, if you’re reluctant to do that after 10 years, put her in that Facebook-Jail thingy where she can’t see any of your posts for a good while.
If you miss Sally you can always dig up her number down the road. If John wanted to ask you out he could have come to the party, had a normal conversation with you and said “Hey, want to grab a drink with me sometime?” without all the fanfare. He could have also asked Sally straight up for an introduction (and respected your resulting “no thanks” when and if it came). He could have sent you a friend request and a note that says “I’m a friend of Sally’s, I saw you on the invite list, mind if we connect here?” Even if he’d chosen a less creepy and roundabout method of getting in touch, you’re not interested, so, farewell, John, we hardly knew ye.
For those who like to matchmake (I sometimes like to matchmake, especially “you live in the same city and I think you’d make good friends” matchmaking), I recommend asking the people in advance, like, “Hey, I’d love to introduce you to a friend of mine who lives in your city/does what you do for a living/reminds me of you/keeps sending me the exact same Twin Peaks memes that you send, I think you’d really get along, would that be cool?” and then if it is cool with both people I make a quick introduction and then I get out of the middle of things – the people will either find their own conversation or they won’t. If it’s not cool, I drop the subject.
Before it went read-only, I scheduled a number of posts to publish, which I've captured and re-edited slightly to make it a little clearer at a glance.
Thank you all endlessly.
Here's a document of my final week of posts on IMZY, in chronology:
( Read more... )
Find My Past (one of the big online genealogy sites for the UK) are allowing free access to their main UK collections till 26th June. (No strings attached for this one, not even fake-orders to get it; only registering if you haven't already.)
Some more details & instructions on the site's blog: https://blog.findmypast.com/free-
*skuttles off to collapse somewhere again*
The darkness inside was disorienting. She looked in, and could see nothing; it was as if no light at all passed through the doorway, not even the creepy red illumination.
She couldn’t turn back now; her fingerprints were on the doorknob. Oxana stepped through, feeling carefully with one foot on the floor and holding her hands in front of her.
The floor felt rough under her feet but level, and nothing met her hands. She took careful step after careful step, reaching out to either side, feeling in front of her, wondering once again was this a good idea?
The answer appeared to be no, but here she was anyway. Her head hurt, probably from the pressure changes down here, and the air tasted damp and stale, like the door hadn’t been open in a long time. Since 1920? she wondered. Or just a few years ago? Was it safe to breathe? There were all sorts of stories about why the dorm had been closed off, after all. She couldn’t remember if one of them had been about gas, or bad air, or carbon monoxide, or anything.
( Read more... )
There is an Underschool Pinterest board! Here - https://www.pinterest.com/aldersprig/
Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973, was the first woman engineering student at this Cable and Wireless college.
Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, during the 1980s.
( One more small image, and three book reviews. )
four steps forward and three back, and yet nothing
remains the same, for the mountains are piled up
and worn down, for the rivers eat into the stone
and the fields blow away and the sea makes sand
( More butterflies )
2. Rest strained/pulled muscle (possibly hip abductor) whatever it is so it gets better.
3. Venture out for concerts Saturday and Sunday nights.
4. Laundry? If my muscle is better. It is raining a lot this weekend, so I might not want to trek to the laundromat for that.
5. Try not to be too frustrated with my injury.
I've got news I can't share yet so this is kind of a boring post. I need to get back to my book rec posts but Fridays are kind of a bad day for them.
We were supposed to have a hurricane but it turned and is now torturing a different part of the country.
Oh, I did a Reddit r/Fantasy AMA yesterday, and got a great question on Worldbuilding:
Question: One of my favorite things about your books is the incredible detail and authenticity to the cultures and societies you create. I've read City Of Bones and your Raksura books and I am always immediately engaged when the characters travel to a new city. The residents, architecture, customs, languages, and overall presentation feel well rooted and historical. It really adds an incredible flavor to your writing and inspires me to improve my own.
Are you willing to describe the process in which you develop a new city? When you sit down to create a new location, how you start the vision and do you have a system in how you begin to add layers of detail until the city/town/society feels authentic?
Me: Thank you so much!
I use different methods for different types of book. For the Ile-Rien books, where the locations are based more on real-world places, I did a lot of research into cities in similar cultures, climates, environments as my imaginary city. For the Raksura books, I tried to think of a neat setting for a city, then tried to make it as weird and extreme as possible. Like the Turning City, Keres-gedon, which started out as just a camp in the mountains.
Basically it's a process of coming up with an element you want in your city, like canals. You look at cities with canals, like Venice, and maybe Angkor Wat. What are the canals used for? Transportation, a reservoir, entertainment, defense, etc. You think about how the environment and climate of your city is going to affect your canals. Can they freeze over? Are they affected by drought? Sewage? Plant growth? Underwater monster issues? Etc. Why or why not are they affected by these things? Once you make all those decisions, you decide how they affect the inhabitants of the city, their culture, their everyday life. It can be simple or complicated, and ideally, it leads to ideas that can further characterization and plot. And the big thing to remember is that the reader doesn't need to know everything you know about your canal system. They'll be able to infer a lot from the bits and pieces they see as your characters move through the story, and the sense that the city is operating by a logical system is more important than knowing the exact details.
I also don't usually figure out too many of the details of my settings in advance, since I'm going to concentrate mainly on the parts my characters are interacting with. Like most of the city may be sketched in, but the characters are going to need this little train system and this temple hospital, so those bits are going to get more attention and development. Also keep in mind that cities change over time, with new buildings, new roads, and what stays in place and what gets built over or torn down all say things about the people who live there.
It also helps not to set too many boundaries. You never want to tell readers that there's nothing over the mountains, because it's going to make the world feel closed in, like a puddle instead of a huge mysterious ocean. And if you keep writing in this setting, you may eventually need those empty places to put things in.
I hope that helps!
I have a signed copy of The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red in the Authors for Grenfell Tower Auction: https://authorsforgrenfelltower.com/
There are tons of other great items up for auction to benefit the tower fire victims. Please check it out or pass it on.
Query from a reader:
Is it correct to use the word assuage to indicate a lessening of something? That is, it is often used in the realm of feelings, i.e. assuage hunger, assuage grief, etc. But would it be acceptable to use to indicate the lessening of something more tangible, such as assuage criminality, assuage the flow of water, assuage drug use.
I probably wouldn’t use assuage to describe the lowering of flood waters or the amelioration of traffic jams. But I don’t have any special standing to rule on such matters, so as usual, let’s look at how others use the word.
The OED’s entry for assuage, which is flagged as “not yet … fully updated (first published 1885)”, has several senses marked as “arch. or Obs.” that don’t involve “angry or excited feelings”, or beings in such a state.
There’s the transitive form glossed “To abate, lessen, diminish (esp. anything swollen)”, with examples like
1774 J. Bryant New Syst. II. 284 The Dove..brought the first tidings that the waters of the deep were asswaged.
There’s the intransitive inchoative version of the same, glossed “To grow less, diminish, decrease, fall off, die away; to abate, subside”, with examples like
1611 Bible (King James) Gen. viii. 1 And the waters asswaged .
COCA has 509 instances of “assuage”, 134 of “assuaged”, 46 of “assuaging”, and 17 of “assuages”. Looking at a random sample of 100, we find that all 100 are transitive, and that in 98 of them, what’s assuaged is an negatively-evaluated emotion or feeling or concern (“the community’s grief”, “his guilt”, “such mortal concerns”, “the twitchy sensation in my cells”, “white opposition to slave conversion”, “my hunger”, “Democratic anxieties”, “India’s complaints”, “feelings of humiliation”, the monarch’s fears”, “his own damaged pride”, “the egos of movie stars”, “my curiosity”, …), or an person or group of people subject to such emotions or feelings or concerns (“his uneasy party”, “the academic intellectual community”, “the larger man”, “international critics of the war”, “his jittery passenger”, “the chiefs”, “the dealers”, …).
The two exceptions in the sample are these:
In The Efficiency Trap, Steve Hallett claims that we will exhaust many of our resources by the 2030s, and violence and chaos will erupt as a result. Hallett proposes recycling and growing food locally as possible means of assuaging the damage.
The measure, which awaits Senate approval of a minor amendment next week, can not assuage the impending disaster that will kill virtually all the fish in the Dolores River this summer.
With respect to the specific examples in the query, Google finds
“assuage criminality”: one example [link] Please reconsider your gig – don’t play for a segregated audience in Israel and make of yourself a balm to assuage criminality.
“assuage the flow of water”: no examples (though see biblical examples cited by the OED)
assuage drug use: one example [link] Becker’s neoliberal drug policy presumes to assuage drug use and addiction by the instantiation of a highly regulated market as a system of control.
So the verdict of norma loquendi seems to be that applying assuage to things other than people and their feelings is out of fashion and currently marginal.
Amazon has been issued a patent on security measures that prevents people from comparison shopping while in the store. It's not a particularly sophisticated patent -- it basically detects when you're using the in-store Wi-Fi to visit a competitor's site and then blocks access -- but it is an indication of how retail has changed in recent years.
What's interesting is that Amazon is on the other of this arms race. As an on-line retailer, it wants people to walk into stores and then comparison shop on its site. Yes, I know it's buying Whole Foods, but it's still predominantly an online retailer. Maybe it patented this to prevent stores from implementing the technology.
It's probably not nearly that strategic. It's hard to build a business strategy around a security measure that can be defeated with cellular access.
I mean, what did you, yourself, actually do to influence where you were born or bred? Unless you were a particularly ambitious embryo, the answer is “nothing”. Sure, your parents might have made some kind of effort to select your place of birth. Maybe they strove to move to better housing in a neighbourhood with better services and schools. Maybe they’re even immigrants, like my dad, and they struggled long and hard to learn their fourth language in order to integrate into their adopted country. But you? You didn’t do anything. Why are you so proud of that? Think of the things you've accomplished in your life. Isn't it far more fitting and fulfilling to be proud of those?
And why the obsession with asserting the superiority of a single identity over the others? “I’m English first and then British.” Pro-tip: Most of the rest of the world considers both of those to be synonymous with “ex-colonialist imperialist arsehole” so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. ^.^
Here is a list of the geographically-linked identities that I consider myself able to lay claim to. I’m proud of some and not others.
- San Diegan
- Brummie (this is a new one; still feels a little odd)
Today, I think I’m proudest of being European. I earned that identity and that passport, and I’m still very pissed off that some people want to take it away.
Today is also, weirdly, simultaneously:
- the anniversary of Brexit, aka the Colossal Waste of Time and Money Foisted Upon Us by a Generation That Tore Down Decades of Painstakingly Won Goodwill with Our Neighbours and Won’t Live to Experience the Disastrous Consequences, Thanks a Lot, Dickheads.
- International Women in Engineering Day
So, to close this post, here is a peaceful photo of a woman doing some engineering.