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branchandroot: Havoc totally blitzed (Havoc apathy)
So, yesterday I went and submitted my paperwork for passport renewal, which I had to do from scratch because I changed my name since the last one. As a public service, here are tips for others who may be doing the same.

1) you will need your parents' birthdays and places of birth (state is okay if you don't know the city), and also for your spouse or ex, if you have one. Do not believe the online application if/when it says it's okay to leave those blank. You also need to fill in prospective travel destination, even if you fill it in with "none".

2) don't try to take/print your own passport photo, seriously, just go to Walgreens or similar, it will save you hours of frustration.

3) you will want to look up whether acceptance facilities take walk-ins or require an appointment. Most drop-off points will require an appointment. My county clerk's office did not, and thankfully had extended hours on Tuesdays, which made it worth taking the bus down, but all the post offices needed appointments.

4) almost everywhere will require you to pay the passport fee and execution fee separately. Because reasons. Take you checkbook, your credit card, and cash just in case. You don't want to go through this twice. You cannot use cash for the actual passport fee, so make sure you have a check or money order for that part.

5) if you have an old passport that is even slightly damaged, write up a brief statement that it was damaged in a flood/plumbing accident/the dog ate it/whatever, to sign and include if called for.

6) take every piece of identification you own, birth certificate, old passport, marriage license, court order of name change, social security card, DEFINITELY the driver's license. Just take everything, just in case, because once again, you don't want to haul through this twice.

7) if you are doing this for a child, either both parents must be present or else you need a signed release form from the parent who couldn't come. Consider bringing along custody paperwork if you were awarded sole custody.

8) they will take away the originals of your ID, except the driver's license. Don't panic, you will get them back, but they will come in separate mailings from your passport.

9) I would not consider it amiss to take along at least a good photo of the kitchen sink. If nothing else, you may make the acceptance staff laugh, which they are surely in need of.

10) on which note: bring along your patience. There are sure to be people ahead of you in line, quite possibly people who are upset and nervous. Soothing music, phone games, a hip flask, whatever gets you through.

Personally, I'd schedule a stop by the pub in the way home, to celebrate wending your way through all that bureaucracy. *lifts her glass* Good luck!
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Okay, so for a month and a half or so I've been having stabbing pain between my shoulder blades every morning. On a scale where 0 is no pain and 10 is throwing up and losing bowel control from the pain, this was about an 8. Neither my LMT nor my family physician had any idea what it could be, so I promptly googled to see about possible causes and found several very long threads worth of people going "oh my god, you too?! yeah, my doctors don't know what the hell it is either!" which was, needless to say, a bit depressing. It wasn't acting like a slipped disc or bone spur at all, no tenderness on the spine anywhere, and not like a pinched nerve either; we were all stumped. And, in my case, in increasingly intense pain.

Having spent a solid two weeks sleuthing through physiology with my LMT, I can report at least one cause of this kind of pain: my ribs were misaligned and locked up, and referring the pain up related back muscles. Causes and treatment reported below, for the benefit of posterity and the next poor sucker wondering why they're in agonizing upper back pain after lying still for several hours.

Rib bone connected to the spine bone )
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
For the benefit of my fellow Ohioans, as I research to fill out my lovely absentee-because-I-want-to-vote-by-mail ballot:

Straight Democratic ticket is looking like a pretty safe bet, this year.

For the judicial races, Judgepedia has turned out to be a very nice source. Cupp and O'Donnell were implicated in the funding scandal a few years ago and are still taking ridiculous amounts of campaign money from the Chamber of Commerce, so I'd say No on them and Yes to Skindell and O'Neill instead. Brown is listed as "highly recommended" by the bar association while Kennedy is listed as "not recommended", so I'm going Yes on Brown. And while the white, male, Republican Welbaum running for Second District Appeals is highly recommended and Ingram is merely "recommended", Carley Ingram is a black woman; so a) I suspect some bias in the ratings and b) I'd go for her anyway. Be sure to check your own district races.

I'm inclined toward Book for the state board of education. He's younger and talks about how we need to prevent the privatization of schools for private profit and make sure everyone has equal access and quality. Hiden talks about how he's done so well so far and wants to bring in a CEO to be Superintendent.

Issue One is an automatic function of our constitution. Every so many years, this must appear on the ballot, so that we can have a constitutional convention if we want one. No one seems to be set to take advantage of this, one way or the other, so I'm inclined to No.

Issue Two is a measure to stop jerry-mandering which was proposed by a bunch of people with their heads on straight but /written/ by the incumbent Republicans who engaged in jerry-mandering this election. So, that bit at the start about taking away power from elected representatives and giving it to appointed officials? Yeah, ignore that, it's typical scare tactics. There are provisions for balancing the appointees among the two majority parties and the independents, to keep the commission out of any one party's hands and agenda. Give that a Yes if you want to stop the shoddy election shenanigans that were indulged in this election.

Twenty-five is a tax levy to support services for those with developmental disabilities. Vote Yes, duh.

This has been your pre-election service announcement, we now return to our usual programming.
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Okay, since I have actually started posting scraps of meta on Tumblr, to go along with the tasteful selection of reblogged fanart, I suppose I should point my profile here at my account there.

So. I'm [tumblr.com profile] branch-and-root over there.
branchandroot: a hand holding a star (star hand)
[community profile] underground_rail is a new community born from [personal profile] pocketnaomi's post Underground Rail:

[...] an organization of men and women who can donate a little money, a little time, the use of their car for a weekend, or anything else, for the specific purpose of functioning as a long-distance taxi service: taking women who want or need abortions from areas where there are no safe, legal clinics to the nearest one capable of meeting their needs and returning them safely home again afterwards.

Currently looking for volunteers, supporters, and people with organizing experience.
branchandroot: hand balancing a dagger (dagger hand)
A lot of things about these two acts alarm and disgust me, but they are also part of a larger, and in many cases far more subtle, narrative in which necessary and even beneficial changes in media industry and distribution models are targets of scare-mongering, labeled piracy, and legislated against.

I think [personal profile] foxinthestars put it most cogently, so go read her.

Indeed, "piracy" is a scare-label I think we need to question. How many of you have heard that that Western fansubbers/scanlators and their viewers/readers are what's destroying the anime/manga industry? That's a load of BS, and sites like Crunchyroll are busy proving it. If the US anime/manga industry cannot, in its current model, provide products that enough people wish to watch/read, at a price they are willing to pay, then that model needs to change. It does not need to be legislatively mandated.

A lot more models need to change, too. Indeed, many are changing already. But, as in other industries, like energy production, the companies that have made a lot of money off the old way don't want to give it up, and are happy to throw some of that money at legislators who haven't the tiniest clue about how the internet actually works--but do have a lot of sympathy for rich people.

Contact your representatives to give them an earful of what the rest of their constituents think.
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
[personal profile] littlebutfierce has a a love meme happening, and this is always a good thing.

For ease of loving, [personal profile] jjhunter is indexing it! Go and love! Get some love! Love, love, love!

*sidles away from impending Beatles songs*
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
[personal profile] starlady has, in addition to writing up her own cogent summaries of why she will be voting the way she will, posted a list of links to other people writing similar reflections.

I strongly encourage anime/manga fans who have any interest in or contact with the OTW to read these, and that goes twice if you're eligible to vote in this election.
branchandroot: Yuugi facepalming (Yuugi oy veh)
For your reading delectation and exasperation: Kieth Mander, ignorant young sleeze who has no clue what kind of meat grinder he's stuck his hand into.

It's anyone's guess whether the Twilight fandom has a sufficient percentage of web-savvy to kick this intrusion to the curb, but I'm thinking LOTR probably does.
branchandroot: cup of coffee (coffee)
So, you know how the "new and improved" Etsy has an "activity" item in the menu bar? And how every time you do anything, like add an item to favorites, that item gets a little number over it and the number doesn't go away until you click on it? And if you click you just get a look at your own activity feed, which tells you absolutely nothing you didn't already know because it was your own activity for pity's sake?

There's a way to get rid of that number.

You'll need a browser that lets you use user styles. In Firefox, this means the Stylish plugin for greatest ease. In everything else, this means making a document and directing your browser to use it in your preferences.

So, cut and paste this into a Stylish user style for Firefox:

@namespace url(http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml);

@-moz-document domain("etsy.com") {

#main-nav #activity span.count { display: none !important; }


Or else cut and paste this into a text document for everything else, and name/save the file according to the directions linked above for your browser:

#main-nav #activity span.count { display: none !important; }

And, lo, the little number will go away.
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
So, Fanlore (which is in no way synonymous with the Fandom History fiasco, despite the efforts of the FH creator/troll) is looking for knowledgeable people to talk about that eternal question:

What do we call this stuff?

I find myself torn, really. I mean, a big part of me says "this should be simple, Categories are like tags, so you create as many Categories as there are Kinds Of Stuff and slap all that are applicable on any given wiki page".

Another part of me says "but that will make the Category structure really unwieldy and hard to navigate!"

One thing I'm sure of is that I do not think Anime should be merged into Cartoons, nor Manga into Comics. The latter are names for specifically Western art forms, and using them for non-Western forms would, in my eyes, be a nasty sort of erasure, given the cultural history involved.

Kind of like using Manga as the Category for something that's really manhwa. Given the cultural history involved.

And so I come back to "a Category for everything". Actually, I'm not at all sure that's a problem. I don't think it would be that unwieldy, in the end. And trying to limit the Categories implicitly assumes that the world is only as big as X number of categories. Which is just plain wrong.

So, what do you think? What Categories do we need?
branchandroot: pocket watch on leaves (watch)
So there's this thing called Income Based Repayment, a program available to US citizens carrying student loan debt, which can a) reduce your monthly loan payment and b) limit your repayment period to 25 years.

If your student loan debt is greater than your yearly income, you probably want to do this.

Figuring out if it's immediately profitable is easy, though the forms make it sound hard. The question to answer is: are you paying more than 15% of you Alleged Disposable Income yearly, in loan payments?

To find that out do this simple math.

1) Find the poverty line (PL) for a household of your size this year and multiply it by 1.5; this will give you your Somewhat Stingy Cost of Living (SSCL) figure. PL x 1.5 = SSCL

2) Look at your latest tax form and find your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Now subtract your Somewhat Stingy Cost of Living figure from that. This gives you your Alleged Disposable Income (ADI). AGI - SSCL = ADI

3) Multiply your Alleged Disposable Income by .15 to get fifteen percent, or your Target Loan Repayment (TLR) figure. ADI x .15 = TLR

4) Divide your Target Loan Repayment by 12 to get the Monthly Payment figure. TLR / 12 = MP

5) Compare the Monthly Payment figure to your current monthly loan payment amount (CP). If the Monthly Payment is lower than your current payment, you are eligible for the Income Based Repayment program, and the MP will be your new monthly payment. CP > MP = IBR

Your IBR payment will always be 15% of your Alleged Disposable Income (divided in 12). If, at any point, that figure becomes equal to what your payments would be on the Standard 10 year repayment plan, you will be automatically switched over to that plan.

If you reach 300 payments (25 years) without being bumped into the Standard plan, any remaining balance of your student loans is forgiven. You're quits, the loan holder can't screw any more out of you. And, since they will very likely have made back at least one and a half times your loan by that point, you need feel absolutely, positively no guilt whatsoever.

Me? My retirement present to myself is going to be being able to tell Direct Loans to kiss my ass, they're never getting another cent from me. I wish I'd known about this program ten years ago, I would be able to stop paying this absolutely usurious rate a lot sooner.

If you are on the Extended repayment plan, that's a really good sign that you should apply for IBR. The Extended plan has no cap on the repayment period, and if all you can afford is to pay off the interest... well that's some pretty easy math too, if a lot more depressing.
branchandroot: Ed giving a thumbs up (Ed thumbs up)
Let the record show that, when I link a fic-offering from LJ to my DW, I get no feedback at all. When I link a similar fic-offering from LJ to AO3, I get 3 kudos out of 21 hits. That's a bit over average response rates, normally I get around 1 in 10.

So, my take on a Ticky/Kudo/I-Read-This button on DW posts? Go for it!


Apr. 7th, 2011 02:56 pm
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Since we seem to be getting another wave of new folks, I thought it might be a good time for a new "Hi, glad to see you!" post.

Welcome to Dreamwidth, pull up a chair, what's your pleasure? *passes around the cookies comms*

So, anime and manga fans may like to check out [community profile] anime_manga, which is a lovely community for all things having to do with any anime or manga series. Fic, art, reviews, meta, anything can go there. I started out thinking the individual series-comms would be where the action is at, but those seem to be pretty slow over here. There's a lot more action on individual journals, and [community profile] anime_manga is just about the only place I've seen that action come together. I like it a lot, and I hadn't expected to enjoy a general comm so much!

Another lively comm is [community profile] fucking_meds. Have you ever been given medication and found it doing something weird? Had to deal with side effects of mixing meds? Just wanted to write a love or hate letter to your antibiotics? This is the place to do it. Great moral support and often funny.

For a little sparkle for your journal, in manageable lots, you might check out [community profile] smallbatchicons.

If you like prompts for your journal entries, you may like [community profile] thefridayfive, which posts five questions on a given theme each Friday.

And if you want femslash, I can tell you that [community profile] girlgay is a wonderfully active but not overwhelming comm.

Of course, if you want to keep following someone from elsewhere who posts unlocked, there are always feeds. I personally get a lot of entertainment out of [syndicated profile] ursulav_feed.
branchandroot: Hiruma saying ... (Hiruma ...)
Signal boost, via [personal profile] telesilla:

Etsy, an otherwise very congenial person-to-person handcraft and buyables platform, has done a Beacon. They have exposed your shopping history and made you searchable by email or by name; your real name, address and other location/contact info is now listed on your profile, if you ever entered it (possibly under the mistaken assumption that it would remain private). You can set your favorites, shopping history, name, and email to Private in Account > Settings > Privacy, but every member has been, as of now, automatically opted in at the Public setting.

Personally, I think a very stiff note to the owners is in order. As soon as you've fixed your settings.
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
What with the influx of new users, I thought a few honorable mentions, as it were, might be helpful.

Dreamwidth tags:

Rather than < lj user="handle" > it is < user name="handle" >. If you want to mention someone from a different service you can do < user name="handle" site="livejournal.com" > or insanejournal.com or archiveofourown.org. If you're crossposting, the crossposter will render all those options as appropriate html. (Example: [personal profile] branchandroot and [livejournal.com profile] branchandroot)


Those little arrows to the side of cut tags? Those will let you "unfold" the cut text without having to load a new page. Click them again to "fold" the cut back up. It's truly addictive.

You can merge your tags.

There is a test-version of the new entry-posting interface in progress on the latest [site community profile] dw_news post; go play with it and review it for the developers!

Journal customizing:

If you want some arrangement of columns (main and sidebar in any configuration) but want to seriously customize your backgrounds and colors and spacing and so on, you may wish to select the layout Tabula Rasa Plain. That has the really basic css for columns done already and the rest is yours to play with.

If you have found a layout you like and want to change the backgrounds and colors, select the layout and then go to "Customize Style" under "Organize" in the site menu. The sub-menu for "Style" gives you an interface for picking colors and entering background images.

If you're trying to port an S2 layout layer from LJ, make sure to make that layout layer a child of core version 1. That's the copy of LJ's S2; all the official layouts run on DW's "core version 2", which is different.

See also:

[community profile] followfriday to see who people are finding interesting to read.
branchandroot: Hatsuharu looking pissed (Haru black)
Signal boost.

LJ is eliminating the "unspecified" gender option, and from Thursday or so on will require that the gender field be filled out (with male or female) upon account creation

Link has some links to the lj profile page and the feedback page.

ETA: LJ has rolled back the code in question! See, if we catch it early enough, sometimes we can have an effect.

Of course, the replies to concerned citizens are pretty well lying about the particulars, in that Corporate-speak, ass-covering way so near and dear to all our hearts after previous go-rounds.
branchandroot: daisy by a cup of tea (tea with flower)
Okay, this has come up one my reading lists, so I figured I should give the short version, here.

Very short low-down on swine flu, aka h1n1 novel virus: It's not horribly deadly it just spreads really fast and no one has immunity to speak of, so yes, you should get the vaccine.

Less short but still short low-down: The swine flu is, by and large, no more dangerous than any seasonal flu. It hits with about the same intensity, so we're talking three days to two weeks of general urgh to acute misery. As always, there can be complications that lead to death; that's influenza for you.

The reason it is rated a pandemic is because of how fast and widely it spreads, due to the unfortunate fact that it is a new virus and no one has more than partial immunity. Older people have gotten more flus and have more chance of that partial immunity, young people have less.

The fear, therefore, is mostly that it will hit everyone in an entire area/campus/town all at once and cause severe problems in basic functioning because everyone will be sick at the same time. No groceries, because there's maybe one person well enough to work at the store, no bus routes, no mail, that kind of thing. This is, of course, of especial concern when it comes to health care workers being hit right when they're needed most. If the ambulance drivers and nurses all have 104 fevers for five days, this is a huge problem.

The particular danger signs are intense nausea and the inability to keep food or liquids down, sudden dizziness, shortness of breath, or showing signs of a secondary infection like pneumonia; ignoring those signs and not getting to a hospital if they appear is a stupid thing to do, but that won't stop some people, especially young people who are used to throwing off even bad illnesses. Hence, deaths.

In summary, you should get the vaccine because, even though you may not ever get enough seasonal symptoms to notice, you are probably still a transmitter and the critical point is to stop the spread of this one.


Sep. 5th, 2009 01:08 pm
branchandroot: Hiruma saying ... (Hiruma ...)
So... has anyone else noticed that gwaddiction.com has been invaded by malware? You can't even get to the site itself; the script is a random redirect.

Oy, Tyr, get on the ball, here. That archive is the only place a lot of those fics are available.
branchandroot: rainbow D (DW rainbow)
A security concern has come to my attention, and I thought I'd post about it for the public benefit.

Paid users on LJ and its clones, and on DW, get a "email address" shaped like username@service.com. This is not an actual email account, but I have yet to find out whether it's a simple redirect to your account email or an instant message handle or both. At any rate, it is, as you might imagine, a bit of a spam risk. What could be easier than harvesting usernames and slapping @service.com on the end? It was probably some spammer's weekend programming fling years ago.

I have little doubt that there are anti-spam measures surrounding this "address", for exactly that reason, but every little bit helps, and you can still hide it (on all services) or choose not to use it (on DW).

On LJ and Clones, look under the Edit Profile page (http://www.livejournal.com/manage/profile/) and go down to the Instant Messaging section. Right up at the top, on the LJ Talk line is the address in question and a checkbox to show or not show it.

On DW, go to the same page and look under Contact Information; you can set your email address field to show any combination of your system email and/or the alias, or nothing at all. Then go to Account Settings > Privacy (http://www.dreamwidth.org/manage/settings/?cat=privacy) and look at the first line, about your email alias. You can choose whether or not to receive email at this address at all.

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