Toni here for another episode of Stuff We Like. Living in the tropics I don't have much use for heaters. However, when I visit anywhere where the temperature actually dips below 20C (68F) then they practically become my new best friends. As I found out on my recent trip down to Perth. I just about froze the entire time I was away. Even though the temp didn't drop below 5C (41F) while I was there, it was still too damn cold for my poor thin blood.
So I made friends with some heaters along the way. And I wanted to introduce you to them.
Today, Scott finds a silver lining on a day of dark clouds.
Yesterday was a rough day.
In the blink of an eye, everything has changed in a way that none of us saw coming, and we're now locked in for a bumpy ride as a community.
At a time like this, honestly, it's hard to like anything. It all seems so trivial at the moment, and it would have been easy to just skip this column this week and crawl back into bed. The last time I felt like this was 9/11, and at least then we had been attacked from the outside, and for a few brief and shining months, there was a sense of national unity.
So I am not generally in a liking mood.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there is one thing I like enough to blog about this week. Our community - the people around us who love us.
Part of our community is local - our friends who are just as shocked and devastated as we are, but who took time to reach out to us to see if we were ok, and who are standing beside us, whatever may come.
Part of it is family, who are every bit as saddened by this turn of events as we are.
And part of it is online. For me, it's the folks in the LGBTIQA writing and reading community. The ones who gathered around the campfire together the morning after, on The Novel Approach and on Queer Sci Fi to commiserate, cry, share love and try to rekindle some little spark of hope.
Mark and I have been fighting for our cause for sixteen years, and we've seen ups and downs. We've also learned that we are strong. We are battle tested. And we fight out of love, not hate.
I love every one of you - local friends, family, and the online friends I have made these last few years. You are my people, and we will stand together against whatever may come.
Angel's back with us to share what happens when she vanishes for the day:
Every month or so, my little family drives up into Lancaster County, PA so hubby can do some thrift and antique store hunting. Its Amish/ Mennonite country, so the son and I get a nice lunch out of the deal and keep him company. Now, there are many reasons why I couldn't live up there, not the least of which is that it's a very "red" area, conservative in its politics and religion, but it's a beautiful drive through country and alongside farms.
The area is mostly known for its dairy farms, so there are many bucolic vistas of Holsteins and Guernseys happily grazing on grassy hills.
Lots of pretty barns.
But it's always fun to see the variety of animals being raised up there. Chickens, goats, ponies, miniature horses, alpacas, the great draft horses and mules and all the cute sheep. There was even a bison farm for a bit, but they've moved on to other ventures.
Today's SWL is from Scott, who loves roaming through living history...
Everyone knows about Pompeii. Old city, destroyed by volcano, tragedy beyond measure, great Bastille song. And I've been to Pompeii. Pompeii is cool, if you don't mind staying on the city streets and staring longingly into the ruins.
But what if I told you there was a place in Italy where you could wander madly through the ruins? Climbing under and over them, getting lost in them, without anyone complaining or kicking you out?
Welcome to Ostia Antica.
Seriously, this place is amazing. At one time, the city sat at the mouth of the Tiber River, and was Rome's port city, where thousands of tons of trade goods came and went. Silting from the river has now moved the coast about three kilometers away.
When we were there a few years back, Mark and our friends walked down the main road, but I was all over those ruins.
There's a restored villa, a stadium, two museums (including one with some amazing homoerotic sculpture and statuary) and even a cafeteria so you can grab lunch and go back out exploring again.
It's just a short train ride from Rome. Truly one of the hi-lights of our visits to Italy.
Today's SWL is from Angel, who sometimes gets frustrated with tech...
This topic occurs to me as I'm getting ready for conventions, but it's also getting close to That Time Of Year (not saying the Ch-word) so it's doubly relevant.
Shopping online encroaches on in-store shopping a little more every year. While Business News Daily asserts that the majority of consumers still prefer to shop in-store (WHY???) the fact is that most of us, 51% according to UPS, made our purchases online last year.
That's huge. I ask very little of a shopping website - don't care if it's pretty or runs on a mobile device, or is particularly fast. Really. Don't care. What I do want is ease of shopping. Can I find products easily? (e.g. Are there nice categories that make sense? Is there a good search function?) Can I check out easily, or has the merchant made it some convoluted process with different kinds of logins and no mention of payment types until I've jumped through a hundred hoops?
Lemme give you an example: A certain chocolatier's website I was on this week? Terrible. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but on the PC version of the site, there's no actual list of products. There are limited categories that make little to no sense. In order to find "nuggets" I had to know the name of the product and use the search function specifically. I could have signed up as a "Member" in order the check out, but I didn't want to do that. Instead, I used the "Guest" log in, only to find on the very last page of the purchase that I couldn't use PayPal with that login type.
In contrast, most book websites are set up for greatest ease of purchase. Various ways to search, easy checkout, generally clear payment methods, easy delivery options whether it's electronic or physical delivery.
This might be why I buy more books than anything else...