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May 26th, 2017 09:35 am - [Art] A Duck, A Gull, A Hare.
These were all inked during Inktober last year.
So much fun colouring them.
I livestreamed the colouring of all of these over at Instagram,
and had really great crowds join me throughout the day.
Also honestly how have I never drawn a Mandarin Duck before,
they're so awesome. :D

Mandarin Duck as Totem
Original available at Etsy

 photo 2017 - Mandarin Duck as Totem 600x_zpspx6iqemw.jpg

'Love can be such a bright, brilliant emotion. I teach about eternal love. I don't teach lessons about love that fades, but instead, love that remains, stays steady, flames bright no matter what. I champion fealty and loyalty to one's loved one, will show you why opposites attract, or why two people can fit together like a perfect puzzle even when they're already whole. I also teach about the beauty of the liminal, how to find wisdom in the dawn and dusk, in the mist and fog. I will guide you through confusing places, and you can follow my bright plumage, or, if you get along better with my female counterpart (or myself when I'm in eclipse plumage), you can follow the flashes of green-blue upon her wings. See me at the surface, and I will teach you about the beauty of love, but I am a duck, and we are made to delve deeper, friend. Come with me, learn what lies beyond.'

More under the cut. )

Mediterranean Gull as Totem
Original available at Etsy

 photo 2017 - Mediterranean Gull as Totem 600x_zpscm0wi9z5.jpg

'You might think, to look at me, that I am a bird that whispers the secrets of the sea, or squawks them, but I'm the Mediterranean Gull, and you'd best get to know *me!* I cry the secrets of the coast, the shoreline, the cliffs, but especially the reeds, the marshes, the swampy wet places where sea meets land. I'm not about those huge open seas, nor am I about endless land, I love the meeting places. Perhaps you'll not be surprised then, to learn that I also teach about meeting places! How to socialise, interacting with others, loving others and hating them, walking through a social life of literal pecking orders and subtler nuanced association. I am not as brazen as some of my gull counterparts, but I'm not quiet either! I will be near you, and I will talk happily. Do you want someone to walk along the beach with you? To forage through the reeds? To find gems of wisdom in the places other people neglect? Look at how we can become so successful, commanding the places that people put second, to their detriment. I am joyful, determined and outspoken, but respectful and understanding too. I might look like so many of the others, but you will learn that I am only ever myself - as you are too.'

More under the cut. )

Mountain Hare as Totem
Original available at Etsy

 photo 2017 - Mountain Hare as Totem 600x_zpsdfkyodve.jpg

'I am integrated into my ecosystem, to the point where the way I live from place to place is variable, as it should be for you as well, if you are hopping from ecosystem to ecosystem. I am aware of my place, I respect it, we have a relationship of mutuality. On the surface, you may think me silly and hilarious, with my hopping antics, my wild racing across the fields or meadows or forests. I am happy in the higher places, I'll never be all that content at sea level, and you may find yourself drawn to the wisdom of hills and mountains and rises. Whether gentle or steep, we know how to appreciate a good hike to see the view beneath us, don't we? It's not always an easy life, I feel you know this well. I am hunted, and I am prey. But there are those who look out for me, and I look out for myself, too. I'm watchful, wary, made to inhabit my environment as perfectly as possible, whether white as new-fallen snow, or as grey-brown as a stone in a grassy field. Look for my moon and goddess wisdom too, if you wish, look deeper, into how I am anchored with the legends of the land and fertility. Oh, we can go so far together, you and I, across the fields or meadows or forests.'

More under the cut. )


May 26th, 2017 01:38 am - In the annals of excellent life choices
So there’s a new Twin Peaks… thing…? out? I guess? And I have never seen Twin Peaks (but am fairly well spoiled for whodunnit and so on) and have pretty firmly decided that, NOPE, NOT FOR ME, TOO CREEPY AND AWFUL.

…So tonight I was like “hey, I want to watch some TV and obviously Twin Peaks is not even in the running, but what should I watch? Leverage? Sense8?”

And then Netflix recommended me The Keepers. About the unsolved murder of a nun, and how her murder connected to the horrific sexual abuse of teen girls in the school where she taught because THAT IS MUCH LESS CREEPY AND AWFUL AND HORRIFYING THAN TWIN PEAKS? OR. THE OPPOSITE OF THAT. SO OBVIOUSLY I WATCHED THAT.

(I mean, the series seems amazingly well done and I’m sure I’m going to watch the rest of it, just, you know, this is EXACTLY LIKE that time I decided not to read the second and third books of the Hunger Games trilogy because they were too grim and depressing and instead I went and read a book about the Donner party. GUESS WHAT, GRIM AND DEPRESSING AND THE ADDED HORROR OF ACTUALLY BEING TRUE.)

from Tumblr



May 26th, 2017 01:48 am - I'm considering redoing my my writing to-do list
At least partially so I have something to do while listening to these podcast samples for the Hugos that isn't crocheting. ([profile] jilliferium's housemate has had their baby and I still have wool left! I need to make ALL OF THE BOOTIES before Jill comes to visit me!)

(In related news: if the Coode Street Podcast has a download button on their mobile site, I can't see it. How unfair is it to ding an entrant for it being a pain in the arse to access their sample?)

I have SO MANY ideas and WIPs and LB posts and THINGS that need cracking into a proper, sensible to-do list and triaging. I just need to sit down and sort it out so I can plug things into my diary. Might make it my task at the weekend while I wait for laundry to finish. Hm.

(Q: Susan, is this just convoluted procrastination?
A: Man, if you think THIS is convoluted procrastination you ain't seen nothing yet.)


May 25th, 2017 09:03 pm - A Baywatch sequel could find the elite lifeguards heading overseas
Although BAYWATCH hasn't exactly been unanimously embraced by the critics, that doesn't mean that the big-screen adaptation of the 90's TV series can't have a sequel. While speaking with Variety at the New York City screening of BAYWATCH, producer Beau Flynn revealed that plans were already in motion for a sequel which would bring back the cast as well as writers Damian Shannon...


May 26th, 2017 12:25 am - Distribution Release: Devuan GNU+Linux 1.0.0

Posted by fblais


After approximately two years in development, the Devuan GNU+Linux project has announced the first stable release of the Devuan distribution.
Devuan is a fork of Debian with the SysV init software used in place of Debian's systemd package. Services which rely on systemd to function have similarly been replaced with other software offering equivalent functionality.
"Many of you might...

Distribution Release: Devuan GNU+Linux 1.0.0


May 25th, 2017 08:47 pm - Better Use For A Towel

Posted by <a href="/users/Brumeier/pseuds/Brumeier" rel="author">Brumeier</a>


John is sure Rodney can get them out of this fix. With or without the towel.

Words: 300, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English


May 26th, 2017 06:38 am - Film Review: Evil Remains (2004)

Posted by Jesse

SYNOPSIS: A graduate student preparing his thesis on mythology leads his friends on a research expedition to an old plantation estate on the outskirts of the Big Easy. The site is reputed to mysteriously cause madness and death to all who enter it. REVIEW: Every town has their fair share of legends and mythology. There …

The post Film Review: Evil Remains (2004) first appeared on HNN | 2017 - Official Horror News Site


May 26th, 2017 12:29 am - The whole Cheesecake Menu Thing Explained, with photographs
posted by Neil Gaiman
I met Sara Benincasa eight years ago, when she interviewed me in a bathtub. (I was in the bathtub. Sara wasn't even wet.)

She's an author and comedian and the sort of person who has strange ideas and acts upon them. So when she tweeted me the other night and asked me if I would read the Cheesecake Factory Menu live, if she raised half a million dollars for the charity, I did not ask any of the obvious questions (like, why would I read the Cheesecake Factory Menu aloud? or Who would want to hear this? or even How would you ever make that much money for something so unlikely?). Instead I said I'd like the money to go to Refugees, please, and sure. ( And I added, "If you get to a million dollars, I'll also read the entirety of Fox in Socks after the Cheesecake Factory menu.")

And then Sara did something even more unlikely. She set up a page to allow people to donate at and people started to donate. Lots of them.

It's been up a couple of days since then, and we are (as I type this) 8% of the way to the target at over $42,000. It's started to be picked up by newspapers -- here's the LA Times,  and the Boston Globe, and even the Guardian.

And I will do my own bit for it. I will put up something unique to this blog.

Probably you are thinking, will he write about his time on the Red Carpet at Cannes for HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES?

It is not that. (But here are costume designer Sandy Powell, channeling Ziggy Stardust, and star Elle Fanning eating colour-coordinated macaroons.)

Perhaps you are thinking, Will he perhaps post photographs of Gillian Anderson as Media in the next episode of American Gods incarnated as Ziggy Stardust also eating colour-coordinated macaroons?

I will not. I do not believe such photos exist. 

Instead I will put up photos of my elf-child, Ash. I will see him on Saturday, and the Cannes red carpet would have been much more fun if he had been on it.


Whether or not I get to read the Cheesecake Factory Menu in public (or Dr Seuss's tonguetwisting Fox in Socks) I will be doing a few more readings and talks this year. Tickets are going fast:

07 Jul 2017
Dallas, TX
09 Jul 2017
Washington, D.C.
10 Jul 2017
Hartford, CT       

Each of these should be links to the event -- all of them are solo me just reading and talking and answering your questions, except for the Hartford one, where I'll be interviewed by the NYPL's very own Paul Holdengraber.

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May 25th, 2017 09:02 pm - Welp.
So I've been on vacation for the last few days, and it's been heavenly: three lovely, slowly-unspooling, sunshine-mellow days where I've slept late and wandered around outside and pet my Wicked Stepmother™'s cats and basically done nothing I didn't want to do. I've drunk wine and gone on a field trip to Trinity West Cornwall to meet Colleague Bob and the burros, and answered my email backlog from December (!) and read a bunch of Interesting Things on the Internet, and oh yeah read a lot of fanfic too. It's been lovely, is what I'm saying; and everything from the soft ancient percale sheets on my bed to the lilies-of-the-valley by my bedside has been worth bowing down to in gratitude, up to and including my lovely father, who has cooked me good food and laughed at my jokes and made me coffee in the mornings and discussed government ethics over lunch (which, despite my moaning on twitter, was actually exactly the kind of thing I love) and generally been his best and most expansive generous self. 
So it's been lovely, is what I'm saying, and today was nothing different; except that just now, over dinner, dad and I got involved in a discussion of politics. And dad and I—as you guys may or may not know—are kindred spirits in many ways, in our radical progressive values, and our commitment to anti-capitalist practice, and our belief in racial equality, and our sincere desire for every being to be happy and thrive. Dad is difficult and argumentative and often selfish and has made me cry more than any other person on the planet, but—and I say this knowing that this is what people always say about the people that hurt them—he's also, truly, one of the loveliest people I know. He has the ability to make everyone feel welcome, and loves people in that way that's full of curiosity and means he can get into conversations with everyone from the Guyanian woman on the subway to the security guard at the airport, and he'll find common ground with each of them. He's the one who taught me to march for anti-war causes and for gay marriage, and he's the one who supported me in coming out even though he didn't understand the least bit about what it meant to be queer. 

He's lovely, too, is what I'm saying. He's far from perfect, and part of me knows that if I described his behaviour to someone without context they'd possibly think he's abusive. (And, yes: I'm aware enough to recognize what that means, that I say this!) But he's also the kind of person who that descriptor won't cover; if I could embody his best values I'd be happy, and I am who I am because of my dad, and I love him and honor him and respect him even when I have a difficult time with him.

And all that being said: I don't know what to do with this. Take all that as context.

Over dinner, we got into a political discussion, and it got heated, and sharp, and we disagreed. He was all "Hillary Clinton is evil" and "Wall Street has taken over the world and there's no such thing as democracy", and I was countering him with "Well, yes, but I suspect we're all shaped by the institutions we're part of, HRC included, so perhaps evaluate her through that lens," and "Yes, well, if you look at things from a purely fiscal policy point of view of course things are terrible, but there are other points of view through which you can analyze and evaluate our political system, and that being the case I think you shouldn't conflate the Republicans and the Democrats—"

But he either can't or won't understand my arguments, (and, honestly, I think it's 'can't'). He's a believer in the Deep State, and in some grand Wall Street conspiracy, and he honestly (apparently) doesn't think that Trump is "really" connected to Russia, and—

Well. I don't know, in any way I can prove, that these are alt-right dog-whistle arguments, but they certainly feel that way. And so there's nothing I can say that will convince him. But all I know is that when my stepmother A. started talking about institutional racism and how it's possible to adhere to the white supremacist belief system even without knowingly being an Avowed White Supremacist, dad exploded. He winged his water glass against the wall, and leapt to his feet, and yelled in anger—as angry as I've ever in my life seen him—that "he is NOT a white supremacist, he's NOT." 

And he's not, of course, not if you count behavior, but— I didn't, I couldn't stick around for A. to argue that she was talking about unconscious, inherited belief systems that we all—all white people, her and me included—share. I couldn't do it. In the middle of his diatribe I left the kitchen, and walked to the other end of the house, and—even though I had no shoes on and didn't have my cell phone—I unlocked the historical "front" door that we never use (not in the 30 years I've lived in this house) and stripped off my socks, and left them on the stoop, and walked barefoot out of my house in order to escape. I sat under a tree on the town green for 45 minutes, hiding from cars as they came by in case they were dad or A., and then finally walked up the hill to my aunt and uncle's place, thinking I'd tell them that dad and I had had a fight and could I sit on their couch for a while while I let him cool down. 

Only my aunt and uncle weren't home. So instead I used their spare key to break into their house (!), and then I called Colleague M (to take shameless advantage of the fact that he loves me enough to pick up the phone and deal with feelings even if he doesn't like feelings in any capacity). And then I made myself three screwdrivers and cuddled my aunt's dog and typed up this entry, and since Aunt & Uncle still aren't home, I guess I had better sign off. 

I feel deeply teenager-ish in writing this: this kind of tell-all isn't quite de rigeur for someone in her 30s, is it, even if I am the type to say 'fuck it' to societal expectations of what's allowed? But I guess my conclusion is: you guys, I would love to hear your opinion on this. What would you have done? My heart and my gut told me to run away, to leave the house, and then they told me not to go back home, but also not to call my mom and go to her place. So I listened to those instincts and split the difference and went to Aunt & Uncle's instead of going back to the house of misery (aka dad's place) or the house of Your Father Is Bad and Should Feel Guilty (aka my mom's). I think this was right. It felt right. But. 

But. What do you think?

(1 comment | Reply)

May 25th, 2017 08:14 pm - Jamie Foxx doesn't think we're ready for Taron Egerton's Robin Hood film
I feel as though I&#39;ve lost count of all the Robin Hood projects in development at the moment, but the first reimagining of the Robin Hood legend which we&#39;ll be setting our sights on will find Taron Egerton starring as the heroic outlaw. The upcoming ROBIN HOOD film will be a &quot;gritty, revisionist take on the legend&quot; which we&#39;ve seen so many times before, but...


May 25th, 2017 08:51 pm - More movies!
1. Emma, Josh and I watched Suicide Squad on HBO. It was alright.


2. Josh and I went to see Alien Covenant today. We both really liked it, but we both also really liked Prometheus so take that as your fair warning. LOL



(1 comment | Reply)

May 25th, 2017 11:11 pm - There is a feeling that you should just go home

Posted by Fred Clark

Every day of the "Trump Era" it's something new -- something completely new that you've never seen before and can't quite process because you never expected such a thing and have no experience responding to it. And before you can manage to wrap your head around this strange and unbelievable thing, you're forced to consider something else -- some other horror or astonishment you've never seen before either.


May 25th, 2017 08:39 pm - [URBAN NOTE] Five links about Toronto neighbourhoods, past and present and future
  • Metro Toronto's David Hains reports on a new interactive map of Trinity-Bellwoods Park designed to help users find other people in that large complex space.

  • You’ll never have to spend 20 minutes trying to find your friend in Trinity-Bellwoods Park again.

    New York-based cartographer (and former Toronto Star employee) William Davis loves Toronto, and so he knows this is one of the city’s great summer frustrations. It’s because of the geographically complicated, but very popular park, that he and Tom Weatherburn made an interactive map for Torontonians to share their location.

    All users need to do is drag and drop a “here” pin on a map of the park. It can be accessed for free at the MapTO website, a personal project with Weatherburn that features quirky and interesting maps on a variety of city subjects.

    The Trinity-Bellwoods map is overlaid with easy-to-read icons, including a dog at the dog bowl, a baseball at the baseball diamond, and beer mugs where people like to hang out.

  • The Toronto Star's Jennifer Pagliaro describes the catastrophic state of repair of far too many of the houses of Toronto Community Housing.

  • Half of Toronto Community Housing developments will be in “critical” condition in the next five years without additional funding for repairs, according to an internal database provided to the Star.

    Already, the data shows more than 30 social-housing properties are in serious disrepair. Of 364 developments — which include houses and groupings of low-rise buildings and towers — 222 developments are ranked in “poor” condition, with dozens edging on critical condition, based on a standard ranking used by the housing corporation.

    Those critical sites are homes for more than 3,000 individuals and families.

    The data shows a pervasive problem at a time when the city is grappling with how to keep thousands of units open with a $1.73-billion funding gap.

    Of the 364 developments, more than 100 were offloaded onto the city by the province more than a decade and a half ago without money needed to cover the repairs. Of the buildings in the critical and poor categories, more than a third were downloaded by the province.

  • Back in August, Yasmine Laarsroui wrote for Torontoist about the potential for the housing co-op model to help solve the Toronto housing crisis.

  • Those affected by the lack of rent controls left young professionals, like reporter Shannon Martin, with no option but to turn to more extreme alternatives, such as couch-surfing.

    Young people seeking more reliable housing options are turning to co-op housing—at least, those lucky enough to get a unit.

    Toronto renter Donald Robert moved into Cabbagetown’s Diane Frankling Co-operative Homes in September 2016 and speaks highly of his experience.

    Robert pays $1,300 for a large two-bedroom unit with access to an underground parking and a small gym, almost $500 cheaper than the average one-bedroom unit in Toronto. Robert explains that, “the best part though has been the community here. Everybody says ‘hi.’”

  • Also back in April, John Lorinc wrote in Spacing about the oft-overlooked musicality of the lost neighbourhood of The Ward.

  • If you try to imagine your way back into the early 20th century streets and laneways of The Ward — the dense immigrant enclave razed to make way for Toronto’s City Hall — you might pick up the sounds of newsies and peddlers hawking their wares, the clanging of the area’s junk and lumber yards, and shrieking children playing on the Elizabeth Street playground north of Dundas.

    Those streets would also reverberate day and night with a jumble of languages — Italian, Yiddish, Chinese. The dialects and accents of these newcomers were considered to be not only “foreign,” but also proof (to the keepers of Toronto’s Anglo-Saxon morality) of the area’s worrisome social and physical failings.

    But despite the fact that many mainstream Torontonians saw The Ward as an impoverished blight on the face of the city, the neighbourhood resonated with energy and culture and music — evidence of the resilience of the stigmatized newcomers who settled there in waves from the late 19th century onward.

    Photographers recorded fiddle players and organ grinders with their hurdy gurdies, playing as mesmerized children listened. After their shifts ended, one 1914 account noted, labourers whiled away their free times playing mandolins or concertinas as they sang rags and the Neapolitan songs so popular at the time.

    “When sleep in crowded rooms seems all but impossible,” journalist Emily Weaver observed in The Globe and Mail in 1910, “the people of ‘The Ward’ are astir till all hours, and the Italians amuse themselves by singing in their rich sweet voices the songs of their far-away homelands or dancing their native dances to the music of a mandolin or guitar in the open roadway beneath the stars.”

  • The Toronto Star's Azzura Lalani describes how the rapid growth of young families in Leslieville threatens to overload local schools. What will the Downtown Relief Line do?

  • As the mother of a 16-month-old boy, Michelle Usprech is looking to leave the Financial District where it’s just “suits and suits and suits,” for a more family friendly vibe, and she’s got her eye on Leslieville.

    But one of Toronto’s most family-friendly neighbourhoods may be a victim of its own success as signs from the Toronto District School Board have cropped up, warning parents in Leslieville their children may not be able to attend their local school because of possible overcrowding, school board spokesperson Ryan Bird confirmed.

    Those signs warn that “due to residential growth, sufficient accommodation may not be available for all students,” despite the school board making “every effort to accommodate students at local schools.”

    [. . .]

    It’s a concern for some parents, including Kerry Sharpe, who lives in Leslieville and has a four-month-old daughter named Eisla.

    “It’s still early days for me,” she said, but, “it is a concern. Even daycare, that’s hard to get into, so I don’t see it getting any better.”


    May 25th, 2017 05:36 pm - Superpowers
    ( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )

    (1 comment | Reply)

    May 25th, 2017 08:28 pm - It's dead, dave.
    Welp. This'll be the second HD I've bricked in 2 years.

    The rest of the laptop's still good---I've pulled and cleaned off the motherboard once, and replaced the keyboard once about 3-4 yrs ago (as it turns out, computers don't like tea, not even a little bit), and 1Tb 2.5 hard drives are thankfully very affordable. So I guess I'll just keep replacing bits until the whole laptop goes up in a dramatic Michael Bay-esque explosion, or else goes entirely obselete.

    Current Mood:: [mood icon] annoyed

    (1 comment | Reply)

    May 25th, 2017 08:29 pm - nice review of Wholanta 2017

    There are some pics of cosplayers at the bottom of the article. Most reviews are of the panels in the Gallifrey (Doctor Who) and Otherwords (general sf/fantasy) track rooms, along with reviews of some of the actor and writer guests in the ballroom (Main Programing).


    May 25th, 2017 08:24 pm - nice review of Wholanta 2017

    There are some pics of cosplayers at the bottom of the article. Most reviews are of the panels in the Gallifrey (Doctor Who) and Otherwords (general sf/fantasy) track rooms, along with reviews of some of the actor and writer guests in the ballroom (Main Programing).


    May 25th, 2017 08:20 pm
    I did not cancel on capoeira, the painkillers worked. Which turned out to be a good thing because although everyone was hanging around in street clothes when I got there procrastinating starting, a new student soon appeared! New student uses I Only Know Regional! It's Super-Effective! At getting us all to do endless basic drills anyway. I got some small nudging, did the drills, we did some singing, I managed not to pass out. It was fun!

    Also now that I think about it I kind of like the idea that I've become either advanced enough or familiar enough that we do the get there sit around in street clothes sharing a moment of "I don' wanna" before we get started. It doesn't help my confidence that I can help Groot teach at all, but it's fun!

    I need to get better about my drawing discipline (there was a plan to do fifteen minutes of sketching every lunch that lasted for about a week) but I am at least getting better at my life model quick sketches. I was very good and did not buy the necklace I saw at Ten Thousand Villages, I looked at it and checked the price and marked it out for later and I will buy it after some time when I haven't just spent a bajillion dollars on new makeup and a few clothes. It will probably still be there in a month or two.

    I also kind of want that pink unicorn essence primer, never mind that I don't use makeup primer although I plan on trying it given that I got a free sample of Tarte's, it's pink and it comes in a shiny bottle and it screams "Hello I am a lovely and powerful courtesan" or something.

    ... no wait, I take it back, I think it does the same thing the serum I already have does. Also at some point I need to make a list of all the shit I need to try or try to do. So far it's primer, waterline eyeliner, side by side comparison of translucent powder baking vs layering my own foundation powder over my face, and working on pressed shadow normal person eyeshadow. Actually since I need to take pictures for my tutorial tonight I might just do a side by side test of the translucent powder vs my usual powder.

    My brain is so tired. And GoogleDocs is being a pain when I try to load my files. And it's cold out and I just want to curl up under blankets and sleep until the weekend or something. And instead I have writing to do, and languages, and so on. Maybe I will go to sleep early though. I woke up early thanks to the cats galumphing around like pinballs.


    May 25th, 2017 07:12 pm - Near-weekend update
    Skating: I kinda did a flying sit spin today! Okay, there wasn't any much sit, but there was some spin and even a couple inches of fly. I landed on one foot and kept spinning. I'll take it.

    I also eliminated the entrance to my nascent back scratch spin entirely and actually got a revolution or two in the right place on the blade, with my weight over my right side. BF has done away with the inside three turn everyone uses to start a back spin and is having me enter it from...the closest I can describe it is kind of a mutated Ina Bauer. Just keep curling around on the right foot, dragging the left foot, and the circle gets smaller and smaller until it turns into a spin. In theory. It works better than the three turn entrance, anyway.

    Getting my weight over to the right may have helped a little bit with the loop jump, although I'm still too scared to really pick my left foot up and cross it in front while I jump because you cannot save yourself in that position if something goes wrong. I like having an exit strategy. Except my exit strategy leads to me always landing it on two feet, which is not really the goal. Ugh.

    Arthritis: On Monday night, ever so briefly, I thought the Enbrel might be working, because usually I'm 100 mg of tramadol in by 6 PM and I actually managed to make it all the way to bed without needing any (I had taken some that morning). Alas, it was short-lived and Tuesday was kind of hellish. But it was close enough to when I take my shot (Sunday afternoons) that I'm somewhat hopeful it's related to the medication, and as it continues to build up in my system I might experience longer and longer periods of not hurting.

    I finally made an orthopedics appointment for the hip bursitis(?) that's been going on for at least six weeks now. It's been low-level annoying for long enough that I want professional help, even if the professional can't do much. Although apparently they can just remove the inflamed bursa in an outpatient procedure if steroid shots and physical therapy fail, so there's that.

    Apartment: I now have 15 plants in various containers, not counting some hibernating bulbs, mostly in front of my huge western exposure living room window. I may need an intervention. But they love that window so. My purple waffle started as basically half the size of my hand, and within six weeks was bigger than my head. It's still growing. And it bloomed! So did two succulents. Adorable pink flowers. And my not-an-aloe-but-looks-like one made a baby once I repotted it. And I added a table to my screened-in porch, which has been very nice since the weather warmed up.



    May 25th, 2017 11:19 pm - The Doe Files #1: 1148UMAK

    Posted by Blake Lynch

    Facial reconstruction of victim by Jessi Whittom, State of Alaska Medical Examiner’s Office.

    I’ve had the temptation to write a true crime column for a long time now. In law school, I was always most interested in criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, and the various other subjects related to criminal investigations. My last year of law school, I wrote a very long paper detailing the Marc Dutroux murders in Belgium and the restorative justice program. The challenge in writing a column became finding out a way to approach true crime in a unique manner. I listen to somewhere between 20 and 30 true crime podcasts a week. While there are many notable cases, one of the challenges became that these podcasts often cover the same base of subjects. The only way that I saw fit to write a true crime column is if I were to write about the subject in a unique or novel way that could be easily understood by readers.

    Created in 2001, the Doe Network is a non-profit organization that works with law enforcement to investigate missing person with John/Jane Doe cases. Based in Tennessee, the Doe Network has been successful in identifications involving a variety of cases including the “tent girl”, Deanna Criswell, Samantha Bonnell and more than 74 other successful case resolutions. As is common with other similar sites like Websleuths, the Doe Network has been criticized by some for generating too much activity for law enforcement to monitor.

    The goal of this column is to focus on entries in the Doe Network that have not been publicized. Authoritative sources will be used as much as possible. The importance of this type of research is to focus on what has been called “the missing missing” or the “throwaways” of society including runaways, drifters, the societally marginalized, the homeless, prostitutes, illegal immigrants, the mentally ill, and nursing home or mental hospital patients. The cases will not be confined to the United States either. As a result, this column will be able to focus on jarring and unique true crime cases which are not picked up by podcasts or other sites.

    So, here we go for the very first time, down into the dark and bloody ground of Alaska, where there are few serial killers but many missing persons cases.

    The Crime Scene 

    On August 16, 2001, the body of an unidentified white male, posthumously referred to as 1148UMAK, was found in a wooded area off of at the intersection of Concrete Street and Third Avenue in Anchorage, Alaska. The man was determined to have died from unknown causes with arthritis in the lower back and a hairline fracture along the axis of his left femur. The corpse of the man was not recognizable with partial remains including soft tissues.

    The man, who was between 5’6” to 5’10”, had receding gray hair that was worn in a ponytail as well as facial hair that was one to three inches in length, and gray and yellowed at the ends.

    1148UMAK was wearing a black Adidas winter jacket with purple lining, a doeskin colored Woolrich brand men’s shirt with buttons up the front, Rustler jeans, and size 8.5 Rawlings brand blue and white tennis shoes.

    Adidas, Rustler, and Rawlings are all popular clothing brands that have been in production in close their current form since at least the 1960’s. While dental and DNA records are available for 1148UMAK, there are no distinguishing physical marks or clothing on the subject to indicate an identity. Forensics was able to determine that 1148UMAK had died in February 2001.

    Given a large number of homeless shelters are located near Third Avenue, there’s a chance that 1148UMAK was homeless, but this is uncertain because the man was wearing brand name clothing. 1148UMAK might have also been employed as a truck driver given the number of truck driving companies in the area. The tennis shoes belonging to 1148UMAK that were recovered by law enforcement were particularly dirty, suggesting the man either worked in an occupation that exposed him to a large amount of dirt or was homeless.

    The Location 

    Reconstruction of the victim from the Doe Network.

    The actual area where the murder occurred is also unknown. Third Avenue in Anchorage is a two-mile section of road, along which there are several convenient wooded locations where one could dispose of a body. A Google Maps search revealed that there are currently several noteworthy locations along Third Avenue that were in existence in 2001 at the time of the murder:

    Bean’s Cafe. Bean’s Cafe is located at the corner of Third Avenue and Karluk Street and offers a resting place for homeless people.

    Several courts are located on Third Avenue including the Special Prosecutions and Appeals Court, an Appellate Court, and Superior Court.

    Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Bakery. Since the 1970s, the Downtown Soup Kitchen has helped to provide soup to homeless individuals in Anchorage. The company moved from the nearby 4th Avenue to 3rd Avenue in 2012.

    The Marx Brothers Cafe. Located on Third Avenue since 1979, the cafe is an upscale location where the wealthy in Anchorage eat.

    Mushin Inn Motel. In 2007, mayor Mark Begich filed a lawsuit declaring the Mush Inn a public nuisance. The Motel drew more police calls, estimated at 535, than any other single building in Anchorage. In 1991, a triple murder/robbery occurred in the Mushin’s “Alaska Room”. Also in 2007, a man was shot and killed in a room at the Mushin. The Mushin has open stairwells where homeless people have been known to sleep as well as specialty rooms called the “Fantasy Room” and “Slumber Room”.

    Trucking Companies. There are also several trucking companies in the area including United Freight and Transportation, Carlile Transportation, and ABF Freight.

    Urban Sushi. Since 2001, there have been several restaurants introduced to Third Avenue, but Urban Sushi is one of the few restaurants on Third Avenue that existed in 2001.


    There are a variety of theories that can be proposed about the death of 1148UMAK, which include the following:

    1148UMAK was killed by Israel Keyes.

    Israel Keyes.

    Keyes is a serial killer who confessed to his earliest violent crime as the sexual assault of a teenage girl in Oregon sometime between 1996 and 1998. Keyes was known to plan murders well in advance and take extraordinary caution to avoid being caught. Keyes also did not have a victim profile. He never killed people in the same area twice. Keyes moved to Anchorage in 2007 and was later apprehended by the FBI. On December 2, 2012, Keyes committed suicide by self-inflicted wrist cuts and strangulation in his jail cell. While Keyes is certainly a potential suspect, the FBI reports that the first murder by Keyes occurred sometime between July 2001 to October 2001, which would not fit the timeline when forensics suggests that 1148UMAK died, in February 2001. Evidence conclusively ruling out Keyes as a suspect in the murder of 1148UMAK has yet to be revealed.

    1148UMAK is Gary Allison. Gary Allison was last seen at Mountain View near Anchorage on January 20, 1997. His wife spoke to him on the phone the day that he disappeared and reported that Allison had a “new friend” and was acting strangely. Allison was never heard from again. Allison looks similar to 1148UMAK, but Allision had several tattoos and 1148UMAK is not reported to have had any.

    1148UMAK was murdered by James Dale Ritchie. After a string of unknown murders in Anchorage in 2016, James Dale Ritchie was killed during a shootout with members of the Anchorage Police Department on November 12, 2016. After Ritchie’s death, Ritchie was connected to a Colt Python handgun that had been used to commit the murders. While Ritchie was in Anchorage in 2000 trying to get a struggling business off the ground, there is no evidence connecting Ritchie to the death of 1148UMAK.

    The weather killed 1148UMAK. In February 1990, the average high temperature in Anchorage was 16°F during the day and 10°F during the night. If 1148UMAK was trying to sleep outside overnight, he most likely ended up dying from the cold conditions. This theory, however, does not explain the hairline fracture along 1148UMAK’s left femur.

    1148UMAK was killed by whoever killed six women in 1999 and 2000. In 1999 and 2000, there were six women murdered in Anchorage whose deaths remain unsolved. Four of the victims were Alaska natives that were homeless or substance abusers including Della Marie Brown (33); Tina Shangin (59), found in a wooded area along Glenn Highway; Genevieve Tepton (29), who was stabbed to death on Arctic Valley Road; Michelle Foster Butler (38), stabbed to death on the corner of East 10th Avenue and Juneau Street; Annie Mann (45), found dead behind an abandoned warehouse; and Vera Hapoff (25), who drowned in the Ship Creek fish ladder. It is my opinion that 1148UMAK was not killed by whoever perpetrated these crimes because 1148UMAK was not a woman.

    1148UMAK was killed by someone who knew him. If none of these serial killers were responsible, there’s a significant chance that 1148UMAK was killed by someone who knew him personally.

    Conclusion: My theory about 1148UMAK 

    1148UMAK was probably staying in the proximity of the Mushin Inn Motel and got into a fight with somebody he knew. Given that 1148UMAK had on a winter jacket and tennis shoes, he was coping with February in Alaska. Given his reported facial hair, extremely dirty shoes, and inexpensive clothing, I think that 1148UMAK was homeless and gaining support from the Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Bakery and Bean’s Cafe on Third Avenue. Third Avenue and Concrete Street is a busy area with significant traffic even during the winter. 1148UMAK’s fractured femur was likely the result of being struck by a motor vehicle, after which he made his way into the woods where he died.



    The post The Doe Files #1: 1148UMAK appeared first on Diabolique Magazine.


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