17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I'm probably going to do these one at a time and between everything else, because most of them are long collections of essays, and there are only so many essays I can read in one sitting without going around the bend.  Which, contrary to appearances, is not the actual goal of my Hugo reading.

So, the book I've been reading over the past few days has been Ursula Le Guin's essay collection, Words Are My Matter: Writings about Life and Books 2000-2016.  It contains speeches, essays, introductions, blog posts and book reviews, and one or two funny little poems. 

I enjoyed it quite a bit. I didn't read absolutely every piece in the book – as I said, I don't love essays that much – but I would start a piece, and if it grabbed me, I would read it.  If it didn't, I'd page through quickly, and if something caught my eye, I'd stop and go back and read it.  I'd say that I read around 2/3 of this collection in total.

I've actually read very little of Ursula Le Guin's actual fiction, and that not for years - I think I read the Earthsea Trilogy before it was a quartet, when I was in late primary school or early high school.  This collection makes me want to go back and give her another go - I liked her somewhat acerbic wit, her feminism, and her ability to write both in a very personal register and a very professional, polished, critical one.  I think my favourite section was the Talks, Essays and Occasional Pieces, which I read in full - book introductions and book reviews are less interesting when one doesn't know the books in question, though Le Guin certainly convinced me that I need to read Vonda McIntyre's Dreamsnake, and George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin, and perhaps also Alan Garner's Boneland and Tove Jansson's The True Deceiver. And I need to re-read Among Others, of course.

Getting back to the essays, I enjoyed their thoughtfulness, and was particularly delighted by her piece on Inventing Languages, and how to make these consistent.  I liked her various articles articles on genre and publishing (and was particularly pleased that she did not throw Romance under the bus, though I get the impression that she hasn't read much, if any of it), and adored her horror parody, On Serious Literature, in which the author is stalked by the dessicated zombie corpse of genre fiction.  I loved and was depressed by her essay on the ways women's writing gets disregarded and disappeared, Disappearing Grandmothers, and will definitely be retaining her term 'prick-lit' for the equivalent of 'chick-lit'. 

A good, solid read, with moments of absolute delight.  I have no idea what the competition on this ballot will be like, but I'm definitely glad I had the opportunity to read this one.

kore: (Fremont troll wearing a pussyhat - Women)
[personal profile] kore
(even if I don't like Traister a whole lot. LOL NO Hillary Rodham Clinton is not going to go to therapy, have you met a stoic Midwesterner type?)

Inside Hillary Clinton's Life after the Election


As staffers and friends began to melt down with shock and grief, Clinton, by all accounts, remained preternaturally calm. One staffer speculated that she was able to do so because she is a person who often expects the worst and does not trust the best: “It was an example of reality rising to meet her expectations.”

“I remember having conversations with her which were gut-wrenching to me,” says Mook of that night. “Saying to her, ‘The math isn’t there. It doesn’t look like we can win.’ She was so stoic about it. She immediately went into the mode of thinking, Okay, what do we do next?”

Speechwriters Dan Schwerin and Megan Rooney realized that they were going to have to produce a concession speech. Rooney had drafted one and stuck it in a drawer. As the evening wore on, they started working on it. By the time the results were certain, Clinton and her advisers felt that it was too late to make a speech; she wanted to consider carefully what she had to say, and went back and forth with her team about the stance to take toward Trump. When Schwerin and Rooney came to her suite at the Peninsula Hotel the next morning to go over the draft, Clinton was sitting in her bathrobe at the table. She had slept only briefly, but she was clear: She wanted to take a slightly more aggressive approach, focusing on the protection of democratic norms, and she wanted to emphasize the message to young girls, the passage that would become the heart of her speech.

As the pair of writers left her room and walked down the hall, Rooney turned to Schwerin and said, “That’s a president.” Schwerin remembers: “Because here, in this incredibly difficult moment, she was thinking calmly and rationally about what the country needs to hear.” Schwerin said that until then he had held it together. “But I kind of lost it then.”



And flashback, from the same writer, almost exactly a year ago:

There is an Indiana Jones–style, “It had to be snakes” inevitability about the fact that Donald Trump is Clinton’s Republican rival. Of course Hillary Clinton is going to have to run against a man who seems both to embody and have attracted the support of everything male, white, and angry about the ascension of women and black people in America. Trump is the antithesis of Clinton’s pragmatism, her careful nature, her capacious understanding of American civic and government institutions and how to maneuver within them. Of course a woman who wants to land in the Oval Office is going to have to get past an aggressive reality-TV star who has literally talked about his penis in a debate.

A good but tiring day

May. 27th, 2017 08:24 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Even though I had a reasonably decent night's sleep last night.

Good meetings with people and good conversations, some tasty food, a panel that (I think) went fairly well even though it was in the room I hate, with the speakers on a platform and a spread-out audience, and cold. (One might also mention the single microphone that had to be handed back and forth among the panel.)

Also managed to get to a couple of other panels.

Was contemplating the Tiptree Auction but felt some recharge time alone was necessitated, May go to the parties for a little while, but am already feeling a bit that what a hedjog wants is a nice cup of Horlicks and a Nice Book to go with it.

Math

May. 27th, 2017 07:46 pm
xtina: (Default)
[personal profile] xtina
I run into wacky math things while I play my pointless games.

Have some MATH. )

YOW -> YYZ -> MUC -> DUS

May. 27th, 2017 05:24 pm
dagibbs: (Default)
[personal profile] dagibbs
I'm off on a work trip to Wuppertal, Germany -- so flying in to Dusseldorf. I've currently made it to YYZ, and have a few hours here to wait.

I did manage to sneak in a few hours of climbing this morning before my 4pm departure from Ottawa, which was sweet, as it was quite a nice day.

at WisCon

May. 27th, 2017 02:39 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I'm at WisCon right now, and leaving early Monday morning! Right now I'm preparing for the Tiptree Auction, which is tonight, about 7:30pm-9:15pm. I am not on any panels this year. Please feel free to say hi if you see me!

FMK # 2: Gothics!

May. 27th, 2017 12:22 pm
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
How to play: Fling means I spend a single night of passion (or possibly passionate hatred) with the book, and write a review of it, or however much of it I managed to read. Marry means the book goes back on my shelves, to wait for me to get around to it. Kill is actually "sudden death" - I read a couple paragraphs or pages, then decide to donate or reshelf (or read) based on that. You don't have to have read or previously heard of the books to vote on them. Please feel free to explain your reasoning for your votes in comments.

Italics taken from the blurbs. Gothics have the best blurbs.

Poll #18418 FMK # 2: Houses Are Terrifying
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 28


Castle Barebane, by Joan Aiken. A series of lurid murders... a roofless ruin with crumbling battlements... nephew and niece callously abandoned in a slum... a man of mysterious origins and enigmatic habits... dark emanations from London's underworld... Mungo, an old sailor...

View Answers

Fling
12 (44.4%)

Marry
10 (37.0%)

Kill
5 (18.5%)

The Five-Minute Marriage, by Joan Aiken. An imposter has claimed her inheritance... a counterfeit marriage to the principle heir, her cousin... family rivalries festering for generations... a shocking episode of Cartaret family history will be repeated.

View Answers

Fling
16 (61.5%)

Marry
5 (19.2%)

Kill
5 (19.2%)

The Weeping Ash, by Joan Aiken. Sixteen-year-old Fanny Paget, newly married to the odious Captain Paget... in northern India, Scylla and Calormen Paget, twin cousins of the hateful Captain, have begun a seemingly impossible flight for their lives, pursued by a vengeful maharaja... elephant, camel, horse, raft... The writer has used her own two-hundred-year-old house in Sussex, England for the setting.

View Answers

Fling
9 (32.1%)

Marry
11 (39.3%)

Kill
8 (28.6%)

Winterwood, by Dorothy Eden. The moldering elegance of a decaying Venetian palazzo... pursued by memories of the scandalous trial that rocked London society... their daughter, Flora, crippled by a tragic accident... Charlotte's evil scheming... a series of letters in the deceased Lady Tameson's hand

View Answers

Fling
14 (53.8%)

Marry
3 (11.5%)

Kill
9 (34.6%)

The Place of Sapphires, by Florence Engel Randall. A demon-haunted house... two beautiful young sisters... the pain of a recent tragedy... a sinister and hateful force from the past... by the author of Hedgerow.

View Answers

Fling
12 (44.4%)

Marry
7 (25.9%)

Kill
8 (29.6%)

Shadow of the Past, by Daoma Winston. An unseen presence... fled to Devil's Dunes... strange "accidents..." it seemed insane... the threads of the mysterious, menacing net cast over her life... What invisible hand threatened destruction?

View Answers

Fling
8 (32.0%)

Marry
2 (8.0%)

Kill
15 (60.0%)

rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
The winner of FMK # 1! Alas, I did not fall madly in love with it, but I did enjoy it. FMK is definitely off to a good start, because God knows how long that book has languished unread on my shelves. I'm pretty sure at least five years and possibly ten. But I'm very glad I finally got to it.

Twelve-year-old Lucy returns to the small English village of Hagworthy, which she hasn’t visited since she was seven. There she stays with her aunt, reconnects with some childhood friends and finds that both she and they have changed, and looks on in growing alarm as the well-meaning but ignorant new vicar resurrects the ancient tradition of the Horn Dance, which is connected to the Wild Hunt.

The premise plus the opening sentences probably tell you everything you need to know about the book:

The train had stopped in a cutting, so steep that Lucy, staring through the window, could see the grassy slopes beyond captured in intense detail only a yard or two away: flowers, insects, patches of vivid red earth. She became intimate with this miniature landscape, alone with it in a sudden silence, and then the train jolted, oozed steam from somewhere beneath, and moved on between shoulders of Somerset hillside.

This is one of my favorite genres which sadly does not seem to exist any more, the subset of British children’s fantasy, usually set in small towns or villages, which focuses on atmosphere, beautiful prose, and capturing delicate moments in time. Character is secondary, plot is tertiary, and there may be very little action (though some have a lot); the magical aspects are often connected to folklore or ancient traditions, and may be subtle or questionable until the end.

You can see all those elements in those two sentences I quoted; the entire subgenre consists of inviting the reader to become intimate with minature landscapes.

This is obviously subjective and debatable, but I think of Alan Garner, Susan Cooper (especially Greenwitch), and Robert Westall as writers with books in this subgenre, but not Diana Wynne Jones. The settings are the sort parodied in Cold Comfort Farm. Hagworthy is full of darkly muttering villagers who kept making me think, “Beware, Robert Poste’s child!”

In The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, Lucy’s parents are divorced, and her mother is now living in another country with a baby brother Lucy has never met. This is mentioned maybe two or three times, very briefly, which is interesting because so many books would make a much bigger deal of it. Lucy returns to Hagworthy for a vacation with her aunt, a botanist.

Of her childhood friends, the two girls have become horse-mad and have nothing in common with Lucy. The boy, Kester, is now a moody misfit teenager, and Lucy, who is also a bit of a moody misfit, becomes friends with him all over again. They wander around the countryside, fossil-hunting and stag-watching, periodically getting in fights over Kester’s refusal to discuss the thing hanging over the story, which is the new vicar’s revival of the Horn Dance to fundraise at a fete. This is very obviously going to awaken the Wild Hunt, and Kester has clearly been mystically targeted as its victim. Though there is a ton of dark muttering about what a bad idea this is, no one does anything about this until nearly the end, when Lucy finally makes first a misfired attempt to stop the Horn Dance, then a successful one to save Kester.

The atmosphere and prose is lovely, and if you like that sort of thing, you will like this book. Even for a book that isn’t really about the plot, the plot had problems. One was the total failure of any adult to even try to do anything sensible ever, for absolutely no reason, until Lucy finally manages to ask the right person the right question. This could have been explained as some magical thing preventing them from acting, but it wasn’t.

The other problem I had was that nothing unpredictable ever happens. Everyone is exactly what they seem: the blacksmith has mystical knowledge, the vicar is an innocent in over his head, the horse-mad girls have nothing in their heads but horses, and so forth. I kept expecting something to be slightly less obvious—for the vicar to know exactly what he’s doing and have a nefarious purpose, for the horse-mad girls to not be as dumb as they seem or to have their horsey skills play a role in saving Kester, for Lucy’s aunt to know more about magic than the blacksmith, etc—but no.

I looked up Penelope Lively. It looks like her famous book is Ghost of Thomas Kempe, which I think I also own.

There’s an album of music based on the book which you can listen to online. It’s by the Heartwood Institute, and is instrumental and atmospheric.

The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy

Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?

May. 27th, 2017 01:03 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
Get ready for pack-hunting snakes.

And wait until you read about their bat-catching techniques....

:hides under covers:
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane posting in [community profile] wiscon
Per today's Momentary Taste of WisCon newsletter - "WisCon is proud to offer live-captioning services — available all weekend long, at request, for (almost) any panel....would you like to have CART for a panel you’re going to attend? Our CART providers will be hanging out in the Green Room (2nd floor) all weekend long. Check with a Green Room volunteer to see if the CART provider is available. Or you can email access@wiscon.net!"

Tech tips

May. 27th, 2017 01:47 pm
xtina: (Default)
[personal profile] xtina
Two tech tips today (ta-dah!).

1) In Google Drive, you can show files sorted by file size across all folders by opening the quota page. To get there, either click on that link, or:

* Hover over the sidebar item showing how much space you've used.
* In the bubble pop-up, you'll see a little teeny tiny "i" next to the Drive line. Click that.

2) The text to search for to block that "Read More" horseshit is "javascript add link to copied text". The first thing to do for this is entirely block Tynt, either through your hosts file or through your ad-blocking plugin. Doing that covers it so well that I often forget that I even have that set.

Beer

May. 27th, 2017 12:19 pm
chickenfeet: (Default)
[personal profile] chickenfeet
 Last night was the semi annual Craft Beer Festival at C'est What.  As usual there were about 50 beers on offer ($1 - $2 per sample).  Time was when this was a bit of a riot and quite often one found a really exciting beer from an unexpected source plus some real shockers.  Over the last two or three years though it seems to have settled down.  The experiments are less wild; no chilli, chocolate, durian IPA.  There are still new brewers but it's a more stable market and they have to be solid to be there at all.  So, bottom line, the 15 or so beers I tried all fell in a 5-8 point window on a 10 point scale, which means that everything we tried was way better than InbevAB or equivalent swill but nothing was mind blowing.  Best of the night:
Halcyon Infinity Mirror IPA - grapefruity IPA with a touch of Brett
Clifford Sour Cherry Porter - One of the best porters around with an interesting added note

Culture clash in Canada

May. 27th, 2017 10:44 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

(no subject)

May. 27th, 2017 09:42 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] redroanchronicles!
newredshoes: Domo-kun doing victory arms! (domo-kun | victory arms!)
[personal profile] newredshoes
Ho ho ho, so! You may have seen yesterday's Instagram post and wondered why my left hand and forearm are in a splint. Fun story! I had to wait 10 days to get the stitches from the Avocado Incident removed from my palm. So while hanging out with the A+ [personal profile] boundbooks, who was in town for the weekend, I mentioned that I needed to stop by the local CityMD urgent care center at some point, and that it shouldn't take long. (No way was I headed back to the hospital where it took six hours to get three stitches and a tetanus shot.)

The good news is that it only took about 45 minutes, including getting in their system and doing intakes and stuff. The hilarious news is basically that I didn't keep my hand still enough for the wound to fully close up properly, so, uh. They gave me this thing that makes me look like Hellboy to stabilize my hand for a few days.

I have a date at noon too, naturally! It will be a delightful story, if nothing else.

Book Log!

May. 27th, 2017 09:23 pm
scaramouche: Bruce Boxleitner as Alan from Tron (tron: alan is a nerd)
[personal profile] scaramouche
I picked up Nigel Jones's Tower: An Epic History of the Tower of London from the gift shop at said Tower during my last trip with my cousins, and it's been a rolicking fun read.

A little over half the book is rehashing English history as is familiar to me but from the Tower's POV, while the other half is stuff that is brand-spanking new to me, such as fuller details of the initial design of the Tower and its additions over the years, fuller details about the animals that were kept there (though admittedly I had to skip a few paragraphs here and there), plus the very fascinating history of the Royal Mint with bonus Sir Isaac Newton as the Very Serious Warden of the Mint who went on marvelous adventures trying to apprehend his personal Moriarty i.e. William Chaloner. I also really like the section on escapes and attempted thefts made in the Tower.

In the early and closing chapters, the book goes back and forth in its timeline based on the topic at hand, but the central section goes pretty much chronologically from king to king to queen and so on. I think one of the more interesting bits about following the Tower's history chronologically is seeing in fuller context the development of the Tower's reputations as a bloody and terrifying place. To use a comparison, in biographies of singular persons I've read, the Tower is only mentioned as either not having that reputation yet, or already having that reputation. But how did that reputation itself develop? Which is where this book's timeline comes in and becomes absolutely, perfectly clear how it happened. I mean, it's one thing to "know" that it's Henry VIII's bloodlust that brought that reputation about, but another to have that bloodlust compared with the actual earlier warfare that happened in London through the Angevin period and the Cousins War, and see that for all of the death and war and mayhem that happened in pre-Tudor times, it was still nothing compared to what Henry VIII did within the compound of the Tower of London.

I like to say that the city of London is massively haunted already but... the Tower of London is really, really, really haunted, y'all.

Hugo reading 2017 - Fancasts Part 1

May. 27th, 2017 07:47 pm
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
Fangirl Happy Hour is delightful.  Read more... )

The Rageaholic is the Puppies' choice for this category, and there was debate in our household over whether we should give him a chance.  And also, how much of a chance we should give him. 

Read more... )

Our third podcast for today was The Coode Street Podcast.  Read more... )

On a side-note, it's fun how many Hugo nominees showed up in these podcasts.  The Fangirls talked about Ghostbusters, The Obelisk Gate and (briefly) Ms Marvel; The Coode Street Podcast talked about A Taste of Honey; and even the Rageaholic talked about Rogue One.  This adds a nice touch to my Hugo reading.

The Boy, The Cruelty, The Toy

May. 27th, 2017 07:14 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

It surprised me when he stepped on the elevator with me.

It surprised me even more when I spoke up.

He was in his late teens, he had been with a group of friends, in the mall. I had turned towards the elevator and in doing so came into their view. They all, to a one, looked over at me. Then, predictably, they started laughing, and glancing over at me. My appearance sometimes doesn't meet a verbal response, sometimes it's just glances from me to each other and back. I've been in this situation before and there are several possible responses, I was tired, I chose the 'go by in dignity' response, which, by the way, isn't 'just ignoring it'. To make it obvious that you have heard and seen the actions of others and to proceed ahead unbowed, unwilling to give them more space, to go bravely by people who have identified themselves as enemy, is action.

I waited at the elevator with my back to them. This, for me, is an act of courage. I don't like having cruel people behind me. I feel really vulnerable. I don't know when the words will translate into action, for the glances had become words, said loudly, for my benefit. Sometimes elevators run on molasses time and this one when it finally arrived, I felt older.

I got on, and turned around, just as the door was closing, a hand shot out to stop it. One of the young men got on the elevator with me. This surprised me and scared me a little. Alone, in a small space with someone who thinks me less than human. I was going to 5, he to 6. At 3, I'd had enough.

"Does it bother you," I asked me, in a quiet and unemotional voice, "how easy it is for you to be needlessly cruel?"

He was startled and said, "What?"

Knowing he'd heard me, I asked an expanded question, "Does it bother you how easy it is for you to be needlessly cruel? Do you ever worry that as a father you will be abusive, that as a husband you will batter your wife? Cruelty comes easy to you. Does that bother you?"

He was shocked, so shocked he wasn't angry, "We were having a bit of fun, that's all."

"Does it bother you that you define humiliating a stranger as fun? Does that worry you for who you'll be in a few years. Will you humiliate you wife? Will you humiliate your children? I would think that at your age you'd be thinking about this? And so you know, that wasn't fun for me?"

Now annoyed, "Sorry." It was an apology with sarcasm.

"Does it bother you that you can't even apologize properly to someone that you have purposely and needlessly hurt? Don't you worry even a little about the effect of what you did on me?"

The door opens, I roll out and stop, before the door closes, "Maybe you should think about you casual cruelty and your inability to take its effects seriously before you ever marry or have children. I fear for them."

"Fuck off," he said, but there were tears in his eyes.

I don't know what those tears meant, but I meant what I said. I fear for those who find cruelty a toy, who will they become if they don't, one day, pack it away.
cimorene: (gr arg)
[personal profile] cimorene
So, when you print a pricetag at the Red Cross thrift store where I work, you have to navigate a hierarchical tree using arrows and Enter. An example would be "Apparel>Women's Clothing>Undergarments" or "Apparel>Accessories>Children's". Now the department is in the barcode, and the store/chain know what was sold, how long it was on the shelf first, what it cost, etc, and they use this to produce statistics.

And as a result of this, the cash registers can be programmed to automatically discount a whole department, like Women's Clothing or Furniture or Sport, all at once. This is useful for promotions like "ALL CLOTHING -50% THIS WEEK ONLY" - nothing for the cashier to do. (In contrast, with something like Buy Two X, Get the Cheaper ½ Off, the cashier has to check which it is and click 'Discount'.)

Well, this week, my department, Accessories, is on sale. The problem is, my department doesn't have a department in the store like the others. Socks, undergarments, and pajamas are in their respective clothing departments. Hats are there and also in sports. Scarves are in 4 different displays. Jewelry, wallets and sunglasses are in 3 displays unless they're designer or for special occasions. Swimsuits everyone just forgets about until the season. And most of the cashiers can't pass a test on whether all these items are part of the Accessories department or not.

Unfortunately, they need to know, because some (undergarments and swimwear) are officially categorized as clothing instead on the tag according to edicts from the chain level. So these have to be individually discounted anyway (and why not just leave them off the sale? Nobody asked me, that's why). BONUS: we just discovered my coworker in Accessories has been mistagging everything, up to and including jewelry, as clothing.

So that's hundreds of mistagged tiny items scattered throughout the store for the cashiers to (a) identify as accessories and (b) remember to check to make sure the discount rings up and individually discount it if not. Being a cashier here doesn't have any educational or experience prereqs, but it certainly requires certain abilities.

For bonus stress, I'm a cashier as well, and all week when I was at the register it meant I wasn't putting out stuff for the sale.

More popcorn

May. 27th, 2017 11:22 am
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
First, Mother Jones have put together a handy timeline, which they promise to keep updating:

Mother Jones: The Long, Twisted, and Bizarre History of the Trump-Russia Scandal

And the Guardian have a helpful guide to the multiple different investigations going on:

The investigations swirling around Donald Trump – a short guide

***********

So, lately:

NYT: At a Besieged White House, Tempers Flare and Confusion Swirls — from the 16th, which is practically decades ago in our new accelerated reality, but still fun:

Some of Mr. Trump’s senior advisers fear leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn.

It’s been widely rumoured/speculated that the White House "significant person of interest" is Jared Kushner:

Vox: It’s becoming increasingly clear that Jared Kushner is part of Trump’s Russia problem

(Via [personal profile] robynbender, this: https://twitter.com/bornmiserable/status/865695064722251776 Once this has been pointed out, it's hard to stop noticing it.)

Raw Story: White House looking at ethics rule to weaken special investigation: sources

The two people this could potentially block investigation into are Kushner and Manafort.

This also suggests it’s Kushner:

NBC News: Jared Kushner Under Scrutiny in Russia Probe, Officials Say

And late on Friday, we enter holy shit territory once more:

WaPo: Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin

Cut for length )

Children's stories

May. 27th, 2017 10:36 am
watervole: (Default)
[personal profile] watervole
 Favourite Oswin (age 3) moment this week.

Picking up a book of wild flowers and sitting down to read it (she loves flowers of every kind), we heard her 'reading' aloud:
"Once upon a time, there was a bluebell..."

Update 27 MAY 2017

May. 27th, 2017 12:05 pm
megpie71: Avon looking unimpressed, caption "Bite Me" (Avon2)
[personal profile] megpie71
This week everything happened at once.

I've known for a while that I had an essay due, a rationale and reflection document due, a short story to write (1500 - 2000 words) and a rent inspection due at some point this month. This week, the uncertainty bubble surrounding the date of the inspection collapsed, and we discovered when it was going to happen: this coming Wednesday (it's due in May, Wednesday is the 31st of May, it apparently counts).

For those of you not ensnared in the morass of the Australian rental market, let me describe the joys of a rental inspection to you. Firstly, you get told the inspection is happening at some time on a given day - usually with about a week's notice. The current real estate agency are nice enough people - they narrow it down to "some time between 12pm and 5.30pm", which is positively generous. Before this happens, you need to have the property in a condition which would satisfy either your mother, or your mother-in-law (depending on who has the more rigid housekeeping standards - if neither of these qualify, pick your unfriendly local germophobe). You also need the gardens (if there are any) looking good as well - the local mowing places do a lot of good business out of people who have inspections due! So, once you have the property in pristine condition (including things like cleaning off light switches, wiping down walls and cleaning the oven) you wait for the property manager (if you're renting from a real-estate agency) or the owner (if you're renting directly) to come in and have a look over the place. Now, technically, they're not supposed to be judging you on your housekeeping standards - but we all know this is so much horse elbows, so yeah, they are. If it's a property manager, they come in and often (these days) take photos of the interior of the place, in order to prove you've left the walls where they were when you came in, and to prove the roof hasn't spontaneously fallen in or similar. This, of course, means they're usually taking photos of your goods and chattels as well. Anyway, they come in, do their walk through, make sure you haven't knocked the place down since they were last there, then breeze back out again after making a report for the owner. The whole business takes about fifteen minutes to half an hour tops, but it requires about a week's solid effort in preparation because the place needs to be pristine for them.

This happens every three months, by the way (four a year).

We had the tradesman come around to have a look at the kitchen cupboards on Friday at about 7.30 in the morning. He brought the owner with him, which I would have appreciated knowing about beforehand (while the house wasn't in "complete dog's breakfast" condition, it wasn't quite at "suitable for unknown strangers visiting" levels of cleanliness). Basically, the owner and the tradesman consulted with each other, and I suspect the outcome is going to be a replacement of at least some (if not all) of the kitchen benches. Now, when this will happen (and whether we'll be in the property when it does) is currently all up in the air - our lease expires on the 21st of July, and while I'm going to be talking to the property manager about getting another twelve months in the place nailed down, what may wind up happening is the owner might decide (in the interests of "not disrupting our lives", gods help us[1]) to give us our notice to quit at the end of this current lease, so he can get the tradies in to do things uninterrupted. Now, I don't know whether this is certain, probable or merely in the range of possibilities out there, but it's something I've added to the list of potential worries coming up.

I've mostly finished all the uni assessments - I finished off the editing of my major essay for one of my units this morning (it's been sitting there waiting to be done like an albatross around my neck for the last three or four days, but when I try to do it in the afternoon, my brain basically throws up an "Out of Spoons" error and refuses to parse the wretched thing). I just have the short story to write a first draft of (for workshopping purposes) by Tuesday. Which should be fun, right? But once I've submitted that short story (due the 1st of June) I've finished for the semester, and all I have to do after that is wait for my results.

Of course, this also means I have to go and speak to AtWork regarding Work for the Dole, since at present my university study qualifies as my Work for the Dole activity - and technically they have me on the books as needing to do Work for the Dole until about August or thereabouts. So I need to find out whether I'm going to be breaching my mutual obligation requirements if I don't immediately start doing something else (like picking up litter, sorting rags, washing bottles, or picking oakum) immediately the moment I've handed in this last assignment.

Still going on MFF, have deleted Avengers Academy from the tablet (since it wasn't going anywhere, and was crashing on a regular basis every time I tried to open it) and I'm getting very fond of Final Fantasy Record Keeper, which I've been playing for over a year now, and which hasn't crashed, glitched, or demanded money from me in all that time. Why can't there be more games like that?

[1] The logic here being that having renovations done around us would be disruptive. Which, yes, it would. But having to move out on short notice, and find another place to live in for the amount we can afford (preferably close to uni - that's the main qualifying feature of this place, by the way - it's close enough to the university that we can basically be there within 15 minutes of leaving the house) would be even more disruptive.

Fess up

May. 27th, 2017 12:04 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which of you mentioned "cultural appropriation" to Orson Scott Card?

Also, are Irish accents really as hard as all that for Americans to understand?

last minute quickie

May. 26th, 2017 07:09 pm
crayonbeam: a neat pile of new crayons (Default)
[personal profile] crayonbeam
read Jake the Fake Keeps It Real in about an hour+

It was awesome!!! I loved it.

There were so many perfect throwaway jokes, and like my house, it had a kid going in to 6th grade and one going into 12th.

Spectacular sunset over the lake

May. 26th, 2017 08:18 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

One of the benefits of being on a higher floor of the hotel, even if this also means a lot of rather tedious waiting for lifts. I was going to take and post a photo, but I really don't think that my present state of tiredness is a good state in which to get to grips with DW photo posting. Also, on essaying to take a photo for later presentation, realised that the grimy marks on the window would be rather obtrusive.

Quite a full day, which started with waking up rather earlier than I had hoped, but not horribly so.

Socialising has taken place. There was going to be a walk, but then it started to rain (I wouldn;t say there was no chance of a walk that day, but not at that particular time).

Also have been on one panel, which I think suffered a little from ambiguity in framing its terms but nonetheless evoked some interesting discussion.

Observations of note: in the stuffed toy and knickknackery shop just around the corner in State Street, there is a stufft swan, right at the front of the window display: also an inflatable pool version. However, I should eschew props for my reading.

(no subject)

May. 26th, 2017 08:04 pm
violsva: Sidney Paget illustration of Watson reading, with the caption "Winner, JWP 2016" (watson's woes)
[personal profile] violsva
Title: Plots of Sax
Rating: T
Universe: Biscuitverse (BBC Sherlock)
Character(s): Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mary Morstan
Summary: For once it’s not (entirely) autocorrect’s fault.
Warnings/Enticements: Polyamory, Non-Consensual Drug Use, Texting, Humour
Word Count: 596

On AO3

Welcome to Books: FMK

May. 26th, 2017 01:08 pm
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
[personal profile] melannen has been culling her bookshelves by playing "Fuck Marry Kill" via poll. In the interests of doing the same, and also getting back to posting more book reviews, I have decided to join her. (I am doing "fling" rather than "fuck" just because my posts get transferred to Goodreads and I don't want EVERY post of mine on there littered with fucks.)

How to play: Fling means I spend a single night of passion (or possibly passionate hatred) with the book, and write a review of it, or however much of it I managed to read. Marry means the book goes back on my shelves, to wait for me to get around to it. (That could be a very long time.) Kill means I should donate it without attempting to read it. You don't have to have read or previously heard of the books to vote on them.

Please feel free to explain your reasoning for your votes in comments. For this particular poll, I have never read anything by any of the authors (or if I did, I don't remember it) and except for Hoover and Lively, have never even heard of the authors other than that at some point I apparently thought their book sounded interesting enough to acquire.

Poll #18415 FMK: Vintage YA/children's SFF
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 48


The Spring on the Mountain, by Judy Allen. Three kids have magical, possibly Arthurian adventures on a week in the country.

View Answers

Fling
17 (45.9%)

Marry
10 (27.0%)

Kill
10 (27.0%)

The Lost Star, by H. M. Hoover. A girl who lives on another planet hears an underground cry for help (and finds chubby gray cat centaurs if the cover is accurate)

View Answers

Fling
22 (56.4%)

Marry
11 (28.2%)

Kill
6 (15.4%)

The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, by Penelope Lively. Lucy visits her aunt in Hagworthy and is embroiled in the ancient Horn Dance and Wild Hunt.

View Answers

Fling
26 (61.9%)

Marry
5 (11.9%)

Kill
11 (26.2%)

Carabas, by Sophie Masson. Looks like a medieval setting. A shapeshifting girl gets accused of being a witch and runs off with the miller's son.

View Answers

Fling
18 (46.2%)

Marry
11 (28.2%)

Kill
10 (25.6%)

Of Two Minds, by Carol Mates and Perry Nodelman. Princess Lenora can makes what she imagines real; Prince Coren can read minds, but everyone can read his mind. (Ouch!)

View Answers

Fling
22 (55.0%)

Marry
10 (25.0%)

Kill
8 (20.0%)

Fandoms of Yesteryear

May. 26th, 2017 09:54 pm
oneiriad: (Default)
[personal profile] oneiriad
I just came home from seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

It was - okay, I guess. I'm possibly being unfair to it - I might have liked it far better if I'd never seen the first movie, or maybe if I had merely liked The Curse of the Black Pearl, the way audiences are supposed to. If I hadn't been fannish about it.

There were things I liked - Salazar was a surprisingly cheerful villain, the island of stars was quite pretty, and having a character with my name, well - I liked her a bit, though maybe not as much as she might have deserved in a different movie (and I found the constant witch accusations tiresome and not particularly amusing, though I suppose that's what they were meant to be - even in the chronological hodgepodge of the PotC movies (the guillotine would make it late 18th century, yes?) , to have a woman who shows an interest in basic astronomy immediately decried as a witch by every passing stranger? The only part more tiresome was the horologist "joke".)

Cutting for length and a few spoilers )

Making

May. 26th, 2017 07:04 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Making – The baby blanket. I’m two repeats in, and I think optimistically it’s going to take 15 repeats for the body, and then I can pick up stitches round my square, and get on with the border.

blanketstart 2017-05-26

Making– it clear that I know that the blanket and the swatch aren’t the same and I there is no reason to panic, that stitch pattern comes later. There is no need to send me 2445 emails telling me that you are very worried that I am making an extremely large mistake that I have not noticed.  (Although I admit that I am completely and totally charmed by them – I can guarantee that one would say “Stephanie, I didn’t want to leave a comment that might embarrass you but I think that you are using the wrong instructions for your blanket – the stitch pattern looks nothing like the swatch. Thought you would want to know before you knit the whole thing.”)

Making: Our own clothes. The sewing thing went pretty well, I made a pair of pants that are exactly what I wanted – after I ripped the seams out 4 times because of a really weird mistake around Imperial measurements (I didn’t convert them, I just guessed what 65″ was (and apparently I have NO IDEA) and compounded by some strange body image thing that didn’t warn me before I put the pants on that they were way too big.

samsews 2017-05-26

They are way smaller now. When I get a picture I’ll show you.  We finished shorts for Sam –

samshorts 2017-05-26

and she’s living in them. It turns out that until she owned Power Ranger shorts, she didn’t know there was a void in her life.

I made a skirt too! (I used this semi-pattern, though I don’t take direction particularly well)

skirtdonebetter 2017-05-26

It’s reversible – the inside is plain green.

greeninside 2017-05-26

I’m quite happy with it, though it’s a bit big as well. I’ll be moving the buttonhole so I can cinch it a little smaller.

Making: Up my mind that this weekend I need to ride my bike at least 80km. (That’s 50 miles, if you have as much trouble with metric as I do imperial.) I’ve been delaying getting out there as much as I should because I’ve been waiting for better weather (Toronto remains cold and rainy, and a lot of my bike routes are flooded) but while I’ve been waiting the training rides have been getting longer, and now I’m behind and pretty nervous. I rode 65km last weekend, and I’ve been out twice this week on shorter ones, but it’s time to get serious and take my lumps.

torontoweather 2017-05-26 (5)

That’s what the weather here looks like for the next week. Hold Team Knit in your heart a little this weekend. We’re going to be wet.

Making – up a list because it’s time for the first round of Karmic Balancing gifts!

First up, the kind folks at Rib Magazine (That’s Eric, Devon and Jennie) will be sending copies of their second issue to five knitters Brenda G, Mary H, Karen F, Melora B, and Kathleen C .

rib cover 2017-05-26

I’m in love with this magazine, by the way – if their second issue is as good as the first? You’ll love it too. They say “Rib Magazine‘s exciting second issue NAVIGATE is now available. With four garment designs from Irina Anikeeva, Fiona Ellis, Catrina Frost and Annie Lupton, as well as four accessory designs by Benjamin Krudwig, Maria Muscarella, Anca Mustea, and Louise Tilbrook, you’re sure to find something to knit for yourself or the men in your life.”

Helena, Alexa, and Julie; AKA Oink Pigments have this beautiful skein of their brand new Targhee Sock – 100% USA grown, processed, mill spun, & hand dyed blend of 90% Superwash Targhee and 10% Nylon in “Goldfish Bowl” that will be making it’s merry way to  Joanie S.

oinkyarn 2017-05-26

Julia at Semi-cool Ceramics (Pop over to that shop, she has some very charming things)  has made a beautiful handmade yarn bowl,

yarnbowls 2017-05-26

and I bet she didn’t know it when she made it, but it’s for Emma C.

Lisa T just got lucky – she’ll be choosing a gradient bundle like this one,

torontoweather 2017-05-26 (4)

from all the beautiful choices over at Dirty Water DyeWorks.  Thanks for donating that Stephanie, I have no idea how Lisa will choose.

Finally..

Making: Myself late. I gotta get downtown. I’ve emailed everyone who lucked out in the Karma department – and there will be (way) more to come. Thanks to everyone for the amazing donations and the wonderful gifts and you’re all my favourites.

"You with the Guardian?"

May. 26th, 2017 08:10 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
(X-posting to [community profile] thisfinecrew.)

Here's a thought:

If you disapprove of politicians beating up journalists (or winking at other politicians' beating up journalists) and have some spare cash, one possible action would be to contribute to the Guardian -- whose journalist, Ben Jacobs, got beaten up.

There are various options for becoming a member and paying a regular subscription, but you can also make a one-off contribution.

Although they're a British newspaper, their coverage of US issues is very very strong.

They would like to note (in an e-mail sent out to members) that they recently ran pieces including GOP candidate Greg Gianforte has financial ties to US-sanctioned Russian companies and Trump diehards stay loyal in Montana's 'white man's country' – video:

In that interview, the Guardian's west coast bureau chief, Paul Lewis, challenged Gianforte over his support of Trump's executive order that threatens more than two dozen national monuments in America, including the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana.

Reading: The River

May. 26th, 2017 07:19 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
I read several of Rumer Godden's novels in my teens, and loved her delicate capturing of the transition between childhood and adulthood, so when I found a couple of her books in the Oxfam bookshop recently I couldn't resist buying them. The River is a very short book, the story of Harriet, the second child in a European family living on the banks of a river in East Bengal (based, as the introduction makes clear, on Godden's own childhood home), during the course of an Indian winter which is the start of growing up for her, bringing her first real experiences of birth, death, love and loss, as well as her discovery of a talent for writing. It's quite insubstantial, and I didn't love it as much as I loved some of Godden's longer novels when I read them, but it's beautifully written and perfectly captures the confusion and isolation of suddenly not being a child any more, but still not being a grown-up.
cpolk: (Default)
[personal profile] cpolk
I've decided to track what I do in a day, in 30 minute increments. I already have some observer effect, as I have only spent 30 minutes goofing around on the internet.

I'm not sure how long I should continue the experiment. I think for the month of June? 


[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Flashback Friday. 

Responding to critics who argue that poor people do not choose to eat healthy food because they’re ignorant or prefer unhealthy food, dietitian Ellyn Satter wrote a hierarchy of food needs. Based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it illustrates Satter’s ideas as to the elements of food that matter first, second, and so on… starting at the bottom.

The graphic suggests that getting enough food to eat is the most important thing to people. Having food be acceptable (e.g., not rotten, something you are not allergic to) comes second. Once those two things are in place, people hope for reliable access to food and only then do they begin to worry about taste. If people have enough, acceptable, reliable, good-tasting food, then they seek out novel food experiences and begin to make choices as to what to eat for instrumental purposes (e.g., number of calories, nutritional balance).

As Michelle at The Fat Nutritionist writes, sometimes when a person chooses to eat nutritionally deficient or fattening foods, it is not because they are “stupid, ignorant, lazy, or just a bad, bad person who loves bad, bad food.”  Sometimes, it’s “because other needs come first.”

Originally posted in 2010; hat tip to Racialicious; cross-posted at Jezebel.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

(no subject)

May. 26th, 2017 09:41 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] aedifica and [personal profile] the_rck!

It's No Problem

May. 26th, 2017 08:01 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

We came into the lobby and were blown away. It was completely redesigned and really fresh and beautiful. It's a smaller chain known for room that are reasonably priced and for pretty good service. As we are in our 60s and as we'd been driving for hours our first request was for directions to the toilets. We were pointed in their general direction. There was a men's, a women's, and and all genders toilet, I was initially pleased to see the inclusivity until I noticed that none of them had the disabled symbol on them. I guessed that the all genders toilet would be the one and I guessed right.

Now I'm feeling a little bit bad for feeling a little bit annoyed. Why the loss of the disabled symbol? Knowing at a glance which washroom I can use is really helpful. Was I being petty? Was I simply tired and churlish? I don't know, but I felt that it was like the hotel saying, 'there's only so much diversity we can deal with so be grateful for what's here and hush up." When I mentioned the bathrooms to the clerk he went on and on about how nice it is to be welcoming to everyone. I pointed out the lack of disabled symbol and the guess I'd made. It was like talking to someone who cared a lot about what he already thought and didn't want to think any more thank you.

Then, after checking in, I wanted to go into the little shop beside the registration desk to get a snack for the room. It wasn't wheelchair accessible. They had these poles holding nicely designed curved frosted glass and at the bottom of the pole was a huge round disk. I suppose to others it would look pretty but to me it looked like a significant barrier. I tried and was right, I couldn't get in.

I remarked to the clerk that when doing renovations, which he had proudly spoken of while we were checking in, so I knew they were recently done, it would have made sense to have this area wheelchair accessible. He said, "But it's no problem, I can help get you what you want.?"

"That's not the point," I said, "I would like to go in and select myself, I can't even see everything from here."

He smiled at me like he would a child that didn't understand the way of the world.

I do understand the way of the world.

And the way of the web.

Yes, the letter is already written.

I should have kept count of how many of these I've written. I didn't realize upon becoming disabled that I'd become a prolific writer of letters documenting, to those who think we'd not notice, prejudice built and bigotry encountered. But they have to know we notice. They have to know.
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

It is only after our heroes confess this particular sin and embrace the "Bible-prophecy" teachings of Tim LaHaye that they become Real, True Christians and receive divine forgiveness and salvation. In Left Behind, the refusal to acknowledge LaHaye’s teaching as supreme truth is the equivalent of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin that condemns one to Hell along with the preterists, the a-Millennialists and the Jews.

Out of curiosity

May. 26th, 2017 01:08 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
What happens if the new Republican rep for Montana is now convicted of assault?

He appears to have "declined" a further interview requested by local law enforcement (which, much like "declining" a subpoena, is one of those things I didn't know you could do).

But he's apologized (or "apologized") for having "made a mistake".

(A "mistake" that allegedly involved grabbing someone by the neck with both hands, body-slamming them to the floor, then repeatedly punching them.)

Paul Ryan (displaying all the guts and principle we have come to expect from him) took the bold stand of saying Gianforte should apologize. Other Republicans seem to feel that Ben Jacobs should apologize for having wickedly provoked Gianforte to attack him by being a liberal journalist in public.

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