oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

Scarlett Thomas: Why I was wrong about children’s fiction.

I do see that she has come to realise that 'children's books: not the easy option',from trying to write one, because have we not, my dearios, seen an awful lot of celebs who think any fule can can write a kiddybook?

But, might we not also see in that article that she seems also to be coming round to the notion that fantasy is Not A Bad (or at least, a lesser, genre) Thing?

The two categories do seem to be somewhat assimilated, even conflated.

And I really don't think you get very far just by replacing one binary with another binary:

Instead of thinking there’s “literary fiction” and “everything else”, or even adult fiction and children’s fiction, I now believe that there are books with magic and without.

I don't think it's that simple, even if she's using 'magic' in its broader sense?

I think there are still some unexamined assumptions around canon and literary value going on there.

Reading: The Truth

Mar. 25th, 2017 01:39 pm
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
A lie can run round the world before the truth has got its boots on.

Having got almost as far as I'm planning to go with my City Watch re-read (I might re-read Thud!, I probably won't re-read Snuff), I decided to take a diversion into the subset of books branching off it which could loosely be described as "Ankh-Morpork's Industrial Revolution", beginning with The Truth and then continuing with the Moist Von Lipwig books. (Some people seem to include Moving Pictures in this subset, but I don't, because in Moving Pictures it's basically all eldritch forces and things return to "normal" at the end, whereas the changes which happen in The Truth and the Moist Von Lipwig books are permanent and influence the Ankh-Morpork shown in later books.) In this one, movable type printing comes to Ankh-Morpork, and leads in short order to the launch of the Discworld's first newspaper. Meanwhile, there's yet another conspiracy among the rich and influential to bring down Lord Vetinari and replace him with a Patrician who is more to their taste, but while Vimes and the other members of the Watch are certainly on the case, this time the focus is on William de Worde, an underemployed intellectual with an unwavering dedication to truth and fairness who is estranged from his wealthy and bigoted father and who suddenly finds himself editor and lead writer of the Ankh-Morpork Times.

I remember enjoying The Truth a lot when I first read it; on re-reading I still think it's one of the best Discworld books, and it is also the perfect Pratchett for the era of fake news and alternative facts, because it's all about how the news media shapes people's understanding of the world around them, the way people are more likely to believe stories which confirm their existing biases even if they're lies, and the difference between the public interest and what the public is interested in. (It also features a character saying that they can't instruct the assembly of Guild leaders to reverse a legitimate decision, even if it turns out to be based on erroneous information, which hit fairly hard given recent and ongoing events.) It's also about the immigrant experience, the reasons why people move to another country, the difficulties they face, and how hard it is even for the more open-minded native-born citizens to appreciate the true extent of cultural difference. It's definitely one of my favourites.

On this day in 1911

Mar. 25th, 2017 10:12 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Enjoy this preview of what working life will be like in the US once the Republicans strip workers of every legal protection.


(no subject)

Mar. 25th, 2017 11:19 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] staranise!

MCU mini-marathon

Mar. 25th, 2017 06:34 pm
scaramouche: Captain America's shield & Iron Man's arc reactor; Civil War artwork (steve+tony)
[personal profile] scaramouche
Still in a Steve/Tony high, I decided to have an MCU mini-marathon with The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. It was most fun. Some conclusions:
  • The Avengers is more nerve-wracking in rewatch, knowing that SHIELD is actually Hydra part deux. Just about everything to do with or done by SHIELD made me anxious.

  • The action in The Avengers isn't... shot very well. Age of Ultron, despite having more CGI weirdness, is far more dynamic and physics-heavy. On the flipside, The Avengers as a whole is continuously exciting and engaging, while I found myself mentally checking out of some quieter scenes of Age of Ultron. As for Civil War, it feels emotionally tight in a way that the other two films simply don't, and the hand-to-hand combat is also excellent, but the airport fight goes on way too long in rewatch.

  • There is something to be said for the opinion I'd seen on the interwebs that Age of Ultron works really well as an immediate follow-up to The Avengers, i.e. if you pretend that Iron Man 3 never happened. (Captain America: The Winter Soldier less so, because there's at least some consequences from that movie brought forward.) Which is a bummer, because I love Iron Man 3.

  • Considering I just read a book about meteoroids and global-level extinctions, Ultron's plan is even more ridiculous. I mean, sure, superhero-movie physics, but eh.

  • Steve's dialogue improves DRAMATICALLY between The Avengers and Age of Ultron. How much of that was Steve's The Avengers PTSD getting lost to the cutting room floor, and how much was it due to Steve's snarkiness being highlighted in The Winter Soldier, which might've influence the writing for Age of Ultron? Don't even get me started of Steve's costume in The Avengers.

  • Natasha and Thor are hilarious, and although I can understand them being flattened a lot in fic that's focused on other characters, it's still a damn shame that it happens.

  • Look, Steve is my fav, but the thing that bugged me the most about his POV in Civil War is that he presented no alternatives to signing the Accords. He was just a wall, and made no effort to bridge the divide. I can buy that being part and parcel of the character, but let's just say that I know enough walls like that in real life that I get stressed as hell seeing it in fiction.

  • The logic of the Accords continue to be shaky as hell (why... are they blaming damage caused by other parties on the Avengers) but I can buy this in a sense because the true endgame a la Zemo had nothing to do with the Accords itself. Though I am interested in seeing how the Accords play out in the following films, if at all.

  • All three films involve the core team being split apart by the bad guy. ALL THREE. It's weird as hell to watch back-to-back, and the only thing Civil War does differently is that it makes it permanent, while the previous two have the team getting back together for the sake of the battlefield, though without actually talking about it or having any emotionally honest team moments. Which, I guess, highlights how the team was volatile to begin with, and only really work as a team when they can focus on a common target. Fandom has wanked to hell and back about whether these guys really are friends instead of mini-cliques who work together by necessity, but I find it more interesting to look at it this way: Tony and Steve's first real emotional moments happen under the weight of the Accords, and later in Siberia in the worst possible circumstances. (They had a single, great banter scene at the end of Age of Ultron, but it felt like merely skimming the surface, especially compared to the connection between Tony and Bruce in The Avengers, plus Steve's with Sam and Nat in The Winter Soldier.) Extrapolating from that, Avengers: Infinity War would be a spectacular cap off for this cycle of films if it manages to present true, bona fide emotional team moments. No pressure.*

*I mean, I'd love it, though I know better than to pin my hopes on it.

It's just really egregious when watching the films back-to-back, how the team just head off for the final fight with Loki/Ultron without addressing the team conflict presented on-screen beforehand. The Avengers is less an issue because they're just starting out as a team, but Age of Ultron is really awkward -- they were literally beating the crap out of each other before Vision pops out and picks up Mjolnir.

I felt that Civil War does really well to address that emotional gap with dialogue that actually depicts familiarity between the members (the Steve & Tony argument just before Barnes gets triggered is so so SO different from their arguments in the first two films, with actual affection present between the lines) but, well... civil war, et cetera. Even the epic fight in the airport felt less stressful in a sense, because they were aiming to stop, not to hurt, whereas the fights in both Avengers films were very much targeting the soft, squishy bits of each other. Basically, after watching the first two Avengers I felt starved for more friendly interactions, but somehow after Civil War I wasn't as much, despite it ending on such open-ended heartbreak. Which is food for thought, I guess.

While I was about halfway through Civil War, my father came in and decided to join me. He'd never seen it before, and he hasn't seen Age of Ultron either, but he seemed to be able to follow it well enough, and was really into it until he realized what was going on and said, appalled, "They're fighting each other?"

Plus, once the reveal with the 1991 accident happened, he said flatly: "Well, that's difficult."

Yes. Yes, it is.

Books Post – Norse Mythology

Mar. 24th, 2017 09:38 pm
radiantfracture: (Default)
[personal profile] radiantfracture
I seem to have endured a flurry of dopamine-click-led not-entirely-well-advised online book ordering. Things keep arriving, often things that are not quite what I imagined they'd be when I ordered them, if I remember ordering them at all.

An elderly yet still robust copy of Brigid Brophy's The Snow Ball arrived today (discussed brilliantly on Backlisted here). That can only be a good thing.

And this week I sat right down in the middle of the Salinas Valley (page 353) to read Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology.

I hadn't read any Gaiman in a good while. I thought it would be happy to check back in with him, and with the Norse myth-world of my childhood.

Norse Mythology's dust jacket is beautiful: a soft matte black infinity dusted with stars, with a lustrous Mjolnir in the centre.

Some of my favorite stories from the mythos are in Gaiman's book (the forging of Mjolnir, the birth of Sleipnir), and some I didn't know as well (the mead of poetry). Some of the gods I feel most affinity for are less prominent (Baldur, Bragi).

Gaiman and I are both totally hot for Loki, so that works out, because Loki kind of is the protagonist both of this retelling and, arguably, the mythos itself. I'm not a traditional storyteller or an anthropologist, but it seems to me that Gaiman picks up on the culture-hero role of tricksters like Loki as creators and bad/fortunate role models.

I’ve loved Gaiman's use of this mythos in other works: Sandman especially, and American Gods. Norse Mythology itself isn't a wholly successful adaptation for me.

Why? )

Ultimately, reading Norse Mythology made me want to re-read the book of Norse myths I had (or at least read) as a child. I did a search; the book must almost certainly be the d’Aulaires’, probably in the 1967 version.

I found it in a Popular Online Bookstore, and then, on even sexier second thought, at the local library.

Now I will say positive things about a book, to prove I can.

Just when East of Eden was fading me out, Steinbeck dropped deeper into the workings of Cal's character, and my faith flared up again. Steinbeck is very good at imagining the inner lives of people without ordinary empathy. I find it exhausting to be in those minds for such long stretches, but this is not the same as the work not being well done. The work is done very well.

{rf}

(no subject)

Mar. 24th, 2017 11:42 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Tomorrow is my 30th birthday and I’m going to go to a friend’s wedding shower and pick up a balloon bouquet I got for myself and flowers that my girlfriend sent me and have dinner with my family incl. all my in-town nephews and I’m going to tie a balloon to the youngest one and watch him run around trying to charm the cats. (I forget if I mentioned, this week my sister in law sent us a video where she asks him, “Where do you want to go?” and he says “GAW-LA-GER. GRAMMA. KITTY!”)

When i was a little kid I used to dream of being in my 30s. I always wanted to grow up. Being an adult was when you got to choose where you lived, what you ate, who you spent time with, what you got to do. Even when I was eight, I dreamed so hard of being settled in my career with a spouse and family, able to right some of the wrongs I saw in the world and make art that mattered.

Getting here has been so hard--and between mental illness and the economy, I’m not nearly as settled, married, or fecund as I’d like to be--but you know the fuck what, I’m happy to be here anyway.

Tell Me I Will

Mar. 25th, 2017 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

The little wheelchair symbol had worn off the centre of the table, granted, but as it's the only one of two tables, amongst over a hundred, you'd imagine that it would be easy to notice that two chairs are missing. But maybe I just know what that means because that's the kind of table that I need to sit at. There she sat, completely unaware of me lingering about waiting for a revelation to strike while she tapped away on her phone while eating her lunch.

We ordered our food and waited as it was being prepared. My hopes that she would be a speedy eater were low to begin with, she looked like someone who chewed. The food came but she hadn't left. So I screwed up my gumption and headed over to ask her to move. There were lots of other tables available but I still hated asking her. She responded with a quick apology and a quick move.

But why ...

... do I feel that she gave me something that I need to be grateful to her for?

... do I feel that I intruded into her lunch and was a bother to her?

... do I feel that I do not have as much right to space that is designated for me and those like me as she does for her and people like her.

... do I feel like my 'ask' could have been acceptably turned down?

Being disabled, for me, is sometimes just too complex and I have yet to come to terms with my right to space and my right for appropriate accommodation And it's been over ten years!

Will I ever get it?
pantryslut: (Default)
[personal profile] pantryslut
Still reading "The Lost Time Accidents." We have moved past WWI and into WWII, and yes, thank you, the resonances with our current political climate are present, if mostly backgrounded. The more obvious SF jokes/references (writer "Orson Card Tolliver," the "Church of Synchronology") are a little distracting, and bound to be more so as we head toward more contemporary times, but so far it's at a tolerable level.

Doesn't sound very close to me

Mar. 24th, 2017 09:16 pm
oursin: Hedgehog saying boggled hedgehog is boggled (Boggled hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

While I have quite oft remarked that, if you want to exercise regularly, it really helps if where you do it is easy to get to, and something that may not be the absolutely ideal thing but close at hand is more likely to actually get done on a relatively regularly basis than something that might be optimum but a faff to get to. (This probably applies to other things as well.)

But while this article more or less substantiates The Wisdom of the Hedjog in principle, I was a bit beswozzled by the travel distance cited - 3.7 miles - which does not strike me as what I would consider a walkable distance, at least if one's combining it (there and back) with a workout.

It's a different world. And I would like to know, are we talking public transport? or driving? to get there.

Reiterates anecdote of walking from where I was staying in Austin TX to Zilker Park, through entirely deserted streets, and found when I got there hordes of people who had driven there to walk, jog, etc.

February booklog

Mar. 24th, 2017 08:47 pm
wychwood: Lt Welsh facepalming (due South - Welsh facepalm)
[personal profile] wychwood
14. Promise of Shadows - Justina Ireland ) Very YA novel - there's some interesting bits, but it's not really the kind of book that works for adults, I don't think. You have to be about fifteen for this one.


15. Hild - Nicola Griffith ) I can see a lot of good things about this book, but ultimately it was just not what I wanted it to be. And I do think she gets religion wrong.


16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and 18. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling ) I was planning a whole series re-read, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep on with it - but there are still a lot of good things about this series.


17. Origin in Death - JD Robb ) Solid, as ever, and proper science fiction too.


19. Fashion in Action - John K Snyder III ) Really strange fashion-and-action-adventure, but this was a lot of fun. The 80s were really weird, sometimes.


20. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen ) Probably not one for readers who aren't already fans, but if you are, this goes from "huh, ok" to fascinating, and it's extremely readable.


21. Better and 22. Being Mortal - Atul Gawande ) Gawande is just great. I'm sorry there aren't more of these to read.


23. Life and Society in the Hittite World - Trevor Bryce ) This was harder work than I expected, and mostly interesting to me as a case study of how little it is possible to know about the past. But it's definitely left me thinking.

Kneel, Sit, or Stand with a Fist?

Mar. 24th, 2017 11:39 am
black_pearl: (Default)
[personal profile] black_pearl
Tonight I will attend the 2018 World Cup Qualifier in San Jose, CA.
It will be the first sporting event I will attend after Colin Kaepernick's anthem protest became known (I will note that friends of mine have been protesting the anthem for years).

Although Kaepernick, as well as U.S. Soccer player Megan Rapinoe, have stated that they will no longer protest the anthem by kneeling, I have decided that I will no longer stand for the anthem without a symbolic display of some sort.

I had planned to stand and raise my fist as a tribute to San Jose State's John Carlos and Tommie Smith. I also prefer it as an active resistance symbol.

However, two things happened that changed my mind. First, a couple of weeks ago U.S. Soccer created a policy requiring their representatives  "stand respectfully during the anthem". Those of you who know me well know that I was well known in soccer circles for my supporters group leadership and organizing. I have worked with the federation in the past in organizing fan sections and gatherings for US games in the Bay Area (both men and women). Thanks to recent changes in their fan membership policy I am now also a voting member for board elections. Needless to say, I am disappointed in this new policy.

Second was Trump taunting Kaepernick for being without a team. Fuck him.

I'm kneeling in response.

I have literal front row sideline seats for this game. We will be visible on camera throughout the game (7:30 pm on FS1). I doubt they'll broadcast my actions during the anthem, but if there are any real problems I will make sure it's visible that my first amendment rights are not being respected (I've got the Mobile Justice app on my phone).

I am nervous. I don't want to be arrested because the kids will be with me, but I also want to visible on my views here.

Wish me luck. 

Race, Gender, and Book Reviews

Mar. 24th, 2017 03:39 pm
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Flashback Friday.

In a post at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Steve Rendall and Zachary Tomanelli investigated the racial breakdown of the book reviewers and authors in two important book review venues, the New York Times Book Review and C-SPAN’s After Words.  They found that the vast majority of both reviewers and authors were white males.

Overall, 95% of the authors and 96% of the reviewers were non-Latino white (compare that with the fact that whites are just over 60% of the U.S. population as of 2016).

Women accounted for between 13 and 31% of the authors and reviewers:

This is some hard data showing that white men’s ideas are made more accessible than the ideas of others, likely translating into greater influence on social discourse and public policy.  These individuals certainly don’t all say the same thing, nor do they necessarily articulate ideas that benefit white men, but a greater diversity of perspectives would certainly enrich our discourse.

Via Scatterplot.

Originally posted in September, 2010.

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)

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My gaming group is starting a new campaign using Mage. I had been thinking of a martial artist but someone else wants to play a wuxia character. Now I am thinking of maybe going in a Doctor Thirteen direction: a parapsychologist who has never investigated a claim of magic where it wasn't a fraud, even back in the days when it was him, his three friends and the talking dog tooling around in a crappy van.

I am thinking the two schools of magic he can do are Prime (specifically dispel magic) and Life (with a major in talking to animals).

If he was a teen in 1969, he's in his sixties now? But I see him as unusually well-preserved. All that running from "monsters" is excellent cardio.
havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
[personal profile] havocthecat
I don't even have time to be posting, but I am, because. I'm halfway through Iron Fist and suddenly a Daughters of the Dragon team-up series for Colleen Wing and Misty Knight is now all I ever want in a new MCU show. Oh, please. Please, Marvel? I think you could actually do this and have it not suck?

(Because I know Jessica Jones is going to keep going and be amazing, so I'm not worried there. Jess and Trish will have their friendship day.)

I would also not say no to a Heroes for Hire series featuring some combination of Misty, Jessica, Trish, Colleen, and with a side order of Karen and Claire and maybe Marci and Jeri Hogarth every now and again. I mean, it could be episodic instead of arc-based with different team-ups based on the stories you're telling! (If only they had the rights to Black Cat too.)

I just. So many women! So many strengths and flaws and well-rounded characters who could have these great shows. Maybe? Jessica Jones did so well and Supergirl is too, so maybe?

I'll keep dreaming. But in the meantime, back to overwhelming deadlines. But later, I need to find me some Marvel Netflix icons. I'm sadly lacking in them.

Intrepid Investigator Starbuck

Mar. 24th, 2017 04:49 pm
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I love it when I’m researching a potential new donor and it turns out that not only do they have past felony convictions for financial crimes, they may have defrauded my own organization already. 

That’s what I call getting out ahead of the curve.

(Actually it’s kind of cool to be the one to uncover potential criminal malfeasance until I have to figure out who to report it to and probably give some kind of statement if it turns out to be true.) 

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2nZvtDF
via IFTTT

Cool Stuff Friday

Mar. 24th, 2017 11:41 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

…and then the Fridays began.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
[personal profile] cereta posting in [community profile] agonyaunt
DEAR HARRIETTE: My cousin and I have been close for all my life. We are about the same age, and we go to the same college. We applied to all the same schools and even have the same major. It has been fun having her to share the college experience with.

This morning, I received a text message from my cousin asking me to write a research paper for her. She offered me compensation for this. I was stunned. I have never even thought about having someone else do my work. I warned her about plagiarism and that her academic integrity is being placed on the line. How can I get the point across that she should never try to get out of doing her own work? -- Not Your Words, Syracuse, New York

DEAR NOT YOUR WORDS: It is doubtful that you can change your cousin’s mind about her unethical behavior. What you can do is put your foot down and let her know where you stand. Have a sincere conversation with her. Talk about your life together and all the things that you have enjoyed together over the years. Remind her of how excited you both were when you got into the same college. Impress upon her how special you believe it is that the two of you are on this journey together. Then, tell her that you do not think it is honest or wise to blur the lines the way she has suggested. Tell her that you absolutely will not write a paper for her, and that you do not think this is a path she should travel. Urge her to dig in and do the work herself.
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Writing a bad book — a hastily written, shabbily imagined, incoherent story with wrenching lapses in continuity, hilarious factual errors, and characters that do not behave in recognizably human ways — was the only way for LaHaye & Jenkins to keep their prophecy beliefs intact. Had they tried to write a better book — one in which, at a minimum, there was a semblance of continuity and in which people acted like people — they would have been forced to realize that the thing they’ve been telling themselves they believe is an impossibility.

Drabble: A mere manner of speaking

Mar. 24th, 2017 10:02 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan
Eliza Ferraby looks where she has just written: ‘Sure I have nigh fallen in love with Lady Jane’. 'Tis a mere manner of speaking about a lady one finds entire after one’s own heart, with her fine herb-garden and well-equipped stillroom, her remarkable skill in dairy matters. Simply means one is greatly prepossessed by her. And yet, when Lady Jane talks of the late Miss Billston, there seems, Eliza frowns, she knows not what, but more than the affection due a cousin. But now she writes to Clorinda, and recalls those laughing blue eyes; and feels a curious inward flutter.

Good Old Helpful Me

Mar. 24th, 2017 04:45 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Wallets are a big deal to me. I take a long time to pick out a wallet. I am very specific in what I want from it, and, to me, it's the most private thing that I own. In fact one of the biggest fights that Joe and I had in the nearly 50 years we've been together was over my wallet. He did something quite innocent, he knew I had money in my wallet, and he needed the extra cash, so we went and got it. Now, we take all our cash from the same pot. We both put in, we both take out. The cash was not the issue. The issue was that the wallet is mine, don't go in my wallet without my permission, and I'd rather get something out of my wallet than have you take it out for yourself.

Now, let's be clear, I'm not hiding anything in my wallet that I don't want Joe to see. I do not have identification papers for the secret superhero that I become, "Phat Tire: He's so mean he'd roll over Beethoven!" It's nothing like that.my wallet just has wallet stuff in it, but the thing is, it's mine and it's only mine.

So, wallets are a big deal to me.

Yesterday I was in the line up behind a man with both an intellectual disability and cerebral palsy. He walked with a walker, his speech was slow but clear, and he was chatting with the clerk. When I joined the line, no one else had been standing there, they sped up the purchasing process. He got out his wallet and pulled out some bills and then opened the small change pocket in his wallet to get out some coin. It was at this point that the clerk leaned over and began to reach into that same small pocket to help him get the change out more quickly. I saw his face.

I saw his face.

He didn't like it.

I got it.

I'd hate it.

A wallet is private space.

I said to him, "You just need to tell her." He shook his head, clearly embarrassed at being caught being angry at someone being nice. "No," he said to me, "it's alright."

"Okay," I said, "it's none of my business, but me, I'd speak up."

You understand that the clerk stopped what she was doing and was listening to us. She turned to him and said, "Speak up about what, tell me what?" His face went red. He was trapped.

And I felt the immediate asshat. I had no right to jump in and try to help.I was doing exactly what she was doing, except she was reaching into his private wallet, I was reaching into his private thoughts. That need to grab the handles of my wheelchair, that intrusion that I don't like to the point of hating it - well there I was, the handles on the back of his disability gave me a permission that wasn't real.

"I don't like it when you reach into my wallet. I can get the change myself." He said it without looking at her and with a few angry glances towards me. As big as I am I felt very small.

"OH! OH! OH!" she said, "I was just trying to help."

"I know, but I don't like it."

"Why didn't you say something before?"

"It's hard for me," he said, "I know that people are just being nice."

It will surprise you but I kept my mouth shut and my opinion on that did not cross my lips.

"You should tell people what you want and what you don't want," she said, "because now I feel bad."

He was now getting upset. He didn't want to upset her or for her to feel bad.

I did this. I created this mess.

They came to resolution. She wouldn't help him any more with the change and he would tell her when or if he needed help.

He left and I approached the counter. She thanked me for my intervention.

He didn't.

That's an important distinction.

(no subject)

Mar. 24th, 2017 01:22 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I just feel really discouraged with Tumblr this week.

Yes!!! I am aware that my viral post du jour does not adequately address the racial, class, and economic factors that make the concept inaccessible to other people!!! It also does not cite the geneaology of the concepts I used. I wrote it in half an hour before I collapsed with pain and fatigue. I don't actually find the concept accessible either; it's a vague sketch of "ideas I wish were not fundamentally poisoned for me." My apologies for failing to attain perfection in an endeavour that neither contributes to my livelihood nor furthers my career.

(no subject)

Mar. 23rd, 2017 11:44 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Just finished reading: Fair Play by Josh Lanyon

I read the first book in the series, Fair Game, not long after it came out in 2010. It's stuck in my head ever since then. The series is M/M romance and mystery thriller, and part of what amazed me is that the romance was written as intricately as the crime; I was amazed at how the entire tone of the novel shifted without anything being detectably different, and traced the shift back down to a single word in a sex scene that cause a cascading shift of perceptions of peoples' motives and reactions. It was impressive.

So this month Audible coughed up a recommendation for another Lanyon book and I checked it out, and behold! It was the further adventures of the two protagonists from Fair Game. Since romance novels almost always end just as the relationship gets truly underway, I was all up in that shit. After I finished Book 2, I immediately bought and began Book 3. I then took a break from Book 3 to make a cup of tea and play with my cat, and wanted to sit down and write this out while it was still fresh in my mind.

Fair Play is fascinating because it's all about CONFLICT in the relationship and it's glorious. (That is, there are a couple mystery plots, but while I'll read them I won't pretend they're important to me.) Elliot, the protagonist, left the FBI when he was injured in the line of duty; he now teaches university history. Tucker, his boyfriend, is still an active FBI agent. Elliot's an extremely logical guy doesn't understand his own emotions super well, who's used to the people in his life giving him a lot of autonomy and independence; Tucker's a former foster kid who's put a lot of work into understanding himself and is leaping aboard the emotional closeness train with alacrity, but he's very used to being either totally self-sufficient or taking care of other people--not to having a partner, much less someone who wants to take care of him. They love each other, but they start off not knowing very much about how to share their decision-making processes, how to argue productively, or how to show love and concern for each other without surrendering their autonomy or self-respect.

And you know what? They god-damn well figure it out. They love each other so much that rather than break up, they keep finding ways to introspect, express their feelings, advocate for their viewpoints, understand each other, and work it through. It's especially interesting to watch from Elliot's perspective. He's so very unlike me in a way that reminded me of my own special perspective and skills--when he's sitting there thinking, "Why am I angry? It doesn't make sense when you look at the logical situation" I'm screaming "ATTACHMENT THEORY!" but that's not how he operates. But at the same time, his emotional process was written in what felt like a very accurate and honest fashion--he does try, honestly and intelligently, and when he has an emotional breakthrough he faces it wholeheartedly and works it through with such dedication you can see why he tries not to have them too often.

There are occasional sour notes in the narration, especially around women or fat people, that make me a little uncomfortable because I can't quite tell whether it's Lanyon's opinion or just that Elliot is very like Dan Savage in that as a stoic fit white cis gay man from the Pacific Northwest, Elliot has internalized a set of prejudices he's never felt the need to question--he takes for granted that, for example, aging women who express alarm in response to others' misfortune and attempt to emotionally mother others are an alien, offputting, and unattractive species, from whom he would rather distance himself, and never thought more about the topic.

Still. I've finished my cup of tea, so I'm gonna go back to Book 3.

Dietician update

Mar. 23rd, 2017 10:36 pm
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
I had a phone interview yesterday with a dietitian who specializes in people with disordered relationships with food. I like her, and think I can definitely work with her.

Meanwhile, cut for discussion of weight )
scaramouche: Anna from Supernatural in cartoon form (spn: anna cartoon)
[personal profile] scaramouche
During some link-hopping I discovered that, despite Disney tentatively doing a live-action film of their The Little Mermaid, and there being a film adaptation with Shirley MacLaine coming out this year, another indie film managed to leapfrog both for a 2016 release and became, officially, the first English-language live-action feature film adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.

(It's true. Despite the book coming out in the 19th century, all the prior adaptations have been animated, live-action for television, or in languages other than English.)

Last night I watched this 2016 film, which stars Rosie Mac as the little mermaid, and can say quite reasonably that the only thing this film has going for it is that it that was made quickly enough to get that First English-Language Live-Action Film Adaptation moniker. Its worst fault isn't that it looks like it was made for $100 dollars (of which $90 dollars was spent on the gorgeous mermaid tail that seen for maybe 30 seconds), or that the story is a cynical modern-day adaptation with very little wonder, or that the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Its worst fault is that it's boring.

I can forgive a lot if there's a decent idea somewhere in the center of any story, and although there were a few flashes of maybe-brilliance in this adaptation, it's just a slog to watch, and with very little charm. I didn't care about or understand any of the characters, and I had very little idea of what the story was trying to say. Plus it had that sense of look-how-edgy-we-are in having the little mermaid and her (first) prince having a one night stand that ends badly, and then the little mermaid being curious about sex toys and then becoming a burlesque dancer. I have very little patience for edgelord adaptations that don't retain any sense of magic, and not to mention that this makes it the third recent cynical adaptation for The Little Mermaid specifically, the others being Little From the Fish Shop and Charlotte's Song (which is more inspired-by instead of a straight adaptation, but still).

Still, I think in theory that I could have enjoyed a modern-day adaptation that takes a cold, hard look at the culture clash of a mute mermaid having to navigate our world, if only it weren't so damn dull and cheerless.

At each other’s throats

Mar. 23rd, 2017 09:52 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

We the people are beleaguered and beset. America in 2017 is an unhappy place full of unhappy people. And it's no wonder why -- what with everyone constantly trying to shove all kinds of things down one another's throats. So what are we having shoved down our throats today? Let's check.

I would like a typo better

Mar. 23rd, 2017 08:02 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

In my post the other day, I wrote that there would be 1600 rows in the edging, and Katie (who is surely a hopeful person, full of optimism) wrote and said “Surely that’s a typo.”  Vickiebee even said “Maybe it’s 1600 stitches?”

No, my petals, not a typo, and not stitches – though maybe not as bad as you’re thinking. I am cleverly drawing pictures here, so as not to take detailed pictures of the blankie that would give it all away to Alex and Meg. (Plus it’s really scrunched up on a circular.)  This is a pretty classic way of approaching this,  if you’re thinking of Shetland Island shawls, which, like most normal people, I always am.

First, I cast on provisionally, and I knit the centre.  (That’s a lie. First I knit a swatch, wash it, and block it. That tells me how many stitches to cast on, and how long to carry on for if I want it to be roughly square.)

begin 2017-03-23

When the centre is finished, I pick up stitches all the way around, and unpick the provisional cast-on, pick those up too, and now I’m equipped to work in the round. (Here, you will note, I make that sound like cake. It’s totally not – in the classic sense, this picking up business is pretty easy. The Shetland Shawls are garter base lace, and so the ratio for picking up is 1 stitch for each ridge. I threw that simplicity and ease on the fire and tossed on a litre of gasoline, by knitting the centre in stockinette based lace. To pick up all the way around I took my gauge, and did the math. The number of stitches widthwise (let’s say it’s 20 to 10cm.) divided by the number of rows per 10cm. (Let’s call that 25.) Then it’s just a matter of representing that as a fraction (stay with me, I know that’s a math word) putting stitches over rows. 20/25. Then I reduce that fraction (cast your mind back to middle school, you’ll be fine) and it’s 4/5. (See that?) That means I have to pick up 4 stitches for every 5 rows. In practice, that’s pick up 4, skip one, pick up 4, skip one…. You dig? Usually I practice this on the swatch, then do it on the blankie, marking the corners as I go.

Then I choose my stitch patterns (or invent them, in many cases) write them up as charts, centre them along the sides, and start knitting. I increase one stitch either side of the marked corner stitches ever other row – so I’m increasing by 8 stitches every other round.

and next 2017-03-23

This makes fetching mitred corners, and means the blankie gets bigger all the way around, every round. When it’s big enough (who really knows when that is) I choose or invent an edging (in this particular case, it’s a bit of both) and begin to apply the edging.  I cast on (provisionally, again) however many stitches are in the edge (in this case, it will be about 20) and then start working back and forth making a long skinny edging. Every time I work a right side row, I knit the last stitch of the edge together with a stitch from the body of the blanket.

finallyedging 2017-03-23

That means that every two rows, one stitch gets consumed. When I’m all done, the final row of the edging is grafted to the provisional cast on of the edging, and I’m done.

So, back to the point up at the top? 1600 rows? I was wrong. I’ve currently got  898    stitches on the needle (or will, when I’m done with this little garter band) and with 2 rows to consume each one? (Plus extras to get round the corners, but let’s not quibble.)

1796 rows to go, with an average of 20 stitches in each row, that’s 35 920 stitches left to knit.

And that, my brave friends, is not a typo. I counted. May the force be with me. The edging begins in 4 and a half rounds.

Because it might help to know

Mar. 23rd, 2017 08:01 pm
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
that it's NOT just awesome people dying lately:

The New York Times: Joseph Nicolosi, Advocate of Conversion Therapy for Gays, Dies at 70

From five years ago, here's an account of the sort of damage he did (content note for suicidal ideation):

Gabriel Arana: My So-Called Ex-Gay Life

A day that started far too early

Mar. 23rd, 2017 06:57 pm
oursin: Sleeping hedgehog (sleepy hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Meedja people wanted to film an interview with me in Former Place Of Work: this was supposed to happen next Monday, and ended up being today, this morning, before the facilities open to the public. (Greatly tempted to send The Famous Shirt on its own to do the job.) They did lay on a car to take me there. There was not a great deal of faffing about before we got to the, you know, actual interviewing.

This went fairly well, though I always suspect meedja luvvies to rave insincerely: this may be unfair.

I was fairly knackered after this, but yesterday I had an email from someone who wanted to discuss matters of mutual research interest, and was going to be visiting the Library today, so I said, could do coffee, or lunch, and we had a fairly intense and wide-ranging discussion of research over an extended lunch.

And when I got back to my desk, there was an enquiry from Another Meedja Person about a thing they're researching which is one that has (according to me) already been Done to Death, and they were very vague about what sort of angle they might be taking. But I thought I should at least get in a reply politely indicating that It's Been Done.

And then I came home, fully intending to rest for a bit and then go out again to the gym, but could not bring myself to leave the house again.

But at least I think I have done a fair amount of communicating Mi Learninz to people at various different levels today.

Shadowshaper, by Daniel José Older

Mar. 23rd, 2017 01:38 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Shadowshaper Cover ArtI continue to snag books out of my son’s Scholastic book order forms. One of the latest was Shadowshaper [Amazon | B&N | IndieBound], by Daniel José Older. It’s an enjoyable, relatively quick read. Here’s the summary:

Sierra Santiago planned to have an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears… Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.

With the help of a mysterious fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one — and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family’s past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for herself and generations to come.

The “About the Author” section notes that Older lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, which is where the book takes place, and it shows. Sierra’s world feels real and fully developed, populated with interesting people and places. It’s a far cry from some of the generic pseudo-New York settings you sometimes get.

I love the concept of shadowshaping, the way the magic works as a collaboration between spirits and shadowshaper, and the possibilities of that power. One of my favorite scenes was watching Sierra discovering what she could do with a simple piece of chalk.

Sierra and the rest of the cast are great, all with their own personalities and flaws and conflicts. They feel like real people…it’s just that some of them can bring their artwork to life.

My only complaint is that the villain felt a bit flat and obvious. But the ideas behind that villain, the theme of the privileged cultural outsider barging in and making a mess of things, are totally valid and powerful. I wouldn’t want that to change; I just would have liked to see a little more depth to them.

And kudos for the awesome librarian.

I’ve seen a number of reviews praising the diversity in the book. On the one hand, I do think that’s worth recognizing, and I definitely appreciated it. On the other… I don’t know. I wish we could reach a point where we don’t have to praise authors for showing the world the way it is, and could instead just note when authors fail to portray a realistically diverse world. Does that make sense? I dunno…probably something that needs a longer blog post to unpack.

Anyway, to wrap this up, the ending was lovely and made me eager to read Shadowhouse Fall, which comes out in September of this year.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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