Out of the box.
Some assembly required. Delayed by a hunt for a socket wrench that fit, which at length proved to be the handle that holds the other socket wrenches.
Together! Am I an engineer's daughter or what.
The front plate.
United with its siblings.
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on August, 17
Like many of us, I’ve been struggling to process what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend, and what’s been happening in this country for a while now. The racism and hatred and violence didn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It’s been building up for a long time…in fact, much of it has always been there. It’s just boiling over into the open right now, making it harder (but obviously not impossible) to look away and pretend it’s not happening.
Part of the argument I’ve seen centers around free speech and the First Amendment. Free speech is a right, an important one, and rights apply to everyone. Even people you dislike and disagree with.
But freedom of speech in this country is not and has never been limitless. From the U.S. Federal Courts, here are a few examples of actions not legally protected by freedom of speech:
- Students making an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
- Making/distributing obscene materials.
- Inciting actions that would harm others (e.g., Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.)
Now let’s look at some of the “alt-right” protesters who gathered in Charlottesville.
These people here? The ones wearing swastikas, waving Nazi flags, marching in T-shirts with Adolf Hitler quotes, and throwing Nazi salutes?
This isn’t protest. This is a threat.
The message here is not, “I don’t want you to take down a statue.” It’s “I believe in ethnic cleansing, in the murder of millions of Jews, Romani, and other non-white people. I believe people with disabilities should be forcibly sterilized or put to death. I believe non-heterosexuals should be imprisoned and killed.”
These people are pledging allegiance to a movement of mass murder. We know what the Nazis stood for. We know what they did. When people stand up in 2017 and proclaim themselves Nazis, we know what they’re saying. We know what they’re promising.
I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t believe freedom of speech protects the incitement of violence. I don’t believe it protects threats of genocide.
Maybe you don’t personally feel threatened by this. In many ways, neither do I. I’m a straight white man, unlikely to be a primary target of these hateful people.
Now imagine you’re Jewish. Imagine you’re black. Imagine you’re gay. Imagine you’re Romani. Imagine your ancestors were among the millions of people murdered by Nazis. Now look at those photos and tell me you’re not looking at a very real threat.
“But not all of the ‘Unite the Right’ marchers were openly wearing Nazi symbols!”
You’re right, and if you’ll read a little more carefully, you’ll see I never claimed otherwise. But they marched alongside Nazis. They chanted “Jews will not replace us!” alongside Nazis. They stood side-by-side with Nazis.
“Isn’t it so convenient for you to exclude speech you don’t like from the free speech umbrella? Free speech is an absolute right, and the true test is whether we’ll stand up for speech we disagree with!”
As established earlier, legally speaking, free speech is not an absolute right. Ethically–well, do you believe people have the absolute right to harass others? To threaten? To leak private information? To incite violence and murder? I don’t. Which means ethically, free speech isn’t an absolute right either.
I struggled with this. But in the end, I look at the photos and videos from Charlottesville, and I see deliberate intimidation. I see the threat and promise of violence. I see people proclaiming their loyalty to an enemy our country went to war against.
I see no reason to tolerate or accept that enemy.
Nor do I have any respect for those who knowingly collaborate with them.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
I.e., this week has been mostly getting the new computer to do those things which it ought to do, and leave undone those things which it ought not do -
Among which the most disturbing was the discovery this morning that Thunderbird was marking ALL, yes ALL, incoming mail as Junk and also as Read, fortunately I did discover that this was happening.
There has also been wrestling with getting to be able to talk to the MyCloud as part of my home network rather than via a remote interface connection.
There was the oops, I needed to do a backup of This Thing, That Thing and The Other Thing from the old computer, and having to sort that out.
There is all the finding the passwords and activation codes for things for which I entered a password when I first activated the thing, and never since.
There is also the loss of some things - don't seem to be able to have the little slide-show widget thing of photos on my desktop, chiz - and finding that the new versions of things are Not What We Expect - the new Kobo Desktop App is quite horrid.
But on the whole, we are reasonably satisfied with the New System - its speed in particular is commendable.
However, I am annoyed with Opera, which I was intending using as my secondary browser to avoid Microsoft and Google, but the main thing I wanted a secondary browser for was so that I can log into The Other DW Journal without logging out of this one, but Opera, for some reason I wot not of, insists on autofilling the login screen with the details for this account rather than the other - la, 'tis tedious vexatious.
In other world shattering news I have just completed room 9 of Kleptocats.
I have a guardianship service holding things together for me and getting me to appointments, etc., who will help me settle somewhere better, and, thank gods and my parents, the money to pay them. After this experience, I'm pretty much abjectly terrified of asking for volunteer help because it would have be to be iron-clad reliable and the "I can help" would have to come attached to, "I will not wait until you tell me what I can do -- instead, I can see you need this and I will come do it at thus and such a time and place -- is that soon enough?" I know that's not possible, so don't offer and that's okay. I know that sort of thing is an unreasonable request, especially when made by someone who's always prided herself on her independence and really doesn't know how to draw on friends in a reasonable way in a time like this.
I'll update as I'm able, so please don't ask. And this *is* just an update. The overwhelming sympathy is lovely, but it *is* getting overwhelming [wry g]. I mostly just need to write this out.
Today, Salena retweets a 1994 post in which she explained it all to us, race edition. (Save for nausea before clicking.)
Briefly, the essay says that a black family moved into her white neighborhood in 1969. I'll let her explain it.
In typically horrible timing, government-enforced integration coincided with Lyndon Johnson's “Great Society,” which bulldozed iconic ethnic neighborhoods — tearing apart lifelong experiences, communities and ways of life — in favor of public housing.
It was supposed to compensate for past injustices but it merely punished one community to make amends to another.
No mention that the "iconic ethnic neighborhoods" included black neighborhoods, of course, or the neighborhoods -- almost certainly including Zito's -- whose sale contracts forbade the owner to sell to a black person. No, that neighborhood just mysteriously grew up all-white.
Thanks to my parents, the Chatmans weren't considered “black people.” They were just new neighbors, and we did what we always did when someone new moved onto the block — baked chocolate-chip cookies and delivered those to their home.
“Your dad chased those young teens ... he caught all of them, single-handedly, and held them for the police,” Carnisa recalled. “I remember him telling them how ashamed he was of them.”
And everything was okay then! And Carnisa, her black friend, repaid her by saving her from a black riot in high school! And therefore:
Note that it never occurs to Zito that Carnisa had to go to school with the brothers and sisters and friends of those boys who burned a cross. Or that there were other people who put their resentment of "tearing apart lifelong experiences" into words and action. No. Zito made friends with Carnisa and they're still close friends and that's what everybody should do! And nobody (among Zito's friends) considered the Chatmans black, so that made everything better!
You won't read an essay that better encapsulates the belief that individual virtue is better than collective action. With a triple scoop of white privilege.
e: Chaser. Mother Jones finally does what nobody else is doing and interviews rural black voters.
Turner’s mom, who cleans houses in town for a living, went to work a couple of days after [the election], and her employer, an older white woman, brought up the results of the recent election. The two had talked politics before—Turner’s mom is a Democrat, and her employer is a Republican. “Well, you might as well come and live with me now,” the employer said. “You gonna be mine eventually."
( Text reads: )
RT'd on the New Orleans DSA Twitter account: "Out taillights are #1 reason for traffic stops. Traffic stops are especially perilous and life disrupting to undocumented immigrants and PoC. Good taillights provide a sliver of protection."
Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.
Here is a list of the recs I picked up from various panels I attended at Worldcon. (These are likely not complete, but they’re the ones that I wrote down.)
- We Who Are About To – Joanna Russ
- Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction – ed K M Szpara (anthology)
- The Black Tides of Heaven / The Red Threads of Fortune – JY Yang (forthcoming in Sept)
- Provenance – Ann Leckie (forthcoming, but read some on her website)
- Jacob’s Ladder – Elizabeth Bear
- River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey
- Pantomime – Laura Lam
- Killing Gravity – Corey J White
- Interactive fiction Craft phone games (Choice of Deathless/City’s Thirst) – Max Gladstone (you can play an nb character)
- “Masculinity is an Anxiety Disorder” (essay) – David J Schwartz
- Rose Lemberg
- Foz Meadows
- A Merc Rustad
(This one should be complete as I moderated the panel and made a point of writing them down to tweet afterwards.)
- Two Faces of Tomorrow – James P Hogan
- Culture series – Iain M Banks
- Too Like the Lightning and Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer
- The Postman – David Brin
- A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed And Common Orbit – Becky Chambers
- Hospital Station – James White
- Malhutan Chronicles – Tom D Wright (panelist)
- Orbital Cloud – Taiyo Fuji (panelist)
- The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison
- All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye – Christopher Brookmyre
- Blood Songs series – Anthony Ryan
- Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon
- Barbara Hambly
Also, Catherine Lundoff keeps a bibliography of books with older women protagonists.
- Praxis – John Williams
- Black Wolves – Kate Elliot
- Vixen and The Waves – Hoa Pham
- Isabelle Yap
- Ken Liu
- Stephanie Lai
- Zen Cho
(Plus one from Nine Worlds in which the MC has Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline – Mishell Baker)
It was shocking.
I'm not sure I would call it "intense", but it was occasionally breath-taking. Some shocks were stronger than others. Some made my foot twitch, some caused a face, some made me clutch.
They lasted between a moment and a couple of seconds before the sensation dissipated.
They occurred at irregular intervals, frequently 10-15 seconds apart.
If I was doing something, I could generally ignore them.
They were not affected by what I was doing or how I was positioned (standing, sitting, laying down).
It was annoying but not really troublesome.
Interestingly, even knowing that lying down did nothing to improve the situation, I wanted to just lie down. Like everything will be better if I lie down. This is not the case, lying down means not having anything distracting on the go... It is perhaps the desire to bury one's head in the sand.
Despite my desire, I reminded myself that keeping going would at least take my mind off it and I did my day 1 with cooking supper, unloading the dishwasher and putting a few things in, while tidying/soaking others. More kitchen cleaning is on the docket for day 2, and I'm making a list of things I want to do for home improvements.
For those following along at home, the pains have resolved over night.
Holy shit! It's so weird seeing Sarah so wary of everyone that I now know she will come to consider her best friends and sisters. It's so weird seeing Art and Mrs S as semi-antagonists (not that they're evil, but that Sarah sees Art as getting in the way of her plans, and S as "unreasonably" keeping her from Kira, and the viewer doesn't yet know how trustworthy they are). Then to compare with S and Art's scenes with Sarah in the last couple episodes of the show...mind = blown.
And we haven't even met Helena yet! (Mid-episode 3 right now.)
Also it's so strange seeing Sarah as Beth now that I know enough about them to know how very not-Sarah she looks in Beth's outfits. The straight hair, the business-casual clothing...wow. And I care so much more about Beth's story this time around too (plus I know more about why she did what she did, of course). I'd forgotten, too, that it was Beth that got them together in the first place (after Katja looked her up), not Cosima as I'd somehow remembered it. But Sarah-as-Beth is the closest we get to actually seeing Beth onscreen for a good long while after this, until some of the later flashbacks. So it's sort of cool from that angle too.
I'm watching for the first time we see major or recurring show themes, like how soon Kira being unusual comes up, or S's network. The clone sickness was in episode 1 (Katja), and Felix has already met his morgue boyfriend. <3 No Dyad yet.
I may also have snagged seasons 3 & 4 on DVD off eBay, because as much as some of the later plot threads didn't grab me, I love everyone in this bar. And it's one of those shows that I kind of need to own, have on my shelf, watch in future when the urge strikes, remember that someone made this amazing thing, and lend to anyone who will let me press it on them. :P
I love these weirdos so much. <3
ETA: Cat icon! Apparently it's from the cover of one of those The Cat Who... mystery novels (which my grandmother used to send me, having somehow got the idea that I was into mysteries but not that I liked sci-fi; they were fun enough). And so pretty! Not half bad as a cartoon depiction of Kaylee, either. :D More here.
I honestly have no clue if that's accidentally or "accidentally", and maybe he's trying to separate himself from the Charlottesville marchers by dismissing them as "losers" and posioning himself as more rational/reasonable than Trump on North Korea before he gets fired, or what the actual fuck. Especially given that he was reportedly delighted and "proud" about Trump's press conference statements.
This week FOX commentator Melissa Francis was brought to tears while trying to defend Trump’s assertion that “many sides” were to blame for the fatal violence in Charlottesville, VA during a white supremacist, anti-Semitic, pro-Confederacy demonstration and counter-demonstration. She was challenged by two of her fellow panelists who argued that Trump was drawing a false equivalence to suggest that each sides was to “blame.” Oddly, Francis took their comments on Trump personally, began to cry, and said this:
I am so uncomfortable having this conversation… because I know what’s in my heart and I know that I don’t think that anyone is different, better, or worse based on the color of their skin. But I feel like there is nothing any of us can say right without without being judged!
At this point, a fellow FOX commentator, Harris Faulkner, who is African American, interrupted to console her:
You know Melissa, there have been a lot of tears… It’s a difficult place where we are… [but] we can do this. We can have this conversation. Oh yes, we can. And it’s okay if we cry having it.
But is it okay for white people to cry in the midst of conversations about racism?
Education scholar Frances V. Rains has argued that it is not okay. In her essay, Is the Benign Really Harmless?, Rains discusses several types of reactions white people frequently have to difficult conversations about race, ones that undermine meaningful progress. In one, she talks about white people’s tears.
When a white person cries in response to frank discussions of racism, Rains explains, it derails the conversation, refocuses the attention on the white person, and holds anti-racist speakers accountable for attending to his or her feelings. The most important thing in the room, in other words, becomes a privileged person’s hurt feelings, not generations of systematic racial oppression, exploitation, and violence.
This is exactly what happened in the clip above.
- The panelists were debating whether Trump’s comments amounted to a false equivalence that was supportive of racism and anti-Semitism.
- A white woman rejects the notion that Trump’s comments endorsed bigotry.
- When some disagree, she cries and begins discussing what it feels like for her personally to be having this conversation.
- The conversation turns away from racism, anti-Semitism, and the possibility that the President of the United States is a Nazi sympathizer, and toward the white woman and her feelings.
- Her discomfort become the problem to be resolved.
- A member of the disadvantaged group steps in to comfort her.
This is just as Rains would have predicted.
Amazingly, an earnest conversation about oppression turns into an opportunity to give solace to the oppressor… and it’s a member of the oppressed who must do the comforting.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.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My stepfather’s grandson’s wedding is black-tie optional, and my stepfather’s children are renting him a tux. My mom, who is 90, thought she would wear a nice pants outfit with a dressy jacket, and is resistant to buying something new. She has been through a lot this year (treatment for lymphoma, cancer surgery, and she recently fell and broke her pelvis, so she is in a lot of pain).
I and my three sisters (my mom’s only children) live on the opposite coast, but we are now being pressured by the mother of the groom (my stepfather’s daughter) and my stepfather to see that she is outfitted appropriately -- not just for the wedding, but also for the rehearsal dinner (cocktail attire) and the wedding breakfast to be held the day after the wedding.
They have also expressed concerns about the shoes my mother prefers (very safe, comfortable, but not at all dressy). My sister even heard my stepfather tell her that if she doesn’t get something new to wear, she can stay home and not attend the wedding or other events.
My mother doesn’t stand up for herself, unfortunately. Two of us will be traveling to see her soon, and plan to take her shopping. My sister is even purchasing a few things for my mom that she will bring with her, in the hopes that maybe something will fit and work for this event.
Personally, I think it is extremely superficial of them to dictate what she wears (especially since the wedding is six months from now!). If it were me, I would just be thrilled they are both well enough to attend, regardless of how they are dressed.
Is my mother wrong to resist the request to buy something more formal? Or should the step-family back off?
GENTLE READER: What happened to the “optional” part?
While Miss Manners always advocates dressing properly for the occasion -- and generally abhors “optional,” as it just invites chaos -- the particulars of your mother’s dress seem to be unduly fixated upon here. There is certainly a lot of undue angst being put into this poor woman’s wardrobe that seemingly requires three separate outfits and uncomfortable, possibly dangerous, shoes.
If your mother can reasonably be jollied into the shopping expedition or accepts one of your sister’s choices for one new outfit, fine. But if not, please talk to your stepfather about “backing off.” Surely this cannot really be worth all of this fuss.
Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist,
Thank you so much for writing for me! This is my first time doing FemslashEx, so I'm really excited.
(I only requested art for one fandom; however, if anyone is moved to do an art treat for me in any of them, I would absolutely love that.)
Loves, DNWs, and notes/prompts for my fandoms (Aliens, Carrie, Original Work, Star Trek: Classic Timeline, and X/1999 below cut). ( Read more... )
Nine hours later and gums still bleeding.
Lost track of my medications schedule , especially since the dentist prescribed me a new antibiotic in place of the old one, so I have dosed myself much too close together.
Have not been able to think very straight for a number of hours.
Go kommer highbury hjem og som du og kommer strækninger man altid gæster karlekammer vores unikke kæmpe bølge
Books finished: I just finished rereading Persuasion and IT CONTINUES TO BE THE BEST OF THE TWO JANE AUSTEN NOVELS I HAVE EVER ACTUALLY READ.
To the surprise of no one, I did in fact mentally work out the AU where Bitty is Anne, and then staranise lured me into joining her contemplation of the AU where JACK is Anne and in conclusion I am definitely not writing any Persuasion AUs ever.
...Because I am totally onto "what if Jack hadn't gotten an NCAA waiver to play at Samwell after playing in the QMJHL" AUs now.
Ahem. Where was I. READING THINGS, RIGHT.
Fic: Still 15 WIPs bookmarked! maculategiraffe's Fallout 4 series updated today and IT IS GREAT AND MIGHT EAT YOUR LIFE!! I've managed to get my Marked for Later list on AO3 down to... 99! Although my "To reread" bookmark tag is up to 39.
(A sampling of stuff I’ve bookmarked recently--you can see all my bookmarks at http://archiveofourown.org/users/
the black lake by alcibiades (Bucky/Steve, T, 9k) Ohhh boy I hadn't had my heart shredded by a recovering!Bucky story in a while, so this was. OH BUCKY HONEY. PLEASE KEEP GETTING BETTER.
In So Many Words by alocalband (Nursey/Dex, M, 17k) In which Nurse writes stories that... all... seem... to be... the same... story. And they're all about him and Dex even when they're NOT ABOUT HIM AND DEX. <3
Short Circuit by Chiyume (Bucky/Steve, E, 20k) Bucky's arm gets damaged and starts giving him an... unusual... variety of sensory feedback every time it's touched. Which would be a lot easier for him to explain to Steve if he and Steve weren't both firmly convinced that the other isn't interested in him like that. (I would love about a million more stories about Bucky's arm getting cross-wired like this, but this one was definitely A GREAT START. :D)
You Make Me Look Legitimate. by Lanna Michaels (Bitty/Jack, G, 3k) LANNA WROTE FIC FOR MEEEEE ABOUT BITTY GOING TO THE 2018 OLYMPICS AND IT IS ADORABLE AND GREAT!!! <3 <3 <3
And after rolling around in glee, I had to go write fic.
Fandom: Avengers Academy
Pairing/Characters: Steve/Tony, one-sided Crimson Dynamo/Tony
Genre: First kiss, humour, silly, fake relationship
Summary: Steve's more than happy to step up when Tony's in trouble.
( Strategic Thinking: Armor Wars Edition )
First of all, relax! I'm far from being picky, and I can pretty much guarantee that I'll love whatever you decide to draw or write for me. These are nothing but guidelines, for you to take to heart or ignore to your heart's content. Also, hey! You're drawing and/or writing me femslash! What's not to love? ♥
That said, I thought that I'd elaborate a bit on my requests in case, like me, you're the type of person who likes to have something to work with. Feel free to use and/or ignore as much of this as you want. I've tried to include a mix of vague prompts as well as more detailed ones, to hopefully make things as helpful as possible whether you're drawing art or writing fic.
( More details under the cut. )
( Requests under the cut. )
YOUR FIRST NAME
+ YOUR LAST
NAME = YOUR
A friend posted it from the author Amy Stewart's Facebook page. I like the meme because it worked on me exactly the way it was supposed to work – my eye skimmed over it (ah, one of those name memes), stopped on “Nazi-fighting”, then went back to scan the first line and register the joke.
I like, too, the implication of adequacy here – no need to take on another identity or a new name. Your name is enough as it is. You're already ready.
And look at the cleverness of that line break: "+ YOUR LAST / NAME" – expecting some quirky interpolation of randomness (possibly designed to help hack password recovery questions) – last food eaten, last book read – we find instead just what we already possess.
(The text was probably just centred in a box of fixed size, but that doesn't make me wrong. It just makes me an English major.)
Silliness aside, I like the simplicity of this call to arms.
Btw, I recently read a piece on writer's block that I liked a lot, So you're having a bad writing day: Consider: the act of telling a story is you CONJURING AN ENTIRE UNIVERSE INSIDE YOUR MIND and then using words as knives to CARVE THAT UNIVERSE INTO REALITY SO THAT OTHERS CAN VISIT YOUR IMAGINATION. “Today I am going to make a world out of my brain that you can go to in your spare time,” you say aloud, hopefully realizing that this is far more significant and far more bizarre than tying your shoes or blowing your nose.
Writing is hard, and that's okay. (Clearly prolific authors who update frequently are wizards.)
When it arrives, I'll post a picture.
Location Date Local Time Activity
Philadelphia, PA, United States 08/16/2017 12:43 P.M. Import Scan
08/16/2017 7:51 A.M. Arrival Scan
Roissy Charles de Gaulle, France 08/16/2017 5:40 A.M. Departure Scan
Koeln, Germany 08/16/2017 4:29 A.M. Departure Scan
Roissy Charles de Gaulle, France 08/16/2017 4:22 A.M. Arrival Scan
Koeln, Germany 08/16/2017 12:59 A.M. Arrival Scan
Malmo Sturup, Sweden 08/15/2017 11:43 P.M. Departure Scan
08/15/2017 10:29 P.M. Arrival Scan
Vantaa, Finland 08/15/2017 9:56 P.M. Departure Scan
Helsinki, Finland 08/15/2017 9:16 P.M. Departure Scan
08/15/2017 7:16 P.M. Export Scan
08/15/2017 6:21 P.M. Your package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release. / Your package was released by the clearing agency.
08/15/2017 6:13 P.M. Your package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release.
Finland 08/15/2017 1:06 A.M. (ET) Order Processed: Ready for UPS
My nephew flies internationally for UPS. It's amusing to imagine him transporting it for me, although he more commonly flies trans-Pacific.
Best (or at least most writerly) tale he told me: the week J.K. Rowling's last Harry Potter book was released, UPS had to lay on extra flights to get all the books to the bookstores.
Now, there's a benchmark for success...
Thur. afternoon update -- It has been out joyriding around Minneapolis in a brown truck since 9:30 this morning. Surely not much longer now...?
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on August, 17
I had had the vague impression that my sister-in-law's place was pretty small and uninteresting, but in fact, they own about 1,000 acres of land plus Sampson Pond itself, and have two small-but-well-sealed cabins right *on* the Pond, about 1 1/2 miles off the main road. It is gorgeous and I fell in love on the instant I got there. The fact the electricity and running water are generator powered means a) it's loud and b) more expensive, but it doesn't have to be /on/ all the time, and the expense isn't my problem, so that part was less annoying than I expected. The family originally bought it because they were timber barons off in Pennsylvania, and then some of the family split off and became more minor timber royalty (baronettes?), with way less land, off in New York instead.
They have a nicely symbiotic relationship with the local hunting association, who do some maintenance in return for ATV-and-fishing access.
There are canoes and rowboats and all manner of Things To Do on-Pond, plus some local touristy nonsense for those who are interested.
The Adirondacks have some high peak areas (over 4,000 feet) and some foothills, and a lot of hilly-but-mostly-lakes-and-rivers areas, which is where the Pond is. Sort of central-northern. I didn't get west of there, but in general, it feels like the White Mountains, only wetter and with more ground scrub than the Whites.
I didn't much care about (lack of) internet, although my SiL's family (on Verizon) got service while my brother and I (on Sprint) didn't, which irritated me only because I would either rather have A Phone Blackout or have everyone have phones and internet, and not this weird mixture.
Her uncle has been in the meaner version of A Course In Miracles for 5 years or so, in that he was at the monastery in Utah, where there are undoubtedly many wonderful things, but one is basically expected to never have negative thoughts ever, and if ones does, one should conquer them immediately, and if one can't, one is looked down upon vocally. (I extrapolate from a few discussions we (me and him and my brother & sister-in-law) had, and since I am not a CIM fan, I put a negative spin on it, but it's a reasonably accurate boiling down of some of what he said.) He's leaving in large part because they're moving to Mexico and he didn't like their place in Mexico last time he went, but he's still in the "they're mostly right about me" phase, and /hopefully/ will progress to "we were no longer good for each other" phase sooner rather than later. Though he's 70, so possibly not, but I hope so. He himself is steeped in psych and religion history and I want to get to know him better.
Best part of the weekend: Two nights spent on the pond (one on the dock, one in boats) with the aforementioned crew, star-watching. Saw a bunch of Perseids. Really quite amazing.
(My S-i-L's parents have a much earlier schedule than we do, so didn't join in. Her dad basically suddenly started waking up at 5 am about 10 years ago and can't seem to stop (I know a lot of older folks who need less sleep, which is different but similar), so her mom sticks with being somewhat closer to his schedule when possible. I enjoy them a lot, in a low key way.)
I was in a total news blackout for most of the weekend, so I figured war would break out or something. Instead, I had a vague awareness of Tiki torchlight parades, but then I re-emerged and we'd had protest clashes, deaths, and the President waffling around and then going full Both Sides Did It White Nationalist, which, while teeth-grindingly infuriating, is certainly better than war, but just proves we're having about 5 news cycles per day.
I will probably write up tourist nonsense from the trip over, maybe.
I was testing the solar filter for the camera, in preparation for Monday’s eclipse. We won’t be seeing the total eclipse, but I’m hoping to get some good shots of the partial.
As I was processing the results, I realized I’d captured sunspots! (Those dark spots in the upper left.)
Click to embiggen.
For those who wonder about such things, this was taken on the 100-400mm lens, fully zoomed to 400mm. ISO 640, f/10, with a 1/3200 shutter speed. I had to set everything manually, because the camera overexposed the shot if left to its own devices.
I think next time I’ll try to reduce the ISO down to about 100 and see if that gets rid of the minor graininess.
Processing involved cropping the shot, noise reduction, and an orange overlay.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Here's to hoping that this is for real! Also that Dot and Mac are in it! Miss Fisher isn't the same without Dot and Mac (or Bert and Cec and Mr. Butler and Jane, but Dot and Mac are my favorites).
It was not an official service. No priest was present. But we took it very seriously. We walked over to Woolworth's and bought our first wedding rings as soon as we left the church, and even though we got better ones a few months later, those two rings are still in my jewelry box today.
Later, she called her parents to tell them we were getting married. Grady and Thelma were - understandably - dubious. Oh, they congratulated her and talked to me and wished us the best, but then a couple of weeks later they showed up suddenly, packed up her stuff, and took her back to their home in Texas "to give us both a chance to think about it."
The rest of the story is here.
On this 45th anniversary, my thoughts turn to Stan Rogers' song, Forty Five Years. Seems appropriate.
The Ariadne Objective: The Underground War to Rescue Crete from the Nazis by Wes Davis
I'll admit that I started reading this as Guns of Navarone background, but even given that I found it pretty shallow. Basically it recapped almost entirely from the reports and journals of the British officers, with the odd German thrown in, didn't consider the Greek perspective in more than the briefest passing mention. I read the first two thirds and then sent it back to the library because I just didn't care.
Coed Demon Sluts: Beth (Coed Demon Sluts #1) by Jennifer Stevenson
I saw the author talking about this on Scalzi's blog, and decided to give it a whirl. Pretty much read it straight through on the plane, and enjoyed it, I guess. On the whole, there was way too much talk, and not enough action (or "action"). I didn't really connect with the characters because a lot of the time they sounded like talking points, not people. The actual plot, when it occurred, was engaging enough. Not sure I'll bother with the rest of the series.
(Though I did have the great pleasure of the preppy young man sitting next to me on the flight asking me what I was reading.)
Hold Me (Cyclone #2) by Courtney Milan
Enjoyed this one even more than the first one. I totally got the issues both MCs had, and why they set each other's teeth on edge, but at the same time their alternate relationship was totally believable and in keeping with that. They had great chemistry and I loved how their genuine issues were resolved by working things out and patience, not but Surprise Drama.
The Edge of Worlds (The Books of the Raksura #4) by Martha Wells
It's always good to get back to the three worlds, and I really enjoyed seeing how all the characters had grown over the years, plus all the new cultures and places they encountered on their adventure. The book also brought something I'd wanted from the start, the glimmer of hope for at least some of the Fell, in an exploration of their culture as well. Heck of a cliff hanger though.
The Harbors of the Sun (The Books of the Raksura #5) by Martha Wells
I'm sad to see the end of this series, but what a great send off. Everyone got something to do, we met all kinds of old friends again, and Pearl and Malachite got to hang out (the Pearl-Malachite show was easily worth the price of admission).
The last act was Very Dramatic (well a lot of the book was), but really how much had changed since the first trilogy, and I love how much of a family everyone now has, and how many forms that takes.
(Loved this series so much, the sting of loosing it is lessened by Murderbot being so good, and by the snippits that show up on Wells' Patreon.)
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry, narrated by Aidan Kelly
** spoiler alert ** I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is a book about a gay man who is somewhat genderqueer who spends the entire book with the love of his life and is still with him at the end (they are in fact married with a family by about two thirds through). It was gorgeous. The writing was stunning. The content was often brutal.
Not in a Tragic Gay way, but in a wow the MCs were in the US army during the genocide of the Native Americans, and in the Union army during the civil war, and then we did another round of genocide in Wyoming. And so... yeah.
But on the other hand, it painted nothing as glorious, and I really appreciated a "Wild West" story that actually showed what was going on, and boy howdy did it not romanticise anything. And while it never excuses any of the characters, it does lay out how a lot of that happened, how even good men got sucked into being monsters.
So, gay HEA, beautifully written, uncountable slaughter, would rec the audiobook, as the reader has a pleasing Irish accent.
(This was strongly recced to me by Dad who goes in for depressing things with pretty writing. He also may have been trying to bond over queer content, which is nice. Your mileage will vary widely on how much you can handle the MCs being complicit in crimes against humanity, even if they were only foot soldiers, and in the army as victims of imperialism themselves.)
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin, narrated by Ron Butler
I don't have a lot of the historical context for the first half, but the writing is so perfect, and the ideas are clear and sharp, and it's pure pleasure to read. (It's somewhat depressing how little has changed.)
Keeping Her Pride (Ladies of the Pack #1) by Lauren Esker
One of my favourites by Esker (still doesn't top Guard Wolf, but probably edges out Dragon's Luck)! I really liked Debi and her slow road to understanding and redemption. I love how her vision of herself changed, and part of that was just a matter of realising that yes, she could put sugar in her coffee. The business plot took something of a back seat until the end, but it's a fast read, and I mostly loved watching Debi grow.
Fletcher wasn't my favourite hero, but he was solid and his issues made sense. His complicated relationship with his ex wife and their daughter made sense. I liked that the kid was there to be trouble as well as cute, as four year olds tend to be. She was pretty cute though.
Nice guest spots by various agents from the other books, but this was entirely readable as a stand alone. I haven't read Handcuffed to a Bear, where Debi first showed up, and followed it just fine.
(I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which is horridly late. Sorry, Lauren!)
What I'm Reading Now
I've got the first Sharing Knife book going on audio, which I'm enjoying in a peaceable idfic sort of way. I can see why some people want to set it on fire. I quite like it.
I'm also drifting through Sister Emily's Lightship and Other Stories, a collection of mostly fairytale riffs by Jean Yolen, which is very good.
What I'm Reading Next
The Stone Sky is out. Once I've braced myself, I'll start that.
I will keep updating but if our rally is happening, I'll still be there. I think it's important to show our solidarity and fire. Hey, just talking about showing up chased the Nazis out of LA before they even came - let's give them crowd photos to haunt their dreams and keep them out.
So, Provenance will be out in a bit more than a month! I can’t wait for folks to read it, honestly.
Not long ago, you had a chance to read the opening, oh I’d say half first chapter, for free online. And maybe that just whetted your appetite and now you have to wait until nearly the end of September for the rest?
Well, if you sign up for my newsletter, you can get all of Chapter 1, plus chapters 2 and 3! You might see a black banner across the top of my website asking you to sign up for the newsletter, with a text box for entering your email. You can use that, or if you’ve dismissed that click this link to go to a form you can fill out–a text box for your email, and then under that are checkboxes for which newsletters you’re signing up for. You want to check the “Ann Leckie” one, and you might or might not want to check any of the others, depending, but it’s the Ann Leckie one that will get you the chapters.
Here’s the deal–I hardly ever use my newsletter so I guarantee you won’t be spammed. What it does get used for is things like this. And for announcements of upcoming publications and such. Folks who are already signed up probably already have the chapters in their inboxes. If you aren’t signed up yet, you’ll get the chapters when you do. So, if you want to read the first three chapters early, there you go!
Mirrored from Ann Leckie.
What I read
Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.
PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)
JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.
On the go
Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.