Dear Brain (III)

Jun. 28th, 2017 12:53 pm
megpie71: Photo of sign reading "Those who throw objects at the crocodiles will be asked to retrieve them." (Crocodiles)
[personal profile] megpie71
Dear Brain,

Yes, I know I've been horrible for the past couple of days. I haven't done the Right Things in the Right Order, because on top of everything else I didn't get functional early enough this morning to be able to do the dishes before the water got cut off[1]. Yes, Steve did the dishes. It wasn't because I am a Horrible Person Who Can't Do Things Right. It was because it was 8.30am, and the water was going to need to be turned off at 9, and I hadn't even started my breakfast by then, much less finished it. It wasn't in any way a critique of my ability to do the task in general, but rather a reaction to the way things were happening on this specific day.

Yes, I know there wasn't any laundry to do today. Steve did it all yesterday. Again, a reaction to one particular day, not a critique of my ability to do things ordinarily.

Yes, I decided to go shopping for groceries. Yes, the mall was noisy, and you were feeling on edge, so you decided to go straight to one overload, no waiting, and make me as cranky as all get-out. No, buying the Tim-Tams wasn't a Bad Thing to do, it was a reaction to the fact we're wanting comfort, and Tim-Tams are comfort food. Yes, I did have to spend more than $20 on fruit and vegetables, and no, this isn't going to bankrupt us. There were a lot of things which needed to be replaced (you may have noticed?) which is why this week it was a big spend. No, that isn't a critique of the fact it's been a bit over a week since we last shopped for anything. Things happen, and those things happening is not a judgement on us specifically.

Now, if you could just settle down and stop throwing a tantrum about everything under the sun, I would greatly appreciate the peace and quiet inside my skull so we can have a much-needed nap.

Sincerely,

Meg
(owner of a brain which is currently a cranky toddler)


[1] The pipes in our area are being replaced, and the water board has asked us to please shut off the water to the house between 9am and 3pm, as well as drawing any water we felt we needed before that earlier.

Charles Hamilton Sorley, d. 1918

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:24 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
A good WWI poem, to take the last out of your mouth.

 When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you'll remember. For you need not so.
Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.
Say only this, “They are dead.” Then add thereto,
“Yet many a better one has died before.”
Then, scanning all the o'ercrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all his for evermore.

Strange artifacts

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:12 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
I was looking for the text of a song I sang (as part of a chorus) in college; it was a setting of Sara Teasdale's "Pierrot stands in a garden".  I fell over a 19-teens anthology that is entirely poems about Pierrot.    I remember reading Murder Must Advertise and having no idea at all who Pierrot, Pierrette, and Columbine were.   Why did the Commedia dell'arte characters make so little of a lasting mark in American culture?  (Or, can it be, in my head?)

edit: I have just run into the section of WW1 poems about Pierrot.  Bizarre.

PIERROT AT WAR
A Year ago in Carnival
We danced till break of day;
A year ago in Carnival
The boulevards were gay;
And roses shook the whispering air,
Like a great sibilant soft fanfare.
 
In Carnival, in Carnival,
A Prince of Magic comes,
To the sound of fifes, and the sound of horns,
And the sound of little drums.

A year ago in Carnival,
The lamps along the quays
Lay softer on the misty night
Than stars in leafy trees,
And down the ribboned sparkling street
Pierrot ran on twinkling feet.
 
Ah year! — There is no Carnival:
The north burns dusky red,
And on the white of Pierrot's brow
Is a long scar instead;
While ever the muttering runs
From the bleeding lips of the guns.
 
This year, this year at Carnival 
A Prince of Magic comes, 
With blood-red crest against the sky 
And a snarl of angry drums. 
 
Maxwell Struthers Hurt

Fig and Ibid on their current home

Jun. 27th, 2017 11:31 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Fig thinks everything is the best thing ever, especially the completely adorable orange cat. Who would like the stranger to stop gazing affectionately at him.

Ibid, on the other hand, won't come out from behind the toilet.

Update on the Washing Machine

Jun. 28th, 2017 08:14 am
megpie71: Avon standing in front of Zen's dome, caption "Confirmed" (confirmed)
[personal profile] megpie71
The nice man from the washing machine repair firm found he had time enough after finishing his last job of Tuesday to come out and deal with our washing machine yesterday evening, about 4-ish. Which means we now have a working washing machine again. No idea why it wasn't working, but apparently unplugging all the leads inside the machine and plugging them all back in again seemed to do the trick, so I suspect what happened is it essentially shook something out of contact. For a nearly twenty year old machine (we got it when we were in Canbrrra, so it's heading on for "old enough to vote") it's doing quite well.

and hyssop so blue

Jun. 27th, 2017 05:10 pm
kore: (Default)
[personal profile] kore
Listening to this about six times in a row seems to have raised my serotonin levels. I always forget how well musical therapy really works until I truly need it.

A Question for the Ages

Jun. 27th, 2017 05:14 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
Why did Charlie Brown not ask Schroeder to hold the football for him?

Disconcerting combination

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:55 pm
sollers: me in morris kit (Default)
[personal profile] sollers
i have just had the second long day of a 10 day Welsh summer school. I am reading while half watching the programme the others in the family have on. I am dozing and they get mixed up.

OK, have to do something about dates, but "Only Fools and Horses" and "Rivers of London" crossover, anyone? 

Bundle of Holding: Mutant Chronicles

Jun. 27th, 2017 04:55 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll



Freelancer! From the distant future the Factions bring you our Mutant Chronicles Bundle featuring the 2015 Third Edition of Mutant Chronicles, the dieselpunk techno-fantasy RPG of future darkness from Modiphius Entertainment. With its fast-playing, cinematic "2d20" system designed by Jay Little (Star Wars: Edge of the Empire), Mutant Chronicles 3E is a thrill ride across a Solar System beset by megacorporate intrigue and the invasion of a terrible alien force.

The bespectacled wizard grimaced....

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:40 pm
tree_and_leaf: HMS Surprise sailing away over calm sea, caption "Sail away" (Sail away)
[personal profile] tree_and_leaf
In Potter related news (is it really twenty years? And how many friends would I not have made were it not for Potter?), Stephen Bush of the New Staggers has done a director's commentary of his ancient Harry Potter fic, and it's one of the funniest things I've read in ages.

(He had an LJ aged 12? Precocious or what?)

(no subject)

Jun. 27th, 2017 11:26 am
ysobel: (Default)
[personal profile] ysobel
One of my dreams last night involved me talking about how some German communities -- particularly the were-shifters -- came over to America to escape persecution, and brought their traditions with them.

Traditions like Thanksgiving meal (turkey and potatoes in particular).

And all this was happening around 1066.

::eyes brain in amusement::
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
A few days ago, Mum found out that she may have a close blood relative she didn’t know about, who was the product of an affair and put up for adoption after he was born. Details are sketchy but we worked out from his birth year that it’s possible his birth parents met at a party my mother’s parents threw. 

I only know all this because she asked me to look into him and make sure it wasn’t a scam, and while it’s not a scam it’s also fucking uncanny how similar he and I are – not just physical appearance but hobbies and personality (as much as you can get personality from a facebook and a blog). He’s ten years older than me, but otherwise we’re pretty similar. 

I emailed her like “I think this guy’s on the level, he’s just looking for a missing piece of his family” and had to stifle a strong urge to be like “Also I want to hang out with him, so be nice.” 

I hope Mum likes him, I want to be his Facebook Friend. 

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newredshoes: midcentury modern swallow (<3 | circumnavigator)
[personal profile] newredshoes
Okay. Okay, this thing that I've been pouring hours into for more than month -- it's here. It's finally live. I am so proud of it. I am already thrilled and overwhelmed by its reception!! It definitely started with a late-night annoyed tweet, and now it's a 2,000-word examination of how and why we form and curate cultural memory. Thanks, Wonder Woman!

"Why Do So Few Hollywood Movies Take Place During WWI?" - Pacific Standard (a very big deal!!)
Going to the movies became a ubiquitous means of participating in patriotic culture closer to World War II. The Great Depression halted most memorial-building in its tracks, as memorials required huge local investments. In the 1910s, when movie palaces were still new, they became sites of moral panic for civic and community leaders concerned about sexual looseness and the corruption of American youth, even as only about one-third of the total population attended each week. However, by the 1920s, that number rose to half, and, by the 1930s, two-thirds of Americans took weekly trips to the movies. During WWII, studios supplied hundreds of fictional films torn from the headlines.

Simple, hagiographic narratives about the war predominated. In titles like So Proudly We Hail! (1943), Hell Is for Heroes (1962), and Saving Private Ryan (1999), WWII was "the good war," waged by the U.S. to crush fascism and imperialism. Hollywood did work closely with the War Department to produce pro-war documentaries during the war. But, historically, even films that are not government-funded, or those that have questioned American wars, have largely refused to condemn those who fight it. It is perhaps easier for film studios to sell a vision of Americans as principled heroes fending off all-threatening evil, rather than naïve young men fighting in a conflict of ambiguous nobility.
There's so much more! I got to talk to some amazing people! My job doesn't pay bupkis but the work can be so good!! (And if you feel inclined to share, you can credit me at [twitter.com profile] ejbergdahl.)

Invisible 3 Release Day

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:49 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Invisible 3 CoverINVISIBLE 3, a collection of 18 essays and poems about representation in SF/F, is out today! The ebook is edited by myself and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and is available at:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

As with the first two volumes in this series, all profits go to benefit Con or Bust.

Here’s the full table of contents:

  • Introduction by K. Tempest Bradford
  • Heroes and Monsters, by T. S. Bazelli
  • Notes from the Meat Cage, by Fran Wilde
  • What Color Are My Heroes? by Mari Kurisato
  • The Zeroth Law Of Sex in Science Fiction, by Jennifer Cross
  • Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities, by Alliah
  • Erasing Athena, Effacing Hestia, by Alex Conall
  • Not So Divergent After All, by Alyssa Hillary
  • Skins, by Chelsea Alejandro
  • The Doctor and I, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
  • My Family Isn’t Built By Blood, by Jaime O. Mayer
  • Lost in Space: A Messy Voyage Through Fictional Universes, by Carrie Sessarego
  • Decolonise The Future, by Brandon O’Brien
  • Natives in Space, by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • I Would Fly With Dragons, by Sean Robinson
  • Adventures in Online Dating, by Jeremy Sim
  • Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon
  • Shard of a Mirage, by MT O’Shaughnessy
  • Unseen, Unheard, by Jo Gerrard

Huge thanks to the contributors for sharing their stories and experiences. I’ve learned so much from earlier volumes in this series, and this one was no different.

And hey, if you haven’t seen the previous volumes…

INVISIBLE: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

INVISIBLE 2: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

If you’re a reviewer and would like a copy, please contact me and let me know your preferred format and where your reviews are published.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Britishness

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:12 am
chickenfeet: (penguin)
[personal profile] chickenfeet
 As the Brexit express hurtles towards the abyss I though I'd ask a question that's been bothering me for a while.  I'd it as a poll but I can't so please comment.  Leaving aside strictly legal definitions (I understand the technical difference between the status of the Isle of Man and Ascension Island) who is "British".  Below is a list of territories and what I want you to consider is for which of these should the inhabitants be considered British:
  • The Channel Islands
  • The Isle of Man
  • Northern Ireland
  • The Falkland Islands
  • Ascension Island
  • South Georgia
  • St. Helena
  • The Pitcairn Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Malta
  • Hong Kong
  • Victoria BC
Go on.  I'm curious.

Build it and they will come?

Jun. 27th, 2017 01:54 pm
oursin: Painting of Clio Muse of History by Artemisia Gentileschi (Clio)
[personal profile] oursin

I don't know if anyone else has been aware of the hoohah over the Chalke Valley History Festival, an event which has not been on my radar even though it has been going since 2011, though when I see that it is sponsored by A Certain Daily Rag of Which We Do Not Speak, unless we really have to, I would guess that it's NQOSD. Certainly no-one has come begging yr hedjog to address the crowds on ye syph in history (with or without my sidekick Sid, now available as a keyring), Dr Stopes, the inner meaning of the 1820s cartoons of Ladies Strachan and Warwick canoodling in a park or towsell-mowsell upon a sopha, wanking panic over the centuries etc etc.

But anyway, there has lately been a certain amount of OMG History of Dead White Males (and a few queens) and the fact that it is overwhelmingly DWM d'un certain age giving the fruits of their knowingz to the audience:
Historian pulls out of Chalke Valley festival over lack of diversity
(and, cynically, I wonder how many of the 32 women historians are Hott Young Thingz researching queens, aristo ladies, and so forth, though I may be doing them an injustice.)
The lack of women and non-white historians at this year’s Chalke Valley festival sends out a worrying message to Britain’s young

There have been defences made of the event by saying that you need to have Nazis and Tudors because that is what pulls in the punters, and maybe eventually get them onto something else not so overdone and ubiquitous.

However, only today there was a piece in The Guardian about the Bradford Literary Festival: Irna Qureshi and Syima Aslam have upended the traditional festival model to create a 10-day cultural jamboree that holds appeal across the city’s diverse communities

(Okay, does have the Brontes, and why not, but does not, alas, have ritual mud-wrestling by the Bronte Society...)

'They have upended the traditional literary festival model and attracted a demographic that is the dream of all forward-looking funders.'

So it can be done.

Meme for a rainy afternoon

Jun. 27th, 2017 01:57 pm
el_staplador: Yuri Plisetsky from 'Yuri!!! on Ice' sticking his tongue out; caption 'makes me wanna barf' (yuri on ice)
[personal profile] el_staplador
Pick any story I've written, or, in the case of my longer, chaptered works, any chapter from any story I've written, and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you the equivalent of a DVD commentary on that snippet: what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it in the first place, what's going on in the character's heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the rest of the fic, lots of awful puns, and anything else that you’d expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

My fics are here.


Also, I note with some amusement that the only fic mentioned in this post that I haven't actually managed to finish is The Fall of Strelsau. Though it's now sitting at 6,833 words, and yes, includes a by-election.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Dear Senator Johnson:

Yesterday, you compared me, not favorably, to a car: "We’ve done something with our health care system that you would never think about doing, for example, with auto insurance, where you would require auto insurance companies to sell a policy to somebody after they crash their car."

I cannot tell you how furious I am.

First of all, in comparing health insurance to car insurance, you are implying that:

(1) we can avoid illness, cancer, strokes, etc., the same way a driver, hypothetically, can avoid accidents (although accidents can't always be avoided, either);
(2) human beings are nothing but machines;
3) if we are not useful--as, say, children or elderly people no longer able to work are not useful--we are not worth taking care of;
(4) we decrease in value when we are damaged.

All of these implications are wrong. Frankly, they are all reprehensible. Also, a car accident is in no way, shape, or form like a "pre-existing condition." "Pre-existing conditions" are chronic. You can't deal with them once and then move on, the way you can buy a new car if yours is totaled. You have to deal with a "pre-existing condition" for the rest of your life; it goes on being expensive, eating up energy, and making your daily life harder long after the crisis point (the accident, in your analogy), if there even was one. Many people's "pre-existing conditions" start before they're even born. It is a false and pernicious analogy which you should never have permitted yourself to make.

Moreover, my "pre-existing conditions" are not things that I did, or things caused by my bad choices. The same is true of my friends who are bipolar. The same is true of any child who has cancer. Illness, whether mental or physical, is not a moral judgment, and a person's value, which is inestimable, is neither measured nor affected by the health care they need. And no one can predict the health care they're going to need--in much the same way no one can predict a drunk driver crossing the median and colliding head-on with their car.

Frankly, I have never expected you to oppose TrumpCare, whether it's called the AHCA or the BCRA, and I was angry enough about that. But the contempt this analogy shows for your constituents and for their need to have effective and affordable health care--a need that does not correlate with either their socio-economic status or their moral rectitude and that should never be thought of in terms of free-market capitalism--is appalling, especially from someone who claims to consider it "an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Wisconsin." I sincerely hope that this analogy is not a reflection of your true opinion of your constituents.

Senator Johnson, I AM NOT A CAR. I am a person, created equal with yourself, and I deserve to have my elected representatives respect my humanity and treat me with dignity.
spiralsheep: Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society (Sewing Circle Terrorist Society)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Remember: they can't ban abortion, they can only ban safe abortion. This shouldn't be news in 2017 but the BMA, which is the trade union for doctors in the UK, has voted to lobby for the decriminalisation of abortion in the UK, in addition to restating their support for the general 24 week limit under current regulation with exceptions for later abortions (usually when the woman's "health" is at risk but this is interpreted widely to include mental health, and the consequences of rape and/or domestic abuse), because we can have regulation without criminalisation. I note that no common men's healthcare procedure is criminalised in law.

- For want of a comma the husband was lost: "The novel features the author's minor series character the ex-Empress Irene, who has by this time abdicated her throne and Benjamin Trafford." /lol, wikipedia

- Reading, books 2017: 51. Having moaned about my inability to read, due to both disability (seasonal and relapsing) and my inability to pick reading material that suited my mood (which was as irritable as my eyes, lol), I then had enforced extra indoor time because I was under the weather, LITERALLY, and am now on course for my goal of 104 books in 2017. ::wryface::

40. Assassination Classroom 5, by Yusei Matsui, 2015, comic. Good, boysy, not hooking enough for me to spend £100+ on the whole story though. :-) (4/5)

42. Hellcat!, vol.2, Don't Stop Me-ow, by Kate Leth and Brittney L. Williams, 2017, comic. Good scripting from Kate Leth and perfect art from Brittney Williams but this volume didn't do much for me as it consists of what seemed a rushed conclusion to the Hedy frenemy storyline (although I presume she'll recur), an interruption for the tedious Civil War event (although Leth does her best and delivers an episode centring on female friendship), the obligatory supervillain ex-boyfriends plot (trying to mock the tropes, I suspect, but without enough depth to pull it off imo), then part of a Black Cat girl gang story that didn't grab me enough to care about the ending. There were two small continuity fails, one in which Hellcat forgets she applied to be Jessica Jones' babysitter (a job that eventually went to Squirrel Girl, lol), and one in which Bailey (and the writer) seems to have forgotten she can use her magic bag to escape by teleporting as she does in the first volume to escape Hellcat and mall security. Although I did like the deliberate ret-con explaining Patsy's mom trying to sell her soul. I've bought Ms Leth's Spell on Wheels trade too [ ↓ see below]. (4/5)

43. Reread
44. Reread

46. Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, vol. 2, Cosmic Cooties, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, and Marco Failla, 2017, comic. ♥ ♥ ♥ (5/5)

• Now a mealtime catchphrase :-D : "Enough! We will not discuss this at the feasting vestibule."

50. Spell on Wheels, by Kate Leth, Megan Levans, and Marissa Louise, 2017, comic, is basically a road trip version of Practical Magic but with a more diverse cast. As ever Kate Leth excels at writing comedy and light adventure, and Megan Levens' art is perfect for the story. The subplot about drugs and alcohol at a party being used against a woman was well done and solidly blamed the perpetrator (not the victim). I did have two small quibbles but only one worth mentioning: this is at least the fourth ex-boyfriend revenge plot I've read in only three trades by Ms Leth and although she does them well, with nuances, and I recognise this is an aspect of women's lives that's been underrepresented in most mediums and genres of fiction (with the honourable exception being chicklit, obv), I hope she'll expand her storytelling repertoire before it becomes too repetitive. I did like the implication that our heroines' team raison d'etre is finding new magic users, which is necessary because power isn't (and shouldn't be) hereditary. (4/5)

Entitlement Boy, the (not at all super) villain of Spell on Wheels, by Kate Leth and Megan Levens, 2017

My ancient scanner and the flickr resizing don't do the art any favours so my apologies to Ms Levens but that panel was too funny not to post! Good lettering too, lol. :-D

(no subject)

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:45 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] coalescent!

Birthday

Jun. 27th, 2017 03:31 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Default)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
Happy birthday, [personal profile] nlbarber!

decide for me

Jun. 26th, 2017 11:44 pm
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I am supposed to go to rounds every Tuesday from 6 to 7 at the raptor rehab where I volunteer. It's good to be up-to-date on protocols, and to get the news about the cases. On the other hand, there is always a lot of information I don't need, and there are other ways to get the information I do need.

Tomorrow night there is a storytelling event at a coffee house from 7 to 9. "The event will showcase a selection of community storytellers sharing stories on the theme of food and farm. We’ve invited six storytellers — writers, poets, performers, journalists, speakers — to prepare true, personal stories and share them in front of a live audience." I'd like to go. I am always interested in anything that could help me become a better storyteller.

I could skip rounds.
I could leave rounds 10 minutes early and go to both, but I hate getting up when everyone else is still sitting patiently, and also that would be a very long evening for me.
I could just stay home. Staying home is always good.

two books, neither alike in dignity

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:42 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
It's book talking time!

Coincidentally, I have recently read two separate books about French spy-courtesans in the 1920s 19th century. One was Alexander Chee's The Queen of the Night. The other - well, I call it a book, but it is an incomplete series, by Jo Graham, beginning with The General's Mistress and continuing in The Emperor's Agent and The Marshal's Lover.

Alexander Chee, award-winning author, is interviewed about TQOTN in Vogue and reviewed in the New York Times. Jo Graham is interviewed about her books in Amazing Stories and reviewed on, well, Goodreads. There is a great difference in the height at which your brow is meant to sit while reading these books.

Which just goes to show why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

The Queen of the Night is rapey-er than Game of Thrones, and you will not collect that from reading any of those interviews or reviews, but holy shit, it's grim and unrelenting. There is a lot of sex in this book - never let anyone tell you that Serious Authors don't write sex. What Serious Authors don't write is enjoyable sex, because that has the filthy female whiff of romance about it, and Chee will have nothing to do with that trap: enjoy 561 pages of bleak fucking, at best survival sex, at worst violent rape. But it's described like opera! So, you know: it's Art.

Whereas if on the other hand you like slumming, you could read a page-turner of a picaresque sex-and-war-and mysticism perspective on the Napoleonic Wars that is super, super interesting for someone who has tended to read about it from the English perspective! It reminds me very much of that Roger Ebert quote that's been floating around Twitter:
There's a learning process that moviegoers go through. They begin in childhood without sophistication or much taste, and for example, like "Gamera'' more than "Air Force One" because flying turtles are obviously more entertaining than United States presidents. Then they grow older and develop "taste,'' and prefer "Air Force One," which is better made and has big stars and a more plausible plot. (Isn't it more believable, after all, that a president could single-handedly wipe out a planeload of terrorists than that a giant turtle could spit gobs of flame?) Then, if they continue to grow older and wiser, they complete the circle and return to "Gamera'' again, realizing that while both movies are preposterous, the turtle movie has the charm of utter goofiness--and, in an age of flawless special effects, it is somehow more fun to watch flawed ones.
Both books are preposterous. But Jo Graham's books are cheerfully preposterous, with love at first sight being based on mystical reincarnation through the ages and a vow between Cleopatra's handmaidens or some such thing; and Alexander Chee's characters blankly drift through the ludicrous motions of a musicless opera plot because, as The Worst Bestsellers likes to say about characters in books like these, they are lizard people. Human motivations and actions are foreign to them! They hatched from eggs and now they are wearing human skin suits and that's why the author acts like their entirely, artificially plot-motivated behavior is normal and requires no explanation. It is normal, for lizards!

Whereas Jo Graham's books involve people having difficult but ultimately productive conversations about ambition and infidelity and polyamory - they don't have that vocabulary, but the ideas are definitely there - and people who aren't entirely good or bad, and an enby protagonist, and conflicted feelings about children, and the fear of aging and death, and politics that are rooted in the deep personal urge for freedom, and yes - magic, and sex, and fun! I got the third one as part of a StoryBundle, which was annoying as it spoiled the first two, obviously! But the moment I finished it I bought the other two anyway. Spoilers don't matter that much - they're not mystery novels, if you're writing about the Napoleonic Wars the interest of your story had better not depend on the reader not knowing how things turn out. The Queen of the Night I got from the library, and I tried to finish it, I really did. It just wasn't giving me anything to work with. It is the kind of book where spoilers matter - my loan of it ran out before I made it to the end, and I placed a hold on it to check it out again just because I did, honestly, want to know the answer to the mystery. But when my hold on it came due, I admitted that I did not want to know enough to drag myself through to the end of a very, very, very boring book, and I never checked it out the second time.

And, incidentally, between the grim, boring, rapey book, and the picaresque, sexy, fun book? The fun book is the one that's based on a real historical person. Maria Versfelt was a Dutch adventure star, as she is delightfully described in that Dutch website (thanks Google Translate), and her published memoirs are the basis for Graham's books. I think the reincarnation thing is invention, though.

Dear Brain (II)

Jun. 27th, 2017 12:40 pm
megpie71: Simplified bishie Rufus Shinra glares and says "The Look says it all" (glare)
[personal profile] megpie71
Dear Brain,

Yes, I know I wasn't able to do the laundry. However, I contend that having the fscking washing machine break down is an acceptable excuse for not doing it. I have called a repair person, they're coming out on Thursday, and it was Steve's decision (completely unprompted by me) to pick up all the existing laundry and wash all of it at the laundromat. I've checked: he wasn't doing it to say "You're Useless And Should Be Ashamed Of Yourself (And Also Dead)". So do you think maybe you could kindly shut the fsck up on the matter?

I swear, that icepick is starting to seem attractive. Steve is suggesting I see about taking you back to the shop for a refund.

Sincerely (and exasperatedly)

Meg

Local news

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:34 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll


Mosque approved despite pleas to think of the little turtles and an odd assertion that the mosque would produce more sewage than "normal " spiritual use.

no totoro

Jun. 26th, 2017 08:35 pm
sasha_feather: horses grazing on a hill with thunderheads (horses and lightning)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
Jesse and I went to go see "My Neighbor Totoro" at the theater. We get there and it's very nearly sold out; we get the last two tickets that someone was refunding. Neither of us are quite trained into the new system where you are supposed to always buy your tickets ahead of time, having lived our whole lives as spontaneous movie-goers.

I get some snacks and we settle into our seats. The movie starts, the cute song and the little girl walking. Soon we realize, we are seeing the Japanese version with no subtitles. Someone alerts the staff and the movie plays on. I'm happy to watch it this way-- the story is very simple and to me, not understanding the words only plays into the dream-like quality of Miyazaki movies. But not long into it, the movie pauses and the manager comes in, to apologize. He says that they got the wrong version, and they will be playing the English dubbed version. Some people in the audience object. My friend a row below us calls out for people to clap if they want the dubbed version vs. if they want the Japanese version. It's about evenly split.

Well, they must have decided to do the dubbed version because they stopped the film. We decided to leave and get our refund.

Anyways, that is our Totoro story!

The exgf's cats meet Fig

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:42 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Ibid has a ... troubled history with Nigel so we're holding off on that.

No histrionics but somehow Rufus established himself as a cat Fig needs not to annoy, whereas Nigel is someone Fig will happily follow around.

Also, Fig made himself sick eating daisies, then tried to eat one again.
ysobel: (me)
[personal profile] ysobel
Okay, so, uh. Most of you know that I have a condition called FOP -- Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. For anyone who doesn't: it’s a really fucking rare medical condition where the body creates bone in and around muscles and tendons, progressively immobilizing the body into a human statue. It is incurable and untreatable.

This is a highly relevant video:



The 11-year-old in that video, Erin, got sick in April with basically the common cold, but it landed her in ICU. Between the severe scoliosis that FOP causes (I have way milder curvature because I was older when I started losing mobility, 10 instead of Erin’s 3, and my progression was slower) and the bone locking up her rib cage and taking up space in her chest, her airway is severely compromised. She was intubated as a last-resort measure for keeping her alive.

For the last two months, she’s been bouncing between ICU and “regular” hospital. About a week ago, her parents and doctors were discussing long term care options -- either BiPAP and hope like hell she never gets sick again, or a permanent tracheotomy. The trach procedure, complicated by the restrictions of FOP, would have her in the hospital until at least September and probably longer.

Four hours ago, she stopped breathing.

She has been successfully (re-)intubated, but... it’s bad and scary and so fucking not fair she’s a fucking *kid*, she isn't even 12 yet, she shouldn't be in the fucking *hospital* for *months*, let alone almost fucking *dying*.

(and if I’m being honest, this is fucking scaring me, not just on her behalf. My airway isn’t as bad, but this could be in my future too, and in another universe it could have been my path.)

So. Please, if you pray or send positive vibes or whatever, please send some to Erin and her family.

(She also loves postcards -- address is here -- but mainly I just want positive energy out in the universe for her.)

Dear Brain,

Jun. 27th, 2017 08:03 am
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
[personal profile] megpie71
Dear Brain,

Yes, I know I haven't Done All The Things and it's coming up for 8am. However, I have achieved far more than I would have this time two weeks ago, where I wouldn't have even got out of bed by this time. So how about you stop nagging me about stupid stuff, and I'll stop wanting to remove you with an icepick, okay?

Sincerely (oh, so sincerely)

Meg

sigh

Jun. 26th, 2017 03:19 pm
mmegaera: (Default)
[personal profile] mmegaera
So. I got some interesting (in the Chinese sense) medical results today. I'm not going to get more specific than that, but I could sure use all the positive thoughts, etc., that anyone would like to send this direction.

I won't know more until tomorrow afternoon, and even more until a week from today. After that, things are not going to be pretty for a while. The worst case scenario is pretty remote, but what's possible is also a pretty bad worst case. And what caused me to write this was the worst case scenario resulting from the tests I just had run last week.

Not happy, Jan, to quote my Australian friends.

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 04:37 pm
izzy: small yellow submarine on a blue background ([beatles] sailed up to the sun)
[personal profile] izzy
Oh hey there, apparently I haven't been around here since uh well before Wiscon, which means that if you didn't see me lose my shit on twitter, I GOT ACCEPTED TO UW-MADISON.

I just. I am so happy. And relieved. Lots of relieved, because this means I don't have to do an entire semester online at UW-Milwaukee (because fuck if I'm moving to Milwaukee) and apply to Madison again over winter break. I GET TO FINISH MY DEGREE HERE. Even though Bad Things are happening at the university because the state legislature is made up of fucksticks who hate education so my Feelings are Mixed, sigh.

Orientation and registration is in about a month. I want it now, I wanna pick classes! (I don't want everything I want to be full!) Patience, Elizabeth.

What else. Summer classes again: right now is Classical Mythology which is Great (except for how I need to read Oedipus Rex tonight) (again) (this is probably my third time reading it), and in a couple weeks my polisci class will start (American National Government, which will I'm sure be interesting and depressing and interesting), and then I'll have an associate's degree! An Actual Degree! I mean, I won't have the actual Thing until fall semester graduation, but whatever.

What else. My entire existence is political, so Happy Pride, I still don't have health insurance, and my brain decided to take a nosedive into a what-if cancer scenario at five fucking a.m. today, so that was cool.

We had a [personal profile] fairestcat for like three weeks post-Wiscon, which was delightful and I miss her face and I keep finding her dyed neon pink hair which obviously means I should vacuum. We went to APT and saw Midsummer Night's Dream on the NEW STAGE which was lovely and hilarious and fun (though later I watched the newish BBC production and wow did APT take some inspiration from that). We saw Wonder Woman twice which was good because there may have been some happy weeping the first time (and the second). And oh right, Cat and I went down to Chicago and saw those U2 guys as well. Which was, yknow, fine. (!!!!!!!) (ugh oh god it was so good I don't have words just random untypeable noises sry)

That's pretty much all I can think of. I should probably read about that Greek dude who made bad life choices now. (which one, I know.)
wychwood: man reading a book and about to walk off a cliff (gen - the student)
[personal profile] wychwood
55. The Interior Life, Dorothy J Heydt - DON'T JUDGE


56. The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard ) Ultimately too dark for me, and for the plot to work for me, but I'm not giving up on de Bodard. This series, maybe.


57. The Young Stepmother and 59. The Carbonels - Charlotte M Yonge ) The Carbonels is not great, but The Young Stepmother is solid (for values of Charlotte Yonge).


58. Mortal Engines - Philip Reeve ) I've read worse; SFF-minded children might enjoy it, and there's definitely worse out there.


60. A Closed and Common Orbit - Becky Chambers ) Like the first one; entertaining, sometimes interesting, would probably read more, but I was not blown away.


61. The Art of Deception - Nora Roberts ) An acceptable-enough Harlequin, if you can get past the standard "consent is UNMANLY" elements.


62. Green Rider - Kristen Britain ) A solid fantasy - I want to read the rest of the series, now.


63. Too Like the Lightning - Ada Palmer ) A nasty unpleasant piece of work, with some potentially interesting ideas and worldbuilding that couldn't sustain my enjoyment in the face of the rest of it.


64. All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders ) Ultimately a bit unmemorable, although I enjoyed it well enough in the reading.


65. Words are My Matter - Ursula Le Guin ) Somewhat insubstantial, unfortunately.


66. The Geek Feminist Revolution - Kameron Hurley ) A much better collection - I like Hurley's nonfic much more than her novels!


67. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet - Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze ) Definitely not your typical superhero comic, even your typical thoughtful superhero comic; I'm interested to see where they take this.


Four Mantlemass books - Barbara Willard ) Classic English children's books, and still well worth reading. I should make sure I get hold of the others.

(no subject)

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:15 pm
such_heights: amy deep in thought (who: amy [dust after rain])
[personal profile] such_heights
It occurs to me I've been on twitter a lot the last two months, but nowhere else. So - hi. Still here. Grieving, but here.

Comments disabled as I think I've had as much sympathy as I can handle (it's much appreciated, just A Lot sometimes).

<3
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I finally found out where I misshelved this.

(no idea what review series I can fit it into)


Dumb Calibre/Kobo question

Jun. 26th, 2017 03:20 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I can see my Kobo has about 300 more titles on it than my laptop Calibre does (because I got the Kobo well before the laptop). How do I move the titles that are on the Kobo to Calibre?
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
One issue: I really suck at giving people their free reviews. Would appreciate pointers on how to suck less.

Spoilers, sweetie

Jun. 26th, 2017 07:32 pm
nineveh_uk: Cover illustration for "Strong Poison" in pulp fiction style with vampish Harriet. (Strong Poison)
[personal profile] nineveh_uk
Some recent media viewing

Versailles

It's absolute tosh, but it's fun tosh. There's a 10 minute section after each episode in which they tell you which bits are actually vaguely connected to reality, and which aren't. For someone with very little knowledge of the history of the period it manages to be quite educational. I certainly had no idea that in 1672 the Dutch Prime Minister was set upon by a mob in The Hague who not only killed, but possibly ate parts of him.

On another note, Wikipedia led me to this portrait of Louis XIV showing an early example of the contorted breasts and bum figure so beloved of bad film posters and novel covers.

My Cousin Rachel

Did Daphne de Maurier have an ill-advised affair with someone she met at a continental holiday resort? It would explain a lot. I enjoyed this very much, and finally found out the ending having somehow managed to avoid spoilers for about 20 years since I heard the first half as a radio play. I should like to read the book; the film maintained the ambiguity well, but I wonder how much the story relies for its depth on a certain interiority that is hard to maintain on film, but I can imagine being there in a novel.

Doctor Who

I've enjoyed this series very much in a low-key kind of way. I've really enjoyed Capaldi, and Peal Mackie is excellent as Bill. It's been nice to have a companion with no particular mystery or backstory to her, just someone going round the galaxy having adventures with the Doctor, and Mackie portrays a combination of cheerful friendliness and curiosity that works very well. Not to mention added fun from Michelle Gomez as the Master.

Read more... )

Murderbot and Gender

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:14 am
muccamukk: Holmes examines a Santa hat. (SH: Christmas Hat)
[personal profile] muccamukk
One of the things I liked about Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries series is that the title character is some sort of android/human clone hybrid and has neither a sexuality nor a gender. The books are written in first person, but all the outside characters refer to the Murderbot as "it," and frankly it's fine with that. Wells mentioned on a recent AMA: "I feel the core of the character is that while Murderbot is obviously a person, it isn't human and doesn't want to be human, so while other characters might give it pronouns, it's not going to want to pick any for itself."

I know at least one person who found the use of "it" over "they" for non-gendered pronouns uncomfortable, while Nenya liked it for reminding the reader of the profoundly non human nature of the SecUnit. Reading reviews, I noticed that people used a variety of approaches to deal with Murderbot's gender, and I did a quick tally of them.

214 Reviews on Goodreads as of this writing
  • 137 of them don't use pronouns for Murderbot (a few seemed to be deliberately avoiding doing so, but mostly these reviews just said something like "Good book, will read the next one.")

  • 5 of them are in a language I don't speak (I'm taking a Murderbot approach to this, and half-assing my research)

  • 44 (61%) of them used "it"

  • 12 (17%) of them used "he"

  • 8 (11%) of them used "they"

  • 8 (11%) of them used "she" (Ann Leckie's got them trained!)

Speaking of Leckie, she has recced this series as well. I feel like Murderbot and Breq could have a profitable conversation, really.

Free comic book collection

Jun. 26th, 2017 11:34 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
There is an interested party. Will update if this changes.

Jasmine's closets are filled with the late MV's comic collection. She's been trying to find home for the 30 cartons of comics for the last decade. If anyone would like them, they are free for the picking up (in bulk, not piece meal. Sorry.).

If she cannot find a taker in the next week, they are going out to recycling.

Please contact me here or at jdnicoll at panix dot com for more details.

Clarification: you can take individual boxes if you like. You just cannot take individual issues.

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