Guess what was in a mysterious and unexpected box from [personal profile] yhlee today?

terrible cellphone picture )
The Toast's open thread yesterday had a great question: what's the silliest (small-scale) misconception that you held onto for a really long time?

Mine:

Ponies aren't baby horses.

(I don't remember when I learned this, but Chad told me it, and I think it was relatively recently, too.)

What about you?
This one's up for auction at Con or Bust (I'm offering a custom-made one, too).

Click to enlarge:

red knotwork front full

The weird waviness is it being unduly flattened by the scanner, because I tried for way too long to get accurate colors with a camera and GIMP and could not.

Pattern by Teresa Wentzler (and a giant pain, it varies the height of the rows it puts in and so I had to take a ruler and pencil in lines so that I could have a proper 1 square = 1 stitch chart). Stitched over two on Antique White MCG evenweave; main stitching in silk, Caron Waterlillies, Cherry 101; satin stitch and Algerian eyelets in DMC pearl cotton size 12, Ecru (best way to do satin stitches EVER); backstitch in DMC 801 (done over one on the diagonals); shiny bits in Krenik #4 Braid Beige (013).

The colors don't quite glow the way I wanted when I saw the silk in the store, but I'm pretty happy with it all the same.
Can anyone recommend me a history of China in the early 1800s or that includes that period? Ebook would be preferable. Thanks.
Two signal-boosts:

First: Free Admission to ITHACON40/Pippi to Ripley3, the Ithaca College Campus, Saturday May 2, 2015 10am-5pm. Special Guests: Bruce Coville and Laura Lee Gulledge. Free kids workshops include: comic drawing workshops, fantasy writing, steampunk art, superhero cape making, star wars armor workshop, Japanese sword, Belly Dance, Pathfinder RPG game, Game Space, and Zombie Ballroom.

ITHACON40 full guest lineup; Pippi to Ripley full program.

Plus a Friday evening event (also free):

7:00-9:00 Panel on Women Making Comics (Klingenstein Lounge, Ithaca College Campus Center), with Laura Lee Gulledge, Morgan McKenzie (published as “Maegan Cook”), and Danielle (Ielle) Palmer.

Pippi to Ripley is where I gave my Mary Sue talk a couple years ago; I can't make it this year, but if you can, check it out.

Second: the Tiptree Award is expanding into Fellowships, to "support the development of new work, in any form or genre, that uses speculative narrative to expand or explore our understanding of gender, especially in its intersections with race, nationality, class, disability, sexuality, age, and other categories of identification and structures of power" ($500 year, two recipients). The application process is being developed in coordination with micha cárdenas; applications are expected to be opened at the upcoming WisCon (May 22-25, 2015).
I've hit my limit with Acronis's mysterious failures.

Needs to have incremental or differential backup options as well as automatic deletion of old versions.
I think this comment exchange between Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and Abigail Nussbaum encapsulates the struggle I continue to have over whether to put Mixon above or below No Award, which is how to prioritize the very different messages being sent by Mixon's nomination. If this is a topic that interests you, I recommend reading it.
I mentioned the mobile game 80 Days previously, but I'm really liking it and it's currently part of a Humble Mobile Bundle, where you get it DRM-free for Android if you pay more than the average (currently $4.33). As it usually retails for $5 solo, if you're at all interested in any of the other games, this is a good deal.

Why I like 80 Days minor spoilers )

The author (Meg Jayanth, who wrote the incomplete Storynexus game Samsara and is British-Indian) bills it as "decolonised, multicultural steampunk," and there's a little bit more about that in this blog post. If that sounds appealing, or you'd just like half a million evocative words of AU Choose-Your-Own-Adventure very cheap, you should really check 80 Days out. (The iOS is not in the bundle, but: $5. Half a million words.)
O Captain! My Captain! is a poem about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. It is not an appropriate general-purpose form of address to anyone with the title Captain.

Also, here is a large-ish cute kid picture:

sillyheads pretending to be gargoyles, or something )

And now the kids' grandparents are here and I have to go.
Point to be made about public discourse about the Hugo nominations:

The "Rabid Puppies" slate, the one put forth by Vox Day (a pseudonym for Theodore Beale), is the dominant slate here. It put more nominees on (58 v. 51), and 10 nominees appeared only on it, as opposed to three of the "Sad Puppies" slate (Brad R. Torgersen). (Breakdown via File 770; don't read the comments.)

If you don't know why this matters, you can read a short, rather restrained summary of Day's views at Wikipedia (content notes for sexism, anti-immigrant rhetoric, racism, and sizeism).

I still don't care that much about the Hugos, but it frustrates me to see news articles, blog posts, etc., acting as though the "Sad Puppies" is the only slate that exists and ignoring the more significant influence of Beale/Vox Day.
Laura J. Mixon is the only person on the Best Fan Writer ballot for this year's Hugos who wasn't on the Sad/Rabid Puppy Slate. I want to urge people not to reflexively vote for her, that is, to consider no-awarding the entire category.

I assume that she is nominated on the basis of her lengthy post about Benjanun Sriduangkaew / Requires Hate / Winterfox / etc. I did not discuss this at the time—I found the entire topic disproportionately upsetting because RaceFail [*] (speaking of which, do NOT!!! read the comments)—but that post has serious issues. Yes, it managed to get widespread attention to genuine instances of threats; but it also places people on the "target" list for being called "misogynist" ("Anon, MOC Writer") or for criticizing their writing only (Kress, Adrienne; Lord, Karen). There might be more, because I haven't been able to make myself closely read the accompanying text, I just looked at the Appendices; I recall from back in November seeing criticisms of the framing of the post, but I went back through my reading list of the time and couldn't turn up anything linkable.

(ETA 2: I have now read all the text, see comments for a little more discussion.)

As a result, I have serious doubts whether this post ought to garner its author a Hugo. I encourage those voting to carefully consider the question.

(Anon comments are screened; be polite and sign your comment with a handle for continuity of discussion and I'll unscreen you. If you're new here, note that I moderate comments for gross incivility, anon or not.)

[*] ETA: It has come to my attention, in a genuinely friendly and caring way, that this could use unpacking for people not on my access list. I was upset because I believed, and continue to believe, a number of the first-person accounts of Sriduangkaew's harassment and threats, and because I believed Sriduangkaew's apologies—lousy though they were—were going to work, she was going to get a pass: every time I see, for instance, Elizabeth Bear or Teresa Nielsen Hayden lauded as being especially clueful on questions of oppression, or put on a con panel about codes of conduct (for fuck's sake!), it's like being poked in a bruise, and they never made even lousy apologies for their behavior during RaceFail. My opinion of any of the people who came forward has not changed from what it was, I do not put credit in Sriduangkaew's statements, I do not believe we interacted before her identities were revealed, and I have not interacted with her since.
I announced this earlier in the week, but forgot to mention it here:

Con or Bust's annual online auction, which is its principal source of funds to help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons, is now accepting items for auction. Bidding will begin on Monday, April 20, and run for just under two weeks. You can get more details at the announcement post, which is also a good thing to link to! (I've been swamped this week but will be sending emails to various people who've donated items in the past, but you don't have to wait for that!)

I'm just gonna quote myself from last year:

There are lots of reasons why people don't read things based on their opinions of the authors. Me, if I know that someone holds views I find morally repugnant, or if I personally dislike them, etc., then I can't keep myself from looking for evidence of those disliked traits in the work, which is unfair to the work, and so I don't even bother. Other people refuse to lend support to live authors, but are okay with dead ones. Other people think the author is dead in the interpretive sense to the extent that they don't care. All of these are valid decisions, because the way people read is so personal and because people make different moral and ethical discussions.

[ . . . ]

All that said, I promised agnosticism, which is this: I genuinely cannot find it in me to care whether the Hugos devolve into, as James Nicoll points out with characteristic brevity and asperity, political parties, or whether prior community norms about politicking prevail, or Vox Day et al. get bored, or whatever. Worst comes to worst, a few years of concerted effort results in actual winners instead of mere nominations for hateful trolls, and a few year after that, booksellers and the like catch up and realize that the Hugo is no longer prestigious, and, well, SFF fandom is big, even the bits of it that self-identify as fandom, and WorldCon and the Hugos are only a small part of that. Maybe Locus stops overweighting subscriber votes and becomes the popular award of record. Maybe the Nebulas experience a surge in prestige. Maybe I hit the lottery and endow a juried award in my honor. Who knows? But the Hugos aren't that big a teapot, at the end of the day, and if people want to self-identify with them and participate in the community that votes on them, great, they should do that, and if people don't, great, they should do that too.

(Reference: this year's "Sad Puppies" Hugo slate—hilariously, not even that contained Vox Day; the just-announced Hugo finalists. (ETA: apparently Vox Day also had a slate, but I am not going to his site on principle (see last year's post, linked above, for context.))

The online tax filing through the state is actually good?! As in, I stopped paper filing our taxes because calculating just the tax due in NY (not our taxable income, just, here's a number that's taxable, now what is the tax due on that) had me tearing out my hair. But I had to file a tax return for SteelyKid this year [*], and the state online version added things up and calculated tax due for me, which was great—I had to file a 1040 for her and the fillable PDF doesn't even add things for you. (It turns out I could have gotten free software to efile for her, which I will remember next year, because calculating the tax due on her federal return required a 27-line worksheet.)

[*] Okay, I didn't have to file a separate return, I could have put her income on ours, but then that would cost us more taxes, whereas filing hers separately meant zero tax due on her income. (We put a monthly amount into an account in her name for college, because Chad's college has a really good tuition benefit and so a 529 account doesn't make sense, and this year the earnings on that exceeded the threshold for filing.)

Anyway: New Yorkers! File your state taxes online!
I've just send a check-in email to everyone who signed up for the playlist exchange; if you haven't received it, or more importantly your assignment, email me at knepveu@steelypips.org ?

Also, anyone who'd like to make a treat is welcome to check out the prompts! Email me before Wednesday, April 8 with the music files, the recipient, their prompt, the song order if any, and whether it's okay to share the playlist with all the participants or just the particular recipient. When reveals come, you'll be able to see all the playlists that have been shared among all participants!

I finished this snowflake bookmark a while ago, but haven't got around to editing the pictures until now.

I modified this pattern from Kincavel Krosses to make it shorter—and as you can see, it's still really too big for all but hardcovers:

[Image: bookmark over open copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell]

I could've left the border off, but I was stitching without a hoop or frame for the first time and I was having so much fun—so fast when you're doing whole stitches!—that I kind of didn't want to stop. SteelyKid saw it as a WIP and demanded it, and she doesn't care if it's flopping out of her books, so it's fine, but yeah, I have no idea why the original design is so long and still purportedly a bookmark.

details and more pictures )

So that's that. And experimenting with stitching the hand went great—I didn't even have to think about the tension in the stitches, it just came naturally. Works less with for things with lots of quarter stitches, a.k.a. the knotwork bookmark I'm finishing now, but OMG fast on whole stitches. I'm a convert.

(If anyone wants, I can give them the edited image file I used for the pattern, because shortening it means moving the interior slightly to center it.)

(Also posted to [livejournal.com profile] cross_stitch.)

Y'all. I am boggled.

From Bujold's blog post:

I am pleased to report that a new Cordelia Vorkosigan novel has been sold to Baen Books for publication, tentatively, in February of 2016.

The title is Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen.

It is not a war story. It is about grownups.

And that is probably all I ought to say right now in a venue read by the spoiler-sensitive. It is, after all, a long haul till next February.

spoilers if you somehow managed to miss spoilers for Cryoburn )

So yeah, that kind of threw me into a tizzy this afternoon, which I really haven't yet recovered from. What do you all think?

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