The Ghastly Inevitability of It All

May. 22nd, 2017 10:41 am
[personal profile] malkingrey
Himself has a cold -- the full head and chest congestion, bones and muscles aching deal.

So I know what's in my future.

(Also, it's grey and clammy again outside. Just what I needed.)

Looking for Plotty Fanfiction Recs

May. 22nd, 2017 09:13 am
[personal profile] oracne
I am looking for recs of long, plotty fanfiction stories. Gen preferred but not necessary. I do not want A/B/O or D/S universes.

AU is more than okay, crossovers are okay, kidfic is okay. Curtain fic is okay. I like found family stories a lot.

It doesn't matter if you think I've already read it, I might want to read it again.

Preferable fandoms: MCU, Marvel comicsverse, Harry Potter, Stargate: Atlantis, Check, Please!

I also read SW: The Force Awakens, Sherlock, Supernatural, Stargate, all flavors of Star Trek, Inception, and Merlin (mostly AUs).

Feel free to rec anything else you think I might like, regardless of fandom.


fiber monday

May. 21st, 2017 08:00 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Status: Tidblad for MIL is nearly at midpoint. ___Sand has two completed sleeves and the right shoulder width!! Body is paused for a break near 70% to let my finger heal: half-cotton yarn and a tendency to push the working needle back through = callus, stress-burst skin, and a bit of a bruise beneath them. Oops.

Having attempted to sew exactly zero of the patterns for tops that I've eyed since two years ago, I've renewed contemplation of knitting some: not cardigans but the layer beneath, as complement to the few cotton buttondowns left from grad-school teaching, the few linen buttondowns bought since (pricier), and the usually plain T-shirts to which I still default.

Read more... )

It's fine to have more ideas than time: beats boredom.

(no subject)

May. 21st, 2017 08:33 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Dear Jedao,

The next time you are annoying to write, I'm going to hurl you into the world of Warhammer 40,000, and then you'll realize I'm a nice author. I mean, the very least of the Sisters of Battle would eat you for breakfast. So behave, m'kay?

Your Yoon

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

May. 21st, 2017 09:17 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
Six Wakes

3/5. Locked spaceship mystery in which six clones wake up with missing memories on a generation ship lightyears from earth in the bloody wreckage of their prior deaths.

When I say that this book is "fun" and "a palate-cleanser" it should be understood that includes stabbings. Lots of stabbings. And six cagey, pissed off people running around an enclosed space alternately feeding and attempting to kill each other. There's this vague philosophical underbelly going on about the things you might expect – immortality and the ways it changes you – but let's be real, I was here for stabbings and plot twists and revenge schemes.

But I mostly wanted to talk about the fact that the author reads the commercial audio. This is a thing that is happening more often, and I get why it seems like a good idea. But you know what? Audio narration is a skill, and it takes practice, and probably also some innate talent. Mary Robinette Kowal has been doing it for a while, and she was pretty good reading her own stuff. Same with Emma Newman, who has extensive experience and who really knocked her own Planetfall out of the park (and who has the advantage of a lovely voice to work with). Lafferty does podcasts, but that really isn't the same thing as performative reading, and well. She's just not that good. She's also not bad, but she's a little affectless, a little forced. And this is how she'll get better, I guess, but it really pointed out how a mediocre narrator can make awkward writing truly thud. The dialogue in this book is, well. How do I put this? A really good, seasoned performer probably could have saved a lot of it with effort. Lafferty could not.

from the Starfinder RPG Wiki

May. 21st, 2017 07:01 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
On Solarians in Starfinder (upcoming tabletop RPG):
Solarians are mystical melee combatants who harness stars and black holes to create weapons and armor from energy, and can manipulate these balanced, fundamentally opposing forces of energy.


(household includes a gravitational astrophysicist)

ME: How are stars and black holes "fundamentally opposing forces of energy"?

HOUSEHOLD GRAVITATIONAL ASTROPHYSICIST: The statement actually makes no sense whatsoever.

ME: Just checking. How come I don't get to sling around stars and black holes?

DRAGON: Because you spent your point on Perfect Pitch, Mom.

ME: *starts to cry*

CAT: *walks across keyboard*
[personal profile] sovay
Today's major achievement: writing to the Department of the Interior about the ongoing national monument review, which could (and feels designed to) result in the rescinding of federal protection from more than two dozen established national monuments. Rather obviously, I do not believe this is a wise idea.

We live already in a world where it is far too uncertain whether our grandchildren will be able to enjoy the land and the seas as we knew them. )

If you wish to send a letter or submit a comment of your own, the deadline regarding Bears Ears National Monument is the end of this week, May 26th; the deadline for all other monuments is July 10th. Some of the land in question is sacred; some of it is merely irreplaceable. Thanks to [personal profile] truepenny for the heads-up.

another round of recs

May. 21st, 2017 04:21 pm
[personal profile] glass_icarus
I'm obsessively reading Nirvana in Fire and YOI fic lately, so here is a list of recent things that made me gleeful!

- In Time, Once Again (English translation), MCS/Jingyan
- Lithograph, which is a more serious/feelsy followup to Palimpsest's hilarious setup, both MCS/Jingyan
- Woman King, Sword in Hand, aka EMPRESS NIHUANG with OT3!! ♥ (I wish there were more OT3 stories)
- in price, a pearl, MCS/Jingyan

YOI: more things probably most of you have read & maybe a couple you haven't?
- Five Things Yuri Plisetsky Loves Very Loudly (and a quiet one who loves him back), maybe the most satisfying Otayuri I've read to date ♥
- here on the roof of the world, Viktuuri a la jibrailis, who is magic :D
- have you heard there's a rumour in st. petersburg (series), Viktuuri + various Russian skaters, aka one of my favorite things!
- Yuuri!!! on Floor, yet another satisfying alternate-sports world ♥
- If It's You, Viktuuri's media-related shenanigans
- Half a Chance, featuring a chain of love stories, inadvisable crushes, and Yuri figuring out his ~FEELINGS~ which is never not the best thing
- The Boy Who Watched, the secret fanboy life of Viktor Nikiforov? or something like it
- rose-colored boy, PHICHIT MY PRECIOUS ♥
- And Baby Makes Three, one of the very specific scenarios I find more entertaining than Viktuuri on their own
- Back and Forth, another cute (and illustrated!) Otayuri :D

Malapropism du jour

May. 21st, 2017 12:12 pm
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Charles Willson Peale referred to one of his son's allusive, cryptic letters as "hiraglefecks", which I immediately looked up.  Google suggested "hieroglyphics", which I'm sure is right.   I adore "hiraglefecks" as a standalone word; very satisfying to say and type. 

Dogskull Etc

May. 21st, 2017 02:26 pm
[personal profile] tkingfisher

Lord, there's so many things I keep meaning to blog about and then I get distracted. And then I'm like "I must blog about this thing!" and remember that I didn't blog about the other thing and then it just becomes easier to go play Dragon Age for awhile.

But! Dogskull Patch is still mine!

After careful perusal of the house, it's best treated with a bulldozer, I think. Clearing out the junk--and there is so much junk--is just not feasible with my available manpower. Also some large animal has been inside. I choose to believe that it is a dog. Thinking about the alternative sources of the poop in the corner is a little more than I wish to deal with.

Also, the house has bees! There is a feral hive living in the wall (and maybe the attic) of honeybees! Which I think is actually REALLY REALLY COOL, since there aren't supposed to be very many wild hives in NC anymore owing to colony collapse. A Master Beekeeper and his apprentice are supposed to come out and investigate the possibilities of getting them out, since I flatly refuse to destroy a honeybee hive, even if it's holding up work.

This weekend we took out a lot of little weed trees. There's some hundred-year-old white oak that will be touched over my dead body, but some of the scruffy Carolina blackcherry (edible but unexciting) and the privet and five million loblolly and blackjack oak seedlings can come out. My buddy Krin went through the aerial photos going back to '79 and figured out that the back forty (or I guess back five, in this case) had been harvested at least once, which would explain why all the pines are growing like that.

I've been reading up on the local soil and poring over historical maps. This sort of thing is weirdly fun for me, but it's a bit late to switch careers to agronomy and also my agent would nail my head to her wall as a warning to other authors. There is a TINY patch of "silt loam" in this chunk of the county, and Dogskull Patch is literally sitting square on top of it. (And when I say "tiny" I mean "my neighbors have only a couple yards of it, and the back 40 is something else entirely.") When I was excavating some holes, I was very puzzled by the dirt--it was incredibly fine, almost like ash. It reminded me of porcelain clay. Apparently that is what "silt loam" is like.

(It's on the high point of a low hill. Not that you can really tell, in the middle of the woods, but a chunk of Dogskull is literally the highest point, by a couple feet, of the surrounding area. I'd guess that's why the silt is still there, and didn't get carried off by erosion.)

According to the county soil maps--and I had no idea that the geologic surveys ran so precise!--Dogskull Patch and environs is "prime farmland of state concern." I assume that means "If anyone cared about dirt the way that dirt should be cared about, they would beg to keep Dogskull as farmland, not vanish under tract housing." On the other hand, it was a tobacco farm, and tobacco farming is REALLY hard on soil. So at best guess--beautiful soil treated cruelly, now with a load of trees.

I must remind myself that it has taken care of itself for many years now, and that anything I can do to help is merely a bonus. I am not saving it, except perhaps from developers. I am merely improving small bits and making it more itself. Otherwise the monumental SIZE of the task and the sheer weight of responsibility would crush me flat. (My buddy Foxfeather advised me of this, and I am grateful. It was excellent advice.)

So, we took out some of the trees and dragged them over close to the property line to build a hugulkultur bed there. A large enough one will function as a berm and I can plant trees on the far side to help block the line. I'd like to put in a seriously gnarly hedgerow there, maybe with some Osage orange. Hedgerows are great habitat and the orange is one of the few more-or-less-native plants that will potentially keep out feral hogs.

But that's awhile in the future. Everything is in the future. Meanwhile, in other news I work on the next Hamster Princess, have no idea what to work on for my next T. Kingfisher (there's at least two novels and one novella that aren't too far off, but none of them have hit a tipping point in my brain) and am suffering the massive productivity loss that is afflicting most of the creative people I know in this political climate. Also my stepfather keeps having heart attacks and winding up in the hospital with increasingly dramatic pulmonary failings--"THREE aortic aneurysms! Two blocked arteries! How are you ALIVE, sir?" but is about as interested in human company as the aforementioned feral hog, so I am in the grim stage of waiting by the phone to hear that he has finally keeled over so that I can swing into action. This is horrifically stressful, but he's nearly eighty and has certainly earned the right to die alone while fly-fishing if he so chooses, and for all I know, could still outlive me.

(I am at that stage where I do not feel guilty about thinking such thoughts, nor am I feeling guilty about not feeling guilty, but, in somewhat meta fashion, am feeling vaguely guilty that I am not feeling guilty about not feeling guilty. "If I was really a good person, I would at least question that I am not at all guilty about this!" This is a complex emotional knot best severed with hard manual labor and tequila.)

I am writing this while sitting out in the garden. My beloved backyard garden is really shining this year. I am proud and grateful to it. It exudes peace, and for once I can actually appreciate that, instead of rampaging around trying to change bits. I think it's mostly done (ha ha) and while I have lots of things to tweak, stones to add, etc, the bones are all there and not likely to change tomorrow, so I can sit and relax in it and admire the beans and the iris and the potatoes in their grow bags.

Anyway. Life keeps keeping on.

Peale's fascination with the dead

May. 21st, 2017 11:45 am
[personal profile] mme_hardy
It turns out it wasn't just his child's body that interested him. He tried to buy the well-preserved body of a German Lutheran child for exhibition in his museum; he also said he'd like to stuff Benjamin Franklin's corpse -- Franklin was then living -- as a tribute.

I would adore to chase down these citations (screenshot from Wendy Bellion's Citizen Spectator:
Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America
, c/o Google Books) someday.
A set of citations for Charles Willson Peale's interest in corpses

An article you can read with a free MyJSTOR login is "A Death in the Family", Phoebe Lloyd, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 335 (Spring, 1982), pp. 2-13 . This sets the painting in the context of other portraits of death, gives the full poem that was used as both advertisement and trigger warning, and has interesting details on the whys of Rachel Peale's pose.
[personal profile] lightreads
When the Moon Was Ours

2/5. A girl with a complicated past grows roses from a wound in her wrist; the local "witch" girls want the roses for their own ends.

Well, on the plus side, this is a great example of a book where representation works so much better when it's not done on the 'one and only' model. There are two trans characters in this book who are in very different places in re their identities, their bodies, and their transitions. And because there are two of them, it is so much easier to take each of them where they are, as a person, rather than – unfairly but inevitably – as some sort of comment on trans people in general, or transition in general, or or or.

On the other hand, this book is 70% symbolism by volume, with a plot tossed over top. These are not the proportions I like my fiction to have. I spent this whole book like, "Wait, that wasn't a metaphor, the pumpkin literally turned to glass? Oh-kay . . . what does that mean? What do the paper moons mean? What about the – oh, for fuck's sake."

Either this novel really ought to have been novelette length, at most, or it is so so so so not for me. Or both.

Update on Me

May. 21st, 2017 12:26 pm
[personal profile] oracne
I am still waiting on my pre-ordered copy of Megan Whalen Turner's Thick as Thieves. *taps foot*

Otherwise, Elderly Cat is being kept at the vet for a day or so to get fluids but is not in imminent danger; roomie (owner of the cat) is back early Wednesday, and Usual Catsitter is taking care of the cat issues in the interim, so I won't be going crazy trying to deal with that when I leave for WisCon early Thursday. As in, getting up at 4:00 AM for my flight.

I am mostly packed for WisCon, at least I have stacked stuff in the suitcase, checked over my toiletries, etc.. Today I need to check the weather forecast for Madison, to make sure I've chosen appropriate clothing. Other than that, I need to call for a taxi that morning, get cash, and write down some panel notes.

Bestie is coping okay with her mom's death for the nonce, while planning a memorial service her mom would have really enjoyed. I will miss it, since I'll be at WisCon, but I've been helping her out with various things this week, and that's plenty of closure for me. Plus, I'll be there when it's all over and her sibs have gone home, which is going to be a harder time, I predict.

The three days of dayjob before I leave are going to be packed, as we are starting our fiscal year closing process.

The Adorable Tots are back this evening and I am going to squeeze them like an anaconda.

Low-bandwidth reading page

May. 21st, 2017 09:59 am
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
I read from this link

Which has no graphics at all, and when you click through you're automatically in style=light

(And if a post doesn't have a title, then this displays the initial words of the body.)

(no subject)

May. 21st, 2017 08:42 am
[personal profile] skygiants
Having temporarily taken a break from lengthy space operas about terrible wars within ongoing franchises after finishing DS9, [personal profile] innerbrat and I have now started watching through Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I'm going to try to stop to write up about every ten episodes for anyone who is interested in following along on this moderately lengthy journey.

For the record, going in, here is my knowledge of The Clone Wars as picked up via tumblr osmosis:
- there are clones
- Anakin has an apprentice named Ahsoka and we all love her
- Obi-Wan might have a romance with a planetary leader because that's just what Jedi do, apparently
- there is a Complicated and Tragic plot about Ahsoka's ruined relationship with the Jedi order that allows her to survive to appear in Star Wars: Rebels

That's it! That's all I know. Other than what happens in these first ten episodes of Season 1 )
[personal profile] musesfool
I said this on Tumblr last night, but that frequently feels like shouting into a void, so I'm going to say it here too, in the hopes that casting it out into the universe means it will shortly appear on the internets for my reading pleasure:

There should be a Leverage/Timeless crossover, where the Leverage crew gets hired to infiltrate Mason Industries ("Let's go steal a time machine!") and they have NO IDEA that the time machine is real, so they are in for QUITE A SHOCK when Parker accidentally sends herself and Lucy back to the Gold Rush or something. Of course, when they discover Rittenhouse it becomes "Let's go steal history!"

I feel like Eliot and Wyatt would have run into each other before (surely something very distinctive will be mentioned, or perhaps that's in regard to Flynn, whom Eliot would also know and dislike immensely), and Jiya and Rufus know Hardison from somewhere online (or maybe MIT?), while Lucy and Parker would just be super awkward when they got stuck in the past together. Parker might learn a few interesting if non-pertinent historical facts, and Lucy might learn how to crack a safe.

Someone who is not me should totally write that! :D :D :D

In other news, I meant to link to this the other day and forgot in all the househunt excitement: wonderful Kaz/Inej fanart by [ profile] mimiscribbles. His bare hand! Their linked fingers! Her knives! The twin "we're going to fuck you up" expressions! <333 #otp: we never stop fighting (Thanks to [personal profile] umadoshi for the link!)

[personal profile] sovay
I have no idea why the car double-parked directly beneath my office window is blasting classical guitar at half past midnight, but I'm honestly really enjoying it. Usually the music people blast from their cars is much more bass-heavy. This is remarkably soothing. [edit] And someone from the next house over called the cops on it. Dammit.

(There is not much to report about today: it was the kind of unromantically exhausted, brain-AWOL sick day where mostly I coughed a lot and stared into space and did very little of practical use, which I hate, although I did manage to bake a loaf of banana bread and unpack four more boxes of books. We have a pot of basil on the back porch now, which I am hoping not to kill.)

some things

May. 20th, 2017 09:15 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* If pre-Bronze Age mitteleuropäisch archaeology interests you (the chunk preceding what's sometimes called Hallstatt culture), check out

* Osugi Ren, a solid character-actor who seems to work regularly, plays the eponymous father in a new jdrama called Final Fantasy XIV: Hikari no otōsan (father of light). Summary: Ren's character takes slightly early retirement after a work-focused life, and he and his son bond while playing FF14.

I would like to know who or what has jumped a shark here, but not enough to try to watch the show.

* [personal profile] skygiants has pointed out that I Hear Your Voice seems to have a subtext of Ace Attorney characters and lines. Reading recaps for the first two hours' worth of Suspicious Partner (now broken into four eps instead of two due to the introduction of midpoint commercial breaks), I wonder---it seems to have a similar evocation.

* I'm convincing myself slowly to pick up Persona 4 again, this time to finish it. The game's internal calendar follows the (Japanese) school year; I've played from April through sometime in fall on a PS2, then restarted (P4Golden) on a Vita and played from April till a bit shy of December break. Both saved games remain available, but I'm much more likely to use a Vita during summertime than an old-style, extra heat-generating PS3---which also makes P4G more attractive than the recently released Persona 5.

* If I do resume P4G, I'll continue not watching tv. :P Kinkyū torishirabeshitsu S2 is emerging; Star Trek: Discovery---which partner seems to want to watch more than I do---doesn't start till the fall. Or perhaps I'll keep playing Bonza National Geographic, a word game plus occasional jigsaw puzzle for smartphones, and reading syndicated feeds. I'd rather regain a tolerance for reading books. I have a book post for Wed, actually, after writing briefly about a book read more than a month ago, but it's the very last queued post. *whistles*

* Still sort of coughing---noticeably less even than last week. Zeno's paradox lives. Let's see how I do with three nights of single parenting before I declare the pneumonia gone.

It's a good day

May. 21st, 2017 12:00 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
When the body I find in the road is still living.

Nebula Winners Announced

May. 20th, 2017 10:38 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll



All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)


Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)


“The Long Fall Up”, William Ledbetter (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)


“Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)


Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistic


Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)


Jane Yolen


Peggy Rae Sapienza (Posthumous)
Toni Weisskopf


Jim Fiscus

The Iron Hunt by Marjorie Liu

May. 20th, 2017 10:12 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
The Iron Hunt

3/5. Urban fantasy about the loner woman with demons who live in her tattoos trying to slot herself into a life with a partner and friends while the potential apocalypse comes.

Yeah, so, most people probably know Liu now through her comics, but I knew her from a long-ago series of recs from several different people that left me with the strong impression that she writes delightfully batshit stuff with, like, hot gargoyle-on-lady action. So I finally grabbed this book – being one of the few options available in audio – and. I am saddened to report there is no hot gargoyle-on-lady action here. I mean, it's nice? There's lots of plot and cool worldbuilding and oodles of backstory barely hinted at. And a central relationship that is established and quietly awesome (he's so respectful of her, it's actually confusing!)

So I went and looked at Liu's website and it turns out this series is listed as "urban fantasy," and she has another series listed as "paranormal romance" which I suspect is what was recced to me.

And here's my question: why oh why oh why can't I have lots of plot and worldbuilding and interesting backstory and hot gargoyle-on-lady action? This does not seem so hard!*

And yet. Genre rules, kids.

*Aside from the gargoyle dick.

A Romantic Life indeed

May. 20th, 2017 04:39 pm
[personal profile] mme_hardy
(from Demorest's Family Magazine, Volume 15, c/o Google Books)

A ROMANTIC LIFE.—The romantic vicissitudes of the early life of the Countess Solange De Kramer have once more become the talk of the Paris salons, and they are, indeed, so extraordinary that, used as materials for a novel, they would spoil the book by their lack of verisimilitude. One night in 1801, a little girl about one year old, was deposited in the drawer of the foundling hospital at Brest. She was dressed with much finery, and a note attached to her skirt told that her name was Solange, and that she would be reclaimed by her father. The claim was never made, however, and in due time the child was transferred to the orphan asylum to be educated there.

As she grew up she developed a most extraordinary beauty; but her intellect appeared to be very weak, and she suffered from frequent nervous fits. When she was twelve years old she was sent out into the streets to sell flowers, and her beauty and modesty attracted many people's good will; but she grew weaker and weaker and at last she died. According to French custom she was buried in an open casket, and, as it was Winter and the soil was frozen, she was laid into the grave, only covered with a thin layer of sand. During the night she awoke, and, pushing the sand away, she crept out from this grave. Not exactly understanding what had taken place, she was not so very much frightened; but in crossing the glens between the cemetery and the fortifications, she was suddenly stopped by the outcry “Qui vive,” and as she did not answer the sentinel fired, and she fell to the ground. Brought into the guard house her wound was found to be very slight, and she soon recovered ; but her singular history and also her great beauty had made so deep an impression on a young lieutenant of the garrison (Kramer) that he determined to be her protector, and sent her to one of the most fashionable educational establishments in Paris.

During the next ten years Kramer was much tossed about by the war; but when, in 1818, he returned to Paris, he found Solange a full-grown woman, not only beautiful, but accomplished and spirited, with no more trace of intellectual He married her, and for several years the couple lived happily in Paris. Meanwhile, investigations were made concerning the girl left in 1801 in the Foundling Hospital at Brest, and as these investigations were made by the Swedish ambassador, and in a somewhat official manner, they attracted some attention. Captain Kramer heard about the affair, wrote to the ambassador, and a month later the ambassador himself came in state to bring Mme. Kramer a formal acknowledgment from her father, the former General Bernadotte, afterwards King Charles XIV of Sweden. Captain Kramer and his wife went immediately to Stockholm, they were ennobled, etc., and their son has just now been appointed attaché to the Swedish legation in Paris.

What I learned last night

May. 20th, 2017 05:51 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
If Ibid is allowed to sample ice cream, he spends the next hour bouncing off the walls. To the point even-tempered Fig hissed at him.

Today So Far

May. 20th, 2017 05:19 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
Took Himself down to Groveton for weekend duty. Came home.

Made myself a three-egg omelet with bacon, cheese, and onion for lunch.

Ran the dishwasher.

Took my brother down to the Wilderness for his evening socializing.

Picked up a couple of items for him at the Rite-Aid. Came home.

Paid the Fairpoint bill. Bank account is now once more sucking mud until next Wednesday, but at least the phone and internet will continue to flow.

I can't believe the dizzying excitement of it all.

At least it's sunny. Frost warning up for tonight, though.

you've got to get yourself together

May. 20th, 2017 04:40 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
I am so excited about buying this apartment that I have 1. willingly spoken on the phone for no necessary reason other than just to squee about it, and 2. reactivated my Pinterest account and spent several hours pinning potential furniture and other decorating things. I really dislike how Pinterest works (why is it so difficult to get to the original non-Pinterest link to see the thing in its original habitat, i.e., with a price and description etc.) - I feel about it the way many of you probably feel about Tumblr. Which isn't to say I don't also loathe Tumblr, because I do, but at least I know how it works. With Pinterest, I'm always like, what the fuck is happening here?

ANYWAY. I discovered that there is such a thing as the Azula Living Room Collection, and I may need to buy a couch and chair from it. PRECIOUS MURDER PRINCESS SOFA. <333

I also discovered ridiculously pricey writing desks and accent mirrors that don't even list a price so who even knows how expensive they are? Not that I wouldn't purchase them if I had unlimited funds! Needless to say, I found much cheaper but still snazzy versions of most things as well, so once I know this is actually happening (and when), I will be able to buy a new couch and, eventually, a dining set, among other things.

Even as I'm trying to manage expectations, I am excite!


WisCon Contact Post

May. 20th, 2017 01:40 pm
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
Hello there! Anything you write in a reply to this magic post will only be visible to you and me.

I'll be panelling 9:45 to 11:30 on Saturday, otherwise my schedule is open.

Let's make a plan!

If you want to contact me during the con, you can also direct-message me on Twitter [ profile] jesse_the_k

I look quite a lot like my icon, but tragically no Bella at the hotel.

See you there!

Montana special election

May. 20th, 2017 02:18 pm
[personal profile] colorblue
There's currently a Special Election being held in Montana, to replace Ryan Zinke, who Trump tapped as Interior Secretary. The polls close on May 25th. The Democratic candidate, Rob Quist, is pretty awesome -- a folk singer who ends his rallies with songs he's written, with a career in public service, a staunch opponent of privatizing public lands, pro single payer health system (and very strongly so -- he went into debt because of a botched surgery that left him ineligible for affordable health insurance), and pro-choice.

The Democratic establishment was initially bent on ignoring him, considering the race a sure loss, while Republicans PACs poured millions to prop up their candidate, the cardboard cut-out plutocrat Gainforte. But Quist continued drawing huge crowds to his rallies, raised much more money via small donors than anyone expected him to, and the establishment and media finally started taking notice.

They're now calling this race a referendum on Trump's presidency and policies. I think they're right to characterize it this way. The GOP nominee Gainforte had previously run for governor in 2016. But at that time, he'd distanced himself from Trump, going so far as to refuse to attend Trump's rally. He lost the race for governor in a state that Trump won by 20 points. Now he's turned into a die-hard Trump booster, believing that no matter what happens, just like before, the majority of voters in his district will continue blindly supporting Trump, and tear down anyone who doesn't.

Strategists believe Gainforte holds a single-digit lead, but there have been no official polls done, and the margin of error going either way is high. A GOP loss could have a large impact on things such as the American Health Care Atrocity, Congress braking the country's slide to autocracy, etc. (It took a special election in 1974 to convince Washington that Nixon had become toxic.)

Anyway, I'm really hoping for a win, both because I think the candidate is amazing, and because of what it would mean.

You can donate to Quist's campaign here.


ETA: A group of 40 Montana writers distributed an insert in local Montana papers endorsing Quist. In their own words -- "In an unprecedented show of unity, more than forty of Montana’s best writers have gathered, in rapid response fashion, to write original essays and testimonials advocating for the protection of our public lands, and endorsing Democratic House of Representatives candidate Rob Quist’s position on this (literally) most common ground of issues."

It’s possible, even useful, to think of these places instrumentally: wild lands make for clean water which makes for good fishing which is good for tourism, etc. There are sound practical reasons to preserve our wilderness. But these are not my reasons. I want to be touched by mystery, to walk in a place that surpasses my idea of it, to not be in charge for once. I want to touch something greater than myself. And this is where it is.
It's a brilliant collection.

Tumblr etc. Jargon Question

May. 20th, 2017 02:16 pm
[personal profile] chomiji

If something is tagged fandomedit, where fandom is (duh) a fandom, does it refer to photo-edits (such as finding a photo that looks like a character and then editing the photo somehow)?

Or am I totally off base, and if so, what does actually mean?

An early trigger warning

May. 20th, 2017 09:55 am
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 In 1772, Charles Willson Peale's daughter Margaret died of smallpox.  He painted a memorial portrait of her corpse lying on a pillow, prepared for burial.   In 1776 Peale expanded the portrait, adding his wife, Rachel, weeping over the baby.   The revised portrait was called "Mrs. Peale lamenting the death of her child", or alternatively "Rachel Weeping", an allusion to Matthew 2:18: "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."   

From the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which now owns the work:

 In 1782 Peale advertised Mrs. Peale Lamenting the Death of Her Child as a feature of his new painting room but sequestered it behind a curtain with the warning: "Before you draw this curtain Consider whether you will afflict a Mother or Father who has lost a Child."



May. 20th, 2017 10:43 am
[personal profile] brownbetty posting in [community profile] wiscon
I know this is a last-minute shot in the dark, but I'm looking for a room-share. I'm a female introvert whose hobbies are reading and knitting, and fandoms are Yuuri on Ice!!! and SF. I'm willing to pay 1/people in room of cost if you have a place for me.

Word of mouth

May. 20th, 2017 07:04 am
[personal profile] sartorias
Today's riff is about the power, and the problems of word of mouth.

Especially for Indie writers, who have zero budget for publicity. And I talk about current reads, and why I'm reading them.

UBC: Rule, Small Sacrifices

May. 20th, 2017 07:51 am
[personal profile] truepenny
Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and MurderSmall Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder by Ann Rule

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ann Rule wrote mediocre books, good books, and excellent books. This is one of the excellent ones.
Read more... )

Popcorn for everybody!

May. 20th, 2017 09:43 am
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Officials identify White House 'person of interest' in Trump-Russia investigation

The Washington Post reported that investigators have identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, according to people familiar with the matter. The individual is described as someone who is “close to the president”. (yes, some of us have used up our free articles at the WaPo again)

(The Guardian are also reading Buttercup's claim that he "speaks for himself" in his most recent denials of collusion with Russia as suggesting that he may be preparing to throw others in his staff under the bus. Which, one presumes, those others may be suspecting too.)


NYT: Trump Told Russians That Firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey Eased Pressure From Investigation

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”


Politico: Trump meets with lawyers at the White House

Money quote:

Some aides have begun reaching out to lawyers to see if they need counsel, according to one attorney who has spoken to several of them. This lawyer declined to identify the aides because he said at least two may end up being retained by his firm.

Via John Dean, who has deja vu.

Meanwhile! Madison is grappling with the fact that not every issue can be settled by committee

Reuters: Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians

In January, the Trump White House initially denied any contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. The White House and advisers to the campaign have since confirmed four meetings between Kislyak and Trump advisers during that time.

(I'm still not clear if those four are included in the 18 under discussion, or in addition to.)


Talking Points Memo: Big Trouble

A round-up of multiple links including those related to Flynn's being an unregistered foreign agent for Turkey, including the fact that he blocked a military operation against ISIS that Turkey didn't want, and that according to the NYT:

on January 4th, Flynn notified Trump Transition lawyer and now White House Counsel Donald McGahn that he was being investigated for his undeclared lobbying work on behalf of Turkey.

The article puts the pieces together and makes a very strong case that Pence can't have not known about this:

In this case, Pence was saying in March that he was only just learning about Flynn’s work for Turkey. But we now learn that Flynn had notified McGahn he was being investigated by the DOJ for that work at the beginning of January.

Well, that’s McGahn, not Pence.

But remember, Pence ran the Transition!

Maybe for some reason McGahn somehow didn’t tell Pence. But that’s very, very hard to figure since Flynn was in line for one of the most consequential positions in any presidency and McGahn had just been notified of a fact that under most circumstances would be disqualifying. If Pence lied about this part of the Flynn saga, the idea that he innocently passed on Flynn’s lies about the Kislyak conversation instantly looks much less credible.

In other words, Pence is up to his eyeballs in all of this too.

Slate tries to cope:

Everything Feels Like It Happened Forever Ago
[personal profile] rydra_wong
but please spam your social medias for those who might not -- especially young people, many of whom aren't registered, owing to the shift to individual registration:

You have to be registered by the 22nd May to vote in the election on the 8th June.

(no subject)

May. 19th, 2017 08:10 pm
[personal profile] telophase
I've mentioned before I think that we're booking a trip to Switzerland and Northern Italy (going to be circumspect about the actual dates for now), and I want you to know that I have just booked:

(1) an apartment in Venice that overlooks the lagoon and has a tiny private rooftop terrace, as well as an elevator in the building AND a washer and dryer

(2) a hotel in a former monastery in Vatican City that is actually ON St. Peter's Square

Now to see if I can find something cool in Florence.

Live where your heart can be given

May. 19th, 2017 07:56 pm
[personal profile] sovay
Today I got to have my yearly physical in the middle of this extremely unpleasant cold (I came home immediately afterward to cats and air conditioning), so here are a couple of things off the internet.

1. I am sure this guy cannot be cosplaying Strider if only because the machinery against which he's leaning looks too industrial for Tolkien's Middle-Earth, but that's what my brain told me I was looking at and so that's where we are:

2. Jason Shulman's Photographs of Films catches entire movie in single frames. Some of them work for me as freestanding images, some don't. I like how much Dr. Strangelove (1964) looks like spirit photography—the same with Blue Velvet (1986), only in color. If they return to particular sets and angles, you can see it; you get an idea of shot length. You wind up with these ghosts of the director's eye.

3. This is a very good article about the mythology of Robert E. Lee, occasioned by the removal of his monument from New Orleans.

4. This is a beautiful little short film courtesy of StoryCorps and It Gets Better.

5. Hestia when she does not feel like being petted basically pulls a Mordecai.

6. I am not sure if David Cairns is just going through his favorite character actors at The Chiseler, but after Edna May Oliver and Eric Blore he can keep it up indefinitely as far as I'm concerned. "I’m pretty sure a head like that could encircle the globe, if you laid it end to end a sufficient number of times." [edit] He appreciates Aline MacMahon! Good call. How could you not?

7. I really hope the new world's hottest chili pepper wins its flower show next week.

And because I just checked the news, I guess I'll have to watch an open hearing of the Senate intelligence committee sometime after Memorial Day, because I am certainly curious about what Comey is going to say.

A lucky kitten

May. 19th, 2017 07:04 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Seen while on the bus: a kitten dashing out onto Krug Street, then freezing at the midpoint, followed by its mother snagging it by the neck and dragging it along as she crossed the road.
[personal profile] sartorias
For a moment the three companions stood there, shrinking, staring up with unwilling eyes. Gollum was the first to recover. Again he pulled at their cloaks urgently, but he spoke no word.

The three are alone again, a pivotal chapter, this. In the last section, during the stay with Faramir, Frodo got his turn to kill Gollum—even easier, to have him killed, while he did nothing. Further, Faramir did his best to talk Frodo out of going with Gollum, and that after Faramir had proven himself to Frodo (and to the reader) that he was someone worthy of heeding.

“You would not ask me to breath faith with him?” Frodo said.

“No,” said Faramir. “But my heart would.”

Though chapter seven is named the crossroad, I think it’s this chapter, eight, that is a real crossroad.

The hobbits toil miserably and fearfully on, hurried by Gollum. When Frodo pauses in an exposed place, Gollum is frantic.

But it was too late. At that moment the rock quivered and trembled beneath them. The great rumbling noise, louder than ever before, rolled in the ground and echoed in the mountains. Then with searing suddenness there came a great red flash. Far beyond the eastern mountains it leapt into the sky and splashed the lowering clouds with crimson. In that valley of shadow and cold desolate light it seemed unbearably violent and fierce. Peaks of stone and ridges like notched knives sprang out in staring black against the uprushing flame in Golgoroth. Then came a great crack of thunder.

And Minus Morgul answered. There was a flare of livid lightnings: forks of blue flame springing up from the tower and from the encircling hills into the sullen clouds. The earth groaned; and out of the city there came a cry. Mingled with harsh high voices as of birds of prey, and the shrill neighing of horses wild with rage and fear, there came a rending screech, shivering, rising swiftly to a piercing pitch beyond the range of hearing. The hobbits wheeled round towards it, and cast themselves down, holding their hands upon their ears.

As the terrible cry ended, falling back through a long sickening wail to silence, Frodo slowly raised his head.

Such a vivid depiction of the power of Sauron’s evil will, and its fallout. The countryside is a ruin, and every living thing sounds like it’s being tortured.

The dark army issues forth, and pauses—in command is the same “haggard king” who had wounded Frodo. In my earliest reading, I was riveted, every bit as breathless as the hobbits cowering on the stone above, but in later readings, I wondered who that king had been, and what he had sought to gain.

Was it a slow descent, choice by reasonable or logical choice, until he became this ghost of himself, surrounded by death and dealing it? The fantasy equivalent of whoever was in command during WW II, sending waves of bombers to do to Hamburg what Hitler had not succeeded in doing to London: smash the city and its defenseless civilians into death, though the army was elsewhere.

Frodo was tempted when Faramir gave him the opportunity to have the archer shoot Gollum in the pool below. But this temptation is far more insidious.

Look at the wording: Frodo waited, like a bird at the approach of a snake, unable to move. And as he waited, he felt, more urgent than ever before, the command that he should put on the ring. But great is the pressure was, he felt no inclination now to yield to it. He knew that the ring would only betray him, and that he had not, even if he put it on, the power to face the more Morgul-king — not yet.

It’s that “not yet” that makes my skin crawl.

Meanwhile, Frodo’s hand creeps nearer and nearer to the ring. But he exerts his own will, and manages to get his hand to the phial Galadriel gave him—he bends his head, and below, the Wraith-king spurs his horse and rides on.

Sam and Gollum together get Frodo moving again, though he is clearly nearing the end of his endurance. Stairs and tunnels, stairs and tunnels, Gollum hissing, “Oh, we shall see,” as he exhorts them ever onward.

The hobbits stop at last, and take what they think will be their last meal. In talking about how unlikely it is to find any drinkable water, Sam begins to talk about adventure tales, and for the first time, wonders how the adventure was for the people in them.

Frodo responds in kind—I am resisting the temptation to copy the entire page, which is one of my favorite pages in the entire book. But I’ll highlight one bit, when Sam says:

”Don’t the great tales never end?”

“No, they never end as tales,” said Frodo. “But the people in them come, and go when their part’s ended. Our part will end later—or sooner.”

Sam wonders if they will ever be put into songs or tales. “We’re in one, of course; but I mean: put into words, you know, told by the fireside, or read out of a great big book with red and black letters, years and years afterwards. And people will say, “Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!”

Frodo laughs at this bit of whimsy, and here’s an amazing moment. He laughs from the heart, such a sound had not been heard in those places since Sauron came to Middle-earth. To Sam suddenly it seemed as if all the stones were leistening and the tall rocks leaning over them.

The two hobbits indulge in a bit more whimsy, Sam saying, “Why Gollum might be good in a tale, better than he is to have by you, anyway.”

But Gollum is gone again. Sam convinces Frodo to rest until Stinker gets back, and Frodo gives in, murmuring, “Yes, even I could sleep.”

And then comes one of the most piercingly poignant moments in the whole story.

I really have to quote it:

And so Gollum found them hours later, when he returned, crawling and creeping down the path out of the gloom ahead. Sam sat propped against the stone, his head dropping sideways and his breathing heavy. In his lap lay Frodo's head, drowned deep in sleep; upon his white forehead lay one of Sam's brown hands, and the other lay softly upon his master's breast. Peace was in both their faces.

Gollum looked at them. A strange expression passed over his lien hungry face. The gleam faded from his eyes, and they went dim and gray, old and tired. A spasm of pain seemed to twist him, and he turned away, peering back up towards the pass, shaking his head as if engaged in some interior debate.

Then he came back, and slowly putting out a trembling hand, very cautiously he touched Frodo's knee — but almost the touch was a caress. For a fleeting moment, could one of the sleepers have seen him. They would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, an old starved pitiable thing.

But Sam wakens, and accuses Gollum of sneaking around, and calls him a villain. He does apologize, but the pivotal moment is forever lost.

Frodo tries to tell Gollum that he can go, that he kept his word and is free, but Gollum says, Oh no, no rest, no food, not yet.

Some think the saddest moment in LOTR is Galadriel saying she will diminish and go into the West, others feel it’s Boromir’s death, but I think the saddest moment is when Gollum sees Sam and Frodo lying together, and tries to touch Frodo—and Sam, misinterpreting, rounds on him.

Who can say what would have happened if Sam had not done that? Maybe Gollum’s agony would have been the worse, because the evil of the ring grew steadily as it neared Mt. Doom.

One thing for sure, the balance would have changed between the three, and a bond between Gollum and Frodo might have caused the Ring to pull harder at Sam. If Gollum didn't kill him out of jealousy--his love would not have suffered a rival--Sam might have gone after Gollum.

The next two chapters largely belong to Sam, so they can go as a unit.

This one, at least in my mind, is remarkable on so many levels—and though the three hobbits are not done with one another yet, and won’t be until the very end, it is still pivotal.
[personal profile] resolute posting in [community profile] wiscon
It's SF/F convention season again, and once more we are all presented with the conundrum --

Do I hug this person hello and goodbye, or not?

Social hugging! It's a thing! Yet, it is MOST DEFINITELY NOT A THING for a lot of people.

Here is how I, personally, navigate these situations. While this may not work perfectly for you, feel free to modify it for your own use.

If I want to hug a person hello or goodbye, I say to them, "Do we hug?" (Or, "do we hug hello?" etc.)

If they say "Yes, we hug!" then we do, indeed, hug.

If they say *anything else*, I back off and we do not hug.

If someone says to me, "do we hug?" and I *want* to, I say "yes, we hug!" and there is a hug.

If I do not want to hug this person at this moment, I say one of the following things, or something similar:

I don't recall us hugging
I'm not much of a hugger
I don't think we hug
Now's not a great time
Not that I know of

If the other person does not understand the soft no and moves in, I take a step back and say:

No thank you
Now now
I meant no

If my hug offer is rejected, I move into the next part of the conversation "It's great to see you! How have you been?" or "I'm so glad we talked, when's your next panel?" or something similar. If I have just rejected someone else's hug offer, same script. No apologies, no talking about feelings or misunderstandings, just move into the next phase of the social interaction.

I, personally, do not enjoy finding out later that I have made someone uncomfortable with my actions. I prefer clear communication BEFORE social hugging to try to avoid awkwardness afterwards. YMMV!

it makes such an almighty sound

May. 19th, 2017 12:36 pm
[personal profile] musesfool


Now hopefully the lawyers and the bank are also amenable and everything will work out. Meep!

*deep breaths*


Dear Mr. Darcy . . .

May. 19th, 2017 09:34 am
[personal profile] sartorias
This, um, unique vid is a lusty appreciation for Mr. Darcy. I found it even funnier when at first I thought the two women doing the rap were supposed to be the Bingley sisters.

Question for publishing grognards

May. 19th, 2017 11:54 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Any idea what the typical delay between acquisition and publishing was back in the early 1980s? I have a (January 1984) books from Ace that really feels like Jim Baen would have acquired it but he founded Baen in 1983.

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