"Begin as you mean to go on"

Mar. 28th, 2015 02:40 am
[personal profile] rosefox
Happy 14th anniversary to this journal (a day late, almost to the minute if one goes by the timestamp on my first entry). That's the longest I've consistently kept up with anything other than, like, breathing.

My first day on LJ, I made five posts: one meta plus daily diary, one about staying up until 4:30 making art, one with a to-do list, one about interpersonal difficulties and trying to understand myself better, and one about body shape and weight and physical self-image. That's pretty much what I've used it for ever since. I've changed a great deal over the past 14 years, but I still feel strongly drawn to examine and muse about my inner and outer selves, my inner and outer lives, and this is still the best medium I've ever found for it.

LJ/DW aren't as conversational and social as they were, but I have Twitter for that now (as I had IRC and Usenet then), and I think I also need the commentary and discussion less than I did. How funny that I started out keeping this journal as a way of interacting with other people, and along the way it also taught me how to do the thing most journals are for: write for myself. I certainly don't mind if someone reads it, but I also don't mind if no one does. I think I'd still find it extremely hard to keep a purely reflective journal in a paper book or a file on my personal computer--there's something important about doing this as a public exercise, and about being part of our increasingly tangled digital web--but I'm no longer constantly refreshing my inbox waiting for the next comment email to land. In fact, I'm always vaguely surprised when someone does comment. :)

I keep fumbling around theatrical metaphors, but "performance" implies a degree of artifice that I've always tried to avoid in this space (and, over time, in all spaces). I'm not onstage, you're not the audience, and there's no row of footlights between us. I'm not even sure why I'm looking at metaphors when it's so easy to state it plainly:

This is where I talk about myself and my life. Sometimes other people come by and we talk together. Sometimes I talk to myself. That's what the space is designed for, and it works very well. It's comfortable. I like it. I think I'll stay around a while longer.

Relistening to X Minus One

Mar. 27th, 2015 09:27 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The PSAs about polio vaccines aren't as outdated as I would like them to be.

make the great escape

Mar. 27th, 2015 04:33 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
Ugh, this day has been one long interruption.

*

This is why I seldom go out for lunch

Mar. 27th, 2015 03:24 pm
[personal profile] batwrangler
My car battery died in the Rite Aid parking lot. Fortunately, I had recently recharged my cell phone and could call the office: one of my co-workers came to the rescue with a jump start (I could have also called AAA, but it would have taken longer) and then I drove over to a car place to get a new battery. Traffic was horrible and they were busy, which ate up some time, but they confirmed that instead of having the 600 CA the battery was rated for, it only registered 19 CA. When the replacement battery hadn't shown up from the parts guy in an hour, they both called the parts place to ask what happened and called a second parts place who assured them they had a driver ready and the battery would be delivered in ten minutes. Forty-five minutes later, both parts guys showed up within about two minutes of each other. All told it took over two hours to get my battery swapped out.

On the bright side, I got to see an absolutely enormous flock of Bohemian Waxwings that alternated between eating the cherries in the parking lot's landscaping and imitating The Birds in the top of the trees behind an adjacent building.

A Reflection on the Parent Thing

Mar. 27th, 2015 01:42 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
If you're a pair of freelance novelists, and you raise up a bunch of lively and intelligent and self-reliant kids, it's entirely likely that at some point, at least one of them is going to be making more than you do.

This counts, I believe, as a win.

(I've been having one of those weeks where I take my victory conditions where I can find them.)

(no subject)

Mar. 27th, 2015 10:35 am
[personal profile] silveraspen
Following on from my deliberate recommitment to mindfulness practice and the pursuit of joy, today I completed day 5 (without any skipped days!) of guided meditation in the morning before work. I'm enjoying it so far; it really does seem to settle the mind and ground the day in some sort of balance.

This was borne out today in particular, because as the practice exercise came to an end with the chiming of the timer, it transmuted immediately into the ringing of my cell phone with a call from my mother's long term care insurance for a nurse consult/claim assessment. That, let me tell you, is definitely something where being calm helps, so that was a nice little bit of serendipity.

In other news that is good, who else is delighted by the return of the X-Files? I don't even care (well, much) if the episodes we get aren't that great, because we are GETTING them. Besides, now that we know Darin Morgan's signed on to write at least one, and that Glen Morgan and Jim Wong are evidently both confirmed to be involved as well, I am super optimistic.

("Mulder, it's me." AAAAAHHHH MY HEART. All hail Dana Scully, forever!)
[personal profile] batwrangler
Fairyland book 4
by Catherynne M. Valente, narrated by Heath Miller

I'm not sure if this would work well on its own, but it fits nicely into the series and ends when things get really interesting. Looking forward to book five.

Five Things on Friday

Mar. 27th, 2015 08:18 am
[personal profile] oracne
1. I think I'm done with my 2014 taxes. I almost forgot one source of income because I didn't get a 1099 from them, but I remembered yesterday and let my tax person know.

2. I intend to write 1000 words on Saturday morning, which will mean I have met the minimum wordcount for this story. Alas, I am pretty sure it won't be done at 3K, but the maximum is 6000 words, and I can easily wrap it up for that length.

3. I'm attending this event on Saturday, and hoping to see a great many friends there and afterwards.

4. Sunday brings birthday brunch and lots of chocolate for The Director, who will soon be 7!

5. This game does nothing but is strangely satisfying for small increments of time. Geeklet introduced me to it with great joy.

(no subject)

Mar. 27th, 2015 08:21 am
[personal profile] skygiants
I think it was [personal profile] adiva_calandia who strongly recommended Dreamsnake to me years ago, and I dutifully put it on hold at the Brooklyn Public Library, and waited MULTIPLE YEARS, and it never came. But the Boston Public Library delivered it to me straight away, so score one for the other BPL! (I'm sorry, Brooklyn Public Library. I do still miss you!)

Dreamsnake is one of those quiet sci-fi novels that's more about the worldbuilding and the personal journey than about changing the world or saving the day (though the world is changed and the day is saved by the end, a little.)

The structure kind of threw me for a loop at first, because it seemed like it was going to be a straight line and then turned into a giant zigzag as the end-goals kept changing. Our heroine, Snake, is a healer whose main tools are a set of genetically engineered snakes that help her do things like mix up antibiotics and vaccinations -- the most important of which is the extremely rare alien dreamsnake, which basically generates morphine delivered via snakebite. When her dreamsnake dies on account of a tragic accident, she has to trek home to tell the rest of the healers and see if there's any chance she'll be able to continue her work when she's lost one of the precious dreamsnakes --

-- except then she bumps into a stable threesome in trouble (one of whom never has a pronoun attached to their name, which is an impressive feat when you're writing in third person, well done Vonda McIntyre) who give her a hint about where she might be able to find a new dreamsnake, so she decides to go on that side quest first --

-- except then she gets distracted by hanging out in a small town and helping an isolated teenager get through his issues about sex and developing an important relationship with an angry and abused little girl, which is a GREAT relationship and I love that it's the most important one in the book, but by this point we're 3/4 of the way through the book and she's nowhere near any of her end goals --

-- and then she finally hits the end point of the side quest, and when that doesn't work out and she's on her way home she then bumps into another side quest WHICH SHE PURSUES WITH ALACRITY and which then turns into a thrilling climax and conclusion --

-- so basically, Snake never actually reaches the destination which I initially assumed she would hit like a third of the way through the book. (Meanwhile, her hot nomad love interest spends the entire book attempting to follow her around and gets VERY CONFUSED. It's OK, dude, I would be too! He finally catches up at the end and is moderately useful at following instructions and being an assistant nurse at a key moment, well done Arevin.) But she does help a lot of people along the way, and illuminates a lot more of this probably-post-apocalyptic world and its variety of different cultures for the reader in a non-expository way, and grows as a person; it's a really good read!

You will probably like Dreamsnake if you like: stories about women being heroic in ways that don't have to do with beating people up; interesting and complex future worldbuilding; thoughtful handling of trauma and abuse; snakes.

You will probably not like Dreamsnake if you never in your life want to read about a woman being completely covered in snakes. Indiana Jones would not endorse this book.

Friday About Town

Mar. 27th, 2015 08:53 am
[personal profile] jjhunter
Friday, every Friday, I invite you (yes, you!) to share with me key Dreamwidth posts from the last week. They can be one or more of your own posts, posts of others you'd recommend, interesting discussions, linkspams, tiny delights, whatever stands out to you from the last seven days that you'd like to highlight. Assume that I've been away and pining too true and catch me up on what matters to you.

Newcomers, lurkers and long-time commentators equally welcome. See also [community profile] followfriday.

In which I smell vaguely of dog

Mar. 27th, 2015 07:50 am
[personal profile] batwrangler
Or, more accurately, of Shine's Cucumber Melon soap-free shampoo: I discovered in the shower that I was out of my own shampoo and there wasn't enough time to dry off and try to find more, so I used hers.

Party like it's 1999

Mar. 27th, 2015 07:33 am
[personal profile] coffeeandink
I feel I should outsource all my media reactions to Vonnie. X Files revival! Already I know it will be terrible and already I know I won't be able to resist watching.

(Chris Carter: still pretending the mythology makes sense. GIVE IT UP, CHRIS. EVERYONE KNOWS.)

I am actually feeling all warm and fuzzy even though I am sure the series will be a disaster. You guys! I met so many of you guys through The X Files! I got into online fandom through The X Files! I got into LJ through The X Files! I want to throw my arms around you like Muppet Angel.

another amusing story

Mar. 26th, 2015 05:31 pm
[personal profile] badgerbag
I had forgotten this but my mom reminded me. During our trip to the Dude Ranch over 10 years ago (Moomin was maybe 3 or 4?) There was a scene where a little girl younger than Moomin had accidentally locked herself into the bathroom, sort of an outhouse dealy in between the different cabins. The little kid was screaming, and people were all crowded around freaking out and trying to tell her what to do, and suggesting different things like calling the fire department and I walked up to this scene, took out my leatherman which I was wearing on my belt, and unscrewed the hinges off the door without really consulting anyone. As I recall I muttered something in the way of informing them what was going to happen. Problem solved. My mom says it was pretty hilarious. I think now I find it more amusing than I did then. Like then I would have just felt momentarily smug at getting to use my leatherman, like, perfect opportunity. Now I see a little more how odd or maybe alien that must have looked to everyone else and it must have made them feel slightly silly. I probably didn't do the human interaction part correctly at all or defer in the proper gendered way to whatever Dudes were taking charge of what was to be done. Not making any big deal out of that just doing it swiftly before anyone could object. So, I am now extra smug. Maybe I was then too and have just forgotten it. It is nice that my mom liked it and considered it characteristic but it also felt a little like she considered it characteristic of my being able to shoot lasers out of my eyeballs unexpectedly when I was a baby.

(no subject)

Mar. 26th, 2015 05:43 pm
[personal profile] telophase
dammit someone was wrong on the fucking internet and now i'm all upset

Sent from my Apple ][e
[personal profile] yhlee
I have two books on perspective, which I'll discuss together because they differ in interesting ways: Perspective! for Comic Book Artists by David Chelsea and Vanishing Point: Perspective for Comics From the Ground Up by Jason Cheeseman-Meyer.

The Chelsea is first notable for treating its subject matter in comic form, which makes it fun to read--I was reminded of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics and Making Comics (indeed, the author cites McCloud as an influence). The introduction rather brilliantly introduces the question of why one would care about perspective in the first place, by showing a representation of the author himself being called up by an imaginary friend named "Mugg" (his head is shaped like a mug with a face on it, complete with a disconcerting handle sticking out the side) who is trying to draw a comic but running into perspective problems. Right away I could feel Mugg's pain, because I basically can't do anything but one-point perspective, and even then I struggle with knowing where to put the lines to make the heights of things look reasonable, ditto angles. I technically know how two- and three-point work, but I've never been able to use them in practice to make a picture that doesn't look weirdly distorted. (Exception: I can work from photographic or diagram reference, but in that case it's basically a cheat.) Anyway, in the comic narrative, the author walks to visit Mugg and passes by any number of beautifully rendered items (architecture, benches, even railroad tracks--there are always railroad tracks in these things) to illustrate perspective, and then we reach Mugg in his art studio and see his superhero comic sketches where the perspective is all wrong to the point where even I can tell.

Chapter two covers depth cues, including optical illusions and foreshortening. I think I should reread this in depth, in fact. Foreshortening the human figure, especially the arms, completely bollixes me up every time. :(

Chapter three discusses the picture plane, which I think is talking about projective geometry. (Sorry, I donated that book on the mathematics of perspective because I couldn't get through it, but the material is out there for those who want to approach it from that angle.) Chapter four discusses the horizon and the vanishing point. The next chapters introduce one-, two-, and three-point perspective, followed by a special discussion of circles in perspective. The last two chapters deal with the human figure and with shortcuts.

Here's an example from a discussion of two-point perspective and floor plans:


Jason Cheeseman-Meyer's Vanishing Point has a more conventional presentation from an instructional viewpoint. To my fascination, it describes not three types of perspective (one-, two-, and three-point, which I had learned about in 9th grade art class) but five. Apparently there are also four- and five-point curvilinear perspectives! I find them very mysterious and have never attempted them, considering that I find regular perspective confusing enough, but it looks like you could get incredibly cool "fisheye" type effects with them.

Cheeseman-Meyer's book is well-organized into how-to pages, e.g. "draw a box in one-point perspective" or "the 90 degree cone of vision." There are apparently things called diagonal vanishing points (yeah, you can tell how long it's been since I last read this) that you can use to make your drawings more accurate for one-point. Tutorials give examples of using the material to produce a finished work. The one-point homework alone makes me quail:
To really grasp the lessons of one-point perspective, find a room that has good rectangular shapes in it (beds, dressers, coffee tables, etc.). Sit centered ot hte wall, and face the room flat-on. Draw what you see! (25)

I should do this sometime because it'd be good for me, but man, it'll take hours.

There's an extremely helpful section on drawing items rotated with respect to each other (answer: multiple grids, which admittedly gets visually confusing but I presume things like Photoshop have ways of dealing with this). Also a whole bunch on ellipses, circles, and cylinders, which can then form the foundation of things like human figures in perspective. Cheese-

Here's a very useful tip on drawing foreshortened limbs in perspective, plus observations on cross sections and ground planes (67):

(Sorry--the book's pages are larger than my scanner's scanning area, so there's some truncation.)

I also liked the tutorial on how to draw a car--a nontrivial endeavor, considering the number of curves involved.

Cheeseman-Meyer then moves on to curvilinear perspectives with five-point, introduced first because it is (weirdly) the curvilinear equivalent of one-point. (I have no idea how the math works, by the way, so please don't ask me! Although if you want to explain it to me, I'm all ears. I have yet to find an explanation of perspective that makes it feel really intuitive to me.) Four-point is apparently the two-point equivalent. And then there is something called infinite-point perspective, but at that point my brain breaks.

The last part of the book is devoted to such topics as where to put the horizon line for different kinds of perspective, using floor plans (I desperately need to study this section), using thumbnails, and various tricks and shortcuts.

The short version of this post is that these are both great books, but they take different approaches. There's something appealing to the Chelsea's thoroughness with more basic topics (which I need), but it doesn't discuss curvilinear perspective at all, so if you need that, the Cheeseman-Meyer is worth picking up. I like having both on my shelf and I should probably actually draw a picture someday that requires me to use perspective so I start getting practice.

some things

Mar. 26th, 2015 03:28 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* Heard a good, deliberately casual talk over lunch today. It's funny to be in a space where someone can say, "XML is everywhere, it's what people do, but we're going with Drupal for this project." That is, funny both that TEI-XML has reached semi-saturation of a smallish interdisciplinary (and international) space and that there are multiple viable possibilities for technical infrastructure now.

* Different topic: somehow I am the least of several evils awkwardnesses. That was the cause of the BEARS spike, oddly enough, but I am sitting on the head of impostor syndrome for now, if not rash enough to drum it with my heels.

* A senior colleague said today to me in seriousness that he'd never thought of me as not being like him, i.e. white. The thing about having several kinds of imperfect passing privilege is that I have long since schooled myself not to laugh at others' sincerity on the topic; instead, I gave a few easy examples.

I am still having little bubbles of ironic amusement from it. This is convenient because---within the coming fortnight---I am to prepare for least-of-awkwardnesses activity, make an XML template for this year's big book, finalize stuff for a website update (including two chunks I'm to provide, not only QA), and write leaf-by-leaf photographer instructions for an additional box of fragile, handwritten nineteenth-century codices (ongoing project of my choosing: most boxes contain two or three such codices), while keeping up with quotidian stuff. I have pushed two task-sets from the same timeframe, namely reading bunches of website page drafts (not written by me) for consistency and writing some much-needed documentation. Thus I shall take amusement wherever I can find it, she said grimly.

The lead on the awkwardnesses activity has tried joking that it'll take an extra twenty hours per week till it's finished. Not funny, sorry.

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Mar. 26th, 2015 05:26 pm
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.

=

Signal-boosting much appreciated!
[personal profile] musesfool
Arrow: Suicidal Tendencies
spoilers )

***

The movie adaptation of The True Meaning of Smekday comes out tomorrow (it's called Home; how terribly generic), and I'm torn about whether to see it. It's clearly not the book - I don't understand how they have Jennifer Lopez playing Tip's mom, but they've changed J.Lo's name to Oh* - but Tip looks adorable.

*Jennifer Lopez was apparently perfectly fine with it but there was a trademark issue since she already has a line of clothing called J.Lo and therefore Dreamworks couldn't use the name on t-shirts etc. So I do understand it, but I don't like it.

***

Ghost words, ghost worlds

Mar. 26th, 2015 04:00 pm
[personal profile] qian

I’ve been meaning to post about Where Ghost Words Dwell, a collage project by a group of SFF writers. It’s a website “dedicated to discarded text, forgotten words and the memory of dead manuscripts” — collecting the words that got cut out of stories in a series of anonymous posts.

Taking inspiration from the surrealist game, The Exquisite Corpse, Where Ghost Words Dwell can be read as blog entries. Are these entries part of a time traveler’s log, scraps found by alien archeologists or intermittent transmissions from places invisible to the human eye?

You decide.

The entries carry no author names and are extracts from works that have been published or are on their way to being published. They could also be alternate versions that ended up on the editing floor. To find out who the author is or what work the extracts are from, click on the highlighted links. Who knows, you may find a new favorite writer or a work you haven’t yet read.

The website is currently on a twice-weekly posting schedule, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can check out a snippet sliced out of Aliette de Bodard‘s upcoming novel THE HOUSE OF SHATTERED WINGS, a deliciously creepy desert scene, and a beautiful fragment of indigenous SFF. More to come!

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

I guess it counts as a leg workout.

Mar. 26th, 2015 08:12 am
[personal profile] oracne
For my leg workout last night, I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, set to level 10 resistance.

I used to do high resistance settings all the time when I first started going to the gym, but then I dropped it in favor of going faster. I'm trying to work back up again, so for the muscle benefit. My speed was about normal, so resistance probably wasn't high enough, though I certainly was tired when I was done.

Somehow, I talked myself into changing my sheets and doing a load of laundry, but I did it all in a half-braindead state of numb. Then I woke up coughing/choking and had to take an extra Benadryl. Something must be blooming already (I had my window open).

In other news, Romancelandia is being rocked by news that Dear Author's owner is also a bestselling New Adult author, and all sorts of related conflict of interest/disclosure issues which I keep seeing referenced on Twitter. This is a big deal because it's one of the biggest review blogs. Apparently the disclosure happened because DA is being sued by Ellora's Cave, which is another rabbit hole that's been going on for a while. It's not just SFWA that has issues, folks!
[personal profile] sovay
Today was very long, very medical, and very expensive. (These last two items are unrelated.) I was operating on a grand total of two and a half hours of sleep, thanks to the little cat who decided to pounce on my head at five-thirty in the morning and coax me out to play by repeatedly biting my wrist. After dinner, [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel very kindly accompanied me to the MFA so that I could decompress surrounded by cylinder seals and black-figure pottery and antique coinage of America. I am re-reading Mary Renault's The King Must Die (1958) for the first time in several years. It is even more difficult for me now to ignore the novel's at best ambivalent attitude toward women, even or especially the powerful ones, but it formed so many of my ideas about ritual and sacrifice and when there was still a potentially inauthentic snake goddess on display in the classical wing of the MFA, I could not look at her without thinking of the Bull Court, earthquakes, darkness and fires, the sea-surge speaking for the god. I think I shall start a program of handing the book to readers who have enjoyed The Hunger Games.

Someday I would like to be able to own some classical jewelry. Probably what I will be able to afford are potsherds. They will be very old and I will cherish them.

My poem "Foxstory" is now online at Through the Gate. It is a splendid issue—M Sereno, Bogi Takács, Lisa M. Bradley, among others. Despite their strong childhood importance to me, I believe the poem to be my first published foray into foxes; then again, I've never successfully written that much about trees, either. It was directly inspired by Jenn Grunigen's Storyfox: A Database of Vulpine Science Fiction and Fantasy.

It turns out that I will actually take a dress home from a vintage store if it is from the 1950's (as far as can be determined from the materials, the style, the label, and the internet), black and sewn all over with glass beads and artificial pearls, and has a geometric look like fashions from the '30's. If I succeed in wearing it out anywhere, I will make sure there are pictures. I am as surprised as anyone. The last dress I actually agreed to wear was for my wedding and I didn't buy it for the occasion. Anyway, that's what was notable about yesterday.

(no subject)

Mar. 25th, 2015 09:08 pm
[personal profile] holli
 A lifehack for when you have over-optimistically turned off the heat for the season and had an unexpectedly cold day, and are now wearing two sweaters and a pair of gloves indoors:

Run the hottest bath your plumbing can produce. Let stand, with the bathroom door open, til it has cooled off enough to actually bathe in.

Take hot bath.

Leave stlll-hot water in the tub, bathroom door open. Allow water to cool entirely before draining. Bemoan your 80-year-old house's reliance on heating oil, again.

A Taxing Endeavor

Mar. 25th, 2015 08:41 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
Have successfully completed the 2014 taxes. TaxAct performed as expected. It's pretty much like TurboTax as I first knew it back in the day, before they kept on adding more bells and more whistles and coming out with new!improved!premier versions. The amount owed is pretty much in line with last year's, which I suppose is an indicator that nothing is dreadfully out of whack. TaxAct approaches some things a bit differently, so when in doubt and given a choice of ways to go I went with the way we've been doing it for the past couple of decades . . . I think this is what's meant by the "not for novice preparers" bit in the online reviews.

As always, I've finished the job in a complete fog of paranoid uncertainty, and am filled with the desire for a stiff drink. Alas, we have none in the house, unless you count the bottle of inexpensive sake we picked up a while ago for cooking purposes. And I just might -- it's real booze, purchased from the local grog shop, not some kind of cooking-sherry abomination.
[personal profile] kass
We are rewatching "Fables of Doom."

FABLES OF DOOM! God, I love this one.

Also, in this post it is acknowledged that the creators of this show have read [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire's "Indexing" and they absolutely agree with me that this episode and that book are part of the same kind of fun.

This show really was made just for us. ♥

what order

Mar. 25th, 2015 03:06 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Butler's Mind of my Mind, Bester's Starlight and Bova's Colony are likely to feature in upcoming Tears reviews but which should I do first?
[personal profile] rosefox
Just briefly making links between my recent post on the joys of not being necessary and a 2012 post about falling asleep at parties and in 2004 about "the lovely shock of being reminded that there are tremendous parts of the world that do exactly as they please without depending on me in the least" and also in 2004 about singing in choruses (literally and metaphorically). I assume there are others between 2004 and 2012 on the same topic, in one way or another, but those are the links that came to hand today.

Moments of glorious unnecessity are so essential to balance out the dreadful weight of feeling responsible for making the sun rise, and to teach me alternatives to submerging my self in another person's need for me. I know I've written a lot about those feelings too.

I have always been me, apparently.

I keep looking for a way to link in my "being useful" tag, but I think that's actually orthogonal to concepts of necessity, because it's all about making the choice to offer assistance. Utility is a surface thing, a satisfaction that doesn't dig too deeply into the psyche. Need is... deeper.

Important lessons learned

Mar. 25th, 2015 10:32 am
[personal profile] mme_hardy
1. Do not attempt to cast on the first row of an afghan stripe during an action movie. Continuing a cast-on stripe is fine, but counting stitches impedes marvelling at the destruction (EFFING AGAIN) of the Golden Gate Bridge.
2. Pacific Rim is the Best Movie of All Time.

using bitterness

Mar. 25th, 2015 10:00 am
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Abena Dove Osseo-Asare, Bitter Roots: The Search for Healing Plants in Africa (U of Chicago Press, 2014): though the emphasis is on Ghana, South Africa, and Madagascar, Osseo-Asare knows what she's done with the title in playing to readers' sense of gestalt, then replacing it with strands about trade, oral history, the mythologizing more common to scientists than to lorekeepers in this context, and so on. The introduction sets the monograph's tone by speaking scholarly language, citing not only published work but Osseo-Asare's own fieldwork, acknowledging specific ways in which her personal identity as read by others has facilitated or closed the collection of information, and revealing what she sees as relevant aspects of her identity. It would have been impossible, in other words, for her to have written this study without being herself, in starker ways than scholars usually need to admit. Honest. One risk from a scholarly standpoint: a critic suggesting that she should have delved more deeply into a given issue may be told that her subject position did not permit it. Then again, sometimes it may be true.

I've enjoyed reading it in all of its hybridities, aside from the conclusion. Instead of warning the reader that "Who was first?" is a poor question, then continuing to address it anyway, Osseo-Asare could have found a stronger orienting issue; it is odd, also, to suggest that people continue with biopiracy and bioprospecting (in search of prosperity) despite the book's significant critiques of them. She has done quite a lot of work, yet one wishes her to have reflected a bit more.

Chapter sequence: periwinkle, grains of paradise, strophanthus, hoodia.

Two sidenotes: during the year when she would have gone up for tenure, she chose to change schools because her former department was distinctly unfriendly. Also, it must be hard to have this person as a parent (see under "Who gets to enjoy your cooking most?" though part two does acknowledge the link; p.s. another leaning towards self-pub).
[personal profile] musesfool
I don't know why I'm so muddle-headed today - I got a pretty good night's sleep. But I can't seem to focus on anything without getting distracted or zoning out. I'm also really, really sick of it being cold out. I want spring, dammit. Or at least temperatures over 50 all the time. I don't think that's too much to ask!

Last night, I made pastina for dinner. Mmm...so good. And then I watched TV.

The Flash: Rogue Time
spoilers )

iZombie: Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?
spoilers )

In other TV news, yes, I'm excited about the new X-Files miniseries. I was never in the fandom online, because I knew a ton of people in person who watched it so I had people to talk to about it, but SCULLY. SHE IS THE BEST NO LIE. I'm hoping they can get some good creepy MOTW scripts and just have a lot of fun. I recall enjoying the movies, but I couldn't tell you anything about them except Mulder and Scully are FINALLY TOGETHER and that's basically all my MSR shippy heart needs. #i do it all for you mulder

And since it's Wednesday, the reading meme:

What I just finished
As I mentioned previously, I tore through all three books of the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater last week, and have been rereading them more slowly. My initial impression that they are totally the Marauders + Lily was correct in the most basic and yet satisfying ways (and it's certainly giving my Sirius icon a workout *g*), and I came out of the experience shipping Blue/Gansey and Adam/Ronan, as I believe I'm supposed to. I think Blue and Ronan are my favorites, which is probably not unexpected. I keep trying to cast the kids in my head, but everyone I think of probably shouldn't be playing high school kids anymore (e.g., Grant Gustin for Gansey, Zach Gilford for Adam) and I haven't really sought out the fandom on tumblr. (nb: I seek out nothing on tumblr - the safest way to enjoy tumblr, imo, is with a neatly curated dash, a robust blacklist, and the total avoidance of going into tags.) And I'm not particularly familiar with actors who'd be in the right age group. *is old*

I also really love Maura and the psychics at 300 Fox Way.

What I'm reading now
Still rereading The Dream Thieves.

What I'm reading next
And I will follow that up with a reread of Blue Lily, Lily Blue. *hands* After that, I cannot say.

***

Zeno's Plumber

Mar. 25th, 2015 11:52 am
[personal profile] malkingrey
Like Achilles chasing the tortoise, we keep getting incrementally closer to having actual plumbing, but never quite getting there.

Yesterday's plumber got the pipes all fixed in the basement, and all the water running, but determined that we need a new hot water heater because the leaks fried the electronics in the old one.

Today, so far, has brought no plumber at all.

And so it goes.

And goes.

And....

Sigh.

(no subject)

Mar. 25th, 2015 09:39 am
[personal profile] telophase
Anyone wants to get me this, I won't say no. Just sayin'.

LEEKS!

Mar. 25th, 2015 09:35 am
[personal profile] telophase
So here is Toby, DWARFED BY LEEKS.

cut for big leeks )

BUT WAIT, I hear you say! (Yes, I hear you through the internet.) YOU ARE HOLDING THE LEEKS CLOSE TO YOU WHILE TOBY IS ACROSS THE ROOM! THIS IS NOT AN EXAMPLE OF GIGANTIC LEEKS, BUT OF PARALLAX!

Well, in that case, I present you with this...

cut for big leeks again )

Wednesday Reading

Mar. 25th, 2015 09:28 am
[personal profile] oracne
My new nonfiction book drawn from the giant TBR pile is Hidden Anxieties: Male Sexuality, 1900 - 1950 by Lesley A. Hall. I'm enjoying it quite a bit because it's right up my alley so far as research material goes. Social history! Sex! The turn of the century!

Bring on the Dusk by M.L. Buchman was kind of a bust. I liked the neepery about flying and about climbing giant redwoods, but the romance bored me because it was too easy, and both characters were just too awesome, and they had too many awesome friends around from previous books in the series. I think you have to be in the mood for that sort of thing.

I will probably start a new fiction book this week, but am not sure what. Probably a mystery.
[personal profile] qian

I’ve been conscious for a while that I’m no longer able to keep up the list of Malaysian SFF writers in English that I put up awhile ago — because I’m busy, but also because there are more of us than ever! I think it is helpful to have a directory for interested readers and people who want to connect with other local writers, but it needs to be updated regularly if it’s to be of use.

So I have now set up a Google doc which people can update themselves to add their own details and projects:

Malaysian Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Directory

There are two worksheets — one for authors and one for projects. Guidelines for contributions are at the top of each worksheet. People should feel free to add writers or projects they’re aware of as well as the things they’ve done. Also, this directory differs from the original post, as people working in languages other than English should feel welcome to add their stuff to it. I only limited the original post to English because that’s the main language I read in.

The original post will stay up, but once the directory has been populated a bit more I will change the link in my sidebar so that it goes to the Google doc rather than the blog post, and the post will no longer be updated. I will be monitoring the directory and editing from time to time for formatting, etc., as well as deleting anything that seems inappropriate. Please comment on this post or email me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

All In with the Duke by Ava March

Mar. 24th, 2015 09:21 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
All In with the Duke (Gambling on Love Book 1)

2/5. M/M historical inexplicably titled with reference to gambling when it's actually about a duke and a prostitute.

This is competently written, and appears to have pleased people who like the duke/prostitute thing, but. There is just something intensely claustrophobic about this book. It contains two main characters, who spend most of the book shut up together alone in the country, and roughly 0.75 other characters. I started developing suspicions halfway through, checked, and yup: the only other two characters in the book with more than a couple of speaking lines are product placement main characters for the rest of her series.

And I just, look. Publishing is a business, and the business is selling books. But for real, if you can only ever be bothered to create a character for the purpose of selling a book he headlines, you have a problem.

And you also write shallow stories, with no depth or texture.

Five Things

Mar. 25th, 2015 07:44 pm
[personal profile] batwrangler
1. I got a little keyboard for the iPad and it improves my opinion of the Mini greatly.

2. I also got foam baby bumpers for the computer table in the living room: I hope this will help keep the dogs from poking their eyes when they knock into it.

3. Puccini's "senior profile" blood work came back practically perfect. Yay!

4. There is no number four.

5. Tonight I drove home in invisible hail: I could hear something that sounded a lot like rain hitting my car, but there were no spots appearing on my hood or windshield. I ended up sticking my hand out the window and teeny, tiny hailstones ricocheted into the car.

Gratitudes

Mar. 24th, 2015 07:49 pm
[personal profile] kass
1. White wine (see dw icon)

2. I learned how to cook a fairly decent eggplant with garlic sauce tonight

3. [personal profile] grammarwoman's willingness to travel great distances in order to hang out

4. The silliness of Octonauts

5. Rewatching the Librarians series premiere tonight and being filled with glee. \o/

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