another bookmark

Apr. 24th, 2015 11:38 pm
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
This one's up for auction at Con or Bust (I'm offering a custom-made one, too).

Click to enlarge:

red knotwork front full

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

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

The colors don't quite glow the way I wanted when I saw the silk in the store, but I'm pretty happy with it all the same.

I Was Very Pleased to See This

Apr. 24th, 2015 11:00 pm
[personal profile] chomiji

Familiarize yourself with the Hugo mess before voting

"Apparently a concerted effort gamed the Hugos ... ." - C.J. Cherryh

I can't believe I forgot to mention

Apr. 25th, 2015 08:56 am
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
that in the home I went into yesterday, in the washroom with the tap and basins there was also a bag of Tide detergent hanging on the wall.
[personal profile] lightreads
3/5. A history of money by way of a history of debt. Which actually means it's about everything.

Oh man this is so great! And so infuriating!

The great part: The central project of this book is to demonstrate that debt is a political tool whose moral valence points the direction that sustains hierarchies. I.e. there are occasions when we feel as a moral issue that one ought to "pay one's debts," and we feel equally strongly in other situations that the moral burden is on the lender to forgive. Interrogating the difference is incredibly interesting, and gets us into the history of monetary systems, some semi-radical politics, and a lot of deconstructive social thinking. I dig it. I've recently really gotten into finance and investing; reading this book predates that, but it speaks to the same interest. When you start talking about money – I mean talking about money as a tool rather than as a personal finance topic – you by definition start talking about a lot of deeply personal questions of valuation, measurement, and self.

The infuriating: This book is mostly anthropology, and, well. Anthropology. Christ. There's a field that puts the anecdote in anecdata. I swear sometimes what they teach in anthropology grad schools goes like this: "Okay, first you come up with your conclusion. Make it something really big and sweeping about the nature of society. Got it? Okay, then go find an obscure tribe from the Australian bush that no one has ever heard of. One of those villages of two hundred isolated people. Then explain how one aspect of that tribe's society demonstrates your conclusion. Voila! It's proved!"

The number of times I snapped, "Citation, please," while reading this book . .

It's worth reading, because it's interesting and wide-reaching, and like I said, you can't talk about this stuff without getting pretty fundamental. And he throws out great thoughts on every page, with hardly the time to complete them. There was this particularly excellent drop-in he made towards the end about how we're told that money/development will always corrupt. You know, like how discovering a diamond mine is the worst thing that can happen to a poor village. And he's like, "Well, yes, but then again, who does that story serve? Because if you think about it, saying that humans will always behave badly when given enough money is a great story if you want to excuse the bad behavior you have just committed."

And I was like, "Huh!" And then he was off on some other dubiously sourced and occasionally flat-out wrong tangent that was nonetheless great.


Apr. 24th, 2015 05:59 pm
[personal profile] rosefox
Last night I dreamed that J had offered to write some drivers so I could use a USB trackpad with my laptop, and I was affectionately teasing him about what a silly offer it was because he's not really a programmer. We were walking down the street, someplace with wide roads and low warehouse-type buildings--maybe an ungentrified part of San Francisco. Two women who were standing at a bus stop overheard us, and after J got on the bus? went somewhere else? I started talking with them about how much we all enjoy writing x86 assembly code (which I did enjoy the last time I did it, but that was almost 20 years ago!).

When I woke up, I thought "My dreams are the patriarchy's nightmares!" and smirked a lot.

Talk me out of this

Apr. 24th, 2015 04:33 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

My 'A' hardcover bookcase is situated such that I walk by it every day when I leave and my eye keeps falling on Anderson's The Avatar...

citizen science ahoy!

Apr. 24th, 2015 03:24 pm
[personal profile] telophase
If you've got a few minutes to kill, Zooniverse has another camera-trap project, this one focusing on chimpanzees (and other animals) in West Africa. It's simple: you watch a 15-second video from a camera trap somewhere in the bush, and mark any animals in in and what they're doing. (If it's chimps, they have a couple more questions.) Answer to the best of your ability: if you get it wrong, it's OK because they show each video to many volunteers and the wisdom of the crowd has been shown, statistically from the Snapshot Serengeti project, to work quite well in IDing what's there.

Anyway, sometimes you're rewarded with awesome videos like these two juvenile male elephants play-fighting!

EDIT: There's also this (human) guy dancing with a machete. Unknown at the moment if he's a researcher there to deal with the cameras, a poacher, or a local of another sort. Either way, he's got some moves.

(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2015 02:17 pm
[personal profile] telophase
Just got complimented on my pin.
photo )
[personal profile] musesfool
Today is my dad's 80th birthday! He says he's feeling good, so we're all thankful for that. We're taking him out to dinner tomorrow (and my brother ordered a rum-soaked cassata for the cake afterwards), but I'm still trying to figure out what to bake for him. I'm thinking chocolate, maybe cupcakes, maybe brownies? but I could be convinced of other things...

Here are the recipes I'm thinking of:

Poll #16640 you say it's your birthday
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 23

I'm also interested in suggestions of things you've successfully made and enjoyed. Just remember that I will have to carry it on an hour-long train ride, but it's not supposed to be warm tomorrow (sigh) so it shouldn't be too terrible to schlep. And it probably shouldn't be too complicated, since I'll most likely be distracted by the Rangers game. *deep breaths*

Also, if you've read The Raven Boys, you know today is St. Mark's Eve. I'd hoped to have [personal profile] mousapelli's birthday story done by now (only a week late!) but boys are dumb and now there's this whole other thing, because Ronan, and I don't. But maybe soon? I hope.

In other sports news, ELEVEN IN A ROW. BARTOLO COLON'S DELIGHTFULLY NIMBLE UNASSISTED PICKOFF. BRING ON THE YANKEES. I know it's way too early to get excited, but if you understood how depressing the Mets have been for the last seven or eight years, you'd get why it's so exciting that they're doing so well now, even with Wright and d'Arnaud injured and Zack Wheeler gone for season. There's a reason my tag for them is "the existential futility of being a Mets fan." ("Delightfully nimble" is my new tag for Colon/the Mets. If you aren't enjoying the sight of a heavy 41-year-old dude picking a dude off and then tagging him out on his own, I don't even know what to tell you.)

I enjoyed the B-plot of last night's Elementary and wish it had been the A-plot, which was a bit too nasty to enjoy, imo. I wish the show would occasionally throw in a crime that isn't murder. Also, once I saw the guest star's name, there was no suspense. *hands* But I'm still enjoying the show though I haven't been talking about it much.

Anyway, here's today poem:

In Shakespeare

In Shakespeare a lover turns into an ass
as you would expect. People confuse
their consciences with ghosts and witches.
Old men throw everything away
because they panic and can't feel their lives.
They pinch themselves, pierce themselves with twigs,
cliffs, lightning, and die—yes, finally—in glad pain.

You marry a woman you've never talked to,
a woman you thought was a boy.
Sixteen years go by as a curtain billows
once, twice. Your children are lost,
they come back, you don't remember how.
A love turns to a statue in a dress, the statue
comes back to life. Oh God, it's all so realistic
I can't stand it. Whereat I weep and sing.

Such a relief, to burst from the theatre
into our cool, imaginary streets
where we know who's who and what's what,
and command with Metrocards our destinations.
Where no one with a story struggling in him
convulses as it eats its way out,
and no one in an antiseptic corridor,
or in deserts or in downtown darkling plains,
staggers through an Act that just will not end,
eyes burning with the burning of the dead.

~James Richardson

[personal profile] sovay
Reasons I have not written much on LJ in the last couple of days: I have been doing things. Also not sleeping very much. Last night I had to remember where the middle of the week went. (I managed to.) The nightmares aren't helping.

Yesterday morning I met with a visiting historian for whom I am running slides during a conference and then I spent the rest of the day with [ profile] rushthatspeaks and [ profile] gaudior. I introduced them to Postmodern Jukebox. The group would be a fun novelty act if their musicianship weren't so good, but it really is: I enjoy listening to them for non-ironic reasons. So far my favorites of theirs appear to be their versions of Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" (with fan dancers), Fountains of Wayne's "Stacy's Mom" (with melodica solo), and Meghan Trainor's "All About That (Upright) Bass" (exactly what the parenthesis sounds like). In return I got Nicki Minaj's frankly amazing "Anaconda" and Astronautalis' "Two Years Before the Mast," which includes a rap about the age of sail.

Today is the conference for which I am running a set of slides: "Beyond the Western Front in World War I." I expect it to be really interesting. I haven't been to anything this academic in seven years.

Films I have seen recently include Fiesta (1947) with Esther Williams and Ricard Montalbán, the mermaid comedy Miranda (1948), Jan Švankmajer's Alice (1988), and Michael Curtiz's two-strip Technicolor horror-mystery Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933). I hope to write about at least one of these tonight.

Everything is just very exhausting right now. At least I have a book of Pasolini's poetry.


Apr. 24th, 2015 11:21 am
[personal profile] telophase
Just got a form email from the dealership we bought my car from. It says we've been picked to participate in their Vehicle Exchange Program and that we can probably change our current car for a newer model one and keep our payment of $145.36 the same!

Alas, they don't seem to realize that we only financed $5000 of the car--and only did that because it took $1500 off the price of the car--and paid it all off two weeks later.

Gosh, what a deal.


Apr. 24th, 2015 12:20 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
You could suggest just one interesting historical period that isn't Rome, an idealized British Empire, rechewed American Revolution or Rome for SF writers to rip off, what would it be?

And Again.

Apr. 24th, 2015 11:25 am
[personal profile] malkingrey
Rain yesterday daytime. Snow last night. Chilly and clammy right now.

At least the driveway is clear.

But good lord, this is getting tiresome.
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I've noticed any time he pauses for a long time before doing something, the outcome is generally not favorable to him.

Most recently, he was mulling over what turn out to be "Should I bop Groucho on the nose?" He chose poorly.

we are such nerds

Apr. 24th, 2015 09:45 am
[personal profile] telophase
We went to a show in Dallas last night, a fundraiser for a literacy center that featured Grant and Martha from the NPR show/podcast A Way with Words. While we were waiting for the curtain to rise, we talked about the shows we had tickets to this year and realized that they were all NPR people: this one, then in May, we're going to see a talk by Jad Abumrad with Zoe Keating on cello providing music, and in November David Sedaris is coming back to the Bass Hall. I feel so nerdy intellectual.

Toby would like to stress that he found the May show and wants to go entirely because he's a fan of Zoe Keating's music and she's not giving a regular concert in North Texas (we'd have to drive to Austin or Houston that weekend), but I still called him a nerd.
[personal profile] batwrangler
Imperial Radch Book 1
by Ann Leckie, read by Celeste Ciulla

I bounced off the print edition the first time I tried reading this, but got invested enough in the audiobook to leap-frog between formats (audiobook when reading the print edition wasn't practical and print edition when possible since I read faster than the narrator speaks).
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
Today we were taken, among other places, to visit a village of the Dong people and one of the Miao people, two of the local national minorities. The Dong village was first, but given my limited time I'm going to try to write up the Miao village instead. Which I have done! And now I must get ready for bed, so that's all I've done. )

Geoff has been getting some wonderful pictures, although I may not be able to post or link to any until I get home to a real computer and a real internet connection...

Friday About Town

Apr. 24th, 2015 08:59 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.

Weights tonight? Who knows?

Apr. 24th, 2015 08:53 am
[personal profile] oracne
I was pretty stiff and tired yesterday, but I did a half-hour on the elliptical anyway, in the hope it would loosen me up. And anyway, I need the exercise. I also had a ten-minute chair massage, which wasn't really enough but did help some.

Tonight is regular gym night, but if I'm still sore, that means no upper body. I didn't do any squats all week, so if I can't get a rack, I'll just use the Seated Leg Press machine, which is better than nothing. And then some cardio.

Saturday, I'm going to be sitting around watching movies, but with a little walking to and from. The pedometer makes me feel better about not going to the gym most weekends, because I can see that I walk more when not at dayjob.

(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2015 07:34 am
[personal profile] skygiants
I just finished Andrea K. Host's Medair duology. I thought the first book, The Silence of Medair, was pretty fantastic! Then the second one kiiiind of went off the rails a little.

Our Heroine Medair is a Herald (as in diplomatic messenger, not as in Valdemar, I was about to say 'no falling in love with horses' but idk, there's some weird stuff going on in the second book) whose life takes a dramatic downturn when a bunch of refugees show up on the shore of her Empire after accidentally destroying their homeland.

MEDAIR: Welcome to our Empire, friends! I have been sent to tell you that the Emperor would like to give you land and supplies and shelter and a helping hand! We are very ready to be accepting of a bunch of gorgeous and stoic white-haired anime characters with angsty backstories! We hope you will have a nice stay!
THE ENEMY KING: Oh wow, that is super nice of him, very honorable, we really appreciate it, but it's going to be really unhealthy for my people's self-esteem and cultural stability to be in a long-term refugee kind of situation, soooooooo now that we're here I think we're just going to conquer your Empire instead?
MEDAIR: >:O >:O >:O

So Medair goes in search of a mythological MacGuffin of great power to save the kingdom from the enemy hordes! Her quest is successful! She's going to come back and save the day! But first, having finished her quest, she takes a nap!

This turns out to be a mistake!

MEDAIR: HELLO I am back with the magical MacGuffin and I am ready to --
THE EMPIRE, NOW ABOUT FIFTY PERCENT POPULATED WITH GORGEOUS AND STOIC WHITE-HAIRED ANIME CHARACTERS: Ah yes, the legend of Medair, who went on a futile quest five hundred years ago, right before our current king's ancestor conquered the nation, took the throne, married the emperor's daughter, and created our current relatively stable society!
MEDAIR: ........welp.

All of this is the backstory. When the book actually begins, Medair is wandering around with a knapsack full of hilariously powerful MacGuffins and literally nothing she wants to do with them.

MEDAIR: I guess I'll just .... take them back .....?

But then she accidentally gets geased into helping an important and powerful white-haired anime character with his quest, so now she's stuck hanging around with a whole bunch of politically important nobles, who may not have very much to do with the conquerors of five hundred years ago but whom it is still hard for her not to have a DEEPLY PERSONAL AND UNHAPPY REACTION TO, who are themselves KIND OF SUSPICIOUS that she's calling herself after a famous historical figure with a symbolic opposition to the current political regime.

(Not to mention the fact that she doesn't know like ninety percent of the important contemporary cultural references and gets INEXPLICABLY FURIOUS when she happens to hear the famous and deeply inaccurate love songs that her douchebag ex-boyfriend wrote about her after she disappeared.)

Most of the first book is concerned with this -- Medair displaced and out of time, keeping all her secrets close to the chest while trying to figure out where her actual responsibilities and loyalties can and should lie now when all her oaths were to people who were dead five hundred years ago -- and it raises genuine and interesting questions about what kind of a role the memory of past injustices should play in making choices in the present, and is really good!

The problem with the second book is partly that it takes a couple of leaps into wild plot territory that I really don't care about as much, but also partly that I don't like the way that it forces a simplification of those questions. Like, as the book goes on, and Medair is sort of forced into a set of binary choices between THE OLD and THE NEW, it becomes increasingly hard to ignore the unfortunate implications of the fact that a bunch of extremely literally white people showed up, conquered the people already living there -- but really nobly! really honorably! -- and now the people in power are almost unilaterally descended from the conquerors, but, I mean, it's basically fine! People aren't suffering! Right? I mean, we could look at some of the systematic injustices that such a situation would set up, buuuuut we're not really gonna.

The story believes that holding onto ancient grudges will in the end lead only to more bloodshed, and yes, OK, I, like Medair, obviously do not think that the faction who want to come in and murder everyone who has any blood of the conquerers in them are correct! But there are more options and complexities in the situation besides "just let go of the past!" and "MURDER ALL WHITE(-HAIRED ANIME) PEOPLE" that are not ... very much touched on. I don't know. There's a point about a third of the way through the second book where I would have been okay with the story ending, and then it continues on well past that and sort of stomps much of its ambiguity into the ground, and ehhhhhh. I would be less annoyed if I hadn't liked the first book so much.

(Also, the romance plot gets really weird in the last few chapters in ways that I don't think I'm OK with??? Host does love her super anime love interests but this is ABOVE AND BEYOND. Spoilers are uncomfortable. )

Anyway now I'm rereading Host's And All The Stars, which is only one book and therefore doesn't have time to go off the rails.

Vidding win

Apr. 24th, 2015 07:44 am
[personal profile] kass
I have recently finished my first vid draft in a very long time. Aside from my one Festivid (Felt - Lost in Translation) I haven't vidded a thing since I made Instantly, the Welcome to Night Vale vid I brought to Vividcon last summer (and I completed that some months before the con)... so it felt like a long dry spell. Anyway, I'm not saying the vid is finished, but at least it's drafted, and I know myself and my own creative process well enough to know that finishing a draft is a big deal, because it's always easier to improve an existing draft than to create the draft in the first place. So huzzah.

(For those who may be wondering how I managed this when my last vidding-related post was grr argh I can't clip these files -- turns out I can dump the whole files into FCP and scrub through them there for clips. Which is nifty. Though I do wonder whether at some point having all of those big files in there is going to slow my system down. But hey, so far, so good.)

How are y'all this morning?

finally wifi!

Apr. 24th, 2015 06:43 pm
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
We've spent several days in hotels with little or no internet access actually available, regardless of what they advertised, plus I've barely had time to type anything up. But now we're in a place where I seem to be able to get and stay online, and I also have a whole glorious hour to relax between arriving and dinner! So here's some of what I've typed up over the past few days. Everything that says "today" or "yesterday” really means "some indeterminate time ago," and it's random observations rather than any kind of narrative, I'm afraid. But there it is, for what it's worth. And here it is! )

Now to try to type up some bits of what's happened since then, if I have time before dinner...

"April showers"

Apr. 24th, 2015 01:39 am
[personal profile] rosefox
I feel like I'm still at a sunshine deficit, even though it's late April. I feel SO GOOD on sunny warm days, and then we get chilly rainstorms and I droop. This is particularly annoying because I usually love spring rain. I did enjoy the lightning and thunder we got the other night, but that was after a wonderful warm muggy afternoon.

Right now it's 40 degrees and the heat just came on. I mean. This is fucking ridiculous.

But it's supposed to be sunny and warm next weekend, and the cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens are just hitting their peak, so who wants to go to BBG on Saturday May 2? Sakura matsuri is this weekend, so going next week should let us miss most of the tourists. :)


Apr. 23rd, 2015 11:00 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
Today has been a day full of low-grade crankiness. The weather -- all unseasonable cold and chilly dampness and unsteady barometer -- makes my mood glum and my muscles ache.

Nor does it help to have my brother inform me at dinnertime that the roof is leaking again, because goddammit, I already know that the roof is leaking again (or more properly, still), and God knows that if I had the money to throw at it right now, I definitely would.

I'm ready to spend a long weekend -- maybe even a long week -- in my fantasy apartment in the World Without Shrimp, where the roof doesn't leak and if it did it would be the landlord's problem and none of mine. Also, the hot water works there, and the utilities are included in the rent.

[photo of the day]

Apr. 23rd, 2015 07:24 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Another sunset taken from inside a car.
[personal profile] lannamichaels

Title: and love was a binary star— (On Archive Of Our Own)
Author: [personal profile] lannamichaels
Fandom: Les Miserables
Pairing: Enjolras/Grantaire
Rating: PG
A/N: Warning: canonical character death. Fill for my Telepathy/Mindmeld square in Trope Bingo Round 4. The title is from What Are They Doing in the Next Room by Bruce Smith.

Summary: Theirs is gravitational attraction.

Brothers, he who dies here dies in the radiance of the future, and we are entering a tomb all flooded with the dawn. )

Once in a Blue Moon

Apr. 23rd, 2015 05:18 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
- recent listening
Coode Street Podcast Episode 230: K J Parker and the history of a writer. Wherein it's revealed that Parker is Tom Holt after all (it's been going around [Locus Online]. One podcast I'm listening to, although I find parts difficult to make out as is usual (not their fault; I don't hear things well).

- recent reading
Once in a Blue Moon by Simon R. Green. This is a very fun, not too serious adventure in the best Simon R. Green style. There's one problem with it, which is that it appears to be the last book of a series. The good news is that it also appears to complete the series.

Let me back up a little. Years ago, in Houston, I picked up a fantasy novel by the title of Blue Moon Rising by Simon R. Green. It featured Prince Rupert riding an enslaved unicorn (with all that implied about his virginity) to a mission that was probably his death: to slay a dragon. Mainly because he was the second prince of the Forest Kingdom, and a spare heir was...unwanted. But it turned out that the dragon was being held "hostage" by a princess sent him as tribute, said princess, Julia, being very good with a sword, and even more, the hoped-for dragon's hoard to refill the Kingdom's treasury (in case Rupert succeeded after all), turned out to be a collection of butterflies. And that was just the beginning. I was entranced. Green had a gift for mixing sly humor, wisecracks (it's not a Green novel if someone, usually multiple people, isn't making a wisecrack somewhere in there), moments of breathtaking wonder, a cynical, down-to-earth sense of the importance of personality in politics, grotesque horrors, gore, and plotting so taut that each time I reread the book I'd pick up on some new nuance that he'd slotted in place just so.

When I was in middle school, one of the writers I wanted to grow up to be was Piers Anthony, because of his interesting ideas and clarity of prose. But the other was Simon R. Green. I don't read Anthony anymore (and to be honest, am not sure what exactly he's writing these days), but I do still read Green. We only gave up buying his books on sight because I was reading more and more slowly, and couldn't keep up with his output.

Blue Moon Rising started what might loosely be termed a series, although it stands quite well on its own, and as a matter of fact, if you liked Blue Moon Rising then Once in a Blue Moon is the kind of book you will like, as well as featuring familiar characters and situations and places. But in order for Once in a Blue Moon to make sense, there are a whole lot of books you also have to read.

You see, this series runs something like this:

- Blue Moon Rising
- Down Among the Dead Men. It's been a while, but I believe it takes place somewhere in the latter part of Blue Moon Rising, and is essentially a standalone hack-and-slash adventure with an astonishingly high body count. It is perhaps the only book in the sequence that you can safely skip and still understand Once in a Blue Moon, and I'd reckon it one of Green's more minor works.
- The Hawk and Fisher books, which feature the only honest (fantasy) cops in the corrupt city of Haven:
Hawk and Fisher
Winner Takes All
The God Killer
Wolf in the Fold
Guard Against Dishonor
The Bones of Haven

The individual volumes are out of print, I believe, but were brought back as two omnibuses, Swords of Haven and Guards of Haven.
- Beyond the Blue Moon, which requires Blue Moon Rising and the Hawk and Fisher books as prerequisites, functioning as a sequel to both. Also a bit of a tie-in to the Nightside books if I'm not mistaken; Green is one of those writers for whom there are characters who wander in and out of their series. (The standalone fantasy Shadows Fall, which is the other single Green I tend to recommend to people who are interested in trying him, explains why this is so.)
- Blood and Honor. It used to be that this worked quite well as a stand-alone, and you can read it that way; there's a bit of an in-joke at the beginning referring to events in Blue Moon Rising, but you don't actually need it to follow this fantasy mystery/romance. (Note that there is some grue; it's rare that a Green novel will lack some degree of grue.)
- And now, Once in a Blue Moon.

Once in a Blue Moon ties together a staggering number of old threads and weaves them together into an entertaining story about two nations, the Forest Kingdom and Redhart, that are careening toward war. Some people are for it, others against, others dragged into the mess kicking and screaming. The legendary heroes Hawk and Fisher show up with other legends in tow; a princess is separated from the lowborn Champion who is her true love; a Broken Man is called back to fight for the King who spurned him years ago; an extraordinary fighter (half of, as far as I can tell, a happy lesbian couple) is honored by the man who defeats her; cursed weapons like the Infernal Devices are retrieved from where they perhaps should best have been left sleeping. And then there's the dog, who is not entirely Real, and who is not remotely safe for polite company.

This reads in many ways like a no-holds-barred, fun, updated version of Blue Moon Rising--Green daring to push the edge a bit more in terms of topics and language (swearing, mentions of sexuality, crude humor--Blue Moon Rising came out in 1991). It's not perfect, but it was a hell of a read, and it brings things to a pitch-perfect close. I cried more than once.

I'm sorry that this Blue Moon Rising and its related books seem to be so obscure. They're a lot of fun and they deserve more attention than they seem to have gotten. I would kill to write like this. I haven't been made this purely happy by a book in a long time.

For the curious, here's a non-spoilery taste of Green's typical sense of humor/prose:
If the Administrator had ever been blessed with anything as common as a real name and a proper background, no one knew about it. He'd arrived at the Academy some forty years earlier as just another student, bluffed and bullied his way onto the staff, and lost no time in proving himself invaluable at taking care of all the dull, soul-destroying but unfortunately wholly necessary administrative work that no one else wanted to do. All he had to do was threaten to leave, and he was immediately awarded a substantial pay increase and a straightforward assurance that no one gave a damn what his real name might be or where he'd come from. (6)

Spoilery discussion:

Read more... )


Apr. 23rd, 2015 03:50 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Not looking at everything through a permanently fogged lens sure helps.

never give up, never surrender!

Apr. 23rd, 2015 03:43 pm
[personal profile] holli
So, when I was signing up for an artist table at AwesomeCon, I noticed that they also had an open call for panel proposals. 'What the hell,' I figured, and suggested a panel on historical/vintage fashion for cosplayers, and a Galaxy Quest panel in which the panelists stay in character the entire time as fans of the nonexistent Galaxy Quest TV show. I was... mostly joking for the second one.

Yesterday, I got an email from the con organizers-- they want to put both panels on the schedule. Um. Okay. Great! 

Does... anyone want to be on a Galaxy Quest panel with me?

(I think I have a couple of people lined up for the cosplay panel, but if you'd like in on that one that'd be great too!)
[personal profile] musesfool
ZOMG WORK. I was already late this morning - sick passenger at 59th St messed everything up - so I decided to stop in at the World's Slowest StarbucksTM for coffee (I don't understand how a store that is busy even at off times is always so understaffed and overwhelmed). And when I got here at about 9:20, it was all, "ORG CHARTS FOR EVERYONE" and then this other demographic chart that I'd never seen before in my 6 years here and had no electronic copy of, so that had to be recreated from scratch, which was easy enough in theory, though I still don't understand how the person who did it got it all on one page and still made it look like it fit without microsopic type and wasn't being shrunk to fit to the page. I mean, I managed it, too, but still. It was busier than it usually is when I walk in the door.

So I haven't had time to work on the wip I've been poking at, which last night decided it needed to be longer, because this one thing I mentioned as kind of a throwaway/not needing to be explored at this juncture thing turned out to be needing exploration at this juncture. Sigh. Writing is hard.

Also, reasons to avoid my brain: 1. I woke up at 4 am with the pina colada song in my head, and then, 2. I dreamt about being attacked by the Joker. Brain! Why you gotta be like that?

Anyway! Rangers go up in the series 3-1! They looked terrible in the first period, which made me feel better about turning away to watch Arrow (about which more below), and then I tuned back in for the third period and the OT. Which is funny, because after hearing about the triple overtime game the other night, I was like, "thank god they haven't done that yet." I should know better. But I'm so glad they won and that they did it early enough for me to go to bed at a reasonable hour. Thank jebus for Dan Girardi, I guess. And I was glad to see Hayes get his first playoff goal. Though I still need Nash to break out with some scoring. Zuccarello too. Now they could win the series early! and at MSG! these things almost never happen to the Rangers, so I'm not counting my chickens, but I'm cautiously hopeful, anyway.

As for Arrow, spoilers )

And lastly, because now I have to go notarize ALL THE THINGS (my job, so exciting), today's poem:

I Keep Trying to Leave but the Sex Just Gets Better and Better

This is not what the door's for—slamming
you up against, opening
your legs with my knee. And it isn't
leaving, the thing I keep doing
with my shoes still on, or in the car
in the driveway in broad
daylight after waving
goodbye to your neighbors
again. But my body's a bad
dog, all dumb tongue
and hunger, down
on all fours again, tied up
outside again, coming
when called but then always refusing
to stay. I know what I'm trying
to say, but it isn't
talking, the thing that I do with my mouth
to your ear, even though
we got the orifices right. To leave
I would have to put clothes on,
and they'd have to fit better
than all of this skin. To leave
I would have to know where to begin:
like this, pressed up
against the half-open window? Like
this, with my foot on the gas? If seeing
is believing then why isn't touching
knowing for sure? I just want my nerves
to do the work for me, I don't want
to have to decide. There's blood in my hands
for fight and blood in my legs
for flight and nowhere
a sign. Believe me, I'll leave if you just
let me touch you again for the last
last time.

~Ali Shapiro



Apr. 23rd, 2015 12:04 pm
[personal profile] rosefox
I dreamed that X and [ profile] tithenai and I all went to my high school to retrieve a copy of a paper I'd written. It was buried in the archives in the gym (??) but a nice person eventually dug it up. Then I realized it wasn't on the topic I'd remembered, so it wasn't all that useful to me. Oh well.

Then somehow we ended up in a meadow, in a place with gently rolling hills and occasional stands of trees. There were some small strange half-buildings, with two walls and no roof but all the furnishings, like stage sets; we spent a bit of time exploring them, but they felt very lonely. The queen of the Fae showed up and was annoyed about something, and we had to sing in harmony to appease her. We managed this with reasonable success (singing Heather Alexander's "Dance in the Circle" of all things!) and she left us alone, but the king came over and suggested that we swear allegiance to him instead, so he could protect us in case the queen got angry again. The vast majority of the dreaming-time was taken up with the king making his case and us talking about it. The rest went pretty quickly but when I was doing the wake/doze/wake/doze thing I kept going back to that conversation about swearing allegiance. I think by the time I fully woke up we had decided that he seemed like a pretty decent guy, and that we'd much rather be on his side than the unpredictable queen's.

[ profile] tithenai had short hair and was wearing a long flowy dress, and the king appeared as a guy in his 30s with short brown hair and beard and a serious expression. He looked a bit like [ profile] sentencebender, actually. The queen had a face that I can only describe as pugnacious. I have no real visual sense of anyone else who was in either part of the dream.
[personal profile] oracne
I missed the gym on Monday due to being sick, and Tuesday due to dinner with friends. So, Wednesday was a bigger workout than usual.

I recently got up to the 35 pound dumbbells, 3 sets of 10, and I was going to do it again last night, but someone had the 35 pounders. A lot of young men had suddenly invaded the fourth floor where I had sought sanctuary from their hogging of weights and benches and their annoying habit of dropping weights from a height, sigh. I am a cranky old lady already, and not even 50 yet.

Anyway, no one had the 40s, so I gave them a try. They were fine for row - I did my usual 5 sets of 5 - but getting them into position for bench press was, as always, the hardest part, and I didn't feel entirely steady as I laid back and got up again. So I managed 2 sets of 10, instead of 3, which is how I began with the 35s, and I eventually improved with them, so maybe I have not reached my limit with dumbbells yet! I don't want to have to go back to barbells just yet, because that means weight room, and too many sweaty people all annoying me with their mere existence and the banging of their weight-dropping.

I managed to snag the 25s after their user wandered off and left them on the floor for the second time, but the 40s had done me in, and I could only manage a couple of short sets (5) of overheads with them, and those were terrible. Someone had the 20s, sigh, so I did two quick sets of 10 with the 15s, which hopefully was not useless. Then I used the 15s to do a couple of sets each of tricep exercises, and decided I might as well do deadlifts, using the 45 pounders in 5 sets of 5.

Then I was tired, as you might imagine, and my right elbow was hurting a tiny bit from supporting the 45 at full extension.

I finished up with a half hour on the elliptical, and some stretching that I sorely (get it?) needed.

I might need to do some light cardio or something tonight, to loosen up again.

Now This is Getting Ridiculous

Apr. 23rd, 2015 09:41 am
[personal profile] malkingrey
Our front yard this morning:

It's already melting, of course. Nevertheless . . . April, for crying out loud.

(That's the recently-acquired Subaru Forester up there, by the way.)

Small Gods by Terry Pratchett

Apr. 22nd, 2015 10:12 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
Small Gods: Discworld Novel, A

3/5. One of the Discworld standalones. A god is turned into a tortoise, and only one monk out of his entire religious order can hear him, because only that one still believes.

Read for the obvious sentimental reasons. Which was a good choice because this is Pratchetty and charming. And also a bad choice because it is Pratchetty and, uh, full of quick flashes of his particular brand of racism. You know, the cheerful kind of racism where a white guy goes "ha ha ha aren't racist stereotypes so stupid they're funny?" And you're like, "uh okay dude, but pretty sure that's a thing you get to think when they aren't about you, and also you apparently believe in a number of them yourself, so…"

But what I meant to talk about was Pratchett and religion. Because I don't think he is very good at it? Like, he seems very clear on the idea of religion as a system of order, and he seems extremely clear on it as a tool of political aggression. Both of which it totally is. But then, for him, it stops. Which – and I'm saying this as an atheist – doesn't seem right to me. The main character here is a man of faith. One of the very few in the novel. And I'll grant you faith is a different concept when your god won't stop talking to you, but. But there's no . . . the people I know who believe don't do it with their politics. Or their heads. They do it with their limbic systems, you know?

Like, I'm pretty sure Pratchett wrote Sam Vimes having much more complex, intense, personal feelings about city cobblestones than the protagonist of this book has about his god. Vimes's feelings are pretty strong, mind you.

Anyway, whatever. I'm just saying, if you're going to go mucking about in theocracies, you've got to put some actual religion in. And this book ain't got religion. It's got, like, a secular pragmatist talking about religion.

Posts I will probably never write

Apr. 22nd, 2015 08:25 pm
[personal profile] pendrecarc
Goodness, has it been four months? I'm around here and there, mostly lurking. I haven't felt particularly fannish or sociable for a while, but I'm sure I'll come back around again eventually. I have the tidal kind of online engagement.

Every so often I make mental bookmarks of things I'd like to post about, then never do. Here are some of those things:

Thoughts on series fiction that have been percolating since [personal profile] hedda62 made this post. Essentially: I think in general I feel most strongly for series fiction, and a large part of that is the sense of having lived and grown with the characters. Not for any high-blown reasons of craft, having more time for development and nuance of personality, but because I'd rather sit down for a quiet evening with the dear friends I've known for years than go to a party with people I've barely met. And possibly I gravitate toward genre fiction because so much of it is in serial form, though that's probably a separate discussion.

Related to the above, I have been rereading the Aubrey/Maturin books for the first time since I blew through them in a single summer during high school (or possibly after my freshman year of college, I can't recall). Somehow I managed not to process how good they are the first time around, though I did enjoy them even then. My library doesn't offer them as ebooks but does offer the audiobooks online, and the reading is excellent. I've just finished The Reverse of the Medal (oh Jack) and am anxiously waiting to get off the hold list for the next.

Travel! This is going to be quite a year for it. I visited a good friend in Brazil last month, which was amazing, and on top of that I'm due for my sabbatical. I'm taking it this summer, splitting it between Iceland and Norway with a stopover in the Faroe Islands, then a few days in the UK at the end.

Speaking of my sabbatical, I am very likely to leave this job by the end of the year. We have a lot going on, and there's a lot I'd like to see through past 2015, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that there'll never be a good time to leave and at some point I just have to decide what would make me happier. I've been feeling stretched but not challenged for a long time, if that makes sense, and I need to be much more actively motivated if I'm going to keep up the level of mental investment this job requires.

Writing is really, really good when it happens with any regularity. I have several projects I'm very excited about and am slowly making headway on some revisions.

I've managed a decent amount of reading lately, aside from the O'Brian. Books of note include Lauren Owen's The Quick, which B. handed to me with an odd look and the comment that it reminded her a lot of my novel. They have some eerie similarities in character and plot, to the extent that I'm probably going to have to change at least one character's name, and her sense of pacing and prose style felt very familiar. It made for a strange reading experience. I did enjoy the book itself, though I had quibbles with some of the structure and with the emotional resolution, and would recommend it. I was also amused (and not entirely surprised) to flip to the end and read Lev Grossman's interview with the author, in which she talks about writing Harry Potter fanfiction. This one might have to go on my Yuletide nomination list, actually.


Ugh. Snow yesterday, and I have a terrible cold. A hot toddy, a book, and bed, I think.
[personal profile] chomiji

Partners Shiro Kakei, a mostly closeted and uptight lawyer, and Kenji Yabuki, a genial and talkative hairstylist, live their lives in the pages of this seinen series, interacting with coworkers, neighbors, friends, and relatives as they face a variety of everyday complications and crises. As in Not Love but Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy, Yoshinaga's focus is actually food, but where that good-humored parody of the mangaka's own life emphasized restaurant dining, What Did You Eat focuses on modern Japanese home cooking. After a day at the office, Shiro likes to unwind by preparing dinner for the two of them, narrating his cooking to himself in a way that results in near-complete recipes for the reader. If you are any kind of a cook at all, it's likely you can follow his preparations in your own kitchen (given that you can figure out and obtain some of the convenience ingredients: "noodle sauce," for example, is a common flavor enhancer in his recipes).

Yoshinaga, honored with multiple awards for her beautifully drawn alternate history Ooku: The Inner Chambers, seems to me to be using this series much the way Shiro uses his cooking: a less stressful challenge with which to unwind. The artwork is pretty (although nowhere as elaborate as Ooku's) and the events diverting (although neither as humorous as Not Love nor as poignant as Flower of Life or Antique Bakery), but for me, this series lacks a certain something.

Cut for more, including some spoilers )
[personal profile] yhlee

Spotted by the lizard on the wall of a Panera where we were eating. Most of the painting is well-executed, but she pointed out that the basket and loaf of bread just After-market addition?

Not from the Onion

Apr. 22nd, 2015 12:59 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Sarah Auger loves reading and used to enjoy using her 20-minute ride to and from school to read for pleasure.

But recently, her bus driver told her she had to stop.

She says she was told reading posed a risk to other students on the bus.

He suggested they might stand up to see what she was reading, or she might poke herself in the eye with the corners of the book. 


Apr. 22nd, 2015 05:27 pm
[personal profile] rydra_wong
[personal profile] thatyourefuse: Five Perfumes To Wear While Watching Penny Dreadful

All you scent/fandom geeks: what scent or selection of scents should one watch to wear your show of choice? Pick your olfactory playlist!

when it speaks to you

Apr. 22nd, 2015 08:52 am
[personal profile] thistleingrey
My mind let my attention emerge gracefully from a dream last night; I almost never remember them. Read more... )
[personal profile] musesfool
Writing! Such a terrible hobby! I added another 300 words to this story and still these dumbasses aren't anywhere near kissing. What the hell?

Reading, otoh, reading is great, even if this week's books aren't all that exciting.

What I've just finished
Annihilation: Book 1 of the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer. Ugh. Anti-rec. SO BORING. SO SO BORING. 200 pages of atmospheric dread and repetitive landscape descriptions. No characters to speak of - they don't even get names and they don't need them, because they're flat ciphers and completely unbelievable as people. The only good thing I can say about it is it's short, so it didn't waste a ton of my time. Ugh. I don't understand how this has so many rave reviews. Obviously, mileage varies.

What I'm reading now
Well, I'd started a Regency romance that was on my iPad, but the terrible copy editing (apostrophes for plurals in a published book!) and the heroine's complete dumbassery put me off. I don't even remember what it was called to warn you away.

But the library came through with The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan, which is boring in its own way (a little too much on the fin de siecle naval arms race between Germany and Britain), but much more informative. It's not about the war itself, but about the political and economic conditions that led to the war, so it is kind of a snoozer, but an educational one.

What I'm reading next
As always, I don't know. Maybe something will appear from the library. Maybe something I've pre-ordered will be released! Or maybe I'll scroll through all the things on my iPad and pick one. Probably that last one. *hands*


The Flash
spoilers )

spoilers ) I definitely need to get an icon.


Whoops, almost forgot a poem:

A Physics
by Heather McHugh

When you get down to it, Earth
has our own great ranges
of feeling—Rocky, Smoky, Blue—
and a heart that can melt stones.

The still pools fill with sky,
as if aloof, and we have eyes
for all of this—and more, for Earth's
reminding moon. We too are ruled

by such attractions—spun and swaddled,
rocked and lent a light. We run
our clocks on wheels, our trains
on time. But all the while we want

to love each other endlessly—not only for
a hundred years, not only six feet up and down.
We want the suns and moons of silver
in ourselves, not only counted coins in a cup. The whole

idea of love was not to fall. And neither was
the whole idea of God. We put him well
above ourselves, because we meant,
in time, to measure up.


Sunny Day

Apr. 22nd, 2015 10:00 am
[personal profile] malkingrey
But it's supposed to snow tomorrow. This time of year, it probably won't stick more than a few hours, if that. But still . . . snow.

Welcome to spring in the north country.

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