[personal profile] sovay
I appear to be somewhat aggressively vacationing. [livejournal.com profile] gaudior and I spent the afternoon at the New England Aquarium. It was great.



That's me with an Atlantic goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara), quite possibly the same one I've seen in the Caribbean blue hole exhibit for years. It's sort of Newfoundland-sized. I am in the picture for comparison and also perhaps to show off my Captain Sashay T-shirt. I got compliments on it from two identifiably genderqueer people and one apparent dude in a lab coat. I am not sure what the cuttlefish with which I had an inadvertent conversation thought. Mostly I am concerned that way I unfolded my fingers communicated something rude in Sepiida, because it startled back from the glass immediately and flung up two of its arms. Its colors fluttered in intensity, although not in hue. Later it was distracted by one of its fellows stalking and suddenly engulfing a crab with a movement rather like being attacked by a collapsing umbrella. One of the other cuttlefish already had a crab in its arms when we got there and was patiently crunching its way through the stiff carapace. I visited the electric eel as usual and Gaudior spent time with the leafy sea dragons. The renovated octopus exhibit is a beautiful little installation of transparent or patterned glass jars suspended on knotted ropes for the cephalopods to climb along or curl up inside. In the crowd around us, I heard at least two languages I couldn't recognize by ear. We weren't sure if the ungodly yells that echoed from the first floor as we were leaving belonged to a small child or a penguin.

Afterward we walked for dinner to Boston Public Market, where we split the fancy mac and ginger switchel from Jasper Hill Farm and the cabbage knish and jaw-dropping shakalatkes (shakshuka served over latkes: a great moment in Jewish food) from Inna's Kitchen and finished with apple crisp and cider slushies from Red Apple Farm, all of which was unexpectedly epic. Gaudior pointed out afterward that latkes and apple cider are autumn-to-winter foods and I said that I did not think Cernunnos, Lord of Summer was going to hold it against them. I was really limping badly by the time we got back to the car, but so far it doesn't look like there's blood. This cannot be the most inconvenient thing that has ever happened to one of my feet—the chillblains were pretty stupid—but it's pretty far up there.

In other home news, I am intrigued that the line of berbere I sprinkled along my threshold at four in the morning actually appears to have kept off the ants that were swarming into my room from the hallway where the next door over is the basement stairs—I kept seeing red pepper used as an ant deterrent in the Benjamin January books and then my mother independently mentioned it and I haven't had to contend with any foragers so far tonight, fingers crossed. I did not appreciate being bitten as I was trying to go to bed.

I have no idea why one of our neighbors just set off a string of firecrackers or cherry bombs. Maybe they also solved their ant problem and felt like celebrating.

Context is for the weak

Jul. 23rd, 2016 04:26 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
His effect on conversation a bit like Saruman's on tree conservation, isn't it?

Mail-order monarchs

Jul. 23rd, 2016 03:29 pm
[personal profile] batwrangler
When I was young, we regularly had monarch caterpillars/butterflies around, but, despite my encouraging the growth of native milkweed and not using pesticides, I haven't seen any at my house in years. (I have tiger swallowtails, fritillaries, a million skippers, and lots of bees, though.)

This year, I had the brilliant idea of mail-ordering monarchs. They arrived as eggs on a potted milkweed on Thursday. This morning, the dark heads of the first instars became visible through their shells. This afternoon, they started hatching:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/batwrangler/albums/72157671357060626

Things that are good in a heatwave

Jul. 23rd, 2016 06:46 pm
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Remembering that you have an ice lolly (a.k.a. popsicle, I believe) mould at the back of a cupboard.

Also, it turns out that an unsweetened jasmine tea ice lolly is an unusual and refreshing thing (yes, it's just frozen tea-on-a-stick; given the basic goal of reducing body temperature as much as possible, this totally works for me).

Btw, I reiterate the lido offer for DW peeps in London (for upcoming weekdays, anyway -- getting too crowded at weekends).

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2016 08:51 am
[personal profile] skygiants
Now I have finished Earth Logic, the sequel to Fire Logic, and I am still chewing over my thoughts about it, but one thing I can say is THAT WAS A VERY ODDLY STRUCTURED BOOK.

Earth Logic begins five years after Fire Logic, when all the surviving major cast members of the last book have formed an affectionate extended family unit featuring two gay couples and one token straight couple and their collective kid. And they are all sort of hanging around having curtainfic until the time seems appropriate to ... do something ....... about the ongoing war of resistance and attrition against the invading forces from the last book, who have now been constantly invading for thirty years, and the process of waiting is DRIVING ZANJA UP THE WALL.

About a third of the way in, Zanja has a prophetic vision that one of her other slightly prophetic friends needs to murder her in order for anything to happen. What will happen if they murder her? NOBODY KNOWS, but SOMETHING IMPORTANT.

So they all have a collective freakout and Zanja is like "NO SERIOUSLY YOU JUST NEED TO MURDER ME, I don't know why but it's VERY IMPORTANT," and then they angst for several more chapters and then dutifully get ready to murder Zanja, and the one person who has truth powers instead of prophecy powers is like "awww, isn't it cute how they can't tell the difference between symbolism and reality," and quietly arranges things so all the confused and angsty but dutiful prophets, including Zanja, will THINK Zanja has been murdered but in fact she will only have been SYMBOLICALLY murdered so that while she's busy being symbolically dead her body can generate a whole new personality that will wander off to shuffle some plot cards.

All this progression have been very stressful if I thought there was a snowflake's chance in a Boston July that Zanja was ever going to be dead for real, but never for a single second did I consider that as a possibility so I was free to laugh at three people constantly agonizing about their visions while the fourth is like 'UM IT'S JUST SYMBOLISM, GUYS, IT'S GONNA BE FINE.'

Eventually The Gang pick up a new member, a cook who is UNDERSTANDABLY BEMUSED by all of this personal drama (and thus is my new favorite) but helps keep everyone sane during the waiting period by making amazing biscuits. And they all sit around stressing about Zanja and building a printing press and discussing nonviolent ways of ending conflict until somewhere near the end of the book.

Meanwhile, in the B-plot, the long-suffering second-in-command of the enemy forces has a very long slow arc of reconsidering her life and the cycle of constant violence and the way one is supposed to think about children and the future, with occasional assists from the Wandering Plot Coupon that is Zanja's Symbolically Dead Personality, and it's an amazing arc, I love it.

Ending spoilers, some conflicted feelings )
[personal profile] sovay
City-walking with [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel did not pan out since I am still limping like an elegiac couplet, but we did get dinner together at Bronwyn in Union Square, where they serve chilled borscht with sour cream and counterintuitive but successful cubes of watermelon, and walk (slowly) back under an apocalyptic sky of thunderheads at sunset, complete with cloud-to-cloud lightning and the kind of livid glare usually seen only in nineteenth-century paintings of the wrath of God. I am incredibly disappointed at the subsequent lack of hurled thunderbolts. If nothing else, it would have helped with the humidity.

ALL RIGHT IVE GOT THE TITLE

Jul. 22nd, 2016 09:43 pm
[personal profile] telophase
I've got the title for the Assassin's Creed parody pic, and I don't know why it didn't occur to me before:

nothing is true / everything is knitted


For those who don't know, the actual assassin's creed is "Nothing is true/everything is permitted." (It's got some sort of hand wavy meaning to justify the good guys saying it, but really, it's got the Rule of Cool going for it more than anything else.)

Sent from my Apple ][e

less fidgety about medical stuff

Jul. 22nd, 2016 05:41 pm
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
No actual data, but less fidgety )

How can I have so much still to do in only five days? Aiee.

I have three avocados at peak ripeness on the kitchen island and we bought some dark porter beer last week, so I'm making nachos for dinner. Mmmmmm, nachos.

'Cept for hurry up and hit the road

Jul. 22nd, 2016 05:05 pm
[personal profile] sovay
If I am to get up early without sleep, I much prefer catching a train to see an incredible stage production to looking at an apartment which I will probably not be able to rent, but the latter was this morning nonetheless. Let's get back to New York.

Essentially, I had four goals for this trip: see Hadestown, hang out with [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen (with bonus points if I got to talk to either [livejournal.com profile] akawil or [livejournal.com profile] pecunium for longer than the traditional forty-five seconds in the middle of Arisia), hang out with Michael Cisco, and buy books. All were achieved. I expected to sleep on the train down from Boston, but instead I wrote a poem.

I appreciate that Lady Mondegreen's work-mates seemed to be all right with me stashing my stuff under her desk and running off without much in the way of introduction. I got in a brief conversation about Tolkien with two of them. The security guard in the downstairs lobby apparently missed me coming through the first time, which worked fine until I tried to get back into the building. In hindsight of the state of my foot, possibly I should not have walked the mile and a half to the Strand, but since I will prioritize books over almost any other comfort I don't actually regret it, especially since I scored a hardcover of Barbara Hambly's Graveyard Dust (1999) and two Hard Case Crime reprints with superlatively pulp titles, namely David Goodis' The Wounded and the Slain (1955) and Ed McBain's The Gutter and the Grave (1958), which I did not intentionally purchase as a pair. I keep thinking about McBain's So Nude, So Dead (1953), but I'm genuinely not sure it will be able to live up to its title. I hadn't realized before that the bookstore ships, which of course makes sense if you're thinking about international business—Boston is objectively not that far off, but it still enabled me to send my mother a pair of Dick Francis hardcovers which would otherwise have been difficult for me to transport. No luck on the biographies of Van Heflin and Dorothy Arzner or the translated poetry of Aleksei Kruchonykh. I will bravely face of the prospect of more used book stores.

For dinner before the show, we ended up at Whole Foods, that being the easiest place to feed Lady Mondegreen and in this case about four blocks from the theater. I am weirdly unsurprised that Whole Foods in New York City carries the crunchy things of my childhood for which I have been searching fruitlessly in Boston for over a year now. I bought several bags. Then I had to carry them everywhere. Still worth it. I did not realize until we got there that the New York Theatre Workshop was next to KGB Bar, where I have been many times. We saw Hadestown and I loved it. Afterward we could have cut our time to the PATH by catching the subway, but we took the scenic route on foot. I didn't think we had walked as far as the Manhattan Bridge, but I don't have another explanation for the massive granite arch and colonnade that caused me to remark again that more cities should have monumental architecture. That said, I find the high-vaulted underground station at the World Trade Center a very strange space. Apparently it is supposed to resemble an eye or a bird in flight; I looked at its ribs and spines and sternum of marble and paint-whitened steel and could think of nothing unless a cathedral designed by H.R. Giger or Stanley Kubrick's idea of an ossuary. Lady Mondegreen informed me that part of it is also a mall. I am pretty sure you are not supposed to put a mall in an ossuary. I would also lose the gigantic American flag currently unfurled from one level to the next, although perhaps that's only because I am feeling very wary of the ways in which national symbols can be used these days. On yet the other hand, I asked for monumental architecture and I got it. It's an enormous art installation for the practical benefit of the public and it's even made out of materials designed to last more than a lifetime. I am probably happier that it exists than not. It's got the 1968 Penn Station beat sideways, that's for sure.

Most houses are mosaics of the people who live in them, but the one in which I was staying the night had an especially distinct personality—it featured a kitchen with about ten different kinds of honey on offer (I put two of them in my blueberry tea), a balcony garden containing etrogs, olives, and pomegranates (which I have just been informed are blooming), and a bathroom decorated with mermaid pictures. We could not figure out how to turn on the fan in my bedroom, but I opened a window; there are not many stars visible in the light-smudged sky over Jersey City, but there was an immense hunter's moon with craters like scrimshaw that had tracked us through the streets as we walked from the theater. I browsed Lady Mondegreen's shelves and we talked about children's books and early imprints and late, important discoveries. She gave me a shell from Israel as a down payment on further fragments of antiquity and the sea. We stayed up way too late and I slept almost nine hours, including through some insistent morning construction across the street.

Pecunium was still at home when I woke up the next afternoon and not only talked to me for more than forty-five seconds but helpfully provided some antibiotic cream and molefoam padding to cushion around my heel. I found my way back to Manhattan in time to meet Michael for what turned out to be dinner at Cha-an Teahouse: in my case, lavender mint tea, smoked salmon toast (nota bene: the toast is approximately the dimensions of a Roman brick and the salmon heavily layered underneath a mustard-dressed salad; this is a feature, not a bug), and black sesame crème brûlée, which came surmounted by black sesame ice cream and a savory, buttery, doily-ish object I can only describe as a black sesame Florentine. Afterward he treated me to a ceremonial shot of mezcal at La Palapa, having correctly diagnosed that I would like Del Maguey Minero because it is essentially the peat monster of mezcals. He charged me with writing either a story or a poem with the title "I Left My Heart with the Banana Slugs." Somebody hold me to that. Lady Mondegreen very kindly waited at her office so that I could retrieve my once again desk-stashed stuff and we parted on the far side of the shortcut through Café R, which is fortunately nowhere near as impassable as the Styx.

I always forget there's a tiny bookstore in Penn Station. I went in for a bottle of water and came out with Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman's The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Rescue (2009) because [livejournal.com profile] negothick had mentioned at Readercon that one of the co-authors was rather distressed at the romanticization of the story. Much to my surprise, I got back to Boston while the subway trains were still running. I did a lot of catch-up work and wrote about Hadestown. I didn't sleep at all, so we'll see how the rest of the day goes. It may involve city-walking with [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel, since I'm fond of the one I live in, too.

It was a really splendid forty-eight hours.
[personal profile] musesfool
Steven Universe: The New Lars
spoilers )

I just want to see Connie and LION. Is that too much to ask?

***

Sigh. It's hard out there when you want to read fic in a pairing* that is not just not popular but almost non-existent. I understand why but still. Why does fandom not cater to my whims? There's hardly any fic and most of it is terrible, which means I'm going to have to end up writing some myself and ugh, that's so hard. I just want to read it, okay.

*Yes, I'm still bemoaning the sad lack of Anakin/Ahsoka floating around the internet. Listen, the heart wants what it wants, okay.

***

I suppose I should start packing for my vacation. I did make a run to CVS for toiletries and medication at least. And I need to take the recycling and the garbage out before I leave.

***

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2016 01:41 pm
[personal profile] telophase
Got a call from the vet--yup, Nefer's got a UTI. Heading home from work early to wrangle her into the carrier to get an antibiotic injection. Traumatic as that is, it'll be less traumatic in the long run than us trying to pill her daily...this is a cat that does NOT want to be pilled.*


* We've been giving her a prescribed anti-nausea pill this week as an experiment to see if it has any effect on her frequent barfing. It's been remarkably non-traumatic because (a) it's teeny tiny and (b) I struck upon the idea of making a little bread ball and shoving it in there because she loves bread so much, and she's eaten it every time. But it's very, very crumbly, and I think a non-crumbly pill won't work with that. So far, no barfing. We *think*--it could easily be in some place we haven't looked. But all of a sudden they're not eating as much food, which could be a sign that she's keeping her meals down and not having to nibble as much. So yay?

"No place to hide, nowhere to go"

Jul. 22nd, 2016 12:22 pm
[personal profile] rosefox
Trump made a scary speech last night. Today Max Gladstone had some passionate thoughts on not being immobilized by that fear.

This is really, really important. It's JULY. Stop acting like Trump's already won!

I understand being scared. Take a day and feel the fear. Then let it power you into positive action.

Last night a friend asked what I thought they should be doing to prepare for helping people if Trump wins, which I guess meant "should we furnish our attic for the next Anne Frank" or something. I told them that I have the energy to either phonebank for Clinton or become a President Trump prepper, but not both. So I'm going to phonebank for Clinton.

(Is she perfect? No, obviously not. But she's not a dangerous fascist, and Trump is, so Clinton's got my vote and my activism. That seems pretty straightforward to me.)

Also, I refuse to treat fascism as the tipping point for helping those in need. Help the people who are in need now, and who will be that much worse off under a Trump presidency. The institutional equivalent of your furnished attic is your local shelter; perhaps you could give them some time or money. Or donate to the Ali Forney Center; while Trump makes grotesque claims about loving abstract theoretical LGBTQ people, the Ali Forney Center is helping real actual queer kids who've been kicked out by their families. Or fight felony disenfranchisement, which horribly skews the demographics of who can vote. Or support organizations helping Syrian refugees to counter Trump calling them all future terrorists, or tear down his wall before he can put it up by supporting organizations for just and humane border practices on the U.S.-Mexico border. He has so many odious policies and positions that there are a hundred different ways you can push back against them, so pick one that calls to you.

And phonebank for Clinton*--you can do it right now from your home, so throw a phonebanking party or make five quick calls before work every day or whatever suits you--or volunteer locally. Give money and/or time to the Democrats or MoveOn or Avaaz or your preferred organization. As Max says, don't let the fuckers think they already own tomorrow.

It
is
JULY

and we have four months to win this. That is not a lot of time, but it's enough time as long as we don't pause too long to wallow in despair.

Don't furnish your attic toward an inevitable fascist tomorrow. Fight NOW so that no one needs to hide in an attic ever again.

P.S. Lots of people have been dropped from voter rolls. Check your registration right now. Re-register if you need to. And then register your friends and neighbors and relatives. And then help them get to the polls, or make their postal votes. And bring your kids to the polls with you so they can see democracy in action and learn that when they're old enough voting will be important for them to do. We need all hands on deck, now and in the future--the future that we get to shape.

* You may need to disable ad blockers to get the Clinton phonebank page to work.

Feel free to share the link to this post as widely as you like.

That was not six months

Jul. 22nd, 2016 04:37 am
[personal profile] sovay
[Begun on the regional Amtrak back to Boston, completed much, much later when the internet was reliable enough to allow me to finish my day's work first.]

The last time I caught an evening train out of Penn Station, it was early April and the sky at eight o'clock was already dark. Now I'm looking at railyards and construction scaffolding and cranes by that smoky peach-blue light for which there should be an English adjective, but I've never heard one. It's a wonderful color for seeing a city at a distance. The river looks like folded metal; the skyline looks like a set behind a scrim. I'm pretty sure I learned how to describe cities from Tanith Lee's Paradys. From a height, I glanced behind me once, and saw the river, a scimitar of pure metal, white-hot, as the City lapsed in the shallows of the dying afternoon.

I was not expecting to love Anaïs Mitchell and Rachel Chavkin's Hadestown even better than the original album, but I am not entirely surprised. It is not just that the ellipses of the original songs are fleshed out into a full through-composed score which allows even its gods the depth of tragedy or that at least a third of the music is new since the original recording, although the new music is half of the show's power. The haunting opener "Any Way the Wind Blows" explicitly strengthens the Dust Bowl, Depression echoes of the original setting, pointing up the harshness of the world and the stakes for Eurydike who has already known what it is to starve: in the fever of a world in flames, in the season of the hurricanes, flood'll get you if the fire don't . . . in the valley of the exodus, in the belly of a bowl of dust . . . Sisters gone, gone the gypsy route. Brothers gone, gone for a job down south. Gone the same way as the shantytown and the traveling show—any way the wind blows. Where we were originally introduced to the lovers with the playfully combative call-and-response "Wedding Song," the show first gives them a courtship between Eurydike's experienced wariness and Orpheus' dreamy arrogance, to be echoed devastatingly when they meet again in the underworld: it is called "Come Home with Me." When steel-hard, coin-cold Hades is softened in the second act by Orpheus' simple retelling of his love for Persephone when it was awestruck and new, the Fates' "Word to the Wise" recalls him to his responsibilities as the unforgiving king of walls and floodlights, to the very same self-doubt and mistrust and anxiety that will in turn, inexorably, cause the poet to look back. It's not even just the sprechstimme narration of Hermes, the cardsharp of the gods with his hip flask and his rolled-up sleeves and his nattily feathered fedora, although his scratchy confidence man's storytelling ensures that the only moments of dialogue in the show without some kind of rhyme or musical support are the ones that land like blows. Blessed among epic traditions, it's the reperformance and the recontextualization.

I can explain this best with two songs that I happen to love, because they're katabatic. "Way Down Hadestown" is the third track on the original album, after Orpheus and Eurydike's "Wedding Song" and Orpheus' "Epic I," the first version of the song with which he will turn a god's heart. It is our introduction to Hermes, bawling "All aboard!" before the music kicks off; it is our introduction to Persephone, as if she just stepped onto the platform with a suitcase in her hand, waiting for the god of the railway depot to conduct her to the other world. In the show, Hermes has been our master of ceremonies for six or eight songs already; we have watched Orpheus and Eurydike fall in love in the blossoming days of spring and summer, "living it up on top" with Persephone who makes the most of her half-year in the light, patron of fruit and wine and flowers and things that grow, like love. Now it is autumn and all of a sudden the song takes on a specific and immediate importance: it is a New Orleans jazz funeral for Persephone, a trombone-wailing, fiddle-slanging processional—second line umbrella not excluded—accompanying her to her annual death. Winter's nigh and summer's over—I hear that high and lonesome sound of my husband coming for to bring me home to Hadestown. Way down Hadestown, way down under the ground. A train whistle wails twice, blown by Hermes; a dry white light makes a blinding tunnel between the audience's seats, the headlights of Hades' oncoming train.1 The god who should not be seen steps out of its nothing-colored glare, silhouetted in the haze like three-dimensional film noir. "You're early," his wife spits, her carpetbag full of flowers and a flask and even a little morphine—those multi-purpose poppies—against the worst of winter. His voice is dark and amused, deep as a seam of coal: "I missed you." And she's gone. Which brings me to "Wait for Me." In the original recording, it is the duet of Orpheus guided by Hades: the god whispering the perils and tricks of the underworld, the poet following, calling over and over to his lost love, Wait for me, I'm coming . . . Onstage, it is explicit that the "long way down" is the roundabout route that the living must take with no coin to cross the Styx—he's some kind of poet and he's penniless—but it is not a solitary journey. The Fates prepare the way, transforming the open sky of the upper world into the industrial ceiling of Hadestown with its fan-grilled electric lights instead of moon or sun or stars: set them swinging in time with Orpheus' singing, slow as the drag of a nightmare. The rest of the cast join in with him, the gods and the Moirai and the dead, Eurydike with her hood pulled up like Persephone, her light snuffed out, not knowing that anyone is coming for her. Wait for me, I'm coming with you, I'm coming, too . . . She will sing the same words to Orpheus as he begins the long walk out of the underworld and she follows with the same dreamlike slow motion, an insubstantial shade struggling against the event horizon of death. The expanded script of Hadestown parallels Hades/Persephone and Orpheus/Eurydike throughout, down to the casting of two white men and two women of color. Take it from an old man, Hades cynically counseled Orpheus, just as Persephone encouraged Eurydike to take the advice of a woman of my age, both of them speaking of the inevitable breaking of love. When Orpheus turns back at the threshold of the upper air with the light behind him, it is the same pattern, fixed and repeating as figures moving around the curve of a vase. "You're early," Eurydike breathes, the last thing she will ever say to her husband. Orpheus' voice is caught in his throat, small as the snapped stem of a flower: "I missed you." And she's gone. I loved both "Way Down Hadestown" and "Wait for Me" when I heard them for the first time six years ago; now they are a significant part of the reason I want a recording of this cast. ("Any Way the Wind Blows" is also incompletely stuck in my head.)

The set is simple. The theater looks like it would be a black box in its natural habitat; this show built it into an amphitheatre. The seven-piece orchestra occupies a section of bleachers opposite the audience's entrance, beneath the catwalk and the door in the blank brick wall that leads to the upper world. A tree grows out of the bandstand, twisting its branches like the tines of antlers up into the stage lighting; it sheds paper blossoms in spring for Persephone's return and autumn leaves the color of iron rust for her departure in the fall. The cast carry on a handful of props at best—kerosene lanterns for the Fates, Persephone's carpetbag, Orpheus' guitar. Eurydike's winter coat that is not heavy enough to keep the road-weary cold from her back. A coin. There are two or three old-time-radio-style microphones2 that can be moved from the bandstand to the circle of center stage; Hades commands one to seduce Eurydike with the deep black river of "Hey, Little Songbird" or catechize the denizens of Hadestown in the anti-revival "Why We Build the Wall," while another is reserved for intimate duets between mortal lovers or gods. The costumes suggest the 1930's and are full of little touches, entirely extratextual nods to the myth. The Fates are never named, but the tall lynx-slim blonde one must be Atropos because she wears a pair of shears in a holster at her side; the pendant on the breast of dark-skinned Lachesis with her tightly cropped crimson hair is a folded slide ruler in its leather sheath; sharp-smiling Klotho with her dark hair braided atop her head wears three cords of undyed yarn across her chest like a bandolier. Persephone is dressed in slinky, summery green wrapped ankle to shoulder with a trellis of blooming vines; the lacy edge of a poppy-red slip just peeks out from beneath its hem. There are flowers in her hair, but their petals are as split and red as pomegranates. Hades wears dark glasses—the signature of anonymity, as good in the movies as a helm of invisibility—which he removes only once safely under the earth and even then his eyes are narrowed in a skeptical sneer, except for one vulnerable, precisely timed moment when he is reminded of something he thought forever lost: the smell of the flowers she held in her hand and the pollen that fell from her fingertips . . . a man with a taste of nectar upon his lips. Hermes with the step-right-up showmanship of a carnival talker captions the first meeting of Eurydike with Hades as "Songbird vs. Rattlesnake," shivering a matchbox's rattle to signal that the god himself is the serpent that caused her death. And the Fates are not malevolent, but they are the immutable way the world goes: they do not drive the story to tragedy; it always was—was going to be, has been—one. There is a fragile hope in the parting of Hades and Persephone, the gods who have eternity to get it right. We who are human have one shot and sometimes we get it wrong. We try. Goodnight, brothers, goodnight.

The production runs through the end of the month, which means next Sunday; I strongly encourage anyone in the New York area and even some people who aren't to see about tickets if they can. I am told that there will be a recording of the NYTW cast, and I am just waiting until I can throw money at it, but some of the more piercing moments will not be audible, like the transformation of the instrumental "Lovers' Desire" into a dance between Persephone and Hades, their first moment of affectionate connection in millennia, or the way that Hades' token of promised wealth and luxury, folded into Eurydike's hand as he leaves her, is the same coin with which she pays Hermes for her own death. I saw all of the original cast except for Hermes and Atropos and I have to say that they were as iconic and indelible in their roles as everyone else onstage. The whole thing was eminently worth the exhaustion and flurry of travel, even if I seem to have paid for my own descent-and-return in the time-honored fashion, leaving behind part of my pants and an unexpected amount of blood.3 I will describe the rest of the trip tomorrow. It was also lovely. Right now I'm going to see about sleeping before dawn.

1. I realized then that I was hearing a different song inside my head, conjured by nothing more than the stagecraft and the slant chime of the folk tradition. Go tell the ballroom lady, dressed all in worldly pride, that death's dark train is coming—prepare to take a ride. There's a little black train a-coming . . . I can't prove it's intentional as opposed to a side effect of drawing on the same symbol-set as the relevant folk songs, because there are no lyrical or musical allusions that I was able to detect, but I found it extremely resonant either way. I always heard the owe my soul to the company store of Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons" behind Mitchell's Hades who rules over miners of mines, diggers of graves, they bowed down to Hades who gave them work and they bowed down to Hades who made them sweat, who paid them their wages and set them about digging and dredging and dragging the depths of the earth to turn its insides out yet whose realm is inescapable because Mr. Hades is a mean old boss with a silver whistle and a golden scale—an eye for an eye and he weighs the cost, a lie for a lie and your soul for sale, sold to the king on the chromium throne, thrown to the bottom of a Sing Sing cell, but the likeness leaps out even more strongly when Eurydike, newly arrived in Hadestown, literally signs her life away behind the closed doors of Hades' office. The show is scattered with moments like these, intermingled with the classical ones: two oral traditions in tandem.

2. [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel, if it turns out there's video of this show, I will play it for you and you will tell me exactly what make and model the microphones were, because I can describe them if you give me time but not so technically that the internet will cough up the documentation I want.

3. Due to wholly unrelated incidents, I hasten to add! I pay weird travel prices with New York. In April, my hat broke (and was resurrected thanks to the good offices of Salmagundi, but still). This time, the zipper on the fly of my corduroys rather startlingly disintegrated—tiny metal teeth went flying—requiring me to purchase some safety pins from a drugstore in order to go among decent people without comment and all I'm going to say about the blister on my heel is that my pain thresholds must have come back up in the last ten years, because I wasn't expecting to walk down Broadway from 31st Street to 12th and then from East 4th Street to the World Trade Center in perceptible but otherwise manageable discomfort and then take my shoes off to find that my sock looked like it belonged to one of Cinderella's older sisters according to Grimm. I just looked at my original statement and realized it sounded like Theseus, that one time he quite literally left his ass in Hades.

A novel experience

Jul. 21st, 2016 06:39 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The optometry student who did my exam today has the same eye condition. Stuff I struggle to explain to regular people, she got!

ain't nobody does it better

Jul. 21st, 2016 05:25 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
The day before going on vacation always makes for a really hectic day at work and today was no different. Because I'm awesome, I got done everything I'd hoped to get done by 5 pm, so now I'm just hanging out waiting for [tumblr.com profile] chickletgirl to arrive so I can meet her for dinner, as she is visiting our fair city but is unfortunately stuck in traffic atm.

***

Steven Universe: Too Short to Ride
spoilers )

***

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2016 04:03 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Okay, I have to do something. I don't know if this will work, but...

Six slots for original flash fairy tales or hexarchate vignettes of at least 500 words. If I write extra words, no charge to you. I will deliver within three weeks by posting the story or vignette to DW.

The cost: Make a donation of at least $10 USD either to (a) a charity of your choice (I am personally fond of Doctors Without Borders [Médecins Sans Frontières], but it's your call) or (b) Hillary Clinton's campaign. [1]

[1] I'm a registered Democrat and I'm...very worried about a potential Trump presidency?

Leave a comment with your prompt (a brief phrase or scenario), then email a screencap of your donation receipt/confirmation to me at yoon at yoonhalee dot com (please feel free to black out any personal information using the graphics editor of your choice) when you claim your slot. I will reply to confirm.

I reserve the right to ask for an alternate prompt if the one you left is causing critical writer failure.

1. [personal profile] tbutler: folk songs/comedy
2. [personal profile] storme: (prompt to come)
3. [personal profile] sputnikhearts: (cherry blossoms and corpses)
4.
5.
6.

Story Time: How Jesse Broke Her Ankle

Jul. 21st, 2016 02:56 pm
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
I looked for this story in my archive but this event preceded my online journaling. I like to think it's amusing, so ... accidental injury while disabled )

The moral

Twelve years later, my ankles are definitely different. The worst sequela relates to the plates and screws. They don’t give like bone and tendon, so the right foot & ankle always hurts first (especially in very cold weather). Athletes generally have another surgery to remove any hardware; at the time, I couldn’t see the point. If I had to do it again I would go for the second surgery.

Learn the names of effective pain relief and write it on your “important things for an emergency” card. Just when I thought I understood living with a disability, something changes and there’s more to know.

Words can’t convey how wonderful MyGuy is.

Roses and Rot

Jul. 21st, 2016 11:20 am
[personal profile] yhlee
It's been years since I read a Tam Lin or Thomas the Rhymer retelling, but I have been drawn to them ever since I imprinted on Elizabeth Marie Pope's children's novel The Perilous Gard, which I first encountered in elementary school. I also liked Pamela Dean's Tam Lin enough to read it several times in high school, and was sorely disappointed that the translation of Roman de la Rose that I got my hands on years later through the library wasn't nearly as entrancing as the version that Dean described in her novel.

I picked up Kat Howard's Roses and Rot out of the library because it promised a take on Tam Lin that involved sisters rather than lovers. Here, Faerie is connected to Melete, a prestigious artists' retreat whose fellows seem to emerge uplifted to extraordinary levels of creative success. Imogen, a writer, and her sister Marin, a dancer, are the first siblings to attend in the same year.

Imogen and Marin are close, very close, but their relationship has suffered ever since Imogen escaped their abusive mother by getting into a private school but leaving Marin behind. Reunited after years of silence and estrangement, they discover that Melete is not all it seems and that its promises will pit them against each other--for only one of them can win her heart's desire.

This is one of those unfortunate instances of a competently written book that I wanted to be better than it actually was. You would think that I would identify more with Imogen, despite my usual aversion for writer protagonists; and the whole trope of sisters supporting each other is one that I am drawn to. Imogen's mother encouraged Marin's dancing--Marin was the favored daughter--but was brutal toward Imogen's ambitions to become a writer. I was luckier. My parents told me repeatedly from the time I was in 3rd grade that writing was a complete waste of time, but they also patiently provided me with notebooks and writing implements and eventually a computer, and didn't, for instance, destroy my work. Read more... )

[cross-post: Patreon]

Toby on Fallout 4 last night

Jul. 21st, 2016 10:17 am
[personal profile] telophase
Come on, I'm shooting a laser! You gotta know where I'm at!

Why am I carrying around the Massachusetts Medical Journal?

Ooh a fisherman's hat with lures on it!

You lose some of the creepiness of the fog with that weird horizontal artifact. Oh, wait, it's the ocean.

[when an event fails to trigger so the characters stand around in a tableau instead of conversing] Anyone? Hello? Can I stand on the Child of Atom? Not for lack of trying! See my hair? Admire it! Are you admiring it?

[to a fussy robot] You sound like my grandmother.

Shoot him in the butt! And it launches him! He gets air!

It's your own fault for falling down that I get to shoot you in the head.

I'll make you carry this shit, Nick. I'll shove it into your inventory.

Stephanie Clarkson fundraiser sale

Jul. 21st, 2016 10:15 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I’ve known Stephanie Clarkson since she was a young teen hanging around my game store. I saw her grow up and find her place as an adult. Recently, she struggled with major health problems. Just as she seemed to have turned the corner on that, she was diagnosed with cancer. Stephanie died on July 19th, 2016.

Patricia Washburn is raising funds for Stephanie’s final expenses. To help her in this, I am running a seventy-two hour sales: commissions are half off ($50 a review) and all funds raised from reviews commissioned between now and 10 AM, July 23rd will be forwarded to Patricia.

Aside from price, the usual terms apply.

Gratitudes

Jul. 21st, 2016 10:04 am
[personal profile] kass
1. A tasty G & T on my wee mirpesset (balcony) last night.

2. A good night's sleep.

3. Working on a new essay and feeling good about it.

4. I will have guests at my Shabbes table tomorrow night. (Need to figure out dinner...)

5. Getting regular emails from the AO3 containing kudos, even though I haven't posted a story or vid in a horrifyingly long time.

How are y'all this morning?

Borderline

Jul. 20th, 2016 09:47 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
I will own that I became intrigued by Mishell Baker's Borderline (apparently the first volume of a projected series, The Arcadia Project) mainly on the strength of the protagonist being a woman with borderline personality disorder (BPD; not to be confused with bipolar disorder, which, despite having a similar arrangement of letters, should not be abbreviated that way [1]). In Borderline, Millie, once a budding film director, is rebuilding her life after making a suicide attempt that resulted in her legs being amputated (she jumped and lived). It turns out that "rebuilding her life" means signing on with the Arcadia Project, which recruits unusual people to help enforce the Accords between the fae and human realms. But the initial assignment given her, meant to test her suitability for the project, turns complicated when a Sidhe goes missing.

[1] Full disclosure: I have a diagnosis of bipolar I.

I was surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did, given that it contains a number of tropes and elements that I am usually hostile to or actively bored by. There was a point in time when I was interested in novels that dealt with Faerie, but I burned out on them a long time ago. While some of the fae in this novel are entertaining, the whole deal with the Sidhe's unearthly beauty and flightiness didn't do much for me.

Given that the novel takes place around Los Angeles and Millie's background as a young director, Hollywood and Hollywood connections play a large part. I am also largely bored by Hollywood. Once in a while I look up an actor or TV show on IMDB and that's pretty much the extent of it.

And I am especially, especially done with the whole trope of muses. One of the key ideas in this novel is that all human creativity is sourced from contact with Faerie, which I personally find depressing beyond belief. Because the novel focuses on Hollywood, the kind of creativity referenced is usually movie-making, acting, art; there's a couple stray references that inventors also have fae muses. Human-fae partnerships are apparently tremendously fruitful for both parties (your counterpart in the other realm is called an Echo), as fae fuel creativity while humans provide, for lack of a better term, organizational skills--the ability to remember and do mathematics and so on. I honestly would have been far more interested in what the fae were getting from the partnership, but no, the focus was on the creativity magic, which, whatever. As someone with a math degree, I also think that people in STEM fields are getting short shrift--e.g. pure mathematics is in fact a highly creative endeavor; you are literally creating structures out of pure thought. I often think (and this is probably an unpopular opinion) that in some sense being a mathematician is more creative than being a sf writer. But I could be wrong; maybe in later books we'll find out about engineers and their Echoes.

While there is a reasonably logical rationale given for the Arcadia Project recruiting people with mental illnesses, as someone with a mental illness, the whole "band of crazy people doing things together because of their weird, special, crazy way of seeing the world" trope makes me tired. (Full disclosure: I also passionately hate Kay Redfield Jamison's Touched with Fire, but that's an entire post in itself.) It's really a credit to Baker's bravura characterizations that I was able to continue reading this at all; I won't lie, I almost put the book down about fifty pages in because I was very wary. What saves this from being awful is that while Millie is messed-up, she's also extremely compelling, and Baker treats her with compassion without flinching from her nastier traits.

The book remains a fun and relatively fast read, although I enjoyed the first half more than the second, when all the dominoes start falling down. Part of my problem with the latter part of the book was the apparently arbitrary way that information got shared. I get that Millie is in a trial period and they don't want to tell her all the top secret stuff straight off, but as the book progresses, a lot of things happen that could have been prevented by someone with the organizational skills of a bright high schooler putting together a two-page handout of procedures and Things to Know About the Fae, and it stretched my ability to take the plot seriously.

Overall, I don't regret reading the book. It was a fun way to pass a few hours. But I am not sure I'm going to seek out the sequel when it comes out.

Please note that I have no comment on the specific portrayal of BPD, which is a mental illness whose existence I know about, but that's it. In fact, I largely find BPD confusing; I remember asking a former therapist what the difference between it and bipolar disorder was because some of the symptoms look like they overlap. Said therapist told me that the two disorders are definitely distinct but wasn't able to explain it in a way that made sense to me. Which is fine, because I'm not a psychiatric professional. I also have no comment on the portrayal of disability--Millie is a double amputee and gets around both with prosthetics and a wheelchair. If anyone who does know about that wants to weigh in, I'm all ears.

Another note: Given that Millie is the survivor of a suicide attempt, this may be triggery for some readers. I'm damn near impossible to trigger with fictional depictions of suicide so I'm not the best judge, but if you have specific questions and want me to spoil you, I can try to answer them. There are also other depictions of self-harm.

[cross-post: Patreon]

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2016 06:09 pm
[personal profile] telophase
We had to take Nefer in to the vet on Monday morning because she'd been displaying signs of a UTI. No definite diagnosis yet, because we had to go home with a urine sample kit, which consists of a small handful of nonabsorbent sand, a pipette, and a vial. Toby telecommuted today and we locked Nefer into the spare bedroom and hall bath (they're connected), and set up the spycam to keep an eye on the litter substitute. It worked, and I even got the pics before Toby did, so I texted him that Nefer had been at the litter, and he collected the sample and took it in to the vet. We'll find out more after they have a chance to test it.

But all that is to say that we haven't gotten around to taking the camera up yet, and the cats have been wandering in and out of the bathroom all afternoon, trying to figure out what's up, and these three shots caught Sora with the right timing and going in the right direction to make it look like he's spread out over three pictures.



Well, I found it interesting.

don't step on the

Jul. 20th, 2016 01:32 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Gayle Laakmann McDowell, Cracking the Coding Interview: self-published. I've read substantial chunks of the sixth (2015) and fourth (2008) editions. The book is aimed towards CS graduates who want to brush up, not someone like me, who has had to review ancient history (middle-school and early high-school math) and to learn things just to understand the material at a basic level.

The sixth edition is much expanded. It contains not only some bloated prose and typos, but a bunch of code that isn't labeled as pseudo-code yet is buggy. For someone who couldn't tell at the outset which examples are full of bugs (and who didn't discover that link till writing the current post [some months ago]), it has been frustrating to memorize something, then have to replace it with something more complex while under considerable pressure. (Many little naps.) In general the problems are better than the chapter examples in this regard.

Bonus: even if one knows no Java, one picks up a bit of the syntax and basic concepts from reading, since most of McDowell's examples and solutions use it. Going in, I knew CSS2 and general XML/XHTML/HTML4 stuff well, XSL2 moderately, JavaScript at advanced-beginner level i.e. not yet intermediate (I've successfully isolated and fixed bugs that I don't understand, but [when I wrote the post] I look[ed] up even basic syntax when writing code fresh), and wee scattered bits of PHP, Perl, and Python. Oh, and I'd generated "Hello, world" in C, once; circa 1987 I wrote a bunch of AppleSoft BASIC; in 1985 I wrote some Logo. So. Um. I do think that it's useful to emphasize that a book like this, aimed as it is at holders of comp sci bachelor's degrees, can be comprehensible to some extent to someone who has not ever identified as a programmer but is trying in middle age to claw her way up that cliff. Sure, it helps that I have existed in close proximity to programming, both professionally and non, since I began playing video games in a focused way thirty (!) years ago---but understanding how a program can work is different from being able to generate code or at least pseudo-code unaided, which is required during technical interviews.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2016 02:55 pm
[personal profile] telophase
Thank you autocorrect for turning “navel-gaze” into “bagel-faze” in this semi-professional thing I am attempting to compose.
[personal profile] telophase
I’m IN POWER ARMOR, homes.

YES! In the face!

Come on dude, figure it out. Your buddy’s dead. You’re smarter than that. Bye!

*cackles madly* I love it when their heads come off!

[after targeting a wolf identified as Vicious Wolf] I’m going to adopt a wolf and name it Sid. Where’d he go? Come on, Sid! *shoots, laughs* Spinning head! Huh. For some reason the wolf has pre-war money.

*evil laugh* Point-blank in the face! Wait, why are you on fire? Why am *I* on fire??

Whoa! Okay, you’re named. Suck it!

Is this how you want to end? Cause I can make that happen. Oh, I did make that happen.

Really? You see what I did to your friends? Evidently not.

*high-pitched giggle*

Oh! In the crotch! I’m kinda sorry about that, dude. But not much.

Just for that I’m going to shoot your legs. Oops, I was only able to do one.

Why do you have nuclear material on you? That’s really not healthy.

bold, precise, experimental!

Jul. 20th, 2016 12:50 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
I figured out the issue with that story I was wrestling with, and as usual, it wasn't working because I was trying to be clever. I need to stop doing that. Either it was just the one scene with the surprise ending or it's a story about a character, and well, it works better as a story than a joke, so. *hands* Writing. It is the worst, except for those few moments when it's the best.

As usual when I have these kinds of problems, I started reading some poetry - new to me, this time, not just old favorites - and that's when I realized how to fix it. Poetry! It's the best for making me think in new ways.

Also the best? Steven Universe: Mr. Greg
spoilers )

And now, the reading meme:

What I've just finished
The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer by Skip Hollandsworth, which was interesting as a history of Austin, TX, but less so in terms of the serial killer, since they never found the murderer (it's nonfiction and history so I'm not counting that as a spoiler). It's also brutal in terms of what the killer did to the women (and of course, it's only women) he killed, and that's not glossed over at all, nor is the awful racism of the white people of the time. It's sad to see how little has changed in a some ways.

Star Wars #21
Is anyone else reading this as it comes out? spoilers, I guess? )

Darth Vader #23
I still kind of have no idea what is going on in some ways? spoilers ) What even is my life? As I recently said in various conversations, I know he's a garbage space fascist, but sometimes you end up liking a real dumpster fire of a character. *hands* Just leave me alone. #i hate that i have ~feelings about darth vader now

What I'm reading now
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley, which I'm enjoying, but spoilers )

What I'm reading next
Next week, I'll be on vacation so I will have a ton of stuff to choose from!

***

This I Believe

Jul. 20th, 2016 10:42 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
That squirrel trick of interposing a tree between the squirrel and a human really requires the tree to be wider than the squirrel.

why do I do this to myself?

Jul. 20th, 2016 10:05 am
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
I stayed up way too late reading last night, and now I'm exhausted and cranky and staring at the crapload of work I have to do this week and knowing that I'll work all day, not exercise, and still feel behind and exhausted at the end of the day.

Well, I know why I do it. Staying up late reading is one of the pleasures of my life, in a happy roll-around-in-it pretend-I-have-no-responsibilities way, and between the gangrenously depressing daily news and finding that I'm more anxious than I'd originally realized about my health, plus some other stressful and tiresome kid-related things, I was kind of retreating to hide under a rock made out of fanfic.

(Not even all that great fanfic. But it was there.)

But I have enough trouble sleeping; I really have no business choosing to be even shorter on sleep than I would otherwise be. Ugh.

Gratitudes

Jul. 20th, 2016 09:49 am
[personal profile] kass
1. Daylilies, everywhere, in riotous profusion.

2. Iced coffee.

3. Haircut! Wow, I needed that.

4. Driving on dirt roads through glorious green mountains and cornfields.

5. Sunlight.

How are y'all?
[personal profile] sovay
The smugness I feel at having successfully caught a train at an hour when I am usually just managing to fall asleep was somewhat mitigated by the discovery that Barbara's Bestsellers apparently keeps hours more like my usual and in consequence wasn't yet open for business. Good thing I brought Patricia McKillip's Kingfisher (2016). The last time I looked out at these tracks, everything was sugar-glossed with snow and the sky was winter-eating blue. Now the trees are the locust green of late summer and the sky is hazy with translucent cardings of cloud and the sunlight gets thickly in everywhere, even though I'm wearing my jacket against the quiet car's air conditioning; it was shirtsleeves weather already by the time I was waiting for the 85 bus, having packed as lightly as possible thanks to the prospect of shlepping my backpack around more of New York City than is ideal for either my lower back or the quarter-sized blister with which my right heel opportunistically presented me last night. I don't care. Our next stop is Providence. I can't wait to see the salt marshes.

[edit] I saw a doe. She was the red sesame color of a shiba inu; she sprang away from the train into the trees at the marsh's edge, showing the white flash of her tail. The water is the wind-flagged blue clouded under with green that makes me want to go swimming. I saw a line of ducks on the far side, nearer the houses, but I have seen ducks in salt marshes before: not deer.
[personal profile] sovay
Well, I have run out of further Benjamin January to read until the library gets me a copy of Drinking Gourd (2016). I am having such fun with this series. I maintain that a television adaptation would be Dionysos' gift to actors of color and their audience.

Tonight I saw Robert Siodmak's Criss Cross (1949) at the Brattle with [personal profile] skygiants. It's staccato and stylized and twisty and features the most deludedly self-disclaiming protagonist this side of Double Indemnity (1944); I'd like to write about it. My brain has felt like a blank wall since Readercon. The combination of catch-up work and heat wave utterly destroyed both my spare time and my sleep. I slept about nine hours last night, but that was under extenuating circumstances. I'd like to say that I'll see what I can get done on the train tomorrow, but in all probability I'll just sleep until Penn Station. I used to wake up at New Haven no matter where I was going. I suppose it's a good sign that I no longer always do.

I discovered this poet's first collection at a time when I could not afford to buy it, but I recommend this poem and all his other work you can find: Dan Taulapapa McMullin, "The Doors of the Sea."

The Alloy of Law

Jul. 19th, 2016 09:34 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
I got into Brandon Sanderson by way of my husband, with the original Mistborn trilogy (Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages). Joe and I like to read some of the same books, despite our frequently diverging tastes in sf/f, so that we can have something to discuss together. Mistborn turned out to be more to his tastes than mine: big, epic plot, a rigorously worked-out magic system (almost to the point of seeming mechanistic), and some great twists. I did enjoy it, but wished for deeper characterization. In particular, the heroine, Vin, never quite came as alive for me as I would have liked; it always seemed like she was overshadowed by her mentor Kelsier or some of the other epic figures floating around the setting.

Nevertheless, when Joe picked up Sanderson's follow-up The Alloy of Law and suggested that I read it, I was willing enough. I'm trying to avoid spoilers for the initial trilogy, but The Alloy of Law takes place some time after the end, in what's essentially a Western-inspired setting with bonus magic on top of the "Wild West" equivalent, trains, and advent of electricity. The magic in the Mistborn books is based on a number of specific metals, which people born with the appropriate magical abilities can use to create specific magical effects.

The protagonist, Waxillium (Wax) Ladrian, has two abilities: he can burn steel by ingesting it in order to Push on nearby metals, and he can use iron to alter his weight. These powers, plus his uncanny gun skills, make him formidable in a fight--which is good when you're a lawman in the Roughs. But the death of his uncle obliges Wax to return to head House Ladrian, which has been left destitute. Read more... )

[cross-post: Patreon]

A list in shorthand

Jul. 19th, 2016 09:18 pm
[personal profile] troisroyaumes
I'm supposed to blog about my work for the new job (which I started yesterday), ideally three times a week. I figure I could maybe get into the habit of writing Dreamwidth posts the other two weekdays, since I have not regularly updated here in over a year.

But there is so much I want to talk about, and I'm not sure if I have the energy to get around to all the topics in one post, so have a list for now, and hopefully I will return to expand on them in subsequent posts.

* I finished watching Nirvana in Fire, which I enjoyed so much that I have been giving USB sticks with the episodes to friends in an effort to convince everyone to watch it too. It is so good. There is a sizable K-fandom but sadly the fan translation of the original novel into Korean is no further along than the one into English. Incidentally, the fic that is apparently the most famous one in C-fandom is being translated into English: Peerless [倾国 ENG].

* Then I read Ninefox Gambit and got most of the way through the first volume of Legend of Galactic Heroes. You know, to continue to scratch the itch for brilliant masterminds facing off and multilayered battles of wit/political intrigue. Speaking of the latter, the second volume just arrived today, so I should really finish reading the first.

* A conversation in [personal profile] yhlee's journal led to the creation of [community profile] sewing101: a support group for novice sewists (and any expert sewists who would like to give us advice). Come join us!

* I haven't lost my interest in fountain pens and now own...uh...eight. All in different shades of green. Plus numerous extra nibs. And a truly unspeakable number of green ink samples. I have been using them to do morning pages and have already filled up one A5 notebook. I switch pens every paragraph so I have an excuse to keep them all inked up at the same time (each with a different green ink, of course). It looks a little strange but I get a lot of tactile pleasure out of it. I also want more pens, and now that I have an income again, I want to save up for a Franklin-Christoph pen in emerald acrylic. Which would be substantially more expensive than any of the pens I've bought so far.

* I have been playing Pokemon Go, although I haven't gotten very far. My building is a Pokestop! But sadly, I have not managed to catch all that many Pokemon. I am on Team Blue! Team Yellow seems unusually dominant in my neighborhood though.

* Hamilton is coming to Chicago but the tickets sold out so quickly that the only ones I could find for a reasonable (yet still $100+) price were all ones with "obstructed views". Sigh. I suppose I will just have to hope they'll extend the show here and that the ticket prices might come down eventually...

* Still watching a lot of Return of Superman. 엄태웅's daughter, 지온, is currently about two months older than Kkoma in the episodes we are watching.

* [personal profile] starlady has been making some really insightful, thought-provoking posts on the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy Sayers.

Er, what else? I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I think that's enough random topics thrown into the air for now.

i love cheap thrills

Jul. 19th, 2016 09:32 pm
[personal profile] lannamichaels


Honestly, why don't we just refer to a stomach ache as a 'stomache'? too many repeated letters :(

(on the bright side, the nausea is mostly gone)



also, I now have a new sprawling overly-detailed-AU-that-will-never-ever-ever-happen in my head to keep me company, which is nice and appreciated.


Actual fic? Um....


suddenly realize I could not!fic the above, although I'd probably be too intimidated to do that. but not!fic. not!fic is nice. I like not!fic.


I am a big believer in "spoilers, please" philosophy and I would like it for RL now, kthxbye.

fiber tuesday

Jul. 19th, 2016 04:40 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Reason's candycane cardi has reached the desired length of the pattern directions but not the desired length of the recipient, I am informed, so it continues millimetering on. After it, no more non-springy fibers held double for a while. Reason, my mother, and I agree that the candycane-marl effect is pleasing, but making it has vexed me. My Cajsa cardigan's top third exists and is wide enough at shoulder to avoid being ripped back. :D Within a day or two of knitting (20-30 minutes), its armhole drop ought to be finalized.

Also, requested nightgown #3 (Reason) has partially sewn skirt and bodice pieces---handsewn for the flat-felled shoulders so that she could see what I do. It needs a slightly wider neck and, I think after frowning at it a lot and making her try it on twice, a differently shaped armscye. Not deeper or shorter, just differently shaped, which can probably be accomplished while the binding is attached. It's paused because I cannot figure out where the fabric scraps are from which to make the neckline and sleeve bindings. If they continue eluding me, I may turn under the edges twice and call it a day---this one's from jersey-knit cotton, like the first one, so it won't be bulky.

Reason would prefer having a replacement for the lost orange cardigan above all else, so I've cast on for it in a wine-red color, "malbec" on the label. It receives attention only when I don't want to knit other things and is thus a cute 5-cm2 promise to reassure a child unsettled by recent and imminent changes. So much for "above all else," kiddo: there's a queue.

No pattern crush/meditation this week.

In the box

Jul. 19th, 2016 07:32 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll


Not sure when I will get to this.

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