you go wherever you go today

Jul. 29th, 2014 10:07 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
recs update!

[personal profile] unfitforsociety has been updated for July 2014 with 40 recs in 5 fandoms:

* 33 Avengers
* 3 DCU (2 Arrow, 1 TDKR)
* 1 Rivers of London, 1 Young Avengers
* 1 Middleman, and 1 Middleman/Captain America crossover


Ugh, I finally decided on a title for this story but now I can't figure out how to get from the pining to the kissing. Everything I write is terrible and has to be deleted! Why did I choose this stupid hobby, anyway? Maybe I'll just go to bed.


some things

Jul. 29th, 2014 05:23 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* All right, I said I like The World Ends with You, but I hadn't expected to play the first 5-8 hours of the game thrice in quick succession: first on the little-used Nexus 7 tablet, then on my phone when I realized that the smaller screen abets combat motions, and now on a warranty-covered phone replacement after the front-facing camera had a mechanical failure.

TWEWY keeps one saved game per Android device, not per account, even though it wants one's Google account credential for tracking MPP, one of the ways that pins evolve within the game. On the plus side, one may gain MPP by "mingling" with one's other device if one has two devices that use the same OS, without buying the game more than once; on the minus side, I was doing pretty well in saved game #2. Bah. (In the original Nintendo DS version, mingling could be done with a second DS that didn't run the game. The Android port---and the iOS one as well, I assume---is less forgiving, though at least not cutthroat about it; that is, at least they didn't turn it into a microtransaction opportunity despite having added a few microtransaction items to the ported version. A few pins may be had only via patient accumulation of MPP.)

* Scheduling earthquake retrofit work---reinforcement of the crawlspace walls, bolting the floor's underside to various things---while Reason's preschool has its two-week intersession: not ideal in retrospect for a child who still prefers and needs to nap for 1.5-2 hours almost daily.

* PD the biologist and farmer (and many other things) has inspected my non-producing zucchini plant pair. We're not sure why some of its leaves are yellow, but the surmise that something was neatly pinching off flowers/nascent veg before I could have any seems correct; moving it to the former carrot space in the raised planter box has yielded four new flowers within two days, though day one had it keeling over from insufficient water. The box also has much looser soil. Tradeoff: I'll have to water it almost daily now because the box dries out (and runs off) much faster than the ground. Since persuading vegetables to come forth in droughtland is an exercise mostly for Reason's benefit, not a supplement to our weekly consumption, I'm not keen on daily visitation---but "for Reason's benefit" encompasses the idea of not giving up merely because it's a bit more work. It's not even more water. Bah. (Rigging an irrigation drip: not yet.)


Jul. 29th, 2014 06:00 pm
[personal profile] kass
I realized a moment ago that the music running through my head was Kanye West's "Gold Digger." ("I ain't saying she's a gold digger / but she ain't messin with no broke, broke --")

More accurately, it was the mashup of Kanye West with Beethoven's Fifth to which [personal profile] absolutedestiny vidded Gone With The Wind in 2007. (On youtube here.)

Huh, I thought. Okay. That's not my usual soundtrack. What put that in my head? I started casting back to try to figure out what I might have seen or thought which would have led my brain down that track.

And then I realized that the television program in the next room is punctuating whatever the news program is with dramatic bursts of Beethoven's Fifth. Heh. That'll do it.

So now I have Beethoven's Fifth Gold Digger in my head, accompanied by images of Scarlett O'Hara. I love it when carrying vids in my head adds this kind of delightful invisible extra layer to my day. :-)


Jul. 29th, 2014 01:54 pm
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Q: How was your vacation?

A: Ten days eight timezones away, with me and Mr. E plus both kids plus the in-laws, every single one of us getting sick, except me who was sick when I left, stayed sick the entire time because you can’t get better when you don’t get any sleep, and am still sick? Staying in a B&B so filthy there were actually insects in the bed, because there literally wasn't another free pair of rooms in town, so we came home to do a full bedbug decontamination on all our stuff instead of resting? That vacation?

Q: Yeah, that one.

A: Well, first let me say that I recognize that I am a very lucky woman. I’m in a position to take a vacation, which not everyone is. And I’m lucky that I have in-laws who are willing to pay their own way to come on vacation with us just to hang out with the grandkids, without which I honestly do not know what I would have done; because even with them, two days into it I would have cracked and tried to change our plane tickets to come back home right away, but I couldn’t because I was too sick to fly. And I’m lucky to have two kids who have such vibrant good basic health that even when they develop a 3-pack-a-day cough and pour snot out like giant ambulatory faucets, it doesn’t sap their energy or slow them down in any way. And hey! The baby is clever enough that at just over 10 months, he has worked out that he can avoid having his nose wiped, which he hates, by smearing his face all over our shirts the moment he feels snot on his face!

So all in all, vacation was absolutely better than childbirth, I would say. Though it did last longer. And I might even be willing to take another vacation again someday.

Not, like, soon, though.

The perils of Photoshop!

Jul. 29th, 2014 02:45 pm
[personal profile] telophase
When you take the Dodge tool a bit too far!

I can understand needing to lighten faces up when the models are backlit, but the solution is to use the dodge tool with a LIGHT hand! (The best solution is to have an assistant holding a big white piece or fabric or cardboard to bounce light back into their faces when you take the picture, but sometimes you just don't have the option.)
[personal profile] mariness
Not that anybody has asked, but: "Hey, what it is like to get solicited for a major upcoming project?"

It goes like this:

1. Email comes in. You read it. It's a request - an actual request - for a poem. You figure the people sending you the email just wanted to cheer you up because you had a crappy day, but, you know, poem! After a couple of reassuring emails you agree, because this is going to be a nice, fun little webzine, right? No pressure. You cheer up.

2. Time passes. You don't think much about it because of myriad and massive computer issues and a few other things. And then the Kickstarter announcement pops up on Twitter. You click.

3. You see the freaking list of solicited authors" and squeak, because this list includes Paul Cornell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jim Hines, Rachel Swirsky, Scott Lynch (!!!!), E. Lily Yu, Ken Liu, Sofia Samatar, Amal El-Mohtar, several other amazing names and --

Neil Gaiman.

(For the record NONE of this was in the initial email.)

Did we say no pressure? Right.


3. You realize that you really really really want to read everybody else in this.

Uncanny Magazine!

So, er, go pledge! For everyone else in this.


Speaking of projects that you should be funding, I'm VERY pleased to note that An Alphabet of Embers, Rose Lemberg's upcoming anthology of Unclassiables, has funded, which also means that the companion book, Spelling the Hours, which is a really cool little thing containing poems about women scientists, has also funded.

What hasn't funded yet, though, is the second stretch goal, which includes music from The Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours, which sounds totally awesome.

Plus, the initial books just sound really cool.

(Full disclosure: I submitted something for Spelling the Hours, but to be honest, given the other people submitting to this project, I don't actually expect to be in it since Rose has such an amazing wealth of talent eager to work with her to choose from. Which right there says everything you need to know about her editing skills (i.e., excellent.) However, I AM in one of the incentive books, Here We Cross, so if you've always wanted a copy of that, this is an excellent opportunity.)


And since this has turned into a pimp out worthy projects post, Clarkesworld Magazine is very close to publishing three more stories every four months thanks to Patreon support; they only need a couple hundred more dollars in pledging to make that goal. I'm an obvious fan of Clarkesworld, not just because they've published me twice, but because they continue to publish outstanding fiction every single month, forming a large part of the stories I nominate for the Hugo and Nebula awards, so I highly recommend this, if you can. And you can always buy Clarkesworld directly from various online retailers as well.

(Though, full disclosure again: this is a bit of an incentive for me as well, since it might get me over my current "AUUGH I CAN'T WRITE SCIENCE FICTION" if I know people like a zine that I've published science fiction in to support it through Patreon. But mostly, you should be supporting Clarkesworld since they are publishing such groundbreaking work.)


(I have to write a poem for a zine that also solicited a poem from Neil Gaiman. NO PRESSURE.)

(ok maybe pressure)

Well, bother

Jul. 29th, 2014 12:06 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I seem to be missing Parker's Shadow.


Jul. 29th, 2014 10:42 am
[personal profile] telophase
My Parallels (small Asian fandoms fic/art exchange) entry is DONE and UPLOADED! There is, naturally, a couple of things that I spotted that need to be fixed as soon as I uploaded it, but that's how things go. I've got until Friday to fix them and re-up. :)

And now...there are some art styles I want to explore, and there's two-and-a-half weeks-ish until reveal. I suppose I could poke around and see if there's anything I could do as a treat.

That was quite a season-ender.

Jul. 29th, 2014 11:32 am
[personal profile] kass
We finished S4 of Breaking Bad last night.

Small thoughts )

In sum: this show continues to be dark as hell, and also continues to be amazing.

yay for good customer service!

Jul. 29th, 2014 10:23 am
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
Where "good" = "compliant with my wishes," of course.

I bought a FitBit a while ago, and all went well for a while. )

The new one should arrive in a couple of days. Which is good, because I was pretty much glued to my office chair all yesterday.

PS If anyone who'll be at VividCon (or is local) would like to have the old Omron HJ112 pedometer, I'm happy to give it away! (Be aware that I don't have a waist clip or a proper "leash" for it, but you can juryrig one or buy a replacement.)

Rip Out the Binding, Tear the Glue

Jul. 29th, 2014 01:15 am
[personal profile] tablesaw
There's a minor furor in the Google Plus RPG circle on which I wander around the periphery over a series of posts about a ceremonial burning of Dungeons & Dragons, Fourth Edition, in preparation for the new fifth edition. (You may not be familiar with D&D "edition wars," but I'm sure you can extraploate to a similar situation where fans of a particular thing that goes through multiple iterations argue loudly and fervently about which iteration is good or bad or perfect or heretical, etc.)

And then this happened on twitter:It's probably not a coincidence that Hoarders was on in the background earlier and now I'm reexamining my relationship toward books. I'm not a hoarder, but the fear on the faces of people trying to pick which things to get rid of reminded me of the same mindlock I felt when I attempted culling my books last time I moved. It was too hard, and there wasn't enough time for me to work my way through it, and I panicked, and all the books went into boxes.

There were consequences to not doing so. Those books took up space and they carried an extra weight; as appropriate for books, they did so literally. The physical books that I do not need took a toll on my back, and on the bodies of my friends who helped to move them. (And I haven't yet taken the time to do a proper culling.)

And beyond that, I have books that I do not believe are worth the trouble for anyone. I have a mass-market book with no original research that is still substantially large and heavy, because it was designed as a coffee-table book, despite a lifeless presentation. It's not just that I don't need this book; I don't think anyone needs this book. And I suspect that anyone who thinks they want this book is wrong, because for a very long time, I was that person who deeply believed that they should just hold onto it for a little longer. I think that to inflict this mess of ink and wood pulp that tangentially contains some incomplete summaries of Irish genealogical information would be irresponsible. I don't want to shift the responsibility of dispatching it onto a nonprofit organization that could instead be shelving a book of even some slim use.

But I just can't toss it into the trash. Because it's still a book.

I still have my first book. My copy of Where the Wild Things Are is as old, and as soiled, and as marked as you would expect. And while I feel that there's a novelty in having that artifact, I often question why I hold onto it. The vast majority of my personal artifacts have already been worn down or given away. I don't know how that copy would be of interest to anyone, even my own children. Now it mostly represents how hard I cling to books as other things fall away.

And there are books, too, that I think others would find value in, but that I do not feel comfortable giving. I have books that once brought me joy, but that, now, having grown older or learned terrible things about the creators, I hate to look at. I know that others would want them and read them, but I still feel responsible for my custody of them. I want to undo what I did in buying and keeping them.

Book burning, as a single phrase, is more than the burning of books. It's burning books at someone. But burning something, anything, can be powerfully personal. I have a hard time letting go of books, and I proposed this as a group camping activity because my sense is that, among the geeky people at that campfire, I would not be alone. Sometimes there are books we need to let go, and we have nowhere else to put them.

Throw them on the fire.

"Hurts so good"

Jul. 28th, 2014 11:20 pm
[personal profile] rosefox
This userpic isn't applicable to many sorts of pain, but it is perfect for physical therapy.

PT is EXHAUSTING. I'd forgotten. Also, going straight from PT to walking half a mile to the subway station, sitting on the L for 45 minutes, and then driving from Manhattan to Brooklyn was maybe not my smartest move ever.

The physio thinks my lifelong right hip wackiness is the cause of the knee issues, which would make a whole lot of sense. Apparently my right ITB and quad are "astonishingly tight". "Wait until you get to my hip flexors!" I said cheerfully. Then he tried to make my right hip bend the way most people's right hips bend and I yelled a lot.

* 8 weeks of biweekly PT
* Daily exercises at home w/ Theraband: 3 x 10 @ leg press, 3 x 10 @ hamstring curls, followed by ice (have the ice pack handy before starting to exercise so I don't have to hobble to the freezer for it)
* Start taking glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM (I've ordered an unflavored drink mix version that I can mix into chocolate milk or something, rather than swallow those enormous pills)
* No more sitting with both knees pointing to the left <.<

I'm seriously tempted to just keep going weekly or every other week after my eight weeks of intensive PT are up. The physio is hands-on and terrific, and therapeutic massage is amazing. And because I'm going to a shabby little PT clinic over in Brownsville (also known as "the neighborhood that will never, ever gentrify"), it's only $50 a session. That's the uninsured rate*. O.O The physio was telling me that he moved to Staten Island because he can't afford Brooklyn--maybe it's because he's seriously undercharging his clients. At that rate I really could go just for... well, not fun, exactly, but because it would probably be good to work on fixing my hips so that the knee problems don't recur, and because it feels good, and because I'm a lot more likely to exercise if it's been prescribed by someone I have to fess up to every week or two.

* I have insurance, but my plan year just started and I haven't met my deductible yet. Insert standard "American health care system is broken and bullshit" rant here.

The drive from Manhattan to Brooklyn was because [ profile] auntyglory is in town and she hasn't driven to our place before. Giving her directions would stress her out and navigating from the passenger seat would stress me out, so she drove into Manhattan from her cousin's place in New Jersey, and I met up with her and drove us home in her car. This was definitely the least mentally and emotionally taxing option, but NYC traffic means a lot of right-leg work, and by the time we got home I was very thoroughly done with any sort of moving around. She wants to go shopping tomorrow; I hope I'm up for it.

The Long Run by Daniel Keys Moran

Jul. 29th, 2014 12:29 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
(original cover)

(original cover - full)

(current cover)

For the life of me I cannot recall who recommended Moran to me but while my mass market paperback is a first printing (I think), I know I did not find it on my own. I remember a figure – tetrapod, bipedal, endothermic, homeothermic, and tachymetabolic - raving about The Long Run in my store decades ago convincingly enough that I made a point of buying it. Having bought it, I then tracked down every other Moran book that I could – Armageddon Blues, Emerald Eyes and later, The Last Dancer. Then silence fell. Publishing is a cruel and arbitrary world and it seemed that like so many other authors, Moran had been cast out into the shadows.

Happily, his books are once again available; the link is at the bottom of this review unless, ha ha, I forgot to include it. A sensible person would add it right now; I wonder what I actually did?

Onwards to The Long Run, and if I ever sound a bit negative, do remember this book was good enough to make me a Moran completist [1]. Read more... )
[personal profile] rosefox
Today I went looking for a paper I wrote for a college course in 1996--and found it. It's... um. It's not bad, by the standards of papers written by white freshmen about AAVE. There are surprisingly few parts that make me cover my face and shake my head, probably because most of it is primary source quotes. I'm amused to realize that I still write articles basically the same way: quote primary sources as much as possible, with just enough link text to provide some structure and flow.

Anyway, that got me looking through my folder of old text files, and I found a diary entry of sorts, dated December 3, 1996. If LJ had existed at the time, it would have been an LJ entry, so I posted it, backdated. It's here if anyone's curious. I find it of interest mostly because it establishes a date for my first self-diagnosis with depression and describes my experience of being depressed at the time. Also little notes about my life that are very telling:

"I've found a job that makes me almost as happy as writing for a living would, and which requires much less courage." That job was copy editing for the NYU student newspaper. I admire 18-year-old me for being so perceptive; I continue to cherish editorial work, and to choose it as a career, because it requires far, far less bravery than writing.

"I still have my writing talent, but no time to exercise it, and it's trapped in a cage where I can feel it reverting from housepet to wild animal, all the training eating itself away.... I still have story ideas, though they rarely get to bloom, and the only thing that hurts worse than the unsprouted seed is the one which pokes up a few shoots, looks promising, and then withers away because I don't have the time to care for it properly." Clearly I came into my talent for metaphors at an early age. And... yeah, this is all still true, except that I've gotten a lot better at not looking at it.

"The present never interested me; the past, the future, and the timeless are my domain. The present is vaguely repellant. The past is warm and familiar, the future softly bright and promising..." The positive descriptors are misleading. I'm not drawn to the past or future. The description of the present as "repellant" is much more accurate; specifically, it describes what I would now call anxiety. The past and the future are places to hide from the present.

"I use that word a lot these days. 'Safe.' I wonder what I feel that I need to be kept safe from. My own weariness, maybe. Or the world. Or time." These days I challenge the whole notion of wanting to be kept safe. Risk and bravery are better.

And now I'm going to close those folders before I start reading old chatlogs. That way lies days of secondhand angst and misery.

you glow inside my head

Jul. 28th, 2014 09:48 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
Yesterday, I got the monthly "heads up your period's due in five days" email. Today, I got my period. THERE WERE NOT FIVE DAYS BETWEEN YESTERDAY AND TODAY. I MUST PROTEST.


[ profile] chicklet_girl is visiting our fair city, so we met up for dinner tonight. It was a lot of fun. And now I think I'm ready for bed.

[personal profile] sovay
[ profile] handful_ofdust has Tumblr-posted one of my favorite artifacts. I first saw it in Talking to the Sun: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems for Young People (1985), published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and illustrated with objects from Met's collections. It was photographed from a slightly different angle then, accompanying a poem by Léopold Sédar Senghor:

I want to say your name, Naëtt! I want to make you an incantation, Naëtt!

Naëtt, her name has the sweetness of cinnamon it's the perfume where the wood of lemon trees sleeps.
Naëtt, her name has the sugared whiteness of coffee trees in flower
It's the savannah which blazes beneath the masculine love of the mid-day sun.
Name of dew cooler than shade and the tamarind tree
Cooler than the quickly-passing dusk when the heat of day is silenced.

Naëtt, it's the dry whirlwind and the dense clap of thunder.

Näett coin of gold coal of light my night and my sun
I your champion have made myself a sorcerer to name you
Princess of Elissa exiled from Fouta on a catastrophic day.

(I don't know the translator. The original text is here.)

It was "Fragment of a head of Queen Tiye. Yellow jasper. Egyptian, Dynasty 18 ca. 1417–1379 BC" when I read about it as a child. I see it's now "Fragment of the face of a queen," her identity as split and partial as the curve of her lips or her eyes lost to the smooth cleavage of stone.

It's still beautiful.

[personal profile] jjhunter
I put my amaryllis out for dead on the back porch a few weeks ago with mournful ceremony. It recently sprouted three new leaves. Annuals.


Little known hazard of studying microscopy: temptation to evangelize. Have you heard of confocal microscopy? Are you ready to accept confocal microscopy into your life as your primary imaging system? Oh hey, I just happen to have a copy of the Imaging Processing Handbook on hand, want to take quick look? etc. etc.


I got a call from the department secretary the other day. Read more... )


At an institution that shall remain nameless, you cannot just walk in the front door of the T- building. Instead, the route is as follows: Read more... )

Poor Fig

Jul. 28th, 2014 06:04 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
His ingenuity in working out how to get into the sf mmpk library was rewarded by being carried out of it and having the door firmly secured.
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Last year at WisCon 37, I told a Safety staffer that I had been treated by another attendee in a way that made me uncomfortable and that I believed to be sexual harassment. One big reason I did was that I understood from another source that he had reportedly harassed at least one other person at a convention. I learned that she didn’t report him formally, for a lot of reasons that aren’t mine to say. I was in a position where I felt confident I could take the hit from standing up and telling the truth. So I did.

I didn’t expect, fourteen months later, to have to stand up and tell the truth about WisCon’s leadership as well.

Also posted here, here, here, here, and here

I was born in a fork-tongued story

Jul. 28th, 2014 03:01 pm
[personal profile] sovay
Our first regular poetry focus issue is now live at Strange Horizons. It's a mini-issue, so we share space with regular columns and articles (which are well worth your time). Please enjoy Romie Stott's interview with David Kopaska-Merkel, Heather Knox's myth-and-genre-blurring (and H.D.-citing!) "VIMVIMRECOIL," our monthly poetry podcast featuring the voices of poets and readers, and Rochita Loenen-Ruiz's review of Saira Ali and Julia Rios' In Other Words. No manifestos from the editors this time; you'll have to write your own. Write lots of things. Change.

She says she used to be a conduit—
water is an awful experience for an

Dear God, how the money rolls in

Jul. 28th, 2014 11:32 am
[personal profile] mme_hardy
I just got a solicitation to join a trip with my college's alumnae organization. The cover letter went:

Won't you join me [dates] in Hyderabad, India to work alongside our team of women at [organization] as we seek to create a revolution of girl champions? It's an experience that, we think will change your perspective—and might just change your life.

To learn more and to register for this unique opportunity, please visit our website. We hope you will join us for a meaningful and memorable week of learning and empowerment.

At the website, I found:

$2,500 (per person/double occupancy), $520 single supplement
Trip Description: We invite you to spend a week with us in Hyderabad, India that most certainly will change your perspective and might just change your life. You will have the chance to work alongside [name deleted] and the visionary team of women at [organization] as they seek to empower girls from low-income schools to change their destinies.

We offer you an opportunity to engage with these remarkable girls, their families, and their mentors, whose dedication to improving the lives of young girls and their families will inspire you, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, to “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

All this takes place in Hyderabad, one of India’s most dynamic cities, sitting at the crossroads of old and new, north and south, Hindu and Muslim. This IT hub is at the center of India’s technology revolution, earning it the nickname “Cyberabad.” This new, IT-focused population lives alongside the traditional Hyderabad of the opulent Nizams.

It's pretty obvious who this trip is designed to benefit, and it's not the remarkable girls of Hyderabad. The itinerary:

Sunday, January 18
o Early morning arrival in Hyderabad
o Evening welcome and orientation session

Monday, January 19
o Introduction to [program] and training by [program] staff to prepare people for the trip ahead
o Mentoring workshops with college students

Tuesday, January 20
o Mentoring workshops with college students

Wednesday, January 21
o Training for workshops with campers
o Work with Sakhis (peer leaders) in various government schools

Thursday, January 22
o Work with Sakhis (peer leaders) in various government schools

Friday, January 23
o Work with girls from low-cost private schools
o Session with domestic violence "peacemakers"
o Celebratory dinner at the Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to balance the benefits to the campers of (A) two days of workshops led by wealthy tourists against (B) multiple donations of $2500.


Jul. 28th, 2014 02:06 pm
[personal profile] mariness
My little flash story, Survival, popped up at Goldfish Grimm over the weekend, along with a short interview with me.

In other survival stories, I left the house today thinking, oooh, the sun is still shining. I won't get wet. YAY ME.

Ten minutes later I was soaked completely through, and I do mean completely (well, my butt was kinda covered by the trike, but still.) We're talking every inch of clothing totally plastered to you soaked. Water dripping from my nose soaked. Having to stop because I can't ride the trike in heavy rain soaked (the rain gets on my glasses.)

During all of this?




Ok, that didn't last too long - the clouds swept in - but Florida. Where you can be in the sun, and still be wet.

But I now have my bananas, which was the main point of going against Florida's weather, so all good.

Wounded self-esteem

Jul. 28th, 2014 10:39 am
[personal profile] mme_hardy
I decided to sign up for Textbroker, a service that commissions you -- at ridiculously low rates -- to produce web articles. rates. I took their writing evaluation test. It scored me at 3 out of 5 stars. (Note: I proofread the sample a lot more carefully than I proofread DW posts. I also wasn't on migraine drugs that day.) The way to correct a bad rating is to take their writing course. The course is free, so my first suspicion of a scam was incorrect.

Here's a snippet from the course.

Repetition is a sure way to lose a reader’s interest. Repetition happens on a small scale when authors favor certain words. An article can sound very monotonous when every sentence begins with “moreover.” If you can’t think of a good word to replace the one you’ve used twice already, use a thesaurus! Do an Internet search for synonyms of your word, and you’ll be one step further from the fluff. Repetition can be seen on a larger scale when entire articles are comprised of similarly structured sentences. This is most likely to happen with very simple sentences that take on a “Dick and Jane” style. An article that uses the same sentence formula many times can seem repetitive to a reader even with varied word choice, such as “I went to the aquarium. Natalie was there. We got smoothies. It was thrilling.” It is easy to avoid this by mixing up the order of your sentences or combining some main ideas.

O.... kay. Suddenly I trust my skills again. Incidentally, note how choppy the previous para is. The thesaurus advice ... I can't even.

Edit: The full article; don't know if it's behind the membership wall.

O, wad some Power the giftie gie us

Jul. 28th, 2014 12:03 pm
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
Last week I performed the marriage of Geoff's brother and his partner of more than twenty years, which was a fabulous thing to get to do! They're a wonderful couple, and the whole ceremony -- setting, symbolism, grooms -- was gorgeous.

This morning I had a dentist appointment, for my regular cleaning. My dentist is an old friend of Geoff's parents, so when he came in after the hygienist had finished blasting away my plaque, he remarked to me that my mother-in-law had been in two or three weeks ago and had caught him up on some family news. "And how was the wedding?" he asked me. "It just happened, right?"

"Yes, last week, and it was lovely," I told him.

Then he asked, "And how did it go with that minister? The guy was ordained over the Internet or something, right?"

Ahahahahah no. Wrong on all counts, actually:
• not a minister
• not a guy
• not ordained
• not qualified by Internet

I gaped like a fish for a moment, and then said, "The person who performed the wedding? No, that was me," and pulled one of my cards out of my wallet to show him. And when I came home and told Geoff, he actually doubled over in laughter.

I have no idea if my mother-in-law is actually that unclear on what it is I am, or if this was just an incredibly effective round of Telephone, but I'm not going to worry about it; I'm just going to be over here giggling to myself.

nakama = 仲間

Jul. 28th, 2014 08:46 am
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Tenchū yami no shioki nin (jdrama (renzoku), 2014: 1-8 of 8 eps.): After Dramafever picked it up, I began watching partly to blip their metrics, in an enough-with-the-immature-flower-boys way, because the poster has two women in the foreground and three men in the background (versus the usual single woman surrounded by men) and because the title sequence features one of the women and a dancing flame. Then I decided that the thin premise isn't so bad. Sanada Sana---as she gives her name once---is a young shinobi pushed out of her Warring States-era time by an explosion that has separated her from a wounded sister, Yū. Sana fetches up in 2014, town unspecified (implicitly part of greater Tokyo, not central), and becomes associated with a widowed grandmother named Murata Masako, whose younger child, Yukari, went missing twenty-four years ago and resembles Yū. Ep. 1 shows a good deal of domestic violence experienced by Mayumi, a thirtysomething wife of a civil servant. After Mayumi kills herself following an incomplete intervention, Murata decides to act more directly thenceforth with Sana as her willing weapon, cautioned never to kill.

It's nearly wish fulfillment on a platter for certain kinds of older female viewer that've seen abuses and wished at times to fix things or suggest a better course of action. Wouldn't you like to have a reformed lockpicking felon, a voice artist, and two martial-arts experts amongst your close associates, with no better claims upon their time than to help you achieve justice?---or to have a wise, sharp person listen fully and believe you when you claim troubles that your husband, friends, and the police brush aside.

There's even a younger police officer who becomes fascinated by hooded Sana's ability to leap down buildings. During ep. 2 he thinks he sees her but finds that it's a fortysomething woman awaiting her crossdressed escort. "Kawaii yo," the woman says calmly when the companion runs up, late due to spending too much time applying makeup: cute even so.

It's a show driven almost entirely by female gaze, is what I'm trying to say: a rarity. Read more... )

sidenote on being older and pretty )

Minor cognitive dissonance: the actor who plays the anti-humanity spiritual leader in Bloody Monday is the local senior cop here. Also, the bad guys on jdramas are characterized partly by having been lazy and undisciplined enough never to learn a martial art, or at least not to have learned one well....

Teeth teeth teeth

Jul. 28th, 2014 09:43 am
[personal profile] oracne
An exciting morning so far. I combined early-hours insomnia with losing a filling. Went in this morning to have that plugged up - it's the molar that will soon need to be replaced by an implant, which will be a whole complicated procedure to which I am not looking forward.

Hello, Monday.
[personal profile] sovay
I have a T-shirt I don't wear much anymore because it is much-washed and the silkscreen process is fragile. I couldn't make it to a concert in Brooklyn in 2005; a fellow-student at Yale brought it back for me. It's this logo in slightly different colors. You can see the relevance. It was one of the nicest things that happened to me in New Haven.

The Mountain Goats don't only write classical songs. But they do title their releases things like Songs for Petronius (1992), Transmissions to Horace (1993), and Taking the Dative (1994), and I've linked a number of their songs over the years because I love them.

The rivers were dry because it was late August and the bulls came out. )

John Darnielle just reblogged my poem "Homeric Hymn to Demophoon."

I was in no way expecting that pretty much ever.

just so you know

Jul. 28th, 2014 12:03 am
[personal profile] yhlee
The Great Queen Seondeok, despite the fact that EVERYONE sucks at Surveillance 101, features political philosophy, warfare, badasses, women of awesome, multilingualism, AND SCIENCE.

Sorry, this is WAY more Yoonishly awesome than Buffy.

"Get me off this crazy thing!"

Jul. 27th, 2014 10:16 pm
[personal profile] rosefox
Zoloft taper time! The plan:

Day 0 (today): 12.5 mg/day (the dosage I've been on for the last 18 months)
Days 1-14: 6.25 mg/day
Days 15-28: alternate 6.25 mg/day and 0 mg/day
Day 29: fully discontinue

The last time I went off Zoloft I dropped it cold turkey because I was at much too high a dose for me and it was making me suicidal, manic, and possibly psychotic. (As indicated above, my therapeutic dose is below most people's starting dose, and my psychiatrist at the time had no idea how to dose someone like me.) I don't recall experiencing any adverse effects from the abrupt stop, but I wasn't really paying much attention at the time, and I'm not sure I would have noticed anything unless it was worse than the effects of the Zoloft itself. That said, I don't expect to have any problems, especially since I'm tapering this gradually.

I wasn't expecting to be able to cut my half-pills in half again, but J keeps our kitchen knives nice and sharp, so that makes life easier. I could possibly cut them even smaller but I think that's probably unnecessary.

I cannot wait to be off this stuff. Cannot. Wait.

Usual rules for comments about medical stuff: no advice unless I specifically ask (which I'm not) or you think I'm about to inadvertently harm myself.

We read it because it's a classicle

Jul. 27th, 2014 10:47 pm
[personal profile] sovay
Bel Kaufman has died. Her maternal grandfather was Sholem Aleichem. Her other grandfather was my great-great-uncle—my great-great-grandfather's older brother, Jacob Kaufman. She was still teaching at 100, writing at 101. I grew up knowing about her, but I never read any of her Yiddish stories, only the famous novel. It's a good novel.


Jul. 27th, 2014 09:29 pm
[personal profile] kass
We're back to watching Breaking Bad -- S4 x 11 at this moment, our third one tonight.

I am seriously all a-flail. I just -- cascading awful decisions for four seasons now and I am still boggling.

Also I have a distressing fondness for some of these appallingly morally ambiguous characters. Not sure what that says about me.

Also also, the show is so fucking pretty that I really want to vid it. And I'd vid it to Calexico, too. I'm just not sure I have the spoons to rewatch all of this gruesome and devastating stuff.

I so do not have the appropriate icon for this. *wry grin*

end of an era

Jul. 27th, 2014 08:50 pm
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
No, not Readercon; my ancient extremely-dumb phone (picture).

I'd been doing pay-as-you for voice and texts, since most of my life is in spaces with WiFi and I didn't feel the need for a monthly payment. But then I refilled my account and realized that I was spending about $20/month as our text messaging use increased, so it would only be another $25/month for Verizon's no-contract plan with a hundred-buck phone. And the prospect of never having to do a text message by cycling through all the button presses, let alone the security of Internet access more places, well.

So: the low-end 3G Moto G, because it's for backup stuff, checking email in emergencies and getting directions, and not streaming media. It fits nicely in my hand [*], though the grippy sides of this cheap case plus belt holster are welcome, and it runs stock Android and basically does what I need it to without fuss.

Here are some apps I've found useful specifically for the phone:

Widgetsoid (with donate add-on). This does two things: (1) it lets me toggle certain things directly from the lock screen (I use it for WiFi, mobile data, Bluetooth, and ringer status) and (2) on a home screen, it lets me fit more stuff in the same space—I have seven app shortcuts or toggles in a 4x1 widget on my main screen, for instance. (The donate version lets you save widgets to edit them, among other things.)

DashClock with DashClock Gmail+ Extension and DashClock SMS viewer [**]. This lets me see multiple things on the same lock screen: the number of new GMail messages (plus the subject and sender name if there's only one new message; I thought it was supposed to show that if there was more than one, but apparently that's a potential feature not an actual one); new text messages with their text; plus time, weather, and my next calender appointment within a certain time. There are default lock screen widgets for GMail and messaging, but they're on separate screens, and if I'm stopped at a red light, it's nice to get everything in one place.

(There are a million extensions for DashClock, but skip the toggle ones: all of them require unlocking the phone, not just the app-launch ones like in Widgetsoid.)

Moon Reader. Syncs reading position across devices with Dropbox, very customizable. The Pro version has more fonts and things, and I bought it to support the developer, but I don't actually depend on any of the pro features, I think.

[*] But though I loathe the idea, I can definitely see that when my Nexus 7 dies, I'm probably replacing it and this phone with a bigger-screened phone. I like the size of this, being able to fit it into pockets and hold it very comfortably, but the convenience of a single device is hard to beat. I already gave away my beloved Sony eInk reader, because I was hardly using it with the tablet always to hand, and I can definitely see the same fate coming for the phone+tablet combo.

[**] Before you download it, you'll probably need to go into Settings/Security and check "Unknown sources."

What about you? What handy little apps or tricks have you found for your Android smartphone?

Edit: I forgot, Verizon gave me a free Bluetooth car speakerphone, which works fine, though I don't use my phone in the car enough to bother with buying one for myself.

선덕여왕 through ep. 16?

Jul. 28th, 2014 12:00 am
[personal profile] yhlee
By way of [personal profile] sovay, goat towers. Adorable, totally work-safe photos.

By way of a friend, Death by Caffeine:
How much of your favorite energy drink, soda, or caffeinated food would it take to kill you?

Said friend notes that water poisoning would usually kill you first...

I claim I like that it rains frequently in Louisiana, and then we have a week like this one so I am clearly LYING. Of course, because of poor Melaka being at the shop, we can't leave the house anyway...

선덕여왕 through ep. 13? 14? Read more... )

how can i be sure?

Jul. 27th, 2014 07:07 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
I ended up staying over at my sister's last night, since the party was still going late into the evening. I guess that's the difference between having little kids and having kids who are in their early 20s - the games all suddenly involve alcohol. (I never played drinking games when I was their age - we just went out and drank - but they seem to have a lot of fun, and none of them were going anywhere so...)

So did Marvel not announce any of the mystery movies on their slate? I was really hoping for a Black Widow &/or Captain Marvel announcement, and a Black Panther movie, and maybe Oded Fehr or Alexander Siddig as Stephen Strange. (I also continue to be unimpressed with everything about Ant-Man - a movie nobody wants about a guy nobody likes. Why not a Wasp movie instead? Ugh.)

We did get a lot of Chris Evans grabbing his male co-stars boobs, though, and a James Spader-RDJ reunion, so that was okay. How are they all so adorable?

Today, I came home, did grocery shopping, spent way too much time on tumblr (see above re: CEvans and the ubiquitous boob grab), and then made lemon lemonies (pic), which are like brownies, except lemon flavored. They're not like regular lemon bars. Luckily, I had white chocolate chips hanging around for some reason, so all I really needed to buy were lemons, which I was going to buy anyway because I've decided that I'm not supplying my coworkers with salad dressing anymore. I don't need it, so I'm just bringing half a lemon with me each day for dressing purposes (my salads are very unexciting - I only put raisins, croutons and fresh mozzarella in them, because I always forget to buy walnuts).

ANYWAY. The glaze calls for 2 cups of powdered sugar. I used 1/2 cup, which I think is probably still too much. Ugh. WHO NEEDS THAT MUCH SUGAR IN ANYTHING? Every time I see a frosting or glaze recipe that requires more than, like, 1/2 cup of sugar, I cross it off the list of things to try. This is also why I can't eat buttercream. So disgustingly sweet, and I say that as someone with a massive sweet tooth.


Food log, 25-27 July

Jul. 27th, 2014 11:10 pm
[personal profile] qian
I went to the Isle of Wight! It was quite nice. Here is what I ate:

Friday )

Saturday )

Sunday )

Readercon: very short report

Jul. 27th, 2014 02:27 pm
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
This was another split Readercon for me. The hotel situation . . . was better than last year, but still not good, because after I called twice to emphasize how important it was that we get a connecting door and how they messed it up last time, the hotel set aside two rooms with a connecting door for us . . . and then gave one of those rooms away. And apparently didn't notice or care until they handed me the keys for rooms 20-odd numbers apart and my face crumpled.

Eventually they found us two adjacent rooms without a connecting door, and I'd bought a baby monitor out of anxiety about the situation, so it was workable, but GAH. The hotel sent me a "give us feedback!" email, and I gave them feedback, you bet; the manager-type who wrote back said that I should contact them next year, but honestly I don't know. The split thing is increasingly unsatisfying, and I think I might leave the family at home next year and do a proper New England vacation with them separately.

Anyway. One panel, notes of which were just posted; one panel of my own, notes on which forthcoming. Bake sale did well. Pleasant lunch with [personal profile] yhlee and spouse; pleasant conversations with people for a bit on Saturday night. And the kids had fun at Boston museums and in the hotel pool—SteelyKid made fast friends with a kid in the pool on Saturday afternoon, who turned out to be Gavin Grant and Kelly Link's daughter, which amused me for some reason. Things went okay strictly-con-wise for me, but I was hardly there, so, you know, that take with a grain of salt.
[personal profile] rachelmanija
It just occurred to me that some of you may have never experienced possibly the most amazing song in existence, MacArthur Park. I refreshed my memory of it yesterday. It's not a parody song - I think - but appears to be very serious. Which makes it much more hilarious. Go on, check it out. At least the first minute or so.

Here, have the Donna "17-minute orgasm" Summer cover. I think I left the cake out in the rain. OH NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Readercon: When the Other Is You

Jul. 27th, 2014 02:00 pm
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Panel notes, belatedly but whatever! Tidying while on Readercon conference call, actually.


When the Other Is You
Being part of an underrepresented group and trying to write our experience into our work can be tricky. We might have internalized some prejudice about ourselves, we might not have the craft to get our meaning across perfectly, and even if we depict our own experience totally accurately (as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie observed in her TED Talk "The Danger of a Single Story"), we do so while struggling against the expectation that our experience is or isn't "representative" or "authentic." How do we navigate the pitfalls and responsibilities of being perceived as spokespeople? What potentially pernicious dynamics allow us that dubious privilege in the first place? Which works make us cringe with their representations of us, and which make us sigh with relief and recognition?
Chesya Burke, Samuel ("Chip") Delany, Peter Dubé, Mikki Kendall, Vandana Singh, Sabrina Vourvoulias (leader).

(My standard note on accuracy and names.)

notes )

(no subject)

Jul. 27th, 2014 11:10 am
[personal profile] skygiants
[personal profile] obopolsk recommended me We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves a few months ago, but refused to tell me what it was about. At that point I did not really have a sense of Karen Joy Fowler as an author, except for a vague impression that she had written a rom-com about a Jane Austen book club and an even vaguer memory that she'd written a short story once that I liked. So I was sort of surprised to find that I couldn't put We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves down.

Now that I've read it I get why [personal profile] obopolsk would not tell me anything about it, just because the book itself makes SUCH a production of not revealing its Big Plot Twist Premise until about a third of the way through. The vague version is that the protagonist Rosemary is tooling around at college, and what you know is that her brother and sister are both completely gone from her family for mysterious reasons that eventually will go to make up the central themes of the novel, and you spend the first third frantically reading to find out what those reasons are.

I have mixed feelings myself about the way the book plays around with its reveal, and some of you I suspect will either be annoyed by the mystery or would like to know going in, so I'll put it under a spoiler-cut )

Games around the reveal aside ... it's a good book. It's a really good book. It was hard for me not to compare it to Boy, Snow, Bird, just because that was the last time a first-person narration pulled me in so completely, but FORTUNATELY there was no greatly offensive narrative betrayal lurking in the last few chapters, so that's all right. Karen Joy Fowler has this amazing sense of witty weirdness. Like, at one point there's an accidentally swapped suitcase that turns out to contain a puppet in a mob cap and knitting needles. The characters name her Madame Defarge and take her out clubbing. Madame Defarge is basically a MacGuffin, and there's absolutely no reason that particular MacGuffin had to be a puppet version of Madame Defarge, but why not? WHY NOT. That's the enjoyment factor, on a micro level -- the wit and the weirdness -- but on the macro level the book has serious weight and heft to it. It's tackling big themes, about family and responsibility and what it means to be human and what human beings do to the world around them, and it leaves you with all the questions that it should.

Good morning, internets!

Jul. 27th, 2014 07:43 am
[personal profile] kass
Zaphod let us sleep until 7, hooray!

And last night I had the good sense to make a pot of coffee, which means there's nice cold coffee to drink with splenda and milk over ice this morning.

Today I think the only thing on our agenda is a swimming lesson for Z later this morning. (ETA: looks like it's going to storm, so hey, no swimming today.)

Also I hope to take a walk at some point. Otherwise it is a blissfully wide-open day. The coming week looks likely to be kinda crunched, so I'm grateful for a spacious Sunday.

How're y'all?

checking in with confirmation

Jul. 26th, 2014 11:27 pm
[personal profile] silveraspen
Safely back from Wyoming after a fabulous day. More tomorrow-ish.

Saturday night Linkspam

Jul. 26th, 2014 10:04 pm
[personal profile] cofax7
So I watched Galaxy Quest tonight (see below), and then, for nostalgia's sake, I watched some Stargate SG-1. And you know what?

I still love Jack O'Neill best.


I get all my best links off MeFi now, because Feedly doesn't work at the office (damn it!). Which I assume everyone reads MeFi, so why bother posting links? Anyway.

A couple of links regarding what necklaces go with what necklines: here, and here.

This might be too sad to read: a book about animal mental illness.

Yikes: the lobotomization of Congress. Fun fact: while annual federal spending on intelligence has roughly doubled since 1997, staff levels on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have actually declined.

How much sleep do you need?

OK, I seriously have to make these cayenne & cherry brownies. NOM. Here's another variation, but 3 cups of sugar seems excessive for a single batch of brownies.

Oh, fantastic: I found a recipe for a Carter Beats the Devil, a fantastic cocktail I've only had once.

Galaxy Quest is 15 years old and someone at MTV did an oral history for it.

Wiscon Concom update for July 26th

Jul. 26th, 2014 10:36 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

We have several announcements to make as updates to our previous post:

1) In light of the intense community response to the Frenkel subcommittee's decision, and the concom's own concern about the "provisional ban," the WisCon concom is itself currently appealing the subcommittee's decision and will vote on the matter this week.

2) Debbie Notkin has resigned as Member Advocate, effective immediately.

3) The Bergmann subcommittee is assessing if they can continue given the valid concerns about Wiscon's existing process.

4) Regarding refunds of registrations for WisCon 39, we received this question via Twitter: "Will there be a policy for refunds for those of us who are against the con's current harassment actions?"

WisCon has traditionally had a fairly free refund policy for any registered members who are unable to attend. Anyone who has registered for WisCon 39 and would like a refund for any reason can request one by emailing

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