Thunderstorm!

Jul. 23rd, 2014 03:03 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
And wind and heavy rain, alas . . . and I still haven't gotten the roof so much as patched, due to a recent editing gig vanishing into the aether and taking a large chunk of semi-discretionary funds along with it.

And the power just sagged and blinked back up. I hope it doesn't go out; I've got chili going in the crockpot. We've had a lot of power outages due to storm activity this summer, which makes me wonder whether PSNH slacked off somehow on clearing the overhanging tree limbs and suchlike back in the spring.

With any luck, though, we may get some cooler air out of this.
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I will be on a panel on portal fantasy at Sirens this year. I need to read portal fantasy!

Panel description: Portal Fantasy: Threat or Menace?

SUMMARY:
Everybody knows about portal fantasy, where characters from the "real world" cross into a separate fantasy world. It is a classic trope that still draws readers—the Chronicles of Narnia have never been out of print. And yet new portal fantasies are very seldom published, and many agents and editors have said that they're unmarketable. What exactly is this subgenre, and why is it so loved and so shunned at the same time? What new stories does it still have to offer?

ABSTRACT:
1) What is portal fantasy? What makes it different from "our world has a hidden side" fantasy (e.g. Harry Potter, many urban fantasies, secret history fantasy)? What makes it different from stories about going to Faerie (or do those count as portal fantasies)?

2) Why do people love portal fantasy? Why do people hate it? Why is it currently (almost) unpublishable?

3) Portal fantasies we have known and loved.

4) Crypto-portal fantasies -- stories that arguably qualify as portal fantasy but don't "feel" like portal fantasy to a lot of people. (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, for instance, or The Fall of Ile-Rien.)

5) Most influential portal fantasies -- what has shaped the genre and people's reactions to it? To what extent are portal fantasy debates crypto-Narnia debates?

6) Portal fantasy is sometimes accused of being a narrow, cliched genre that has little room for new stories. What are some storytelling opportunities in portal fantasy that have not yet been explored?

7) Another common accusation against portal fantasy is that, because the "real world" isn't in danger, the novel lacks stakes. Is it possible to write a portal fantasy that isn't just "my magical vacation," and if so, how? What novels have achieved that and which ones have failed?

8) What are the pitfalls of portal fantasies? What are some examples of how it can go terribly wrong?

9) What about reverse portal fantasies, where characters from the magical world enter our own? Do they count as part of the same sub-genre, and either way, what do they have to offer?

- end description -

My requests for you:

1. Rec me some portal fantasies I might not know about or have thought of. Assume I'm familiar with the usual suspects.

2. When people say that portal fantasies are "my magical vacation," with no stakes, what actual portal fantasies actually fit that bill, and how? Apart from books for very young children and comedies/parodies, I'm having a hard time thinking of them.

missives

Jul. 23rd, 2014 08:33 am
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Francesca Forrest, Pen Pal (2013): self-published by choice, I think with good reason. Em lives in Mermaid's Hands, off the coast of New Orleans; her message in a bottle is found by Kaya, imprisoned above a caldera in a small fictional nation near Indonesia. Both keep journals, which offer counterpoint to the exchanged correspondence and flesh out the characters as well as round out certain silences, things one wouldn't share with even a sympathetic stranger. Improbably (I was really wondering how it'd work!), Em and Kaya find common ground in their respective senses of personal and cultural identities, shifting community, political marginalization, and truths twisted by others---which sounds too cold for the warmth of the tale and its connections, but that's how I roll, I guess.

I enjoyed this book more than I'd expected to: it's key that the narrative keeps similarities distinct without lumping them together as "same."

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2014 09:32 am
[personal profile] phi
Annual health screening at work today. As usual, it was full off bullshit. "You're at risk for hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes." "Um, but my cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure are all in the solidly healthy range." "Your BMI indicates that you might be diabetic or have high cholesterol." "But you just measured my cholesterol and it is in the solidly healthy range." "BMI was designed to be a warning sign for diabetes and high cholesterol." "But . . .sigh. Nevermind."

Anyway, my blood pressure was fifteen points higher than it was this time last year. Gee I wonder why? It's still in the solidly healthy range though because as of three years ago it was dangerously low. Like, the nurse was confused I was still standing upright, low. Like, she recommended I dramatically increase my salt intake, low. The trend, however, is distressing.

But that's not why I'm posting. I would really like to know what comes to mind for you when you hear the word "crossroads."

Now, what comes to mind when you hear "devil at the crossroads"? Or "bargain at the crossroads"?

Visually, what do you imagine? What do the crossroads look like? What is around them?

I ask because )

Wednesday Reading

Jul. 23rd, 2014 08:36 am
[personal profile] oracne
This week I finished a book for anonymous review, and read a bunch of fanfic while riding buses and such. Like, a lot of fanfic. Most of it was reasonably good, and I subscribed to a couple of unfinished things, which I will probably rec when they're done. I also downloaded a bunch of historical AU fic from various fandoms.

My nonfiction reading is mostly focused on finishing Bogs, Baths, and Basins: The Story of Domestic Sanitation by David Eveleigh - yesterday, I got to the part of ceramic pedestal toilets! Very exciting! One day this book will be really useful for some project. One day.

I still have three other nonfiction books progressing very slowly.

For the sake of accountability, I here state my intention to finally read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. I bought it when it came out, in hardcover, and because the hardcover is so ginormous it remains unread. I'm going to make it a bedtime book, once I'm done with reading about toilet evolution.

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2014 12:23 am
[personal profile] jhameia
I have finished reading all the stories sitting in the #SEAsteampunk inbox!!!! Yay!! I think we're still waiting on a couple more people but Joyce and I have agreed on a hard deadline of next week. Next Friday we'll send out rejections and let people know if we're still haggling over their stories. There're a few we disagree on, and a few which one likes but the other is not sure on, that sort of thing.

Tomorrow I shall dally to the bank, get some cash to spend at SDCC (and try to remain within that budget the whole weekend), then dally downtown, grab some lunch, and then go to the Greyhound station. I have a small bag of clothes and a backpack of promo material and book to take notes in. I'm going to wear ballet flats all weekend. Hope my feet don't hurt. San Diego weather is not non-sensical, right? Should I bring a sweater and socks? I shall bring a sweater and find some space for socks, that seems best. *rambles on*

"Next!"

Jul. 23rd, 2014 12:36 am
[personal profile] rosefox
The last piece of IKEA furniture is DONE. DONE DONE DONE DOOOOOONE.

(Well, we may put knobs on the drawers at some point. But whatever, that's minor and easy to do and we may decide not to bother. Everyone seems happy to open the drawers from the side right now.)

The very last remaining things to do:

* I put the base and lids for our old blender up on Craigslist Free Stuff, and someone is coming to get them tomorrow.
* The IKEA boxes go out with the recycling on Friday.
* On Saturday J and I will haul two huge bags of fabric recycling to the farmer's market.
* Possibly there will be some vacuuming.

And then I will take photos of the living room/dining room/kitchen/library and you can all see what a splendid apartment we have, now that it's populated by furniture and books and appliances rather than boxes and boxes and boxes.

=====

My knees were feeling somewhat better today (yes, plural--I'm putting more weight than usual on the left to spare the right, so the left is complaining too), despite poor sleep. I've been trying to work from my very comfy office chair instead of in bed, and I think it's helping. After J and I met for dinner, we took a very small stroll in the park. I had the brace on my right knee and was careful not to overdo it, and my caution was rewarded by an almost pain-free climb up the subway stairs on our way home. I rested for a few hours and then got up and did a bit of tidying (no heavy lifting). So far so good.

I can feel my shin muscles aching now that I know what I'm looking for, and the heating pad helped a lot yesterday, so I'm increasingly certain that working from home in a one-flight walkup has simply made me too sedentary and my muscles have weakened to where they can't adequately support my joints. I also need new sandals, which I will hopefully get on the way home from the knee doc tomorrow. I don't like any of this season's Merrell or Timberland sandals, and I've been wanting something a bit more solid and butch, so I'm seriously considering my first Birkenstocks. Fortunately the knee doc is at 33rd Street, so I'll pop over to Eneslow and try on shoes there to get a sense of Birkenstock sizes and how they feel on my feet.

=====

Yesterday was a pretty rotten day for me and X, and we were both staggering a bit today from the emotional hangover. But we managed to pull through it with a great deal of support from the always amazing J, and there was even a bit of cuddling and laughing later in the evening. Tomorrow we inaugurate our weekly family date night, which is probably going to be like a typical night except with more snuggles. I think that sounds excellent.

=====

I didn't get to bed until 7 a.m. yesterday, so I've been groggy and fleh all day. Time to try the yoga nidra mp3 of [personal profile] norah's that [personal profile] rydra_wong pointed me to, and see if it can put me to sleep at something approximating my best bedtime.

Arigatou!

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:49 pm
[personal profile] telophase
Those of you who know Japanese:

I'm watching an episode of the new series of Mushishi, and after Ginko is rescued by a farmer and given a meal by the farmer's wife, he thanks her by saying what sounds to me sort of like "Arigatey" instead of the usual "Arigatou." Is this a variant, an accent, a dialect, or what?
[personal profile] sovay
First half of today: insomnia, work, dentist's appointment, ongoing hassle with insurance, canceled appointment; sucked.

Second half of today: [livejournal.com profile] handful_ofdust posts some Leslie Howard and Peter Lorre for me and [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel and I broil salmon and scallops for dinner, our first attempt at seafood (a) together (b) in a house with cats. We may have cheated slightly by shutting the cats in Rob's office while we cooked, but they don't seem to be holding it against us—I have two sacked-out, softly purring cats in this basket chair behind me as I type. They seem to like sleeping on my clothes. Hestia used to curl up on my sweater until I moved it, after which she started curling up on my leather jacket. If I'm sitting at my desk, Autolycus drapes himself across my knees and dozes off as I work. Rob thinks the way we smell is familiar to them. I have difficulty expressing how protective I feel toward these cats. Djavvy and her children were the cats of my childhood; I grew up sleeping in the scent of their fur and the sound of their purring, but I was never responsible for them. These are the cats of my adulthood. I take care of them. And they did not interfere with any of our very delicious, buttery, crisp-skinned salmon and the sweetest scallops I have eaten in years. Second half of today sucked a lot less, is what I am saying. There was even a lemon.

Postscript, because I was finishing up this post when I followed the Facebook link. It happened in April, but I just found out that The Shondes—a queer Jewish activist punk band of which I have been quite fond since discovering them in March—were banned from the Washington D.C. Jewish Community Center for their political views on Israel and Palestine, i.e., for being pro-Palestinian. See this interview, comments, and open letter by the band. DCJCC, what the hell. Problem of which this incident is the microcosm, ditto.

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2014 05:22 pm
[personal profile] telophase
This Site is Cyberstalking Your Cat For Your Own Good.

Essentially, iknowwhereyourcatlives.com is educating you about the dangers of posting images directly from your smartphone or other device (which encodes the GPS position into the image) to the web, which can show a determined cyberstalker where you are or have been.

On the other side: pictures of cats!

A very bad five minutes

Jul. 22nd, 2014 11:12 am
[personal profile] mme_hardy


Maria Joao Pires realizes that the conductor has just started playing a different Mozart concerto than she had prepared.

Edit:  The YouTube embed code apparently doesn't let me skip forward to second 40.  Start there.

 
[personal profile] musesfool
So I know that userscripts.org is down, but that doesn't mean a script I've already downloaded and implemented should stop working does it? And yet I can no longer save filters on AO3. That line is gone from the list of inputs on the right when I am in a tag. And using the "Search within results" field doesn't work with either the filter_ids number or text [how do you exclude text that includes " in it anyway?]. I don't have triggers, but I do have a strongly visceral negative response to a couple things I'd really rather not see and right now I can't filter them out at all, which is a problem for me.

(also, protip, asshole: it's not the m/m part of your story that I don't like so much as it's THE NONCON WHICH IS INHERENT IN THE DAMN PAIRING I WANT TO EXCLUDE and also isn't listed in the warnings.)

Ugh, if I could even do one of them it would be fine, since it's the noncon one that is popping up right now, right on top. I find this so frustrating. I didn't think I'd miss the days when I was lucky if there were five new, complete, relevant-to-my-interest stories a week in the Steve/Bucky tag, but sometimes I do. I really, really do.

Also, if it's my dumbassery that is screwing things up, please let me know! But I've tried everything that has worked in the past and none of it is working now and it's making me cranky. *hands*

ETA: [personal profile] snakeling suggested adding // @grant      none to the script header in Greasemonkey, and lo and behold, it worked! /eta

filter_ids for my own future reference )

*deep breaths*

In more encouraging news, yesterday I wrote about 700 words of post-CATWS Bucky/Natasha. *hands* Only three more sections to go!

In the meantime, that book meme from all around the internets:

Rules: In a text post, list ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the "right" or "great" works, just the ones that have touched you.

Obviously there's way more than 10, but these are the ones that came to mind first, in no particular order:

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien - so fucking formative.

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin - also supremely formative, plus ♥TENAR♥

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle - this, even more than A Wrinkle in Time or The Arm of the Starfish, has stayed with me over the years, despite its various issues.

Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner - I was tempted to say Light in August, simply because that's the one I read that finally made me go, hey, now I get why Faulkner (neither The Hamlet nor "The Bear" had managed it previously, though I did like The Hamlet better on rereading in college), but Absalom, Absalom blows my mind every fucking time. I remember the first time reading it, when I was like, Professor T, WHY DIDN'T ANYONE GIVE THIS TO ME SOONER? (I was a senior in college.) Poor Quentin. Poor Shreve.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller - for some weird reason, one of my friends and I would quote this to each other all the time: "The bombardier, the bombardier!" "I'm the bombardier and I'm all right!" and "Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?" "The spirit gone, man is garbage." and of course, the subject line of this post. Oh, Yossarian. "You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don't like bigots, bullies, snobs or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate." "Consciously, sir, consciously. I hate them consciously."

A Separate Peace by John Knowles - Gene/Finny was not my first m/m pairing, but they were pretty close.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - Do I even need to list a reason?

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith - oh Cassandra, how do I love thee?

Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco - another one that rewards multiple rereads; I have pressed this book on any number of people I know, most of whom stopped speaking to me afterwards (except my dad - he just grumped about it). My advice is just go with it, and somewhere around page 50? 100? it starts to work (I won't say it starts to make sense, but...it builds up enough momentum that the first time I kept going to just to find out what the hell was happening).

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien - "Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story." For fiction being truer than truth. For all of it, really.

***

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

Jul. 22nd, 2014 12:51 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
img-wild-seed_172727879335

Science fiction has a long, colourful tradition of books about people with very special powers, abilities focused in specific privileged lineages through extended eugenics programs. See, for example, Doc Smith's Lensmen series, Heinlein's Howard Family stories and Larry Niven's Known Space. Generally being a participant in these programs isn't a bad thing, even though it constrains one's choice of mates somewhat, and I cannot help but feel the fact most of the authors who come to mind are white and middle or even upper class – not the groups usually subjected to such programs, upper class inbreeding aside – plays a role in how the whole affair is portrayed.

I think it is safe to say Octavia Butler, one of the very very few African American science fiction writers active in the 1970s, had an entirely different model in the back of her mind as to how the whole directed breeding program would work out in real life. Until about 1865 [1] the US had a distinct population whose activities were overtly closely monitored and closely controlled; a pattern that just leaps out at anyone who isn't a mouth-breathing libertarian or worse is that despite whatever the propaganda of the day said, the program was not being run for the benefit of its subjects. Read more... )

So...

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:42 am
[personal profile] telophase
Anyone up for a free Kindle ebook on Jane Austen? What Matters in Jane Austen?. Basically, I bought it for my mom as it was $1.99 and it turns out that she already has it, so she didn't redeem the code. So it's up for grabs!

If more than 1 person wants it, tomorrow I'll do a random-number draw.

Push-ups!

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:43 am
[personal profile] oracne
I did a total of 32 pushups last night, 4 sets of 8, and though I was pretty sore by the time I was going to sleep, this morning it's not too bad. They were not perfect pushups by any means; I am still favoring my right arm, and it doesn't bend as much as it used to, so my descents were slightly lopsided (I am hoping this will improve somewhat). But I did them! I feel like there is hope I can regain some muscle!

I have read very little of the ongoing WisCon debacle, nor have I made any decision about future attendance. Next year was in doubt anyway, because of my 25th college reunion. I hope they can get their act together, but it looks like a lot of damage has already been done.

I want to be writing today, not stuck at dayjob. But I also want to pay rent and eat and such, so here I am.
[personal profile] sovay
So one of the nicest surprises at Readercon this year had nothing to do with the convention itself: it was my discovery of Clover Food Lab.

If you have been to the Burlington Marriott at any time in the last . . . ever . . . you will remember that it is not exactly close to anything but the Burlington Mall and is functionally inaccessible except by car or the 350 bus, which is actually a mobile antechamber of Hell. Therefore, not starving at Readercon depends on (a) your ability to tolerate the hotel restaurants, which as of the past year's renovations have consolidated into an business-trendy, ear-shattering bar and grill that had its own DJ and held an '80's dance night on the Saturday of the convention (b) having time in your schedule to order in from one of the nearby restaurants, of which there is not a dearth if you can get far enough away from the hotel (c) knowing a friend with a car. Saturday afternoon before the Miscellany, [livejournal.com profile] sairaali, [livejournal.com profile] gaudior, [livejournal.com profile] rushthatspeaks, [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel and I were all going out for dinner: my cousins had collected my husband in Somerville and were meeting Saira and me at the hotel. This was a flawless plan until we realized we had no idea where we were going—we needed somewhere quick, inexpensive, edible, and at least partly vegetarian. Pick . . . one? We were on our way to the Burlington Mall to try to scrounge our respective meals from the food court and other installations when a miraculous oasis appeared in the desert of food options: a tiny strip mall containing the aforementioned Clover, a b. good, and SlowBones BBQ. And seriously, it was like manna. Rob tried SlowBones and came back with pulled pork on naan with some spicy sauce that was not fooling around. Gaudior, Rush, and Saira returned from b. good with an array of burgers, including vegan, that apparently lived up to the chain's name. And I walked into Clover with a combination of curiosity and skepticism, having seen the Harvard Square location open and written it off as a Kubrickian art installation (seriously, the space is cavernous and the lighting on both levels is all wrong; it put me off before I could even look at the menu), and they were one of the nicest random food experiences I've had in a long time.

I had to sing at the Miscellany in a couple of hours. Anything with cheese or milk was right out. Clover's menu varies daily; I had never looked at their selection before; I said as much to the counterperson. I needed something dairy-free, I have no allergies to gluten, lots of protein would be favorite. Help? And they went through every item on the menu with me (they are vegetarian by default, vegan by option, I have no idea of their kosher status) until we settled on the egg and eggplant sandwich: a wheat pita stuffed with hummus, cucumber and tomato salad, a sliced hardboiled egg, tahini, and an extremely large round of lightly fried eggplant.1 It was delicious. It was huge. It had no structural integrity whatsoever. I did not care: I ate it happily; it did not make me ill; and in fact I just ordered the same tonight from the Harvard Square location, which remains a terrible use of space and lighting and takes orders on the same model as an Apple store, but makes really fantastic food. Also, basil lemonade. Tastes exactly the way you think it would, only less sweet. Very fresh basil. Would buy again from seller.

Would also buy again from Zinneken's (Belgian Waffles Made by Actual Belgians). Rob and I ended up there after dinner and a visit to Rodney's in Central Square. The Liège waffle is ridiculous, sweet and chewy and not at all as heavy as the fried dough it resembles by description; I was not surprised to see when I got home that the batter was an outgrowth of brioche. Put some whipped cream and some dark chocolate on top of a piping-hot Liège waffle and you do not need to contemplate dessert for another twenty-four hours, except to speculate faintly on the toppings you will try when you come back. The concept of putting Speculoos on a waffle perplexes and intrigues me. They have Brussels waffles, too, and I will probably try one just for the sake of comparison, but seriously: caramelized pearl sugar. I had no idea. Next time with whipped cream and strawberries, in honor of the World's Fair.

Basically, today was great. Rush-That-Speaks helped us take the cats to the vet for their last round of shots, after which she doesn't need to see them again for a year; I helped Rush chop an endless pound of currants for black cake, for which the various chopped fruits are now marinating in Manischewitz and dark rum for a month; I met Rob in Harvard Square and dinner was as previously described. Rodney's netted me a first edition of W.L. White's They Were Expendable (1942), just hanging out on the shelf of dollar books. I had already picked up Maurice Dekobra's The Madonna of the Sleeping Cars (1925) while waiting for Rob at the Harvard Coop and Andrea Hairston's Redwood and Wildfire (2009) arrived in the mail just before we left the house. A lot of books happened to me today. I am not displeased.2 And some news in the mail which I will announce when I can.

I don't feel like I can be secure in happiness, right now. But I can enjoy the hell out of it when it happens.

1. Apparently that's actually a sabich. Man, I wish Clover put mango pickle on theirs. I wonder if I can make that happen.

2. While I am listing books, my Readercon haul was composed of Michael Cisco's Member (2013), which is fun to ask for out loud; Pink Narcissus Press' Queer Fish: Volume 2 (2012), containing [livejournal.com profile] strange_selkie's Vermeer porn "Camera Obscura: Two Ghosts"; and Peter Dickinson's A Summer in the Twenties (1981), a present for my mother which I expect to read some time I drop by the house—she introduced me to his mysteries. Also the broadside of [livejournal.com profile] shweta_narayan's poem "Nettle-Stung," illustrated by the author and hand-printed by Kitabiyat Press: it is the reward for preordering the print version of Saira Ali and Julia Rios' In Other Words. It is gorgeous and thorny, unavailable any other way. The anthology is an extraordinary cross-section of contemporary writers of color, fiction and poetry both, and all proceeds go to Con or Bust. Ignore the fact that this advice is in a footnote and buy one!

The ads in the July 1979 Analog

Jul. 22nd, 2014 12:34 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I have no idea how long this will take. Read more... )

Bleah.

Jul. 21st, 2014 09:44 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
I have spent all day today in a state of generalized and nonspecific crankiness.

Either I've got some sort of mild bug (evidence in favor -- Twin B also reports feeling mildly and vaguely sub-par; Himself, while not admitting to anything, has gone down for an after-dinner nap) or there's bad weather in the offing about 36 to 48 hours out (evidence in favor -- the online weather forecasts, which call for thunderstorms on Wednesday.)

This isn't necessarily diagnostic for him, though, as he has the ability to catnap. If I were the one conked out at this relatively early hour, it would be a different story, as I have never been able to take a nap and wake up feeling the better for it. Generally, if I'm napping in mid-day, or even retiring at an earlier-than-normal hour, it's a sign that I am, indeed, unwell.

done my Hugo & Campbell reading

Jul. 21st, 2014 08:07 pm
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
And done my posting about it, too, more to the point. Come talk about them! (Now with miserably embarrassing brain glitch fixed!)

Foodz, 21 July

Jul. 21st, 2014 11:26 pm
[personal profile] qian
I've just realised that my recent posts are all either "writing stuff, blah blah" or "argh stress blergh sad". Which is sadly kind of accurate! But I thought I'd try something different and try to post more regularly, if boringly. So I am going to start a food log! (Inspired by that slideshow of a day's worth of food around the world, but without pictures, so less interesting.) I'll put them under a cut, so hopefully they won't clog up your access list too much.

today )
[personal profile] yhlee
Spoilers follow, but the short version is I'm trying to decide if the last quarter of the book not working for me is due to my infamiliarity with thriller/horror protocols, or if the book really does have a flaw. (Or anything in between, or something else entirely! I am not a lit major.)

on inner and outer bangs, conflict placement, structure, and spoilers )

An aside: I have always suspected that the empath is going to be one of the hardest archetypes to get right and I'm tempted to have a crack at it, but AGW (my oldest friend) reminded me that I once said I would never write a dragon because dragons are cliché and I've already flunked that. I don't remember saying that I'd never write psionics, but if I did, AGW will remember. :p

(I have this theory that if you ever generated an empath, they would either be completely useless anywhere, or they would be functionally a sociopath. Not that I know jack-all about psychology, but it amuses me to think about it.)

mobile browsing SOS

Jul. 21st, 2014 02:12 pm
[personal profile] jjhunter
This 'using a phone as my primary internet tool while my laptop is in the shop' thing when I'm not at work has some unexpected difficulties. For example: I managed to stumble into a popup on the iPhone version of Chrome — and now I can't figure out how to get rid of it without clicking the 'okay [I'll give you my soul permission to download malware onto this phone]' button. It is non-obvious how to force-quit out, and simply backing out of the Chrome app only delays the situation — when I load Chrome again I'm back in the same trap all over again, and the popup denies me the ability to otherwise interact with Chrome to, say, close the tab.

/fails to solve this with her usually excellent google-fu skills

help?
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 ... a decision whose wisdom is becoming more and more and more apparent the longer the current debacle goes on.

The significant discussion is going on in the personal dreamwidth of [personal profile] antarcticlust , here.  Two different concom members have spoken. I want to call your attention. to a comment by jamiam, also a concom member. Excerpted; the full response is at the link under "call your attention".

 "The concom was initially presented with the Frenkel subcommittee's decision on July 15, with the following preface:
 
This statement has been sent to Elise Matthesen and Lauren Jankowski, per their request. We are also circulating it to the concom for your information and advance notice; while we welcome your comments, this is the final document and it will not be changed at this point."
No comment.
 

"Wiscon itself was and is in danger this weekend, both as a concept and in practice. Various individuals from both sides are contemplating quitting the concom in sheer frustration, when the concom is already badly understaffed. A few of us are starting to think "burn it all down" makes sense. What's the point of a "feminist" convention if it can't listen to its own community and protect that community from harm? "
What indeed, asked jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.

"...it has made clear to the rest of the concom how the subcommittee could have arrived at the decision it did: by consciously omitting most of the relevant information about Jim Frenkel's history in the SFF community, and by (apparently?) failing to discuss much of the information that was requested from Wiscon members for the purpose of making this decision."
Well, that's certainly a solutiion.  To what?  I dunno.

"Antarcticlust was the right person for the job because she understood the need for someone to do it, and she had a plan, and she was willing to spar with reluctant and established concom members to get it in place before W38. Antarcticlust is a career academic, and the plan was based on the well-established academic model for dealing with harassment cases. Of course, this model has known flaws, and (in hindsight) I think the subcommittee system failed in a pretty typical fashion. "

The flaws in the academic model are not so much "known" as "notorious", witness the social media and mass media coverage -- including a front-page article in the New York Times! --  this Spring.  I bring this up because antarcticlust has repeatedly referred to her academic expertise as proof of her competence.    I would expect a person with academic expertise to be intimately familiar with, not just the flaws in the model, but the ongoing scandals directly attributable to this model.
Two down in the [personal profile] jamiam  comment thread; jamiam is once again speaking:

" I'm involved in STEM and academia as well as SFF fandom; I can tell you a hell of lot more people are impacted by the abuse that goes on in academia and STEM fields right now, and there are a hell of a lot more interesting words printed on the topic of how to deal with it in those fields."
And let their mothers lean from the upper windows and cry, "Let it blaze! Let it blaze! For we have done with this 'education!”   -- Virginia Woolf.  
Let it blaze.   I have done with this 'feminist convention'.
[personal profile] musesfool
Last night, I had to take TWO benadryls to be able to sleep because I was suddenly attacked by HIVES at bedtime. nothing graphic, but it might count as tmi? I don't even know anymore )

*

Question for the old flist: I know that DC comics exist in the Marvelverse (both 616 [Peter claiming he's Batman] and Ultimate [Peter wishing to join the Teen Titans]) (hmm...I sense a theme there...), but do Marvel comics exist in the DCU? Even if they're not called that? (Like, they could be Timely comics, I guess?)

I ask because I'm poking at one of my old wsip - the one where ultimate!Peter wakes up in the (preboot) DCU - and he knows all about Batman etc. via comics, but I don't know if Dick et al. are familiar with Spider-Man. I'm tending to think not? I think that is what I'm going with in the story, anyway, because I can't remember otherwise, but is there any canon that would settle the issue? (Not that I, obviously, care that much about canon when it comes to comics, but it does inform my decision. And I don't mean the actual canon crossovers either. I mean where the Marvel characters exist as comics characters, not real people, in the DCU.)

*

Because I care

Jul. 21st, 2014 12:42 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
For people baffled that, for example, someone could grope a Hugo-winning author on stage without suffering any consequences for attending subsequent cons, the secret fannish rating system prevents action until one's SFR number drops below zero. It is as follows

Ogling: -1 pt
Touching (non-sexual): - 5 points
Touching (sexual): -10
Harassment: -10
Rape: -15
Murder or Cannibalism: -20
Murder and Cannibalism: -30
Embarrassing the con: -115
Being a SMOF: +120 pts
Being a BNE: 90 pys
Being a BNF: 60 pts
Being a BNA: 30 pts
Being Harlan Ellison™: 10000 pts
Being a regular fan: 1
Being a "mundane": 0

Positive numbers are divided by two, rounded down, for people not unambiguously male. During disputes between fans, their numbers are compared and whoever has the higher number wins. Note that the minus modifiers apply against both the subject of the complaint and the person complaining.

some things

Jul. 21st, 2014 08:25 am
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Right on cue: while unpacking a box that had lived for over two decades in my mother's home, I've found several Darkover novels, The Keeper's Price, three S&S anthologies, and Piers Anthony's Battle Circle (omnibus of Sos the Rope, Var the Knife, and someone the Stick) . . . as well as the second trio of Glen Cook's Black Company books, Where the Red Fern Grows, and a random library discard called The Golden Doors by Edward Fenton, which acquainted me minimally with Guelphs and Ghibellines. Cook's novels ought not to be in that box in terms of strata, though Fern stands out in the other temporal direction. Fern is the first novel I remember for provoking tears, when I was seven, and I didn't read Cook till Usenet days, during college or shortly afterwards.

eBay tips for selling books (not these in particular) would be very welcome. I have a few first-printing Star Trek original series novels that I don't care to keep, frex, and though I don't imagine that they'll fetch a lot of money, it'd be nice to pair them with someone who does care. (After I've read a paperback, generally one cannot tell that anyone has.)

I did things.

Jul. 21st, 2014 08:58 am
[personal profile] oracne
I managed to accomplish some things on the weekend.

1. Did laundry!

2. Finished reading review book.

3. Wrote just over 2000 words on a story for a charity anthology.

4. Put away a few more things from my suitcase, from my Readercon trip. Also put away the previous load of laundry.

5. Sixteen pushups!!! In two sets of eight. This was Friday evening, and yes I was sore, but I could do it, and my arm didn't tremble, and there was no freaky pain. I cannot fully express my relief that I was able to do that.
[personal profile] coffeeandink


This is the email I sent to the Member Advocate in response to the decision:

I'm writing to object to the decision made in the Jim Frenkel harassment case. It is unsatisfactory both as a resolution to this case and as an indication of how Wiscon will handle harassment cases in the future. It is especially disappointing coming from a feminist organization. I've seen Wiscon go through turmoil and divisive arguments over the past ten years (the POC Safe Space, Moonfail), but I've also seen Wiscon demonstrate a commitment to doing better by reversing those previous mistakes and poor decisions. That is what I expected to happen with the two mishandled harassment cases (Jim Frenkel and F. J. Bergmann) that have been under scrutiny.

The Wiscon Subcommittee on the harassment case stated that "WisCon will (provisionally) not allow Jim Frenkel to return for a period of four years (until after WisCon 42 in 2018)." This is a very obscure way of saying that he is only definitely banned for Wiscon 39 in 2015 and may return by 2016.

I am not in favor of zero-tolerance policies, primarily because they discourage people from reporting. However, Jim Frenkel's actions more than suffice for a permanent ban. The suggestion that he might be permitted to represent the con in an official capacity as a program participant or volunteering in another capacity just adds insult to injury.

To review Frenkel's actions:

1) He harassed Lauren Jankowski and Elise Matthesen on separate occasions in front of multiple witnesses at Wiscon 37.

2) Multiple women have come forward to attest that he has a long-term pattern of harassment of a period of years.

3) When his presence was challenged by Liz Henry at the con, he said that he had deliberately chosen to attend Wiscon 38 because of the public outcry after Wiscon 37, rather than showing any contrition or understanding of the impact of his actions.

I would be in favor of a permanent ban even if he had shown some sign of learning better, but the third point makes it especially outrageous that you are taking so many pains to give him opportunities to "reform".

This prioritizes the harasser over his targets, and is only compounded by the Committee's statement that

Any consideration of allowing him to return will be publicized in WisCon publications and social media at least three months before a final decision is made.


This requires the targets of his harassment to argue that their safety supersedes a harasser's well-being. How is this even an argument rather than an assumption at "the world's leading feminist convention"? This doesn't offer the targets the opportunity to speak for themselves; it just exposes them to public and protracted discussion of their harassment. I, personally, still do not ever want to see or hear the names of people who harassed me much longer ago than four years. Or one year.

I am not sure what can be done to amend the damage this decision has caused, but the following would be a start:

(1) The institution of permanent ban against Jim Frenkel.

(2) Yet another apology to Elise Matthesen and Lauren Jankowski for mishandling this case.

(3) Publishing the guidelines developed by this committee to handle harassment cases for review by the Wiscon membership. What to do after that would depend on whether the problem here lay in the process or the people. I regret to say this because I like and respect several individuals on the current Committee, but if it's necessary to rewrite the new guidelines, this should be done by people other than the panel for the Jim Frenkel case. This should not be allowed to delay the progress of Bergmann case, which has already gone on too long.

Question

Jul. 21st, 2014 12:34 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Can anyone tell me anything about the Ocean Living Institute, which I believe was active in the 1970s and whether or not there were two companies or more by that name at that time?

[perfume!]

Jul. 20th, 2014 09:27 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
So I have a significant collection of BPAL perfumes and have pretty much figured out which of their stuff works on me and which doesn't, and I thought I'd explore something new. The something new was Haus of Gloi, which now I can't even remember how I heard of them.

I got three samples (a fourth was included as a gift) as well as a bottle of custom blend ($20, list of available single notes), which is a neat thing they do: you choose up to whatever four notes you like and they'll blend it up for you. They give some guidelines but really, you are free to experiment; it's your money. :) [edited to add linky stuff!]

Lavender Sugar
White sugar infused with the finest Bulgarian lavender and Madagascar vanilla beans.

In the vial this smells sharply of lavender. Once applied, the lavender mellows and the sugar comes through. I didn't detect the vanilla, but it's probably because it's well-blended. I don't like this enough to buy a full bottle of it (I'm not huge into florals; this was the freebie), but it was fun to try. On me it lasted a decent several hours.

Troika
A trinity of soft milks, almond, oat and coconut, lashed with sweet agave nectar and the ethereal scent of clean white.

Milk/sweet blends rarely do much on me, but I keep hoping. In the vial I smelled vanilla (probably my nose getting confused!) and strong almond. This died down to a sweetish almond on my skin, and became hard to detect rather quickly. Ah well.

Cozy Sweater
Pale skin musk, faded perfume, Egyptian amber, softly burning nag champa incense and a fine aged vanilla.

I got mostly the musk and vanilla, I think. This is sort of faded-smelling and really evocatively named. I'm sorry it didn't last long on me, and became too faint too quickly on top of that. Still, it's really nice for what it is.

Litchi Milk Tea Perfume
Tart lychee fruit and black tea met with a splash of coconut milk.

In the vial I smell lychee and something creamy, and on my skin it's still very fruity! I liked this a lot and will probably save for a bottle, as I'm very fond of fruity scents. This is bright and cheerful and reminds me a little of BPAL's Aglaea (which is peaches, not lychee, and has a powdery undertone rather than the smooth creaminess). It lasts a decent while on me, too. Yay!

Custom Blend: cardamom, chai, woodsmoke, red musk
I wanted this for a particular reason and had no idea whether the scent would come out the way I hoped it would; but that's the joy of experimentation. (I have done amateur perfume-blending. It's a total pain and I pretty much suck at it, but it was fun. I have a bunch of accords and essential oils sitting around so it might make a good rainy weekend project for the lizard and me.) To my joy, this came out pretty much the way I wanted it to! It's harsh in the bottle, cardamom and smoke and a bit of tea, but once on my skin, it mellows rapidly. After about a half-hour to an hour I can't detect the cardamom anymore, but the chai-woodsmoke-musk blends to this lovely sweet smokiness. I am so happy!
[personal profile] musesfool
I decided to make blueberry cake (pic) today with my blueberries - it was easy and tastes lovely. I gave half away to L. when we met for dinner, and cut the rest of it up for breakfast and snacks for the week so I didn't have to keep a giant tray of cake in my fridge.

*

I really enjoyed this week's two episodes of Legend of Korra, but I don't feel like I have anything to say. I used to be better at capturing my thoughts about tv shows, but lately I just don't have the brain for it, at least not on the weekend.

*

I keep thinking of things for this story and then I'm like, no, that doesn't work. Sigh. My writer's block, if you can even call it that (I try not to), isn't generally speaking a lack of words - I can write ridiculous banter for days, even when it's going absolutely nowhere - but a lack of knowing what happens next. I don't recall it being so difficult so frequently before, but the past couple of years, that's where I've really struggled, and the stories themselves haven't always provided me with the answers (which is how it used to happen pretty much all the time). I don't know why that is, but it's damn frustrating. And even if I were the outlining type, which I'm not, I don't think I could fill in the outline when I hit one of these snags. I know what the outcomes are supposed to be, but not how to get there. Why is writing so hard?

*

Ah, well, The Musketeers is on shortly. I only have two episodes left. I'm trying to ration them out, because ugh, I can't stand the idea of not having more. Otoh, after the thing that happens in episode 8, it has been really hard for me to not rush right into the next episode. But I was strong. Sigh. I might need a lot of fic though.

*

[ObMeme]

Jul. 20th, 2014 07:33 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
ETA: Most of my extant fic. Yuletide and Buffyverse and FMA, with some oddballs thrown in.

Because I need to contemplate something that is not the mess that WisCon has become, a meme!
By way of [personal profile] vesperregina:
Ask me a question about one of my fics or series. It can be absolutely anything in any project and I will tell you the honest-to-goodness answer (even on the progress/plans for next chapters of current series).

Don’t hold back. Whatever you ask, I’ll answer as truthfully and as completely as possible. You can also ask about my writing as a whole, if you like.

(Note that if you ask about non-fic writing, I may have to fudge on the truthfully/completely if it's something I can't talk about yet.)

japanese yarn, take two

Jul. 20th, 2014 03:34 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
So now I have this:

three small clickable images and some fidgeting with kana + kanji )

...from which I take away...

1. Katakana is harder for the uninitiated to stare down than kanji (the smaller size of some characters must have meaning).

2. The drawing input on my smartphone can be merciful if I get the whole glyph into my head, then draw the strokes as best I can without looking a second time---the finger that hesitates produces only "t" and "5" no matter what was attempted. It's probably really good practice, though I ought to be learning hanja readings instead. *coughs* All but a few kanji/kana in this post were drawn via Microsoft IME (computer mouse) or Android (my finger), not c&p, because neither Acrobat nor CamScanner could cope with the label's font changes, idiosyncrasies, and minor damage. The few were chosen by radical in Jsho.

3. At this time the market didn't require indicating the average length of a ball of yarn, only its approximate weight---or I've misconstrued something horribly, or the omission is why Kanebo now makes cosmetics and high-tensile polyester fibers instead of modest wool for the home. "Superfine" pertains to the wool's quality, though this happens to be two-ply/laceweight; there's a gokuboso aran/worsted-weight yarn amongst their more recent offerings.

4. The Jsho dictionary app for Android is not bad, in that its definitions make some sense.

5. If you give me a word problem of some kind, and if someone small has a nap of appropriate length, I can waste two hours on it without really noticing. Oops.

WisCon...This is How You Fail

Jul. 20th, 2014 04:40 pm
[personal profile] karnythia
I have no intention of dropping out of attending WisCon. I have a lot of friends that go, and Wiscon is the only con where we can all get together. I refuse to give up my time with friends because of Jim Frenkel. This is not a new approach. It has been my approach since long before Frenkel being able to attend WisCon was ever in question. You see, I have never thought of WisCon as safe space. Not after 2009 (my first trip) and if I hoped it was safe space before then...well I was naive and I didn't know any better. I do now. Race, gender, and class have all been issues at various points for me at WisCon. Most incidents fall into microaggression territory, and as a personal philosophy I tend not to let those dissuade me from things I want to do. That is an eminently personal choice, and should not be construed as telling anyone else what to do or how to feel. If my friends stop going, then so will I. That's my standard. YMMV.

Now that we've gotten the niceties out of the way, let's talk about Frenkel. More specifically, let's talk about Frenkel, WisCon, and the response that has everyone up in arms. See back in 2009 when this picture of Frenkel staring at my breasts was taken Frenkel it was in many ways just one of those things. It was my first time at a con, we were trying to get the now defunct Verb Noire off the ground, and Frenkel was an editor at Tor. It sucks, but as a woman trying (and yes, failing) to get a new business off the ground, there was no value add in me doing more about Frenkel ogling me than getting away from him. I had been warned a few minutes earlier about his long running pattern of bad behavior towards women, and was laboring under the impression that he was tolerated at WisCon because of his position at Tor. It's awful to say this I suppose, but having worked in corporate America for some years I have a certain tolerance built up for moments like this one. That's a me thing, it does not need to be a you thing.

Over the years since when I've gone to WisCon I've made a point of steering clear of Frenkel. I've warned others about him as necessary and life has gone on. During that time I've had other issues with WisCon from fighting about the POC safe space with certain members of the concom to MoonFail. I have had it driven home over and over again that feminist space is not safe space. And yes, I've chosen to keep going anyway, while fighting all those battles to make WisCon a better space. Not safe...just better. Then Frenkel tried it with someone willing to make a report to his employer (that saga is detailed elsewhere and is not my story to tell, though I will say that I submitted this picture and an explanation of it to MacMillan in the interests of full disclosure) and faced appropriate consequences as a result. Which...removes the professional stake reasons for WisCon to keep admitting him.

Fast forward to earlier this year when the subject of Frenkel attending WisCon & possibly being on programming was raised on the concom list. On April 14th I said:
So I'm going to stick my nose in & say that I have avoided Frenkel at Wiscon every year since my first trip to WisCon. The first time I met Frenkel he spent the entirety of a fortunately brief interaction staring at my breasts. There are pictures in case anyone wants proof. I have long operated under the assumption that his presence had to be tolerated because of his position with Tor. Now I have to ask exactly what is the value add of him being on programming? For that matter regardless of whose friend he is, the fact that Frenkel was someone for women to avoid was known long before 2009. This is one of those times when WisCon could avoid a problem, but I suspect things won't be that easy. Personally I had no idea he was on any programming & assumed common sense would keep him from volunteering.


As we all know Frenkel did in fact attend Wiscon this year, and while he was not on any programming, he did volunteer in the con suite. There are any number of posts about the conversations he had with people, and how unhappy and unsafe some people felt as a result of his presence. For the record, I only saw him once, I side stepped having to interact with him at all. This is always my policy. This will always be my policy. See the aforementioned refusal to let people like him drive me away from things I enjoy doing. But note, I did attempt to tell the WisCon concom that this could only end in tears. And yes, it did lead us to the statement from a few days ago that is going to be clarified. I saw it before it dropped, but I apparently read it incorrectly, as I thought it was a four year ban followed by him having to apply to be allowed back at the con. I thought the language around that part of the process was a bit unclear, but it's been a really hectic time in my life so I didn't pause to ask for clarification.

I regret not digging in further, as I can now see that my understanding was incorrect. Although Frenkel's presence is not a breaking point for me, I can absolutely see why it would be that way for others. Additionally, there's the confusion in this thread about my report and it's impact on the proceedings. I've written about the incident with Frenkel in the past, so when I was asked for the picture and the statement on June 2nd of this year I assumed it would be a factor in the decision. As of right now it may have been, or maybe not. I'm a wee bit unclear and may remain that way in the days ahead. I am not mentioned in the statement so I don't know what to think. I am being told that it was not ignored. After being told that it wasn't known. So...make of that what you will.

Mind you, I never actually expected Frenkel to respect a ban from WisCon if one was ever handed down. He's got that kind of personality from what I have seen and heard that lets one rewrite reality to suit, and WisCon is generally not designed for a mass shunning. But here's the thing, this all looks bad. Really really incredibly bad. And I don't think it is supposed to be such a hot ass mess. But it has come out that way, and I'm...whatever the feeling is past anger and sadness. Resigned maybe? Yeah that sounds right. Resigned to the idea that WisCon isn't going to be a better space any time soon.

Or maybe at all. WisCon bills itself as a feminist sci-fi con. And compared to some others that I have attended, it is definitely better at paying lip service to being feminist than any of them. At times it is even feminist in its approach. But...that doesn't make it good at it. That doesn't make it more welcoming, safer, or significantly more adept at making policies than others. Being less awful isn't the same as being good. So yes, treat WisCon as a fun place to go with your friends, expect to have some great convos, delicious food, and a whole lot of booze. But, don't expect WisCon to be a safe space. Right now, don't even expect it to be a better space. Expect it to be less awful. That's it.

Some really good people who I like a lot as a general rule are on the concom. Some folks I don't think very highly of are also on the concom. They are all trying to do their best to whatever degree that may factor into your impression of things. Is their best good enough? Well no. Probably not. This wasn't good enough for me. I don't object so much to the possible presence of Frenkel at the hotel, as I do to WisCon not stating definitively that his behavior (which let us all be honest isn't all that unusual at cons) is unacceptable. If a feminist sci-fi con has a problem stating that a pattern of persistent inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated, then aside from panel topics what makes it more feminist than any other? For that matter, I've done some of the same panels elsewhere. Because fandom talks about these things in places that are not WisCon. And realistically, what WisCon has just said sounds a lot like "We're feminist so we can't be wrong." Heh, funny how hollow that always sounds. Turns out solidarity might just be for white men.

ETA: So Wiscon has made an apology. It's not one that I find particularly compelling, especially since I am also on the concom Google group (as I have been since 2009) and I just saw the Member Advocate state that despite having approved the apology wording, they can't really get "exercised about not including it in the document the subcommittee worked with (though doing so would have been more complete)" though they did share "incidents, letters from people who talked about their discomfort that did not rise to an incident, and letters from members who were distressed" which...oh. OH. Apparently everything else that happened was more relevant than Frenkel's behavior towards me.

Now, I know that what he did to me was barely actionable from a legal perspective. After all I immediately removed from his reach and have never gone near him again. But come on now, at least pretend to give a damn about what happened to me. Try to feign some concern. Or at least don't hand out hollow worthless apologies with one hand, while making it clear that some members are definitely worth less to you than others. Yes. I'm angry. No, I'm not so sure I'll still be going to Wiscon. May is months away, and there are a lot of things that can happen between now and then. Including exploring the potential of a new home con. Because clearly Wiscon isn't even interested in being a better space. It's just a hot damned mess.

I mean, really.

Jul. 20th, 2014 12:10 pm
[personal profile] mme_hardy
  •  The hat workshop was satisfying and exhausting.   The hat frame I made is most becoming; I've covered the brim and today will start on the crown.  I arrived to discover I'd brought the foot pedal to the Bernina but not the power cord (!!!).  My kindly table-mate let me use her machine, which had lots of automatic features including dropping the presser foot only when you hit the foot pedal (I hated this!), automatically backstitching and cutting thread (cool) and going into a funk requiring a reboot when I hit millinery wire with the needle (!!!!).  It turned out to be an $11,000 machine -- with advanced embroidery features, admittedly.   At that price I can get a used car.  (huggles her 20-year-old Bernina)
  • Thai Silks in Los Altos is drastically cutting back on the range of fabrics they sell because customers aren't buying -- for instance, they're cutting back to black, white, and beige taffeta only. :(
  • Last month my son's video card died, the water heater died, and I had to make an emergency plumber call for a blocked sink and tub.
  • Yesterday the dryer turned out not to work (hoping this can be repaired), the cat brought a live lizard into the house, the tub was still not draining properly, and my son developed an ailment that needs doctor's attention on a weekday.  (We called the advice line to check.)  The plumber offers a 30-day guarantee on drain cleaning, so I'll be calling them tomorrow.
  • The Kim Kardashian game is as addictive as advertised.
  • Note to self:  Pretty people are more likely to post selfies than plain people.   The fact that all the selfies you see on your feed are pretty should not lead you to believe that you're a hag.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2014 10:07 am
[personal profile] jhameia
- My friend Jess from Seattle, who I've known since my days on ShinraOnline.com (that's 2001, wow, so much for online friendships not being real amirite) came to visit because apparently her last visit to California was filled with microaggressive people who did not understand social justice at all so she needed to visit me to clean her palate. We went out to eat a lot because she is a food blogger and thus that is what foodies do.

- While she was here, I decided to take advantage of the fact that she lives in Seattle to finish Nisi's new bra and have her deliver it. I'd been fiddling with the pattern on and off for a while now so this gave me a chance to really work it. The first one I made was 1) a bit too big (apparently this is a possible thing); 2) that terrible ordinary straps that fed into her shoulder grooves; 3) had the most worthless band for supporting large boobs possible as it is a standard band. THIS TIME, I adapted the band into the shape of a strapless bra, which included boning, and put boning in the lower cup, and finished it with padding in the shoulder strap. My bra teacher (or as she is affectionately known, the Fairy Bra Mother) told me that the pads used for push-up bras are really good fod re-distributing weight on the shoulders. So. The bra will be delivered on Wednesday and I have to wait for feedback now. If this works, I can re-do it into something much better (the boning was kind of sewn on quite simply and it could stand to be reinforced. With nicer top-stitching).

- In preparation for San Diego Comic Con, I find myself without a carry-on bag that I can carry on my shoulders. I usually have a little white roller-bag but I think I'm going to do a far bit of walking so I would rather not subject wheels to that. I was gonna make a new one, but I think I'll pass this time and just focus on packing *very very* light. I don't plan on attending any steampunk gatherings so I'll leave the magistrate costume at home (and it never gets recognized anyway but by people who've already seen it). I found the Greyhound station and it seems really cheap to get there and back, too. Still trying to decide if I want to return on Sunday (only one bus, at the same time as a panel on multicultural heroes =/) or Monday morning (which necessitates finding a place to stay and then getting a ride into town to the station).

Does anybody want anything from Comic Con?

- Also! on Friday evening! At Pokez Restaurant! We're trying to get together POC creators, and fans, for you know, socializing. It'll be fun!

- Five things make a post, so. Uhm. Would anybody like to buy a skirt from me? 35" waist, 18" long, green/blue paisley, four in-seam POCKETS and a lot of flare! I think it's my best work so far but my waist is only 32" as it turns out so this sits on my hips uncomfortable, and I didn't add belt loops because it would fold weirdly under a belt.
[personal profile] kate_nepveu

Listened this morning while exercising. Just one comment:

spoilers )

Two questions for Tor

Jul. 20th, 2014 02:48 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

The four-year mark is based on the fact that, because of an agreement with Tor, Frenkel is not able to make a public apology for five years (so, for four more years).


1: Has Tor in fact abjured Frenkel from making a public apology for five years or has perhaps some misapprehension occurred here?

2: What interest of Tor's does this serve?

japanese yarn

Jul. 20th, 2014 11:14 am
[personal profile] thistleingrey
I have a few skeins of Japanese yarn. Their label says what looks like "糸田." The first character indicates laceweight, I think--which matches how the yarn looks--but is there another reading for 田 besides "da" = rice field? Have I misconstrued what looks like 田?

That part is cross-posted to [community profile] knitting.

Here I will add that I want to add the yarn to Ravelry's database, which requires identifying which parts of the label are which, and that the yarn was inherited by a friend from a grandparent who used to run a shop: it's from the 1970s, IIRC. The manufacturer is Kanebo in this case--I've four labels to sort out.

Also, one might think that a smartphone's touchscreen is a good way to draw kanji when one cannot pick out the character readily by number of strokes from the Jsho dictionary app, but Win 7's Microsoft IME (which also has a drawing feature, though in my case I must move a cordless mouse while "drawing") does better. The phone's input assumes way too soon that I've finished a glyph.

ETA The two characters above are preceded by "極," which I suppose are better translated together as "fine laceweight" than "very threadlike." :P

ETA2 I've figured it out: 細 is a single character. Never mind.
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

As a member of the Frenkel Subcommittee and Chair of the Harassment Policy Committee, I'm writing this in an effort to address member concerns and provide some transparency about how we came to recent decisions. I am speaking only for myself, and not in any official Wiscon capacity.

July 2014

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