[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
The email signature on my ipad includes the phrase "Remember the ’90s," and I just found out a few days ago that either iOS Mail or Gmail is corrupting the character encoding, turning it into "Remember the �f90s?"

WHICH IS ACTUALLY LIKE 50 TIMES MORE THEMATICALLY ON-POINT. I fucking love it. (Although if I'm remembering my ’90s correctly, the proper mojibake would be something like Ó, right?)
[personal profile] yhlee
I'm not convinced the composition holds up to the addition of color, but oh well, now I know...comments/crit welcome, as always.

Podcast Interview

Mar. 4th, 2015 12:00 pm
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Sherwood and I were interviewed on the Outer Alliance podcast by Julia Rios. Please feel free to ask follow-up questions here. (Spoilers are clearly stated in the interview, in "skip ahead a few minutes" format.)
[personal profile] silveraspen
Lunch hour, lunch half-hour, lunch some-number-of-minutes-with-food-at-the-desk... eh, whatever. It's still a good time for a quick Reading Wednesday update.

What I just finished reading: I went through two new books in the last day or so, both of which are new releases. The first was Dead Heat, by Patricia Briggs, which is the fourth novel in the Alpha and Omega series, and the second was Pocket Apocalypse, by Seanan McGuire, which is the fourth novel in the Incryptid series. Both were fun reads that delivered on what their respective series so far have brought.

I also finished reading The Martian, by Andy Weir, fairly recently, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys space exploration, science, or both. Thanks to [personal profile] ashen_key for recommending it!

What I'm reading now: I'm about halfway through Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman. Some of the stories I'd read before, but others I hadn't, and I'm enjoying the experience.

What I'm reading next: I have three things on my list for the near future: The Three Body Problem, by Cixin Liu; The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo; and Data and Goliath, by Bruce Schnier.

Of course, first I have to read a grant proposal and a number of manuscripts. I better get back to that.

Bleah.

Mar. 4th, 2015 12:55 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
Grey day. At least it's getting warmer out. Downside: warmer weather means I get to start worrying about the leaky roof again real soon now.

Also: the plumbing is still screwed up. This has been the winter the plumbing repairs from the last round a few years back all decided to go, and convinced the came-with-the-house-when-we-bought-it downstairs toilet to come along for the ride.

I spent most of February in a state of general crankiness at the world in general. I hope March is better -- I don't actually enjoy being cranky, after all.

if you want me, satisfy me

Mar. 4th, 2015 11:52 am
[personal profile] musesfool
It took me an hour and forty five minutes to get to work this morning. Thank you, MTA. (in light of that, I did stop in at Starbucks for an iced latte. Sometimes I just need an iced latte.)

And then the printer jammed the first time I tried to print something, and it still is not working.

At least my period didn't arrive during that epic commute, which I was kind of braced for, since it's a couple days late (last month, it was exactly on time, just before we boarded the cruise ship, because of course it was).

But I am so done with today. So done! And apparently tomorrow is going to be worse, since instead of 36°F and raining, it's going to be back below freezing and snowing. After raining all day today. So disgusting. I am so sick of winter. Fuck winter. I hate it so much. Give me all your 95°F days and your heatwaves. I'll even take the stifling, stinking subway over this. I mean, I prefer summer to winter anyway, but this is fucking ridiculous and I'd like to lodge a complaint.

Enough of that. On to bookish things! What I'm reading Wednesday:

What I've just finished
Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, which is the first in a series of time travel novels, but I don't think I'm going to be reading the rest. The story itself is interesting (though I get the feeling this totally originated as Oxford Time Travel series AU fanfic, whether the author is actually in fandom or not), but there were some things in it that I did not like at all, which dropped it down from "I definitely liked this" to "I mostly liked this with huge caveats that make me side-eye the author a little."

spoilers, also, cw for attempted rape and a miscarriage )

Anyway, if you can't tell, all that really soured me on the book. Thinking about it now, I wouldn't even say I mostly liked it, though there were definitely things I liked a lot, like the premise and the time travel stuff. It's all that character stuff that left me unwilling to subject myself to more. I wish goodreads allowed half or quarter stars so I could rate it properly there.

I also read The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu, which is an aliens-are-secretly-responsible-for-everything (and I do mean everything) in human history thriller. It's fun, and even though it too has lady character issues (there are only three with any major roles and one of them is as a love interest who isn't in on the secret, and spoiler ) at least nobody in it is threatened with rape.

It's the story of Roen Tan, an unhappy, overweight IT guy who comes into contact with Tao, an alien who reveals that the whole of human history has been the cover for a war between two alien factions, and now Roen has been drafted into that war, so he's going to have to get in shape and learn to fight. spoiler )

The author, Wesley Chu, is a martial artist and a gymnast, so his action scenes are kinetic and you can tell he knows what he's talking about, even if I skimmed a lot of fight description towards the end. The book has a fun comic-book feel to it, and I have hopes that the lady problem I mentioned earlier might be redressed in the next book.

What I'm reading now
Technically nothing, as I finished The Lives of Tao last night and was going to start The Deaths of Tao on my commute this morning, but see above. I did not have a chance to read on my commute this morning.

What I'm reading next
So I can actually answer this for once, based on a technicality! I am reading The Deaths of Tao next!

***

In other cool news, Tom McRae has a new album coming out in May! Yay! Thanks to [personal profile] umadoshi for the link.

***

linkspam is lazing about the house

Mar. 4th, 2015 08:29 am
[personal profile] cofax7
I ran across this webcomic and really enjoyed it. So noted so I can stick in my feed.

Oh, this is right on point. (Must email N for drinks!)

The Hairpin stands up for Lina Lamont.

I'm sorry, I am not trading in my hefty tea mug for a delicate china cup.

This story reminds me of Otter. Hope she's doing okay!

Crows are amazing, yo.

Hollywood Reporter has a nice long interview with Kyle Chandler. "I couldn't coach my way out of a paper bag." (He's still asked to speak to coaches and teams and politely declines.) Also he has a new show coming this spring, on Netflix!

Great article about exercise, particularly for women. Nice & straightforward, myth-dispelling.

Woah: a privately-funded slavery museum in Louisiana. Forty-eight years after World War II, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in Washington. A museum dedicated to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks opened its doors in Lower Manhattan less than 13 years after they occurred. One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, however, no federally funded museum dedicated to slavery exists, no monument honoring America's slaves.

Ursula LeGuin comments on Kazuo Ishigiro's new novel. I heard him interviewed the other day, and didn't catch that exchange, but the local paper reviewed the book and used the T-word (transcends) in referring to its relationship with the fantastic. So. I do like Ishigiro, but LeGuin's commentary does put a damper on my enthusiasm.

memory jog, please

Mar. 4th, 2015 11:23 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Discontinued webcomic set in a fantasy world post-industrial revolution. Lead was a half-elf woman old enough to remember the good old days when nine of ten babies died in th first year.

Sort of became 'semi-naked heavily tattooed women discuss science and stuff' towards the end.

It's almost Purim! Have some fic!

Mar. 4th, 2015 11:13 am
[personal profile] kass
The first day of [community profile] purimgifts stories has gone live -- the collection is here. You can use the "fandoms" tag in the left-hand sidebar to sort by fandom; of course, 2/3 of the stories aren't yet revealed because only day 1 stories are live, but I'm having a blast surfing by fandom. Yay Purimgifts! Yay Purim!

Wednesday Reading

Mar. 4th, 2015 09:48 am
[personal profile] oracne
I just got through the 1960s in High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America by Jessica Harris; I'm on the last third or so.

In fanfiction, over the weekend while home sick I fell into Motion Practice by the wordbutler, a very long and involved AU in which the Avengers and other Marvel characters are lawyers. This story was from Clint Barton's pov as a new Assistant DA and kept me involved without being too challenging. For my lawyer friends out there, the author has many disclaimers, just so you know. It's got a romance-y plot along with a murder trial.

I'm almost done with Fair Winds and Homeward Sail by Ione, a story about the Crofts, beginning long before Persuasion but incorporating some of it from their POV. Highly recommended.

Instarec! :D :D :D

Mar. 4th, 2015 07:06 am
[personal profile] lannamichaels


Squeee! [personal profile] rymenhild wrote this hilarious fic for Adar Crack, it is awesome:

One Ring to Bind Them: A Halachic Inquiry on the Occasion of Purim 5775 (597 words) by Rymenhild
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien, Jewish Legend & Lore
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: purim torah, i am not a rabbi, this is not halachic advice
Summary:

Rabbi, is it possible to use the One Ring, to rule them all, in the ceremony of kiddushin to solemnize a marriage?

adenosine triphosphate

Mar. 3rd, 2015 10:28 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
[though it's not Wed yet here, Wed is likely to eat me]
Alan Bradley, The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (2014): this is book #6 about Flavia de Luce (aged 11-12, youngest of three sisters), who solves mysteries earnestly with chemistry and some verve in postwar England. I like the idea of these very much, perhaps better than I appreciate the execution of the first two; upon hearing that #7 will take Flavia away to boarding school in Canada (and me away from a setting that doesn't quite cohere), I decided to dip back in.

Um. Flavia's mother, Harriet, had been missing for a decade---spying---and has now turned up, dead. For nearly half the book, Flavia is bent upon doing something logical, spoilery, and doomed. I cannot tell whether the reader is supposed to think it doomed, partly because 1950s Flavia imagines that it will work, though there are hints that the adults around her only seem to be oblivious, largely because her project may enable something else to occur in passing (besides the necessary processing of grief for long absence). So, instead of escaping into a mystery/adventure, I have spent several lunchtimes having a sinking feeling and wanting to give someone soup. The only trouble is that Flavia-POV does not permit any reflection upon that something else: resolution without resolution. I dunno---it's fine.

Lately I find myself skipping over books I hope to enjoy because I fear their coming across only as fine, and opting for books I don't expect to like in order to cross them off the to-be-read list. Odd sort of punishment, either way, though it didn't start with that intention. Must fix.

"Two steps forward"

Mar. 3rd, 2015 09:58 pm
[personal profile] rosefox
Note to self: "my arm is only slightly sore" is not a good reason to go work out with a personal trainer and then knit for three solid hours. Whooooof. It's back up to about 90% health but there were a few two-Celebrex days in there.

I also ate something yesterday that gave me 36 hours of some of the most intense intestinal discomfort I've ever experienced. Fortunately we had some probiotics in the medicine cabinet, and that plus a lot of ginger and fennel and very plain food seems to have mostly fixed it up.

So between those two things and the last of the winter blahs (WINTER. GO AWAY. IT'S MARCH. YOUR TIME HERE IS DONE.), I have not been very productive over the last two weeks. But today I buckled down--even though I wasn't feeling well enough to go to the library--and got completely caught up. Personal inbox zero, work inbox zero, work to-do list clear. My rejiggered to-do list definitely helps me to catch up quickly when I'm behind, and the work I was dreading the most turned out to be the easiest and fastest to do. I even did the last tiny thing that I could technically have left until tomorrow. All the rationales for "why not do it tomorrow?" are the same rationales for "why not do it now?" (it's small, it's quick, it's not urgent, there's no stress) so I did it now. I feel very good about this. :)

In theory March is when I start actually writing Valour Advances the Man. I'm frankly terrified. My outline isn't ready yet! I'm still figuring out important plot points! Can't I just research forever? But really the problem is that I haven't been doing research any more than I've been doing work, so the magic has lost its hold a bit. I hope that some intensive reading over the next two days will get me fired up enough to push through the fear and start work on what I tell myself very firmly will be a rough first draft. And having some research left to do means I can still be productive on days when I can't bear the thought of writing.

We're apparently in for another two days of utterly miserable weather. Then, I hope, we will start to have something like spring. I've taken to putting on this eight-hour video of a sunny forest full of birdsong as a sort of low-grade constant therapy for SAD. It genuinely does help. It's also generally relaxing to listen to, even when I don't have it foregrounded. I'm going to leave it up now while I read about the history of homosexuality, to soothe me through the parts that make me angry and sad. And then I will get to write a book where queer people get to be happy and live long satisfied lives and never see the inside of a courtroom, and it will be grand.

quantum physics workshop for writers

Mar. 3rd, 2015 08:12 pm
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Hey writers in all kinds of media: this summer, Chad and the Joint Quantum Institute in Maryland are hosting The Schrödinger Sessions: Science for Science Fiction, which is a three-day workshop on quantum physics for writers (a la the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop). Check out his blog post for more details; applications will open Friday. Housing and breakfast+lunch will be provided (there may also be a small amount of money for travel support), and diversity is a priority in selecting applicants. Please consider applying if it sounds interesting!

The Year So Far

Mar. 3rd, 2015 07:34 pm
[personal profile] jjhunter
JANUARY: moonlight; cold; busy.

FEBRUARY: snow; winter piled on winter.

MARCH: melting (i hope)
[personal profile] yhlee


I'm enjoying using cool green for the lighting. The quasi-Sierpinski gasket was a complete pain, but it's also one of my favorite fractals.

That right bit of uniform was all I managed to get done during the hour of sunlight I had today. (I also, um, got moving late; I didn't feel well this morning and am wondering if I had a bit of whatever sickness Joe has right now.) I'd colored the gasket in two earlier sessions.

I love my 50-some Copic Sketch markers so much. It was a great investment.

The linework was originally done with Platinum Carbon ink using a frankenfountain pen with a fude nib, although I'm probably switching to markers because they smear less. Also, Platinum Carbon is (guess) a carbon ink, which means you have to be more diligent with maintenance, and it's just a pain to flush out of the pen.

We'll see when I next enjoy sunlight...

oh, dear

Mar. 3rd, 2015 05:38 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I may have inadvertently begun a war between street cat and the birds.

The Dybbuk in Love

Mar. 3rd, 2015 04:32 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
- Art link of the day: Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's "Dragonfly" [Shadowscapes]. Some close-ups at the link at well.

- recent reading
Sonya Taaffe ([personal profile] sovay). The Dybbuk in Love. I'll be brief, since this tale is itself brief (a chapbook? I am not sure of its length in words). It's a love/ghost story of a dybbuk who has fallen in love with an elementary school teacher, bittersweet and subtle. The language is beautiful; I savored it page by page. Passages like this:
Among the cracked and moss-freckled headstones, he stood quietly and waited for her; he did not look like a dead man, cloudy with light slipping around the edges of whatever otherworld had torn open to let him through, like a shroud-tangled Totentanz refugee with black holes for eyes and his heart gone to dust decades ago, and she wondered what she was seeing. Memories patched like old cloth, maybe, self sewed back together with fear and stubbornness and the blind, grappling desire for life. She did not think he was as truthful as a phonograph recording, a daguerrotype in sepia and silver, more like a poem or a painting; slantwise. He might have been thinking the same, for all the care his eyes took over her--puzzling out her accuracy, her details and her blind spots, the flawed mirrors of her eyes from the inside. What did the dreams of the living look like, from the vantage point of the dead?
[personal profile] telophase


Okay, it's, at first glance, obviously a Peter V. Brett book, but when you stick it next to the other three, it seriously jumps out in a bad way.

I haven't read the books (tried the sample of the first one, didn't like it) so I have no idea if there's a reason for the difference: if the first three completed an arc and The Skull Throne were starting a second series in the same world, I could see changing the design up a bit to make it look thematically similar while keeping the new series distinct, but I gather from reading the Tor post on the new cover that it's all part of the same series.

(The question is: will reprints of books 1-3 be redesigned versions that match book ?)

edit Looking at Amazon US, the Kindle covers appear to have the original cover designs--for books 1 and 2, it's the same art, but with the title much bigger and Brett's name much smaller. I expect the covers above are redesigns put out after it became a bestselling series and they wanted to capitalize on Brett's name.

Books 3 and 4 are showing as different than the above, but different in design from the original and the above designs of books 1 and 2.

Looking at Amazon UK, it appears that the above covers are actually the UK versions, and they have been redesigned with the new font (which makes it harder to read his name in the thumbnail!), although they can't quite seem to settle on a positioning and size for the book's title. Book 4 will still stick out, if it remains the same as above, as they've moved the novel's tag line down and moved the figure's head up.

In conclusion: guys, pick a design and stick with it!

at night i pray and clean my gun

Mar. 3rd, 2015 11:24 am
[personal profile] musesfool
It's weird not having my Monday night shows on - I was able to watch the hockey game (I'm so glad they didn't trade Zuccarello) and Star Wars Rebels at its usual time instead of recording one of the many reruns.

Rebels season finale spoilers )

***

To Do for March

Mar. 3rd, 2015 10:23 am
[personal profile] oracne
1. Compile tax deductions for 2014, assemble W4s and other paperwork, send to tax person.

2. Write a story about lesbians in WWI, 3K-6K, preferably on the longer side. The deadline is actually April 30th, but I have other writing deadlines coming up. I have a vacation day next week so I can get a head start.

3. Decide if I'm going to renew my NINC membership, which I've been pretty much ignoring.

4. Make an ophthalmologist appointment to check my prescription and all that standard stuff.

5. Fully empty out my suitcase that I took to Arisia. In January.

6. Figure out when I can take an actual week's vacation. Because I really need it.

7. Get a refund for those two concert tickets I accidentally bought for Saturday night, or find someone to take them and pay me. (I got four instead of two!) Refunded! *whew*

8. Figure out how I'm going to space the medical bills I finally got, a month after the procedure.

gender options

Mar. 3rd, 2015 08:20 am
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Hey DW,

Chad's doing a workshop and wants to get a diverse group of participants, but hand-coding free-form demographic responses would be suboptimal in light of the number of applications he expects. For a reasonably compact gender identification list, what would you suggest? Mine was cis female, trans female, cis male, trans male, genderqueer, agender, other, decline to state; corrections, improvements, rejections?

Thanks!

ETA: thank you, people who have pointed out this list is not cool; Chad has also separately decided to go with a free-text field for this question, but I will bear the lesson in mind.
[personal profile] sovay
Attention, [livejournal.com profile] nineweaving and [livejournal.com profile] weirdquark: John Ford's Upstream (1927) is a delightful backstage comedy set in a New York boarding house full of actors and vaudevillians. It is funny, affectionate, and full of theatrical in-jokes; Angela Carter couldn't have seen it because it was a lost film until 2009, but it's pretty much taking place in the slipstream of Wise Children (1991). The title has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. Apparently the studio had already announced an upcoming picture by the name of Upstream when the production stalled, so in order to deliver on their advertising, Fox Film Corporation slapped a last-minute replacement title card on Ford's The Public Idol and sent it out into the world, including New Zealand, where the current print was discovered with a cache of other silent films previously believed lost. Someone in the southern hemisphere please thank New Zealand for me.

The plot is the kind where a spine of narrative provides scaffolding for the character work; it's not difficult to describe, but it's not in some ways the heart of the story. There's a loose romantic triangle, which resolves in a remarkably sweet and sensible fashion. There's a lot of time spent with the boarders, who run the gamut of theatrical types from a medicine show, a mother-and-daughter sister act, a sultry "Soubrette," a gallantly aging "Star Boarder," and a pair of inseparable vaudeville hoofers to the wistful ex-tragedian who lights candles to a bust of Shakespeare and the memory of Edwin Booth and owes a lot of back rent.1 And then there are the fortunes of Eric Brashingham, the last and pointedly least of the Barrymores a celebrated theatrical family; his ego hasn't prevented him from taking work in a knife-throwing act, but the pay grade hasn't prevented him from regularly complaining that it's beneath him. The girl in the act is the lively, modern Gertie Ryans; the knife-thrower is the dashing Castilian Juan Rodriguez—John Rogers from Iowa to you. He's carrying a torch for Gertie, she's carrying one for Brashingham, if Brashingham is carrying a torch for anyone it's probably himself, the starry thespian he's always known he deserves to be. When a famous theatrical agent comes knocking in the middle of dinner, it's a shock to everyone that it's self-absorbed slacker Brashingham he's looking for. But the boarders are a staunch, if threadbare family; they rally around the young man and cheer him off to London, especially after an emergency boot camp in Shakespeare from reverent old Campbell-Mandare draws something out of him that looks like a real gift after all. The audience may now place their bets on the chances of Brashingham's success not going to his head. But on some wonderful level, he's really not the protagonist of the picture. That's the community of the boarding house, symbolized by John and Gertie, who may never tread the boards before the King of England, but at least they don't go around assuming everyone wants a picture of their left profile.

I had heard of very few of the actors in this movie. They are uniformly terrific and often cleverly cast—the Soubrette is Jane Winton, a Ziegfeld girl turned screen siren; the Star Boarder is Raymond Hitchcock, a Broadway veteran of musical comedies and revues; Campbell-Mandare is Émile Chautard, a prolific French director who became a character actor in Hollywood. I can't figure out why Nancy Nash's career ended after a handful of roles, because the word that keeps coming to mind is vivacious; she has a wide-eyed, kittenish face, sure, but it's her expressive quickness I remember, her flashing gamine grin. She does not make Gertie a sap for responding to Brashingham's flirtations. It does not hurt from my perspective that she looks great in a waistcoat and a jacket, either. Grant Withers is a good-looking chameleon, because I saw him a few months ago in a fantastic pre-Code called Other Men's Women (1931)2 and didn't recognize him here as John, whose potential stiffness as the steady alternative to Brashingham's romantic peacocking is undone by the engaging goofiness with which he does things like propose. He became one of Ford's stock company. Earle Foxe as Brashingham was utterly unknown to me and emerges from the film as a really talented clown. The moment at which he assumes the mantle of his destiny is both a testament to the power of acting and a beautiful burlesque of the same—suddenly seeing Hamlet looking back at him from the foxed depths of the parlor mirror, the young Brashingham's brows draw sensitively together, his mouth assumes an ironical cast, he grows a chin on the spot and by God it is noble. The picture of the melancholy Dane in a loosened tie and romantically disarrayed hair, he glides back through the boarding-house crowd with the lofty distance of a man whose mind is now firmly on finer things than soup crackers and unpaid bills. You can hear his accent polishing itself up to cut glass. The accompanying squeaky balloonlike noise is his head inflating. And he hasn't even set foot on a stage. Brashingham in full star plumage is a thing to behold.

I must also admit to an instant affection for the aforementioned vaudeville double-act of Callahan and Callahan, played by the real-life comedy team of Ted McNamara and Sammy Cohen. We turned out to have seen them last year as a similarly joined-at-the-hip odd couple of army recruits in Raoul Walsh's What Price Glory? (1926), but I suspect the Callahans are what they will look like when I remember them from now on. Together they make a light-footed, rubber-faced pair of presiding spirits, given to literally dancing their way out of touchy situations (like the rent) and mixing a celebratory punch to a spit-take degree of high octane. They are indefatigable zanies and they are also jobbing performers; we see them working on their routines.3 The gag of Cohen's Callahan only looking Irish by way of the Pale of Settlement is taken one step further by knowing that McNamara was Australian.

Anyway, highly recommended. It appears to be on DVD with other rediscovered silents from the New Zealand archive, so if it's in your local library, go crazy. And then tell me about the rest of the movies. The existence of Birth of a Hat (1920) fascinates me.

1. To be fair, everyone in this story owes a lot of back rent. A running gag involves the escalating incredulity of various boarders that the money they sent home from the circuit didn't reach their landlady, who gives them an "A" for effort.

2. Referred to and not reviewed here. Because it's a pre-Code film, it has a plausibly bisexual leading man and a plot revolving around extramarital attraction where the jealous husband is in the wrong and the happy ending sees the lovers together again. Three years later, it would have had to end in tragedy. Oh, well. Originally titled The Steel Highway, Other Men's Women also contains marvelous location footage of trains and railyards and a fascinating soundtrack where there is no extra-diegetic music at all, even in the credits; it builds a score out of the rolling clack of rails and ties, train whistles, rain, and the songs the characters themselves hum or sing. James Cagney plays a supporting character and gets to dance a bit. William Wellman directed. I loved it.

3. Cohen's Callahan, complaining that the mice fighting in the walls of his room kept him up all night. McNamara's Callahan, responding: "Well, for seven dollars, what did you expect, a bullfight?" It is likely from the use of the name "Mr. Bones" that this will be a minstrel sketch when performed, but since they're rehearsing, it's their own faces and therefore it just sounds like something Groucho Marx would have snapped at Margaret Dumont. In terms of ethnic humor, this film did not bite me anywhere near as much as I was faintly worrying from its copyright date. There is one black character in the film, a kid apparently named Deerfoot; he's a gofer around the boarding house and I was concerned about him because he never spoke, but he quite sensibly walks out of being the knife-thrower's target when Gertie is threatening to leave, so good for him.
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Up now at Strange Horizons: Foz Meadows, T.S. Miller, and I, moderated by Niall Harrison, discuss K.J. Parker's collection Academic Exercises here. I loved the book, despite its regrettable sexism, and am looking forward to reading more Parker. Other opinions were rather different.

Also, the magazine has put out a call for First Readers, i.e. those brave and hardy souls who tromp through the slush pile and pass things upwards to the editors. This is not a paying position, but you get to read some very interesting stuff. Details and how to apply here.

happiness list

Mar. 2nd, 2015 09:44 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
This is my attempt to mope less. It's not very scientific, but the basic idea is I am a writer and this is a really neurosis-making profession, so I should keep on hand a list of things that I can do that will just plain make me feel good. No-strings-attached possibilities.

Here's the current one:

- Ren'py experiment
- mini gamebook
- Twine game
- watch Elementary (on loan from my sister)
- play The Soulforge
- write up Windhammer 2014 winner
- write up Coming Out on Top
- get Copic blending markers
- work on hexarchate Tarot: The Magician (Cheris)
- cross-stitch (courtesy of [personal profile] rosefox, especially now that I have thread for doing the grid thing whose name I have forgotten but which seems like a good idea)
- Marvel Heroes 2015 with Joe
- Yomi
- Sunless Sea
- compose piano sketches

Whenever I'm stuck for something fun/relaxing, I can just turn to this list and see if something suits! Meanwhile, to work on that writeup of Coming Out on Top. :)

...

Mar. 2nd, 2015 08:14 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Does anyone want a jar of what appears to be shrimp powder? I have no idea why my mother thought I needed shrimp powder.

USA-only this time because customs forms for food are a pain. But if you want it, also yours for free!
[personal profile] sovay
Rabbit, rabbit. It is not currently snowing, which I consider a major improvement on this same time last month. It's even sunny without looking like the sky is about to crystallize and change its mind.

I am behind on all forms of internet and most forms of communication, but I met the deadlines I needed to before the end of the month. I still have other deadlines, of course, but I think I can take a day to breathe in between. As a reward to myself, I did something last night that made me very happy: I sat in my office with a purring cat and read two new books, in this case Caitlín R. Kiernan's Red Delicious (2014) and Cherry Bomb (2015). I'd had them sitting on my desk in a brown paper bag from Porter Square Books since Saturday night. I suspect I am way fonder of Mean Mr. B than he even remotely deserves.

(Neither of those novels explains the only line I can remember from my dreams: trapped between time and a fossil you can't solve. Nonetheless, it feels like either [livejournal.com profile] greygirlbeast's or [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme's fault.)

Tonight [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel and I are going to see John Ford's Upstream (1927) at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. I know nothing about it except that it's a formerly lost film with a vaudeville setting—and I like John Ford—so the omens are cautiously hopeful.

This last week was a very long one.

(no subject)

Mar. 2nd, 2015 01:27 pm
[personal profile] telophase
Hey guys--can you take this survey for me about icon choices on our website? (Note: this isn't the official survey I sent out to the library staff and which will probably go out later in the year to the university's community and whose answers will take priority over anything I learn here; I just got curious as to whether the results would be different for a different population, so made a duplicate of the survey to see.)

The only things you'll need to know if you're not familiar with our library are (1) "FrogScholar" is basically a search engine that searches a group of the library databases, plus the catalog, plus a few other things. (2) "Database" is a broad term for libraries that basically means "online reference works": they could contain journal articles, abstracts, company information, encyclopedias, directories, ebooks, chemical information, and all sorts of other stuff. And, yes, data sets. smile emoticon*

* I copied this text from my Facebook post and the smiley transferred as that. I found it amusing.

At Least We're Through with February

Mar. 2nd, 2015 01:38 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
Grey today, and occasional flakes of snow. Almost warm, by current local standards -- it's 25°F in the front yard. Supposedly going to be back down below zero tonight, but only the single digits. We'll see when we get there.

Made a pot roast last night, and for a wonder there's enough of it left to make a three-person-sized batch of miroton. This dish was a family favorite back when there were six of us living here, four of them teenagers with healthy appetites, but it wasn't a family favorite we had very often, because a beef roast large enough to feed six people and still provide enough left over for a miroton was the sort of beef roast that required a visit to a banker for a meat loan first.
[personal profile] musesfool
Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The Linetti-Boyle Wedding
spoilers )

The Good Wife: Dark Money
toby ziegler would not approve of spoilers )

All in all, not a great return, but I'm still glad to have the show back after such a long hiatus.

***

(no subject)

Mar. 2nd, 2015 12:14 pm
[personal profile] telophase
Zuri the giraffe calf would like to cordially invite you to be judged.

(no subject)

Mar. 2nd, 2015 08:59 am
[personal profile] badgerbag
Realistic assessment, I may not get through a full work day today. Last night I suddenly stopped being able to put weight on my right leg and any movement in my hips was painful. I got to the bathroom on 2 canes. I can put more weight on it this morning and have taken some tramadol. It is hard to bend over and also to turn over in bed, sit upright, etc. Very painful and sharp. Pain/tingling going down my leg into my foot. The "good" side is also aching but not super sharp pain.

I made my tea, ate some crackers, bent over to put cat food in the bowl (mistake)

Could not find my (spare) glasses and had to painfully tidy things up till I found them. They were in the bed in the first place I looked of course. I need to get new real glasses.

I will be very cautious today and will get d. to bring my walker up out of the garage.

Not going to despair. Laying low.

Wrote to my doctor to say what is happening. I will need some vicodin and I think a day or two of lying still. I am not sure whether to skip PT on Wednesday or try to do it. Right now I would not be able to get there anyway. But maybe by Wed. can do it with a ride (which I have already lined up)

Calling the pain clinic now to make sure my next sacroiliac injection is scheduled.

About to get my period so "not despairing" may also not completely be realistic as I usually have about half a day of PMS existential crisis/mood where I doubt everything and cry.

I didn't fall down!

Mar. 2nd, 2015 09:22 am
[personal profile] oracne
Mostly thanks to the YakTrax I attached to my boots, I did not fall down on the ice this morning! Go me!

My cold is improving, by which I mean Things are draining and my throat feels much better. Also, though the wet ice is nasty, the air this morning had some humidity to it, which felt really good. Even my new humidifier does not keep my bedroom as comfortable as I would like in that respect, and I think dry inside air has not been helping. I am hoping I will be able to sing at least a little at Tuesday's rehearsal.

I will probably attempt a light cardio workout tonight. I haven't worked out since last Monday, and I spent most of four days not doing much of anything except sleeping or lying around miserable.

But March! It has begun! And I have a couple of things I've committed to writing in the next couple of months. I am scared to write. It's been months, and I'm scared I can't do it any more, and that I can't finish anything, and that anything I do finish will suck. This is normal for me, by the way. But telling myself that never seems to help. ...Encouragement is welcome, I guess, if you feel moved to offer it. Maybe it will help.

Doctor Who rec

Mar. 2nd, 2015 07:34 am
[personal profile] kass
I read a fabulous Doctor Who story last night, written for [community profile] onlyonebed. It is long and introspective (and then delicious) and packed with angst and complicated feelings, and completely sold me on Doctor/Missy, which is not my usual pairing. Anyway -- highly recommended for people who like that sort of thing.

If You Were the Last Woman On Earth (27081 words) by Vali
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Twelfth Doctor/Missy, Twelfth Doctor/The Master, Minor or Background Relationship(s)
Characters: Twelfth Doctor, Missy (Doctor Who)
Additional Tags: BDSM, Rough Sex, Sharing a Bed, Psychic Bond, Bickering, Arguing
Summary:

Just because your best enemy accidentally destroyed planet Earth is no reason to refuse her hospitality. Written for the Only One Bed fanfic challenge.

No reason

Mar. 1st, 2015 11:25 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Who are some interesting authors whose surnames begin with one of J,Q,U, or X?

Nabi (manhwa)

Mar. 1st, 2015 08:22 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Does anyone want the ten volumes of Nabi (manhwa)? Shipping is on me, anywhere in the world. The big caveat is that the manhwa is in Korean. My Korean, personally, is just not that good, and I also found Nabi: The Prototype's English translation rather incoherent and not my cuppa. But you might enjoy it for the art, or you might be more fluent in Korean than I am. :)

ETA: Oh! I have also found the English-language translation of the prequel volume, Nabi: The Prototype, which will also be included.

(BTW, read left to right, not right to left as in Japanese. :p)

Here's the cover:


And a two-page spread behind the cut: Read more... )

If more than one person shows interest by whenever, I'll use a random number generator. If there are no takers, these will just end up getting donated to the library.
[personal profile] yhlee
- recent reading
Marie Kondo. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. [personal profile] daedala recommended this to me and I'm glad she did. Not only am I in need of a better decluttering method (as in, one that works at all), this was a lot of fun to read. Maybe not for everyone--as the author notes, no one will die of a little clutter [1] and you don't need to do this, but if you want to, why not?

The basic method is simple. You go through your possessions by category and ask yourself of each one, "Does this spark joy?" (I may not have the exact quote--I bought the Kindle edition and it's currently out of power because it's been a while since I recharged it, whoops.) If the answer is no, get rid of it. After that, you organize things, preferably using very simple containers (she recommends repurposed shoeboxes, although even if I got rid of damn near everything in my house I don't think we own any shoeboxes anymore because we've always recycled them immediately), again by category, all in one place. The book goes into more detail explaining the motivations for these methods and other methods that the author has tried and why she saw they weren't working for her or her clients. Apparently she makes a living helping people declutter. It sounds rather nice, actually. In any case, part of the philosophy seems to be that clarity about your physical environment leads to/facilitates clarity in the rest of your life. And I'd buy that, actually.

Getting rid of clothes was downright damn fun. But I hadn't expected getting rid of books to be so rewarding as well! I mean the deadtree ones (although I should probably pare down my ereaders' collections as well, because they're getting cluttery too and it becomes annoying to find the things I actually want to read). I'm down to about 20 fiction novels of any type. Now, there's an important caveat--I'm not messing with books that belong to Joe or the lizard, so there are certainly more than 20 fiction books in the house. But I had about 40 Battletech tie-in novels that I was going to donate to the library and Joe stepped in and declared himself owner of those books, so now they're his. :p Even if I've never seen him reading them, even the ones he hasn't already read. But, not my problem. And thanks to me we have plenty of shelf space now anyway. :)

The other caveat is that Kondo notes that while ordinary people can often get down to a very small number of books, people in special professions--including authors, notably--will need to keep more books. I did a lot of reducing to my nonfiction collection (as in, I actually have a fair bit of shelf space now), but I kept a bunch of books that, while I can't say that "spark joy" precisely, are likely to remain useful for the moment.

Anyway, Kondo expects decluttering to be an "all at once" process rather than a little at a time, but by "at once" she means over a period of six months. (I was very relieved to read that! But then, I presume at least some of her clients have, you know, day jobs. Incidentally, I got the impression that her clients were overwhelmingly female, but I could be mistaken.) The idea is that once you've figured out what your personal sweet spot is for the Things in your life, and how you want them arranged, the results will be so pleasant that you will naturally tend to maintain this state of affairs.

I don't know if this will work, but I figure I have nothing to lose. I mean, the stuff I have gotten rid of is genuinely stuff that makes me happy to have gotten rid of it. I've already won. :) But I will keep on--I'm currently still in the process of throwing out papers (there are a bunch ensconced in the attic that I have to get rid of) and then I will have to deal with the biggest and most intimidating category of all, komono, which apparently translates as "miscellany." But the thing is? I'm really looking forward to it--either getting rid of or, in some cases, gifting things that are no longer of use to me.

I am, however, going to cheat on storage solutions because have I mentioned my lack of shoeboxes? Although I found a lovely high-quality box for an AEG game (Thundersomething?) that was sent to me that I have no intention of ever playing. Out with the cards, and now I have a box I can use! I will have to buy a few containers to accommodate basic things. But one thing at a time.

[1] She's obviously not referring to hoarding levels, just ordinary human clutter.

then you put your charms around me

Mar. 1st, 2015 07:30 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
It snowed again today, so good thing I had bacon! Snowstorms + bacon = best tradition I ever instituted. I made another pot of French onion soup yesterday, and it was just as good the second time around (I finished the last batch during the week). Also, I did not know onions had any nutritional value, but apparently they do, so go me for willingly eating a vegetable! (I still want to try one of the lemon carrot bisque recipes I found after eating it on the cruise - I never would have believed cooked carrots could taste so good, but I guess adding lemon and heavy cream helps a lot. *g*)

I also finished up Ewan McGregor's Long Way Round and Long Way Down, which I'd been watching on Netflix the last week or so. I enjoyed the scenery porn, and he's very charming, which allows the facepalmy bits to slide by a little easier.

Now I'm relaxing and catching up on some fic that was posted while I was away, and later there will be new B99 and TGW to assuage the Sunday night willies. I hope everyone else is having a nice Sunday too.

***

March 2015

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