doing things with wool

Dec. 6th, 2016 10:54 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
E. Lewis, Wools and How to Use Them (2d ed., 1884): promotional guide as much as anything, and full of faux-encouraging assumptions, such as one's desire to knit socks or stockings above all else (men's first, of course, and quite fine at 89 stitches around). Lewis's quick navigation of position and expectation fascinates me---we wouldn't want to seem too leisured, nor too spendthrift. Already in place as of 1884: bit more, incl. Birmingham )

I have wondered at times why English and many US knitters think that cuff-down is the only way to knit proper socks. When did it start?---when knitting reached England, as part of an inheritance of whichever tradition(s) brought it there, or as a local(ish) preference given the prevalence of sock clocks, or...?
[personal profile] cordialcount
A year of lowercase* titles:

descending a tower
Utena: Anthy, Akio, Utena, < 1k
Ohtori instills a remarkable set of beliefs in its children.

Utena: Anthy/Utena, < 1k
Princes duel even if their sword has the soul of a mouse. Or something like that. (Daemon AU.)

no gentler judgment
Loveless: Ritsuka/Soubi, 1.5k
Ritsuka comes to a wall and an agreement.

even as the echo
Yuri on Ice: Lilia/Minako, < 1k
Given what Minako had once built with Lilia—and what they'd given up, out of a fear Victor was clearly too high on Yuuri to give a damn about—it seemed cruel to voice this, even if Lilia would have said it herself without hesitation.

Yuri on Ice: Victor/Yuuri, 2.2k
The mechanical noises blanket the room in a truer quiet than silence. "Yes," he breathes into it, more feeling than sound. (Yuuri, holding them together.)

* Since I've long given up on titles that 1. meaningfully and accurately convey information about the fic and/or 2. convince anyone they're worth clicking, I just pick the case in which the title strings look neater. Damn it, kerning.
[personal profile] musesfool
Holy crap you guys. I wasn't sure I'd ever get to the end of this but here it is!

Celestial Navigation
Star Wars; Finn/Rey, Anakin; pg; 23,315 words
Finn and Rey's epic space road trip adventure, featuring pirates, kittens, and the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker.

Written for the West Wing title project. Thanks so much to [ profile] silveronthetree for all the cheerleading and helping she did while I wrote.

Read it at AO3!

Feedback is adored.

[personal profile] sovay
So, our anniversary. It was good.

We did not make it to a museum for the afternoon as originally planned, but we spent a nice hour browsing the Million Year Picnic and then we walked up through the already icing streets to dinner at Waypoint. The restaurant is new since the summer, located on Mass. Ave. right where the last landmarks of Harvard Square begin to transition into the outskirts of Central; we had passed by it before, mostly noting its separate sub-menu of absinthe cocktails with names like "Storm Clouds" and "Riding High" and the green-black aquarium blur of its interior at night, a kind of glassy drowned shimmer beyond the double doors. The menu advertised "coastally inspired fare." We didn't know how much of an understatement that was. We arrived dressed to match the decor in our own formal greens and blacks, [ profile] derspatchel wearing the Navy shirt that belonged once to [ profile] nineweaving's father. We were shown past an alcove where a salvaged sign for Russell's Bar flashed the neon outline of a hooked perch into the main dining area, all wood-plank and wave-white marble and brushed steel, ice glittering under the oysters on the raw bar, bell-glass lamps clustering like jellyfish from the beams overhead. The pots of ferns and grasses at the edge of the open kitchen gave it a look of dunes or tidepools. Across the far wall tiled in black and slate-grey and blue, a second enormous fish-sign bent like a dolphin in a mosaic, steadily green-shining "Au Nid du Doré." Everything swam. We ate the sea.

With minnows in my belly and dank in my veins. )

If you have any aversion to seafood, this is not the restaurant for you. The house-baked breads were all oceanic: salt black with squid ink, tart-flecked with seaweed, pungent with colatura di alici—the closest thing to garum in Italy these days—with a moray-colored smear of smoked seaweed butter around the rim of the plate and a little pot of chunky, garlicky anchovy dip topped with walnuts, which were the only thing left by the time the plate was taken away. The oysters came from Maine and Massachusetts, so sea-sweet that I drank the brine out of their shells. My cocktail was called the Ocean Flor, but got away with it by being (a) delicious (b) made with nori gin and absinthe and generally tasting as well as looking like something I should have been drinking out of my sand-cracked onion bottle salvaged from a seventeenth-century shipwreck. Snails came glistering dark on top of a split marrow bone, earthy and meat-buttered, with more seaweed sourdough for scraping out the bone with. There was trout roe pearling the steak tartare, popping a slippery savor into the clean cool beef; the soft-boiled egg halved beside the toast was superfluous. Rob ordered a cocktail that tasted of wet earth and gardens, like coming suddenly ashore; I cannot regret trying the house sangaree with madeira and nutmeg molasses even if it was much sweeter than my usual taste in drinks because it set off a round of quoting Flanders and Swann. The real umamibomb was the squid ink gemelli, even richer and darker than the crusty bread, garnished with pale strips of swordfish lardo—which I am pretty sure is fancy for swordfish belly lox and now my hands-down favorite preparation of a fish I have always considered essentially boring—and a thick mixed crumble of smoked ham, pine nuts, and pecorino. Dessert was cinnamon-sugar donuts with coffee ganache (I did not touch those) and a pear and fig crostata served warm under sesame ice cream (all mine). We were unable to resist the lure of the double-sided absinthe menu and finished with a louched glass each, in Rob's case Jade 1901, in mine Butterfly. I am delighted if bemused by the idea of pre-Prohibition Boston absinthe. Afterward we walked down Putnam to Magazine Street and then to the river, crossing the Charles at the Weeks Bridge and then back again via the Anderson Memorial Bridge. We saw a lot of cat-ice and Canada geese. The Red Line to Davis and the 88 home were surprisingly on time.

And this morning I had a doctor's appointment at a painfully early hour, compounded by not having slept more than three hours after overheating and waking at five-thirty and being unable to fall back asleep before it was time to get out of bed, and I have spent most of the day feeling jet-lagged while still needing to make lots of phone calls and catch up on work, but that was still as sea-full an anniversary as I have gotten without time by the ocean itself. Worth it.


Dec. 6th, 2016 07:32 pm
[personal profile] lannamichaels

I literally felt nauseous when I saw this. (warning: Trump and his helpers cashing in)

For those who might not want to click links into politics blogs, the image is of an advertisement from a real estate agency for an apartment in Trump Tower, with the tag line being: The Best Value in the Most Secure Building in Manhattan. The New Aminity [sic] - The United States Secret Service.

Stay Crazy by Erika L. Satifka

Dec. 6th, 2016 03:57 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Stay Crazy — Erika L. Satifka

Sorry this is so late. I had an early call at the university.


Dec. 6th, 2016 07:16 pm
[personal profile] rydra_wong
[personal profile] ivy has very kindly acceded to my request and unlocked their post about Krav Maga and self-defense:

So, in short, if your self-defense level of desired investment is "I want to take a class once and then be done", go to a Rory Miller weekend seminar the next time he's in your area. If you are able-bodied and willing to go train regularly, consider Krav. If you are not able-bodied, talk to me about your body and your intentions -- I can recommend other things. If you are considering a firearm, talk to me/see previous post on that topic to figure out if that's going to match your lifestyle and threat model.


Your martial arts questions can go here, if you have them! There are many experienced martial artists reading, so you can get lots of perspectives, too, not just mine.

So if that's a direction your thoughts are currently trending in, for whatever reason -- go, ask. Trained martial artists are standing by to take your calls. *g*


Dec. 6th, 2016 06:27 pm
[personal profile] rydra_wong
If you've ever engaged in any form of non-internet activism, whether that's phoning a representative or going on a demonstration or volunteering for a political group or practicing civil disobedience or whatever, would you consider writing it up?

(Note: I'm purposely omitting internet activism, not because it doesn't have value but because it's something that we've got pretty much covered, and that's -- relatively -- a comfort zone for many of us. We are going to have to try to find ways to do more, to the limits of our various abilities.)

I was thinking about how hugely helpful it's been to many people just to have posts saying "I phoned my representative about this, and this is what it was like". A lot of us are thinking we need to learn how to find ways of being more activist even though it's challenging and scary for us.

And we also have a lot of people who have been or are involved in various ways, whether it's being part of ACT-UP actions or stuffing envelopes for a political party.

So -- please, share. If you've done something -- what did you do? how did you get into it? what happened? what was it like?

We need to share any skills and stories we have (and not just the stuff that sounds dramatic and cool and involves chaining yourself to things -- envelope-stuffing matters too).

Please comment with a link to anything you write, or post directly in the comments. Thanks!
[personal profile] kass
I adapted a recipe for chicken tagine with green olives and preserved lemons to my slow cooker the other day, and it came out amaaaaaazing, so I am preserving it here for my own records.

Here it is! )

Also, yesterday I made this steel cut oats recipe -- I omitted the sugar, added a handful of raisins and a handful of currants and some dried apricots and a diced apple, and used coconut milk in place of whole milk. Cooked it for about six hours on low. It is divine and I will be eating it all week long huzzah.

State of the Me

Dec. 6th, 2016 08:39 am
[personal profile] oracne
1. The dayjob holiday party was fun, even though I didn't bowl because it would hurt my hand. I did have two drinks, one cider and one margarita, which relaxed me for the whole evening.

2. My annual doctor appointment is today. I want to talk to her about an increase in arthritis pain, ongoing tendonitis, weight gain and blood sugar and fatigue, and skin tags developing on my neck that I would like to get rid of if possible.

3. Thursday is my eye doctor appointment, so I can find out if I need a new prescription, and also ask about contacts and whether they might work for me.

4. I purchased my nephew's graduation gift, and it has shipped. I purchased Xmas gifts for my sisters, which will be shipped directly. (If you know people who like Body Shop body butters, they're on sale for $10, with free ground shipping.)

5. I did not do laundry last night, so that's still waiting for me. Also the clean laundry that needs putting away. That will have to be later this week. And I need to start my Xmas packing list. I will do that today.
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Links are not unqualified endorsements, they are "I found this interesting, thought-provoking and/or worthwhile enough that I could not close the window before linking". In some cases, in the absence of titles I've used a line or something sufficient to remind me what they are.

snickfic: Why You Should Join Your Local Democrats

brendanmleonard: Just going to leave this here (Korematsu)

annleckie: You can still send letters

quantum-displacement: Anti-Trump Masterpost

Tweets from Jared Yates Sexton: When people start talking about Trump's "revolution", tell them he lost the popular vote

Tweets from Moshe Kasher: There's a fundamental misunderstanding of what these protests are about. No one believes they will effectively stop a Trump inauguration.

Tweets from Dan Olson: Here's the boring, pragmatic, bureaucratic nightmare instead

rockscanfly: The elections we refer to as Midterm Elections are held every four years, at the half-way point between presidential elections.

egregiousderp and others: To all of my friends out there and ESPECIALLY my trans friends, if you hadn’t done so now, PLEASE GET A PASSPORT.

Relevant link for the above: -- as long as you can get "a medical certification that indicates you are in the process of or have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition" (with NO REQUIREMENTS about what that treatment is or isn't, or any requirement to provide the details, just that it's "correct" for you), you can get a passport which then provides photo ID with your correct gender on it

Tweets from Tehlor Kay Mejia: It’s important to stay vigilant about the other transgressions going on with Trump, but examining this Hamilton thing isn’t frivolous.

leupagus: So you want to get #involved but are totally fuckin’ baffled: POLITICAL HOMEWORK FOR THE POLITICALLY DUMSQUIZZLED

Tweets from Elliott Lusztig: Hannah Arendt in her book The Origin of Totalitarianism provides a helpful guide for interpreting the language of fascists.

More donation-matching

Dec. 6th, 2016 08:45 am
[personal profile] rydra_wong
For one week, the Center for Reproductive Rights has someone matching all donations dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000, specifically for their Roe Defense Fund:

Donate here.

(They're a 501(c)3 nonprofit, so foreign donations are fine.)


Dec. 5th, 2016 05:30 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
illustration by Micah Epstein preview for "Extracurricular Activities" (forthcoming from, probably in February 2017? is Jedao story set when he was a hotshot spaceship captain)


[personal profile] sovay
Today is my third anniversary with [ profile] derspatchel. It's all melted by now, but this morning was the first snow of the season. It has been in many to most respects a terrible year. We are still here and we are going to do something to celebrate it.
[personal profile] musesfool
I was discussing Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life with a co-worker, and this morning I read this discussion on the AV Club: Does it matter if Rory Gilmore is the worst? and I started thinking about how it does matter, if only in terms of ...I'm not sure how to put it, if there's a term for it I'm not remembering, but when as a writer, you want the reader to view a character a certain way but the audience views them completely differently. And if that's a failure of the writing or not. (spoiler: I tend to think it is!)

Now obviously, readers bring their own experiences and lenses to stories and thus, everybody watches/reads a different text, sometimes the difference is slight and sometimes the difference is great, and even a single person can have differing responses depending on where they are in their own lives at the time the come to and revisit a story. But even acknowledging that, for the most part, if I'm writing the protagonist to be a hero, I hope that it works and readers believe they're reading about hero, not a jerk who gets everything handed to them because of authorial fiat.

eventually there are vague Gilmore Girls: Year in the Life spoilers )

I don't really have any conclusions, but I definitely think it's a thing writers should pay close attention to when writing their characters - it's one thing for the character to think they're hot shit, but another for the narrative to confirm that, even when their actions don't warrant it, and it can cause a huge disconnect with the audience if that's not the intention. (Again, for whatever authorial intent is worth.)



Dec. 5th, 2016 08:46 am
[personal profile] mme_hardy is trying to get people to knit 1.17 million "pussyhats" for women attending the Women's March on Washington, D.C.   Whatever floats your boat.

However, in a move typical of modern knitting media, the pattern's featured yarn is Malabrigo Worsted, which sells for $11-12 bucks a 110-yard skein, enough to make one hat.  Admittedly, they say that you don't have to use Malabrigo, that any worsted would do, but the fact that whoever came up with this thought it was sensible to recommend a boutique yarn, rather than, say, Lion Brand Wool-Ease, a poly-wool blend that retails for $4 bucks and has 197 yards per skein, tells you a lot.

Anyway, if I knitted for charity (I'm a slow knitter and don't), I think I'd rather be doing cancer-patient hats, or something less symbolic and more necessary.

Self Care

Dec. 5th, 2016 08:37 am
[personal profile] oracne
This afternoon is my dayjob Holiday party, at which I hope to Have Fun. If I have energy after that, I plan to do one more trip to the Laundromat to do a load of sheets/towels and my PVC jacket, which currently smells like a restaurant. If I don't get out tonight, I hope to put away some of the weekend's now-dry laundry, currently in piles.

Tuesday is my annual doctor appointment and choir rehearsal. Wednesday, I want to go back to the gym, just for upper body if my quad still hurts, which it probably will, since squat-related motions and stairs both still hurt as of this morning. I can probably do leg-lifts with my left leg while lying down; maybe that will keep me from turning into a vegetable.

More fun things to do: buy sister's bday present, buy sisters' Xmas gifts, pick out Xmas present for Geeklet and deliver the ones for her and Ms. 8, hopefully this week.

I had such a good day yesterday!

Dec. 5th, 2016 10:11 am
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
and man, I needed a good day )

And today I have some work to do, after which I'll catch a bus into the city and see Loving with a friend. Everything I've heard about it has been fantastic, and it also seems like a good movie for the historical moment, you know? (In talking about the, um, current historical moment in service yesterday, Diane said that rather than sagging in despair, we can consider that Trump's election highlights for us where our work is needed. I appreciated that way of looking at it; it was encouraging.)

After that I'll hopefully have time to grab some dinner somewhere, and then I'll go to an informational meeting on the status of my CSA. The guy who runs it abruptly folded up shop six months ago; the person he rented his farmland from was throwing him off with almost no notice, he was losing all his capital investment in greenhouses, plumbing, etc., and of course he was completely unable either to provide the vegetables the members had paid for or to refund our money, since it was all invested in the farm and the harvest wasn't in yet. He's been trying to keep from having to declare bankruptcy and trying to find a way to start up farming again; now he has found land to rent and is hoping to get up and running next year, and find some way to make good on his default. Some members are willing to wait, some are understandably angry and want satisfaction, and I'm curious to see what this meeting will be like -- and I definitely hope he can manage to get back in business!

With luck, Geoff will be having dinner in town with a friend, and we can meet up afterward and come home together. Otherwise I'll be on my own, but on the other hand I'll have the car instead of taking public transit, so I'll be able to get in and out a lot faster.

Yesterday was the first lovely sunny day in almost a week, and today it's snowing gently. I think today will be a good day too.

fiber monday

Dec. 4th, 2016 07:30 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
1. *cackles* I have raveled the masterclass vest (~70 g), which ought to surprise no one! If I can knit it only within weekend morning hours during wintertime, and if on some weekends I have no knitting time, there is no point. I can't see the stitches well without good light (astigmatism).

My pattern inquiry in October yielded few options compatible with both recipient and yarn. Since then, I've seen Clock, which though busy is simpler than the masterclass pattern. Clock is now underway---the public library has source .epub. My mother's close enough to a standard shape that knitting a garment bottom-up as written ought not to cause trouble. If trouble visits, Chatham from the Oct inquiry is top-down and also simpler than the masterclass piece, since it uses a construction familiar from Reason's lost orange cardigan. Chatham's probably a better yarn match than Clock---I don't care.

2. *cackles* After her recent taekwondo belt test, Reason borrowed my 2.Naima cardigan against the chill. It'd make a great coat-length outer layer for her with shortened sleeves. Read more... )

I spit and chew and bite

Dec. 4th, 2016 06:55 pm
[personal profile] sovay
This cat picture is not mine; it comes courtesy of of [ profile] teenybuffalo, who found it on Tumblr:


I was prepared to love this image despite its likely origin as an outsider's sendup of the suffrage movement, but then it turned out to have been an actual suffragette Christmas card, which is even better. [ profile] derspatchel says he can see "Hestia marching, festooned with violets, hoisting a banner aloft with her tail, ready to pounce on any police resistance." Mice and roses, they sing. Mice and roses.

(The actual song "Bread and Roses" causes me to tear up for reasons I do not entirely understand, because I cannot remember ever singing it as a child or communally, but it turned up as a spontaneous and formal expression of workers' solidarity in a scene in Pride (2014) and I disintegrated.)

Sic Transit Microwave

Dec. 4th, 2016 06:01 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
Our trusty microwave, which we've had for 11 years (I checked our Quicken records; they're handy that way) died the final death this afternoon, in between the time it thawed the meat for tonight's chili and the time it tried and failed to microwave Himself's bag of popcorn. It helpfully flashed up an error code which, when we looked it up online, basically translated into English as "Call the coroner and order flowers."

A replacement that does as much or more can be obtained for about $100, which I would have in hand right this minute if I hadn't ordered Himself's Christmas/Birthday treat earlier this afternoon*; as it is, I've got it bookmarked for the instant somebody pays me for something.

*Tickets to the BodyWorlds traveling exhibit in Providence, Rhode Island. He's been wanting to see one of those for years now, ever since one came to the Boston Museum of Science and I had to be the wet blanket and point out that we were, at that point, flat stony broke. (I think it was during the period in which the transmission was falling out of our second Dodge Caravan with appalling regularity, plus a bunch of other big expenses.)

The Search Continues

Dec. 1st, 2016 05:05 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
The original missing package -- the one I ordered, that the UPS driver delivered to the house next door -- did in fact get picked up by the guy who's going to be moving into the house. He's related to one of the bartenders at the Wilderness, who knows my brother, and will be bringing it into the Wilderness for her to hand off to him at some point. (Why he can't just go one house uphill and hand it off to me, I don't know.)

The second missing package -- the one Twin A sent -- is still missing. She's complained to them from the sender end, and I've now started complaining to them from the receiver end. Because I have absolutely no compunction about making somebody else's day a bit less happy, when they're the person who screwed this up. (And because it's become increasingly likely that the point of failure for both misdeliveries was the same, and it was operator error on the part of the delivery person. Who needs to be firmly corrected before they do it again to somebody else. Or to something else, that also happens to be mine.)

(no subject)

Dec. 4th, 2016 03:58 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
By way of [personal profile] isis, too good not to share: Hamildolph, a Hamilton/"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" parody by Utah a cappella group Eclipse 6.


(no subject)

Dec. 4th, 2016 03:05 pm
[personal profile] skygiants
In last week's resurrected You're Beautiful costume polls, our favorite crossdressing nun Go Mi Nam pulled out her very first victory. The audience has spoken: the elfin poncho of woe is this winter's must-have accessory!

Congratulations, Go Mi Nam, and enjoy your victory while you rest on your laurels this episode; you earned it.

Top five You're Beautiful episode 8 costumes under the cut )

Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 58

And the ultimate most fabulous costume of episode 8 is...

View Answers

Jeremy's commitment to layers
16 (27.6%)

Stylist Wang's commitment to hair and makeup
9 (15.5%)

He Yi's commitment to matching her shoes and her purse
3 (5.2%)

Jeremy's commitment to royalty
17 (29.3%)

Tae Kyung's commitment to GLAMOUR
13 (22.4%)


Dec. 4th, 2016 01:00 pm
[personal profile] oracne
I did two loads of laundry last night! And then hung them up to dry after dragging them home from the laundromat. I still have a load waiting because sheets. And I finally, finally, finished putting away the last load of laundry, just in time for a new one.

Went to see Fantastic Beasts again with a friend who hadn't seen it, and still enjoyed it, particularly the Queenie and Jacob plotline, but also the other actor's performances. We followed the movie with an excursion to the South Philly Target, so now I have an enormous pack of toilet paper (I feel like you can't leave that Target without one), a new bottle of naproxen, and two big bottles of Tide detergent. Alas or perhaps luckily, they did not have the Star Wars Xmas sweaters in my size. We stopped in at a nearby sporting goods store and I finally found a thigh brace that is just barely big enough; alas, you are only supposed to wear it for 2-3 hours at a time.

Monday afternoon/evening is my office holiday party; have to decide what to wear. There will be bowling, but I have to be careful of the tendonitis in my right hand.

Also have to start packing for my Xmas trip, since I have to bring a lot of stuff in one suitcase.

what was the title

Dec. 4th, 2016 12:24 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
of that really depressing 1970s era SF novel?

was he was waiting for you to fall

Dec. 4th, 2016 12:20 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
Last night, I dreamt that Ewan McGregor was actually the devil in disguise and he went around seducing people for their souls and I woke up and thought:

1. that's hilarious because didn't he just play Jesus in a movie recently? and

2. it would totally explain how one man could be so ridiculously charming. I mean, my tumblr tag for him is #so fucking charming. I'm just saying. I would totally let myself be seduced by Ewan McGregor, even at the cost of my soul. Who wouldn't?


Star Wars Rebels: An Inside Man
spoilers )

Speaking of Rogue One, in the twenty minutes between my getting the email that tickets were on sale and my purchasing tickets (i.e., the time it took for L. to get back to me that she didn't really want to go), the 84th Street theater with the recliners was sold out for the Friday night 8 pm show. So I bought a ticket for Saturday at 2 pm. But then I discovered that the theater in my neighborhood wasn't sold out, so I did get a Friday night ticket after all. (I can't go Thursday because that night I have to bake for the office holiday potluck on Friday.) So I'll be seeing it both Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Hopefully it warrants it.

[personal profile] sovay
Today I got my contributor's copy of Heiresses of Russ 2016: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction, edited by A.M. Dellamonica and Steve Berman. I am really pleased about this anthology and the inclusion of "When Can a Broken Glass Mend?" in it. I am looking forward to reading a lot of lesbian fiction tonight.

Also today, parts of East Cambridge were on fire. My mother and I ran an errand unknowingly on the periphery of the area around five o'clock in the evening—power out for blocks, fire hydrants open, blue-and-red emergency lights flashing everywhere. We assumed fire, but were not in a position to see flames and must have been upwind of the smoke, because otherwise I think I would have noticed it on the street. We thought perhaps a transformer had blown. I texted [ profile] derspatchel when I got back in the car and heard different. So far no one appears to have died, but dozens have been displaced and homes destroyed; firefighters and other first responders were coming from Arlington, Newton, Wakefield, Chelsea, miles. The Mayor of Cambridge has set up a fire relief fund, now accepting checks and online donations. I did not know there were such things as ten-alarm fires.

A few days ago I wrote to the Forward to express my disappointment in their otherwise fluff piece about the favorite kosher recipes of the Trump-Kushner family, because I don't care if Ivanka and Jared keep a kosher kitchen, the Forward has no business treating them like just another celebrity couple, and now it turns out the broccoli kugel recipe featured on Ivanka's website wasn't even hers and I just want to talk about why people are referring to this wholly unnecessary episode as "Kugelgate" because when I look at a panful of baked eggs, light mayonnaise, and broccoli, I might think "Frittata?" and also ". . . ew," but definitely not kugel. Are there noodles? Is there cheese? Do you want to step outside about the raisins? It's not kugel!

(I didn't know I had opinions about kugel, but it turns out I really do. I may have to make some in order to cope.)

These are the three political pieces that have stuck with me the most recently: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "Now Is the Time to Talk About What We Are Actually Talking About," Moira Weigel's "Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom enemy," and Masha Gessen's "Trump: The Choice We Face." I am not entirely sure how to classify the story of Heinrich Steinmeyer, but it is also sticking with me. It does sound like a YA novel. Sometimes that happens to people's lives. Anyway, now-dead one-time actual Nazi still behaving more classily than my country's president-elect.

I am not sleeping almost at all. I would like to write about things.

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

Dec. 3rd, 2016 10:56 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
The Obelisk Gate

4/5. Sequel to the devastating and disturbing The Fifth Season. Part two – continuing survival in an apocalyptic landscape in the remnants of a civilization that enslaved those with the power to control the earth – is just as devastating! And more disturbing! And, as in the first book, this one rotates around parent/child pairs and teacher/student pairs of various sorts, so, uh, content note for about seven different kinds of child harm.

This is one of those trilogies that is fantasy on the surface, but becomes slowly more science fictional the deeper you get into it. It's an interesting effect, and I was surprised to find myself caring about it so much. I think it matters here not just for genre line-drawing, but because the intertwined modalities – fantasy, science fiction – are looking at the question of wielding power from different perspectives, and have different perspectives on what knowledge is good for. That matters, in books about the slavers and the enslaved.

So. Still really good. Still a zillion content notes (which, as always, I am happy to supply upon request). Book one went to eleven and book two escalated, so who the fuck knows how much book three will screw me up, stay tuned.

(no subject)

Dec. 3rd, 2016 06:25 pm
[personal profile] skygiants
A month or two ago, I went to the Yiddish Book Center for an archives conference that happened to be hosted there.

The idea of collecting Yiddish books was first conceived of by Aaron Lansky in the late 1970s, when Yiddish books were being thrown away by the thousands as a generation of Yiddish-speaking immigrants were starting to die and leave their possessions to children who didn't see a point in keeping a lot of books around that they couldn't read. Lansky -- at that time a graduate student in Eastern European Jewish Studies who was having a near-impossible time actually getting his hands on any Yiddish books to read -- put out a call in his hometown that if people were thinking of throwing away their Yiddish books, they should send them to him instead. Pretty soon, the story goes, his parents called to tell him that he had to figure out another solution because they were fairly sure the second floor of their house was about to cave in from the weight of the books that people were passing onto them. The Book Center, as it now exists, seeks out Yiddish books and digitizes them; sorts titles to identify unique ones; provides copies of Yiddish books to other libraries; runs a translation program to print Yiddish titles in English; and runs cultural and educational programs, among a bunch of other stuff.

I can't speak Yiddish -- it's a language lost to me by several generations -- but I've been starting to look into classes; I'd give a lot to be able to read Yiddish books. Until then, the next-best thing is reading about Yiddish books, so I put Aaron Lansky's Outwitting History: The Amazing Adventures of a Man Who Rescued a Million Yiddish Books on library reserve.

Anway, last weekend [personal profile] aquamirage and I went to go see the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof, and it was amazing, and all my Yid-lit feelings came roaring to the surface again. I came home and immediately picked up Outwitting History, which turns out to be a relatively light and cheerful collection of anecdotes about salvaging a language and culture that has at several points throughout the 20th century been the target of brutal and deliberate extinction. This is entirely in keeping with the general tone of Yiddish literature, which is often funny and depressing and uplifting and pessimistic all at once. (After seeing Fiddler, [personal profile] aquamirage said, 'I knew the whole plot but I didn't know how funny it was going to be!') So, you know. Come for the cute stories about enthusiastic elderly Jews stuffing the faces of bemused book-collectors with kugel and borscht, but stay for stuff like the first shipment of Yiddish books back to the Soviet Union after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Things I don't want to forget

Dec. 3rd, 2016 07:29 pm
[personal profile] lannamichaels

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of 2.5 million votes. This could get larger.

The margin in a few swing states was pretty damn small, as these things go, especially compared to total votes cast nationally.

The electoral college is anti-democratic nonsense.

All the talk about faithless electors putting country over promises (which ain't gonna happen), if it swung things, would be an unimaginable crisis. However, if we're going to put this to a group of random folks to decide instead of using the popular vote, we kind of deserve what we get, for using a terrible system. There's also an academic point to be made about the difference between the conceptual electoral college votes and the actual ones, if there's a difference. It really highlights the point that a lot of votes just don't count, and that that is the intended situation, and that the presidental general election is a mostly-pointless endeavor.

I am possibly slightly punch-drunk by reading comments on political blogs that I agree with.

Let's be honest, I've been complaining about the electoral college since 2000. I have, in the last few weeks, reached a point where I can't decide what would be a worse democratic outcome: the outcome we have now, or faithless electors swinging things. Because both options are pretty terrible.

(There is also another issue that I have seen brought up, which is that the legislature has to certify the electoral college. So, y'know.)

But despite the fact that Hillary Clinton is not going to be sworn in as President in January, she actually did win. Just not in the system we use, where 80K people across three states get to actually decide who is president.

There are times I wish alcohol consumption was an option and an answer I could pursue.

There might be more watching of the Muppet Movie in my future.

the other thing about Moana

Dec. 3rd, 2016 04:02 pm
[personal profile] metaphortunate
And the other thing about Moana is, it paints this, like, eye-wateringly idyllic picture of a pre-industrial society, just SO beautiful with those swelling chords and Lin-Manuel Miranda's catchy-ass lyrics dragging you headlong into it, and then casually, about two-thirds of the way through, oh yeah, infanticide is totally a thing, too.  o.O

Because It Heals My Heart

Dec. 3rd, 2016 06:46 pm
[personal profile] chomiji

Springsteen looks like such a kid in this, although I think he was actually close to 30 at the time. The in-concert energy is palpable even over the Intarwebs, both among the band members and out in the audience.

Looking at this and listening to it just makes me feel so much better. Because even today, the Boss still loves us and stands up for what's right.

ETA: The video embed service on DW seems to be messing up—it doesn't load, and at one point I got an error that the server (on DW) wasn't responding. You can view it over at LJ or use the YouTube link. It's a live performance of "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" from 1988.

I can tell

Dec. 3rd, 2016 06:52 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
when the clock radio is due to come on because about ten minutes before that Fig pushes his dish into the bedroom, followed by all of the cat food tins he can reach.

WOW. *wibbles*

Dec. 3rd, 2016 04:54 pm
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
Geoff and I finished Orange is the New Black last night.

Holy moley. That show just gets better and better.

Now we have to wait six months for the next season, but at least it drops all at once! I was talking with a friend yesterday about the way dropping a whole season at once like that might be taking pressure off the creators, because they don't have to justify themselves to TPTB every time their ratings wobble; we've all seen so many shows canceled abruptly in midseason that would have been (even more) amazing if they'd just been given a chance to hit their stride. (Firefly. Nothing Sacred. EZ Streets, oh god I weep for that show.) And OitNB has been renewed for three more seasons, which I don't know how ironclad that commitment is, but with any luck it gives the creators the freedom to pull out the stops in the next two seasons however they want, without fear of having the rug yanked out from under them. I can't wait.

But I'll have to, so in the meantime I'll start getting excited for the Sense8 Christmas special...

Bits and pieces

Dec. 3rd, 2016 08:13 pm
[personal profile] rydra_wong
*Signal-boosting with permission, this brilliant offer from [personal profile] rosefox:

I'm offering free training over Skype for anyone who wants to learn how to effectively call their elected representatives and ask them to support bills or otherwise take useful action. If you're interested, PM me. Feel free to let others know about this offer; it's available indefinitely.

*More fashion for the apocalypse: ThinkProgress's "Resist" t-shirt raises money for their "Trump investigative fund".

*[personal profile] swan_tower is starting a tikkun olam-inspired thread on the 1st of each month,on DW and on LJ at [ profile] swan_tower, where people can talk about what they're doing to help repair the world (and yes, I think it can be helpful and inspiring to see what others are doing).

*Via [personal profile] sovay: Kellogg's have pulled their advertising from Breitbart, and Breitbart are outraged, evidently because they HATE CAPITALISM AND FREEDOM and don't want large companies to be free to spend their ad budgets how they want in order to maximize their sales. Why do you HATE FREEDOM, Breitbart?

The current editor-in-chief is quoted as follows:

“Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice,” he added. “If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”

This is evidence that they either have no sense of irony at all, or too much of it, in that vacuous way: "we'll say they're being prejudiced and bigoted towards our prejudice and bigotry, tee hee, and then their little liberal brains will have to explode!"

Yes, I discriminate against white supremacists. Deal with it, fuckers.

(Worth dropping Kelloggs some messages of support, maybe, as they're getting the full Gamergate masses unleashed against them.)

*The Hamilton Mixtape has dropped. This is not irrelevant. We need art and we need fight music and Hamilton is and remains an inspired and tactically-brilliant claiming of the myth of America as belonging profoundly to immigrants, black and brown people.

As well as the aforementioned "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)", notables for me at the moment include Dessa covering "Congratulations" (a song Angelica had when the show was first staged, cut when it went to Broadway -- and I can see the dramatic reasons for cutting it, but it's great and a great cover), "Wrote My Way Out" with Nas, Dave East, Aloe Blacc and one Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the demo of "Valley Forge" (part of which turned into part of "Stay Alive"), which feels spookily apposite. Congress, I beg of you, justify your existence.


Dec. 3rd, 2016 12:10 pm
[personal profile] kass
1. Leftovers. I am just now finishing the end of the chicken tetrazzini I made last week.

2. Slow cooker. Which is now slowly cooking a chicken tagine with potatoes, green olives, and preserved lemon, spiced with ras el hanout.

3. Showing my kid The Wizard of Oz last night. Wow, is that movie unlike what gets made today. The dialogue is faster and the pacing is slower. It's still a delight, though, and I loved getting to introduce it to a third generation of my family.

4. The episode of Magic School Bus where the kids go inside the body of a classmate who is sick, and thereby learn about how the body fights infection.

5. The fact that my kid still wants to cuddle with me, even as a big grown-up boy of seven. :-)
[personal profile] musesfool
So yesterday was a day. Work was a thing that happened. And kept happening. It probably warrants a long locked post for venting, but meh. Suffice it to say I was not impressed with other people's inability to understand that their inability to finalize some documents meant extra hours of work and a trip to FedEx/Kinkos for me. But it got done and is out of my hands now, and I'm sure I was not able to keep all of my displeasure under wraps so we'll see what happens going forward.

Anyway! Television!

Steven Universe: Three Gems and a Baby
This was adorably charming until it was really sad. But it also showed how much the Crystal Gems have grown as people, and that's lovely. Also, help me out - was there a second episode? Or just a stinger with Steven and Connie? My recording cut off with them spoiler ) Was there more after that?

Pitch: Scratched
spoilers )

Legends of Tomorrow: Invasion!
spoilers )

Will I go back to watching LoT now? Probably not, but I'm glad we got this crossover and I can't wait for the musical one between Flash and Supergirl later on.


50 Books 2016-42 thru 45

Dec. 3rd, 2016 09:08 am
[personal profile] batwrangler
The Heroes of Olympus, Book Five The Blood of Olympus (unabridged audiobook)
by Rick Riordan
One for the Money (abridged audiobook, but not a horrible abridgment)
Stephanie Plum, No. 1
by Janet Evanovich
Ms. Rapscott's Girls (unabridged audiobook)
by Elise Primavera
Full Fathom Five: A Novel of the Craft Sequence (eBook)
by Max Gladstone

[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Email read this morning indicates that work has blown up even more than it already had been, so, super quick. (Note to self: write down your thoughts about Moana sometime. Possibly also the Hamilton Mixtape.)

barely spoilers )

"I heard there was a baby"

Dec. 3rd, 2016 03:25 am
[personal profile] rosefox
Kit happenings today:

1) Our crib mattress board has three height options. It's been on the middle one since Kit was born; we got a thick mattress and a crib bumper that meant the top setting was never quite workable. Today they were sitting in the crib and pulled up to standing without any help, and I realized that the crib rail came up to only slightly higher than their waist. I promptly took them out of the crib and lowered the mattress to the lowest setting for safety. As soon as I put them back in, they figured out how to pull up to standing again, which is good—I really didn't want to respond to their accomplishment by making it harder for them to accomplish things. They generally seem quite happy with the change. Such an amiable child.

2) X pointed out that Kit really likes our laptops and phones because they see us using them so much, and suggested that we do more non-digital things with the baby. So this evening Kit and I cuddled up on the couch and read books together. We probably spent most of an hour like that, me reading an advance copy of Daniel José Older's Battle Hill Bolero (very good), Kit playing with and drooling on That's Not My Owl (they adore that whole series of books). Occasionally I'd take pictures or answer a text, and while my hands were occupied Kit would steal my book. They liked turning it upside down and tugging at the cover and opening it to the middle and attempting to eat it. I encouraged all these things except the last one. It was one of the best hours of my life.

This morning I got to bed late because the baby had woken up and all I wanted to do was spend time with them, and then I barely got any work done because the baby was home from daycare (J's parents were here in the morning and early afternoon) and all I wanted to do was spend more time with them. Right now they're fast asleep and I'm resisting the urge to go into their room and scoop them up; it's great that they're sleeping so well lately but it means we don't get our mid-night cuddle time and I miss it. I just can't get enough of this happy cuddly squeaky squealy serious hard-working baby.

Aw, they just woke up babbling happily and I could totally justify going in to cuddle them. But I don't want to go in because we're trying to encourage them to go back to sleep on their own when they wake up. Nnnngh. I knew parenting would take willpower but was not aware it would take this particular kind of willpower!

EDIT: They started to get fussy so I indulged in some cuddling. Such a good snuggly baby.
[personal profile] sovay
Unrelated things of a Friday turning into Saturday—

1. While I just wanted to get out of the basement of the Harvard Book Store as fast as possible to get away from the man who took a book out of my hand in order to replace it on the shelf—without either speaking to me or making eye contact, while I was in the process of putting it back myself—I really appreciated my husband's offer to go back to the comics section and either smack wildly at the shelves with a large heavy paperback while shouting "IF ONLY SOMEONE COULD HELP ME PUT BOOK BACK!" or strike a coy pose and teasingly slide the book in and out, in and out between its fellows.

(I got out with a very cheap, very good copy of Iain Sinclair's Edge of the Orison (2005), however, so I won.)

2. So Breitbart is currently urging war on Kellogg's for pulling their advertising from the website and Penzeys is beautifully not backing down on their political talk. I foresee a lot of Ceylon cinnamon Rice Krispie treats in my future.

([ profile] derspatchel: "Oh, and clove, and cardamom, and lemon extract . . .")

3. Tonight Autolycus climbed the refrigerator and then threw up off the top of it. I feel he has struck a blow for cat undergraduates everywhere.

(Still better than the brief, tragic reign of Emperor Poopfoot IV.)

(no subject)

Dec. 3rd, 2016 06:39 am
[personal profile] telophase
We went to see Eric Idle and John Cleese over in Dallas tonight. The show
was them basically reminiscing about their careers and doing some sketch
comedy and singing Monty Python songs, encouraging us to sing along.

The audience was full of people who'd grown up with Monty Python, or who
had discovered it as adults when PBS started airing it over here in the
late 70s and early 80s, which means that it was a sold-out show full of
people from their 30s to their 70s, all happily singing "Sit On My Face."

some things

Dec. 2nd, 2016 08:05 pm
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* La lenguaje de Potter es universal: unexpected use of quasi-fanfic FTW. My current test plan (dayjob) uses HP characters for a few user scenarios. Colleagues recognize the names, since they're all younger than I, and their prior impression of what e.g. "Arthur and Molly" might do while interacting with our product keeps my scenarios short, 1-2 sentences. (My prior understanding of fanon curveballs keeps my scenarios from stepping on anyone accidentally, I hope.) For the most part I don't write fiction, but test scenarios have neither dialogue nor pacing....

The internet says that only Landmark Theaters locations use the "The language of film is universal" advertisement, but I'm pretty sure I didn't frequent Landmark during the 1980s---mostly AMC. hmm. In my memory they were often coupled with an LA Times advertisement.

* Kyung-hee Kim's 2013 doctoral thesis (PDF) is on tones in Korean---h/t Stack Exchange. Yum. The thesis is in English, though submitted to a German university.

* I have no idea why the hotel where I stayed for a night on a very intensive business trip made my hair smell faintly of nicotine cigarettes, when the bed itself didn't. (Two days one night, with meetings I'd scheduled back to back on the first day and an all-day orientation the second: up at 4 a.m. the first day, home and to bed near midnight the second.) (The separation-from-child dreams prior to it were sort of epic, though not as bad as stuff ensuing from early Nov.)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
Sue Smith, Independent Scholar, writes

I am proposing a disability and science fiction panel for the
Centre of Culture and Disability Studies
Liverpool Hope University (UK)
Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on
Educational, Cultural, and Disability Studies
5-6 July 2017.

The conference is looking for work that is interdisciplinary in nature. For example, I am putting forward a paper proposal that draws upon a range of disciplines that intersect Disability with Cosplay, Feminism, Psychoanalysis and Film Studies in order to examine a particular fan’s response to the female character, Imperator Furiosa, from the recent film, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Similarly, I would be interested in papers that intersect with other disciplines in their examination of disability and science fiction.

Please feel free to get in touch informally in order to discuss suggestions

More on the conference as a whole
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice

Okay, I realize I just posted some reviews last night, but shut up, listen: for the first time in LITERALLY YEARS, I have no pending reviews that still need to be written. My shit is CAUGHT. UP. I couldn't resist the temptation to empty the entire queue.

Bonus Level: Firewatch

Nov. 20

A story game in the "walking simulator" genre.

This was immaculately produced and very elegant, but I didn't really emotionally connect with it.

Well. Until the very end. It turns out there WAS a story in here that I cared about... it's just that the two main characters had very little to do with it.

Anyway, for all that this left me two-thirds cold, it did some really cool stuff. The way you get to choose Henry's backstory at the beginning is clever, even though it still didn't result in a character I was invested in. The radio controls were VERY clever, pretty much the only time a dialogue system has let me walk and chew gum at the same time. I liked the tactile map and compass system, and the feel of navigating the world was very good. (I love the way Henry grabs the platform as he swings down the stairs.) And... it's a first-person walker where I can see my character's feet??? Unprecedented. :O

Worth a play if you see it on sale, but I didn't quite love it.

Bonus Level: Journey

Nov. 20

I liked this a lot. It's really abstract, and kind of on the border between a bunch of genres — not quite a puzzler, not quite a walking simulator, not quite an action game. But it's a beautiful experience. It reminds me a bit of Monument Valley or Sword & Sworcery EP — I guess I'm into spare, strange journeys of atonement and sacrifice, or something.

Martha Wells — The Cloud Roads (reread)

Oct 17

I was having kind of a rough fall, so I was in the mood to re-read an old favorite.

Martha Wells — The Edge of Worlds

Nov 1

And then I remembered that there was a new novel in the series that I hadn't read yet! Score!!! Too bad it ends on a cliffhanger. 😫

These books rule, but I don't know that I've done a good job at selling people on them in the past. And the pretty-but-more-than-a-little-furry-ish cover art might raise some doubts about whether these are for you.

So here's what's up with these books: they're masterpieces of incredibly tense action plotting, with really satisfying character writing. Wells does romance really well, and here's one of the things about a significant romance in a story that's not primarily a romance novel: you can bring it to a satisfying resolution and then continue to follow those characters and show them working as a team and continuing to grow. IDK, is it just me or is that actually as rare as I think it is? Harriet and Lord Peter are the only pair coming immediately to mind here. Oh, and also the main pairing in this series is a somewhat open relationship and the protagonist is bi? And the gender power dynamics are really odd and interesting, for societal and biological reasons?

Also, the setting is the best kind of bonkers. This world has what seems like hundreds of mostly unrelated sentient species, crowded together and jostling for resources. The place is positively littered with the wreckage of past civilizations, and the current ones are all kind of hanging on by their teeth. A lot of effort is devoted to avoiding predators, and the main villains of the series are a particularly nasty breed of city-killers. There doesn't seem to be a definitive explanation for why things are like this, but the world has a LOT of weird shit in its past, and it's a magic-rich environment, so it's kind of a toss-up as to whether the development of intelligence was juiced somehow for forgotten reasons, or whether it's just an out-of-control natural arms race. A big part of the series's thematic interest is in the boundaries between people, animals, and monsters, and how those boundaries shift and squirm.

All right, I think that's about two thirds of what I dig about these. Hopefully you have a better idea of whether you'll be into this than you got from the cover art.

December 2016

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