Linkspam Returns From Liminal Spaces

Oct. 4th, 2015 08:27 pm
[personal profile] jjhunter
Hrishikesh Hirway @ Song Exploder: Episode 28: The Long Winters
On February 1st, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart while reentering the earth’s atmosphere. John Roderick, singer and songwriter of The Long Winters, wrote “The Commander Thinks Aloud” about that fateful moment.

Jamie Shreeve @ National Geographic: This Face Changes the Human Story. But How?
Berger himself thinks the right metaphor for human evolution, instead of a tree branching from a single root, is a braided stream: a river that divides into channels, only to merge again downstream.

Caleb O'Brien & Sammi Dowdell @ Mongabay: The best defense is a good bee-fence
That observation led researcher Lucy King to develop a novel technique to prevent elephants from raiding crops: fences with beehives suspended from the wires.

John Timmer @ Ars Technica: Pluto’s moon Charon shows fractured surface, signs of recent activity
Ross Beyer of NASA Ames Research Center was quoted in a statement as saying, “We thought the probability of seeing such interesting features on this satellite of a world at the far edge of our Solar System was low.” [See pic behind cut] )

Robert Krulwich @ National Geographic's Phenomena: Every Solar System Image You’ve Ever Seen is Wrong. Till Now.
Two wonderful filmmakers, Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh, figured out what’s wrong with every image of the solar system we’ve ever seen. In every one, they say, space gets cheated. Planets get exaggerated. And in their short film To Scale: The Solar System [link], they fix that.
[personal profile] yhlee
- recent viewing
The Heroic Legend of Arslan (anime, recent, not the older and much shorter OAVs that I saw back in undergrad). This is a likable heroic fantasy epic, which Wikipedia tells me is based on a Persian saga, but it's difficult to recommend it. Mainly, it's based on a series of light novels that are not only still ongoing, they're by the same author-of-light-novels responsible for Legend of the Galactic Heroes. While I loved what I saw of LoGH, this indicates to me that we are never going to see an ending in English translation. (Or anyway, by the time one comes out--if one comes out--I will have long since moved on.) Arslan only has one season of 25 (?) episodes, and while it forms a complete narrative arc, many questions are left unanswered--indeed, even many of the same questions that were left unanswered by the extremely condensed OAVs.

Arslan is a prince of questionable legitimacy who is left with the task of retaking his nation, Pars, when it is conquered and its capital occupied by the religious fanatics of Lusitania; the Lusitanians object to the Parsian practice of slavery and they also believe that people who do not accept their faith can be slaughtered without compunction. While Arslan by himself has little chance of success, being a first level paladin with Lawful Naive tendencies, he is fortunate enough to have extremely capable allies: Narsus, a master strategist as canny as he is a terrible artist, and a level 20 fighter on top of that; Daryun, a level 20 fighter who is routinely shown slaughtering enemy soldiers by the score (and I'm personally convinced he's riding a M:TG Nightmare); the bard Gieve; the horse-archer/priestess Farangis, who speaks to the djinni and also has the handy ability to invoke Protection from Missiles; and various others.

The nature of the threat is not altogether clear. Andragoras, the imprisoned king, shows little warmth toward his possible son, ditto Queen Tahamenay, whose extraordinary beauty makes all the eligible royal males treat her as a prize broodmare. I was disappointed that we basically never got to see what Tahamenay thought of her situation. Arslan has a competitor for the throne not just in the invading Lusitanians or certain "allies" but in a displaced relative who may well have a better claim than he does. Said relative has the aid of realio trulio magic-users, the source of whose power is never revealed, because the anime runs out of narrative.

On a more human scale, Arslan's opposite number among the Lusitanians is the young knight Etoile, whose faith is as unwavering as he is stubborn. Arslan's interactions with Etoile are welcome in a show where characterization is largely archetype; none of the characters is all that well-developed, and it was difficult not to feel frustrated with Arslan himself for not growing up faster.

Visually, there's a lot of CGI for the big battle sequences. I personally started wanting to scream every time that goddamn pet hawk showed up and we got Hawk Camera. I've said this before, but I am not fond of Arakawa's character designs, which are serviceable but not particularly pretty. I much prefer the OAV's/manga's designs. And I have no idea why Farangis is in such an egregiously fanservicey getup when she's a horse-archer. (Well, okay, I do know, they're appealing to people who want to watch fanservice, but...)

Worth watching once, and it was nice for the narrative to get some breathing space (sorely lacking in the OAVs, because did we mention condensed?), but I don't feel any inclination to watch it again.

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Oct. 4th, 2015 05:18 pm
[personal profile] lightreads
Tigana: Anniversary Edition

4/5. Years ago, a conquering wizard cursed the land of Tigana out of existence. Only those born on its soil can say its name, or remember it exists, and they will slowly die out as their children forget. A small pack of minstrels set out to bring it back.

I really liked this. And I wish I didn't.

I mean, what a great concept, right? This is what I wish fantasy was more often about, turning magic upon some of the fundamental ways we organize ourselves as people, and wrecking those ways, and seeing what happens. Here it's a nation silently erased, a people scattered and forced never to speak of their home. I mean, the injustice of this worked on me, of all people,* so you know the book is good.

That said, wow how much do I wish our copyright system was more sensible and someone could officially remix this book now. Someone like Leckie, say, or Jemisin, or de Bodard, or Monette, maybe. Someone, uh, not GGK.

Because, well. In the beginning of this book, as one of the protagonists was introduced and we found out he was queer, I instantly thought spoiler ) and yuuuup, called it. Not only that, but more spoilers ) Which is not even starting on the concubines, because of course there is a concubine, there is always a sexual captive in GGK's books, always, he has a sexuality, you guys, and it encompasses all varieties of women as concubine/sex slave/prostitute, and every time I read a book of his I get that bit more skeeved out. Anyway, without spoilers this time, what happens to the concubine – what the narrative ordains as her just path – makes me seethingly angry.

So this is a beautiful book. Truly. It touched me in a way I fully expected it not to. But it's also by GGK, so it's wildly overwrought, and, well, fucking gross in a lot of ways. And I wish someone else had written it, because that book, written by the right person, could be one of the best books I've ever read.

*I'm one of the least nationalistic people you're likely to meet. I take no pride in my country, or all the handwringing despair most of my friends seem to; either of those would require believing that my country actually exists as an identity in any meaningful way, other than a nonsense concept people trot out for rhetorical convenience. None of this particularly matters for daily life. I just blank out any sentences including "America is" or that otherwise attempt to claim some sort of meaningful national identity. Oh, and I find the Olympics a nearly intolerable exercise in mindless jingoism. This book worked on me anyway, largely because it focused on the destruction of culture as the true evil done (which is right, I think –there's a reason that cultural destruction, even without the taking of life, is considered a kind of genocide). The book (I think? I read this in June and my notes are somewhat . . . unclear) treats identity as synonymous with that culture, which I don't think is right, but that's not really the point, and it worked on me anyway.

The Martian (the film)

Oct. 4th, 2015 05:13 pm
[personal profile] lannamichaels

I have seen the Martian! This is the first film I have seen in theaters in a very long time. Thankfully there was a 2D showing near me, and thankfully today's shenanigans ended with enough time for me to make it to that showing.

Non-spoilery: I LIKED THIS FILM.

Spoilery behind cut! )

this is a tough game to win for them

Oct. 4th, 2015 04:28 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
Blurgh. I woke up at 6:30 this morning with a cold. Not even DayQuil is stopping my nose from running. This vexes me. I am terribly vexed.

Yesterday, I did make the rosemary olive oil crock pot bread (pics) even though we did not have a hurricane.

It's very easy and it turned out well, except that my crock pot is so small that it rose right up to nudge at the lid and that very top layer didn't completely cook. The rest of it is really good, though! I took a few liberties with the recipe - I didn't fold the rosemary into the dough; instead I crushed it and mixed it with parmesan, salt, garlic powder, and olive oil, and spread it on top. I also used a tsp of honey instead of sugar to feed the yeast. And I didn't bother with parchment paper - I just sprayed the crock pot really well. Anyway, it tastes great, though I will probably go back to the one hour focaccia, mostly because a loaf of bread the shape of my crock pot is not really easy to use/slice etc.

Now I've got French onion soup on the go, and I'm excited about having it for dinner, and using the bread I made yesterday as the crouton in it! I love my crock pot. *g*

In other news, I came up with the first draft of my yuletide letter and discovered for two of my requests I have only one thing I want and that doesn't seem fair so I might be shuffling my requests around. Of course, I have to wait and see if my noms are accepted. That hasn't happened yet.


(no subject)

Oct. 4th, 2015 12:48 pm
[personal profile] skygiants
This is the epitome of a biased review, because I have been waiting for a finished version of Elisa Catrina's The First Bite Is the Deepest since about 2009, when it was a wacky parody called "VAMPTERVENTION!"

The First Bite is the Deepest has gotten significantly darker and more serious in its themes since then, but don't worry, it still features plenty of terrible vampire puns. TAKE IT LIKE A MANPIRE.

The book starts out when Stella Ortiz, solid student, field hockey player, and frequent reader of terrible romance novels, meets -- of course! -- a MYSTERIOUS TRANSFER STUDENT named Sebastian.

Stella thinks Sebastian is hot and tragic. Stella's friends Jenny, Nadia and Austin, who are kind of annoyed that Stella keeps skipping horror movie night for dates, think Sebastian is a pretentious, controlling douchebag.

When it turns out -- surprising no one -- that Sebastian is a vampire, Stella thinks maybe she can save Sebastian through the power of love! Stella's friends think she needs to get out of this relationship, FAST.

Unfortunately, breakup-and-exposure methods like sneaking up on Sebastian, shouting 'PERFORMANCE ART!!!' and dumping a bucket of blood on his head don't really do anything except encourage Sebastian to call in his whole terrifying vampire family for backup.

Pretty soon there are mysterious creatures of the night lurking around their houses, sinister storms blowing in their windows, and vampires at school making rude assumptions about Nadia's decision to wear hijab. Also, at least one member of the gang is sort of unsure how to feel about the fact that their nascent sexuality crisis has been completely overshadowed by vampire drama.

It quickly becomes evident, even to Stella, that Sebastian is probably very bad news. But as the stakes get higher for everyone, breaking away becomes increasingly difficult -- and while Jenny, Nadia and Austin are determined to wage an anti-vampire crusade whether Stella's emotionally ready to stake her ex-boyfriend through the heart or not, the hardest part is not just staying alive and un-vampiric, but figuring out how to support each other and keep their friendships intact.

I am so excited that Elisa's decided to self-publish this book: it's funny and clever and emotionally hard-hitting, it doesn't shy away from the complications and ambiguities of abusive relationships, and it puts the friendships between teen girls of color squarely at the center of the narrative. (Although I should add in a warning for abusive relationships in general -- not just Stella's, but also a couple other terrible vampire relationships, including pseudo-parental abuse.) It doesn't come out until October 31 -- hence the Amazon link, because a.) I totally want to encourage pre-orders and b.) there is no goodreads link! -- and though, as I said, the author is a longtime friend and I am the world's most biased reviewer, I would super recommend it.

some things

Oct. 4th, 2015 10:12 am
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* When physical therapists wrinkle their noses and insist that bicycle-riding really is ideal (provided that one's hips, knees, and ankles can handle it), they are right. Last weekend I filled the green-waste bin with camellia and juniper clippings, and the next day I was able to move my arms above shoulder height without feeling whipped. Whatever size our green bin is, it's exactly right for 60-90 min of work and no more, which helps against accidental overwork. I couldn't handle one bout of 30 min a few years ago---flat the next day with muscle spasms.... Also, now there ought to be room for painters to reach all external parts of the house if they don't mind being poked a bit by juniper twig ends.

* Redeveloping muscle (like platting former farmland and installing a bunch of big-box shops atop it, ugh) is distressing. Some parts have more muscle than needed from decades of walking and stair-climbing; other parts are slowly coming back on line after 15 years of nothing. I know it'd be helpful to do gentle lunges against tight hamstrings and foot cramps, etc., except that most such exercises put out my lower back---so I don't do them unless it's out already. Waiting for pain and sciatica to increase noticeably, then increasing discomfort further on purpose is excellent for one's state of mind. :(

* I had forgotten how much a set of adults can care about whether and when two fictional characters may kiss on screen. "Don't kdrama leads always kiss by episode 12 [of 16]?" Heh. No. I continue to trust the writers and production team re: story arcs, which is something I have almost never been able to say about a 16-ep kdrama since gaining generic expectations. Fingers crossed for the final four hours.

* Visualization of blowing petty concerns away by exhaling: well, lately my subconscious has decided to try it while I sleep, which has resulted in an odd dream of an exhalation-powered wheel for a lazy hamster.

* Riding a bicycle really tells you which of your shoes are too wide (all of them, but one pair more than the other). I'd forgotten about that, too.
[personal profile] lightreads
The Shepherd's Crown (Tiffany Aching)

3/5. The last Discworld book.

Well, that's that, then.

It's not a particularly inspired book, but nor is it the dire mess of some of the recent offerings. Not too surprising, I guess – it's basically the same book he'd written four or five times previously, so clearly the steps were familiar: threat from outside, faeries, how the progress of technology and particularly the railroad changes the face of the world, coming into power as a function of coming into self-knowledge.

No, all that, *handwave*. Been there, done that, and much better than this version.

No, this book is made by the first quarter, which is all about the death of a witch. And as constant Discworld readers will know, a witch is aware of her impending death, and is able – required, even – to prepare for it. Dig her own grave, do the final washing up, scrub the place until it shines. And then lie down and wait.

The first quarter of this, the last Discworld book, is about that. And, um. Ouch.

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu

Oct. 4th, 2015 10:58 am
[personal profile] lightreads
Time Salvager

2/5. In a far future dystopic solar system, time operatives go into the past to steal its resources. Until one operative – let's call him Mr. Manpain – brings someone forward because she has a vagina and he wants to get in it.

Okay, I am getting kind of uncanny. Ugh, I thought, halfway through this book, I bet this got optioned for a movie. Bingo. Michael Bay will direct. Why oh why is it that I can spot a terrible summer blockbuster at fifty paces? But also can't spot a book that would make a good movie with a map and directions?

Anyway, whatever, I anticipated every "twist" this book had to offer, because duh, and hissed and winced as it treated every woman as an object to be killed or saved by/for a man, and complained with increasing grumpiness about why we couldn't get more of some of the interesting worldbuildy bits and less of, you know, everything else. Particularly Mr. Manpain, blech.

So very much not seeing the movie.

Regression to the Mean

Oct. 3rd, 2015 09:28 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
After yesterday's accomplishments, today I made a necessary phone call, which got me to an answering machine. And I made cabbage and kielbasa for dinner, which is as close to no work to cook as you can get if you have a cutting board and a crockpot.

Fair Play by Josh Lanyon

Oct. 3rd, 2015 11:54 am
[personal profile] lightreads
Fair Play (All's Fair Book 2)

4/5. M/M mystery featuring a retired FBI agent turned college professor digging into his father's radical past.

Brains are scary sometimes. I read the prequel to this book five years ago over a long night of hospital waiting. I finished the sequel on Thursday in a waiting room. During surgery this time, not after, but jeez! I totally did not plan that. Well, not purposefully, anyway.

Anyway. Needless to say, this series is tied up with medical stress for me. The sequel was as appropriate as the first book – soothing, just involving enough to be useful, emotionally satisfying. Lanyon has such a good grip on writing established relationships; the tensions between them, the push-and-pull, the sense of working together to build something difficult but lasting. They both struggle with trust in this book, and their mutual intimacy issues, and, uh, yeah, this works for me.

Now I just hope the next book isn't timed for another surgery.

Note: Kindle version is currently $3.99, which I assume is some sort of sale. Then again, M/M pricing is a continual mystery and puzzlement to me, so.

Other note: So Josh Lanyone "came out" as a woman, and . . . yeah. Thanks for that live fire demonstration of how you are utterly steeped in misogyny, pro M/M community. Jesus.
[personal profile] musesfool
Last night, despite the ridiculous amount of rain we were having (farewell, small orange and pink umbrella! you provided valiant service until the wind tore you apart), [personal profile] innie_darling and I went to see The Martian.

I definitely recommend it. I think even if you didn't enjoy the book much, the movie ameliorates the problems (Watney's bro-ish-ness, the clunky writing), plus it's tighter and the visuals are gorgeous and the acting is good and the soundtrack made me very happy. Plus, I would watch Chiwetel Ejiofor read the phone book, istg. Which kind of makes me less angry about them replacing an Indian guy with a black guy in casting Kapoor, but there was NO REASON for Mindy Park not to be Korean(-American). NO REASON. And if they were going to take that away, then surely they should have cast a woman of color as the PR lady, since I didn't think Kristen Wiig brought much to the role that another actress couldn't have (except for that one scene, I guess).

It really is like all the mission control parts of Apollo 13, so if you like watching people be very good at their jobs, despite overwhelming odds and the uncaring nature of the universe, you should enjoy this movie.

spoilers )

Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot though I was afraid I was never going to be dry again, so when I got home, I hopped into a hot shower and then went straight to bed.

Also, if you are ever in need of a meal before seeing a movie at Kips Bay, I totally recommend Rocky's II - their grandma's pizza is excellent.

We also got a ton of trailers before the movie - more than I think is usual - and they all sort of blur together except for Hiddleston in Crimson Tide Crimson Peak, which I have no intention of watching and also it tells you the whole movie in the trailer; Joy, that JLaw+Bradley Cooper movie about a lady who invented something which is escaping me atm, which actually told you nothing about the story; and Concussion, with Will Smith taking on the NFL in a ripped from the headlines/based on a true story way (the only one of the bunch I might actually consider seeing). There was also something about the banking crisis starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Reynolds, which looked pretty dire, and also the Point Break remake. Which. WHY? WHY REMAKE POINT BREAK? The stunts all look super pretty, but the WHOLE POINT of that movie was KEANU REEVES and PATRICK SWAYZE SMOLDERING AT EACH OTHER. The new movie has two unrecognizable guys as Johnny Utah and Bodhi, and WHY? WHY DO THAT?



Oct. 3rd, 2015 11:42 am
[personal profile] jjhunter
It's October! Time of scarves and rain and chillier weather, as well as trees catching to brilliant colors. Also time of wacky looking squashes ("it's decorative gourd season") and mulled apple cider, and soup.

poll behind the cut: What kinds of soup do you like? )

Now is the start of soup season, as I count it, and I'm curious to try making some new things this year. Any types or recipes in particular that you'd recommend?

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Oct. 3rd, 2015 11:13 am
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.


Signal-boosting much appreciated!
[personal profile] sovay
Slowly this room begins to look like someone lives here. Yesterday, with [ profile] gaudior's help, I moved the desk and the dresser into their rightful locations; today I put away all my clothes that were in garbage bags, leaving only one bag of clean sheets and towels (I really want a tiny linen chest) and the suitcase and black travel bag of good clothes, which would ordinarily be on hangers in a closet except that the closet currently contains stuff belonging to my cousins, including the ramshackle bookcase that threatened to fall forward everywhere else in the room we tried it. Tonight I set up my sound system and the mermaid lamp on my desk. There's still clutter, but some of it is unavoidable; I am sharing the room with boxes of my cousins' manga, which Gaudior stacked into a neat half-ziggurat against the wall so that I could jigsaw my luggage into it. The rest came with me and will get sorted in the next few days. I had enough of boxes lying around the floor during this last move.

[ profile] nineweaving sent me a radio ghost:


I miss my cats.


Oct. 2nd, 2015 06:23 pm
[personal profile] coffeeandink
The Best of C.L. Moore is currently free at Amazon, and you should get it if for "Vintage Season" alone.

C.L. = Catherine Lucille. First publication "Shambleau," 1933.

But we all know women didn't write sf before like 2010, right.
[personal profile] malkingrey
Most of the accomplishing got done in the morning, though, while the sun was still shining.

The first thing we did was finalize the T-shirt design for this year's Viable Paradise, a process involving making a black and white printout of the design, and also saving the file to a CD in .jpg, .tiff, .bmp, and .png formats, followed up by generating a list of how many of what sizes we needed (so many XL, so many S, and so forth.)

The second thing we did was purchase several quarts of motor oil for the Subaru, which has an appointment on Monday to fix whatever is leaking oil, but which meanwhile must make it through the weekend.

The third thing we did was take the T-shirt CD and printout over to Squeegee Printers in Vermont, who have done all of the Viable Paradise T-shirts so far. We were lucky; normally they don't work on Fridays, but the owner was in the shop doing some office work, and so we were able to make all the arrangements right then and not have to come back another day.

The fourth thing we did was stop by the IGA, where I was finally able to take care of the checkout glitch that had me being charged twice for the same shopping run -- once as a point-of-sale debit and once as credit. The amount, while not that of a full grocery run, was nevertheless a non-zero sum (sufficient to cover a tank of gas, for example), so I was pleased.

The fifth thing we did was stop by the bank, to deposit the refund check IGA cut for me and to change a $10 bill into two fives for Himself, the better to stock his hat for doing magic down in Lancaster at the farmer's market tomorrow morning.

The sixth thing we -- or in this case I -- did was to take my brother up by the bank and the pharmacy and the drug store to get all of his meds and bills and stuff taken care of for the week.

And the seventh thing I did was print out some of Himself's VP readings so he could take them down to the Groveton Ambulance HQ and do the read-and-comment thing while he's down there.

Huh. Laid out like that, it was actually a fairly accomplishment-filled day.

I still have to make dinner, though.
[personal profile] lannamichaels

Title: Gravity Is A Harsh Mistress. (On Archive Of Our Own)
Author: [personal profile] lannamichaels
Fandom: The Martian - Andy Weir
Series: Interstitial
Rating: G

Summary: Earth, you are beautiful, I am never leaving you again.

Look homeward, angel )

Is this a new fandom? idek

Oct. 2nd, 2015 02:24 pm
[personal profile] kouredios
You guys, I'm still working through a major post-defense writing block. Well, maybe not a block exactly, more like a writing Idonwanna. And yet, I've started getting fannish over a new thing. I say thing, because, unlike almost everything else I'm fannish about, it's not a text.

It's a nail wrap system.

No, no really! Do you remember the nail armor I posted right before the defense? Here, let me refresh your memory:

More story and shiny nail pics under the cut )

I haven't even posted the Doctor Who themed wraps the consultant sent me out of the blue once she found out I was a fan! I'll have to take a picture of those once I get home and drop it in here.

Oh, and almost forgot! You can buy the wraps through me here, if you want.

(no subject)

Oct. 2nd, 2015 09:27 am
[personal profile] telophase

Read more... )

Three! Three! cases of books!

Oct. 2nd, 2015 10:26 am
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
It's amazing how much easier shifting large quantities of books is if I use the proper tools.

'stead of kisses, we get kicked

Oct. 2nd, 2015 10:20 am
[personal profile] musesfool
We're having a nor'easter today, but it looks like we might dodge Joaquin, so that's okay. I still have ingredients to cook up a storm this weekend, because I won at adulting last night and did my grocery shopping, just so I could say "inb4 panic starts!" Bacon sandwiches for lunch next week!


Steven Universe: When It Rains
spoilers )

Sleepy Hollow: I, Witness
spoilers )

I'll keep watching since I don't have any other show in the timeslot (I don't think?) but it's on a very short leash with me. And I am still earwormed with "It's a Hard Knock Life" (Annie, not Jay-Z).



Oct. 2nd, 2015 01:25 am
[personal profile] malkingrey
The second-most-depressing thing about the school shooting in Oregon?

The fact that I was able to predict the resulting commentary on the internet -- both sides of it -- with sufficient accuracy that reading it did not, in fact, tell me anything.

(no subject)

Oct. 1st, 2015 08:08 pm
[personal profile] jhameia
SMEGBALLS these things don't end.

Went to campus to do office hours, during which AA came to visit, which was very nice! Then lecture at 1pm. In between, I went to the grill, and they now have a breakfast menu!! Breakfast grilled cheese sammich with bacon, yay!

I went home, had a good nap, then went back to campus for my first council meeting. Seems like most people are about as clueless as I am, so I'm not going to look more incompetent than everybody else.

But the meeting dragged on even though I asked YL to wait for me so we could walk home together /o\ I felt so bad!

Today I went to print flyers for the IndieGoGo, and the guy at the FedEx center did a miracle and centered them perfectly for me, even said he'd saved the file in case I needed more. I might! We'll see.

I had my meeting with Student Life and then worked on my prospectus, re-reading a LOT of things I shouldn't have to re-read.

The IGG is at 79% now! Someone dumped a fuckton of money all of a sudden, which made me quite verklempt.

"Make a house a home"

Oct. 1st, 2015 10:19 pm
[personal profile] rosefox
Right now, our fourth room is our guest room. We have a big pull-out couch in there, and a couple of bookcases that are currently full of kids' books.

Somehow, we need to turn it into the baby's room. That means we need to get bookcases out of J's room and the guest room, get the couch out of the guest room and put it in J's room, build a crib and changing table and rocking chair and kid-size cabinet/closet, and move some of the bookcases back in.

J is able-bodied and fairly strong. R is somewhat able-bodied and not terribly strong. X is quite pregnant. This is more than we can really do on our own.

So! If you're available to come to our apartment (in Brooklyn, very near the Utica Ave stop on the 3/4) and help us move heavy things around on Sunday October 25 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., we would greatly appreciate the help. We will gladly pay you in delicious food and drinks, free books, and even bookcases if you'd like them. The books and bookcases are perfectly good; we just don't have room for the latter, so we're divesting ourselves of the former (and replacing them in digital).

If you're not up for lifting heavy things, come over anyway! You can keep us company, cheer us on, entertain us, go out for more chips, or just take books away. It'll be a fun little low-key party.

Usual apartment warnings apply: we have three cats (who will be shut away for the duration of the movinatin'), and we're up one fairly steep flight of stairs.

Please comment or email and let us know if you'll be joining us!
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"He was an old man—at least fifty [...]"

(stares coldly at novel)

That Yellow Thing, Up in the Sky

Oct. 1st, 2015 02:47 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
The sun is shining today, and the air is cool. With any luck, this state of affairs will continue long enough for the world to dry out a little.


Oct. 1st, 2015 01:14 pm
[personal profile] telophase
The arthritis in my feet has turned itself up to 11, probably thanks to my insistence on actually using my feet. Totally not happy about this.

we could have had it all

Oct. 1st, 2015 12:00 pm
[personal profile] musesfool
Rabbit, rabbit! (I feel like some extra luck is necessary, given the givens.)

We're all in a tizzy here about the possibility of Hurricane Joaquin hitting hard and other meteorological conditions that could make it even worse than a category 4 hurricane. #file under: times I remember I live on an island. So I laid in some bacon yesterday. *snerk* Maybe today I'll pick up a couple of onions to make French onion soup. And someone on Pinboard linked to a slow cooker bread recipe, so maybe I'll try that, too. *hands* I'd like it to be bad enough that they won't make us commute in it, but not so bad that it destroys people's lives and homes etc.


Two links:

= Genius: A Conversation With 'Hamilton' Maestro Lin-Manuel Miranda. Like many of you, I've been listening to the OBCR since it was released and enjoying it a lot.

= Scott Snyder and Jock on Batman and Economic Disparity - I thought the headline was misleading, because they don't really talk about that? At least not in any way I was expecting. But it's in relation to Batman #44 (which I talked about here), and they do have some interesting things to say about how Bruce Wayne's philanthropy sometimes gets in its own way (i.e., he pays to rebuild Gotham after disaster, but then gentrification happens, and crooked contractors etc.) and also this: that's what Bruce has to learn about Gotham City initially, beyond scaring criminals into the shadows. He knows how to do that. In this story, it's about him learning how to inspire people to be good and better. That's what's wonderful about Batman and what keeps me coming back. I think a lot of Batman writers (and fans) forget that part of it (well, it's more usually attached to other members of the Batfamily), but it can be one of the best things about Batman. (Also, I just really like Jock's art.)


I'm seeing The Martian tomorrow night. The reviews so far have been good, and I enjoyed the book, so that should be fun.


I'm waiting for yuletide noms to close and be approved so I know whether the stuff I want to ask for is accepted because I don't want to write requests for things that are ineligible (and I don't even know if anyone's nominated Middleman, though that request is already written) and I'd like to get started drafting my letter. *impatient* I also am wondering what to offer to write, which is where things are harder for me, since I am trying to do only things I can be really enthusiastic about. Sigh. #fangirl problems


These 5 Things Also Make a Post

Oct. 1st, 2015 10:14 am
[personal profile] oracne
1. Remember how I couldn't decide what I wanted to read next? It turned out I wanted to read the next Peter Grant book, and nothing else, so I gave in and bought Foxglove Summer before I went to them gym last night. I'm about two-thirds done already. I'm hoping I can dig back into the TBR after this.

2. My workout with the weight machines on Monday had me still a bit sore on Wednesday, so I just did an hour on the elliptical for my workout. I listened to music exclusively for the first half hour, spacing out a bit, then started reading Foxglove Summer to distract myself from thinking I wanted to stop. An hour for me usually amounts to a bit over 4 miles, total, which leaves me pleasantly tired and willing to stretch for quite a while.

3. Tomorrow (Friday) I'm having a cortisone shot in my dominant hand, so I took the whole day as a sick day. I am told that there is pain from the shot and its aftermath, but the pain goes away, and hopefully after that I will no longer have the swelling in my middle finger, and will be able to bend it properly. It's been almost 3 months since the injury, so I am ready for improvement, believe me.

4. A college friend who emigrated to New Zealand is in town this week, with her fiance, whom I've never met. But I will meet him Friday night, and also get to see her, and also get to eat Szechuan food. If my hand is working by then, I might be able to use chopsticks for the first time all summer. That's one task I haven't managed to learn with my left hand.

5. We're supposed to get lots of rain in the next few days. I have been looking for a good pair of water-resistant/waterproof shoes to wear in the rain, in brown or oxblood, that would also look okay for dayjob. I am trying to avoid just getting a second pair of Docs (I have black ones) in another color, for the sake of variety. I am willing to pay money for good shoes that will last; I do a lot of walking on hard surfaces. Any recommendations for brands?
[personal profile] sovay
Rabbit, rabbit. I am safely installed in [ profile] rushthatspeaks and [ profile] gaudior's spare room, which at the moment looks like an explosion in a transient hotel, but will look significantly better tomorrow after I have had a chance to relocate the desk and the dresser into their proper corners and unpack some of the suitcases and garbage bags. I have brought four pieces of art with me, including the one I trash-picked in July and now feel responsible for; I have my mezuzah and the little bronze fascinum and Doppel-Abbie, because the live cats are with [ profile] derspatchel and I will arrange to visit them as soon as I can. It turns out that I own seventy-four white Staples boxes of books and at least one brown packing box that mostly contains The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror and none of them are here with me, because if there were seventy-odd boxes of books in this room, there wouldn't be room for me. (I have a few books. I always have books. The selection widened from Kipling, Wittgenstein, and Yolen to include Ursula K. Le Guin's The Wind's Twelve Quarters (1975) and Katharine Butterworth and Sara Schneider's Rebetika: Songs from the Old Greek Underworld, of which I may or may not manage to read any before my body notices it's now past five o'clock in the morning and I have to be awake before two in the afternoon to let in the technician from RCN.) I have the futon while the frame is in storage. I have the box of Comcast equipment, which must be returned to them posthaste before they charge me the equivalent cost. I have a highly random selection of objects which turned up at the eleventh hour of packing out, like the immersion blender both Rob and I had forgotten we owned. I do not have Rob, and this will take some getting used to. This is a separation of circumstance rather than a declaration of intent, but even so. It is my birthday month and everything is in a strange liminal state, neither here nor there nor in any way settled. I am going to try to sleep for real for the first time in nearly three days. The move is over.
[personal profile] yhlee
- recent reading
Donald Maass. Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques for Exceptional Storytelling. I've read a couple other of Maass's books and liked them. I checked the Amazon reviews before purchasing this one for my Kindle DX because apparently there is some repeated material between books, and I decided I wanted to go with this particular one. (My library didn't have the ones I was interested in.)

Joe rather charmingly but bewilderingly thinks that I am beyond the need for writing how-to books. I guess he's allowed to flatter me because he's my spouse? I don't think he realizes how obscure I am, but then when he gets published (co-author on LIGO papers) he's listed as one of like 500 (!) authors listed in alphabetical order with around 100 footnotes to indicate institution-of-allegiance because LIGO is this collaborative effort. So I suppose it's all relative. Anyway, he demanded to know why the hell I was blowing money on a writing how-to book and I said Maass heads the agency I'm with (which is true; my specific agent is Jennifer Jackson) and he said, "Ah, you're researching your agency." Well, not exactly. But if that makes him feel better about my spending money on professional development, so be it.

(It is true that many writing how-to books strike me as too basic to be worth spending money on, but that doesn't mean all of them are that way, or that I am done learning! In an ideal world I could get to more workshops, but, goddammit, I live out in Louisiana and I cannot seem to find useful workshoppy things out here, and I have a limited travel budget. :/ )

Maass identifies what he believes are the characteristics of successful modern fiction, analyzes examples from a variety of genres (from literary to romance to mystery to fantasy get the idea), and gives exercises at the end of each section or chapter to be applied to your own writing. I am personally allergic to the mechanistic use of exercises, so I just read through them. That being said, a lot of the techniques Maass describes are sound.

The current long project I have going is revising Revenant Gun (trilogy #3), and I wanted to look at this book for ideas on things to fix. Happily, while I'm not going to go through all the damn exercises, I did get a number of ideas on things that I can work in. You know, in my copious free time. Good: it's not due until early 2017; the game takes priority because it has the earlier deadlines. But I want at least to make revision notes and fix the outline, because the current draft not only has structural problems but is uncomfortably short. My agent had me add something like 10,000 words to Ninefox Gambit before she shopped it around. I just seem to consistently write short, which means making up the shortfall in revisions. I had better luck hitting target wordcount with Raven Stratagem, but that was because of its structure, and even then I ended up having to add some chapters.

Anyway, [personal profile] daidoji_gisei, you might enjoy this, if you can get it at the library. For my part, I don't regret the purchase. Yay ebooks!

Meanwhile, I would like to stop being sick so that I can concentrate on producing words in whatever medium. All I got done today was watching TV and reading.

- recent viewing
Archer through S5. Read more... )

(no subject)

Sep. 30th, 2015 09:22 pm
[personal profile] yhlee
Bad: I'm a didactic writer.

Good: At least I have the benefit of clarity?


Sep. 30th, 2015 08:24 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Did Jean Valjean have adamantium claws in the stage version?

Reflections on a Rainy Day

Sep. 30th, 2015 02:09 pm
[personal profile] malkingrey
The thing about owning an old house is that something in it, around it, or on it is always breaking down or falling apart and needing repair.

And the thing about raising four kids from cradle through college is that if you're freelance novelists with irregular income from a variety of sources, most of your excess disposable income (when you've got an excess, which is by no means a regular thing) goes toward raising said kids.

And the ultimate result is that after a couple of decades of this, once said kids are out in the world and on their own, is that you take a good hard look at the house you've been living in and mutter, "Oh, good lord. How do we even start to fix this wreck?"

reading wednesday

Sep. 30th, 2015 10:48 am
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Somehow I missed scheduling a book-related post draft for today. Instead of rearranging the dates of the next posts, let's revert to the meme version, since it's been a while---

Recently finished: Lurie's Realms of Literacy, which is great but took a while due to various logistical inconveniences.

Reading, much of it stalled, and anyway there's only one lunchtime per weekday, into which most printed reading of this kind must fit:
  • Innes, Appleby and Honeybath

  • Alcalá, The Flower in the Skull (I've been near the end for weeks while knocking off Lurie and another hefty library book, both recalled by others who want to borrow them)

  • Rutt, Korean Works and Days, which is not stalled---very easy reading---but makes me want to take notes on everything

  • Gameson, The Earliest Books of Canterbury Cathedral

  • Ciocîltan, trans. Willcocks, The Mongols and the Black Sea Trade in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

  • The soompi thread for the show I'm watching
*squints* I didn't mean to line up a tidy subset of my interests, but there we are.

Next: I shall have to address Hilden's Bedouin Weaving of Saudi Arabia and Its Neighbours or return it unread soon.

Disability in the Change series

Sep. 30th, 2015 10:33 am
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Sherwood and I posted on disability in the Change series at Diversity in YA.

Everything I write stems from personal experience, even if it’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where people have mutant powers and the trees can eat you.
[personal profile] musesfool
Even though I feel like yesterday was long enough for two days, the calendar informs me that it is not Thursday, but Wednesday, so!

What I've just finished
Half-Resurrection Blues (Bone Street Rumba #1) by Daniel José Older, which I liked but wish it weren't so focused on dudes. It does a great job of evoking Brooklyn, and I enjoyed the writing a lot, but I really wanted Sasha to be more interesting, and for Kia and Dr. Tijou to have more to do. Still, I'll read the next one whenever it comes out.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Highly recommended. Should be required reading. Also beautifully written.

Grayson Annual #2. Read this this morning on the subway - Clark looks more like Kon in his t-shirt and jeans combo with his Caesar hair cut and his 'supercycle,' but Clark and Dick are always fun together and this was no exception (while I still don't like that they switched Nightwing from blue to red in the reboot, I did enjoy Dick and Clark referring to each other as Red and Blue, and also Dick's Superman fannishness, and Bruce's habitual suspicion [it's why no one likes you, Bruce!], and Clark's explanation of why Batman needs a Robin), though I was surprised they used as weighty (no pun intended) a former Nightwing nemesis as Blockbuster so casually. (On the plus side, this way it didn't end with Dick being sexually assaulted, so yay for that.) Also, I enjoyed the Mad Max: Fury Road-ness of the Fist of Cain people.

What I'm reading now
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. This came from the library (I was surprised at how long the hold list was, tbh) and everything with a due date gets read first, so. It's a cute romance, so far anyway.

What I'm reading next
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine also became available from the library, so that'll be next.


September recs update!

[personal profile] unfitforsociety has been updated for September 2015 with 25 recs in 8 fandoms:

* 13 Avengers + 1 Spider-Man/Fantastic 4 crossover
* 6 Check, Please!
* 2 Batman (comics)
* 1 Harry Potter, 1 Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and 1 Star Wars

Read, love, comment!


September writing roundup:

we travel without seatbelts on (@ AO3)
Veronica Mars/Captain America; Veronica, Bucky, ensemble; AU; pg; 9,115 words
In which Bucky Barnes discovers that Steve Rogers is not the only tiny blonde firebrand who felt betrayed by SHIELD.

Set post-CATWS, is not AOU-compliant and is AU for the VM movie.

I'm still stunned and thrilled with the response this garnered (and I will answer comments soon. ish.). I still can't believe nobody else thought of Veronica Mars: Agent of SHIELD before, but I haven't found one on AO3 anyway. Now if I could only write the "Veronica Mars thinks Bruce Wayne is a serial killer" story. Ah, well, I guess it's good to have goals.

Of course, I haven't written anything since I posted this, so I need to get back to writing, and I think I'm just going to focus on the Sirius-is-Batman AU for now, since it tickles me, and by narrowing its scope, I think I can actually finish it. TBH, since I finished "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen," I feel like anything is possible. I never thought I'd get that thing done, but I did!


Wednesday Reading

Sep. 30th, 2015 08:33 am
[personal profile] oracne
I had a three-day weekend, so I enjoyed some pleasure reading!

Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch is fourth in an urban fantasy series I've been reading since the beginning. I'd put this one off for a while because I'd heard it had a twist I wasn't sure I would like. But as it turned out, I was okay with the twist, and am interested to find out what happens next. I love this series for the characters and worldbuilding - for example, the way Peter Grant's deep interest in architecture is woven throughout his first-person narration which also contains police jargon, wry humor, and anecdotes about his family. I recommend this series highly.

I also finished Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton. I'd read most of the comics before, online, but it was lovely to find a few things I'd missed scattered throughout. And this volume has my absolute fave of all her comics, Chopin and Liszt. My only complaint is that I wish the print had been a bit larger, particularly when there was a line of commentary, in the author's handwriting, at the bottom of a page. I had to squint a few times, even while wearing my glasses.

In nonfiction, I'm making good progress is And If I Perish: Frontline U.S. Army Nurses in World War II by Evelyn Monahan - shit is getting real! A hospital ship got bombed! I'm at the part where the Americans are taking part in an invasion of the mainland of Italy.

September 2015

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