Yuletide and bears

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 08:05 am
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
SteelyKid made teddy-bear-pipe-cleaner swaps [*] for her Girl Scouts bridging ceremony last night, which she was justly proud of because she'd figured out a better way to make them that didn't involve cutting up the pipe cleaners, and she distributed them by running up to people, sticking out her full hands, and saying, "Bears!"

Which made me laugh every time, thinking of friends writing Yuletide.

Anyway, her swaps were a big hit, and if you need a Yuletide beta and you think I might know your fandom, hit me up even if it's not on the spreadsheet. Comments are screened.

[*] Any kind of little craft on a safety pin that you can trade.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Somehow, I don't know how, I started following an embroidery blog, Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. And I liked what I saw, but transferring designs seemed really tedious and also fraught with the possibility of error, and it's not like I don't have enough stitching projects on hand already.

. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.

The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.

It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.

Here's as far as I got before I stopped:

picture )

(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)

I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.

So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )

Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)


Friday, October 13th, 2017 09:29 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Everything is terrible, but people living in the US, or US citizens abroad, take a minute for this?

Support the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (S. 200, H.R. 669) to require a, you know, declaration of war by Congress before the President can launch a first nuclear strike.

rydra_wong has links and context, and rachelmanija has phone numbers and a script. (Don't, however, spend your time contacting members of Congress outside your districts; save your energy.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
I realized I've been using with a DIY electronic bullet journal since January and actually keeping up with it . . . consistently, the whole time? . . . so it's probably time to write it up.

tl;dr: I use Dynalist, a free webpage/app that allows you to generate collapsible outlines, to keep a to-do checklist and journal bullet points for every day. I like this because things that don't get done can just be dragged into a new day, and because bullet points for journaling lowers the mental energy required to keep up with it. This system is highly flexible, goes with me everywhere, and lets me keep almost everything in one place. (I use Google Calendar for things that need to be scheduled more than two weeks out.)

Setting the scene: )

Then, in early January, I read Tobias Buckell's post on bullet journaling, which made it sound sensible and appealing. After a little more reading (I noted down this Buzzfeed post), I found a recommendation for Workflowy as an electronic bullet journal—necessary because I will not carry paper with me everywhere and I need to have access to my to-do list at all times—the examples were way more complicated than I needed, but did show that it could be very powerful and customizable.

I stopped using Workflowy at the end of July for two reasons: first, the mobile app was not good, it was way too easy to drag stuff around by accident, but hard to move it on purpose; second, it only lets you keep a single (infinitely long and collapsible) outline, which was cramping my reference-note-keeping-consolidation.

Hence: Dynalist. Which is free, and which has an Android app in beta which is much more functional, and which lets you have multiple documents. (It also has a Workflowy import.) The paid version is a smidge expensive ($8/month billed annually), but I haven't felt the need for it; I might, however, end up signing up anyway just to toss them some money. I use a pinned Chrome tab (like so) on desktop, because I didn't realize it had a Windows desktop app in beta until I just checked.

Here's how I've adapted the general bullet journal idea to a collapsible outline app: )

I've sometimes gotten a few days behind, but never more than a few, and I've always gone back and filled in at least a point or two about the day. And I started on January 9, so that's really pretty darn good. It hasn't been a magic (heh) bullet about getting things done, but it has reduced the amount of effort I put into keeping track of things, which leaves more energy for actually doing them. So on the whole, I'm pretty happy with it; and in case it sounds useful to you, here it is.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
(The first week was two episodes back-to-back, which is why we're up to episode four.)

I love this show very, very much. Also, Chad hasn't seen S1, but we watched the first four episodes of S2 together and he enjoyed it too, so while you definitely should watch S1—I think the characterizations work better that way—you can totally jump in at S2. (I did pause it once, to explain Mindy, but that was it.)

If you haven't seen it yet: go, see it! You'll almost certainly like it! And my goodness does it burn through plot at an extraordinarily high rate of speed, wow. This is really good, really funny, really thoughtful speculative fiction, and it makes me incredibly happy.

SPOILERS through currently-aired episodes )

Spoilers are ok in comments--please do, in fact!
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
and SteelyKid, playing black, has a very specific defensive philosophy she's imparting to the Pip:

dunno if this image will permanently embed )

(or view on google photos)

Edit: over breakfast, literally all they did was move pieces back and forth behind their defensive lines. I mentioned that at some point, someone would have to attempt to threaten the other's king, but they just shrugged at me. I find this hilarious.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Who gets to read "Riddles in the Dark" when reading The Hobbit out loud. =>

(I thought I was all set to read it to the Pip, since Chad got to read it to SteelyKid! But, foolishly, since chapter 3 is pretty short, I let the Pip talk me into just a little of chapter four last night . . . without checking how much of chapter 4 was left, or asking Chad to save chapter 5 for me.)

(Last time I read even-numbered chapters through chapter 12, then Chad read chapters 13 & 14 together, so I did odd-numbered from fifteen on; which, to be fair, now that we're back on me doing even-numbered, means I get to do the spiders and Smaug again, which were great fun. Still! "Riddles in the Dark"!)

links dump

Sunday, August 13th, 2017 12:16 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
A Twitter thread of "good Charlottesville-based nonprofits those Nazi jerks would really hate"; donate and/or share to the extent you can.

Correctives to an article that, I admit, I shared at first: smartphones aren't destroying a generation from Slate and Psychology Today.

Oops, this mobile puzzle game Humble Bundle only has a day left: I've played and liked klocki, Hook, and Deus Ex GO, and I'm in the process of playing Zenge.

The Secret Life of the City Banana at the NYT; I love logistics-heavy looks at ordinary things like this.

Tag yourself, I'm X (that's a legible text version of this tweet).

A minute's worth of zoo animals escaping the heat; I think the last bit is my favorite.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
So the stuff in the prior post reminded me that I've always thought of Bruce Springsteen's "Livin' in the Future" as a Dark Tower song, and now that the movie is not good, I was daydreaming what a constructed trailer for the . . . TV show, probably . . . that we should have got would look like.

This is almost certainly impossible because of the footage that would be needed to be created from whole cloth, so this is just for fun.

spoilers for all of The Dark Tower series )

Someone give me a bazillion dollars and I'll make it happen.

a vid rec post

Thursday, August 10th, 2017 10:38 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Here is a wonderful Steven Universe vid by [personal profile] skygiants, which is about loving and being together even if the world might end. Disclaimer: I introduced this song to her as part of a "cheerful apocalypses" playlist called "(and I feel fine)", which you can listen to via YouTube, and I am unreasonably pleased by that. But it's still an amazing vid, it packs so many character arcs and has such great bouncy movement to match the bouncy song. If you're up through . . . I think the latest thing I recognized was S04E16, "The New Crystal Gems", you should definitely watch it.

Clean Light_ from skygiants on Vimeo.

If you like, here are links for feedback: skygiants' DW, AO3, or click through for Vimeo.

Also, I can't remember if I've recced this already, but I made the playlist before I knew about "Dance Apocalyptic", so here is another fabulous vid, this one multi-fandom, by [personal profile] eruthros and [personal profile] thingswithwings:

Comment at thingswithwings' DW or click through for YouTube.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Geez, I almost forgot. Which is impressive considering how many of them there were.

FYI: I link to IMDB because it's stable, but on some of these, it adds these few seconds at the start that weren't in the theatrical version? So if there's a title screen that included "Official Trailer," what was in the theater started after that.

Flatliners: it is too! soon! for a reboot!

Only the Brave: I could have sworn this had a different title. Crushingly obvious-looking "inspired by a true story", about a forest-fire-fighting unit.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: I know the first of these has some devotees in fanfic fandom, but I don't go for mentor/mentee, and this just screams "trying way too hard" to me.

It: that looks pretty good! I don't do horror so I'm not getting near this with a ten-foot pole.

Birth of the Dragon: quasi-Bruce Lee biopic, which possibly has been recut to focus less on a white dude, whose presence still seemed weird and out-of-place in the above trailer?

The Hitman's Bodyguard (the version we saw had fewer swears and not the end bit either): okay, I may have been pummeled into submission by this point, but I did actually smile. Not going to see it, mind.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
So . . . that was a thing.

Okay, it is actually shaped like a movie. It required (at least) one explicitly-acknowledged "just because" in order to make the plot work, but by and large it was shaped like a movie and, as far as I can tell, got its exposition across—very obviously, granted, but I'm starting to think smooth exposition is no longer something movies care about? (Feel free to provide counter-examples.)

As a standalone movie, it's . . . unexceptional? I thought some of the special effects were oddly shoddy and uninspired, but it does contain gunfights, Idris Elba being grizzled and badass, and Matthew McConaughey waving his hands around, so if that's a thing you wanted from seeing the trailers, then you'll get it. I'm not sure that it would particularly zing or feel fresh, but it does generally provide what it promised, though there's a lot more of the kid, Jake, than one might expect.

(This review has movie spoilers but amused me and seems about right: The Dark Tower Is Not That Terrible — But It Does Feel Like a Copy of a Copy of a Copy, by David Edelstein at Vulture.)

As an adaptation, it makes some interesting choices, most of which I did not like.

all the spoilers for the movie and the entire book series, so many spoilers )


Monday, July 31st, 2017 10:46 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
I generally don't feel old or even middle-aged (elementary-school kids are a good antidote to that, for me). But it seems appropriate to note the one time recently when I genuinely felt like an adult:

I finished T. Kingfisher's Summer in Orcus, in which Baba Yaga grants the eponymous Summer her heart's desire, and because I'm a daydreamer I set about deciding what my heart's desire would be. And after not very much thought, I concluded that the genuine wish of my heart . . .

. . . was to live in a post-scarcity society.

And that's when I said to myself, boy, I'm not even remotely a candidate to be the protagonist of an adventure novel any more. (Not that I ever was. But still.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
I saw this Thursday night (and am now in a car dealership waiting room). I pre-read the current text of the play as preparation: this is apparently the second revision, which means that at least one change I remembered from the HBO version may not be its fault--I don't have the intermediate text to compare. (If you read the oral history at Slate, it approaches a literal miracle that this part of the play was ever finished, so I'm not surprised that Kushner keeps tinkering with it.)

Notes first about staging and smaller bits in roughly chronological order, then bigger-picture comments.

spoilers )

The text I have is copyright 2013, and if you haven't seen or read the play since then, I think the changes are worth checking out. What did you all think?
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Nine ways to find the perfect bra, by Listing to Port on Tumblr.

The Toast came back for a single day, and now I need to rewatch The Hunt for Red October.

Something wholesome and charming: What Fourth-Grade Archaeologists Have Found in Their School’s Closet, at Atlas Obscura.

I saw the headline for The CW's Next DC Animated Series Stars a Gay Superhero in World Where the Nazis Won WWII, and got my Indiana Jones mixed up and was all, "Nazis. Why did it have to be Nazis. I hate those guys." But on reflection, I'm keeping it.

Still the best way to remind me to correct my posture. Murder.

Jaime Lauren Keiles on the surreally mundane experience of going to a naturist (nudist) camp; stock photos of naked people sans genitalia: Naked Truths at Racked.

This is fascinating but requires so, so many content notes )


Friday, July 28th, 2017 07:07 am
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
last night, I went to see part 2 of Angels in America, where the "have you no decency" quote from the McCarthy hearings plays a prominent role, and this morning before I'd looked at any news, Chad said to me, "so, McCain, huh?"

honestly it seems a little on-point, I'm afraid to trust it.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
At Readercon, I said that my Twitter usage was basically "open, see if Ursula Vernon has live-tweeted more of reading Swiss Family Robinson, close," and that remains true. But I promised to provide links to various people, and having opened tonight to see that a reading is in progress, I should follow through.


https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/855253438623625217 (April 20)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/855601923155689472 (April 21)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/855972038800023552 (April 22)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/857428575955419136 (April 26)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/861402977675902977 (May 7)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/861776626996129793 or https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/861805896590143488 and scroll up, it isn't threading properly) (May 8)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/864320654379798530 (May 25)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/868292932406784000 (May 26)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/871216625730674688 (June 4)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/872294427045318656 (June 6)

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/878827410568990720 (June 24)

and, now in progress:


Enjoy. (I will update this post as needed, to have everything in one place.)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
Having seen Angels in America live (Boston, November 1995, first national tour) and on screen, this Thursday I split the difference and saw the currently-running London production on tape-delay live-stream in a movie theater. (Part one, that is; part two is this Thursday.) I don't love it but it's interesting to see the staging. Also Kushner has, per the intro to the combined ebook version I have but hadn't read until now, made unspecified changes to part two, so I will be reading that before Thursday so I won't be distracted while watching. (While I only skimmed part one, the only difference I saw between the text and this production was the dropping of the homeless woman's jokes.)

Here are some notes, cut for spoilers and lack of interest: )

There are various encore presentations going to be happening, if you missed this and are interested.
kate_nepveu: Ed and (armored) Al standing together in snow (Fullmetal Alchemist)
So yeah, trying to interleave FMA & FMA:B was not a good call. With the possible exception of FMA 9 (still coming on my schedule), just skipping the first episode of FMA:B would have done fine.

Spoilers for all versions of Fullmetal Alchemist.

FMA 3, 'Mother' )

FMA:B 2, 'The First Day' )

FMA 5, 'The Man with the Mechanical Arm' )

FMA 6, 'The Alchemy Exam' )

FMA 7, 'Night of the Chimera's Cry' )

FMA:B 4, 'An Alchemist's Anguish' )

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