lizbee: (DW: Bill (garden))
[personal profile] lizbee
I can't believe it's taken the show more than fifty years to use that title. Teaspoon has ... okay, only four fics using it. That's less than I expected.

Anyway.

'No, dear, those were spoilers.' )

(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2017 02:15 pm
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (cosmia)
[personal profile] skygiants
I have never read Dhalgren or indeed any Samuel R. Delaney. However, as of yesterday I have at least had a Dhalgren Experience, thanks to [personal profile] aamcnamara, who turned up a local theatrical-dance-music-light-'architectural puppetry' performance of something called Dhalgren: Sunrise this weekend.

Dhalgren: Sunrise is comprised of bits of text from what I assume is Dhalgren the book, accompanied by dance, light, and music, almost all of it improvised. Also, some of the music was performed on imaginary instruments. "That must be a theremin!" I thought brightly to myself on seeing one of the instruments, mostly because I don't know what a theremin looks like and therefore I assume that any instrument I don't recognize is a theremin. But it turns out it was not a theremin, because there was a credit in the program for 'invented instruments,' though I don't know whether the one I saw was the Diddly Bow, the Bass Llamelophone, or the Autospring.

Anyway, so my new understanding of Dhalgren is that it is about a city in which Weird, Fraught and Inexplicable Things Are Happening. This is not a very thorough understanding, but it's still more of an understanding than I had before. The show is composed of seven scene-vignettes:

Prelude: A brief reading of [what I assume to be] the book's introduction.

Orchid: Three women dance on a bridge and a man acquires a prosthetic hand-weapon-implement. The director at the end gave special thanks to the dude who made it, understandably so, because it very effectively exuded Aura of Sinister!

Scorpions: Gang members dance and fight in front of a building? Alien gang members? Just aliens? Anyway, some entities wrapped in glowing lights have a dance fight in front of a building; the text is from the point of view of a worried inhabitant of the building who Has Concerns.

Moons: The moon has a new secondary moon friend named George. The dancing in this section was one of my favorite bits -- the Moon did some amazing things with her light-strung hula hoop. [personal profile] aamcnamara pointed out later that the narration in this bit, which featured a wry and dubious radio announcer, seemed like a perhaps-intentional echo of Welcome to Night Vale. I have never actually listened to Welcome to Night Vale, but from my cultural osmosis knowledge this seems about right.

Fire: The light show took front and center in this bit about everything being on fire and also, simultaneously, not on fire. The maintenance man doing the narration is very plaintive about all of this. There may also have been dancing in this bit but I don't remember what anyone was doing.

Sex: The guy with the sinister prosthesis has an intimate encounter with two other people inside a blanket fort. I always like the blanket-fort method of showing sex onstage, it hints appropriately while allowing actors not to have to do anything they're uncomfortable with. At some point in this process the sinister prosthesis is removed for the first time, which I expect symbolizes something about human connection.

Sunrise: The characters who have previously just had sex emerge from the building and now seem to have a difference of opinion about whether the sunrise is just normal, or whether the earth is actually falling into the sun. Eventually all the characters are onstage being distressed, along with the music and the lighting -- again, really cool light effects here, especially the final overwhelming projection of light followed by and darkness.

It's a one-hour show without intermission, which we all agreed afterwards was for the best; the deeply weird mood and atmosphere would have been difficult to slip back into if one could get up in the middle to go to the bathroom. For those of you who have actually read Dhalgren, I will leave you with [personal profile] aamcnamara's sum-up: "It was a strange experience, but honestly could have been stranger."

Days goals

Jun. 25th, 2017 09:43 am
fred_mouse: Wooden mouse shape with leather ears and dots for eyes, wrapped in a piece of green blanket (blanket)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
some very vague goals for the day

1. get some housework done
2. make progress on writing related projects
3. close many tabs in my browser

at 10pm:
1. bedroom is much tidier and cleaner, two other rooms were vacuumed. some other bits and pieces done
2. ah, bugger. completely forgot about getting on the computer while I still had brain for writing
3. yes! Not all of them, but getting there.

(no subject)

Jun. 24th, 2017 05:08 pm
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
[personal profile] skygiants
Our adventures with Star Wars: The Clone Wars continue! Though, alas, those of many of our clone buddies do not.

Episodes 11-20 of Season 1 under the cut )

Friday also a write-off

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:59 pm
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (Default)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
After lazing about all yesterday, hoping I was getting enough rest, I then went and ran errands in the late afternoon (acquired 'Mao's Last Dancer' at very acceptable price so youngest could finish watching it as they had missed that class session; dealt with 'need more credit' on youngest's phone; gave in to temptation at a cheap books stall), stopped in at the shops and bought sausages at the butcher and hot chips at the chippy, and then socialised.

And then this morning I dragged myself out of bed and went with artisanat and eldest to deal with shopping. Halfway through, I realised that this had been more of a commitment than I was cut out for, so instead of going with artisanat to the next thing, I flopped in bed and let everyone else do the responsible adult things (mostly putting the cold items in fridge/freezer). Did go with artisanat to get him to work after that, and drove the car home, but have spent the rest of the day so far in bed. Painkillers, coffee, left-overs, and a helpful other individual are all good things, but even put together have not got my pain below three-ish.

life lived in dot points

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:37 pm
fred_mouse: crystal mouse, looking straight out at the viewer (crystal)
[personal profile] fred_mouse

  • Tuesday night, after gaming, did online part of first aid course that I had signed up to almost at the last minute. This was being run specifically for members of the local kink community, but I lobbed in as well because I knew the organiser and I kinda need to get my certification, and I hadn't been doing anything about it.
  • Yesterday, did practical part of first aid course, so I should now have an active first aid certificate. The kink related aspects were really interesting, and it was great to see the trainer really get on board with trying to understand what likely scenarios might have been. Appreciated that they were okay with a random extra in the room.
  • Today, flat as pancake. Except:
  • Knock on front door just before 8:30am turned out to be the painter (who thinks they gave me the wrong day, and I just don't think I put them in the calendar at all. At least one of us is right). Ceiling in spare room now all repaired from the damage from the hot water service people; also the other patch in the ceiling has been painted (I paid for that bit myself). As a result, house is cold, *and* smells of paint (spare room outside door is open and internal door is closed, but the paint smell is still getting to me).
  • Oven repair person was running early; eldest and I did a frantic rush around in the 15 minutes between call and arrival to make the kitchen a bit tidier and so that there was bench space for them to work at. Oven door is in better condition than it was, but has been taken away so that the front glass can be glued back on, because apparently the special heat resistant resin is giving up, and it needs to be done at the depot and cured for ~48 h, so I'll get that back on Monday.
  • Youngest had skate camp Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning - I got bits of my report done during those times.
  • Anything else I'm supposed to have done has slipped through my fingers. Feel like I'm behind on everything - trying to be kind to myself today, and allowing for high pain and low coping because it was inevitable after doing physically and emotionally challenging things all yesterday, but, oh, I'd love to have done Everything.
  • Lotsa rain last night. Suspicious drip sounding noise above my head at some point of the night. Hoping it was dreaming (I woke a few times in the middle of really 'present' feeling dreams).
  • ...and there might be other things, but I have to go collect youngest from the train and take them to dance.

(no subject)

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:36 pm
skygiants: Drosselmeyer's old pages from Princess Tutu, with text 'rocks fall, everyone dies, the end' (endings are heartless)
[personal profile] skygiants
I recently reread Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death. It remains an onslaught of a book, although being somewhat braced for the barrage of ANGER INJUSTICE GENOCIDE GONNA DESTROY A WHOLE CITY NOW does allow a little more time to, uh, stop and appreciate the occasional non-fraught thing that happens along the way? Onyesonwu makes friends with a camel at one point! That's nice!

(...for the record, my review from 2010 seems to indicate that at the time I understood and appreciated what happened at the end. Well, good job, past self, because my present self has no idea. Spoilers ))

Anyway! Rereading Who Fears Death got me thinking about the kind of books that are constructed around an ancient lore or a knowledge of the world that turns out to be fundamentally wrong, cultures constructed around poisoned lies. The Fifth Season is the other immediate example that springs to mind of a book like this -- not that there aren't other parallels between The Fifth Season and Who Fears Death. It seems to me that I ought to be able to think of more, but since I can't I'm sure you guys can.

When I mentioned this to [personal profile] genarti, she immediately said "YA dystopia! Fallout!" and that's true, a lot of dystopias are built around a Fundamentally Flawed Premise that has been imposed upon the innocent population by a dictatorial government. Those feel a little different to me, though, maybe just because that sort of dystopia very clearly grows out of our own world. We know from the beginning how to judge truth and lies, we're WAY AHEAD of our naive heroine who believes the color blue is evil because the government put an inexplicable ban on it. But Who Fears Death, while it may be set in our future, is in a future so distant from our own that there's no particular tracing back from it, and The Fifth Season is another world altogether, and we don't have any home court advantage over the protagonists as they figure out where the lies are except a belief that something that poisonous has to be wrong; maybe that's the difference.

(no subject)

Jun. 21st, 2017 08:12 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Monday was a stinking slag heap of a day. Monday’s scene was scrambled, it couldn’t get itself together, and despite noble, persistent and good-natured attempts by yours truly to bring it around and call it to its higher self, Monday didn’t even try to work things out with me. I tried with Monday, I really did. I tried going for a training ride – it’s been so hard to find the time and energy, only to get a stinking flat tire. (Which I changed, with no amount of struggling for good humour.)  I trudged through it, attempting to charm it into submission, but Monday proved too much for me, and after spending the evening’s knitting time trying to untangle a ball of yarn that had contorted itself into something that looked like it had been in a toddler’s toy chest for a week,  I fell into bed that night thinking the best thing an optimistic person can after a day that’s clearly out to get them, which was “well, at least it’s over.”

Tuesday? Tuesday wasn’t as bad as Monday, but let’s be clear, it lacked the joie de vivre and decent good sense that any day attempting to follow a train-wreck of a Monday should have had. Tuesday didn’t even try.  I gave up on Tuesday last night when it rained on me last night and the porch roof leaked.

Today? Today is, rather literally, sunshine and roses.  I went for a training ride by myself, and it was nothing short of lovely. Not too hot, not too cold, very sunny but I didn’t get a sunburn, my inbox is almost sorta kinda under control, and I am finally ready to start the edging on this baby blanket.

blanketlight2 2017-06-21

The chart I devised even works, and I have a clever idea for the corners that I think will work, though I’m not far enough off from Monday and Tuesday’s pale curse to go so far as to say I’m confident. My jeans fit just right, and tonight I’m having dinner (it’s Joe’s turn to arrange it) and a cuddle with Elliot Tupper, and he has learned to smile and has the beginnings of a clumsy laugh,  and does his best to pretend he likes me best. (Joe will argue and say it’s him that’s the favourite, and even that charms me.)

Happy Summer Solstice, my friends (except for Cameron and other knitters in the Southern hemisphere – for them it’s one of my favourite days, the Winter Solstice. Light a candle. As of today, the light is on it’s way back to you.) Tonight we’ll sit in the garden, ignore the weeds, and marvel at how long it stays light.

How’s your day?

copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I was reading this one at the same time as I was reading Sorting The Beef From The Bull, which was like a natural sciences one-two punch; I would read Sorting while commuting, and Remarkable Creatures in bed at night. 

Remarkable Creatures is the fictionalized story of two real-life people, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, who were fossil hunters in Lyme Regis in England back when we were just starting to like, figure dinosaurs out. It follows their relationship, and their struggles to be seen as legitimate contributors to the scientific record, for several years.

I didn’t actually know the account was based in real life until after I’d finished reading, which did ameliorate some of my disappointment with the book, because it’s hard to make a climactic narrative out of peoples’ real lives – reality just doesn’t flow as smoothly as fiction. But I won’t lie: I am still pretty disappointed that Elizabeth and Mary didn’t end up together. I thought that was totally where we were heading.

Mind you, the story of their friendship is compelling, and Chevalier did find a way to create rising action within the story, even though as she put it in the afterword, Mary Anning basically did the same thing every day for years, in terms of hunting fossils. 

As an account of fossil hunting, of the religious wrestling that people had to do with the concept of extinction, and of the way women were treated in the era, it’s a really great book. And it’s also a fast read, which I’ve come to expect from Chevalier. And honestly, this is the first book of hers I’ve read where the female leads don’t get married, though this is in part because the real-life Mary and Elizabeth didn’t either. 

But it still feels like Chevalier’s books are always about women settling. It’s the same problem – I know that’s what women have had to do, and I’m sure she does it intentionally at least in part to remind us of that fact. I just want more for these heroines. 

But if you’re interested in paleontology, Do Recommend, it’s a good book. Less frustrating than The Last Runaway, certainly, and the characters feel more compelling, more three-dimensional, than some of those in Girl With A Pearl Earring. 

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Savage Love

Jun. 21st, 2017 04:00 am
[syndicated profile] savagelove_feed

Posted by Dan Savage

Woman's "perfect" guy charmed her before admitting he's already in a poly relationship by Dan Savage

I am a 34-year-old straight woman. I'm monogamous and have an avoidant attachment style. I've been seeing a guy I really like. He's just my type, the kind of person I've been looking for my whole life. Thing is, he's in an open relationship with someone he's been with for most of his adult life. He was sneaky—he didn't reveal he was in an open relationship until the second date, but by then I was infatuated and felt like I wasn't in control of my actions. So what I've learned is that poly couples often seek out others to create NRE or "new relationship energy," which may help save their relationship in the long run. I was deeply hurt to learn about NRE. What about the people who are dragged into a situation by some charmer in an attempt to breathe new life into a stale relationship? I feel like no one cares about the people on the side, the ones who might be perceived to be cheating with someone's partner, as some sort of competitor, a hussy. How can I reconcile the fact that I've fallen for someone who sees me as a tool to be discarded once the excitement wears off? I know we all have a choice, but we also know what it's like to be infatuated with someone who seems perfect. I feel like such a loser.

Sobbing Here And Making Errors

"One of life's hardest lessons is this: Two people can be absolutely crazy in love with each other and still not be good partners," said Franklin Veaux, coauthor of More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory (morethantwo.com). "If you're monogamous and you meet someone you're completely smitten with who isn't, the best thing to do is acknowledge that you're incompatible and go your separate ways. It hurts and it sucks, but there it is."

This perfect, sneaky guy who makes you feel like a loser and a hussy? He told you he was in an open relationship on your second date. You knew he wasn't "your type" or "perfect" for you the second time you laid eyes on him, SHAME, and you needed to go your separate ways at that point. And I'm not buying your excuse ("I was too infatuated!"). What if he had revealed that he was a recreational bed wetter? Or a serial killer? Or Jeffrey Lord? Or all of the above? Surely you would've dumped him then.

Veaux advocates ethical polyamory—it's right there in the title of his book—and he thinks this guy did you wrong by not disclosing his partner's existence right away. "Making a nonmonogamous relationship work requires a commitment to communication, honesty, and transparency," said Veaux. "Concealing the fact that you're in a relationship is a big violation of all three, and no good will come of it."

I have a slightly different take. Straight women in open relationships have an easier time finding men willing to fuck and/or date them; their straight male counterparts have a much more difficult time. Stigma and double standards are at work here—she's sexually adventurous; he's a cheating bastard—and waiting to disclose the fact that you're poly (or kinky or HIV-positive or a cammer) is a reaction to/work-around for that. It's also a violation of poly best practices, like Veaux says, but the stigma is a violation, too. Waiting to disclose your partner, kink, HIV status, etc., can prompt the other person to weigh their assumptions and prejudices about poly/kinky/poz people against the living, breathing person they've come to know. Still, disclosure needs to come early—within a date or two, certainly before anyone gets fucked—so the other person can bail if poly/kinky/poz is a deal breaker.

As for that new relationship energy stuff...

"There are, in truth, polyamorous people who are NRE junkies," said Veaux. "Men and women who chase new relationships in pursuit of that emotional fix. They're not very common, but they do exist, and alas they tend to leave a lot of destruction in their wake."

But your assumptions about how NRE works are wrong, SHAME. Seeing your partner in the throes of NRE doesn't bring the primary couple closer together; it often places a strain on the relationship. Opening up a relationship can certainly save it (if openness is a better fit for both partners), but NRE isn't a log the primary couple tosses on the emotional/erotic fire. It's something a poly person experiences with a new partner, not something a poly person enjoys with an established one.

And there are lots of examples of long-term poly relationships out there—established triads, quads, quints—so your assumption about being discarded once NRE wears off is also off, SHAME. There are no guarantees, however. If this guy were single and looking for a monogamous relationship, you could nevertheless discover you're not right for each other and wind up being discarded or doing the discarding yourself.

I'm going to give the final word to our guest expert...

"Having an avoidant attachment style complicates things, because one of the things that can go along with avoidant attachment is idealizing partners who are inaccessible or unavailable," said Veaux. "That can make it harder to let go. But if you're radically incompatible with the person you love, letting go is likely your only healthy choice. Good luck!"


I'm gay and married. My husband regularly messes around with this one guy who treats me like I'm a cuckold. He will send me a pic of my husband sucking his cock, for example, and a text message meant to degrade me. But I'm not a cuckold and I don't find these messages sexy. My husband wants me to play along because it gets this guy off. Advice?

Can't Understand Cuckold Kink

It depends, CUCK. If you're upset by these messages—if they hurt your feelings, are damaging your sexual connection to your husband, are traumatizing—don't play along. But if you find them silly—if they just make you roll your eyes—then play along. Respond positively/abjectly/insincerely, then delete. Not to please the guy sending the messages (who you don't owe anything), but to please your husband (who'll wind up owing you).


I am a straight male grad student in my mid-20s. My girlfriend wants to have sex with another girl in our class. Neither of us have had a threesome before, but both of us are game. Unfortunately, I am not attracted to this girl. When we started dating, my girlfriend told me that she is sexually attracted to women. We agreed to be monogamous except that she could have sex with other women as part of a threesome with me. She is not hell-bent on having sex with our classmate, but she would like to and says it's up to me. I don't want her to suppress her same-sex tendencies, but I am jealous at the thought of her having sex with someone else while I am not participating. What should I do?

Feeling Out Moments Orgasmic

You should take yes for an answer, FOMO—or take your girlfriend's willingness to say no to this opportunity for an answer. She's into this woman but willing to pass on her because you aren't. There are billions of other women on the planet—some in your immediate vicinity—so you two have lots of other options. Unless you find a reason to object to every woman your girlfriend finds attractive, you aren't guilty of suppressing her same-sex tendencies. recommended


On the Lovecast, Michael Hobbes on gay, middle-aged dating: savagelovecast.com.

mail@savagelove.net

@fakedansavage

ITMFA.org

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my political sentimentality

Jun. 20th, 2017 11:50 am
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
From "An Excerpt From My Definitely Not a Presidential Campaign Book" by Alexandra Petri, Washington Post, June 5, 2017:


People always ask me what I'm passionate about, and I tell them the following story: When I was a little kid, my grandmother took me to see an injustice. I got so mad! I threw my red white and blue popsicle down on the ground. My grandmother picked it up and said, "Winner, these colors are sacred. Never let them drop." And I said, "I know, Grandma, but I don't like to see injustice!" and she said, "That's just the world we live in. Unless you grow up and devise common-sense policy solutions to do something about it. And don't forget the men who died to give that right to you, and proudly stand up to defend her still today."

....

I think sex is bad unless it falls into one of the five categories below that also conveniently align with my policy proposals:

-- you are thinking about tax reform during it
-- other people are having it and you are vocally disapproving of it
-- at least one of the people involved is committed to being a great dad
-- it involves one willing participant who is a male celebrity
-- it is binding Americans together and serving to restore our common values


So one way I know that I am hopelessly sentimental about civic virtue and so on, and that part of me is an utter sucker for "common-sense policy solutions"/"binding Americans together"-type rhetoric, is that even this parody makes me mist up a little bit. Also I have literally cried (albeit on an airplane) at a Doritos ad that championed bipartisanship.

(As a young'un I came across a copy of Art Buchwald's I Never Danced at the White House and read it and thus learned about Watergate. Art Buchwald was a political humor columnist for the Washington Post. I am imagining some twelve-year-old girl in 2039 reading a Petri collection, getting about 30% of the jokes and enjoying it a lot.)

(Also I should look up whether there is critical scholarship discussing Alexandra Petri, Alexandra Erin, the Toast work of Mallory Ortberg, and whoever else is doing .... this kind of thing in this era. *handwave*)

5 things make a post

Jun. 19th, 2017 08:03 pm
bedlamsbard: miscellaneous: woman pulling her pink corset tight (a woman's armor (ravenclawbest))
[personal profile] bedlamsbard
1. Oh good, the new school year doesn't start for another three months and I'm already in "I am a failure compared to other people I know" mode. (I'm not planning to move until early/mid August -- the term starts late August -- and several people I know who are also starting grad school moved to their new cities this past week. I am reminding myself there's no reason to be there that far in advance when I know I won't be doing anything productive, and I'll just be paying rent and making my own food two months early.)

2. I do, I think, have a place in Atlanta, with a friend of a friend who was looking for a new roommate. We've been e-mailing for a few months and had a video chat last week, and she seems nice and this should work out. I do keep worrying about furniture and stuff, but she said I could send things there so I might end up buying furniture online and shipping it there in advance of my arrival.

2a. I still have not made, like, concrete plans on how to get my belongings from point A to point B. I should...do that...eventually...I guess.

3. I feel terrible about the fact that my personal crisis and breakup coincided with, you know, the American political crisis, and they definitely fed off each other in ways that I don't really want to examine too closely -- I mean, my reactions to both did, I guess, obviously my personal life was not affecting American politics. But it definitely affected the way I reacted to it, and the emotional and mental energy I had (have) to deal with it. I don't know, there's not really a point to this.

4. I've been fighting a lot with my father lately, and it's exhausting and demeaning and awful. And it's not even fighting, per se, or maybe it is -- like, the other day he came up to my room because we're having an internet problem and he wanted to see how my connection is, then stayed in my room looking around at my art and figurine displays after I asked him to please get out of my room. "No, I want to see your things." "This is making me uncomfortable." (At this point he's walking around my room; also, I feel like I should add that I have a fair number of Star Wars pinups in my room, so like, my father looking at sexy ladies? V. uncomfortable.) "Why? I want to look at your little things. Obviously you want them to be looked or you wouldn't have put them up, don't be so sensitive." "They're here because I want to look at them and this is making me uncomfortable." "Don't be so sensitive or get out of my house." Etc.

And then yesterday I made a comment about having already done my exercise for the day and my dad said, "What, did you walk downstairs and then up again?" and I, well, overreacted and said, "This is why I don't do anything when you or mom are at home, because you always make fun of me!" "No one is making fun of you, don't be so sensitive." "You literally just did!" "I just made a comment, don't be so sensitive." And then I went upstairs and cried and tried to figure out if I really had overreacted.

So that's been happening a lot lately.

5. I am moving to Atlanta in August, so I'm trying to decide if I want to go to Dragon*Con or not. I've never go to a con besides Star Wars Celebration, and I'm not sue if I actually know anyone who's already going or not, so... *hands* Also, I can't figure out from the website if I can go for just one day or if I have to pay for the whole weekend? I am probably missing something obvious.

Recipe Comic: My Dad’s Salad

Jun. 20th, 2017 02:27 am
[syndicated profile] wondermark_feed

Posted by David Malki

Today’s comic originally ran on SAVEUR Magazine, as part of their series of “Recipe Comics”.

I’ve posted about my dad before, a few times. Here he is in a 1959 San Bernardino newspaper; here is a painting Carly did of him; here is the thing I mention most often, an essay about how and why I learned to fly airplanes.

The recipe comic is about him too. He’s on my mind a lot. It was just my first Father’s Day as a dad myself, and it colors my memories of him somewhat, changes my perspective.

copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I don’t know why it surprises me, my summers are always bananas, but July looks especially bonkers this year. Of the 20 possible workdays in July, I’m out for conferences, vacation, or workshops for a full half of them. I’m properly working only ten days in the entire month of July. 

I mean, I’m not unhappy about it. And thank god for a great paid leave package. I’m going to be traveling to cool places and doing neat things. It’s just kind of surreal. Like how last year I was only in the office for one week in all of June. 

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copperbadge: (literate men need books)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Taking a little break from Tracy Chevalier (we’ll be back to her soon)...

So, [tumblr.com profile] terrie01 recommended this book to me during a discussion on food fraud, and it’s been a really...interesting experience. On the one hand it’s a very informative book, packed full of detail and data, but on the other oh man is it dry. I didn’t realize what a struggle it was to get through until I started reading Extra Virginity this morning, which is about the same general topic (focused on olive oil) but is much more engagingly written.

Sorting the Beef From The Bull focuses on food fraud from a legislative and economic angle; I can imagine for people working in the industry it’s a little more accessible, and I don’t think it’s a badly written book. It’s just jammed with a combination of dense law and complex biochemistry, when what I (a non-lawyer, non-scientist) wanted was like...war stories about food fraud.

text )

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2017 09:12 am
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
[personal profile] skygiants
I knew I probably should have written up A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet before I read the sequel, because I loved A Closed and Common Orbit SO MUCH that now there is no way I can do justice to the first book.

I mean, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is certainly a lot of fun! It feels a bit more like a season of television than a novel -- very much out of that genre of beloved, relatively lighthearted crew-is-family space TV, full of aliens and semi-incidental interstellar politics, with approximately one episode dedicated to each crew member's interesting alien culture or surprise dramatic backstory as well as episodes where Everyone Just Goes On A Shopping Trip. There is a Noble Captain, a Friendly Polyamorous Lizard Alien Second-in-Command, an Earnest Financial Assistant, a Manic Mechanic, a Caring Chef Who Feeds Other Species To Compensate For The Embarrassing Genocidal Tendencies Of His Own -- ok, some of the archetypes are more archetypal than others. In the dramatic season finale, our plucky band of space truckers reaches their long-haul destination at last and becomes involved in a major diplomatic incident, the outcome of which is the one thing in the book that rubbed me slightly the wrong way ) Anyway, if you like this sort of thing, you will almost certainly like this particular thing.

I like this sort of thing all right but the things A Closed and Common Orbit is doing appeal to my id MUCH more. A Closed and Common Orbit focuses on two characters who appear relatively briefly in A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet: Sidra, an AI who, due to compelling personal circumstances but counter to interstellar law, has been installed in a designed-to-be-instinguishable-from-human artificial body; and Pepper, the mechanic who has volunteered to take on responsibility for her.

The main present-day thread of the story involves Sidra's attempts to figure out whether she can comfortably inhabit a body that she was never designed to inhabit - not just whether she can live permanently as something like an independent intelligent biological life-form without giving herself away, but whether she wants to do so. The plot is mostly comprised of small slice-of-life events like Sidra Makes A New Friend or Sidra Considers Getting A Tattoo, all interwoven into a really compelling and thoughtful examination of artificial intelligence, self-determination, and free will.

The other half the book delves into Pepper's backstory as an artificially created human being, designed to be cheap disposable labor. As a child, "Jane 23" mostly-accidentally escapes the factory where she labors, and is subsequently raised by an abandoned ship's AI in a junkyard. The backstory plot does a couple of things: a.) serves as an excellent example of the always-compellingly-readable 'half-feral child must make home in dangerous environment, survives with ingenuity and a box of scraps' genre; b.) works in dialogue with Sidra's main plotline to complicate ideas of 'human' and 'artificial' and 'purpose' and 'free will'; c.) gives me FIVE MILLION FEELINGS ABOUT AI MOMS WHO LOVE YOU. Sometimes a family is an AI mom, her genetically engineered daughter, the daughter's boyfriend, their AI roommate, and the roommate's alien friend who honestly didn't even particularly want to be there that day! AND THAT'S BEAUTIFUL.

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2017 08:24 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Before we begin, a quick reminder: when you submit a link and a blurb, you guys are your own best advocates. Try to look at the sites you're submitting and think, If I knew nothing about this situation, would what I'm seeing be helpful? And if not, try to include more context. You can give me more than one link, and it's often helpful to do so.

(This isn't specific to this week, just starting to notice a trend over the last six months where not enough context is available for me to write the blurb, let alone for others to be informed about it. Just a gentle nudge in the right direction!)

Ways to Give:

Julie is raising funds to cover rent; she has a job lined up but won't have a paycheck in time for July's rent. (This is a link I'm sharing rather than one that was submitted to RFM, so while I wasn't sure I should post Julie's username, I'll vouch for her personally.) You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] charlietheskonk is fundraising for a new Montessori preschool with wrap-around care; the fundraiser is to support startup and licensing costs, and supports a queer-owned business. You can read more and reblog here, or check out the fundraiser and give here.

[tumblr.com profile] digitaldiscipline linked to Jenn Vs. Trevor, a charity deadlift battle to raise funds for the winner's local Humane Society branch. You can reblog the link here and read more and donate here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received, including a recent rent increase. They are frequently running out of money for gas to even do odd jobs for pay. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

Anon linked to the EPA, which is soliciting public comment about the Second Five-Year Review Report for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site. The report indicates that the levels of PCBs in the river are still too high, but the EPA is not planning any active measures to reduce them. You can read more here and find contact information here to tell the EPA the Hudson River deserves better.

RSF linked to public comments solicitation about a plan to "trim" the US National Monuments; activists are working to make it known how important they are, and that monuments like Bears Ears should be saved. You can learn more and comment here.

News to Know:

[tumblr.com profile] drgaellon linked to a linkslist for religious LGBTQ people who are struggling with their faith's attitudes towards their orientation; included are sites that validate queer orientations for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths, including a site specifically for trans Jewish people. You can find the links and reblog here.

Housing:

[tumblr.com profile] worldsonpaper is looking for a new flatmate in Sydney, 15 minutes by train from the CBD. She is LGBT+ friendly but requests no male applicants. Bedroom with a shared bath, $250/wk plus internet; electricity and water are covered in the rent. $900 bond. You can contact her via ask on tumblr or at wieldswords at gmail.com.

[tumblr.com profile] blackestglass is looking for a roommate in the greater DC/Northern VA area, to move in on August 1. She is in a 2br/2ba condo, Metro accesible, with free parking, gym access, and in-unit laundry. Master suite is available for $1290/mo plus utilities, or the smaller suite is available for $1190/mo, with lower rent if the parking space isn't needed and can be rented out. You can read more and get in touch here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

linkspam on a hot Sunday

Jun. 18th, 2017 05:40 pm
cofax7: D'Argo: there is always time for beer (FS - Beer Time - Saava)
[personal profile] cofax7
Courtesy of MetaFilter: some brilliant G&S political filk.

I really enjoyed this set of post-series Harry Potter snippets.

Gotta love Rebecca Solnit.

This site has a great detailed overview of the Trump-Russia scandal.

Oh, this is hella cute.

This story about refugees in Dallas gave me some hope.

This story took some of that hope away. :-(

This article discusses how the federal flood insurance program cannot withstand global sea level rise.

This Outside Magazine article about pre-existing conditions has politics showing up in usual circumstances.

Sophie Gilbert on toxic masculinity, in The Atlantic.

The more studies I read, the more I learn that no single food or diet affects everyone the same way. It's fascinating.

Holy crap this is fantastic. In 2013, Ward and a colleague bought an old lobster boat and anchored it in the path of a 40,000-ton coal freighter at Brayton Point in Massachusetts. The state brought charges, and on the day of the trial-with climate scientist Dr. James Hansen and activist Bill McKibben standing ready to testify-Bristol County district attorney Sam Sutter stunned the court by dropping the charges and announcing that the protesters were right. Standing in front of the courthouse, waving an essay by McKibben, DA Sutter called climate change one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced and declared that the political leadership was failing the people. He then joined Ward in a climate march in New York, in Central Park. From this article about the folks who closed the valves on the DAPL.

*

In other news, I reached the end of Marie Brennan's Lady Trent novels this week. In the Sanctuary of Wings was very enjoyable, and my only complaint is that the series is over. :-(

*

In other news, it's the hottest day of the year, but I had a head of home-grown garlic from my brother's MIL, so I had to use it to make roasted garlic bread. Roasted garlic bread )

Small wins

Jun. 18th, 2017 11:13 am
fred_mouse: blurry image of cast metal mouse shape in a fruit bowl (pear)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
I didn't remember to make my 7 things post for Friday at all, and at this remove I don't remember much. I dropped the clothes that youngest didn't want to an op-shop (and I found one that isn't explicitly religious, which my friend appreciated), I dropped the picture than needs new glass in to the framer, I did things around the house, I took youngest to skating.

Yesterday, much of the day was out of the house, so I wasn't tracking things. I achieved things as treasurer of the team (but not as many as I would like - was unable to pay coach 1 because I can't set them up as a payee; ditto another payment due). I went to skate class, and I learnt a half-Lutz, which is one of the weirdest bits of jump I think I've learned (possibly worse than the Mazurka jump, which I can never remember from one session to another). I went to ballet class, and managed all the jumps in the centre, rather than at the barre. And we had people over for a crafternoon, so I finished up some crochet squares that needed doing (mostly ones where I had run out of yarn, so needed a second colour).

Today, I've slept in, lazed around, and read a bit. And now I'm working on patchwork squares for the 365 day project. To show how far behind I am - so far I've finished January 25th and 26th, and have moved on to January 27. I have pieces cut through to February 4th, so the goal is to get those all sewn (these ones are all 3" finished, so that seems do-able). And then, if there is something I want to watch that isn't going to cause tension, I'm planning on watching something and cutting at least a week's worth more of pieces. After that, maybe responsible adult mouse does things like washing and cleaning (having said that, I've already run a load, I just haven't done anything about hanging it up).

Doctor Who 10.10 - "Eaters of Light"

Jun. 18th, 2017 10:05 am
lizbee: (Default)
[personal profile] lizbee
I watched last week's episode at Continuum, while hiding from people in the committee room, and made a terrible discovery: iView streaming quality is much, much better over 4G on an iPad than over the NBN on a new desktop.

Guys.

That was pretty much the highlight of Gatiss's episode, so let's move on to the triumphant return of Rona Munro.

You never hear the spoilers. )

Another tumblr meme!

Jun. 17th, 2017 11:27 am
alias_sqbr: Darkwing Duck (dw!)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Tagged by [personal profile] anghraine. I am amused that the format make it seem like the meme is self consciously stuttering.
Read more... )

I think it’s in the living room

Jun. 16th, 2017 08:32 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Random thing the first: I got on my bike this morning and took about sixteen deep breaths before pushing off and going to the gym.  (Did I tell you about this? I’ve started picking up heavy things and putting them back down again. I’m absolutely terrible at it, but that’s not the point. Avoiding osteoporosis and staying strong is the goal, so it doesn’t matter that I’m a pathetic weight lifter. I’ve got the bar low. Literally and figuratively.)  Four trips across the continent, a retreat and several birthdays in a row have finally managed to knock the organization off me and left everything a mess. (The fact that my unpacked suitcase is still in the middle of the living room is a terrible sign. Note to self, tidy that.) I’ve also given up trying to make a blog post with flow.

2. The retreat was great, as it always is, and the yarn bombings were beyond compare – as you can imagine from a group inspired by World Wide Knit in Public Day. (We tried to knit in public, but when you’re at a knitting retreat it’s hard because knitters are the public. We did our best.

knitinpublic 2017-06-16

3. We had some fantastic yarn bombings this time, but I think this was my absolute favourite, metres and metres of icord, knit from leftovers and wound through the railing on the landing of the Inn.

icordmadness2 2017-06-16

The best part of it was watching it grow. The first morning there was a few rows, then the next morning it was a little bigger, and by the last day it was as you see it, the whole thing filled in.

icordmadness 2017-06-16

Nobody saw how it got to be there either, it was like a vine that only grew in the night. Non-knitters thought it was cool, but the knitters were bananas for it. (That’s a lot of i-cord.)

moreidord 2017-06-16

4. On Wednesday, which just so happened to be my birthday, I left Port Ludlow at 8:30am, and staggered through the door (after a car ride, a ferry ride, another car ride, two planes (one cancelled and re-booked) and a taxi) at 2:30 am and it was not the best way to spend your birthday ever devised.  I admit, it had a lot of knitting in it, which should have been decent groundwork for a birthday, but failed to deliver.  I tried to be chipper about it, because I was travelling with Jen, but the truth is that I miscalculated how I’d feel about it, and it wasn’t awesome.

5. I felt bad about this until (while I was just thinking about whinging about our cancelled flight) a friend I was texting with said I should call a do-over. This is apparently a completely legal birthday manoeuvre that I have somehow gotten to be 49 years old without knowing.  It turns out that if a birthday looks like it’s about to go sideways, you can call a do-over, as long as you do it before you’ve had the whole birthday. (This is, I suppose, a way of making sure that you don’t cheat and get out of hand, trying to get more birthday than you properly deserve.) I get the feeling that you need to call it before there’s a cake with candles in or something else that’s irrevocable, but luckily for me, all I’d had was a frisking at security. (Hardly seems like it would count.)

6. I have decided to have my do-over on Sunday, when I can see my family and have dinner with them instead of getting that Happy Birthday text message with the balloons over and over again, which while thoughtful, is not even a little bit the same.

7. I have not seen Elliot in 10 days, which is a record. Joe got to see him day before yesterday and I am so jealous I could die, but that’s unbecoming, so I’m trying to get over it. Not only have I called do-over for Sunday, but also dibs on the baby.

Joeandelliot 2017-06-16

8. The blanket is not done but I am getting close.

blanket again 2017-06-16

That’s a lie. If I’m lucky I’ll finish the border today, and then I still have the edging to do.

9. Thank you to everyone who sent donations for the ride for my birthday – trying to get everyone on Team Knit (that’s me, Jen, Ken, Cameron and Pato) to their goals is an amazing Birthday gift, and all I really need. I was especially charmed by the donations of $49.

10. This is because I am now 49.  I think what I love best is that PWA is going to be absolutely flummoxed trying to figure out why on earth someone would donate $49.  (For the record, our Lady Jen was 43 on June 12th.)

11. Tomorrow, rain or shine (because we’re running out of training time, we have to ride even if it rains) Team Knit will ride their bikes 92km. (That’s 57miles, for my American friends.) We’ve all set our phones so that they ding when we get a donation for PWA. The ride tomorrow has a lot of hills, and I can’t tell you what that ding does when you’re halfway up one. Puts the whole thing in perspective.  The only member of Team Knit that won’t be on his bike tomorrow is Cameron, who’s still working in Australia, and spending a lot of time worrying that I am going to ride my bike faster than him because he’s not able to train.

12. To be fair, this is pretty much my goal.

Karmic Balancing Gifts? Game on. I just have time for a few. (PS, if you missed how this works and have no idea what we’re on about, then see here.)

First up, from the rather amazing Lucy Neatby, we have a gift of 10 of her amazing DVDs. I’ve got all of these and they’re amazingly helpful, even if you’re not into the topic. (By the way, if you’re not the DVD type, you should try her craftsy classes. Lucy’s a really, really great teacher.) Lucy will be sending Knitting Essentials 1&2 to Erin F.

Ess12 2017-06-16

Sock Techniques 1&2 to Clair S.

sock34 2017-06-16

Knitting Gems 1&2 to Amanda H

gems56 2017-06-16

Knitting Gems 3&4 to Janet A

GEMS78 2017-06-16

and Intarsia Untangled 1& 2 to Evelyn U. I hope you love them as much as I do. (PS, don’t try to watch while you’re knitting something unrelated. It’s disastrous.)

intunt1112 2017-06-16

Next  up, three great gifts from Sarah at Sea Turtle Fibre arts in Calgary. First, she’s got this gorgeous set of gradients that she’s sending to Meg W. (She’s including a co-ordinating skein of Charcoal, you lucky duck)

romanceridley 2017-06-16

a Kit to make this Goldfinch Shawl by Drea Renee, including the pattern and 3 skeins of their Riptide MCN Sport for Emma F.

sea turtle shawl 2017-06-16

and last, but certainly not least, a set of our three of their most popular Rainbow colours on Ridley Sock: Dark Side of the Moon, Rainbow Brite and Rainbows and Unicorns will be going to Patricia J.

rainbow1seaturtle 2017-06-16 darksideoftherainbowseaturtle 2017-06-16 rainbowsandunicornsseaturtle 2017-06-16

So perfect for Pride month Sarah, thank you!

More Monday, assuming tomorrow’s ride doesn’t kill me. (Oh, the hills.)

music in Steven Universe

Jun. 16th, 2017 02:54 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Post-WisCon, I have a new hairdo (a pretty butch sort of fauxhawk) and my spouse and I have started watching Steven Universe. We're around the beginning of Season 3 I think which means we just saw the episode that had the duet-with-piano "Do It For Her". Is it just me or is that the song (so far) that sounds most like it could fit into a Broadway show? Like, change the words a little and it could go into Wicked?

(Also the theme tune just switched to a new arrangement and I am still getting used to this.)

seven things, Thursday

Jun. 15th, 2017 09:49 pm
fred_mouse: cross stitched image reading "do not feed the data scientists" (data scientists)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
Sadly, I forgot to write my list of achievements I have been putting off as the day went, so i'm doing this from memory. I'm also counting two things that were done later yesterday, after my accounting time (quite a bit, for one of them - I read until nearly midnight)

1. started and finished reading 'Kaitangata Twitch' by Margaret Mahy. review to come (this counts as finishing something I was procrastinating on, because it was on the teetering book mound of doom, most of which has been moved to the games room).
2. had lunch with a friend I don't see often
3. cleaned up all the data entry for one endnote library, moved all items that are to be kept to the 'general health' new endnote library
4. deleted one endnote library that turned out to be text and no pdfs. This was from a paper that just never happened, so i'm happy to just delete it
5. went and helped a friend with cleaning. This doesn't count on the 'things put off', at least, not on mine, but it did eat a significant amount of the day, and it was a fair achievement.
6. dropped things from the back of the car in to the op-shop (also purchased: 2 seasons of the West Wing, which I have never seen, and two books I want to read but don't already own. And a jacket for middlest, because they missed out on the last round, being the wrong size. and some food safe little packing boxes, for youngest to make gifts for school friends later. )
7. went through the bag and box of clothes from friend with youngest, who will be keeping some. (not really something I've procrastinated on, but more prevention of procrastination, so I'm giving myself the credit).

Tomorrow, I have a long list of paperwork that needs to be dealt with. I've hopefully written all of them down in a list, and i'm going to try really hard to get through that whole list. If I manage that by lunch time, I'm going to have to find some kind of reward. Possibly leaving the house and finding a spot in the sun with a book. That was always a good choice, although I tend to find it hard to just enjoy it these days.

December 2012

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