starlady: Mako's face in the jaeger, in profile (mako mori is awesome)
[personal profile] starlady
Wednesday is generally when you get the cheapest and emptiest flights (relatively speaking) and it's become my go-to travel day for that reason. But for once I am in California again, so it's time to talk about books.

Books Read
Kate Elliott, Shadow Gate (2008) and Traitor's Gate (2009) - Further comments forthcoming, but suffice it to say, I loved the whole Crossroads trilogy, and I highly recommend them to everyone looking to read more epic fantasy that pays due attention to female characters and to women's experiences. Also: GIANT JUSTICE EAGLES IJS

Helen Oyeyemi, Mr. Fox (2011) - I really enjoyed the other Oyeyemi book I read, White Is for Witching; I liked this one too, though (perhaps unsurprisingly since it's riffing on "Bluebeard") the themes of violence against women, against female characters, etc, felt a bit too close to reality. But in the end I really enjoyed the interplay between Daphne Fox, the titular Mr. Fox's wife, and Mary Foxe, his fourth wall-breaking muse; he doesn't deserve either of them, but that's how it goes. Oyeyemi is a wizard of prose, and I can't recommend her books enough.

Holly Black, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (2013) - I was talking to a friend of mine who bought and started reading this book the same time I did but stopped a bit of the way in because of vampire fatigue. Well, I finished it on the BART this evening and I am here to tell you, there's no question of vampire fatigue when someone reinvents the form as well as Black does here--I'd forgotten how a well-written feeding scene can be better than any sex scene outside of top-shelf fanfic, and more interesting besides. The main character's tenacity and general clear-headedness are refreshing, and the worldbuilding is very interesting. I really enjoyed it.

Currently Reading
Brit Mandelo, We Wuz Pushed - This is an Aqueduct Conversations piece about Joanna Russ. I'm quite liking it so far. It was Mandelo's master's thesis and it's really good.

Wendy Walker, Knots (2006) - Another Aqueduct Conversations book. I love Walker's prose. I need to try to get this book for my own; I'm borrowing it from a friend.

The rakugo manga - yes, I know

Book-Shaped Acquisitions Space
Andrea K. Höst's book Stray is free on amazon.com. Höst was recommended to me quite enthusiastically by a fellow Michelle West fan at Worldcon, and I'd been planning to buy some of her books in paper when I go to Australia next month. I expect interesting things!

Reading Next
These things are very difficult to predict. We'll see!
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Ube (purple yam), langka (jackfruit), and macapuno (mutant coconut) ice cream cones. #filipinofood #sounforgettable

Visited [personal profile] roadnotes this afternoon

Sep. 17th, 2014 07:16 pm
redbird: Me with a cup of tea, in front of a refrigerator (drinking tea in jo's kitchen)
[personal profile] redbird
[personal profile] roadnotes (Velma) has been home from the hospital for a couple of weeks, and I went to visit her this afternoon.

She is doing a lot better than when I last saw her (which was a day or two before the hospital sent her home). She is also more cheerful: she asked me to mention that not eating hospital food helps.

Velma is still on IV antibiotics, but the doctors are hoping to switch that to pills in a couple of days (and ideally stop the antibiotics altogether in a couple of weeks). Her surgical incision is healing well and fairly quickly, but it's not fully closed yet. When that's done, probably in 2-3 weeks, she'll be getting chemotherapy to deal with the remaining cancer, since not all of it could safely be removed surgically. She described herself to me as "scrawny" (which is an overstatement), and hopes to regain a bit of the weight she's lost since April before she starts the chemo.

She (and Soren) want to see people, but scheduling may be a little tricky: they're working around appointments with the oncologist and the occupational therapist and so on and so forth.

Velma is working on a longer and more detailed post, including more about her experience in the hospital, but accepted my offer to provide at least a brief update. (I'm cc'ing this to the Vanguard list and Making Light.)
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
post-tags: instagram, crosspost Um heck yes I am getting the Pili ice cream cone trio. … what was that about dinner first? :O
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin
I really expected to get in earlier and to feel more like composing a thoughtful post about what I've been reading, but somehow this just isn't happening.

+/-

Sep. 17th, 2014 08:38 pm
kass: clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose (can't lose)
[personal profile] kass
- my day took a turn for the frustrating this morning and I was kind of derailed

+ then [personal profile] squirrelhaven called and asked whether I had time to go for a walk

- and I thought: no, no, there's way too much to do, dammit

+ and I said: yes! yes I do! and we went for a walk in the woods and it was glorious

- and this evening I am attending a nonprofit board meeting remotely

- and I am pretty annoyed about that, because usually Weds night is fannish TV night

+ but we couldn't get FaceTime working, so I'm doing it via cellphone, which means no one can see me, and dammit, I am sipping a bourbon, because it's been a Damn Long Day and I deserve it.

Spider Goddess Update

Sep. 17th, 2014 08:15 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

I tend to get a bit obsessed with new projects sometimes. On the bright side, I’ve decided to go ahead and do a print edition of Rise of the Spider Goddess, to go along with the ebook. Yay! I’ve also been looking into cover art options, finishing up the annotations, and thinking about the best way to publish and promote this sucker.

This is what I think the text of the print version will look like:

Sample Page

I’ve also been messing around with cover font possibilities:

Font Ideas

None of this is final yet. (And that particular color combination is giving me a weird Law & Order vibe…) But I’m having a great deal of fun.

It will probably be at least December before this is available, but I’ll keep y’all updated :-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Keeping in Touch

Sep. 17th, 2014 04:07 pm
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
I want to talk about how I correspond with people who don't have much online presence. That is people who don't have and LJ or DW or do any online writing.

For email there are two friends that I send an email a week to. One of the them writes back regularly, the other irregularly. I have set days to send the emails. They are maybe 500 words long, and just talk about my daily life. (Sometimes I recycle bits of them into DW entries, and sometimes I recycle bits of DW entries into my emails.)

For keeping in touch emails the perfect really is the enemy of the good. My irregular corespondent sometimes tries to wait until enough interesting things have happened to be worth writing an email. I just try to write one a week. I'd rather get an email more frequently. (Also I generally don't find daily life boring.) I also find writing one at certain time is much easier then replying right away to anything I get back.

I have one friend to whom I write a postcard once a week. Then I send postcards to other friends occasionally as well. Postcards are nice because they are a real physical thing you can hold. I think this makes them Unlike letters postcards to not require replies. I also enjoy collecting postcards when I'm traveling.

I had one friend whom I was writing letters to, but she moved to Mexico where the postal service is quite bad so I've been writing her emails instead. These don't really have schedule, just when I feel like it. Which seems to work ok so far.

Other than DW and LJ I don't use a lot of social media. (And I seem to keep meeting new people here.)

I've given up on never feeding facebook at all, but it doesn't really feel like social connection. More like a news service about people's lives most of whom I'm not very close to. (It is also useful for me for some real news.) I kind of enjoy having a lot people notice things when I post there.

I used to use IM a bit, but now I only really use it for talking with R when we are at computers in different rooms. Even when more people used it I was always shy about starting conversations.

I don't have twitter account. I do sometimes find myself reading other people's feeds, so it might be worth having an account for that. But then again I don't have a smart phone, and I often go for hours and hours with out being online, which doesn't really go well with the twitter mentally.

(This post is based on comments I made on liv's post about conversions and keeping in touch with people. Also if you would like postcard please PM me your address.)

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2014 03:47 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
The kid has finally been taken away for a few hours by another worker and the house is totally quiet. Ahhhh, bliss.

The replies to my last entry actually made me REALLY HAPPY, as did taking my painkillers, and lying around a lot on a heating pad. Also today I decided to take the kid to the Beacon Hill Children's Farm, and it was AWESOME. There's a free petting zoo, and then an entire park full of delightful walks and several large sculpture/fountain/spray-park installations where kids press the button and ginormous jets of water shoot out. It is the PERFECT place to take that kid. The only problem is that xe really really wants to feed breadcrumbs to the ducks, which the park discourages (I didn't know, so when the kid was distracted with a fountain I surreptitiously dumped 3/4 of our bread crumbs in a garbage bin).

Tonight we're going to see Emily and go swimming. My supervisor suggested that some of the kids might like to meet my cat and consequently they'll go "Can we see Emily?" and I'm like "TWIST MY RUBBER ARM also I need to pick up a jacket from my room." So now I'll take some of them by in the evening to feed, pet, and play with her. She's not a therapy cat for me yet, but she is in a way for some of them; she's very responsive to good things and very direct (though gentle) about expressing her displeasure. They're learning the basics of cat behaviour (one kid now quizzes me all the time, "If her ears are like this, she unhappy? She gonna use her claws?") and attuning to another animal's emotional state to decide how to act (as I coach, "she's biting you, time to stop petting her").

Something I've learned: If you join OKCupid and say right at the top of your profile, "If you are a guy I am going to ignore your message, I'm only here to meet ladies" it is actually a really nice experience! OKCupid lady flirting actually happens and you meet cool people and if someone messages you on Sunday and you don't reply until Wednesday and explain you've been swamped with work she's like "Cool, I understand," and you get on with talking!

It was a little vexing at first because I signed up as "bisexual, only here to meet women" and they kept suggesting me to men as a match (GRR) but that disclaimer has kept things cool. I wanted to note the bisexuality because some people have Stupid Opinions about bi people, but if I want to meet men I will not do it through a dating website, where the very air around them reeks with desperation and shattered hopes.

Meanwhile here are a bunch of stoats.

me

Sep. 17th, 2014 11:39 pm
[personal profile] strangecharm
Here's a picture of me at [personal profile] magister's sister's wedding. I rather like it.

 photo wedding-1.png

(There's another one I like of the very brief period between where James asked if I wanted to dance and when he said "I don't like dancing." The photo's taken from a crazy angle that makes my looking-up-at-him-thinking-you're-too-tall expression look even more ridiculous than my expressions normally are. But I like that one, too.)
writerlibrarian: Hipster Nat and Steve at the Apple store (Captain America mall 2 - hipster duo)
[personal profile] writerlibrarian
Just Finished
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch. The story mixed two of my favourite things : architecture and science!magic. The plot points matched my interests ten folds. The story moves along at a nice pace. Nightingale is one bamf wizard. What a cliffhanger too. It's a good thing the new one comes out in November. It's on pre-order directly from the UK.


What I'm reading now

Marcel Proust. Du côté de chez Swann. (Swann's way). Book 1 of A la recherche du temps perdu. I read this in my early twenties for uni. I wasn't ready to read it. Fast forward 25 years. I don't know what pushed me to open my ebook copy of it and you know what I get it. I get now. There are styles and books you need to read at a certain time in your life. I'm reading a little every night about 20 minutes of it and it flows. I'm not saying that I'll read the whole 7 volumes of Proust's masterpiece. But right now Swann is a good thing.

What I'm reading next

Lots and lots of wiki articles about Minecraft. LOL

What I bought/got from the library this week

Ed Brubaker's Gotham Central book 1. It was on sale in ebook. Another comic to add to the pile to-read soon. Like before Gotham starts
on Monday.


randomling: River Song (of Doctor Who) behind bars. (river song)
[personal profile] randomling
And not doing it.

I suppose this is because I feel a bit like my life is essentially quite boring. I'm currently freelancing, and trying to work my way up into at least decent part-time hours without falling over, which is proving challenging because I fall over at the least little bit of stress.

(And I mean last week was almost a complete bust because of this and this week is all about the recovery.)

I'm still learning German. I think I'm getting a bit more fluent. I'm trying to get a handle on what kind of future I might have. That's a bit difficult, because depressed-brain is still a bit prone to saying "NONE LOL" and predicting that my health issues will kill me in a few years so what's the point. So some days even looking at the future without cringing away in fear is really hard, and most days, let's be honest, I don't really bother.

Money stuff is going a bit better since I got new budgeting software about six months ago. It's really making it much eaiser to plan ahead and figure out what I need to do with my money. It also helps that I'm earning some. Not a huge amount yet, but more than I was on JSA.

I'm RPing a lot, and thinking a lot about my characters without actually doing much writing on the novel or anything else (despite mostly making it to writing dates each week). The problem is there's so much I want to make a priority, and having limited energy and limited time and all the rest of it (really the energy is more of a problem than anything else), it gets really hard to prioritise and decide what I actually want to focus on.

Not sure what else to talk about. I'm keeping up with Doctor Who, though I'm really ragey at Moffat for various reasons. I'm occasionally reading fic and being a bit anxious about Yuletide nominations. I'm still not really reading printed books very much, though I'm reading a lot of articles in Pocket instead. Not sure why I'm finding books so hard but that's been ongoing for... a couple of years?

I am trying to diversify a bit socially, but coming up against the same old demons of "you've had depression for the past six years and you managed to nuke 90% of your social circle". Which makes me feel guilty about trying to renew old friendships and anxiousa about trying to start new ones. It's awesome.

I think that might be about it for now!
andrewducker: (screaming hedgehog)
[personal profile] andrewducker


via various people on FB and Twitter - and because people keep asking about it.

Note 1: I have no idea where this is from.
Note 2: These times are all _estimates_. The actual results will come in when people have finished counting them.
Note 3: I have no idea what the "Yes rating" is.
Note 4: I will not be staying up all night. I will be checking my phone when I wake up in the morning. I do not expect to sleep well.
Note 5: I am excited about voting tomorrow. See icon.
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

This was too awesome to sum up on Twitter, so I’m just gonna point you to this awesome fucking web page on The Occult Dangers of Pokemon.  Your highlights!

What if [children] carry their favorite monsters like magical charms or fetishes in their pockets, trusting them to bring power in times of need?

What if?  What if?  I remember the Tamagotchi plagues of the 1990s, when children routinely walked into the dens of rabid lions and trusted their plastic pets to shield them from danger.  Those children are now lion dung.  Can Pikachu be any less harmful to the feeble-minded?

He told her that during recess on the playground the children would “summon” the forces on the cards they collect by raising sticks into the air and saying, “‘Spirits enter me.’ They call it ‘being possessed.’”

Dude, you’re – you’re not playing according to tournament rules here.  Put the stick down and fucking tap your Mewtwo.

Share your observations. Spark awareness in a young child with comments such as, “That monster looks mean!” or “That creature reminds me of a dragon,” along with “Did you know that in the Bible, serpents and dragons always represent Satan and evil?”

Now I want to go to the Prerelease this weekend and just say this during every goddamned match.

The last line, the Pokemon mantra, fuels the craving for more occult cards, games, toys, gadgets, and comic books. There’s no end to the supply, for where the Pokemon world ends, there beckons an ever-growing empire of new, more thrilling, occult, and violent products. Each can transport the child into a fantasy world that eventually seems far more normal and exciting than the real world. Here, evil looks good and good is dismissed as boring. Family, relationships, and responsibilities diminish in the wake of the social and media pressures to master the powers unleashed by the massive global entertainment industry.

This is literally how I think of the Internet.

…Any child exploring the most popular Pokemon websites will be linked to a selection of occult games such as Sailor Moon, Star Wars, and others more overtly evil.

I wish I had known which overtly evil games they were discussing here.  Aside from “Fuckmenace: the Gathering,” which encourages you to remove your pants for gain.

Oh wait.

Anyway, it’s an awesome read for any Magic player and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  It’s like The Room of Collectible Card Games.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Bamburgh Castle

Sep. 17th, 2014 08:19 pm
lethargic_man: (Default)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
Yesterday when I posted a photo of Dunstanburgh Castle, [livejournal.com profile] hairyears said, "I saw Dunstanburgh on a coastal walk (mumble) years ago: 'bleak' hardly describes it."

That depends on what time of year you go, I suppose. Here's a picture of my mother, on her last outing in July last year, with Bamburgh Castle, a little further up the coast, in the background (click on the image for a larger view):

View piccy )

(The subject of the photo is apposite: The reason I'm going up to Newcastle this weekend is because it's my mother's stonesetting.)

Taxi vs. steamroller

Sep. 17th, 2014 07:48 pm
lethargic_man: (bike)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
Today's amusing moment was seeing the taxi driver who had somehow got past the barrier blocking off the road being resurfaced, going around the bend obscuring its view ahead only to run into a bunch of angry workmen resurfacing the road, and being chased backwards back down the hill by a steamroller. Oh how I laughed.

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2014 02:07 pm
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
One of the weird/cool/interesting/stupid things about the Wheel of Time is that the book titles are deliberately bad.

Okay, bad is possibly not the right word, though I rather think they are bad. The Knife of Dreams, which I am reading presently, may be the worst, though The Crossroads of Twilight, the last one, was nearly as bad.

The titles of the books of the Wheel of Time are quotations from the Karaethon Cycle, a Wheel of Time version of the Book of Revelation, and written just as elliptically. Within the story, understanding what the prophecy means before it happens constitutes a major political advantage, and therefore people are constantly trying to make sense of the Karaethon Cycle's obscure poetry. Usually they are unsuccessful at figuring out who or what is described by these strange epithets and allusions.

In other words, the point of the titles of the books is to be incomprehensible to the reader. Sometimes I'm not sure if Robert Jordan was a mad genius or just mad.

Desires

Sep. 17th, 2014 01:49 pm
kass: orange aspen leaves, "zen fen" (aspen zen fen)
[personal profile] kass
I want to take a nap.
I want to lie down in the sunshine.
I want to drive across the state border and go on an adventure.
I want to get a pedicure.
I want to dye my hair.
I want to cut it all off.
I want to get a tattoo.
I don't want to do work today.
I don't want to deal with people who are angry at me.
I don't want to deal with people who make me angry.
I want to be somewhere else.
I want to write back to that person and tell them exactly how I feel about what they said to me.
I don't want to deal with the fallout of having done that.
I want it to be a month from now already.
I don't want it to be a month from now already.
I want to go buy pumpkins and mums for the doorstep.
I don't want to spend tonight attending a meeting via FaceTime.
I want the TARDIS to come and whisk me away.

A tale of one bet 2

Sep. 17th, 2014 05:51 pm
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
Ah ha, Jens Voigt is having a go at the Hour Record tomorrow.

I've used another free bet to say that he won't break it tomorrow. He certainly wouldn't do so if he had to use a Merckx-style bike, and quite a lot can go wrong. He's also not a great time-trial rider - his speciality was long breakaways and that's a very different style of riding (you have hills and things..) My prediction is that he'll be on schedule to do it for quite a while, but drop off the pace in the last 15 minutes.

But if he does manage it, it just makes it harder for Wiggins to get it = the main bet looks better.

The footballer has finally scored too, so that's another free bet available.
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
1632, by Eric Flint.

A chunk of a modern American town, including the entire local chapter of Mine Workers of America, is mysteriously transported into 1632 Germany. What those people need are red-blooded Americans with lots of guns!

This is kind of hilariously what it is. Apart from Flint being pro-union, it is exactly like every sweaty right-wing fantasy ever, complete with the lovingly described slaughter with lovingly described guns of nameless evil people whom we know are evil because we see them randomly torturing and raping the hapless, helpless villagers. The rape and torture is lovingly described, too. There are also loving descriptions of various engineering projects.

Typical excerpt:

Mike spoke through tight jaws. "I'm not actually a cop, when you get right down to it. And we haven't got time anyway to rummage around in Dan's Cherokee looking for handcuffs." He glared at the scene of rape and torture. "So to hell with reading these guys their rights. We're just going to kill them."

"Sounds good to me," snarled Darryl. "I got no problem with capital punishment. Never did."

"Me neither," growled one of the other miners. Tony Adducci, that was, a beefy man in his early forties. Like many of the miners in the area, Tony was of Italian ancestry, as his complexion and features indicated. "None whatsoever."

Gave up on this. It’s not that I never enjoy this sort of thing. But I have to really be in the mood for it. (Appropriate mood: Snark locked and loaded.)

Free on Baen. Yes. Of course this is a Baen book. There are the obvious exceptions, like Bujold, but Baen has more of a house style than Harlequin.

Stray, by Andrea Host.

An Australian teenager steps through a portal to a strange world, where she survives on her own for a while before being rescued by and taken to another world, where she becomes a lab rat for a bunch of psychic ninjas who fight alien monsters!

This sounds completely up my alley. However, this is my third try at reading it, and I have never gotten farther than 30% in, and I had to force myself to get even that far. It’s written in the form of a diary, which means there’s no dialogue and it’s entirely tell-not-show. I’ve read books like that which I’ve really enjoyed (Jo Walton is extremely good at that type of narrative), but this one never caught my interest. It’s certainly very ambitious— for instance, Cassandra does not speak the alien language, nor does she instantly learn it— but I found it dry and uninvolving.

Sorry to all who recced it so enthusiastically! I will try something else by Host, but I’m giving up on this one. That being said, everyone but me seems to love it, and it’s free on Amazon, so give it a shot.

Stray (Touchstone Book 1)

Otherblog

Sep. 17th, 2014 08:26 am
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
I don't often post to the internets elsewhere than here; LJ may no longer be where it's at, but it's where I am. The structures here suit me, and the company delights me, so.

Nevertheless: every now and then, I am encouraged or persuaded or inveigled to occur some other where. As today, when I am cropping up on the Book View Cafe blog in one of our regular WWW Wednesday spots, talking about books read and books waiting...

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2014 09:45 am
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
http://www.wnyc.org/story/reading-screens-messing-your-brain-so-train-it-be-bi-literate/

In which I am skeptical about research in the social sciences and the reporting thereof, news at 11.

Did you know that Twitter is rotting your brain? Well, I'm not on Twitter, so my brain's not rotting, but you, all of you who use Twitter, your brains are rotting away because of Twitter. Well, and also because... get this! : You have no gene for reading!!!!!!

"In the old days before the internet, reading was a linear event," Mike Rosenwald.

Except for all the times in which it wasn't. Like reading a newspaper with columns that you could jump between. Or flipping past a boring chapter in a book to get to an interesting one, or flipping to the end of the book to find out who killed Roger Ackroyd. Or walking down a busy main street looking at all the signs on storefronts. Or, you know, reading the Talmud.




"The human brain is almost adapting too well to the particular attributes or characteristics of internet reading," says Maryanne Wolf of Tufts University.

This is because unlike such skills as seeing, there is no gene in the human genome for reading, the story tells us. It is something scary called a learned skill, which means that the human brain is forced to rewire ancient brain circuits in order to read. But if you exercise those brain circuits in the WRONG WAY, meaning using Twitter, you will reprogram your brain so that you are not capable of 'reading linearly'. (In other news, sometimes it is hilarious when you take a metaphor and extend it too far just to see what happens.)

How do we know this twitter brain rot is happening? Because RESEARCHERS gave 25 people a story on paper, and 25 people the same story on a Kindle, and the ones who read it on paper were better able to describe the order of events in the story. "Significantly" better, in fact. Of course, somehow science reporters still have not figured out that statisticians use the word significantly to mean something entirely different than what the general public thinks it means. For a statistician, it means that there was a difference between the two groups that was not explainable by pure chance in the sampling. For the general public, it means that there was a difference between the two groups that was big enough that we should care about it.

In this case, the researcher has not yet published her result, only discussed it with reporters and presented it at a conference, so I cannot tell which it is, but I rather suspect it's the former. BECAUSE IN SCIENCE JOURNALISM, IT'S ALWAYS STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT, NOT ACTUALLY SIGNIFICANT.

To be fair, there's other proof. This one guy who works at the Washington Post thought he was reading less deeply than he used to, so he called a few friends and they said "Me too!". And then they all said "It must be the Internet!" I AM NOT JOKING, THIS IS PART OF THE NEWS REPORT.


I think it is likely that we read books differently than we do internet things, and I think it is likely that the things we choose to read are also teaching us how to read, but these intuitions do not extend to claims about how the internet has reprogrammed out brains so that we can't read deeply anymore. Because the brain is really complicated and we mostly don't understand it. And because I have read the first 11 books of the Wheel of Time on my ereader over the last two months, linearly.

Photos from the Palace

Sep. 17th, 2014 03:13 pm
swaldman: A sparkly bauble. (pretty)
[personal profile] swaldman
A few pictures of the Palace Hotel, Manchester (venue for dwcon 2014) that I'm quite happy with:


Full album (of a whole four pictures) here.

an independent Scotland

Sep. 17th, 2014 03:05 pm
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
[personal profile] mathcathy
Who would get Not-so-United Kingdom passports and who would get Scottish ones? Would everyone get to choose or would people born & bred in one or the other be forced to accept their lot, whichever it is?

And what about all the "Yes" voters. Surely they should be the most keen to switch to a Scottish passport?

More three tiny things

Sep. 17th, 2014 01:16 pm
randomling: Lance Bass of *nsync, wearing shades and grinning, looks up and to the right. (lance shades)
[personal profile] randomling
These are quite useful it turns out! (Cut because I would imagine mostly dull.)

Three tiny things forever )
hunningham: self-gripping pliers - closeup (pissed-off)
[personal profile] hunningham

Just so you know, I am unlikely to take your gluten-intolerance very seriously if:

  • you have been diagnosed as gluten-intolerant by a naturopath who waved a little jar of wheat flour over your pulse points.
  • you tell me that you can’t eat bread, but you're just fine with cake.

Not saying anything out loud. Just thinking nasty judgemental thoughts here in the corner.

no. go away.

Sep. 17th, 2014 11:30 am
kaberett: Sketch of a "colourless, hamsterish"  animal having a paddy. (anxiety creature)
[personal profile] kaberett
"Stemettes" is an absolutely terrible term to use for female undergraduates in STEM fields. No. Wow. Inarticulate fury.

Wednesday reading

Sep. 17th, 2014 11:03 am
rmc28: Photo of me shortly before starting my first half-marathon (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
What I've read
I still haven't been reading books much.  I had a migraine yesterday and read the entirety of Talyn by Holly Lisle which I bought my own copy of this year.  I wrote a short review of it in 2010, based on the library copy.

What's next
I have a vague plan to reread Watership Down but I think that will be its own set of posts.  Mirror Empire is still sitting where I put it when I unwrapped the parcel.  It's three more weeks until Ancillary Sword comes out so I hope I unstick my reading by then. (I did devour the first chapter free on Orbit's website).  Maybe I'll reread Ancillary Justice for bookclub tomorrow.

Books acquired
I got Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho & Whispers Under Ground, all by Ben Aaronovitch, at a very reasonable price from the Angel Bookshop on Bene't Street.  This is a local independent bookshop that stocks the sort of books I like to buy, so I suspect we'll be back.   Charles has figured out that I am a pushover when it comes to buying him books so he got Diary of a Wimpy Kid which I'm hoping he'll read with me.

Household maintenance

Sep. 17th, 2014 10:16 am
nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] nou

My Sugru arrived today, which put me in a mind to think about small household repairs.

The absolute best way I've found to not procrastinate about sewing repairs is to keep a threaded needle next to the place where I sit to get dressed in the morning. If I see a small hole, I can fix it straight away in less than 30 seconds, which stops it becoming a big hole.

(I wondered if this was too obvious to be worth mentioning, but I only figured it out a couple of years ago, and I'm nearly 40 and have been sewing since I was small, so.)

Have you got any handy hints for household maintenance?

No Luck, indeed

Sep. 17th, 2014 10:06 am
[personal profile] strangecharm
"Any luck?" my mom says. My mind is still drifting around what she's been telling me about how she's doing: she drove and is happy that she can do it ("it's good to know I can if I absolutely have to," she says repeatedly, and every time I wonder under what circumstances she thinks she'd "absolutely have to," but then I know better than anybody how isolating it is to be stuck in that house reliant on other people to get so much as a gallon of milk, much less see anybody or buy anything or go anywhere). She's struggling with people -- even her good friends -- who expect her to be all better now. I find this kind of judgmentalism bizarre: I've gotten so used to thinking of people as the experts on their own experience that I don't even have an opinion on how my mom "should" be doing -- what on earth would be the point of that? -- I just am always eager to hear how she is doing. But of course I remember that the culture I grew up in is very keen on pointless opinions like this: she should be better, he should see his parents more, you should be ashamed of yourself. As if every person's health and happiness is something that the rest of this rural community is all on the committee for, and they need you to know how they're voting.

So when Mom said "any luck?" I thought only, unhelpfully, of herself and the ways in which she's lucky -- her recovery is progressing as well as can be expected, despite her propensity for complications -- and the ways in which she's not -- she still feels like a burden, she's missing things like a good friend's mother's funeral and even though the friend is kind about it Mom feels like a bad friend to her.

So before my brain can catch up with what she means, my mouth has already said, "...mm? What?"

My mom seems a little slow, too -- I noticed this when I was there, and tried not to think too much of it: she's tired, she's recovering, she's both taking Tramadol and hates Tramadol so is always in as much pain as she can bear without it and all that stuff is bound to affect her concentration and articulation, right? -- but eventually I understand that she's asking if I have a job yet.

As if I'll go from "nope, nothing to report" one Sunday-evening phone call to "yep!" the next one. As if there are no such thing as closing dates, or interviews. (The job I really want and applied for a couple of weeks ago doesn't even close until Monday, so who knows when/if I'll hear about that!) "If I had a job, you'd know!" I tell her, as I told my dad last week when he asked me the same thing. (They're so persistent in asking me this that it feels like years I've been unemployed already.)

"All right, I'm only asking," she said in that voice I remember from my teenage years, when it was so difficult to explain to her what was going on in my life, what I cared about. My heart sank. What I'd been trying (and, admittedly, with those few words understandably failing) to convey is that they won't have to wait to ask me; they'll hear from me as soon as I know. Because I know they'll want to know, because they're concerned about me because they love me. And I want them not to worry, because I love them.

What she heard, though, was apparently more secretive-teenager. My whole point was that they won't have to ask, that I'll keep them in the loop, and I'm sad that they don't trust that and feel they have to bring it up every fucking time I speak to them, which I just dread, because it's fucking depressing to have to say "No, I don't have a job yet" all the time. I'm sad they don't see what a high cost this kind of interaction has on me.
mathcathy: number ball (Default)
[personal profile] mathcathy
This morning, I ordered "honey and lemon" in Pret, because a minor cold coming on means I always want honey lemon drinks ... but they don't have honey and lemon, just lemon & ginger. However, with a kind smile of understanding, they let me pick up the honey they serve with porridge so that I could have the drink I wanted.

Last week, I ordered porridge and peppermint tea at Delice de France and their method of giving it to me was so kak-handed that I ended up spilling boiling water down my arm, which the customer services assistant cared nothing about, not a word of apology or concern. I wrote to complain - testing out my current theory that most companies are being deliberately very alert to customer feedback (it's quite fashionable right now) and got a very sincere apology and the offer of £20 compensation vouchers. Which is astonishing. I don't know if I even want to accept, it feels way more generous than necessary.

the cut

Sep. 17th, 2014 02:35 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
Just sent mail to my daughter:
Cut almost 100 words. Mostly adverbs. Sorry, adverbs.

Young women use a lot of adverbs.

Context is that Nixie is applying for a grant for next year. Her project proposal and personal statement must be no more than 500 words each. They are 700-800 words each. She is too stressed by writing them to be able to see where to cut.

I used to have an image from the endnotes of a scanlation of the first volume of Kaoru Mori's Emma: Kaoru Mori's editor keeps pointing out things that could be cut, and she keeps exclaiming, "But that's the most important part!" I loved that! In the translation that got published in English, she says instead, "But that's very important!" Maybe that is a more accurate translation but it isn't as good.

OOPS, SHE DID IT AGAIN

Sep. 17th, 2014 01:11 am
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Discussions with [personal profile] norabombay about various items including Original Male Dog? Always in order. Discussions with [personal profile] sithjawa about the most random stuff? Also always in order.

Came in to an amazing slice of blackly hilarious helpdesk software trivia that made my Overlady start swearing (louder) and made our manager laugh, say something bleak, and then shake her fists.

Received an invitation to sit down in my place amongst the yelliest of the people giving helpdesk software feedback, tomorrow. They will demonstrate to us some things which they think will fix some of the worst of the issues. I will, of course, be taking notes.

There was a pleasant interlude involving a bunch of 45+-year-old dudes talking about the future of mobile security, to a crowd who appreciates the ability to break shit. After both Purple and Mr. Zune said that they couldn't go but were interested in hearing about it, I took notes. My contribution to the evening involved the question: So when your mobile phone, which is basically the key to your entire life at this point in the future, gets pickpocketed off you on BART -- and your data is fine, it's all locked up -- how screwed are you, exactly? I asked this because there had been a lot of focus on how to secure various things and when to distrust more than you already distrusted, and yes those things are important, but a lot of people overlook the fact that any small, portable, and valuable item can and will disappear in the presence of a trained pickpocket.

I came back to find that:

a) the clueless wonder who seems to be the forward-facing face of the Let's Fix This Helpdesk Product had managed to do it again

and

b) crisis involving my Overlady's travel.

Both of those were straightened out. The hold music for the travel place was not bad, my cube was in need of some straightening, I got my notebook set up for tomorrow's meeting, and (once I got through to a real human) the source of the problem was one of those minor typos which can result in general catastrophic but ultimately temporary failure. I had been worried that it was the sort of thing which would ultimately require my Overlady's personal intervention, but it was all good.

The helpdesk, on the other hand!

The ticket I had filed was because of an error in their notification emails. This is one of the ones where my age and experience are a distinct advantage. I remember reading multipart emails in a text-only email reader. I was on mailing lists in those days. I am familiar with the way these things look, and the way they are supposed to look. So when the Sortable Chart of Grouse was being compiled, I chose one of the items I thought more low-hanging to make sure was formally filed.

The basic concept is this:

In the context of emails from the helpdesk software, links are not intended to be optional extras. Links are intended to be, among other things, tools for resetting one's password, tools for re-opening tickets which have been closed before their time, and tools for reading and interacting with the entire ticket and all its gods-given comments. While you probably could read the contents of the email, and then go to the website and hunt down the ticket based on the information in the email, that is not actually the recommended workflow. The links are intended to be integral.

Once you agree that the link is integral to the experience of this notification, the second part begins.

Some people, whether by virtue of them being a technological monk having taken a vow of poverty, or on a mobile device, or some other reason, have mail readers which only give them the text/plain part of a multipart message. further explication, and ranting, ensues. )


So after that, I washed my coffee mug, Purple wrapped up what he was working on, and we headed out to the parking lot. As we chatted about this and that (including security, and how sometimes people who are not entirely clueless about security will go for a less-secure choice to make sure that they're not permanently locked out of their shit, when the consequences of a bad guy getting into their shit are less terrible than the consequences of them getting locked out of their shit) and watched the night. Purple remarked that the security cart was moving sort of like a wooden duck in a shooting gallery. I wasn't sure if this security guy was That Security Guy. I mentioned that if he was, I kind of hoped he was getting the wrong idea, even blah blah blah. Purple pointed out, quite astutely, that people are kind of bad at the "maybe they like me?!?!?" perception check. He had a story (an ex was into him when he wasn't sure she was, and it was good). I had a story: Fencing-Dave. (And my scary, scary father.)

I will be back at bad hours of the morning. Because tomorrow's meeting is unmissable.
andrewducker: (running with fire)
[personal profile] andrewducker
A friend of mine does lots of good work with the Alternatives to Violence Project in Edinburgh, and is looking for volunteers to help out at their next event (in October) or beyond.

It's largely admin work, from what I understand - getting people booked into workshops, helping with enquiries, helping people organise transport, and generally being a welcoming face for the event.

If you're interested in helping out then let me know and I'll pass info along.

(If you're not comfortable commenting here then you can email me at andrew@ducker.org.uk)
hunningham: (Default)
[personal profile] hunningham
1) It wasn’t an exciting holiday, but it was good. Greek island, lots of swimming in turquoise-coloured sea. (What the hell was Homer up to with the wine-dark seas?) Read many books, contemplated the sky, took naps. Any longer than a week, I would have been bored. But for a week it was right.

2) Still sad. Depression feels like being frightened.

3) Grumpy Cat has been released from vile incarceration in luxury cat accommodation and is now being unusually friendly.

you've got to wear a smiling face

Sep. 16th, 2014 10:32 pm
metaphortunate: (fooled you again brain)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
I had some kind of minor nervous breakdown this weekend, I guess? I just kind of lost my ability to, like…make plans.

Or eye contact.

The particularly good/bad timing is that my sister-in-law and her husband are visiting, which is bad because I like them and yet I spent all of Saturday blatantly, horribly ignoring them and staring at my phone, and good because they spent most of Saturday entertaining my children and so I was able to do that. I really did spend all day reading. I haven't done that since the Junebug was born. *sigh* It was wonderful.

I didn't read all of Tana French's books that one day, but that's what I read that day, and over this past while I have been mainlining them all. I resisted reading them despite [personal profile] jae's glowing recommendation because I checked out the summaries and decided I just wasn't into that much child harm these days - well, they are murder mysteries, you have to expect a certain amount of murder. But then every time I turned around someone was drooling over the latest one, so finally I decided to start with The Likeness, on account of how no kids are the victims in that one. And then of course I read all the rest of them in a row. She really is excellent. Her books are a perfect illustration of what China Mieville says about detective fiction:
that unreality function is one of my favorite things in crime fiction: I've said this before in various other venues, but I think the logic of crime novels is not really "realistic," but is a kind of dream-logic. I don't mean that as a criticism but praise—I love the oneiric feeling of logic that is logical but that is punctuated by certain elisions.

On a much more cheerful note, and another story to scarf down in great chunks, Sarah Rees Brennan has finished The Turn of the Story! God, she's going to hate me for describing it this way, but: imagine that someone took the three main characters from Harry Potter and stuck them in a blender. Hit "Frappe" a few times. All right, pour them out, and now the redheaded born sidekick is also the smartest witch in his year and also the neglected child in a cupboard under the stairs. Except that there's no witches, but you know what I mean. The born hero is now the one with a huge and lovely family, and Hermione is a stone killer and the most delightfully misandrist elf you'd ever care to see (think Legolas, not Dobby.) It's not fanfic but it is a riff on genre tropes. In a sense it's the opposite of Lev Grossman's Magician novels. If Grossman had felt like writing about a guy who was fun to read about instead of The Douchebag Who Walked The Earth Like A Man, Quentin Coldwater might be a little bit like Elliot Schafer. Also, I might be interested in reading more than ten pages of the Magician novels. Yeah, I know all the problems with demanding ~likeability~ in characters, whatever. I'm a grown person, there are plenty of reasons to read books with unlikeable characters. If you as an author GIVE me those reasons. If you don't, then reading an otherwise dreary, forgettable book entirely about assholes is just me choosing to spend a few hours of my really truly irreplaceably precious free time with assholes, and I just…I don't want to do that. I don't believe in Elliot Schafer. No teenage boy has ever been that consistently kind and smart and brave and funny. But I don't really give a shit, because sometimes, for fun, I like to spend time with people who are kind, and smart, and brave, and funny. Even if they're fictional. I find it enjoyable! Go figure. Also go read the story, it is a prequel but it is complete in itself, and the ending is not what I thought it was going to be, which is always nice. It does suffer a bit from Rees Brennan's strength-that-she-leans-on-until-it-turns-into-a-weakness, which is that she is a very funny writer, so she writes very funny characters, to the point where sometimes their voices are not as distinct from one another as they could be. But, as weaknesses in free, fun stories go, "characters are too witty" is one that I will take. If this month has you needing a unicorn chaser, this story has got that covered for you. Heh. On a number of levels.

Music: I am still working through [personal profile] norah's Femcees mix, so no comment on that yet, but other than that I keep going back to Angel Haze. Oh, also, if you ever wanted to hear what has got to be Strexcorp's theme song, it's fabulous.

Going back to the small nervous breakdown: I think I need to make fewer plans. There are a million things I want to do, and I love my friends, I want to see you all! This….may be something I need to try to slow down on. I think the overhead is starting to get to me. I really gotta work on getting some more alone time.

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2014 10:59 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
hoooooooly shit, the Orioles cinched the AL East championship tonight. THE ORIOLES.

(Also, that 9-1 win-loss streak they're on? Yeah, guess which game we were at. If you say 'the one where they lost', you know how my life works. Heh.)

SO GLAD we bought partial season tix for next year so we can get priority on buying postseason tickets. \o/

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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