(no subject)

May. 23rd, 2015 01:42 am
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
[personal profile] sorcyress
It's Balticon! How did I get to Balticon you ask, when I had two separate ride-structures fall apart on me and couldn't leave Boston until about 4:00 PM? WELL LET ME TELL YOU!

See, about ten days before the con, I posted on my Facebook being all "boo, my second ride-structure has fallen apart I just don't think I can go since every method is too expensive right now".

And then my friend Dan posted a comment. (paraphrasing) "Well, Abby and I have been meaning to go to Balticon for forever, why don't you fly down with us."

Fly. Because Dan, in addition to being good at tech and photography, owns a plane. And he's been offering to take me up for a right age, we've just never made it work out. So here we go, I have an opportunity to get to the con I love above most others, and an opportunity to fly with a pocketknife. HELLS TO THE YES ON ALL ACCOUNTS.

So at about six thirty this evening, I was sitting in a teeny-tiny four person one propeller plane --the interior is smaller than the minivan I grew up in-- about to take off. I don't think I stopped smiling until the sun set and I immediately conked out because I do not have enough sleep in me.

It was _glorious_. It was so extremely glorious. The windows are so SO much bigger than on a commercial jet, and I can twist around and see out of all of them, even out of the back a little. We cruised at about 6,000 feet the whole way, close enough to see trees and rivers and mountains and farms --David reported on which farms had red barns. We flew over the Hudson and Mount Monadnock and watched a just _beautiful_ sunset.

(and I get to do it all again on Monday, squeeeEEEEE!)

This was the best fucking trip to Balticon I have ever taken, beating out (by far!) the year where I arrived on Thursday through a hilarious series of transportation options and beat everyone else to the con by a full hour. Riding in a tiny plane has done nothing to dissuade me from the opinion that planes are the Very Best Things.

I want to learn how to fly. I still can't afford to learn, but it's on the list, and higher than it was before.


As far as the con itself is concerned, well...

The Hunt Valley Inn was bought a few years ago. Between last year and this year, they...redecorated. It is _very_ awful. I described it as "the sort of hotel people who like the place I grew up in go on vacation". Galia described it as "do you know how many little girls are going to have their Bat Mitzvah's here?". It's...insipid and boring and drab. The new scheme is slate grey, cream, and navy. It's grown-up, in the worst way possible.

I miss the ugly carpets from hell. I miss them so _very_ much.

The only upshot of the redecoration is that they have started up this fabulous horse theme, and like all the art hangings are these vaguely sensual close-up pictures of horses. It's completely disturbing and utterly hilarious, and I am SO SAD I did not bring my Equius cosplay, because can you even _imagine_ how much fun that would be to play with?

Anyways, I'ma get Galia to help me take a video of me doing an appropriate big-no vis-a-vis the carpets. She seems to be the only one who feels the depth of my pain (I knew there was a reason she was my favourite robot).


I arrived at the con a bit after 10:30 at night, which was very late. I dropped stuff off, wandered around, and was just...home. I haven't managed to find Kitty-Aaron yet, but I played Junglespeed (with breadMarc and Sonya and Tucker and other people who I should remember the names of) and chatted with Lanthir and Ian-Beastie and Galia, and did my push-ups with Galia's encouragement and got some lascivious hugs from the pervy artist, and oh, it is wonderful.

About the only thing I haven't managed to do yet is dance with Larry or Chort --they weirdly frontloaded on the dancing this year, so I think I've missed the swing dance (BOO!) and the time travelers ball was more'n halfway through by the time I stopped by (I was just too late to get into a quadrille) and the teen/college club dance required you have a special thing on your badge --I have no badge, so none for me.

People are friendly and wonderful. I am happy. Even if the new carpet is the most boring and awful carpet ever. The older carpet may have been ugly as sin's baby, but at least it had character and was interesting! This is so very derivative and insipid I don't even know where to start.

Hope all y'all are okay.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon
*Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk*

TEDx #StellasChallenge campaign using Stella Young angers disability sector

TEDx Sydney is an Australian spin-off of the TED talk series.

Stella Young was an Australian disability activist who did a superb talk about Inspiration Porn at TEDx 2014 I'm Not Your Inspiration Thank You Very Much, that disabled people have been linking to ever since (and before that was available I was linking to the text version on Ramp Up, the disability website she ran for ABC).

I say was because she died late last year, she was 32. I never met her, I don't think I ever even tweeted to her, but friends of mine met her and she was one of those activists who was pretty much universally admired.

Which is why disabled people are horrified that TEDx Sydney have just launched 'Stella's Challenge', urging non-disabled people to go up to disabled people and ask about their disability. It's as if they've taken everything Stella stood for, everything she spoke about in her speech, wrapped it up in a bundle, thrown it away and stuck her name on something that urges non-disabled people to do everything she campaigned against.

Once disabled people reacted in horror TEDx Sydney put up an update saying 'but we talked to disability orgs'. We can only presume that if they did talk to them they weren't listening to a single damned thing that was said.

*Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk*

daily gratitudes

May. 22nd, 2015 01:50 pm
watersword: Image of a bowl of soup with a spoon and piece of bread. (Stock: soup)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. confirming that I really do like My Design Friend From Work
  2. the bathroom wedged in next to the café in Philosophy that reminds me of the bathroom wedged into Kellas at EWS, and EWS reminders always make me smile
  3. early dismissal from work
  4. naaaaaaaaap
  5. three day weekend!

Reading Friday is running late

May. 22nd, 2015 10:38 pm
rmc28: (books2010)
[personal profile] rmc28
 What I've read
[more than usual in the last fortnight I have been sticking to light, predictable reads that I find comforting and escapist]

Much Ado About You
by Eloisa James
A new series of farcical historical romances, this time featuring four sisters (rather than the previous series, which was four friends).  I do like the friendships in these books probably at least as much as the romances.  I also like that the library has them all; they're definitely single-serving books for me.

Archangel's Blood
by Nalini Singh
Second in the "Guild-Hunter" series about a vampire hunter and angels.  This was definitely a bit gorier and getting close to my personal tolerance for that; also to my tolerance for dominant asshole romance "heroes".  I still like the concept and the characters a lot though, and the library has the rest of the series.

Justice Calling
by Annie Bellet
This is a pretty short read (150 pages, but a couple of chapters of the next one are included, so it's rather less than that).  It's a fun urban fantasy: there's shapeshifters and a witch with a secret, and a big tough law enforcer, and peril and plot, and a bit of romance worked in.  It was more or less exactly what I wanted to read right now and I enjoyed it very much.  There are four more books in the series, and a sixth coming out next month; I'm restraining myself from buying the lot right now, but I will be getting them as I clear more of my ebook backlog.

A Walk in the Park by Jill Mansell
This was a library book; I have about 2/3 of Jill Mansell's output on my shelves: contemporary romcoms with interesting people, complicated plots and happy endings, many of which are set in and around Bath, near where I grew up.  I haven't read one I disliked, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one.   [I am still migrating my to-read pile into my room, and there are two more by her in it, so I have physically pulled them out to read shortly.]

What I'm reading
I'm part way through rereading Ancillary Sword, and then "T Kingfisher" (Ursula Vernon) released another fairy tale retelling this week, so I am also part way through Bryony and Roses and enjoying it very much.

What I'm reading next
I was sufficiently impressed by G Willow Wilson's defence of A-Force to buy the first issue digitally.  (Though ouch, individual comics on release week is an expensive way to do this hobby.)  I also want to carry on with Daredevil vol 1.
That pair of Jill Mansell books I just found.
Younger by Suzanne Munshower is next up in my ebook list

So, I am a little sad

May. 22nd, 2015 03:42 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

- because a significant number of the people I look forward to seeing at Wiscon aren't here this year (insert waaaaahing noise here).

However, there are still several old mates, on and not on DW/LJ, around, so I am not entirely a lone lorn creeter.

In non-specifically Wiscon activity, I discovered a roof garden on the Monoma Terrace that I didn't recall seeing before, and while it's not quite up there with the Kensington Roof Gardens (no flamingo, chiz) it does have spiffy lake vistas. Also, got a great massage from the same masseuse at the place on Capitol Square as last time I was here.

Wiscon is now just under way, and I have already bought books though am doing my best to note titles for e-purchase rather than toting a load of dead trees home with me.

A visit to Antalya

May. 22nd, 2015 09:00 pm
nanila: (kusanagi: aww)
[personal profile] nanila
Disclaimer: I must emphasise that I didn’t take any of the photos in this post. They were all taken by [livejournal.com profile] melissa_maples, who kindly rescued us from our magical ability to get lost even when given very specific directions, and led us to cake and culture in Kaleici. Not only is she a great tour guide, she is also a fantastic photographer and regular blogger and is pretty much directly responsible for our location choice for this holiday. I’m over the moon that we have her photos to remember this trip into Antalya (we were staying at a resort in Kemer, about an hour away by bus) and that there are several lovely ones of all of us together.

First stop, Güneş
Once Melissa had found us, we determined that the first order of business should be cake. We stopped at Güneş to eat tiramisu. The Turkish formula for tiramisu seems to be as follows:
  1. Remove alcohol, substitute additional chocolate
  2. Make cream filling as light and fluffy as possible
  3. Serve pieces nearly as large as baby’s head
  4. Profit

I can confirm that we cleaned our plates.

+lots of words & photos )

Overlooking the old city
Tourist family shot overlooking Kaleiçi.

Everybody together
Everybody smiling in Kaleiçi, except for Keiki who was pretty adamant about looking the other way.

Having admired the bay from several angles, we decided to start the hour and a half journey back to Kemer. We’d had a grand time and we figured it was best not to push Humuhumu too hard. She conked out almost immediately, clinging to the bloke like a baby koala, so we’re pretty certain that was the right decision.

It was terrific to spend facetime with an LJ friend I’ve known online for over ten years, and to be treated to such a tour of their city. I’ll treasure the memory of this day out. I’m so grateful to have these pictures to remind me of everything we did (and ate, yay fooood). [livejournal.com profile] melissa_maples: <333333333!

49 remixes in four minutes

May. 22nd, 2015 07:10 pm
andrewducker: (wikipedia)
[personal profile] andrewducker
49 University of Newcastle Australia animation students were each given 52 frames of Taylor Swift's Shake it Off music video, and together they produced 2767 frames of lovingly hand-drawn rotoscoped animation footage:

(Thanks [livejournal.com profile] alasdair)

Vicious, by V. E. Schwab

May. 22nd, 2015 10:42 am
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I’ll quote the cover copy, so you’ll see why I was interested in this.

"A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates--brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find--aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge--but who will be left alive at the end?"

The blurbs talked a lot about moral depth, complexity, and ambiguity. Between the blurbs and the plot, I thought I’d get The Secret History with superpowers, starring Professor X and Magneto.

The first fourth or so of Vicious is exactly that. The rest, not so much. I had very mixed feelings about the book as a whole, and not just because the actual book matches the plot but not the implications of the blurb. The first fourth is a stunning work of storytelling. I was absolutely glued to it. The compulsive readability wanes as the book goes on, but maintains reasonably well throughout its length. Throughout, the structure is cool, the prose is good, and many of the ideas are interesting.

Here’s what’s not so good: the characters. The two main guys seem interesting when they’re at school together – morally dark, sure, but Schwab does a great job there of suggesting complexity, hidden depth, potential for great good or great evil, etc. Then they become superheroes, and turn into one-note sociopaths.

Eli, who suddenly becomes a religious maniac serial killer, is more like a half-note. His POV sections are really boring. He’s on a delusional mission from God. He kills people because he’s on a delusional mission from God. That’s literally it. When he thinks of Victor, it’s just as someone he needs to kill because he’s on a delusional mission from God.

Victor either also becomes a sociopath, or was always one; it’s hard to tell. His POV is more interesting because he does think about things other than hurting or using people, but basically, he hates Eli (no complexity there) and wants to kill him, and will torture, kill, and use people without hesitation or qualms to bring Eli down.

I expected a fraught, love-hate relationship between them. Nope! They just want to kill each other. I expected moral ambiguity. Nope! They’re both sociopaths. Pitting one sociopathic murderer against another is not moral ambiguity, nor does it bring up interesting moral questions. “If a bad guy kills a worse bad guy, does that make him a good guy?” is not an interesting question. (Answer: No.)

There are three other POV characters who get much more limited page time. One is also a sociopathic murderer. Another is a collection of potentially interesting traits that don’t cohere into a real-feeling character, but at least is not a sociopath. The last is an actual, believable, three-dimensional, mostly coherent character who is not a sociopath. The book would have been more interesting if it had been entirely about her.

There may or may not be something about the process of becoming a superhero that turns people into sociopaths, or turns certain people into sociopaths. This is discussed but never really explored or resolved. Of the four superheroes who get significant page time, three are sociopaths but it’s unclear if they were before they got powers.

I recommend this if you’re OK with sociopathic POV characters and want to read a cat-and-mouse game between two sociopathic villains. On that level, it’s pretty good. If you’re looking for more human characters, I can’t recommend it. Which is too bad, because if the whole book was more in the vein of the beginning, when it seems like the characters might have actual depth and complexity, it would be stunning.

davidgillon: Text: I really don't think you should put your hand inside the manticore, you don't know where it's been. (Don't put your hand inside the manticore)
[personal profile] davidgillon
Someone wrote a really good piece for a Conservative Christian forum explaining why disabled people find the election result threatening and appealing for the readers to look at the situation from our viewpoint and with Christian understanding. The replies were appalling, some of the worst self-righteous disablism I've ever seen (one of the reasons I was really depressed early in the week). Several disability activitists, including me, replied to some of the worst of them. After several exchanges one of  them has just told me "The image of God that man was created in has been distorted by the evil one since the Fall and that is why people have disabilities. The gospel is explicit about that."


Greetings from...

May. 22nd, 2015 03:32 pm
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
... Switzerland. Where I am spending 4 days with the husband, the parents and sisters in-law and their boyfriends.

We're 1500 meters up, so it quite chilly. But pretty!

Cool Stuff Friday

May. 22nd, 2015 09:02 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday writes fanfiction about the other days of the week.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

writerlibrarian: Pretty tulips in shades of red and pink (Default)
[personal profile] writerlibrarian
We made it back home in one piece yesterday. I had a good time in Boston. More on that later.

Just Finished

Matt Fraction's Sex Criminals volume 1: One Weird Trick. Enjoyed it a lot. Loved the way the love story developed. Looking forward to volume 2.

The whole Hawkeye and Mocking Bird arc. New Avengers : The Reunion ; Hawkeye and Mockingbird : Ghosts ; Hawkeye and Mockingbird/Black Widow : Widowmaker ; Hawkeye's solo adventure : Blindspot.

Sue Roe's In Montmartre : Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art . Well written, in a style that is both easy and yet full of information, details and facts. Roe paints the atmosphere in that precise place : Montmartre in the first decade of the XX century in a way that the reader is take on the journey of the artists who shaped the way art was made, created, perceived for the next century. The threads woven between the visual arts, fashion, dance, cinema and the circus create a wonderful history where Montmartre was the laboratory of a cultural revolution.

Avengers : Hawkeye Solo and Black Widow #1 by Nathan Edmondson.

This is my dead tree book.

I've picked up Microserfs again in ebook.

Nothing. I'm gonna finish at least one of the current books before I pick a new one up.

Nothing. I was on vacation and didn't buy any books.

Answers on a postcard

May. 22nd, 2015 10:57 am
strangecharm: (Default)
[personal profile] strangecharm
Applying for PIP (Personal Independence Payment, the latest Orwellian name for "the bit of money we might deign to give you if we decide you're sufficiently disabled") is just making a big list of everything you're crap at that most people aren't. And it's just as much fun as that makes it sound like it is.

When I moaned about this to [livejournal.com profile] diffrentcolours just now, he suggested "Maybe you should do a seperate list on the side of things you're awesome at that most people aren't, just for yourself." A marvelous idea!

Unfortunately, in this mindset, anything I might be good at has flown out of my head.

Not that I'm fishing for compliments, but feel free to help cheer me up in comments (which are screened, because I'm not here to brag) if you like.
lethargic_man: Detail from the frontispiece of my (incomplete) novel "A Remnant Shall Be Preserved" (SF/F writer)
[personal profile] lethargic_man
Finally, the sort of TV SF writers of the last century were so fond of, is on the way: something so thin you can hang it on the wall using magnets. (Well, I suppose that's just the display; once you've included the tuner and PSU and logic circuitry and hard disk solid-state media for recording programmes, it won't be quite so thin... yet.)


May. 21st, 2015 05:41 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
1. I physically feel like crap. I'm noticing that a lot of my pain levels are directly due to missing doses of medication--both the SSRI discontinuation, which gives me muscle ache, and the lack of vitamin D, which means I don't get up in the morning and sleep heavily and make my aching muscles worse. Blah.

2. WHY DIDN'T ANYBODY TELL ME KATE MARTINELLI WAS A LESBIAN. I kept hearing, "Oh, the Martinelli mysteries have even more LGBT representation than the Russell ones" BUT NOT THAT KATE WAS A LESBIAN.

3. I have new audiobooks after listening my way through Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London and should go outside with my handy dandy bluetooth wireless headphones and work on constructing my garden beds.

daily gratitudes

May. 21st, 2015 11:48 am
watersword: Keira Knightley, Pirates of the Caribbean advert, holding a gun, and the words "well-behaved women rarely make history." (Keira Knightley: At World's End)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. working in the sunny café instead of the dungeon
  2. chocolate mousse cake at a co-worker's baby shower
  3. I dealt with the goddamn compendium bottleneck last time, I can do it this time
  4. one of my favorite sites has improved their UI in a way I have wanted for months
  5. pork bun for after-school snack

The arctic : Maps shape our thoughts

May. 21st, 2015 10:25 pm
[personal profile] swaldman
This is entertaining (some people don't intuitively get the difference between "cylindrical projection" and "video game"), but it brought to mind something that I've been pondering for a while:

There is a particular way that maps of the world are nearly always presented. Different projections are used, of course, but invariably* north is an edge at the top - or at best, a point. It's a boundary, not a continuous part of a sphere. This leads us to think of it that way, at every level. How many of us really, intuitively, understand that the top of the map is not a boundary, is not the edge of the world? How many people realise, without thinking about it, that Canada and Russia are not all that far apart - not just because east and west wrap around, but "over the top"?

Map of the arctic circle, with the north pole roughly in the middle
(public domain image, sourced from Wikimedia Commons.)

The military are used to thinking this way, of course - a 20th-century WW3 would have been fought in part over the arctic - as are airline pilots, but for the rest of us of course it is a boundary, or as near to one as makes few odds. Historically there hasn't been much that could cross the arctic (or that found it useful to do so), so the edge of the map did coincide with a place beyond which one could not go.

Now, with annual reductions in pack ice, that's changing. I've seen predictions that by 2050 there will be open routes around the edges of the arctic ocean for normal shipping, and that icebreakers will be able to go straight across the middle. One of the reasons that some people are keen on the idea of Orkney as a container hub is that once the Northern sea routes open up, it will be well-placed for that function : at a crossroads of shipping routes rather than perched nowhere useful at the edge of a continent.

So shipping routes are a way in which an open arctic has already been considered, but I still feel that most of us have a default worldview of that being impassable, which we change only briefly while specifically thinking about it. I think that other unforseen consequences may arise, all because of the way that our intuitive understanding of the shape of the world is moulded by the convention of how we draw maps.

* Not invariably. Obviously, given the map in this post...

(no subject)

May. 21st, 2015 04:03 pm
[personal profile] dsgood
Googled for fantasy quidditch leagues. There are several.

Cause I'm one step closer to the edge

May. 21st, 2015 09:15 pm
andrewducker: (Wibbledy Weep)
[personal profile] andrewducker
This evening I hung out with [livejournal.com profile] mark_nicol* after work. We had a drink in two different bars**, looking for somewhere quiet in town on a Thursday night, and chatted about India, javascript frameworks, and massive radio telescopes. It was really nice.

Except that after about an hour, my body started doing the same thing it seems to start doing after an hour with _anyone_ at the moment. Which is going into panic mode, where I'm suddenly being loud, sweaty, shaky, and generally really on edge.

And it doesn't seem to need anything to happen in order for this to happen - it happened the last two times I saw [livejournal.com profile] cairmen too - and he's also a delightful person who is fun to spend time with.

It seems to happen to some extent with pretty much anyone I spend time with at the moment. I assume that my generally raised stress levels from the ongoing life stuff are interacting with my natural introversion*** to mean that an hour of other people is all I can take before I need to escape. Either literally, or into my phone/internet if that's easier than physically departing.

And I feel rubbish for this. Because I like people, and I like spending time with them. And I don't want them to feel that I'm constantly running away from them.

But I'm not sure what, if anything, I can do about it at the moment.

*Who is absolutely lovely, smart, and interesting, and you should go friend him and persuade him to write more.
**One drink in each, we didn't split the drink between bars, they don't like that.
***Yes, really.

Nails and Cocktails, 5th September

May. 21st, 2015 08:07 pm
wildeabandon: me sitting by the thames (Default)
[personal profile] wildeabandon

This time I shall remember to give advance warning to those of you who aren't on the book of face (or if you are on the book of face and haven't been invited then prod me, I'm sure it was just an oversight due to rubbish interface).  The next Nails and Cocktails afternoon will be on the 5th September.  Delicious cocktails, fabulous nail art, and splendid company; what's not to like!  Put it in your diaries now, and I'll post a reminder closer to the time.


tweeting as @vicki

May. 21st, 2015 12:01 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
I've had a twitter account for a long time, and am now reading and posting enough that I think it's worth following, though LJ and DW still get more of my attention, and anything detailed goes here. (This is partly the nature of the respective sites: I usually want to say more than will fit in 140 characters.) What I'm posting over there includes some of what's going on day-to-day; the retweets are more political, and also include science and some humor., and retweeted politics (of course), science, and some humor.

I'm @vicki on twitter (I signed up early and then ignored it for ages).
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Points of Departure was lovely - thought that the stories here hung together as a group even if I might at some point go dig out my Liavek anthologies to remind myself about various characters who were on the peripherals here.

More reading for Wiscon panels - finished the Melissa Scott trilogy which did not quite match up to the fond memories I had of it, also, had forgotten enough of final vol that couldn't tell what changes were in the revised end.

Diane Duane's Tale of the Five however holding up a lot better.

Didn't remember anything much about Emily Devenport, Scorpianne and on re-read not surprised as it struck me as not very good.

'Gordon Kendall', White Wing, still pretty readable though.

Also inhaled several Jane Duncan My Friend books as travel angst reading.

On the go

Still only part-way through The Door into Sunset.

Up next

Not sure I will have much reading time over next few days!

sub/Cultural semiotics of clothing

May. 21st, 2015 06:44 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
So a few weeks back I acquired the twinkiest jeans, as discussed: blue metallic sparkly "super-skinny" jeans with an enormous blue faux-rhinestone button fly. I was wearing them for the interaction with the splendidly queer nurse, and I mentioned to my mother that part of the reason I'd thought it might be even a tiny bit okay for me to ask him about his partner was that I was wearing clothing that read as sparklegay too.

My mother, who had been great up to that point (and as we know is generally great these days), said something to the effect of "Ugh, I don't think it's fair that any one group should get the monopoly on bits of clothing and what they mean."

That's the context; this is my attempt to put my thoughts in order enough to e-mail her an explanation. (It's extremely focussed on the context of choosing to make legible otherwise invisible characteristics; obviously I'm leaving a very great deal out for the sake of Explaining Stuff To My Mum.)

Read more... )

daily gratitudes

May. 20th, 2015 10:39 am
watersword: Image of a laptop, a cup of tea, and glasses, with the word "online" (Stock: online)
[personal profile] watersword
  1. couscous with asparagus and peas
  2. the list of spacecraft in Iain Banks' Culture series
  3. the magical words "my office is in there" which gets me past Commencement security
  4. a day without meetings
  5. reading on the couch with the cat explaining how unjust the world is

Throwback Thursday: Goblin Edition

May. 21st, 2015 11:50 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“Throwback Thursday” has become a thing in certain circles, so I figured I’d try a TBT blog post. This is from May 19, 2005. Both of these excerpts are from Goblin Hero.


Two excerpts today. Double your pleasure, double your fun, or something like that…

Excerpt the First:

Slash pushed him roughly to the other side of the tunnel. “See that patch?”

Jig stared. The ground was dusty rock, the same as the rest of the tunnels.

“We spread a mix of blood, rock serpent venom, and diluted honey there. The venom keeps the blood from clotting, and the honey makes it stick to whoever steps in it.” Slash licked his lips. “The tunnel-cats love the stuff. If you step inside the lair wearing that scent, they’ll be on you before you can draw your sword.”

Before Jig could say anything, Slash was yanking his arm again. “Watch out for those spikes.” Jig had to squint to see the tiny metal shards resting on the ground.

“They’re so small.”

“And they’re coated in lizard-fish toxin,” Slash said.

Oh. Jig looked at the hobgoblins with new respect. If he tried to set up such traps to protect the goblin lair, the only thing he’d accomplish was to kill off half of the goblins.

Happy Bonus Excerpt:

When the hobgoblins materialized beside him, Jig jumped so hard he knocked Smudge to the ground. “Where did they come from?” he asked as he retrieved his fallen spider.

“Author’s tweaking the storyline again,” Grell muttered. She glared at the sky. “Try writing an outline, ya damn hack!”

Zokutou Word Meter (No Longer Exists)
48,150 / 95,000

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

(no subject)

May. 21st, 2015 03:49 pm
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Died on this day in 1471 aged 49 King Henry VI of England (my toy,wikipedia). Henry was pious and kind and mentally ill; and none of these things helped him keep control of England, the lack of royal control lead to a lack of general law-and-order and eventually the duke of York decided he should Be King instead and the Wars of the Roses began. Henry founded Eton, King's Cambridge and All Souls Oxford; all of which are still standing today.

Born on this day in 1527 to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Isabella of Portugal, King Philip II of Spain (my toy,wikipedia). Husband of Mary I. Philip married 4 times, lastly to *his own niece* which I'm sure oughtn't be allowed. He ruled huge swathes of Europe and South America, which was a pretty difficult Empire to keep going.

(no subject)

May. 21st, 2015 09:49 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lotesse and [personal profile] nilchance!
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So you prooooobably know my debut novel FLEX is out by now.  Probably.

There’s, like, a 40% chance you know the sequel, THE FLUX, is available for preordering as we speak and will be out in October.

Which is the weird thing about publicity, really: done properly, it punishes those who are paying attention. Because I’ve mentioned that the sequel is available for preorder at least five times on this blog, maybe more.  Those of you who were super-fans of me registered that fact, then committed that fact to memory.

Those who weren’t – and most of y’all aren’t – probably weren’t reading me on the day that I mentioned “Hey, the sequel’s dropping in October.”  Or you did read it, but you hadn’t read FLEX yet and didn’t give a crap about a sequel to a book you hadn’t even read yet.  Or you read FLEX and were vaguely interested in a sequel, but your cat was knocking over a glass of milk when you read me mentioning it and so you forgot.

The paradox of book-shilling is that to some, you’re talking about this book too damn much, and to others, you’re screaming PR at the top of your lungs and yet they have yet to hear you.  Yeah, it seems like The Avengers merch and advertisements were everywhere, but that’s because you were already keyed in to watch The Avengers movie: to the average joe on the street, they may not have even been aware the movie was coming out until the week beforehand.

And it’s not entirely a punishment, because if you’re Avengers-friendly, then you’re probably not too upset to see another Avengers trailer or another Avengers movie poster.  Still, the fact is, as an Avengers fan, you get pummelled with Avengers advertisements, all because someone who doesn’t care about the Avengers needs to see that damn trailer six or seven times before it triggers the “Oh, yeah, maybe I should see that” button.

(Truth: Most marketing studies show you need five to six impressions before you make a sale.)

So I try not to hammer on Mah Book overmuch – I talk about it a lot because it’s What I’m Doing these days, not as part of a marketing scheme – but there’s this weird conflict where I risk annoying the people who were paying attention in efforts of drawing the attention to those who weren’t.

Yet the weirder thing still?

That only gets people to buy your book, which is in and of itself pretty useless.

Thing is, I have a shelf full of books I bought from people I liked, and there the books sit.  And sometimes I even read the books and go, “Okay, that was decent,” and then I never mention it again.

The marketing these authors need, which only the quality of the book can create, is to have me going, “Oh my God, I am halfway through Ramez Naam’s Nexus and fucking loving every line of this book.”   There are only a few authors who have me handing out their books like candy, touting them on Twitter, recommending them to friends who I think I’d like.

The word-of-mouth where people spontaneously recommend your book without you nagging them?  That’s the key to long-term success.  And you can’t control that. All you can do is to write a good book that’s something you’d be excited to read, and hope that it catches fire.

Because I’ve written stories that I loved, but disappeared without a trace. And yet Sauerkraut Station, a tale I did almost no PR for, got handed around enough until it got nominated for multiple awards.  When you’re an author, you come to realize that only some of your tales stick enough that people tell their friends, and God, if you knew how to do that consistently then you would, but you don’t, so every story is a crap shoot where you go, “Okay, I can get people to read it, but are they going to love it?”

So when I see people recommending FLEX, I’m still a little weirded out.  I didn’t remind them that the book existed, I didn’t ask them to do anything, they just liked my book enough that when a friend said, “What should I read next?” they leapt to their keyboards and said, “Haaaaave you met FLEX?”

That’s how books really sell, though.  You can get asses into the theaters for Avengers. You can get them excited in advance. You can get a blockbuster opening weekend.

But when the people come out of the theater, they start to tell their friends. What they tell their friends affects how the movie’s going to do in the long run.

That’s the real marketing, and that’s why you get things like The Princess Bride, where it wasn’t a big success at first, but people kept telling their friends. And I’ll bet you dimes to dollars that Princess Bride has now made way more money than Three Men And A Baby (the #1 box office of 1987), but that took time.

So it’s weird. As an author, you do what you can to remind people that your books exist. Then they take on a life of their own, one where you find it growing into fanfic and fan theories and all these other delightful things I’m slowly exploring, and I’m glad someone’s liking it.

More importantly, I’m glad they’re liking it when I’m off doing not a thing at all to remind them that it exists.  That’s the sweetest thing of all.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.


May. 21st, 2015 08:51 am
kass: lilacs, "zen fen" (zen lilac)
[personal profile] kass
1. Yesterday I got to see one of my most beloved friends in the universe.

2. Also there was an amazing meal, though seeing the friend was the best part.

3. Iced coffee.

4. Lilac blooms (see dw icon.)

5. Hot showers.

Newspaper clippings

May. 21st, 2015 12:28 pm
nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] nou

Hello! I need some advice on newspaper clippings, specifically clippings from local newspapers for local history purposes.

At the moment, I'm physically clipping articles out of the newspaper and glueing them to sheets of A4 paper, then labelling them with name/date/page of newspaper and subject of article (usually a specific local business [someone else is doing this for specific local people]). This is a giant faff.

What I would like to do is take photos of the articles, label them in the filename (perhaps with keywords too), and back them up in multiple places. However I wonder if copyright law would stop me sharing these photos with others in the future. Or if there's any other disadvantage of doing it this way.

I would like to preserve these clippings (physical or digital) for the long term; they might eventually go to Croydon local studies, or to the CNHSS. (I'm aware of newspaper digitisation projects, e.g. the excellent British Newspaper Archive, but I do think it's worth preserving things in more than one way and with more than one focus.)

Any advice?

Chapter 14: 'Like Trees In November'

May. 21st, 2015 12:38 pm
rmc28: Photo of cover of Penguin edition of Watership Down, by Richard Adams (watership)
[personal profile] rmc28
The great burrow was less crowded than when they had left it.

[This post is part of my Watership Down read through. You are welcome to join in at any time; please read my introduction post first.]

Interesting Links for 21-05-2015

May. 21st, 2015 12:00 pm


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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