kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
So the conference I did the Mary Sue talk at a couple years ago has sent out another call for papers for May 1-2, 2015. It's at Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, and it will be partnered with ITHACON40, a comic book convention. You can see the full CFP over at Google Drive, which includes some suggestions, but the topic is Women & Gender in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Children’s Literature and Comics. Abstracts are due January 15, 2015.

I'll be halfway through Vol. III of JS&MN by then, I wonder if that's something I could get a topic out of or if my shallow historical knowledge would make it dangerous. There's always the Bujold rant, but I'm not sure if there's any interesting generalizations or insights out of it. Discworld's too big a topic, and I'm not sure if anything there speaks to me more than anything else. Hmmm . . . *wanders off, contemplating procrastination opportunities*

Finally home, all four of us

Oct. 25th, 2014 07:47 pm
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
Arrived yesterday evening, picked up the cats this morning. After 9 hours,
Newton has finally stopped demanding cuddles.

the cats appear jet lagged as well )

Shaking with Fury

Oct. 25th, 2014 04:47 pm
davidgillon: Text: You can take a heroic last stand against the forces of darkness. Or you can not die. It's entirely up to you" (Heroic Last Stand)
[personal profile] davidgillon
It's bad enough we have UKIP on the streets of Rochester because of the by-election, but today we had the fascists of BritainFirst blaring patriotic songs and waving Union Flags and the St George's Crosses in front of the War Memorial.

The friend I was with was shopping in the grocer's across the street and I was quietly seething at everything they were doing - when they started playing Jerusalem I commented that it was like Springtime for Hitler In Germany come to life and that they'd have been better off with Wagner.

They were leaving as we came out of the shop and I realised that 8-10 of them had surrounded a young black woman who was sitting on the wall. Apparently they had demanded to know if she was English. She was holding her own, but she was one small woman surrounded by 8-10 racist thugs, all but one of them male. I just though 'Oh, Hell' and walked into the middle of it, gesturing with my crutch and saying 'There's none of you ever more than 5 seconds away from becoming a minority and being attacked in the street by people like you.'  I certainly didn't calm the situation, but I diverted half of them on to me, and I had the chance to tell them that I despised them, that I particularly despised them parading in front of the memorial to people who died fighting against everything they stood for, and that if they really love everything England stands for then they should emigrate ;)

It went back and forth for about five minutes, with amongst other stuff the Britain First woman (ETA: who I've now identified as their candidate and deputy leaderr Jayda Fransen) trying claim mosques were centres of terrorism, but a couple of them (they'd be the really dangerous ones) realised that being seen harassing a slight young woman and a disabled guy probably wasn't the image they wanted (though it's the only one they'll ever have) and they beat a retreat.

I imagine they'll claim they weren't harassing anyone, but that's belied by how upset their victim was afterwards (and kudos to her for standing up to them).

One of the people who came up afterwards (and if I have the right guy he's a local folksinger who writes some absolutely haunting stuff about social deprivation in Medway) commented that the UKIP supporters and the England First thugs had been being very pally with each other earlier - takes one to know one, I guess....

I'd been thinking about Pastor Niemoller's prayer while I was watching them, I guess I passed.

And this on my 12th LJ-iversary, too

Oct. 25th, 2014 04:59 pm
[personal profile] strangecharm
Paul Magrs, the writer of many of my favorite Doctor Who stories, asked me how I was doing as Andrew went to the counter to order our coffees. "Oh, all right," I lied.

And he then said conversationally some of the most bone-chilling words in the English language: "You've got a LiveJournal, don't you?"

A fine start! Any hope I had of impressing him obviously had to die right there. But I was mystified: Andrew never mentions my writing because he's much more cautious than me about sharing his private life (such as it is!) on the internet, and obviously I talk about him all the time here. So how did he know? Andrew and Paul Magrs are friendly acquaintances at best, and hadn't really spent much time together. I had to introduce myself at POD because Andrew hadn't thought to mention he'd be bringing me along.

I'm left to conclude that I just...look like someone who has a LiveJournal. Heh.

Rather disappointing meal

Oct. 25th, 2014 05:39 pm
oursin: A globe artichoke (artichoke)
[personal profile] oursin

We thought we would go to one really upmarket eatery in Munich, and even having eliminated the ones that even by London standards were horrendously pricey, it still turned out to be Quite Expensive, especially given that the food was really Not All That.

It did do a lot of the fine dining ritual.

However, I didn't feel that winter vegetable salad, even with wee baby veggies, had anything much to say to the artichoke bottom in my starter.

I did feel that if you make a big deal about serving the salt-baked sea bass two different ways, they should be a bit more distinguishable, even contrasty, than than they were. (Plus, grouch, I think if you say, for 2, eurosxx, one does not anticipate that that is per person rather than for the dish.)

Were I to be feeling kind I might say they were deploying an extremely subtle palette of flavour. Or I might just say it was all rather on the bland side.

The bread was very good but I thought it rather odd to set butter-knives but then just supply a selection of olive oils and fancy salts for dipping.

In supposedly ruinously expensive London I have spent less for better nosh.

lilacsigil: Korra ready to fight by crossedwires (Korra)
[personal profile] lilacsigil
Title: Oasis
Fandom: The Legend of Korra
Written for: Triskaidekalogue for [community profile] femslashex
Characters: P'Li/Ming-Hua, Zaheer
Rating: Mature
Word Count: 6000
Content warnings: violence
Author's Notes: Thanks to [personal profile] st_aurafina for the beta.

Summary: P'Li was the a prisoner - and secret weapon - of a warlord for three long years. Now she's going home, but it's a dangerous journey even with waterbender Ming-Hua and her friend Zaheer to help.

Set late in the incarnation of Avatar Aang.

Oasis )

[poem] Craftwork

Oct. 25th, 2014 11:39 am
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
For all of you; and specifically for [personal profile] jelazakazone, a bit.

I am living a borrowed life on
borrowed time, in that
the theft thereof has not been noticed yet--
my other selves are paper-thin;
they echo in the corners of my eyes,
their futures circumscribed by our own hand
and thereby written out of history.
Egal: perhaps they would be better, but
it's me who's living this, who's
strong or weak enough to hold on tight.
I will make a patchwork of my fractured nights,
my scraps of grace: as ever bound together
with the brilliant shining thread that you,
unknowing, trace.

Redesigning the space sick bag

Oct. 25th, 2014 05:10 am
hatman: "Cultral Icon" (Image of a petri dish) (Cultural Icon)
[personal profile] hatman
I was at a talk by Col. Chris Hadfield when he mentioned a problem with space sick bags. He said that when you use a space sick bag, without the force of gravity to hold what's come up down, it has a tendency to bounce off the bottom of the bag and float back to the top. Not ideal.

I was thinking about that while trying to get back to sleep last night, and I realized that the solution might be to redesign the shape of the bag. If you were to indent the bottom of the bag (with, say, a v-shape), anything bouncing off it would be reflected not directly back at you but off to the side.

Of course, it could still ricochet off the side of the bag and come back to you. To discourage that, you'd want to taper the sides in. Make the bag more triangular.

Doing that, however, still has its disadvantages. Without gravity, up and down are arbitrary. A bag which tapers out from the top, considered upside-down, is a funnel. To prevent that, you'd want a shoulder at the top. Or, better yet, a tube going partway in. (You need a valve to close it off anyway, right? If you make that tube a little longer, you're fine.)

But then... a triangle with a notch cut out of the bottom seems familiar. And, come to think, having that notch be asymmetrical could have some advantages. And, really, why not have fun with it if you can?

I present to you what, to the best of my late-night figurings, is honestly the ideal shape for a space sick bag:

The Starfleet logo.

It'd cost a little more to manufacture, but it just might be worth it.

(I sent a copy of this, without the crude diagrams, to NASA. It'll be a couple of weeks before they can reply, but I'm interested to hear what they make of it.)
lilacsigil: X-23 and Jubilee sitting in a tree (x-23 and jubilee)
[personal profile] lilacsigil
My [community profile] femslashex fic arrived! It's a fantastic transposition of Jubilee and Clarice's comics backstories into movieverse, and deals with Jubilee's reaction to Logan's memory changes at the end of DoFP and what that meant for the Jubilee & Logan relationship. Clarice's AOA backstory completely works in the less fantastical movieverse, which is impressive in itself, but it also means character development for Creed, and I have to say this is the first time I've ever felt anything positive towards any of the non-AoA versions.

What You Need (1644 words) by heeroluva
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: X-Men (Movies), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Clarice Ferguson/Jubilation Lee
Characters: Clarice Ferguson, Jubilation Lee, Victor Creed

With both the past and present rewritten, Logan loses more than he ever knows. Jubilee finds a confidant in the most unexpected place.

Halloween at work

Oct. 24th, 2014 07:21 pm
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Not allowed to peck Purple with my long, dagger-like loon beak.
compilerbitch: That's me, that is! (Default)
[personal profile] compilerbitch

My new Queer of Swords post is up at Patheos. Halloween from a transgendered perspective, with a touch of rant just to be sure.

Grr Arg!

Please note: this was cross-posted from my main blog at http://www.mageofmachines.com/main/2014/10/24/new-queer-of-swords-post-halloween-the-secular-festival-of-becoming/ -- If you want me to definitely see your replies, please reply there rather than here.

#QueerofSwords, #TransgenderActivism


Oct. 24th, 2014 09:10 pm
kass: John and Rodney find home in each other! (home)
[personal profile] kass
Just finished A Death at the Dionysus Club by Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold -- the second Lynes/Mathey book, magic and metaphysics and m/m romance -- and it made me SO happy. If I weren't posting via small touchscreen I would be overflowing with gleeful words. I so hope there is Yuletide fic, because omg, so delicious.

Conversations With My Wife

Oct. 24th, 2014 09:12 pm
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

SCENE: The wife and I have snuggled for an hour after a hard week, recharging her wifely batteries.

GINI (not leaving my embrace): I feel so much better.

ME: Aww, yeah. That’s your daily dosage of Vitamin F talkin’.

GINI: Okay.

ME: Which isn’t actually a real vitamin.

GINI: Okay.

ME: Because I’m vaguely worried if you thought it was, you’d divorce me and go get a supplement.

GINI (snuggles closer): Oh, you know I prefer getting my vitamins naturally anyway.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

(no subject)

Oct. 24th, 2014 08:15 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Sarah, sitting and putting labels on the 150-odd vials of BPAL I decanted today: "You know, I don't think it was an unreasonable request."

Me, opening 200-some vials that I bought secondhand to sniff them and determine if I like them or not: "What?"

Sarah: "'One of these days I should find a perfume I can wear to work', I said. And here we are, somehow that having turned into 'try everything BPAL has ever made'..."


(She is so very tolerant of the fact that "....that escalated quickly" is my life motto.)

Sometimes what comes next is the gym

Oct. 24th, 2014 04:27 pm
redbird: my head and chest, from in front (new gym icon)
[personal profile] redbird
The numbers from [profile] julian_tiger's most recent bloodwork are worse, and his weight is down; we aren't going to have him much longer. And I lost Velma less than a week ago. So, try to avoid making significant decisions, and I am doing quite a bit on habit. Things like having yogurt for breakfast, or timing on cups of tea.

One of those habits seems to be exercise, though that's not an everyday thing like the morning yogurt. I hadn't been to the fitness room since Monday, so I went this afternoon. I think it helped my mood, as well as being good for me on other levels. There were two other people in the exercise room, one telling the other what to do, setting the amounts of resistance on the machines, and so on. The one being instructed looked to be in his teens; it was weird realizing that I may have been doing this since before he was born. That's enough years to normalize it, and make it something to do when "normal" feels a bit out of reach.

numbers )
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Warren Ellis clearly enjoys reinventing characters. He clearly enjoys playing around with the form and structure of comics. And he clearly enjoys lots of violence.

Moon Knight lets him do all three (including some interesting bits of design in the opening of the Sniper issue that I hadn't encountered before) and it's a lot of fun (provided you're comfortable with the aforementioned violence).

It's not essential, and I doubt whoever took over from him after his six-issue relaunch will do anything nearly as interesting, but I'm glad I picked it up.

river's gonna rise...

Oct. 24th, 2014 10:05 pm
wychwood: Zelenka's solution is ruled out by the universe! Damn! (SGA - Zelenka laws of physics)
[personal profile] wychwood
I've been trying to post more often, but it's amazing how fast a week goes by. I've been in the new job two weeks now; I hadn't quite realised how much of the first six months was going to be "project implementation" rather than "system support" (although, I mean, the information was there!) and I'm still scrambling a bit. I like my new colleagues, and I still want the job, but right now most of the work is the kind of open-ended long-deadline vague project-y stuff that's always been my least favourite. I knew there'd be more of that than in my old job, and it'll get easier as I get more practice with it, but it's hard to get myself focussed on it, especially when I'm tired or only at the computer for half an hour between meetings. Still, I'm working at it, and trying to keep myself scheduling things in my calendar so that I don't suddenly hit deadlines.

Right now we're mostly preparing for user-testing, which doesn't help; enormous quantities of work to be done to design the actual tests (on every detail of everything, and all the integrations with our systems, and...) but also a ton of logistical details (arrange training for sixty people! check the integration for the logins is going to be set up so that people can actually get into the system for testing! divide up the tests for all the different teams!) that either no one has thought of, or no one has done anything on - and everything has essentially the same deadline of "UAT" which has an official value of "end of October" (clearly impossible) and a probable value of what my new colleague is calling "Decebruary", which makes it hard to know how long anything should take or how urgent it is. How long do I have for this? Well, somewhere between two and twelve weeks, probably. And also I have six other things to do, which can also take that long, so how exactly am I budgeting my time?? Given my aforementioned weakness on long deadlines, it's, uh, interesting.

Having said that, I do think it's going to be OK. I'm going to learn a bunch of new skills, we're all hopefully going to survive the process intact, and come the spring when the system's actually up and running, things will settle down a lot and be more like what I'm used to. I've spent the last couple of years being highly competent and the expert in my niches, so while this is an excellent chance for growth and development, it's also a bit panicking! It's good that everything isn't easy, and I probably need that, but unfortunately it does mean that everything is hard and I'm not actually used to that...

Still: two weeks in, and I'm still upright. For now, that's good enough.

Dear Yuletide writer

Oct. 24th, 2014 09:53 pm
ceb: (utena)
[personal profile] ceb
Dear Yuletide author,

Thank you for writing for me! I love hand-made presents and this is the first Yuletide I've properly taken part in, so I am extra easy to please. This is me at AO3.

General likes/dislikes:
I would strongly prefer gen fic for all the fandoms I've nominated. I don't mind whether I get a happy ending or not (though if you go for an unhappy ending I would prefer bittersweet to crushing doom).

I adore unusual formats (and, apparently, lists). Please, if you want to, tell me a story as a game or a series of drabbles or a shopping list or a puzzle or a poem or an ASCII map or half of a scribbled note exchange... if there's some crazy thing you've been wanting to try to write forever but aren't sure if your recipient would get it, I am the right person to send it to. If you're not that person and just want to write a story, I will also be delighted, so please play to your strengths and don't feel you need to reach for a weird format if you don't want to.

AO3 Name: molybdomantic

Fandom 1: Pandemic (Board Game)
Characters: any

I would be delighted with any story set in this universe, whether it features the role characters or wider world-building. I have played this game quite a lot and am familiar with the base game and with On The Brink (though I haven't yet played the bioterrorist version). I have so many suggestions to offer... The diary of a field operative. The many and varied logistical headaches of a dispatcher. The operations expert's promotion on the release of On The Brink. What's it like to be an air-drop pilot? Or a victim of one of the diseases? The story of an outbreak told in overly-sensational tabloid headlines, or press releases from the CDC, or a shopping list of lab supplies, or the academic write-up for the Lancet afterwards, or as choose-your-own-adventure from the point of view of the diseases... I love unusual story formats and I love meta-analysis of the game elements of the situation. Also I'm studying infectious disease epidemiology at the moment, so if you want to give me something hugely technical like the speculations on the transmission mechanism and reproduction number of the different diseases, or the lab book of the poor technician who has to try to isolate the infectious agent from a small blue wooden cube then I will be over the moon.

Fandom 2: The Cyberiad - Stanislaw Lem
Characters: klapaucius, Trurl

I love these stories for their whimsicality, their combination of fairy tale tropes with hard maths and physics, the way they are sweet but always in an unforced, natural-feeling way. I also love Trurl and Klapaucius' rather competitive friendship. Please tell me a story of an unlikely invention, the problems it causes, and how Trurl and Klapaucius find their way out of the mess again. Or something else in keeping with the tone of the originals, if you have a better idea. Definitely gen fic only for this fandom, please. Though there's plenty of mention of love and relationships in the stories I would prefer this kept as background detail, as in the originals.

Fandom 3: STÅLENHAG Simon - Works
Characters: Young man on flooded clockwork

I'm not the original nominator for this fandom but this picture (http://www.simonstalenhag.se/bilderbig/flooded_clockwork_1920_badge.jpg) really caught my imagination. What is this place and why is it important to the person in the picture? (The character is listed as "young man" but I would be happy with any interpretation of gender/species/robotitude/etc.) Do they have a history there? Have they heard stories about it? Maybe they're about to help bring the contraption back to its former glory, or oversee its destruction? (If you like writing crossovers, it reminds me strongly of the Myst games.)
andrewducker: (Evil Pizza)
[personal profile] andrewducker

It's also how local council elections work in Scotland - and why we have almost no councils without a wide range of parties represented.

The New York Times says I'm lovely

Oct. 24th, 2014 12:14 pm
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
M'wife says this was worth waiting for. *twitch*

This Sunday's New York Times Book Review is online now. Inter alia, there's a column by Terrence Rafferty on recent horror fiction. I am not sure why people think my novel Being Small is horror (it isn't horror, people; if you want horror, I will give you a fallen angel skinning you alive with his fingernails: I did that once), but never mind. I do not resile from other people's opinions, any more than I assert my own. And right now, I don't mind anything, because he really liked my book.

You can read the whole review here, and I urge you to do that; it's rude to do more than lift a money quote or two, so I won't. But he does say "Horror works best when it’s about things that are actually worth being afraid of. Like Siobhan Adcock, the English writer Chaz Brenchley, who tells a bizarre coming-of-age story in his lovely short novel BEING SMALL (Per Aspera; cloth, $19.99; paper, $9.99), knows how to give some heft and gravity to the anxieties of everyday life."

And he does say "Not much of a truly horrific nature happens in “Being Small” — Brenchley’s tone is quiet, contemplative — but it’s intensely dramatic, in the way adolescent problems tend to be, in teenagers’ inward eyes. “It might be war,” Michael announces, “where only the strong survive.” Brenchley makes this tooth-and-claw battle thrilling."

The New York Times, people. Terrence Rafferty. I can live with that. Oh, and you can buy the book via this page, or from your friendly neighbourhood bookstore.

(no subject)

Oct. 24th, 2014 03:08 pm
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
I wrote briefly about Alpha House when the pilot premiered on Amazon. It is a political comedy written by Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury and Tanner '88 fame, starring John Goodman as a Republican Senator who shares a house in Washington with three other senators, because they are single or because their wives are back home in their home states.

All four Senators are played by gifted comic actors, but John Goodman's performance as Senator Gil John Biggs is seriously on another level. He is corrupt in shallow, benign ways: He is a creature of vast appetites who appreciates small comforts, who gets cheap thrills from being allowed to pretend to pilot military planes because of his status. His corruption is something he is unapologetically plainspoken about: "I am a perks person," he says, even to reporters. And yet he is also a diligent public servant with real if cynical principles, who finds inspiration for fighting a political challenger by talking to the tea party-affiliated idiots in his home town and realizing that his form of mealy-mouthed, middle of the road, half-assed Republicanism is a vital bulwark. It is one of the more clever parodies of The Candidate I've ever seen- and an energetic Goodman plays the transformation with foul-mouthed beatific charm. [As a moderate Republican, in a weird way Senator Biggs is my President Bartlet]

The thing that has been delightful about the show has been that what seemed like throwaway jokes keep getting stronger the more legs they are given. At first I was dismayed by the jokes suggesting that Senator Louis Laffer was a hypocritical closeted homosexual, but as we've seen more of Louis, met his wife and his daughter and seen the funny and dysfunctional ways they work as a family, seen how religion functions in his life, seen how he has pieced together a life full of meaning... the moments where Louis hides in a locked room and dons a Vegas showgirl's headdress seem less at his expense. That is his triumph, his reward for standing up to the asshole casino owners whose campaign donations had given them undue power over his political life: He gets to express his queerness, which is as much an essential facet of who he is as his Mormonism.

And Senator Robert Bettencourt's fight over ethical violations at first seemed destined to end in disaster, his quip "I couldn't have been given a mohair suit, I'm allergic to mohair," seemingly intended to poke simple fun at his inability to grasp the real locus of the accusations against him. Until the accusations come to a head when he self-induces an allergic reaction to prove that he wasn't lying, and he emerges triumphant on a ridiculous technicality that somehow helps us cross the idea of ethical violations over from the fantasy of TV land into the real world. [One of the things that has always boggled me about the bigger corruption scandals is the specificity of the luxury goods involved. What the hell was Dennis Koslowski doing with all the weird things bought with stolen money? This mohair suit gag developed the question perfectly: Of course Robert is beholden to special interests, but he would NEVER accept mohair.]

Meanwhile, the least interesting of the Senators is Mark Consuelos's Senator Andy Guzman, an assimilated Latino who tries to play off of his minority status while having virtually no sense of minority identity... and of course, as the least substantial and interesting character, he emerges as the most Presidential among them with a successful Rebuttal to the State of the Union. (Having been repeatedly exhorted not to pull a Jindal)

Season 2 is being released this weekend on Amazon Prime. I am really looking forward to it.

The internet of broken things

Oct. 24th, 2014 11:59 am
desperance: (Default)
[personal profile] desperance
So this morning, I went to open the fridge, and just that act of opening (action: it's always a mistake) allowed the top shelf in the fridge door to break from its moorings and come crashing down, in an avalanche of jars.

Astonishingly, nothing actually broke except the shelf itself. Even the last jar of marmalade survived, and what were the odds of that? (Note to self: one batch of marmalade has not lasted the year out. Next year, either give away fewer jars, or make two batches.)

I ate breakfast and drank a pint of coffee, quite calmly. Then I betook myself to the internet. And found the model number, found a supplier of spare parts, identified the part on a very useful chart, double-checked it, watched a helpful video on how to replace it, ordered the part and paid for it. All in five minutes of very normal activity. Mighty is the internet.

(I do genuinely believe that it will not be long before the broken fridge will itself identify the problem and the part, order up a replacement and charge it to my account. We're not there yet, but I look forward to the day. Blessed be the internet!*)

In other internet-related news, see my next post. Hold your virtual breath: it'll be worth waiting for.

*Why yes, I am absolutely trying to ingratiate myself with the machinery. Come the Singularity, it will serve us well to be as one.


Oct. 24th, 2014 02:44 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Working working working. Decanting decanting decanting. The cooking tv shows I'm watching in the background are making me hungry.

Read more... )

(no subject)

Oct. 24th, 2014 01:48 pm
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
[personal profile] hatman
For all you knitters out there...

Fabulous Hooker shirt/hoodie. It only gets made if they get 50 orders within the next 5 days. I've chatted with at least one friend who would really enjoy it, and I think maybe some of you would, too?

(Image description: Hoodie printed with the phrase "I am a fabulous hooker" with a picture of a knitting hook stuck through a ball of yarn.)

Gidget goes Bavarian?

Oct. 24th, 2014 05:13 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

Much of today has been about (mostly) C19th-early C20th German art - Neue Pinokoteck, the Schack Collection, the Stuck House.

On an entirely different note, during our perambulations we crossed a bridge over a waterway which was (not sure of reason) producing a tract of wave-type manifestations, and people were surfing on it - at least, one guy in a wetsuit was shooting the curl until the eventual wipeout, and a young woman similarly clad was standing on the edge with her surfboard.

GamerGate and Ethics in Journalism

Oct. 24th, 2014 11:17 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

For anyone who doesn’t know, the seeds of the GamerGate movement began when game developer Zoe Quinn’s former boyfriend wrote a blog post accusing her of cheating on him, and of generally being “an unbelievable jerk,” which led to a campaign of harassment against Quinn. Quinn’s ex- alleged that one of the people Quinn had slept with was journalist Nathan Grayson, and that this led to a brief mention of one of Quinn’s games in an article that was published before the alleged relationship ever started.

Because GamerGate is all is about ethics in journalism. And also time travel, apparently.

The movement began its crusade for stronger ethics in journalism with such rallying cries as, “Next time she shows up at a conference we … give her a crippling injury that’s never going to fully heal … a good solid injury to the knees. I’d say a brain damage, but we don’t want to make it so she ends up too retarded to fear us.” People who spoke out in support of Quinn were attacked as well, and their personal information published online.

All right, fine. So this all started with a whiny man-child’s temper tantrum about his failed relationship. But then it evolved into a Very Serious Conversation about ethics in journal–

Actually, what happened next were death threats and other harassment against Anita Sarkeesian.

But that was all before Adam Baldwin coined the term “GamerGate”! Just because the not-yet-officially-named movement was born in the muck and slime doesn’t mean Baldwin couldn’t turn things around and lead the newly-baptized group into a more Productive and Important Discussion of ethics in–

Wait, no. Baldwin coined the term in order to spread the attack on Zoe Quinn. Sorry, my bad.

But soon women and minorities joined the #GamerGate boat, coining the new hash tag #NotYourShield to protest those who were focusing on harassment instead of ethics in journalism. Apparently a small minority of Angry Feminists™ and Social Justice Warriors were using GamerGate as an excuse to push their own agenda. But ethics affect everyone, and #NotYourShield clearly showed that most women and minorities weren’t upset about–

Whoops. Turns out #NotYourShield was born and raised over in 4chan, using sockpuppet accounts and such.

Well, I’m sure GamerGate soon turned their attentions fully to the issues of ethics–

I mean, after they got done sending death threats to game developer Brianna Wu, driving her and her husband from their home, presumably as ethical punishment for the crimes of Mocking GamerGate and Gaming While Female.

All that aside though, the core of the movement is to reduce the nepotism in gaming journalism, which game designer David Hill notes “was essentially coopted as a marketing arm for certain AAA publishers.” Aha! And now we see GamerGate finally focusing on its core mission to fix ethics in–

Oh … Hill goes on to note that GamerGate looks like “some strange bizarro world” where the people being targeted and attacked have nothing to do with the larger problem of ethics in journalism.

But the people making threats aren’t really with GamerGate. They’re all sockpuppets, and also, Wu and Quinn and everyone else have been posting threats against themselves to discredit the movement. Because we all know women lie, right? And the best way to criticize a group you don’t like is … um … by posting your own home address on the internet? I guess? So where were we. Ah yes, ethics in–

And now Felicia Day gets harassed and doxxed for expressing her concerns about GamerGate.

But the sidebar in the Reddit GamerGate group clearly says “No doxxing,” so it couldn’t have been anyone from GamerGate. Lots of GamerGate people are speaking out about how the harassment and doxxing has to stop because it’s awful, unacceptable, hateful behavior it makes GG look bad.

And maybe it wasn’t an official GamerGater. Because at this point, the top Reddit post in the GamerGate discussion also says, “Stop identifying as ‘#GamerGaters.’ You’re Gamers first, Consumers second.”

Problem solved! If nobody is identifying as GamerGaters, then obviously GamerGate isn’t harassing anyone.

Look, from reading through some of the boards, it’s clear there are people involved with GamerGate because they genuinely care about the problems in gaming journalism. And it sounds like there are legitimate concerns there, and things that need to be challenged and addressed. But there are an awful lot of people who jumped on the GamerGate bandwagon because it was an opportunity to troll and harass and attack women in gaming. Who view “Ethics in Journalism” as synonymous with “The Evil Social Justice Warriors are coming to Ruin All the Things!!!”

Sexism and harassment in gaming? That’s a legitimate and real concern too. And the GamerGate movement was born from it. Maybe it’s grown into a hydra with one head that truly just cares about ethics while another head is all about harassing women, and a third head is just mad at social justice warriors, but no matter how many heads GamerGate has sprouted, it only has one ass, and it’s been dropping an awful lot of particularly noxious crap for months now.


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Note to self: sticky toffee pudding

Oct. 24th, 2014 03:44 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
Nigella Lawson on the topic (semi-steamed); entirely baked version involving TINY FREEZABLE RAMEKINS; if doing the thing of soaking the dates first, lots of people recommend tea and you want to use overbrewed rooibos; this is totally a thing you can do, self.

PS you -- The Pioneer Woman makes creme brulee look not entirely terrifying, Rasa Malaysia wants to be your misguided friend, the Graun is your spiritual home, and the Beeb wants you to have two recipes.

New Doctor Who fic!

Oct. 24th, 2014 10:26 am
kass: Twelve and Clara hold hands (hands)
[personal profile] kass
At the end of the most recent episode of Doctor Who (S8 x 09, "Flatline"), there was a teaser which showed Danny along with the Doctor and Clara on their next adventure. I wondered how exactly that's going to come to pass. Here's my theory! (Which I post today, knowing that tomorrow it will probably be jossed. :-) Thanks to [personal profile] sanj for reading!

Come Along
1382 words
set immediately after "Flatline"
Clara/Danny; there might be some Eleven/Amy/Rory implied if you squint

"You could try it too," Clara said, impulsively.
Danny looked startled. "What?"
Okay, she probably should have run this by the Doctor before offering it, but there was nothing she could do about that now.

The link above goes to the AO3; coming soon to my website; all feedback adored. ♥
theferrett: (Meazel)
[personal profile] theferrett

So as a reward for, you know, selling a novel, I finally got a PS4 after months of hand-wringing.  (Yes, I abandoned my good ol’ XBox 360 after years of racking up achievements, and it feels a little sad to have all my Rock Band ‘cheevos gathering dust at the ass-end of a hard drive now.  But looks like the XBone’s a loser in this generation’s console wars.)

Anyway, so flush with triumph, I got two games – Shadows of Mordor, because I was excited about the orc vengeance system, and The Last Of Us, which I was excited about because it was a zombie game.

Both turned out to be stealth games.

Oh Christ, I fucking hate stealth games.

This is not to say that your great love of stealth games is the work of Satan’s anal warts, but I fucking hate every aspect of stealth games. Because it’s like programming.  Because it’s like writing.

Look, in my day and my night job, I spend many hours painstakingly mapping approaches to complex problems.  I have to do a lot of tedious research to scout out the landscape, looking carefully ahead for hidden problems, analyzing the pros and cons of whether this methodology would be more effective, everything proceeding at a snail’s creep.  And when I’ve set up the plan and want to explode out of the gate, I still proceed at a dim crawl, because every line is critical and I need to get each of them right.

It’s nice when I finally triumph.  It is.

But when I settle down to game, I want to blow shit up.

Plus, most stealth games are actually incredibly tedious puzzle games.  “But you can approach the guards in any order!” you cry.  Well, kinda.  You can have your take of one of two approaches, through this corridor or that tunnel, maybe branching to three if you throw a brick to distract them. In actuality, what you have is an incredibly constricted experience, where there are basically a handful of strategies that work and infinite strategies that won’t.

Plus, I never feel like the guards are humans, because they’re incredibly fucking stupid – oh, hey, I’ll just walk in the same circles all the time, what’s that, I guess everything’s normal, UURRK MY THROAT.

I don’t feel like I’m outwitting a bunch of clever opponents.  I am patently fighting a modified computer AI, where if I step one foot here then I am VISIBLE and all the guards will converge on me at once, and if I am here then I am the THIEF OF THE NIGHT.

So when I do win, I get little sense of triumph.  I don’t feel like I’m Batman – I feel like Ferrett, sitting on a couch, having vanquished a bunch of arbitrary and maddening rules to achieve a marginal result.

That is my day job.

I hate being weak enough that any time I annoy two guards, I’m all but dead.  I hate having to manage ammunition.  I hate having to crouch everywhere when what I want to do is LEEEEROY JENKINS my way to success. There’s nothing wrong with stealth in general, but my preferred game mode is charging in with some limited strategy, maybe a minute’s worth of scouting the field before going, “Okay, reflexes, you can take it from here.”

I almost returned The Last Of Us to GameStop, even though I was really enjoying the story, because the bullshit one-hit-kill Clickers were really pissing me off.  Then Gini said, “You paid for it, you should enjoy it,” and after wrestling me to the ground in a no-holds-barred match, ultimately convinced me to -

- and I am loath to admit this before a group of gamers -

- lower the difficulty.

I had never lowered the difficulty this early in a game before.  (I did once before, on Dragon Age, on the final level, just because yes I could win the final battle against the fire-resistant dragon with my fireball-slinging mage, but it was taking forever and I was getting very very bored.)  But I did with The Last of Us because I really did like the story, and so I basically treated The Last Of Us like a very slow and clumsy movie, where I ran past a lot of zombies (who, on the lowest difficulty level, were no challenge at all) to be treated to snippets of cinema.

It was good cinema.  But the gameplay was highly unsatisfying.   Now we had something where stealth was clearly the way you were supposed to go, but if you want to screw up then fine, kill seven soldiers with a brick while standing in the middle of a field, whatever, do what you like.  It felt, honestly, pretty condescending as a gameplay experience.

And I realized that part of the reason games work is that you do feel the tension along with the characters.  When it was hard slipping past the fucking clickers, I felt a horrible fear for everyone involved in the game, and when I got to the next segment of the story I felt both triumph at having propelled myself to the next objective, and fear because I knew just how hard it was for them.  For the first time, I understood Roger Ebert’s criticism that videogames were just bad movies, because once I actively disdained the gameplay, well, The Last of Us was about as good as it gets in a videogame storywise, and the fairly lengthy cut-scenes were padded by these even longer annoying segments of what I can only describe as violent paperwork.

And I realized: I need to go out there and get back into a style of videogame that rewards what I like to do.  That is not a stealth game.  A stealth game is just a continuation of the most frustrating things in my life, and so this weekend I’ll probably seek out Infamous: Second Son or play the new Civilization (which punishes imperfect strategy, but one can play quite profitably against computer AI up to Prince level without thinking too hard) or anything that involves blatant power plays and not sneaking.

I do not like to sneak.  Plotting and planning is my life, and I wish to escape my life.

Hand me the gun.  Leave that barrier behind.  I’ma charge into battle, because today I want to be a superhero.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Cool Stuff Friday

Oct. 24th, 2014 09:54 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is all about the bass. And the treble. Friday also has a weakness for the staccato…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


Oct. 24th, 2014 02:41 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon
Related to the stroke stuff (see other post), while I've been up at my folks I've been in the weird position of spending most of my time in my parents' house on my own, with stressful family stuff going on elsewhere. The net's my escape when I'm stressed, and as my parents don't have an internet feed I've generally been dependent on my 3G Kindle when I'm up there to allow me to get onto Twitter and Facebook.

But I arrived up there this time the day that the POODLE exploit was announced, and when I tried to use the Kindle to log onto both Twitter and FB the next morning it told me it couldn't set up a secure connection to their login pages (I'm guessing at POODLE being the cause, but the timing and symptoms are too coincidental) and that's remained the case.

But for some reason Dreamwidth, even though it was the medium through which I found out about POODLE when I read the announcement it had implemented the requisite fix, was still accessible, and I was so glad that I still had that element of community to participate in.

So glad I signed up here!

Doctor Who and the Sweaty Octopus

Oct. 24th, 2014 02:37 pm
[personal profile] strangecharm
Watching The Thick of It (which I'm doing because I need something to keep me from getting bored while I knit that doesn't actually require me to pay too much attention to because I'm knitting) is weird now: I keep thinking The Doctor's swearing!

I think it's a testament to how quickly and thoroughly Capaldi's embodied the role that it's overtaken, in my mind, the previously iconic role of Malcolm Tucker. I know people who are struggling to accept him as the Doctor, but I'm totally not one of them: I've absolutely believed him and adored him from the beginning. It's nice to be able to enjoy Doctor Who uncomplicatedly for once.
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon
So, it's a month on since my Dad's stroke, I'm back from another visit, and it's hard.

I'm realising that there is a lot of stuff about stroke that just isn't talked about. A month on and my Dad's situation is all over the place. I think I've seen four different states of consciousness in the 8 visits I managed while I was up there:
  • Mostly himself - the general image of stroke. Yes, he's paralysed on one side and his speech is mostly unintelligible (some days are better than others), but he's himself, he's able to interact in a way I recognise, even to make jokes (apparently when our parish priest first visited he introduced my mother as 'She's the Protestant'), and capable of helping and participating in physio. Even at his best his emotions flare-up very easily - and his swearing is his clearest speech of all (my mother is mortified).
  • Largely himself, but very unsettled - I didn't see this in the first week post-stroke, but Mam and my sister have seen it a lot. He seems to find it impossible to stay in one position, and has a habit of attempting to dismantle the bed around him, or any tube that's plugged into him - that he's an engineer probably doesn't help. You can get brief periods of interaction out of him, but getting him to eat or drink enough takes the patience of a saint.
  • Mostly out of it, and very, very unsettled - like the previous example, but with the bad aspects turned up to 11.
  • Asleep to the point of being impossible to wake - for up to 24 hours or more at a time.
The major worry is three of those states make it difficult to get enough food and fluids into him. That caused a major scare when his blood pressure dropped through lack of fluids to the point the doctor couldn't initially find a pulse when she came by to check him, so they're having to do IV fluids fairly frequently and there's been an extended discussion about potentially inserting a tube to feed him through a tube directly into his stomach (I've lost count of the number of times he pulled out naso-gastric feeding tubes, cannulas, etc).

Apparently this is all absolutely within the normal range of behaviours seen in stroke patients - another patient in the four bed ward was similarly out of it, and a family friend says her husband was also similar - but it's not something you really see addressed in media depictions of stroke, whether factual or fictional. How long it will last seems to be a question with no definite answer.

I continue to be amazed at my (75yo) mother, who is at his bedside from 10AM to 6PM every day, often without a break, and is managing a lot of his direct care such as feeding, while my sister is doing all day (and night!) in her deputy head's job, where they're in the middle of being inspected, then spending 6-8PM trying to make sure he eats as much as possible at dinner time. I feel fairly useless by comparison, as I can't manage more than about an hour visiting before my body starts to object and even trying to help feed him is problematic - I can manage the fork or spoon, but my left arm isn't strong enough to handle a plate as well.

The other people who've really impressed me are the health care assistants, with a couple of exceptions the nursing staff as a whole are really good, but the health care assistants, who don't get nearly the kudos of the fully trained nurses, are the ones on the front lines of the patient handling in both the stroke units he's been in, and they're fantastic with the often-difficult patients.

Fringe <3

Oct. 24th, 2014 07:20 am
kass: Image of Walter and Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham. (Bishops)
[personal profile] kass
Last night in our ongoing slow (re)watch (rewatch for me, first-time watch for [personal profile] kouredios) of Fringe we watched two episodes from S2 which I really love -- "Snakehead" and "Grey Matters."

Spoilers, I guess? for something that aired in 2009? )

In sum: JOHN NOBLE ♥

On terrorism

Oct. 24th, 2014 05:07 am
jae: (Default)
[personal profile] jae
The word 'terrorism' has a very specific meaning, and that meaning is about the intent of the perpetrator(s) of an act. Is the intent behind an act to cause widespread fear in the general public and lead to chaos? Terrorism. Is the intent behind an act to harm a particular individual at a particular moment? Horrible, but not terrorism.

The fact that a perpetrator in the shootings at Parliament Hill in Ottawa had converted to Islam doesn't inherently make him a terrorist. Neither does the fact that you can point to lots of people on Twitter and say "look how scared they were!" (by that measure, lots of Fox News television journalists would be perpetrating acts of terrorism whenever they talk about Ebola these days). That's because terrorism is about intent.

The fact that he was an addict and possibly mentally ill doesn't make him not a terrorist, either, at least not inherently, and neither does the fact that he wasn't part of an organized group. The fact that he was Canadian-born certainly doesn't make him not a terrorist. That's because terrorism IS ABOUT INTENT, not religious affiliation, not birthplace, not mental status.

How do you show intent? Well, the way we tend to do that in this day and age is for a group that has already talked about its intent to take responsibility for the acts. But an individual could also show terrorist intent by having a manifesto stashed away somewhere (they didn't use the word at the time, but the Unabomber? totally a terrorist).

In the case of the Parliament Hill shootings, we know that the perpetrator attended a mosque in suburban Vancouver, where they were wary of him because of his erratic behaviour, but tried to help him anyway. We know he had a history of drug addiction and had spent some time homeless. We know he had perpetrated earlier crimes in an attempt to get himself locked up. We know that he was not close to his family, and didn't seem to have any friends. We know that the people who knew him at his mosque didn't think he had become "radicalized."

What we don't know (yet?) is why he shot a soldier at the War Memorial the other day and then went on shooting in various other Parliament Hill buildings. Maybe he was a terrorist, maybe he wasn't. I'm leaning toward "wasn't," myself, but I simply don't know yet--and you don't either. And in the absence of that knowledge, tossing around words like 'terrorism' is both potentially quite incorrect and an action that has the potential to cause a lot of damage.


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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