feel the fear and do it anyway

Jul. 29th, 2014 09:59 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
We are having some exciting weather. My husband's girlfriend R and I are taking turns going up to his place to feed the horses and water the garden while Neal and Mungo are in Yosemite. Today was her turn, but I was worried about the possibility of flash floods, or lightning, or the horses getting spooked and doing something dangerous, so I--

--if you've been reading here for a while, you might remember that my husband maximized the uncomfortable of our getting acquainted, mostly by treating every potential meeting as terribly fraught. R and I would both rather be friendly acquaintances, but we're both painfully shy and much better at avoiding uncomfortable interactions than making them less uncomfortable. We're working on it. I've had her phone number for a while but never used it. Making phone calls is hard. But today, I really was worried about the weather, so--

I called! And offered to go with her. And it went fine! It wasn't necessary: the horses were up by the barn, not down on the flood plain. But I'm glad I did.

(no subject)

Jul. 29th, 2014 08:58 pm
ghoti: DNA strand with AGTC in background (forensic weenie)
[personal profile] ghoti
At work we have a variety of reference collections. Minerals, auto paint, rope, wood, explosives, glass, things like that.

We also have a glitter reference collection. Glitter. Organized nicely like baseball cards in a binder in little ziplock pouches. Glitter. How is this even?

Long weekend in Montreal

Jul. 29th, 2014 04:13 pm
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
I'm just back from spending a few days in Montreal with [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel. We had a good time, mostly in a quiet sort of way: rysmiel was feeling low-energy if not actually unwell, but I think we worked with that reasonably well. (It helped that the only specific plan we had was lunch with [personal profile] anne/[livejournal.com profile] txanne. The three of us had crepes, after which rysmiel and I walked Anne to a comic shop (because she wanted some specific French-language comics), and then went to Juliet et Chocolat because I concluded that yes, I did have room for dessert. We got there, glanced at the menu, and I was reminded of how much I'd liked the brownie with a balsamic reduction. So I got that again, and it was very good.

Also, one night we sent out for a pizza; rysmiel asked not-very-hopefully how I felt about fresh tuna on pizza, and my reaction was "I've never tried that, let's get it." I liked it, and it goes well with mushrooms, but I'm not convinced the meatballs added anything in terms of flavor. (This is one of the standard toppings at Pizza Pizza, if you're interested.) A less cheerful food note is that the patisserie nearest rysmiel's home has closed, so I didn't get croissants or other pastries this trip. (Next visit, if it's not deep winter, I will make more of an effort; this time, I decided to spare my knee the extra walking and stairs involved in buying some at Marche Atwater on my way to the airport yesterday.

Also, while it's a long trip to Montreal from here, Air Canada inadvertently put that in perspective with an announcement as my flight was landing in Vancouver "for those of you who are continuing on to Sydney…" and then my cab driver mentioned that when he goes home to visit his family, that's 22 hours' flight, because he's from India. (I had a short hop from Vancouver to Sea-tac: window seat in a Dash-8 on a gorgeous evening for flying.)

Wickedly Dangerous, by Deborah Blake

Jul. 28th, 2014 09:30 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Wickedly Dangerous CoverWickedly Dangerous [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] is the first book in a new paranormal romance series from debut novelist Deborah Blake, coming out in five weeks on September 2, and it’s a lot of fun. From the publisher:

Older than she looks and powerful beyond measure, Barbara Yager no longer has much in common with the mortal life she left behind long ago. Posing as an herbalist and researcher, she travels the country with her faithful (mostly) dragon-turned-dog in an enchanted Airstream, fulfilling her duties as a Baba Yaga and avoiding any possibility of human attachment.

But when she is summoned to find a missing child, Barbara suddenly finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and an unexpected attraction to the charming but frustrating Sheriff Liam McClellan.

Now, as Barbara fights both human enemies and Otherworld creatures to save the lives of three innocent children, she discovers that her most difficult battle may be with her own heart…

As some of you might know, I have a bit of a weakness for updated/retold fairy and folk tales, so seeing Baba Yaga brought into the 21st century with an enchanted Airstream trailer (complete with a fridge that at any given time might contain anything from baked chicken to an endless supply of cherry pie), a dragon disguised as a big old pit bull, and a load of magic, was pretty much guaranteed to draw me in.

Barbara is a great protagonist, powerful and compassionate, but also a bit out-of-touch with her human side. That happens when you spend most of your life moving about, hanging out with the supernatural, and never building any long-term relationships with mortals. Her love interest, Liam, was engaging as well, being a small-town sheriff with a good heart and some romantic/emotional scars, dealing with the double-barreled crap gun of corrupt politics and a case he’s not equipped to understand. They make a good team, and Blake definitely creates some good chemistry between them.

I winced a little at the treatment of Liam’s ex-wife. She’s quite broken, and at times it felt like she was there more as a plot device than as an actual character.

It looks like each book in the series will follow a different Baba Yaga, which I like. It means the book has a satisfying ending and a full plot arc, but also promises more to come. The epilogue sets up the next book, Wickedly Wonderful, which comes out in December 2014 and tells the story of Beka Yancy.

Wickedly Dangerous is a fun, fast-paced read with heroic protagonists, a clear battle of Good vs. Evil, love and romance, a happy ending, and a lot of nice little details. And also a dog-dragon. (Yes, I really like Chudo-Yudo.)

More info is available on Blake’s website.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


Jul. 29th, 2014 06:00 pm
kass: Geoffrey facepalms (geoffrey)
[personal profile] kass
I realized a moment ago that the music running through my head was Kanye West's "Gold Digger." ("I ain't saying she's a gold digger / but she ain't messin with no broke, broke --")

More accurately, it was the mashup of Kanye West with Beethoven's Fifth to which [personal profile] absolutedestiny vidded Gone With The Wind in 2007. (On youtube here.)

Huh, I thought. Okay. That's not my usual soundtrack. What put that in my head? I started casting back to try to figure out what I might have seen or thought which would have led my brain down that track.

And then I realized that the television program in the next room is punctuating whatever the news program is with dramatic bursts of Beethoven's Fifth. Heh. That'll do it.

So now I have Beethoven's Fifth Gold Digger in my head, accompanied by images of Scarlett O'Hara. I love it when carrying vids in my head adds this kind of delightful invisible extra layer to my day. :-)
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Rithmatist is an excellent example of academic magic in an alternate fantasy history where America is a collection of islands, and technology is replaced by Rithmatism and a bit of steampunk. Universities teach as a special subject, Rithmatics, the art of making precisely calculated magic circles out of chalk, and chalk figures which come to life, used in duels, and fighting against wild chalklings in Nebrask.

I'm disappointed it's not more *mathsy* -- there's a lot of calculating the proportions for where to draw things on circles, but that's all done in advance, and Rithmatists don't really have to actually understnad it, just be really good at drawing accurate proportions freehand. But even if it doesn't flesh it out, it implies a world where researching new geometric forms and innovative ways of using them is important.

The world is lovely. I wasn't moved by the plot or characters (though I couldn't put it down without finding out what was going on with the science). The young student who wants to be a rithmatist, but was poor and wasn't chosen. Who is intelligent but doesn't get a chance to prove it and has a bit of a chip on his shoulder. The kindly old professor who's a good theoretician, but not as good at duelling. The young rithmatics student who is really good at drawing animals but isn't any good at the geometry so clowns about and can't take the study seriously. They're all reasonably nice, but very similar to other characters. Whether that's he didn't have time to polish the book more (it sounds like he would have liked to do more in that world if I had time) or that I'm too jaded for it.

Long weekend with family

Jul. 29th, 2014 10:47 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Since Grandfather died, this Christmas my immediate family didn't go back to Lancashire where he and my aunt and uncle live, and Liv and I had Christmas in Cambridge. But we said we should all do something another time in the year, so we didn't end up never seeing each other.

So mum found a beautiful b&b in Shropshire, at the border with Herefordshire, and just 15 miles from the welsh border. It was converted barn and outbuildings of some old house, our bedroom was all stone walls and vaulted ceilings and wooden beams and big wooden chests.

And they go out of their way to do interesting food, with a different menu every day, with three courses, and two extra in-between courses in french, etc :) And they had very nice local cereal, bread, jams, and cooked breakfast including very nice mushrooms, and including vegetarian sausages and bacon. I think vegetarian bacon for breakfast is actually a bit much for me, though I like it in sandwiches occasionally, but I very much appreciate them finding *something* to serve that's vegetarian and not just a smaller subset of the omnivore's breakfast.

On Saturday, we went into ludlow, had cream tea in the castle tearooms, walked through the woods along the river, and shopped through the market (handbag with owls on!).

On Sunday we went for a long circular walk about 11 miles from the hotel, through along footpaths and through woods and over bubbling rivers and onto hills, to dinner at the place with the best name, Leintwardine. Nom lasagna with good pasta and vegetables, and chunky chips, for all. And after about three hours for dinner, the energy for the last mile and a half before dark. Including the steepest hill, although opinions are split whether the steepest hill coming when you're most tired is a matter of subjectivity or perversity :)

I love that my family are always nice and almost always restful. Love you, all!


Jul. 29th, 2014 10:26 pm
ceb: (Default)
[personal profile] ceb
Good Worldcon meeting. Drunk now! Wondering whether I should make cake. Why should I not make cake? Justify yourselves.


Jul. 29th, 2014 01:54 pm
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Q: How was your vacation?

A: Ten days eight timezones away, with me and Mr. E plus both kids plus the in-laws, every single one of us getting sick, except me who was sick when I left, stayed sick the entire time because you can’t get better when you don’t get any sleep, and am still sick? Staying in a B&B so filthy there were actually insects in the bed, because there literally wasn't another free pair of rooms in town, so we came home to do a full bedbug decontamination on all our stuff instead of resting? That vacation?

Q: Yeah, that one.

A: Well, first let me say that I recognize that I am a very lucky woman. I’m in a position to take a vacation, which not everyone is. And I’m lucky that I have in-laws who are willing to pay their own way to come on vacation with us just to hang out with the grandkids, without which I honestly do not know what I would have done; because even with them, two days into it I would have cracked and tried to change our plane tickets to come back home right away, but I couldn’t because I was too sick to fly. And I’m lucky to have two kids who have such vibrant good basic health that even when they develop a 3-pack-a-day cough and pour snot out like giant ambulatory faucets, it doesn’t sap their energy or slow them down in any way. And hey! The baby is clever enough that at just over 10 months, he has worked out that he can avoid having his nose wiped, which he hates, by smearing his face all over our shirts the moment he feels snot on his face!

So all in all, vacation was absolutely better than childbirth, I would say. Though it did last longer. And I might even be willing to take another vacation again someday.

Not, like, soon, though.

House todo

Jul. 29th, 2014 08:28 pm
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[personal profile] kaberett
todo )

tada )

And today it was Hello, lizard

Jul. 29th, 2014 07:41 pm
oursin: Fotherington-Tomas from the Molesworth books saying Hello clouds hello aky (fotherington-tomas)
[personal profile] oursin

Yet another day of healthful physical exercise, delicious food, sauna, hydropool, beauties of nature, etc.

Plz not 2 B expecting Deep Thortz.

Flight booked - Aug. 4th!

Jul. 29th, 2014 12:22 pm
mathemagicalschema: A blonde-haired boy asleep on an asteroid next to a flower. (Default)
[personal profile] mathemagicalschema
I'll be arriving in Seattle just after 9:00 on Monday the 4th. I have a friend to stay with for that night, and I'll be leaving for Bellingham a little after 4:00.

So, Seattle people: if you would like to meet up on Aug. 5th before 4:00 PM, please let me know and we can try to work something out! Anon comments screened if you'd rather talk privately.

(hsgfgahhhh one of these days I really will move with more than a couple days notice.)

That was quite a season-ender.

Jul. 29th, 2014 11:32 am
kass: Bunk and McNulty. (wire)
[personal profile] kass
We finished S4 of Breaking Bad last night.

Small thoughts )

In sum: this show continues to be dark as hell, and also continues to be amazing.

Reminder: Nigerian food tomorrow!

Jul. 29th, 2014 03:00 pm
doseybat: (Default)
[personal profile] doseybat
Nigerian food! Please join [personal profile] nou, [personal profile] pplfichi and myself at:

Wednesday 30 July

Abuja Connection
112-114 Anerley Road
Crystal Palace
SE19 2AN

We have a booking but it is not too late to join us.

More Hugo stuff

Jul. 29th, 2014 01:42 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
[personal profile] kaberett
Can't imagine I'm going to get any of the other categories read before the deadline, so this + Best Novel (previous post) is probably where we're at (unless I get my act together to the portfolios of fan artists).

Which does raise a point - I remain curious about my apparent intense reluctance to read anthologies/collection on ereader. I suspect it in part has to do with having it be difficult to tell in the moment how much of the particular thing you're reading there is left to go, and therefore whether to stick with it for completionism's sake or not; I suspect it also has to do with feeling simultaneously like a whole thing and like fragments, and that particular combination doing my how-do-I-approach-this decision-making process in.

The Not-A-Hugo )

Best Novella )

Best Novelette )

Best Short Story )


Jul. 29th, 2014 07:08 am
cafeshree: woman sitting on chair reading a book (Default)
[personal profile] cafeshree
my Mom would have celebrated turning 75.

My aunt arrived Sunday, staying for a few days and last we had to take her dog to the vet. Something is off with him, besides normal old age. He had to stay overnight and my aunt is all out of sorts.

I;m doing ok, good and bad days. We had to clear out my Mom's study for my sister and it wasn't hard for me, books and clothes are just books and clothes. My sister had a hard time with that. I have a harder time with things like postcards I've given her or the knickknacks that have stories attached.

(no subject)

Jul. 29th, 2014 09:50 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] opusculasedfera!
ofearthandstars: (Unstoppable)
[personal profile] ofearthandstars
After a monstrously slow day at work, I came home and went for a tiny 1.25 mile run, followed by 15 minutes of walking. During that I finished listening to The Book Thief, which was just wonderful - it's my first ever audiobook (well, since childhood), and the story-telling style of the novel just suits it so well in audio. Allan Corduner’s voice is just amazing here. I cannot recommend it enough. It is lovely and sad and yet very full.

Last night I'd prepared a meal for the crockpot (an African-style peanut stew) and refrigerated it overnight, so today I just called L. at noon and kindly asked him to plop the ceramic bowl into the crockpot, such that I only had to add a little spinach and cook a little couscous when I got home. It was a pretty good meal, and not having to cut up vegetables = priceless. Win!

I've been working on collecting a number of canning/old sauce jars of various sizes to store my bulk-bought items in the pantry. I've been having some trouble with a pantry moth infestation (double ick), and so tonight I set out to clean up the top two shelves of the pantry (which hold all the flours, sugars, grains, and legumes). I moved almost everything that I could into a tightly sealed glass jar, with the exception of a few things that are in sealable bags, and I threw a lot of crap away. I also found a few things, like that giant bag of hemp seed that I did not know existed.

I am too ashamed to show you the bottom shelf, which is full of spices and is a gorram mess. I hope to tackle that one tomorrow night.

I really need some gallon-jars to house the larger bags of flours (those are on the top right at the back, behind the oils), but the last time I went in to buy some I dropped one and it shattered everywhere, which left me too mortified to buy one.

I also cleaned out another half-cabinet that houses the dried fruits, nuts, and seeds in smaller jars - most of my nuts/seeds are in the fridge because of spoilage concerns, and that's a huge mess because they are mostly kept in the paper bags they are bought in.

Also, I hate pasta boxes with the fury of a thousand burning suns. They just *barely* fit into my cabinet standing upright, and they never, ever stay closed, even if I tape or band them. I swear half of tonight's cleaning was brushing away broken pasta shells. *grump*

(no subject)

Jul. 28th, 2014 09:20 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
[personal profile] telophase also linked to http://www.playbuzz.com/gregs/can-we-guess-who-you-are-in-only-20-questions

Answering truthfully, I got
Here is our best guess at who you are:
1. You are male.
2. You are still a teenager, but won't be one for very much longer.
3. You're in college and are already worried about finding the perfect job that will be both fulfilling and will pay well. Your future worries you more than you'd like to admit.
4. You have beautiful, silky brown hair and big eyes.
5. You know that if you'd only believe in yourself more, things would be much easier for you. Yet you still doubt your instincts more than you should, instead of trusting them every time.

So, how did we do? How many of these did we get right? Tell us in the comments!

Half of one. Almost. I used to have beautiful, silky brown hair. And small eyes.

They offered me Pixar characters, I picked Merida! They offered me food, I picked salad! A lot of my demographic never wears makeup!

ETA: Oh, I got Mungo's results! Except he has nooooooooooo trouble believing in himself. None.


Jul. 28th, 2014 08:51 pm
boxofdelights: earring (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
[personal profile] telophase pointed to this short interesting article: The experience of hearing voices is complex and varies from person to person, according to Luhrmann. The new research suggests that the voice-hearing experiences are influenced by one's particular social and cultural environment – and this may have consequences for treatment.

It's interesting to think about the culturally-mediated experience of hearing voices in Blackstone, the Canadian TV show set in a First Nations reservation. Two of the characters see and hear someone no one else does. In both cases, it's a close family member who is dead, and the experience is distressing. Neither character thinks of the experience as mental illness, though one does ask a doctor for sleeping pills to avoid seeing the dead family member in dreams.

The second season of Blackstone is streaming on Hulu now. Have any of you watched it?

well, crap, it is Monday, isn't it

Jul. 28th, 2014 09:39 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Mondays, every week, let's celebrate ourselves, to start the week right. Tell me what you're proud of. Tell me what you accomplished last week, something -- at least one thing -- that you can turn around and point at and say: I did this. Me. It was tough, but I did it, and I did it well, and I am proud of it, and it makes me feel good to see what I accomplished. Could be anything -- something you made, something you did, something you got through. Just take a minute and celebrate yourself. Either here, or in your journal, but somewhere.

(And if you feel uncomfortable doing this in public, I've set this entry to screen any anonymous comments, so if you want privacy, comment anonymously and I won't unscreen it. Also: yes, by all means, cheer each other on when you see something you want to give props to!)

(no subject)

Jul. 28th, 2014 09:06 pm
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Why yes, Comcast, I did only need you to decide that you were going to stop letting me send mail through the SMTP server for absolutely no good reason.

I hate technology.

Plumbing: dishwasher disturbance

Jul. 28th, 2014 04:44 pm
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
I think it's trying to communicate! The dishwasher(s) in [my location] have been singing little notes that are doubtless meaningful if you speak the binary language of moisture vaporators, or whatever language it is that these dishwashers speak. I don't know if they're functioning, not functioning, in between functioning... what I do know is, they're loud.

2014 07 28 23 33 23 - alunatic

Please send someone quickly to shut this thing off. At any given moment, ten engineers cluster around it, trying to figure out some way to stop the dishwasher's eerie, haunting song.
jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
[personal profile] jjhunter
I put my amaryllis out for dead on the back porch a few weeks ago with mournful ceremony. It recently sprouted three new leaves. Annuals.


Little known hazard of studying microscopy: temptation to evangelize. Have you heard of confocal microscopy? Are you ready to accept confocal microscopy into your life as your primary imaging system? Oh hey, I just happen to have a copy of the Imaging Processing Handbook on hand, want to take quick look? etc. etc.


I got a call from the department secretary the other day. Read more... )


At an institution that shall remain nameless, you cannot just walk in the front door of the T- building. Instead, the route is as follows: Read more... )
wychwood: Geoffrey is waving his hands again (S&A - Geoffrey hands)
[personal profile] wychwood
This summer is frankly astonishing. It's been hotter for longer than I think I ever remember - it's been about six weeks since I last wore my jacket, and I'm thoroughly tired of being outrageously sweaty! Weeks and weeks of it. Still, today was cooler (after a week where the office temperature was consistently over the 27C the thermometer on the wall can measure...) and it's supposed to cool down further - "only" 21C! It comes to something when the average monthly high is a refreshing change to coolness.

One thing I had noticed, though, is that I have achieved a highly effective deodorant / antiperspirant regime - I drip with sweat all the time, but I have entirely defeated the underarm patches! Of course, when I went to the supermarket to stock up on toiletries, it turned out that they've stopped manufacturing all of the products I use. Sometimes it feels like the marketers are doing it deliberately - I know [personal profile] oursin suffers from this as well, so at least it's not just me. Back to buying one of everything on the shelf it is...

On a more cheerful note, making up for the upsetting situations I keep finding myself in at work lately (I'm not even doing anything actually wrong, for once!), my management put me in for a one-off bonus payment, to reflect the amount of work I've been doing on the new system we're getting at work, so Wednesday's payslip will have an extra £500 in it. Which is both a) very nice and b) reassuring, after the bollocking I got for "practically snoring all the way through" a training session I was not only awake for but paid attention to the whole of. Only somehow I apparently convinced somewhere between two people and "everyone there" that I was asleep, which - I don't even know how to deal with that, frankly, because I was awake with my eyes open the entire time, and I don't know what more I could reasonably have done. Getting into trouble for losing my temper is upsetting, but least I understand why and some of the things I need to do about it! Oh well. Not everyone is mad at me. All I can do is keep plugging on and trying hard until it blows over.

A bit over a year ago

Jul. 28th, 2014 03:51 pm
jenett: There are not enough capital letters in the English language to let me fully express my feelings on this. (not enough)
[personal profile] jenett
... my dear friend [personal profile] elisem reported harassment, and then she wrote up an essay about the process of reporting the harassment. (I have roundup of links from then starting over here)

Unfortunately, there's another essay required. Like the first, it's been posted on multiple blogs, with those people hosting (and moderating) comments. Natalie Luhrs has an excellent roundup of discussion around the 'Net about the events as well.

Elise's essay (same basic content all these places)
* John Scalzi's blog
* Stephanie Zvan's blog
* Natalie Luhr's blog
* Catherine Lundoff's blog at Dreamwidth and LiveJournal
* Mary Robinette Kowal's blog
* Sigrid Ellis's blog

I'm not sure I'm going to manage a thorough links roundup (yay, stuff in my own life) but I'm glad to stick a link to other people's roundups as they appear.

Interlude: Hot weekend

Jul. 28th, 2014 08:29 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Space School blogging on hold because reasons )

And now, the happy stuff.

This weekend was rather warm. We spent a large portion of it in our garden, either in the paddling pool or next to it at the picnic table.

Humuhumu is enjoying the new set of paints that the bloke bought for her. The warm weather means we don't have to worry about her tendency to decorate herself as extensively as her canvases.

First, select tool.

More painting + paddling pool )

What is Urban Planning?

Jul. 28th, 2014 12:40 pm
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
I’m going to start with talking about a few common concepts relevant to planning in the US. This should help you understand the types of problems planners try to solve and some of the tools they use to solve those problems.

Planners are concerned with shaping land use and urban form. That is planners effect what is what is built were, in a variety of direct and indirect ways. Most planners work with local governments, such as cities and counties. Like most of us planners disagree on what the priorities should be. Thing planners might prioritize include sustainability, social justice, and economic growth.

In the US most planning happens at the city level. There are different types of cities, and the specifics vary from state to state. (For example here in California we have two types of cities: General Law and Charter.) Unlike in the UK, it is relatively easy for a community to incorporate and become a city.

Cities control their urban form in variety of ways, one of the most common of these is zoning. (Though Huston, TX somewhat famously does not.) A zoning code divides the city into a series of zones, and limits what can be built in each zone. Common zones are: commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural. Most cities have multiple iterations of each to these zones. For example a city might have a residential zones form R1 where only single family residential buildings are allowed, up to R4 which allows multi-story apartment buildings. In most US cities single family residential zones are some of the most restrictive, with very few uses allowed.

Here is the zoning map for Des Moines Iowa, where I did my studio project. (Warning: large PDF). If you search for “[your city] zoning map” you will probably come up with similar map. On the map each zone is represented with a different color. Related zones are mostly in the same color family. Zone maps can be complex to read, some of the zones are quite small, colors are often similar and hard to tell apart, and the keys are rarely very detailed. To get a full list of what can and can’t be build in any zone you will have to look at the zoning code. For many US cities this also online – try searching “[your city] municipal code.” Be warned that what you find will be written in legal language and may be hard to understand.

Planners also write plans. These can be broad like comprehensive plan for a whole city, or narrower such as a bike plan or a historic preservation plan. In some jurisdictions such plans are required and legally binding, but in others they are not. The plans I’ve worked with have stated general goals for the community, but have rarely gone into the technicalities of how those goals are to be accomplished.

Transportation also has huge impact on urban form. Cities can encourage or discourage different types of transit with their policies. For example building sidewalks encourages people to walk, by providing them a safe place to do so. Cities can require sidewalks be built, and they also decide who pays for them. In some places land owners are supposed to put in sidewalks on their property and other places the city pays for sidewalks. Because sidewalks are more or less a public good, and the people owning the property don’t get most benefits, sidewalks tend to be more complete and in better repair in communities with the latter rule. Other ways cities impact transportation can include, providing upkeep for infrastructure, for example repaving roads, creating bike lanes and trails, choosing to subsidize local public transit such as buses or light rail, and parking policy. Parking policy can be quite contentious

Because most planning takes place on the level of the city it can be difficult to plan on a regional scale. Cities have hard time coordinating with each other, especially to limit sprawl. Increases in density tend to be unpopular with homeowners, and limits to where new subdivisions can be build tends to be unpopular with developers and land owners who stand to profit. So not only is there a lack governmental bodies with regional authority but there is also a lack political will. Thus regional planning to prevent urban sprawl remains difficult in the US.

Planning is complex and deals with a many interconnected things that must work as a whole. The tools that planners use are include zoning, comprehensive and other types of plans, transportation, especially through funding projects, and parking policy. Looked at in isolated the types of things that planners decide might seem petty, but ultimately small changes can add up and really affect how pleasant, just, and sustainable our communities are.
oursin: Fotherington-Tomas from the Molesworth books saying Hello clouds hello aky (fotherington-tomas)
[personal profile] oursin

Even if, not that this has not been encountered before, weird WiFi problems.

But, anyway, arrived this morning and the balance is all pretty much on the positive side.

Okay, steam room temporarily out of commission but had an excellent sauna.

Wonderful walk - although it was raining when I arrived it fined up by walk-time.

Room upgrade!

Good Pilates class.

Lovely seaweed wrap and float.

Delish healthy food.

(no subject)

Jul. 28th, 2014 12:06 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise

My student loans people have agreed to stop taking payments out of my account!

Dear God, that's an extra $300 a month. I can stop going into overdraft! I can feed my credit card! \o/

Summer and conventions

Jul. 28th, 2014 07:47 pm
[personal profile] swaldman
In the next few weeks I'm going to be at the dwcon, and at Loncon3 (Worldcon). Unfortunately my time in London has ended up very much tighter than I had originally hoped, and so I probably won't be able to see most folk who aren't at Worldcon. This is sad.

In the mean time, there are quite a few people who are going to Worldcon to whom I've said "great, I'll see you there!". Except... I've mostly forgotten who they were, and it's a big event so I may not run into them, especially not when they're not in a hurry to be somewhere... does anybody with experience of big cons have any suggestions on how to arrange things? And if I've promised to see you there, please remind me here......!

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Rose Lemberg was born in Ukraine, and lived in subarctic Russia and Israel before immigrating to the US. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Strange Horizons, Apex, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Daily Science Fiction, and other venues. She edits Stone Telling with Shweta Narayan. Rose has also edited two anthologies: Here, We Cross, a collection of queer and genderfluid poetry from Stone Telling (Stone Bird Press, 2012) and The Moment of Change, an anthology of feminist speculative poetry (Aqueduct Press 2012). Rose can be found at roselemberg.net, Livejournal, and Twitter.

Her newest project, An Alphabet of Embers, will be a professional-paying anthology of “unclassifiables – lyrical, surreal, magical, experimental pieces that straddle the border between poetry and prose.” As of today, it’s within a few hundred dollars of being fully funded.

I’m happy to welcome Rose to the blog to talk about diversity and what looks like a beautiful project.


An Alphabet of Embers - Kickstarter ImageI am very grateful to Jim Hines, who invited me to write about everyday diversity in connection with my new editorial project, An Alphabet of Embers.

Fundraising for diverse anthologies has become something of a trend in SFF, with wonderful, successful projects such as Long Hidden and Kaleidoscope, and painful failures such as Spellbound/Spindles. In the best case scenarios, editors are clueful about encouraging a truly diverse pool of submitters, and choose brilliant stories to challenge and inspire readers; worst case scenarios leave behind them disappointment and bitterness. Since I am currently fundraising for a new fiction project, An Alphabet of Embers, this topic has been much on my mind.

An Alphabet of Embers does not have the word “diverse” in its subtitle. I have envisioned the project as an anthology of very short, surrealist, magical, lyrical pieces that would delight their readers with beauty and meaning. I did, however, end up talking about diversity a lot in conjunction with this project – everyday diversity, which is the topic of my blog post today.

I co-edit Stone Telling, a magazine of boundary-crossing poetry, with Shweta Narayan. When I founded Stone Telling in 2010, I did not envision the magazine as specifically a diversity venue – but I wanted personal, emotional, experimental poetry that pushed the boundaries of genre. I also knew from the get-go that I wanted diversity of both voice and theme – I wanted to work with more PoC poets, more LGBTQIA poets, and others; I wanted to encourage new poets and discover published voices unknown to me, alongside those already established. So, from the very first issue, diversity became a cornerstone of Stone Telling. Not only did we encourage, and continue to encourage, new voices, but we also showcased voices of people who’ve been in genre for a very long time and deserve much greater recognition; e.g., it baffles me why JT Stewart is not more widely known – her work is so powerful.

An Alphabet of Embers is my first prose project. While it is not a diversity-themed anthology, I strongly feel that every project of mine must be diverse (c.f. not only Stone Telling, but The Moment of Change and Here, We Cross), showcasing a range of marginalized as well as non-marginalized voices. While I strongly believe in the power of special issues, I feel that everyday diversity is extremely important.

Here are some thoughts of how to cultivate everyday diversity:

Trust. The more marginalized an author is, the harder this trust is to come by. Even the most well-meaning editors don’t always get your marginalizations; every diverse author I talked to has a horror story of a personal rejection that perpetuated oppressions, of a lack of understanding of harmful clichés, of dismissiveness.

Earning your readers’ and submitters’ trust doesn’t mean that you don’t fuck up. It’s impossible to never fuck up, or at least, I don’t think it is a worthwhile aspiration. It’s the reaction to being called out that matters. My advice to editors is this: don’t get defensive, don’t try to explain/justify what you did. Instead – listen. Consider. Go for some empathy. Talk to others – especially people from demographics different from you. Educate yourself about issues that matter to people different from yourself.

Trust is built through your work – your work with submitters, whether you accept or reject them, and the finished products you put out into the world. Your finished products will speak to your principles and your editorial aesthetic. Your body of work – as an editor, writer, speaker – keeps building up. Trust is organic and evolving.

Accept that diversity is not a zero-sum game. This applies to readers, writers, and editors alike. We benefit from a greater variety of voices, writing, publications, venues – and this growth in the field challenges us as editors and writers to do better. (I am hoping to write more about this topic soon).

Consider issues of power. Who benefits from your editorial work? Whose voices are you showcasing? Whose voices are missing from your work? What are you missing, as a reader as well as an editor? Do you stick to comfortable and/or hegemonic narratives, or are you willing to challenge yourself?

Make an effort to include diversity of voice and theme. Diversity of voice is about including authors from different demographics – authors of color and white authors, authors who identify as LGBTQIA and those who do not, neuroatypical and neurotypical authors, etc. Diversity of theme is about showcasing characters who belong to different demographics, as well as different cultural settings. When we limit ourselves to diversity of theme alone, we may get things like all-man panels on feminism in genre. When we limit ourselves to diversity of voice alone, we run the risk of making marginalized people write only about non-marginalized perspectives; e.g. a queer author would make it into a ToC, but only if they write about straight people. A mix between theme and voice also helps to avoid tokenization.

I have written two more entries on this topic:

The submission guidelines for An Alphabet of Embers are here. We have some fabulous rewards, like custom essays and poetry, an additional chapbook of science poetry featuring forgotten figures of science and technology, custom treasure boxes, songs, and more; and we will soon unveil stretch goals with letterpress-printed broadsides, illustrations, a song by the Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours, and  a joke issue of Stone Telling! If you’re looking for beauty and wonder, An Alphabet of Embers is for you.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.


Jul. 28th, 2014 04:38 pm
marina: Spider Jerusalem of Transmet and his mutant cat are outraged (:O!!!)
[personal profile] marina
GUYS, I'M GOING TO LONDON! Who wants to meet up?

I will be there September 26th to October 1st (I leave early in the morning on Oct 2nd). Will be staying with [personal profile] cesy, south of the river.


(Especially if you want to hang out on weekdays since [personal profile] cesy will be away and I would love someone to do stuff with/have dinner with/etc.)

Also, if you are NOT in London please be aware that I will also be in Germany and France in September-October. The schedule for that isn't totally figured out yet, and I'll post when it is, but meanwhile - let me know if either of those places is better for you for a meetup (if you haven't let me know already).

Monday linkspam

Jul. 28th, 2014 07:37 am
jae: (Default)
[personal profile] jae
English links:

Three National Geographic photographers explore the face of hunger in three very different parts of the United States.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the consequences of the Malaysian Airlines plane crash for the surrounding Ukrainian villages.

Linguist Lauren Squires explains why your professional-linguist friend wasn't as amused by Weird Al Yankovic's song "Word Crimes" as you were in a guest post on Language Log, and Ryan Bromsgrove lays out the five problems he has with the song for a non-linguist audience.

From the (temporarily fully open!) New Yorker archives: Louis Menand on the different theories on what universities are for.

The "This is Not Jewish" tumblr blog on how to criticize Israel without being anti-semitic.

Writer M. Molly Backes explores the problems with trying to turn real human lives into a conventional narrative complete with tropes.

Ira Glass, host of the U.S. radio show "This American Life," reports on his working process for Lifehacker.

Science fiction writer/boingboing editor Cory Doctorow has a column on electoral reform in The Guardian.

Researcher Katherine Morrissey is working on a fandom-related topic for her Ph.D. dissertation, and is requesting input from fandom on some of the open questions she still has. You can find her and her questions, among other places, right here at dreamwidth.

German links:

My friend [dreamwidth.org profile] zombieallomorph is a German national currently living and teaching in Jordan. This is his perspective on the war in Israel and Gaza (with a follow-up in English).

Dutch links:

My first reaction to Arnon Grunberg's piece about the new Dutch nationalism, social media, and so-called "collective hysteria" in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash is that I'm astonished that a Dutchie who is currently living in the U.S. could possibly think that the Dutch are being "hysterical" right now. (!) But he does have some good points in there, too, so.

De stad Leiden krijgt in 2015 een taalmuseum! :D

Vanaf december 2015 worden er geen roamingkosten meer gerekend voor mobiele telefoons binnen de Europese Unie. Wat consequenties heeft voor de telefoonfabrikant.


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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