owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
([personal profile] owlectomy May. 22nd, 2015 01:30 pm)
I can never decide whether I'm better off for having learned about things like AI risk and Roko's Basilisk.

At least it's a more entertaining thing to worry about when my brain hits the Let's Worry About The Nearest Available Thing track.

Also I will eventually write my postapocalyptic-ish novel about the half-wild girl gang up against the weird/capricious AI that lives in the postorbital satellites and has weird plans for humanity, so there's that.
Someone wrote a really good piece for a Conservative Christian forum explaining why disabled people find the election result threatening and appealing for the readers to look at the situation from our viewpoint and with Christian understanding. The replies were appalling, some of the worst self-righteous disablism I've ever seen (one of the reasons I was really depressed early in the week). Several disability activitists, including me, replied to some of the worst of them. After several exchanges one of the worst of them has just told me "The image of God that man was created in has been distorted by the evil one since the Fall and that is why people have disabilities. The gospel is explicit about that."

snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
([personal profile] snarp May. 22nd, 2015 11:28 am)
Dad: We're going to a thing for [name], they're giving him an award.

Me: What kind of an award?

Dad: It's a Jewish thing, he's... he's Jew of the Year.

Mom: No.

Dad: He is! It's a Jewish thing, a Jewish organization's giving him an award.

Me: The award is probably not "Jew of the Year."

Mom: It's not.

Dad: Yes, it is! It's a Jewish thing, it'll be full of Jews, and they'll all be like oy gevalt, oy gevalt -

Me: This is exactly why you've never won Jew of the Year.
snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
([personal profile] snarp May. 22nd, 2015 08:10 am)
This terrible memefate

*I close Tumblr and am confronted with the Gdocs tab containing the first chapter of my paranormal romance novel Taken By Two Draculas*
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
([personal profile] yhlee May. 22nd, 2015 07:04 am)
If anyone has a moment to take a look and vote, I would appreciate it. Thanks to those who have weighed in--my sister came up with a few more options based on y'all's comments!

Poll #16711 another cover poll--moar options!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 18

Which cover???

View Answers

6 (33.3%)

6 (33.3%)

1 (5.6%)

4 (22.2%)

2 (11.1%)

2 (11.1%)

something else that I will explain in comments
3 (16.7%)

tocky the ticky taffee
3 (16.7%)

sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
([personal profile] sholio May. 21st, 2015 11:54 pm)
I really should not be this glad that my Saturday evening plans fell through, but this has been an exhausting week -- what with emotionally draining houseguests (my in-laws), frantically cleaning the house top-to-bottom in advance of said houseguests, trying to get the garden in, realizing last-minute that I haven't done any of this year's promotional materials for my comics class and scrambling to get all of that done before running a comics workshop on Wednesday night. And I have something scheduled tomorrow night (selling my stuff at an intermission show for a geek-themed play on campus), plus wanting to buy my bedding plants and finish getting the garden in tomorrow, so they can benefit from all this lovely, unseasonably warm sunshine we've been having ... let's just say I was NOT ready for a fun night out on Saturday. My feelings right now are considerably more oriented towards collapsing at home for a couple of days that I don't have to go anywhere.

It would have been difficult to gracefully get out of the Saturday thing if my only excuse is "I've hit my introvert social maximum for the week" -- it's a going-away party for a friend. However, she changed it last-minute from something I actually wanted to do (dinner at a nice Greek restaurant in town, followed by a bar crawl, which I was already planning to quietly beg off from), to something I really don't want to do AND have a decent excuse for not doing (a concert with a band I don't care about, that has $40 tickets). She doesn't mind me not coming and we made plans to have lunch next week instead.

Collapsing at home it is, then!

Also, once I get the garden in, my (once) frightfully intimidating May to-do list will be nearly 100% done. For the rest of the month, the only thing I really HAVE to do is to get my Kismet page buffer finished through early August (since I will be either traveling or too busy to work on it for most of June and July). And yeah, that's gonna be quite a bit of work, but it's fun work, and otherwise I can play a bit, and do art, and maybe write some fic. And figure out what my next big fiction project is going to be.
70 years after the war ended, and you still learn new details that choke you up. Last night I went to a fascinating presentation/panel by two authors, an actress and a moderator about a peculiar detail from the Nuremberg Trials from 1945 - 1948, the Zeugenhaus (literally "house of witnesses"). Seems the Allies, or more specifically the Americans, put witnesses for the trials, both witnesses who had been victims and witnesses who had been active perpetrators (but for some reason or the other weren't among the accused themselves) in the same house. Where they sat at the same table each morning and evening. So you had people who had endured the concentration camps, like Josef Ackermann (a journalist who survived Dachau, Buchenwald and Dora-Mittelbau), having to have dinner with not just Göring's private secretary, Gisela Sonnenfelder (there to testify about her bosses art looting mainly) but the founder and first director of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels.

I mean.

It was a riveting presentation, and afterwards of course someone asked our main author, Christiane Kohl, who wrote about this (her book has already been made into a tv movie which I haven't seen yet), why the hell the first director of the Gestapo wasn't among the prisoners instead of being a wined and dined witness. ("Wined and dined" isn't an exaggaration; as opposed to the rest of the country, where the food situation was what you'd expect it to be in the wake of total destruction, both the witnesses and prisoners in Nuremberg had three to four full meals a day.) She said it was mainly because in 1945, many of the Third Reich documents hadn't been processed or even found - the protocol of the Wannsee Conference, for example, didn't turn up until 1947 -, so the prosecution had to rely on affidavits and living witnesses, and Diels was one of the few Nazi insiders willing to testify for the prosecution - he was referred to as an 1a witness - and swear to the fact that knowledge about the Holocaust hadn't been limited to a very few. Still: it's incredibly galling to imagine that this man due to his testimony not only got away scot free but was working in the Allied administration from 1948 onwards. Afterwards, he was thoroughly enjoying his life, getting a pension, living on an estate, and dying of all the things in a hunting incident. (He had an unsecured gun in the back of his car, the dog jumped on the gun, and that was that.) Actually, he was even enjoying his life during the Nuremberg trials; being good looking, he had many affairs, including with the landlady of the "Zeugenhaus", who was an Hungarian countess put in charge by the Americans because they thought "aristocrats have natural authority". God help us.

No wonder that Josef Ackermann wrote that "I chocked" when seeing this man on the other side of the table. Christiane Kohl says she was first alerted to this bizarre situation when coming across the guest book (yes, there was a guest book) of this house, where the victim witnesses, if they signed, signed solely their names, while the perpetrator witnesses signed with either long sentimental or long self pitying eloges on the note of "in a time when the whole world is against you, it's great that there is one place where you are treated with kindness and dignity". I suppose pragmatically speaking putting them in the same house was probably because with 98% of Nuremberg destroyed in 1945, there weren't that many houses where you could stash a bunch of people, but still. Surely there could have been a different solution that would have spared the victims having to house with Gestapo bosses? At any rate, you wouldn't dare to make something like this up. Reality beats fiction in sheer bizarreness every time.
cofax7: Aeryn in gold (FS - Aeryn Gold -- Saava)
([personal profile] cofax7 May. 21st, 2015 09:04 pm)
So I love living in the future. On Tuesday I learned that Naomi Novik's new book was out, and I hopped online and told my local library they should order it. This morning, I got an email that they had, and it was in, and I downloaded it, and I'm 30% through now. Yay! Also, it's very good.


Getting old is kind of a drag, but at least there is lots of guidance for dealing with back pain. (Not all of these will work for everyone, etc etc.)

Nom, I shall have to make this at some point.

I did not expect to find in this essay about Watership Down such a clear statement of the thesis of Carpetbaggers: There is ... more to being in a position of authority than getting to boss people around; might does not make right; "leadership" is our society's debased shadow of something more than a mere gimmick to make other people do what you want; that neither having all the answers nor having it all together are the requirement for Kingship nor its identifying characteristic; that the King and his energy are not optional, but not necessarily tyrannical; that for all that some are born with talents and inclinations in that direction, the craft of Kingship is always something learned.

... although, reading on, I can see that there is more I could have done there. Ah, well. Live and learn.

Noted for this weekend: I'm going to taste pinots with my oldest friend in the world. Yay!

The #hometovote hashtag on Twitter is really inspiring. If you don't know what that is: it's Irish expatriates traveling home to vote in the referendum on marriage equality. Rock on.

Planet Money posted a guide to determining whether your job will be automated. My job doesn't even show up on the list, although several similar jobs seem safely un-automatable.


I did go see Mad Max: Fury Road the other day, and although my ears are still ringing, it was hella fun.


Job situation: not resolved, but signs are looking better.


I missed reading Wednesday, but:

Just Finished: English Creek by Ivan Doig. So very much a book about a specific place and time. Suffers a bit in comparison with Molly Gloss, although they are doing different things. But so very vivid and well-written and small-towny.

Currently reading: Uprooted by Naomi Novik, as noted above. Fun!

Up next: Maybe Hugh Howey's Silo, or some Flaubert for book club.

And now back to my book, as my laptop battery is dying...
yhlee: kitty with paw outstretched (kitty paw (evil_little_dog))
([personal profile] yhlee May. 21st, 2015 09:44 pm)
So there is this thing that my cat does where she seems all friendly and licks my fingers and then she starts to nip (she's never broken skin, and just moving her away firmly fixes the immediate problem). I don't know how to interpret this! Is she happy? Unhappy? Trying to play? Wants more attention? Less attention? Help? The thing is she seems to want to pursue those fingers even when I remove them from the bitey bits, but I, uh, object to being nipped.

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

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

3. I have new audiobooks after listening my way through Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London and should go outside with my handy dandy bluetooth wireless headphones and work on constructing my garden beds.
calissa: Photo of Swarovski crystal & gold figurine of inkpot and quill sitting on a page that says 'create every day' (Writing)
([personal profile] calissa May. 22nd, 2015 08:00 am)

20150413 Photo shoot HDR

I had an encounter with writer’s block this week. I’ve been working on a post about fanfic that’s just not coming together. Over at Strange Horizons a couple of weeks ago, Renay of Ladybusiness shared a bit about her first fandom and her relationship to fanfic. I’d already been thinking about my own relationship to fandom and fanfic, so I thought it might be a good opportunity to share some of those thoughts. However, the more I tried to write the post the more I struggled. I just couldn’t figure out whether my post was adding to a conversation and allowing my readers to get to know me better or whether it was navel-gazing and out of step with the tone of the blog. The closer the deadline got, the harder I tried and the more frustrated I felt.

So I decided to step away and give myself a break. This is the first time I’ve experienced writer’s block in relation to the blog, but it has certainly happened with my fiction before. When it does, taking a break is something I find helpful. Sometimes I work on something else and sometimes I step away from writing altogether. Either way, it gives my subconscious a chance to chew over the problem. It always comes up with an answer. Perhaps in this case it will clarify what I’m trying to say or point out the post not something I need to write after all.

While my subconscious stews, I’m going to make myself a big pot of tea and dive back into my current book (The Art of Effective Dreaming by Gillian Polack). I’d also love to hear from you.

What do you do when writer’s block hits?

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

muccamukk: Rose and Eight with a heart pattern. Text: Rose. Doctor. (DW: Eight/Rose)
([personal profile] muccamukk May. 21st, 2015 02:43 pm)
Paladin of Souls (Chalion #2) by Lois McMaster Bujold, narrated by Kate Reading
For some reason last time I read this, I not only didn't review it but only gave it 4/5 stars. I also remember almost nothing about it, so it's possible I had the flu or something. Clearly my judgement was impaired.

In any case, this is a fantastic book, partly for the reasons I loved the first one, the thought to world building, the relationship with the gods, and a middle-ages secondary world that actually feels like the middle ages. But mostly it's about the emotional journey of the characters. You root for these people like no others because they're so gloriously imperfect, but still trying.

I love Ista and her path to redemption. The book doesn't shy away from her having done something wrong, even under extreme circumstances, but it's also all about second chances, even for people who don't want them. And, hey, it's about a middle-aged mother and widow who goes off to get away from it all and ends up saving the world. Which is pretty great and not something you see that often, especially in high fantasy.

The reader of the audio version is very good, incidentally. Now I'm off to listen to the third one.

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
On the whole, I loved this book. It's about a tiny bespectacled secret agent and her hulking Viking PA trying to solve mysteries while negotiating local politics, international politics, religion, family loyalties and a long history of colonialism. Also the history of history. Plus the fought sea monsters, which was great.

The characters were smart, interesting, conflicted and felt very true to life. I loved the author's way of describing people in a few often humorous lines so you got a real sense of them. The book had a great sense of place as well, with the partially and miraculously destroyed city, and its possibilities of magic.

The tech level was interesting, probably late-19th century, but along side a ferociously repressed magic system, and it all fit together neatly. The author obviously put a lot of work into getting the consequences of the changes and overlaps to work, which I appreciate. It's not a world of stasis.

I will say that our token bisexual character was somewhat heavily drawn. Half the time it felt like he was queer because it was symbolic (he's divided between two things, GET IT!?) And I'm kind of over tragic queers who are picked on by their religion. I don't need them in my secondary world fantasy.

Otherwise, excellent book, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

I'm up through "The Dancing Men" in Sherlock Holmes. Still the best adaptations.

Listened to a bunch of Eight and Lucie adventures since I last mentioned them.
"The Cannabalists" by Jonathan Morris: Fairly entertaining if you like goofy robots. The evil robots were possibly too mean to make enjoyable listening.
"The Eight Truths"/"The Worldwide Web" by Eddie Robson (who is letting me down here!): like with having women involuntarily morphed into monsters, I feel like there should be limits on the number of episodes in which the main companion is brainwashed for the majority. Though poking fun at Scientology is fun I guess, and it was nice to hear the Headhunter again. Plus we're rid of the series' arc plot which was annoying and pointless.
"Death in Blackpool" by Alan Barnes: This is a really good episode, and very well acted, and drives the plot of the rest of the series, which is interesting and gets into the Dark Eyes storylines later. It is however premised on the Doctor's very questionable actions a couple series back, and that bit always seemed a bit like plotites. However, mostly I really like this one.
"An Earthly Child" by Marc Platt: Poor Susan. She always gets in terrible predicaments in the spin offs. Here she is many years on, widowed, with a teenaged son who doesn't know he's half alien (played by PMG's own son), and stuck on an Earth utterly ruined by the Dalek invasion she helped defeat. This is somewhat a story of how that gets better, through her own and the Doctor's efforts, and it's lovely to see her and Eight interacting, but still very sad.
"Situation Vacant" by Eddie Robson (back to usual standards, yay!): Total comedy gold. The Doctor having (apparently) put out an ad for a companion does interviews, fights giant robots, and gets into all kinds of trouble. We meet Tamsin Drew, who I like a lot. The plot moves forward.
"Nevermore" by Alan Barnes: I must remember to skip this on relistens in the future. More or less entirely without redeeming features. They're trying to have fun with Edgar Alan Poe and being creepy, and mostly failing really really badly. I did like the comedy bit with the Doctor trapped in the Pit and the Pendulum situation, but otherwise, MEH.
"The Book of Kells" by Barnaby Edwards: Fun historical with Tamsin getting to actually do stuff, and the plot moving along. I especially liked the reveal at the end.
muccamukk: Text: "Well I've got a banana. And at a pinch you could put up some shelves." (DW: Bananas)
([personal profile] muccamukk May. 21st, 2015 02:10 pm)
Jim Hines was doing this on his blog, and it seemed like a fun idea to alternately take up and ignore as I remember. The idea would be to post something from the same day at least a few years back in your blog archive. As a showcase of abandoned projects, works in progress and possibly wrong opinions. With or with out commentary.

Poll #16710 Throwback Thursdays
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 13

Are you generally interested in reading TT posts?

View Answers

8 (61.5%)

Not really
2 (15.4%)

I don't have an opinion but like voting in polls
3 (23.1%)

Random Supernatural Stuff
21 May 2006 [or partway through the first of two inglorious years in which I was hopelessly in love with Supernatural.]

Three Canon/Fanon Questions:
  1. How many times has Sam corrected someone for calling him Sammy? I've got three: Dean in "Pilot," Dean again in "Bloody Marry," and Jenkins in "The Benders."
  2. Other than not really wanting chips and pop for breakfast in "Pilot," has Sam ever commented on anyone's eating habits? Or even food in general?
  3. Has Sam ever given the impression that he thinks the Impala and/or Dean's obsession with said is a bit pathetic/strange?
I could probably look these up on my own, but am feeling totally lazy just now -g-

I've given up reading "Devil's Trap" sequels. They're all starting to blur together in my mind. I'm going to be a away from the 'Net between 1 June and 18 August anyway, so I think I'll just wait for the show. Does anyone know the actual date season two airs? I should know this, probably.

The current crossover infecting my brain is with the Canadian show Slings and Arrows, wherein Paul Gross plays Geoffrey, the artistic director of a Shakespeare festival, who is frequently haunted by the ghost of Oliver, his mentor/enemy and the festival's previous artistic director (whose actual skull is used as a prop for productions of Hamlet). I have this notion that Geoffrey somehow gets sacked, and Oliver's ghost starts raising hell in the theatre in order to force his reinstatement (which is not without precedent). Of course the Boys come up to try and exorcise it or whatever, and then things get complicated -g-

I no longer have SPN icons, but I think this one is from the same era.
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
([personal profile] yhlee May. 21st, 2015 01:53 pm)
Choose between two covers?

Poll #16708 Cover Design!
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 27

Which cover design???

View Answers

9 (33.3%)

17 (63.0%)

something else I will specify in comments
2 (7.4%)

tacky ticky techie
5 (18.5%)

This is for an ebook collection of the flash fairy tales, The Fox's Tower & Other Tales. I can't decide which of these two cover designs works better. Votes?

(And OMG, I still cannot get over what a fantastic job the cover illustrator, Mariya Olshevska, did. Worth every penny.)
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
([personal profile] oursin May. 21st, 2015 01:19 pm)

What I read

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

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

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

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

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

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

On the go

Still only part-way through The Door into Sunset.

Up next

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

I have pretty strong opinions about how these axes should be labelled.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin May. 21st, 2015 09:49 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] lotesse and [personal profile] nilchance!
...I've started to rewatch the show from the beginning. Which means the occasional rewatch thought in written form.

I had forgotten some details, such as the fact we don't meet Marcus Bell until episode 2, whereas in the pilot Gregson's Faithful Lieutenant with identical initial attitude towards Holmes is another character. I suppose given the time that passes between pilot making and series proper on American tv, the actor wasn't available anymore or was this more a case like the B5 pilot where the network objected to several actors? Anyway. One can't imagine the show without Bell, so I'm glad, whatever happened.

Something else I had forgotten: that the pilot establishes Joan's parents only just got together again after her father had had an affair. No wonder that in season 3 Mary Watson comes to a spoilery conclusion )

The first few episodes establish quite a lot about these versions of Holmes and Watson that holds up well three seasons later, which isn't always the case in shows with an evolving canon. Even something which I thought was one of the few things where Elementary contradicts itself later: does their Sherlock Holmes have friends pre-Watson, or doesn't he? Because actually it's Joan who comes to the conclusion he doesn't in episode 2, and that Gregson is the closest thing to a friend in his life right then. He doesn't refute her assumption, but neither does he confirm it. (They're still very early in their relationship, after all, when he regards her presence in his life as a paternally ordered intrusion.) When Alistair is introduced in episode 6 and during his second, honest conversation with Joan refers to himself and Sherlock as friends, she automatically says "Sherlock doesn't have friends". What Alistair says in reply basically, I think points to the difference betweeen pre-Watson and Watson era friends for this Sherlock Holmes.

Alistair says you can't expect Sherlock to relate to you and behave like a normal person does. Basically that you have to allow Sherlock to set the parameters for the relationship. And if you think about it, not just in Alistair's case but with all the pre-Watson friends we meet through the course of the series, this is certainly what he does. What's so new about Joan Watson is that she doesn't accept this, and does her own parameter-settings. And out of the negotiations between the two grows the Holmes & Watson relationship. (It's one of the things he learns from her that also transfers, not without complications and the occasional fallback, to the other new friendships he makes, as with Bell and Alfredo.

Something else that struck me as I rewatched those early episodes: Joan at the start of the show shares something with Joan mid s3 when spoilery things happen ) Because Sherlock's damage is so obvious, it's sometimes easy to overlook Joan starts the show damaged as well, and I think one reason why they work so well together is that they both at this point need someone to challenge them out of what they think their lives should be like.

You can tell Joan is interested in and intrigued by the detecting from the pilot onwards (and Sherlock does notice it). She's a problem solver by nature. What the three jobs she's chosen during the course of her life - surgeon, sober companion, detective - have in common is this, in connection with helping people, but they also allow her (usually) to keep her emotional distance from the people she helps. She's empathic, but up to a point. This prevents her from getting obsessive the way Sherlock occasionally does.

Elementary has been pretty consistent in having their Sherlock Holmes do the usual abrasive genius thing, but also have him show a particular distaste/deep-seated anger against villains who exploit the weak and powerless from the pilot onwards. (When he pulls that car stunt in the pilot, it's because he has just figured out something spoilery ) Which is important when it comes the careful growth of the Holmes and Watson friendship, and the "why does Joan Watson not quit early on before they become friends?" question. He does have a code of ethics when she meets him. There is a lot he learns from her, but not this basic drive for justice.


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