cofax7: Three women: Leia, Starbuck, Zoe (Three Women -- Body)
([personal profile] cofax7 Oct. 24th, 2014 11:12 pm)
What it is, is obvious. If you pay attention to various casting decisions...

They weren't going to find a body )

Yeah, so I don't read the comics, and I don't really know the character, but c'mon, you know I had to tell that story.
rilina: (Default)
([personal profile] rilina Oct. 24th, 2014 08:16 pm)
1. Dinner tonight (and no doubt, on several future nights) was lentil soup with sausage, chard, and garlic. This recipe is great in several ways: the ingredients are relatively inexpensive, the prep and cooking are straightforward, and it produces six hearty servings. I don't always find a bowl of soup satisfying on its own for a meal, and often want some bread or salad on the side, but this was plenty filling.

2. Went for a 4.27 mile run after work. It's interesting how running around the neighborhood has changed how I perceive distances. For example, I always think of my preferred grocery store as being a car ride away, but one of my regular routes takes me about 80% of the way there before I reach my usual turnaround point. So I could totally run/walk there if I wanted to, even though I don't usually think of that as a walkable distance for regular errands.

3. Currently reading Clariel by Garth Nix. I don't love it so far, nor do I expect the second half to change my mind, but it's still good to revisit that familiar world.

4. The new raincoat is pretty great. Also, on sale right now if any of you are in the market for such a thing.

bookchan: endless sky (Default)
([personal profile] bookchan Oct. 24th, 2014 07:14 pm)
Since I was sick a couple of weeks ago I really haven't been out in the evenings running or walking on the beach. I finally went out again today and it was gorgeous! There's a storm rolling in and that just really added another great dimension to it. I left it late so I only got in a short walk, but I'm really going to have to get back in the habit of going every night. It's definitely worth the time.
yhlee: (AtS no angel (credit: <user name="helloi)
([personal profile] yhlee Oct. 24th, 2014 05:36 pm)
Unpopular Opinions
(or possibly opinions that are actually popular, but no one informed me because I live under a rock, and also this parenthetical statement is too long for its own good)

I've been sick half this week and my concentration is shot, so why not?

1. Story vs. writing. I think there is a useful distinction to be made between story and writing; between the essence of the tale, and the language it is clothed in. I came to this opinion partly because of Joe. Joe is much better at story than I am, in the sense that he comes up with plot mechanisms that I find interesting. (I've mostly seen this in action in an RPG context.) I sort of cobble my stories together. I have a hell of a lot more practice with the language-clothing end of things. (It's as well it's just one of us with this specialty, because this way Joe earns money with physics, and we all eat.)

This is one of the reasons why, although I can tell the difference between good and bad prose (or what I consider good and bad prose, anyway), bad prose doesn't automatically eject me from a story. If a particular piece of fanfic hits my trope kink buttons? I will put up with all sorts of bad prose. If you're writing giant robots and smashy battles and your female characters don't suck? I will put up with your bad prose. Feed me a story I like--hell, not even a story but a bunch of happy trope kink buttons mashed up together--and I'll keep reading.

That being said, when I was reading slush [1], I would, in fact, bounce stories for bad prose. If I'm recommending something to the editor upstairs, I want the story to be good at both.

[1] I am no longer a slush reader, although I miss it and wouldn't mind doing it again someday.

2. I'm still bitter that real-time strategy completely killed turn-based strategy for the PC. But that may just be because I want to play M.A.X. for the rest of my life. And hey, there's Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, even if I expect to cause the planet to die horribly. I've played Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, but not any of the "regular" Civilization games. And even when I played SMAC, I would do it on one of the easier settings. But that's okay because SMC:BE is now on my hard drive, mwahahahaha.

3. I like Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations." It's manipulative! Tear-jerking! Sexist in that old-timey way, with the helplessness of the young girl! God knows, I highly doubt Godwin would have described a boy of equivalent age with such doelike innocence and tear-jerkitude, or possibly even used the word "boy" at all. And yet every time I read that damn story, I get to that one line and I cry.

You don't have to tell me all the things that are terrible about the story! I agree with you! I found this essay by Paul Kincaid on the story and his follow-up essay to be very illuminating. And yet, I like the story, in that way that I frequently like things that are not objectively good.

God knows, I cannot call it an unsuccessful story either. I knew the entire plot of the story, and its title, and its author, at least five years before I was able to track it down, from reading sf literary criticism essays that I scraped out of my high school library. (Yes, there were some.) I can mention the story to Joe and he will know what I am talking about. I bet I could start a flamewar about it. (Please not here, or anyway, not while I'm still kind of sick.) I am personally indifferent to the idea of an sf literary canon because I am too lazy to read things for homework because, sorry, I dreamt last week that I had to write an exam for IBH World Literature and I am so done with taking lit courses anymore. But is it a story that I would expect to find litcrit discussion of, skiffily, somewhere? Sure.

4. While I'm at it, I enjoyed slush reading.

I may just not have done it long enough to become completely jaded and cynical about it, though.

5. It is okay to spend just two hours writing your 1,000-word Yuletide story (plus a few minutes for tweaks). I've done that. As far as I can tell, no one has ever been able to tell the difference between the fast stories and the ones I slave over forever while gnawing my fingernails ragged (or I would, if I still chewed my nails). In fact, this is true of more than fanfic. Stories are weird. Some of them take more effort than others, and I've never ever been convinced that the reader on the other end can reliably tell the difference without external evidence. If only effort were correlated with quality--but it isn't. Not usefully, in my experience.

6. So I didn't actually think Meyer's Twilight was a good book (I read it because a friend sent it to me as a joke, and in fact it's pretty amiable airplane reading, which is what I used it for). I mock the sparklepires. Rather a lot, if you must know. (Not that a Yoon would mock anything, least of all a Yoon.) But it irritates me tremendously when people diss the people who like Twilight and talk about how people buy bad books and how other books deserve to be bestsellers and cry me a river. People read the books they want to read, people enjoy the books they enjoy, I may think Twilight is kind of terrible but I will defend to the death your right to think it is awesome, or to enjoy it despite thinking it's kind of terrible, or anything in between. This applies generally to romance (for me); romance is not my genre, I will mock individual romance novels (and I don't expect to stop), but we all have different tastes and I do not find romance novels inherently more mockworthy than giant robot novels (Battletech tie-ins) or grimdark (Warhammer 40k tie-ins, Paul Kearney's Monarchies of God) or over-the-top mind-bond space opera (Margaret Weis's Star of the Guardians), all of which are things I've read. I am sure this applies generally all over the place. I am long past the point where I care much about literary merit anymore. De gustibus, cheers.
dira: Allison Argent, smiling delightedly (Allison - Smile)
([personal profile] dira Oct. 24th, 2014 04:58 pm)
Dear Yulewriter!

Hi there! I am DELIGHTED that you love one of these things I love, and please by all means remember optional details are optional and write what makes you happy!

Some things I like, not necessarily all in the same story:
-Hurt/comfort, heavy on the comfort
-Porn (where appropriate & illustrative of character/relationship, NOT REQUIRED AT ALL!)
-Kink & kink negotiation (as above, NOT REQUIRED PLEASE DON'T BE ALARMED IF IT'S NOT YOUR THING!)
-Polyamory & poly negotiation
-Cuddles, blankets, etc.
-Family feels
-Characters being smart and perceptive

Tropes I love, if you see a way to fit them into the fandom/characters in the question: kidfic, deaged characters, amnesia, woke up married, pretend relationship, marriage of convenience/arranged marriage, BDSM AU. (Uh, looking at my requests, I really don't know how some of these would work, but, you know, if you have a brilliant/irresistible idea, run with it! :D)

If you need other tips on things I enjoy, feel free to hit up [personal profile] iulia (iuliamentis on twitter and tumblr) for advice; she knows what I like and is scarily good at keeping secrets from me.

My requests: Political Animals, The Goblin Emperor, The Martian, The Secret Garden, What's Your Number? RPF, Oxford Time Travel )

Whatever you're writing, thank you for it! I am excited to read what you come up with, and I'm delighted to know that you love something I love. Happy Yuletiding!
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
([personal profile] yhlee Oct. 24th, 2014 04:50 pm)
- recent reading
Kit Reed. Mastering Fiction Writing. This is an excellent book, process-oriented and largely aimed toward the beginner. Parts of it I disagree with violently, mainly because Reed is highly character-oriented and I am highly...not; when she talks about the necessity of getting into characters' skins, I am apt to stare blankly at the page and go, I don't do that. Or at least I usually don't; there are characters whose heads I get into, and then there are all the other characters, and I can tell you that the second category is far larger than the first. When I wrote "Ghostweight" I didn't spend a moment in Lisse's skin. Maybe it shows as a kind of heartlessness; I don't know; that's something for the reader to judge.

Nevertheless, this is a very good writing how-to book, very pragmatic. As a curiosity, I note also that Reed's prose is hell and away better than Damon Knight's, but that's something I knew already from reading examples of their short science fiction. Nevertheless, the quality of prose in a writing how-to book is not an absolute indicator of its usefulness, depending on what, indeed, it is you're looking for help with. I would rather have my throat slit than have to read a novel by Larry Brooks if the prose in his novels is anything like the prose in Story Physics and Story Engineering, strident, gallopingly tin-eared, but on the other hand, I have found those books far more helpful than I ever found John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, no matter how much I admire Grendel.

This book packs a lot into what is under 150 pages. Again, it's aimed mostly toward the novice writer, but it's very good. Recommended.

Breakdown of Reed's chapter topics and my assessments of them: Read more... )

Meanwhile, I have played 40 min. of Civilization: Beyond Earth on the easiest setting and am having fun blundering around the map exploring! I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm sure I will die horrible some turns down the line, but this weekend maybe I can have Joe explain the game to me. :D I'm already enraptured! One...more...turn...
rhivolution: David Tennant does the Thinker (Default)
([personal profile] rhivolution Oct. 24th, 2014 10:31 pm)
This is a placeholder post of goodness.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Oct. 24th, 2014 05:13 pm)

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.

sholio: Colorful abstract tree art with "friendshipper" text on it (Default)
([personal profile] sholio Oct. 24th, 2014 10:13 am)
Is there a generally agreed-upon spelling for Iceberg's name? I notice AO3 has him "Iceburg" -- is that how it's normally romanized?

Not that I need to know for ... reasons or anything.

(We finished Water 7/Enies Lobby last night, up through episode 324, and HOLY MOLY. *____* Also, I really want to know why there is basically no fic on AO3 for Iceberg and Franky. .... well, okay, I know why, because Iceberg is a relatively minor character from a story arc in the mid-2000s, but I WANT IT ANYWAY. Most of the One Piece fic is hiding over on, isn't it?)
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
([personal profile] staranise Oct. 23rd, 2014 10:16 pm)
Wagner's Das Rheingold is playing at the opera in town this weekend. It's got good reviews and I'm kind of tempted to go just to, well, have seen it.

On the other hand my dad is on the Island for the next few days, so the timing may not work out in any event. I think it's going well? We're talking a bit more. Today we drove up to Lake Cowichan, which was beautiful as ever and sang to me and my shoulders unwound until we left.
rilina: (Default)
([personal profile] rilina Oct. 23rd, 2014 09:06 pm)
1. Got renewed driver's license in the mail, and the new picture is acceptable. I had seen the pic on the black and white temp one I got at the licensing office, but it was hard to judge picture quality from that.

2. I still have Italian wedding soup in the freezer.

3. I entered a GoodReads ARC giveaway for the first time ever, and actually was chosen to receive a copy. So apparently I will be getting a galley of Kelly Link's new collection in the mail in the next few weeks. I am usually one of those people who never wins anything, so go figure!
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Default)
([personal profile] yhlee Oct. 23rd, 2014 09:30 pm)
Poll #16077 Prompted by reading yet another writing how-to book
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 42

Second-person narration

View Answers

should only be used in games, CYOA, etc.
3 (7.1%)

is something I personally dislike and avoid
6 (14.3%)

can be well or poorly done, like anything else
37 (88.1%)

is something I actively enjoy as a technique
4 (9.5%)

is something else I will specify in comments
2 (4.8%)

ticky the tickybox is not ticked off
10 (23.8%)

I'm biased; I actively enjoy second person. (It's probably not a coincidence that I also love gamebooks.) But I know that when I write a story in second person ("The Hundredth Question," "Combustion Hour," whatever), I will automatically lose part of my potential audience, and that's a price I decide to pay.
New best friend: M-Audio SP-2 Sustain Pedal for my keyboard (a Casio Privia). It's wonderful, although I agree with the Amazon reviewer that you should take note of its dimensions if you have your keyboard in a tight spot (which I do not). Anyway, it's a pleasure to have a pedal at all, and especially one so nice after the cheap crappy one that my keyboard originally came with (and which is now AWOL). I have so far tested it out with a bunch of pieces, including the piano piece I composed for Marie Brennan's London historical fantasies, and which I had gotten out of practice on because it sounds wrong without the pedal.

- recent reading
Sam Leith. Words Like Loaded Pistols: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama. Beyond the clever cover [Amazon listing], this is a terrifically fun book to read when you're sick. I have no useful background in formal rhetoric or its history, so I can't assess that aspect of the book, but what this has is an overview of the art and its uses as well as a number of case studies. It's clever, funny, well-written, and reminds me that I used to enjoy rolling around in language for its own sake.

For the curious, the case studies are: Satan (mostly through Milton), Marcus Tullius Cicero (it was eerie recognizing translated passages that I had seen in Wheelock exercises--I almost feel bad for Catiline at this point), Abraham Lincoln, Hitler, Churchill, Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, and an interesting section on The Unknown Speechwriter where Leith brings out Peggy Noonan, Reagan's speechwriter, as an example. There are other examples throughout, including one from (!) a South Park movie. Make of that what you will.

- recent viewing
The Good Wife through "Shiny Objects." Read more... )
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([personal profile] thistleingrey Oct. 23rd, 2014 02:54 pm)
* Now that I spend significant hours per day standing (at a desk, at both home and office), remembering to take muscle-uncramping breaks has been difficult. The obvious answer is music---well, obvious now---though I try to time it for when my officemate isn't in the room. Funny how lying on the cold hard floor for five minutes is unembarrassing and moving with headphones on is bad, perhaps because the former is more clearly dire-straits medical.

* Nevada Territory, and thus presumably the US government, closed the fiscal year on 30 June without fanfare in 1863. How far back does that go? Unimportant to me---idle curiosity---but California maintains it, though the US has shifted since. The same letter indicates that it was deemed suitable for certain affiliates of the Nev. Terr. assembly to request mileage and per diem reimbursements. Mileage. What an odd term retrospectively for what must've covered horse fodder and help from stable hands. OED3 2002 admits "mileage" with that sense from 1724, and the extent/rate sense only by mid-C19. Trust the bureaucrats to have kept that productive Anglo-Norman -age suffix going.

* It is possible to read a short Old English poem with a medium-sized child if one translates it into her strongest language (modern English) every 1.5 lines or so. I chose Finnsburh because it's fragmentary, then remembered that it's about a hall not burning down and people not being killed---yet---then realized that nearly four years and self-consciously no longer small is old enough to understand that people make stories about difficult and unpleasant things. I did introduce the idea that they'd had so much trouble over years that they couldn't listen to each others' words, however, and she knows already that a fire in one part of a building can spread quickly. (No bringing of torches to my bedside the next time you're angry, kiddo.)

She wouldn't have sat for it except that I was leaving for attempt #3 since her birth to attend the local monthly OE reading group, whereupon extra time in my lap and curiosity about what I'd do there dovetailed nicely. It was easier to leave for last year's attempt; this year she was able to explain eloquently why she minded my absence.

* It is possible to teach adults for years in a humanities field and not have heard of theory of mind. I was surprised---it's a prof aged late forties (and thus well within my guessing range of likely casual exposures) who researches encyclopedic knowledge historically. Without benefit of cognition or post-classical philosophy, I guess!
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Oct. 23rd, 2014 08:52 pm)

Hotel is quite good, but the WiFi is a bit flakey, and why do hotels have, in their breakfast buffet, really tasteless mixed fruit salad, &/or unripe 'fresh' fruit?

It's all pretty much about the Art: why Munich now was pretty much because Bellotto exhibition at the Alte Pinkotek, as partner is v keen on Bellotto, the nephew of Canaletto, and confusingly also sometimes known by that name in Northern Europe where he spent most of his career as a court painter. Will concede that he is rather less the churning out of upmarket versions of picture postcard Venice and includes recognisable human figures going about their business in his landscapes, views of palaces,etc.

Swathes of the Alte Pinkotek are closed for renovation but there are still some v nice C15th-C17th Netherlands, German and Italian works on display.

The cafe there does really amazingly great patisserie though actual lunch selections a bit thin.

Today we did the Residenz of the former Electors/Kings of Bavaria - not the most OTT stuff perhaps which prob remains in Mad King Ludwig II's castles - so not really in the same class as the collections of Augustus the Strong in Dresden - but still Lots of Things, does anyone need quite so many silver dinner services?

Lunch today at the Cafe Bistro Dallmayr - there is also a restaurant but even by London fine dining standards its prices were eye-bleeding. Very good. Also, there is large porcelain parrot.

cahn: (Default)
([personal profile] cahn Oct. 23rd, 2014 12:10 pm)
4/5. Oh FINE. Everyone who told me what an awesome book this was -- you were right. I loved it very much. It reminds me a lot of old-school 60's-70's SF, you know, the LeGuin-Delany-Brunner-etc. era where half of the fun is being thrown into an alien (sometimes literally, sometimes not) environment and trying to figure out the rules of the culture and environment (in addition to the normal-book rules of trying to figure out the plot and/or the characters). Gosh, I love that kind of book. It's no wonder it won the Hugo. I would have voted for it too. (Especially given the alternatives... I think Stross can be an entertaining writer, but please. And Wheel of Time? Really??) It doesn't attain John M. Ford levels of obscurity through occasional helpful explanatory infodumps by the narrator, which I was rather grateful for, as I don't feel up to Ford-level puzzling at this point (but which I could imagine wishing for did I feel more up to it). I also did not find the writing especially pyrotechnic (as opposed to Le Guin, Delany, or Brunner, for example) -- this is a good, solid book, but I don't know that it'll come out as one of the field's classics. We'll have to see how the sequels turn out. But it did squarely hit a lot of my buttons of AI/sentience/identity/hard-SF.

The interesting thing was that I kept thinking about Fullmetal Alchemist while reading it, for rather obvious reasons -- AJ and FMA both deal with empire and genocide as major themes. I think I would have liked this book more had I read it before FMA, because FMA's treatment is so powerful. I was also about to say that AJ falls neatly into many of the holes that FMA avoids, but I think it's not quite as simple as that -- Breq is a murkier, less human (intentionally) character than Roy Mustang, and her motivations are not as clear, even to herself, which changes the calculus of reaction a lot. In fact, culturally -- given that Amestris has been a military dictatorship since forever -- should Mustang and the Elric brothers even be able to think about the kinds of ideas that they do? (I suppose the answer is that the Amestris dictatorship doesn't bother to culturally suppress the people in the way the Radch culture naturally limits them.) So... yeah. Very interesting to think about.

Another interesting reaction I had was to the famous gender-indiscrimination of the main character. I found that it bothered me that she thought of / referred to everyone as female, whereas I don't think I would have noticed or been bothered nearly as much if she'd referred to everyone as male. This... disturbs me. So for that alone it was worth reading!
starlady: animated uhura: set phasers to fabulous (set phasers to fabulously awesome)
([personal profile] starlady Oct. 23rd, 2014 08:57 pm)
Dear Festividder,

First off, thank you for making me a vid! I love vids, and quite honestly I would be happy to see a vid in any of these fandoms. I have suggested music for some fo them, but please don't feel bound by what I've suggested, and I have no qualms about oft-vidded songs, either.

20th Century Boys, The Emperor's New Groove, Maleficent, Moonrise Kingdom, Star Trek The Animated Series, Trance )

Thank you, Festividder! I am super excited to see whatever you come up with, for serious.

<3 and vids,
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
([personal profile] staranise Oct. 23rd, 2014 01:56 am)
Thoughts on the recent Agents of SHIELD episode (2x05, "A Hen in the Wolf House"):

Spoilers! )
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Oct. 23rd, 2014 09:32 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] chalcedony_cat, [personal profile] diony, and [personal profile] em_h!


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