snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)
([personal profile] snarp Oct. 20th, 2014 09:24 pm)
Still pretty much just on Tumblr.

I'm just posting because I've spent much of the past couple days yelling about my Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle reread, and that's kind of the only thing I've written lately that I think likely to interest anyone following me here and not there.
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
([personal profile] mme_hardy Oct. 20th, 2014 05:22 pm)
 It is really damn difficult to determine whether bread made from brilliant magenta dough is baked.  You still have the cue given by the sound of a thump, but judging the crust color is a lost cause.

Will post beet bread recipe later (probably tomorrow) after I've had time to figure out the success or otherwise of the experiment.  It rose beautifully, smells nice, and is very pretty.
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- recent reading
I bailed on Wendy Thorpe Copley's Everyday Bento because the title LIES. I should have realized it from the cover [Amazon listing], which shows those cutesy bits of food done up in shapes and stuff. Let me tell you, I remember taking sandwiches cut out in the shape of hearts to school when I was in high school and it was embarrassing. Oh, Mom. :) Anyway, while I have developed an interest in bento (the boxes! adorable geometrical compartments!), I still hate cooking and want to do easy food, not complicated decorative preparations that will be wasted on the audience anyway.

Ann Leckie. Ancillary Sword. (This is the nonspoilery writeup; long, spoilery analysis here.) This is the sequel to Leckie's Ancillary Justice, and it is more complex, more ambitious, and aggressively more successful than its (already pretty good) prequel. It's like everything suddenly pulled together. (Not that I am privy to Leckie's writing process!)

Sword follows up on the events of Justice, but at heart it is an exploration of the foundational problems that plague the Radch. I can't say much more without additionally spoiling Justice. But it's worth reading Justice (which, again, was good, but not as good) to get to Sword.

- recent viewing
Hellsing Ultimate ep. 1. So back in college Joe and I watched the first Hellsing anime, which was both weirdly inappropriate, weirdly stylish, and gory as all get-out, and then later I got seven volumes into the manga before getting rid of it because I was afraid baby!lizard would stumble onto it (she was a climber) and be SCARRED FOR LIFE. Hellsing features vampires, gore, at least one Nazi werewolf, gore, loving and improbable portrayals of blasphemous (or blessed, depending) guns, gore, big-breasted female characters, gore, evil vs. evil, a crapsack universe, fanservice, gore, a demented portrayal of Catholics vs. Anglicans, gore, airships, gore, and...well, you get the idea. What I'm trying to say is that while I enjoy this for what it is--and indeed, all the versions of animanga Hellsing that I am familiar with advertise what they are up front, unrepentantly--it is not remotely in good taste.

My memories of the original Hellsing anime are hazy, but I seem to recall there being more filler and a rather unsatisfactory ending arc involving some kind of shaman making threats against Sir Integra Hellsing. (I believe it was [personal profile] londonkds who informed me that they get all the peerage title things wrong; or it might have been someone else, sorry my memory is so bad! As an American, I can't, er, tell the difference [edit] between nobility titles [end edit] without being explicitly reminded.) The manga was complete crack, but complete crack apparently building toward some kind of arc; unfortunately, since I bailed seven volumes in (there are apparently ten total?) I have no idea how that ended.

Anyway, Joe and I decided we were curious about this, so we gave it a try. This appears to be following more along the lines of the manga--which makes me hopeful that I will get a glimpse of the manga's ending--and is just as gory, cracky, and inappropriate as I thought it would be. But again, the show doesn't try to hide what it is, so I can deal. There are no characters so far that achieve any better than dark gray and I don't expect that to change anytime soon. But hey, it's only ten episodes (one hour each) so we will probably continue watching.
oursin: Drawing of hedgehog in a cave, writing in a book with a quill pen (Writing hedgehog)
([personal profile] oursin Oct. 20th, 2014 01:23 pm)

Came across something recently which was going WOEZ that apparently a significant % of people doing a PhD are not going on to become academics.

Which, given that it is currently a truth universally acknowledged that the academic world is vastly oversupplied with keen young creatures with shiny new PhDs looking for jobs which NO CAN HAZ except on sweated-labour terms that recall to us Thomas Hood's Song of the Shirt, is this necessarily A Bad Thing?

Not everybody who undertakes a PhD is necessarily aiming at a career in academe.

Or at least, not as a academic doing the teaching thing. There are people working in related areas (e.g. information professionals, administrators) who find that there is no harm, and potential benefit, in gaining an advanced degree (if only for the added cred it gives them when dealing with srs academics).

Some people may just want to pursue knowledge in a structured way with access to institutional resources.

A PhD is not just, or not merely, a vocational qualification. Indeed, ideally it is a contribution to KNOWLEDGE.

(And there have been distinguished persons of learning who never actually got the PhD on their rise to distinction, including Nobel Prize-winners.)

staranise: A girl from the back, with curled hair in a taffeta bow. ([personal] Much-beloved)
([personal profile] staranise Oct. 20th, 2014 02:01 am)
A while back I requested three weeks back to go to a friend's wedding. Very sadly, the wedding has been called off, so I won't be going to it or getting the attendant vacation on the east coast. However, although one co-worker let me have the shifts he agreed to cover back, the other had been counting on the money and in the name of amicable relations I let him keep them. Therefore I only work one day a week until November, and with school back in session that's more like six hours in the evening and an hour or two in the morning. My mini-vacation is refreshing and quite welcome, because I was getting a bit ragged there.

Today I went looking for a knitting needle and ended up completely cleaning out my bedside table. It's now far roomier, less dusty, and vaguely organized. I also found the knitting needle, as well as the quiver of DPNs that have been hiding from me since the move. It was one of those late-night ADHD moments that I've been trained to think are suboptimal by every study guide I've ever been given, where I count entirely on a whim to spark enthusiasm for an important task; but on the other hand it works and not very many other things do nowadays.

My mom commented the other day that I've been working forever with no payoff in sight, and that's absolutely true. Mary Pipher's Letters to a Young Therapist has resonated that statement all the way down to glum hunger, because she has almost exactly the life I want--six sessions a day at a clinic with colleagues, working with a diverse clientele of individuals and families, owns her own house, has a husband and kids and family, writes, supervises grad students, goes on little trips, does good work. It's funny that I come back to her because hers was the life I wanted when I was 13 and read Reviving Ophelia, and even though the intervening years have opened up many different potential careers, settings, and households, in many ways I still want the same thing. (Except I also want a farm.)

But for years all I wanted was income, which I have now, though not the amount I was hoping for. I've spent so long--it feels like one continuous push since I left childhood--and I got a little taste of what it was like to get there in the first two years of my Master's, and I could bear with money frustrations by saying when I get a job as a therapist, but now--

*glum sigh*

But cleaning out my bedside table meant I found even more cards from people. I keep the cards people send me, and display them on a little ledge on the wall above my bed, and they're immensely cheering--I think my favourites are the thank-you-and-goodbye card from the school I worked at, where every staff member left a personalized message, and the very long rambly ones that are absolutely filled with handwriting, mostly from fannish people. I found two fannish cards and the thank you card from my last internship, put them on the "paper to deal with" pile (my ledge is getting crowded and rather like a stack of dominoes, so I need a new system) and went up to shower with a smile on my face.

So I decided something, since I need a goal to work with. I still have those 12.5 dratted hours of internship left, and no idea of where I'm going to fill them. My plan, drawn up with the people at school, is to be done that internship by May 2015. So how I'm going to work to that goal is to start a list of potential internship sites, and research what I think are the absolute best places for me to work in Victoria. I have to approach the sites cold since my school's prearranged sites are mostly on the Mainland, and if I'm signing up for polite rebuffs they might as well be from someplace good. Then I'll do my best to network like hell during that internship, and see if that can't crack me in. You know, what an unpaid internship is supposed to do.

Which means hanging with my job even longer. I thought I would moan about that part more, but I've realized something about why I do it. It's got work I won't slack off on. My work ethic is terrible when it comes to things I find irrelevant, and in jobs where I know I'll have a lot of free time on my hands or the work isn't important, I struggle not to stay in bed when I wake up on a bad day. With things as bad as they currently are, I can see myself just failing to show up for a job as a cashier--Nope. Can't be arsed. Whereas with what I'm doing now? I need to be there. I'm working alone and there's no one to cover for me without a lot of fuss. And when I'm with the kids, I cannot help but give them everything I've got--sure, sometimes that is pretty tired and pathetic, but that's because my reserves are so low.

So I simply wouldn't get out of bed for a job that was less difficult. (Unless it was therapisting.)

I often wish I could be a different person, someone more trusting and expressive and dramatic and able to solicit help, but lately I've been toying with the thought that the things I'm annoyed with in myself now have been virtues in others, things like endurance and fortitude and resourcefulness. Maybe even independence. If they are, they feel like very lonely virtues.

Though now that I write them down, none of them seem incompatible with friendship or other ties. They might not even have been for me in practice. That's how I've always thought of them, though.
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)
([personal profile] cadenzamuse Oct. 19th, 2014 10:17 pm)
You guys.

I am being really, really picky about fandoms I am willing to write this year. (Probably because I defaulted my first year because it was a canon I loved but felt compelled to review all eight books of in order to write it.)

Like, there were about 30 fandoms on my list to start with (compared to 200 the year I defaulted), and when I narrowed it down by "fandoms I would be delighted to open up the assignment for and discover I was writing, no matter what the assignment was" there were...8. And I am 100% ecstatic/thrilled by those eight, but...I feel like I'm being a diva. Or that I should add some of my "I could write this and be generally happy" fandoms in so that I'm Not Being Difficult.

Can someone tell me whether I'm setting reasonable boundaries or being overcautious? (LOL, the answer to that is "no-one but yourself," but helpful thinky thoughts for how to go about figuring out the answer to that question would be helpful!)

I'm likely to pick up pinch hits in fandoms I haven't offered, if that tips the cosmic Yuletide scales in my favor.
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
([personal profile] owlectomy Oct. 19th, 2014 07:28 pm)
Reading Jacqueline Woodson's new verse memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, I was surprised to discover that she - like me - spent some of her very young years in a household of her mother, sibling(s), grandfather, and Jehovah's Witness grandmother.

It's always kind of great to find a book that speaks to your own experience - of being young and awkward and bored at the Kingdom Hall, let's say - but perhaps even more so when it comes from a place you never expected.
sholio: slice of pie with ice cream and apples (Autumn-apple pie)
([personal profile] sholio Oct. 19th, 2014 07:08 pm)
I have the house to myself tonight and some uninterrupted Internet time, so I am getting through the rest of the DVD commentaries and answering comments (STILL SO BEHIND) and generally hanging out online; hello!

My sister and I have managed to watch an absolute fuck ton of One Piece over the last 2-3 days. We got through the entire Water 7 arc and are now into Enies Lobby. Kinda spoilery comments on a couple characters )

Assorted links from around my flist:

There's an interesting post at [personal profile] selenak's journal about the fannish term "manpain", like "Mary Sue", coming to be used so generically that it's useless. (Also, I suppose it's a sign of how much time I've been spending on Tumblr lately that my instinctive reaction to finding a thoughtful post was first of all "reblog it so my friends can read it!" No no, self, we have a way of handling these things on LJ, WE LINK TO STUFF.)

I also jumped into a discussion at [personal profile] chordatesrock on dark hurt/comfort and how fandom deals with trauma. Interesting topic and it made me ponder a bit.

There's also a link in the above post to this absolutely amazing comic strip that has a beautiful metaphor for the true worth of creativity that others deem worthless.

Oh hmmm, what else. It looks like both [community profile] festivids and [livejournal.com profile] yuletide are taking signups now. I'm not doing either one of them this year (though I may try to do a festivids treat; I really do want to get back into vidding!).
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)
([personal profile] cadenzamuse Oct. 19th, 2014 06:47 pm)
So we moved into a rental house in Dayton, Ohio in August, and T. promised me that this time we would decorate as if we will be living here for a long time. This is a good plan: it makes the house more homey, I feel more grown-up and cheerful and in control of things, and we have been bummed out and extra messy in every location we lived where we acted like we would only be there for a short time (including the 6--COUNT THEM, SIX--locations we lived in our first two years of marriage and the subsequent lovely apartment we would have stayed in long-term if we had stayed in Atlanta).

This means living inside my very own curtain-fic.

"Curtain-fic," as I've always understood it, is fluffy fiction in which not much plot happens but you get to enjoy your favorite characters being in a relationship together, with a large helping of domesticity kink. Some of it even actually involves the eponymous action of happily picking out curtains in story.

But fandom has lied to me about curtains. I am now convinced that "curtain-fic" should be considered a subset of emotional hurt/comfort fic, because, let's face it, picking out curtains is a bitch.

First of all, it involves going shopping. Hate. At furniture/decorating stores. More hate. For fabrics that are inexplicably incredibly expensive. You either get the $6 K-Mart curtains that are a: ugly and b: shoddily made or the $70 department store curtains that were handwoven by yaks using only their teeth. There is no in-between.

Additionally, curtain shopping is a special sort of Groundhog's Day hell wherein one goes shopping over and over again.

Perhaps really rich people have the money to hire someone to bring a whole bunch of curtains home and then come over every few days and change them out so you get the sense of what they look like on your walls, in various kinds of light, when you're feeling happy and feeling sad, when you feel like only wearing pajamas for the next five days and when you feel prissily formal.

But we are not those really rich people, so curtain shopping involves bringing home $200 worth of heavy curtains in tiny vinyl packaging, unpackaging them and hanging them, considering for a few days, then yanking them down and attempting to stuff the unwanted curtains neatly back into the vinyl bags that have certainly shrunk by a few inches since you pulled the the offending pieces of cloth out of them. Then you have to shlep yourself back over to the various home stores, department stores, bargain stores, and thrift stores that you bought the curtains from, coax various receipts back into the light of day (and I am convinced that receipts are a unique breed of burrowing grasshopper that is nearly impossible to catch), return the curtains and pray that the customer service people don't take you to task for not managing to perfectly refold and repackage your curtains because customer service people don't believe in entropy, and then...do it all over again.

If at any point in this process you are tired, hungry, or having menstrual cramps, it will become even more frustrating and a greater and greater source of looming anxiety and passive-aggressive remarks back and forth with your partner.

Currently, there is one curtain each from two different sets hanging in my dining room and five curtains to return (one of which still needs to find its vinyl cage again) on the dining table. So there fucking better be some fuzzy emotional payoff, fluffy vanilla sex, and some damn good beer at the end of this, lest curtain-shopping take a dangerous turn from H/C into dark!fic. Or, dare I say it, mirror-verse. Because in the repressive dystopian regimes where everyone is evil, only the most dictatorial have curtains. And I think they fucking deserve them.
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
([personal profile] oursin Oct. 19th, 2014 09:33 pm)

Saturday breakfast rolls: brown grated apple, with a touch of maple syrup.

Today's lunch: halibut steaks baked in foil with lime and ginger, served with baby carrots roasted in pumpkin seed oil, cauliflower roasted in olive oil with cumin seeds, and baby leeks healthy grilled in walnut oil and dribbled with wild pomegranate vinegar.

No bread made, because reasons.

bookchan: endless sky (Default)
([personal profile] bookchan Oct. 19th, 2014 11:10 am)
Dear Wonderful, fantastic Author,

I really have been good this year author, really truely I have!

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. None of the ideas that I've written down here are things that you have to follow, they're just some of my thoughts.

That said, I really don't like rape/non-con, betrayal, or ignoring what someone's requested/saying.

I really enjoy crack, laughter,friendship, secret hobbies, hidden talents, communication, curtainfic, kidfic, slice of life, found families, bittersweet longing fic, fic that end of a happy note or at least a things are looking up note. Au's! I always find what if's and AU's fascinating.

If you end up going off in a different direction when writing the story go for it! Don't feel like you have to follow my requests to the T or at all. They're just shiny things that had me going ooh, ooh this would be neat, or ooh, ooh this sounds fun!

Here are my dreams for this year )
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)
([personal profile] oursin Oct. 19th, 2014 02:43 pm)

But, really? this? Am reminded of Winston Smith's compulsory and surveilled physical jerks.

The National Health Service is to put its own 1.35 million staff at the head of a new fight against obesity by encouraging them to join weight-watching groups and take out gym memberships, its new head will announce this week.

How about you reduce the stressful conditions they are working under, getting ever more so, rather than piling another requirement on top of them?

I am more on board with the idea of having healthy food available in hospitals, for staff, patients and visitors. This seems more to the point than 'encouraging' them to join gyms and weight-watching programmes (where are they going to find the time for that?).

And related to this, via Barbara Ellen's column (scroll down): Belgian MP Maggie De Block has been made minister of social affairs and health, amid criticisms that, at more than 20 stone, she is far too overweight for the job.

Even if De Block doesn’t have underlying health issues affecting her weight, there is the insidious implication that her appearance is more important than any experience or intelligence she could bring to the job, that how she looks matters more than what she does.
yhlee: soulless (orb) (AtS soulless (credit: mango_icons on LJ))
([personal profile] yhlee Oct. 19th, 2014 12:11 am)
Ancillary Sword: The all-piercing gun

Thoughts on Ann Leckie's Ancillary Sword, behind a cut because the whole thing is spoilery.

(The short version, not all that related to what's behind the cut, is that Sword is a better novel than its prequel, I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I quite recommend it.)

(Note that I haven't reread Ancillary Justice since last winter.)

warning, 7,000 words of essay behind cut and oh do my wrists hurt )
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yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
([personal profile] yhlee Oct. 18th, 2014 05:09 pm)
I'm over 2,000 words into a blogmetapostthing on Ancillary Sword with parenthetical cites and I'm only on p.62. Someone send help. Or hot chocolate. Or lolcats!

Meanwhile, I crave Copic markers but they're $7 apiece at the local Hobby Lobby, no. I'll save up for a set of Ciaos or something. Or give up and go back to digital coloring, since I haven't had the chance to play much with Manga Studio.
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bookchan: endless sky (Default)
([personal profile] bookchan Oct. 18th, 2014 05:07 pm)
Survived my first learn to play hockey lesson. ^_^ Definitely less steady on the hockey skates than I am on the figure skates. I'm the only adult and girl, there's 4 little boys in the glass too and two guy instructors.

I'm glad I took the regular learn to skate last session because without that I'd have been completely lost. I really need to work on my transitions from forward to backwards. I fell down a couple of times during the class and then during practice I finally ended up running into two kids. They were talking to each other and just skated right into were I was going and bam. I couldn't stop in time and ended up dragging down one of the kids since I forgot my basic physics.

It was fun though and I'm looking forward to the end of the session and being more comfortable on the skates. Most likely I'll need to do the spring session before I'm capable of trying out for one of the lowest level hockey teams. Hopefully in the January they'll have another adult beginners pick up game too, that would be fun once I figure out how to skate.
metaphortunate: (uncanny kubrick creamsicle)
([personal profile] metaphortunate Oct. 18th, 2014 01:00 pm)
Camille Fournier tweeted about the high-quality writing being produced, for free, by Kathy Sierra, who recently left Twitter because of renewed harassment. One of her examples was "Your app makes me fat", an essay about how poor user interface design, whether through incompetence or exploitative user "engagement", is a drain on users' cognitive resources that has real effects on our lives. The title comes from a study showing evidence that people doing mental work choose to eat more calories: hence, your app makes me fat.

Which is fine as far as it goes, but also makes me think about the reverse. Whether or not your app makes me fat, I can guarantee you that my diet makes me dumb. Thinking about this recently because of this stupid antibiotic blocking me from eating for hours. Let me tell you, when I'm hungry and I'm not eating, my entire brain is thinking about not eating. I'm supposed to be drawing up something, or coordinating different disciplines, or writing some thing up, but am I? Balls I am. I'm thinking about food, and how it's right there, and how I am not eating it. How long till I can eat? Wow, is that familiar. Wow, do I remember this from weight-loss diets I have been on. Wow, is it nice that most of the time in my life now I just notice "Hey, I'm hungry," get a snack, and then blissfully not think about food for a while. That is mental energy that I can spend on my job, my kids, my training that I'm doing, whatever; maybe even an app that I'm trying to learn how to use. And I'll always be happy if that app UI is designed better, but honestly even trying to learn how to use an app is probably a more productive use of mental energy for me than just grimly using that energy to not eat.
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