rosefox: Apple blossoms and a monarch butterfly. (spring)
[personal profile] rosefox
It's spring, it's spring! I think New York City has a reputation of being unrelieved concrete and steel, but there are trees and plants everywhere, and when spring gets here, you know. The Callery pear and Kanzan cherry trees have exploded into showy bloom; the magnolias and weeping cherries were at their peak when yesterday's rain swept through, and now the ground is littered with their petals. Today I saw an oak tree with one dead branch on which last fall's orange leaves heralded the future of the living branches' little green leaf-fluffs, and the little green leaf-fluffs cared not a whit because the sun is bathing them and the air is fluttering them and life is good. The tulips by our front steps were yawning at the sun like ramscoops and I thought, "Same, tulips, same."

I opened all the windows today; later I turned on the a/c in the living room, which gets quite warm quite fast in the bright sun, but my bedroom window stayed open and the room is perfectly airy and cool. J and I walked three or four miles on our date, getting sprinkled on by lackadaisical rain, because that's our idea of fun. My feet are tired from the walk, but I'm still at my standing desk because I'm not going to sit in the stuffy living room when I could stand in front of my window and feel the breeze brushing gently up against me.

Alex is crouched on the sill, where I suspect he has spent most of the day, ogling the birds and drinking the fresh air. He ought to be an outdoor cat, poor guy, and this is the best he can get. On the other hand, if he were an outdoor cat, he wouldn't get to nap curled up in the crook of my C-shaped body pillow, which I have learned to leave arranged just how he likes it when I get up for the day. As I wrote this, he came over and chirped at me for pattins, so I hope he does feel he gets enough perks for being our cat and not his own.

I should be working, here at my lovely new desk, but I needed to share this moment, this sweet foot-ache, this purring cat, this generous breeze with all of you.

Gentleman Jack

Apr. 23rd, 2019 11:37 pm
lsanderson: (Default)
[personal profile] lsanderson
Well, if you like your costume drama with a bit of a twist, try Gentleman Jack from HBO.

reading wednesday

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:23 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Current reading: the memoir, at 47%. Maybe I should find some similarly not-dense non-fiction with which to follow it, since this goes much faster than any fiction has for the past year and a half. Why is easy: the memoir reports familiar-sounding patterns. :/ And then I typed and deleted ~800 words, heh, because they are boring and a bit ranty. Their chief use is in my having typed them to look at.

I've also moved from 2% to 6.2% of Ann Cleeves's Thin Air, huzzah, despite its starting scenario (which has thwarted me twice), because now I am past the scenario. Jimmy Perez has shown up, and Willow Reeves shall as well. *crawls* *hauls self up rock face with fingernails*

Over dinner, it amused me to offer pint-sized office hours for Reason's assigned reading. She's blocked on writing a short paragraph that recommends a book for an award (as an end run upon kids saying flatly, "I liked it"). I think it's this one. Finally, she admitted that she finds the book too simplistic and can't recommend it, "but the pictures are pretty good." Well, it'd be possible to rec just the illustrations....

gist of what I've typed/dropped )

media log of late

Apr. 23rd, 2019 11:57 pm
julian: Picture of the sign for Julian Street. (Default)
[personal profile] julian
N.K. Jemisin, _The Fifth Season_: Incredibly vivid world in which there is constant seismic and volcanic activity; civilization is problematic thereby. Also, there is magic and consequences and constant difficulty and death and disappeared children and, in addition, really good written structure. She's doing a little stunt writing, but unlike Gael Baudino, there's a purpose and reasons for it, and it works.

(Somehow, I figured out the spoiler was a spoiler ) Without reading any commentary about it beforehand! I don't really know why; intuition poking at things missing, basically.)

So anyway: Orogenes control various natural phenomena, mostly earthquakes, and are hated and feared by most of the population. Some orogenes just hang out and are bad at their powers, and often get killed by the non-orogenes; others get inducted into, basically, Orogene Academy and get subsumed into an abusive relationship with their powers and the hierarchical system of the Fulcrum. There's three narrators, all of them orogenes, one in second person for apparently no good reason until the end of the book, but I put it down to stunt writing and was able to enjoy it anyway. Narrator spoilage )

NK Jemisin, _The Obelisk Gate_: Even more becomes clear. Also, the character throughline is expanded on, so that helps. And the book leveled up, in terms of world building. (The characters didn't, so much, but Much Was Revealed, and the world was expanded.)

A few weeks later, N. K. Jemisin, _The Stone Sky_: This, again, leveled up in the world building. Some spoilers. )

I wasn’t enjoying it as much as a book, because I wasn’t invested in the Very Long Ago past bits, and the narrator was not gripping me, and then I snapped into caring again right near the end, and ouch.

This series was hard. Some slightly spoilery talk about why. ) But really worth reading. (Also, it won three Hugos, and I was going to argue with that, but the books expand and change the context of the world so much and so effectively that I think I won’t. But I’m glad the last one is the one that won a Nebula; it deserved it.)

Jo Walton, _The Just City_: I needed a break from the Jemisin, because it is unrelenting, so I instead read about some Greek Gods being Greek Gods, and trying to see if the Just City from Plato's Republic could be made to actually work. Involves, among other things, consent and lack thereof, the meaning of slavery, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola's various theories of syncretistic divinity, what it means to live your best life, and whether machines can be conscious, thinking beings. Also, there is A spoiler being a spoiler )(...of course.)

Jo Walton does not write gorgeous sentences, but she *thinks* about everything very hard. I appreciate this. Also, I was right that it was a relief from the unrelentingness of the Jemisin. It's not *light*, but it is ... optimistic? Certainly less grindy.

Jo Walton, _The Philosopher Kings_: I was unable to read this for whole DAYS due to not being able to get it from the library. (Woe!) And then A spoiler made me sad. )Sadness is.

But, it does mean that in addition to questions of consent, slavery, and the nature of souls and divinity, it gets to talk about grief, grieving, and appropriate and inappropriate vengeance.

Some of the vengeance bits made me acutely uncomfortable, as they were meant to.

I was enjoying this less, in part because of the vengeance factor, and then suddenly, a spoiler appeared! ) and it became 50,000 times better. This scene caused me glee.

I don't like Walton's Athena, but, then I go on about spoilers )Now I wish Walton would write Hera, just so I could start to like *her*, too.

Jo Walton, _Necessity_: In which the trilogy becomes far more overtly SFnal, as opposed to a thought experiment tinged with fantasy elements. (Though, of course, even in the 1st two books, there were sentient machines, so my distinctions possibly aren't so useful.) There's aliens, time travel problems, new and novel ways not to cause time travel paradox, and questions of first contact. Also, found family, confusion, and sudden awesome-tastic resolutions and resistance to Gods. (Well, one specific God.) Which god? )

ALSO! One of the viewpoint characters is one of the aforementioned sentient machines, and he is *the best*. Dry, occasional biting wit, observant, and his own kind of alien. Crocus 4-eva.

I found some of the writing in the non-Crocus bits a little unfocused, though I can’t remember why now that I’m writing this up weeks later.

Zen Cho, _Sorceror To The Crown_: I found myself temporarily unable to acquire the second of Walton's odes to Grecian philosophy (because my local libraries are not open on Sundays), so I read this instead. For awhile, it felt like a fairly standard regency-era fantasy with some romance, but then about 2/3 of the way through I noticed that it was hilarious, biting, incisive, and terrifically fun. (Also, there were dragons. They are best.)

Mind you, even before I let it grab me, it was a regency fantasy with a black ex-slave as the head thaumaturge in a faux 1800s England, so one can imagine it was not precisely standard even before it became exceptionally good. Said head thaumaturge is named Zacharias Wythe; his ward is Prunella Gentlewoman, who has a mysterious past but who was raised by the headmistress of a school for young women whose parents wish to suppress their magic. Proper young ladies should not, you see, use magic. Societal conventions and Prunella don't get along very well, however. Events ensue.

Its sequel just came out, though apparently it's mostly about other, newer characters.

Visual media: I watched all of Bab5 Season 5 with the Mark Watches crew, and wanted, as per usual, to garrotte Byron, but I really liked Captain Lochley this time, yay! When I first watched it, I only knew Tracey Scoggins from her (really annoying) turn as Cat Grant on _Lois and Clark_, and also I had a grudge because no Ivanova, so I didn’t give her a chance. But she really was good.

And I didn’t think _Sleeping in Light_ was all that maudlin, either. Though even I admit, four different farewell episodes, all in all, was a bit much.

Now the Mark Watches crew is watching Crusade and I suddenly stopped watching things after Sleeping In Light, so I have to catch up this weekend, or anyway, soon.


Apr. 23rd, 2019 07:40 pm
kore: (Natasha Romanova)
[personal profile] kore

After this and the Magicians finale it's going to be a cold day in hell before I throw my heart into another canon run mainly by white males, I can tell you that.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu

So recently [personal profile] skygiants recommended to me a podcast called Friends at the Table. (There are very vague spoilers at that first link.) The podcast describes itself thusly:

Friends at the Table is an actual play podcast about critical worldbuilding, smart characterization, and fun interaction between good friends.

(Actual play = recording themselves playing a tabletop roleplaying game.)

I often like to just binge back catalogs, as in, not so long ago I listened to all 250+ episodes of No Such Thing as a Fish. I'd just finished the back seasons of the much shorter Iditapod, and was not really feeling anything I had queued up, so I figured I'd give this a shot. I went with the Marielda arc, because [personal profile] skygiants had said it was the shortest and was easy to jump into, though it had "maybe the weakest thematic ending in that it goes sideways in a way nobody really expects." For a bunch of this time I was the only adult in the house, which means doing all the dog walking and therefore having more time than usual to listen, so I finished up the arc this morning. I am extremely tired but if I don't write something tonight it won't get written, so let me throw some stuff at the wall.

First, some thoughts on listening to an actual play podcast generally, and this one specifically; no spoilers.

cut for length )

Second, SPOILERS )

Outside the cut question: this, Uprooted, Welcome to Night Vale, and Lord of the Rings all have creepy forests. Do places with jungles or rain forests also have creepy-forest stories, I wonder, or is it more a temperate-climate thing?

I read the Endgame spoilers

Apr. 23rd, 2019 06:15 pm
kore: (Black Widow 2)
[personal profile] kore
and WOW fandom is going to continue to explode. There is something to make nearly everyone ticked off!

Man I feel tired. I miss just enjoying these movies. I think I will go back to my Black Widow comics.

Vague spoiler )

(no subject)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 08:52 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I got my hair cut today. I have a big ziploc full of what was cut off because I'm probably going to donate it. The lady who cut my hair did five or six chunks, each with a small rubberband at the top. She suggested a Michigan specific charity that does wigs for kids. I had started looking online a couple of days ago, but I'd backed away when I realized that I was still dithering about getting it cut to begin with. Deciding what to do with it after seemed premature.

I think I may need to get it cut shorter than where it is now. It's too short to put back, and, really, I can't manage putting anything back any more, anyway, so growing it out won't help. At the current length, just below my ears, it's still long enough to blow across my eyes in a way that makes it very hard for me to see. I can't use barrettes because every type I've ever tried just slides right out.

What do those of you with hair this length do when your hands are full and you need to cross a street?

I walked part of the way to the mall where I got my hair cut. I ended up making a couple of side trips that I didn't plan on and that left me more tired than I'd hoped to be. It's a bad thing to realize that one's on the edge of overdoing when in the middle of a large park that's a very long way from the nearest bus stop (I had to walk another 20 minutes to reach a road that had bus service). I think I kept diverting onto trails I'd never tried because I didn't really want to get to the mall to begin with.

I'm not sure Scott and Cordelia believed that I would do it, but it's done. It needed doing. I just feel weird and not really myself now. I'll get used to it, but long hair has been part of how I view myself for as long as I can remember, and I've always loved my hair, so it's... complicated.

A Very Important Poll

Apr. 23rd, 2019 08:48 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
A question that came up as a result of both my going through my local history books and an argument Mom and I had on our mini-road-trip out to South Jersey:

Poll #21872 Important Poll
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 54

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the Chesapeake Bay
14 (29.2%)

We drove to Chesapeake Bay
34 (70.8%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the San Francisco Bay
14 (28.6%)

We drove to San Francisco Bay
35 (71.4%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the Hudson Bay
7 (14.3%)

We drove to Hudson Bay
42 (85.7%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the Delaware Bay
15 (32.6%)

We drove to Delaware Bay
31 (67.4%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the Monterey Bay
2 (4.2%)

We drove to Monterey Bay
46 (95.8%)

Which is more correct:

View Answers

We drove to the bay
34 (66.7%)

We drove to the Bay
17 (33.3%)

Which is more correct

View Answers

We drove down to the bay
36 (92.3%)

We drove up to the bay
3 (7.7%)

Which is more correct

View Answers

We drove toward the bay on the 80
15 (30.6%)

We drove toward the bay on 80
34 (69.4%)

You are from:

View Answers

the Bay Area or nearby
11 (21.2%)

the Tidewater or nearby
6 (11.5%)

4 (7.7%)

Somewhere else on the West Coast
12 (23.1%)

Somewhere else on the East Coast
13 (25.0%)

Somewhere else in North America
13 (25.0%)

Somewhere primarily English-speaking other than North America
4 (7.7%)

I don't speak English as my primary language and y'all need to sort your stuff out
1 (1.9%)

5 (9.6%)

(no subject)

Apr. 23rd, 2019 08:20 pm
flemmings: (Default)
[personal profile] flemmings
Was surprised, the other day, at my coworkers' surprise that I don't wash newly bought clothes. Why would I? These tops and trousers have one chance to be smooth and crisp and unwrinkled. Why start them going limp before I've even worn them once? My coworkers' argument seemed to boil down to 'but someone else has touched them!' and who knows where those hands have been? I dunno. It seems that someone in my profession, with its close adjacancy to various unsavoury body fluids, is in no need of such delicacy. If my hands are clean, as they are and mustbe given our protocols, I don't care what's covering the rest of me.

So I will not prewash the two shirts, two t-shirts, and two tank tops I bought at Mark's Warehouse today. I don't have high hopes of them anyway. Tops bought anywhere other than at my departed dollar store seem prone to developing The Stink that only super-smeller I can detect, even the ones that cost three times as much, and the material is never anywhere near as good in quality. But my dollar store shirts grow ragged from much washing- can't wear them two days in a row at work- and worse, begin to exhibit The Stink as well. So this is at least a start at replacing them.

My Baycon Schedule

Apr. 23rd, 2019 05:20 pm
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
[personal profile] gridlore
It's a light one this year, which I'm happy with. As a reminder, I probably don't remember you. Please be patient.

Saturday, May 25, 2019
16:00 Connect 4

Baseball fans and Science Fiction fans, our shared obsessions.

Know who likes to gather together, dress strangely, and nitpick details? Baseball fans! Well, we do it as well. Come discuss where the Great American Pastime meets Fandom. As a bonus, Doug will perform his dramatic reading of "Casey At The Bat."

Sunday, May 26, 2019
11:30 Synergy 4

Hidden Disabilities

Oddly, there's no panel description.

Sunday, May 26, 2019
13:00 Synergy 1

Arcade Etiquette

Back when playing video games meant a trip to the mall or the corner market, there were rules on how you acted and played. We remember those rules, and how they were enforced.
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin and Pooh floating in a upturned  umbrella , with the word Ahoy in the corner (The Brain of Pooh)
[personal profile] forestofglory
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 R and I started watching this with the plan to finish it before WisCon. We’ve watched 4 or 5 episodes so far. At this point this season is goofier and lighter than season 1 and feels a bit more like other Treks I’ve watched. There’s more focus on ethical dilemmas and such witch is very Star Trek focus. Also there are many many awesome older women. Some of them are mothers though none of them raising small children. Still it's good to see more fictional moms. I hope some of the awesome older ladies get to interact with each other.

Golden Kamuy up vol 8 by Satoru Noda This all that’s currently been translated into English so I have to stop here for the moment. I’m still really enjoying the historical setting and all food details. However these volumes got pretty gruesome and also spent a lot of time alway form core character hanging out with less nice people. And there were some villainous tragic queers. So that wasn’t great. But I do like the main characters and will probably read more when it is available.

Yotsuba&!, Vols 8-9 by Kiyohiko Azuma Still very cute! I have few more volumes out form the library.

Not For Use In Navigation: Thirteen Stories by Iona Datt Sharma I am working my way very slowly through this. "Akbar learns to Read and Write" was lovely meditation on learning. I have one novella "Quarter Days", left I've read it before so I know its really good. But I’ve gotten sick and this isn’t the kind of thing I can read when sick -- to much detail to miss. So something to look forward to when I feel better.

I also got a couple of the Hugo shortlisted art books out of the library. I wouldn’t have called The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition an art book but it sure is pretty. Makes me want to do an Earthsea reread. Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History is fun to look at for nostalgia but not really my favorite kind of art.

And I’ve read quite lot of Guardian fic. Maybe I need a way to keep track of the fic that I read? I don’t k


Apr. 23rd, 2019 06:43 pm
yhlee: ashhawk (black phoenix) in flames (hxx emblem Kel)
[personal profile] yhlee
Does anyone want to suggest me music suitable for listening to while coding a Twine game about Cheris and Kel Academy?

IMPORTANT NOTE: I don't hear lyrics; I respond to the mood of the music. I'm thinking something cinematic. I also prefer music not to be glitchy/noisy/shouty/screamy--there's nothing wrong with genres like punk/metal/etc., but they're not for me.

Right now, as a stopgap, I'm listening to Clamavi De Profundis (hat-tip to [personal profile] telophase).


Apr. 23rd, 2019 03:03 pm
heron61: (Gryphon - emphasis and strong feelings)
[personal profile] heron61
I had my first counseling appointment today, which seemed to go well, and will hopefully help me deal with the various sorts of stress I'm now facing. Speaking of stress, yesterday I made a reservation to see my parents on June 3 - June 7, which pleases me not at all, but seems useful for keeping the peace. I'm considering skipping GenCon this year simply so that I don't have to visit them again.

In happier news, when I was walking to the bus stop, I saw someone walk by with an awesome t-shirt that said "My pronouns haven't even been invented yet", which made me happy and seemed a good omen for the day. I got home and googled that phrase, and found the above link to buy the t-shirt, along with that fact that it's by genderqueer activist, poet, and spoken word artist Andrea Gibson, who I'd never previously heard of before, but looks to write very shiny stuff.

Here's a spoken word piece of their's that I found quite powerful:
Also, in honor of national poetry month, here's one I found online that I quite liked.
click here for poem )

playtest call for Heretical Geese

Apr. 23rd, 2019 04:18 pm
yhlee: (hxx geese 1)
[personal profile] yhlee
Hello! [personal profile] ursula and I are entering a cowritten tabletop RPG game jam that is GOOSE-themed (the honking bird kind, not goosing people). We would like to round up a playtest group for either this Saturday or the weekend of May 18 (or both?).

The game is more or less hexarchate- and ethics-themed (specifically Shuos). The rules are two pages long. Play would run either on Discord or Google Hangouts, whatever is agreeable to the group.

Please PM me or email me (requiescat at gmail dot com) if you're interested in volunteering and I'll give you more info.

HONK! :3

Dept. of Dreamwidth

Apr. 23rd, 2019 09:11 pm
kaffyr: A Dreamwidth Sheep w/Canadian flag (Canadian Dream Sheep)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Hello, Folks, Here Writes Fandom, Maybe. 

So the redoubtable 
[personal profile] minnehaha  posted an excellent social media manifesto that makes the argument that Dreamwidth is an excellent platform for fannish communication. Here it is

It starts with the assumption that the LJ/Dreamwidth format is perfect for long-form communication - something that was as much a building block of traditional SF fandom as in-jokes, nicknames, letters of comment in zines and horrendously long fan feuds nourished over months and years by some of those LOCs. 

It makes the reluctant declaration that LJ itself could now be considered problematic, then says that LJ's fannish community could successfully make the leap to Dreamwidth by making the conscious decision to do so, thus reclaiming itself from whatever LJ's current operators might do.

(It also notes that Facebook and Twitter don't meet fannish needs for numerous reasons. Although it doesn't mention Tumblr, much of what it says about FB and Twitter obtains to that platform as well.) 

People still love LJ; their memories of its rich existence, history and shared experiences strongly tie them to it. What I like about 
[personal profile] minnehaha 's manifesto is that it doesn't denigrate Live Journal. Instead, it acknowledges it, especially the concepts that fueled the best of it - once again, long-form communication being a major part of that.

In short, it's not "LJ is bad and Dreamwidth is better, so abandon the former for the latter." It's "Our community - our communities - can move here, can be reborn here, as a natural evolution of modern fandoms. We aren't abandoning anything; we're helping our communities and fandoms survive by finding them a new home."

I like that. I hope others like it too, at least enough to consider. Moving to a new house always means walking into empty rooms, and remembering the comfortable rooms one left behind. That's not unrelievedly pleasant. It's bittersweet at best.

But then you fill the new and empty rooms with all the memories of the old ones, and begin the joyous journey of finding new memories as well. 

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • This r/imaginarymaps map imagines an early medieval France that became not a notional kingdom but rather a decentralized empire, a Holy Roman Empire of the French Nation.

  • This r/imaginarymaps map imagines a greater Austria that includes Slovenia.

  • A Greater Slovenia, encompassing lands from Austria, Italy, and even Hungary, is the subject of this r/imaginarymaps map.

  • Could an Austria divided in the Cold War be divided like this r/imaginarymaps map?
  • This r/imaginarymaps map shows a Japanese Empire that survived until 1956, encompassing much of the Russian Far East as well as Manchuria and Korea.


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