I'm still not sure about the innermost bit of the central star, but ah well.
At weekend, I went on a workshop organized by Quilt Club, on making wholecloth quilts (the ones that are just a single piece of fabric, with all the design in the quilting), although we aimed smaller and went for cushion covers. I'd never done any hand quilting before, and most of the day was taken up with learning about the design elements, thinking of a design, drawing it out on paper, and transferring it to the fabric.
That's my excuse, anyway:
I'm still undecided about whether I'm actually going to finish it or if I'd rather just take out the bit I've done and do it on the machine!
- Any version of Mycroft other than "Mycroft" makes me want to die inside. (My, Myc, Myke, Croft. WTF. I'm just waiting to come across "Ycro". LOL.)
- Also, who is Noah? Sheriff Stilinski's name is John, dammit. :b
So what are *your* favourite "Find and Replace" words in fic?
I posted a story to the Raksura Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=2458567 and that was about all the work I did this weekend besides answering email.
After my book on Heinlein went beyond a length that most academic publishers could manage (it may be around 500 pages) I decided to go with a Crowdfunding publisher called Unbound. They can keep the price down to affordable levels.
Of course I would love it if you bought the book:
ebook and hb £35
But what I really need is signal boosting. Please copy and paste.
Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.
Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)
2) I have managed to complete the AV presentation which was driving me bats, and now I have to concentrate on getting my poetry portfolio done. Which means I have to settle down and actually get into a poetry mindspace, which is somewhat akin to having an unstructured dose of therapy. Poetry involves rummaging around in the subconscious, and the problem with doing this for me is I keep finding things in there I don't remember putting there. Like discovering the reason I'm so keen on Final Fantasy VII as a fandom is because I actually empathise strongly with Cloud Strife's memory problems (because they're rather akin to the ones I have as a result of chronic depression).
3) I've done my vote in the Marriage Equality survey, and I think Steve dropped both of them off in the post-box on Friday. I voted "yes", of course, because quite frankly I cannot for the life of me see how allowing people who aren't heterosexual to marry is going to "damage marriage". The arguments of the "No" campaign appear to be mainly based around "think of the children" (I don't have any myself, and I'm thinking of the non-heterosexual and non-gender-binary children who might want to get married when they grow up); "it's against our religion" (well, nobody's saying you have to go out and get married to anyone); "marriage is about having children" (oh, does that mean my infertile friend is damaging the institution of marriage? How about my mother, who's past the age of reproduction and still married to my father?) and so on. None of their arguments really appear to be based on anything sensible, because let's face it, we can't point to a sensible argument against extending marriage to non-heterosexual people.
(Also, on the whole "freeze peach" side of things: if anyone who is busy screaming about how it's going to result in priests being forced to perform gay weddings against their wills and against religious canon can actually point to a single case of this having occurred anywhere in the world where non-heterosexual marriage is already permitted, then I'll start paying attention to this particular argument. But until then... it's a stupid argument).
4) I have a bunch of seedlings from my mother that I picked up on Saturday - Mum buys a bunch of seedlings every year to plant out in her vegetable garden, but the vege patch isn't really all that big, so she's usually got some over. So now she's giving them to me, and I'm going to be planting them out in my vegetable garden space. If the rain ever lets up for long enough for me to get it done. I will also be surrounding them with enough snail bait to hopefully keep the troops of snails we currently have decimating everything in the garden well away for a while.
5) We have received an invitation to come over for dinner tonight from my parents. My brother, in a fit of enthusiasm (and in the grip of a high-protein diet) decided since today is a public holiday (and he thus doesn't have to go in to work) he was going to barbecue an entire beef brisket. So he went and bought himself what looks like half a cow - seriously, the thing occupied about half the width of my parents' chest freezer. So they've invited myself and Steve over to help consume the wretched thing. I may wind up being given some leftovers to take home with me, which means cottage pie for dinner some time this week.
( Cover )
( Title Page (bit blurry, sorry, it tried to escape) )
It appears to be a teleplay by novelist Elizabeth Bowen about Anthony Trollope: Anthony Trollope: A New Judgement (OUP, 1946). As you can see, it's a beautiful little booklet, maybe A6 size, with a marbled cover, presented more like a monograph than a script.
AbeBooks adds this: "A play broadcast by the BBC in 1945." Hmm, BBC.
Adding "BBC" to the search produces The Wireless Past: Anglo-Irish Writers and the BBC, 1931-1968 via Google Books:
This warning against nostalgia and advocacy of the 'now' appears most clearly in Bowen’s final radio feature, "Anthony Trollope: A New Judgement", which was broadcast two days before VE day in May 1945. In this broadcast, Bowen continues the ghost-novelist conceit of her other radio features while also communicating more explicit messages about the relationship between print culture and nostalgia. The later broadcast was evidently popular—Oxford University Press published the script as a pamphlet in 1946. (100)
It strikes me that while this book may have been of the "now" in 1946, it has become an object of almost irresistible print culture nostalgia. Someone surely was thinking of that, even at the time. The deckle edge. The marbling. And printed right after the war, too, when paper might still have been scarce.
...actually, Wireless goes on to discuss the shortage -- apparently these broadcasts were "oriented towards publics that could not access books" (103). I'm not, via skimming, entirely clear why Bowen is anti-nostalgia, but then, she seems like someone who would be.
Any readers of Bowen? I've only read The Death of the Heart for a graduate course on the modernist novel.
There's no indication on the pamphlet itself that it is a screenplay or was ever broadcast or has anything to do with the BBC -- at first thumb-through, I thought it was a monograph in avant-garde format. Which I guess it is, or rather the record thereof.
It's a strange book. Essentially, it's the story of a friendship between an elderly man and little girl, growing and developing across the space of years, but it's also a complicated web of allusions through which Smith considers questions of time, memory, love and art; key influences are Dickens (the opening sentence is "It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times") and Ovid's Metamorphoses although there are many others. Its time-hopping, non-linear format jumps between the aftermath of the Brexit vote (the novel was published last October and it was clearly written, fast, after the referendum), the 1990s, the Profumo scandal of the 1960s and World War 2 and the years immediately preceding it. It's funny and thought-provoking, melancholy and angry and also somehow hopeful. And the prose is beautiful and poetic. It's a short book, and a quick read, but I think it will stay with me.
WIPs currently active: 6
Words written this week: 817
WIPs that got no words this week: 3 - broken dick epic, ace!Bitty longfic, Jack/Bitty kidfic
WIPs that did get words this week:
Born in the Blood: 223, and I have nearly! made! an important! transition! almost! maybe!
Slavefic #6: 203, and Threetoo! is thinking! some thoughts! about! something! I think I remember what I figured out about this literally a month ago! probably!
Kinktober fic for Day 1 (Bucky/Steve): 391, and I have remembered that the key to writing genuinely short PWP for me is “start with both characters in bed and at least one of them naked” so good job me.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2hoJBaL
You have been saying terrible things about people with "pre-existing" conditions for all of 2017, comparing us to cars, saying that we should pay more for our healthcare, even though most "pre-existing" conditions are not caused by anything a person does or by bad choices they make. In fact, since pregnancy is a "pre-existing condition," you are actively punishing people for having families--which seems to run counter to the agenda the Republican Party has been pushing for years The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal, which callously strips all protections from people like me (and which makes it entirely possible that a premature baby will hit his or her lifetime cap before leaving the hospital for the first time), makes it clear that in fact you have no idea of what it's like not to be able to afford healthcare, or to have a chronic, incurable condition, and that you don't even have enough imagination to be able to empathize with the people whose lives you are destroying.
Moreover, given that there is astonishing unity among healthcare professionals, patients' interest groups, and major insurers (plus all fifty Medicaid administrators and a current count of eighteen governors), it is quite clear that you aren't doing this because it's a good idea. You don't care whether it will be good or bad for your constituents. All you care about--and more than one of your Republican colleagues have admitted as much--is repealing "Obamacare." You're doing this because you made a campaign promise, and you're too blindly self-centered to see that this is a promise that would be better honored in the breach than in the observance. You and your colleagues are behaving childishly, destroying something only because you hate the person who built it. The ACA is not failing, as you keep claiming it is, Senator. It is suffering mightily from obstructionism and deliberate sabotage from you and your colleagues, and, yes, it does need reform. But your proposal isn't reform. It's wanton demolition of legislation that is working, legislation that is succeeding in making the lives of Americans better, demolition which you are pushing without the slightest consideration of its effects on the people you claim you serve.
I'm not writing this letter because I expect you will change your mind--or, frankly, even read it. I'm writing this letter because I'm angry and scared and unbelievably frustrated with your deliberately cruel and blindly stupid determination to do something that no one in this country wants. You won't change your mind, but you can't say you didn't know there was opposition.
P.S. I'd still really like to see you denounce white supremacism, Senator. Because right now, I unwillingly believe you don't think there's anything wrong with it.
Dear Ms. DeVos:
I am appalled at your decision to roll back the protections given to sexual assault survivors by Title IX. I'm not surprised, because it's perfectly in line with the other cruel, short-sighted, and bigoted decisions you've made since being appointed Secretary of Education, but I honestly wonder (and I wonder this about a number of Trump appointees, so you needn't think you're alone) how you live with yourself. How do you justify, even if only to yourself, the damage you're doing? Do you believe the lies you tell?
I'm not going to quote statistics, because I'm sure they've been shown to you. I'm not going to try to change your mind with personal stories. I am going to ask, futilely, that you stop and truly think about the young women whose college careers, already catastrophically imperiled by the sexual assault they have survived, may be destroyed because of the policies you're implementing. And I'm going to ask how on earth you think this destruction is part of your mandate as Secretary of Education?
Everyone's civil rights need to be respected. I believe this strongly enough to belong to the ACLU. But victims' rights are historically ignored, trampled on, and outright broken, especially in cases of sexual assault, especially when the perpetrator is white and male. I also strongly believe that the purpose of government should be to ensure that privilege is not used to skew justice. It was already crushingly difficult for sexual assault survivors to report their assailants. You have made it that much harder, and that much more likely that they will simply remain silent. I cannot help thinking that that silence is your goal, and that, Ms. DeVos, is truly shameful.
- This article (NYT "Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far") has made me super angry. Do you want to know what it is like trying to be a woman in a scientific space? Let me tell you.
- Your teachers will start telling you when you are young that you are “not ready” for advanced math.
- I was just lucky my mother stood up for me with that teacher. Otherwise I would not have been in calculus in high school.
- In college, you will be in classes where your male classmates will tell you how easy the homework was. You’ll doubt yourself a lot.
- Only to find out they were scoring Cs while you were getting As. Be ready for them to also say things like “women aren’t naturally scientists”.
- Those same men will look at you like a possible person to date, when you just want to do your work. You learn to close yourself off.
- Then, if you’re lucky, the president of Harvard will give a speech about women being biologically inferior in science.
- And you’ll get to listen to your peers repeating that all around you. You get into top grad schools, are told it’s because you’re a woman.
- You go. Then your advisor makes you uncomfortable by staring at your chest [she linked to this article: "How Sexual Harassment Halts Science"].
- You make it clear they made you uncomfortable. So they isolate you, insult you, and try to drive out of science.
- When it is too much, you report it to the chair. Who tells you that you are overreacting, or lying. And threatens to throw you out.
- You put your head down and try hard as you can not to “rock the boat” after the chair did you the “favor” of letting you switch advisors.
- The stress of merely surviving saps you of the creative energy you needed to write and advance academically.
- AND that ex-advisor is using his platform to denigrate you and your science.
- MIRACULOUSLY you make it out. You graduate, you get your Ph.D. and you get a postdoc.
- You work your BUTT off to catch up to peers. Build the networks your advisor usually helps you build and manage to get good science done.
- YOU DID IT! You got a fellowship!! You talk about your struggles. Many don’t believe you.
- Every day, articles like the one in the New York Times come out to remind you your voice matters less than a spoiled white boy’s.
- And those classmates and those harassers come back to your mind. And you wonder…
- Was the cost of having the audacity to want to be an astronomer while also being a woman worth it?
- Most women in science I know share some of my narrative. Do most men? No. They were assumed from kids to be sciencey.
- When the day comes that vast majority of science women DO NOT have a tale like mine, then, New York Times, we can talk “biology”.
It is the two lines "the stress of merely surviving saps you of the creative energy you needed to write and advance academically" and "you work your butt off to catch up to peers and build the networks your advisor usually helps you build and manage to get good science done" that, to me, highlight why action needs to be taken to address sexism (and racism, and classism, and ableism, and...) in the sciences. Societies have huge problems with discrimination and building those walls doesn't protect it, it makes it weaker and has a huge opportunity cost (imagine if all of those people that are interested and good at things were the ones given the opportunities instead of those who are meh about the whole thing but do it because it's easy because they are privileged... that is lost opportunity for all of us). This is also why professional organizations need to up their game when it comes to taking active measures to reverse the historic inequities that exist in their respective fields: the way the system work is that no matter how well someone does in their formative years, if they are part of a marginalized group they were not permitted to do as much as their privileged peers (I am, at the moment, quite frustrated with the Canadian Association of Physicists... they are doing a poor job at addressing the institutionalized discrimination in the field of physics in Canada). Again, we are all poorer for it. If we can't get this to work in the sciences (remember? supposed meritocracy?), then what chance do we have of sorting this out in society as a whole?
They were different though.
He was an able bodied white man who was tall, fit and extremely handsome.
She was an able bodied person of colour who was short, a bit pudgy and quite pretty.
Beside us was a group of middle aged parents with two teen children. Their conversation almost immediately went to the man who was working the room cleaning up tables. In essence they thought it was a pity that such a man was 'reduced' to doing such menial work. They said he looked like he should be in an office somewhere in charge of something important. Mom said, "What a disappointment he must be to his family."
None of them mentioned the woman. Not a word was said about her at all. They felt the work was beneath him but not her. She fit in their mind as being in her place. He did not.
When we were done he came over to pick up our stuff and we chatted briefly about the day. He was tall and fit and handsome and also quite charming. He carried himself proudly and clearly did not see himself as some huge failure and disappointment. I found myself praying that he didn't hear the people at the next table.
How does it come to be that we judge people so harshly based on superficial characteristics? It happens to me all the time but I realized after this experience that I am so not alone with this, I get a constant barrage of prejudice because my difference is multidimensional which multiplies prejudice. But it's everywhere, if this handsome, tall, fit man has to deal with those who feel, without knowing him that his work is beneath him and that he failed in his quest of 'white man destiny' then I wonder if it is possible for anyone to go a day simply respecting everyone in their path?
I'm not sure it is.
What do you think?
In this book, Gil (now officially charged with investigating murders, after his earlier successes on an amateur basis) is called to a Glasgow almshouse where the unpopular Deacon has been found stabbed with no shortage of people who might have had a motive to kill him. He's also due to be married in a week's time and his investigations are both helped and hindered by family and friends arriving in town for the wedding, while he and his fiancée, Alys, are both suffering from pre-wedding nerves.
I enjoyed this a lot - the series really seems to be hitting its stride by this stage, with the core characters established enough to feel like old friends now; Gil's investigations manage not to feel out of place in the historical setting while still allowing him to do things like estimate times of death from the condition of a corpse. I did spot a couple of clues well ahead of Gil, and had worked out the identity of the murderer by about two-thirds of the way through the book, but then it's always nice to feel cleverer than the detective!
CUSTOMER: Does it work?
ME: It is over 20 years old, as you can see from the fact that it is a giant Nokia brick phone, and so I doubt that it currently has a charged battery since it wouldn’t -
CUSTOMER: Well, then it won’t be very useful! What good is a phone that you can’t call with?
ME: You can probably get a battery elsewhere, but people might just collect them.
Or then again:
CUSTOMER: 39 euros!! How can a Barbie be 39 euros???
ME: Well, sometimes they cost even more than that, but in this case, it’s kind of fancy… the pink wedding tux… and it’s obviously pretty old, probably from the 80s…
CUSTOMER: Why would anybody pay 39 bucks for a Barbie doll???
ME: Indeed, but I think people collect Barbies.
CUSTOMER: Oh!! They do??? Ohhhhhh.
ME: Our regular, not-collectible Barbies are over in the toy department, not in this cabinet of rare items.
CUSTOMER: Oh!! They are? I’ll look in the toy department.
this post on Tumblr
And here is the other end of the den:
We really like the blinds but mostly we like that they're installed because that's the official end of the remodel. We might do more stuff later, but right now, that's it. Done and dusted.
I spent several hours with Mother today, too, and as she said, it helped ease the pain of losing my sister until she returns in February. We had a quiet day, spending part of it in the garden, and then I massaged lotion on her arms and legs and rubbed her feet.
Anyway, my sister is three thousand miles away.
Because they were here and we were so busy, I didn't practice ukulele or yoga, and I didn't read much online. I do have a few links but first I want to recommend the documentary Score. I loved it so much and am encouraging Webster to see it as well. I gather it was kickstarter funded??? Whatever, it was really interesting and I learned a lot.
I also want to recommend a new-to-me podcast, The Fall Line. I learned about it from Georgia Hardstarck on My Favorite Murder and I'm grateful she mentioned it. Dannette and Jeannette Millbrook (often misnamed as "Millbrooks"), 15, disappeared on the afternoon of March 18, 1990. They have not been seen since. Their case was closed in 1991, and not reopened until 2013. Many neighbors expressed surprise, stating that they didn't even know the girls had gone missing, or that they heard the twins had been found.
What happened to the twins? Why was their case closed? Why did they receive so little media attention? Where does their case stand now? Heartbreaking. Similar in structure to Somebody Knows Something, another great podcast.
I miss the ocean! So I really enjoyed this timelapse of a thirty day sea voyage. Found via Kottke, of course.
Alas, I have been paying attention to politics and we have called both our senators about that horrible health care bill, fat lot of good that will do. But as a Bay Area girl in my heart, I was pretty thrilled to read the official Golden State Warriors statement: We believe there is nothing more American than our citizens having the right to express themselves freely on matters important to them. Ha!
And that's it from me. I need to recover a bit, get back into uke and yoga, and of course catch up with all of you. I hope you are well.
The situation was not helped that in order to find where I was staying I needed to go to the Porter's Lodge at St. John's College in Oxford. This process was impeded by a complete and utter lack of any signage or guidance. I was reasonably sure I was close to it, but to find it I basically pushed open a massive fortress door (which was mysteriously unlocked, and which I saw people occasionally wander out of as I stood on the sidewalk trying to get my UK phone plan to works... note: that remains a work in progress) and wandered into an empty courtyard and meandered into another courtyard and randomly went into a doorway to another area where I saw an open door to something that looked like an office and went in... and there it was (there were a lot of other possibilities for where I could have gone, it was extremely lucky that I "zen navigated" my way to the right place... if nothing else, I would have asked anyone I found for help). I paid for my flat (in advance... thank goodness my Canadian bank card worked, it is supposed to work like Visa debit card and did) got the keys and fobs and set out to find the place, dragging my luggage behind me... it was walking distance, but further than I expected by a little bit. I got in (hauled everything up three flights of stairs). You walk in the door and there is a vestibule with a light switch and two doors leading off of it in opposite directions. In one direction is a living room with a chair, a small couch, a foldable dining table, wall shelving, a desk, a small cabinet, and what was a fireplace (now sealed up). Off the living room is another door that leads to a small kitchen with stove, small fridge, microwave, toaster, sink, cupboards above and below with plates, cookware, etc.. Going the other direction from the vestibule is the bedroom with a queen sized bed, bedside tables with lamps, and a little closet with an ironing board, iron, vacuum, etc.. From the bedroom is another door and a fairly large bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower. It is far from luxurious, but it is certainly more spacious than a hotel room (or hostel room, which is where I was originally supposed to be staying... there is a private hostel for visitors to the facilities in Harwell, but it was full so one of the physicists from Oxford was able to get me this flat I am in now).
It was late afternoon, and I went out for dinner. A lot of the places nearby that looked promising were actual British pubs, and by that I mean I could get beer, but not really anything in the way of food from what I could see (none of the customers had anything but pints). I ended up going to what looked like a chain restaurant (https://www.browns-restaurants.co.uk/
From there, I came back home (home is where I hang my hat) — via a convenience store where I bought vegetable samosas and an orange juice for a snack later — and pretty much fell asleep. I just got up am going to try to go back to sleep again soon (had a samosa, it was pretty good, and the juice) but will try to repair my shoe again with the glue I got (and brought), see if Virgin Mobile can fix the issue with my local phone plan in the UK which doesn't seem to be working, and maybe put my clothes away (and maybe even take a shower, which would be a public service at this point I'm sure).
If I wake up early enough, I might do the London hop on/hop off bus tour thing tomorrow but I'm not going to set an alarm. There is also the possibility of just doing a tour of Oxford (they have open topped double decker buses and lots to see here as well, it's quite the tourist town). I also need to figure out where to catch the private shuttle bus from Oxford to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Monday morning (I need to be there by 9:30AM, which seems quite civilized). Two shuttle tickets were waiting for me at the Porter's Lodge that had been sent by mail by my contact. The address was "Phelonius Friar, c/o The College Porter, St. John's College, St. Giles, Oxford, OX1 3JP"... seriously, this place has no actual address... you either know where it is, or you don't! Fyi, I found a little medieval door to the street (short, and studded with iron things) that is the door the area where the Porter lurks, err works that I can go to in the future if I need to. It allows access to one of the courtyards I had wandered through earlier, and has a doorbell that will summon the porter 24/7 from what I was told. It is unlocked, I was also told, until 11PM. There is absolutely no indication on or anywhere near that door or the buzzer as to what might lie behind it or what it's purpose is. I am thinking I will have to leave quite early for the shuttle bus as well... they indicate a location, but I suspect it is also a "you know where it is or you don't" sort of thing... and I don't ;).
I imagine that this is the sort of thing that goes on inside these mysterious institutions in Oxford:
( We were dorks, albeit adventurous ones. W/pix. )
I am glad to be out of the land of $20 sandwiches and ubiquitous soundtracks, though. Whew.
Obviously this hurricane season is a nightmare and a lot of people fall somewhere between inconvenienced and in dire straits, and I'm doing what I can do help, but at the same time I was selfishly glad that our timing worked out so that we made it there and back between storms. I met some people on the flight down who were hoping to find their houses relatively undamaged and some families at the hotel who were waiting for power to be restored from Orlando and Tampa all the way down to Miami. Good luck to everyone.
I finished a draft of that Equinox treat! Now I can't stop watching it. It is a really special feeling to have the time, energy and capability to make something that comes close to realizing the aesthetics and emotions of the initial conception.
So You Want to Be a Robot by A. Merc Rustad. I bought this at Readercon after being bowled over by How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps. I was afraid the rest of the stories would pale in comparison to that one, which is placed at the end of the collection here, but almost every one so far has left a lump in my throat. Hardly any duds in the bunch. Compelling SF and fantasy concepts with a ton of agender, transgender, genderqueer, asexual and/or queer protagonists and supporting characters. Robots and merpeople and aliens and monsters and supervillains and plots that stand on their own even as they allegorize things like systemic oppression of homosexuality by the Church. Highly recommended.
After years of struggling to build a sustainable exercise program to help manage my PCOS and address chronic muscle tightness without hurting myself, I bit the bullet and rejiggered my budget to accommodate a package of sessions with a personal trainer. I dunno, it seemed like a thing reserved for athletes and wealthy people, but I'm really glad I admitted I needed help and went for it. After two sessions and three or four weeks, my hips are less screamy and I'm noticing slightly improved stamina, like when synn and I climbed a millionty stairs to go on the water slides at Universal. Although it's still early days, simply feeling like I am in knowledgeable hands and am doing something instead of worrying about it is helpful. As expected, the main issue so far has been balancing gym time and hobby time, especially with all this weekend travel. I'm trying to take it a week at a time.
The Vietnam War documentary on PBS. Star Trek reruns. (A channel called Heroes & Icons started coming in over the digital antenna, so now there's TOS + TNG + DS9 every weeknight, and VOY & ENT after I go to bed.) Soon, Star Trek: Discovery. Auction vid sources continue on. Let's see: I skimmed the first seasons of The Magicians and Powers, both darker than expected; BrainDead, too close to reality to enjoy; and Supergirl, a welcome shift in tone. James Olson is a cutie. Penny from The Magicians wasn't hard on the eyes, either, although the showrunners' reluctance to let him wear shirts started to make me feel manipulated.
Sometimes crummy and sometimes happy. There's the world, as you know, and on a personal level, alongside the gym stuff, my doctor and I are switching around a couple of things and seeing how they go; I'm still in the adjustment period. If the above sounds unusually upbeat, it's because I waited for a time when I didn't want to complain or sigh or strangle everyone at the office to write this post. Having 10 of the last 11 days off work helped as well. More on that in the next entry.
[We interrupt the previously scheduled rant for another rant.]
At some point, if you are so lucky, you will be old. You may already be old. Somebody you love may already be old. Old people, being people, require medical care, and are often treated – because this is basically what primary care in our society consists of – with medications.
Thing is, old bodies handle medicine differently than young ones.
( Take the liver... [3,340 Words] )
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He concluded "no" because the writer would have to :
A. write a mystery plot as well as Christie
B. get all of Poirot's quirks right and
C. get the details of the age he was in correct
and he didn't think it was possible.
Off the top of my head, I can think of a dozen fanfic writers who'd be up to the task.
- LONG WEEKEND FTW! \o/ \o/ \o/
- Today's turning out to be a 3 Hours of 90s Alt/Rock Hits kinda day. ^___^
Lately I've been enjoying tinkering with my website: igoss.net/archive. I barely know anything about php and css, but like playing around until, through trial and error or happy accident, I get the result I want. I'm really glad that I finally fixed the menu. It's now on a separate (and easily updatable) page, hence the having to teach myself php thing. That meant going back and manually changing the code and extension in what felt like billions of files, but at least from here on out, updating the menu will only mean changes to a single page. :b
It's been about 4 years since I've done a proper update, so it's slow going. I've uploaded some 2017 fanart to the site, but still have to deal with all 2013-2016. Plus I now gotta give MCU fanart a whole page for itself. Eh. Keeps me occupied when I need to take my mind off RL stresses.
- The Defenders
I spend this week *finally* watching The Defenders. Just finished episode 6 - just 2 more to go. Surprisingly, I'm really enjoying it? I don't even find Rand that utterly annoying (except for his hair). I'm sort of liking how every character has clear flaws, and the push-pull of having to work with each other. I particularly get a kick out of Jessica Jones being 100% done with everyone, especially Matt.
I haven't even gotten to the end as yet, but I'm already looking forward to more in this 'verse. I mean, I'm not gonna subject myself to watching S1 Iron Fist - let's not get crazy - but I'm definitely gonna go check out more of Jessica Jones (I'd only seen the first 2-3 eps).
I'm psyching myself to try Inktober, since it's definitely gonna be integrated into drawesome's challenge activities for the entire month of October. I want to attempt to create something daily for the first week. And maybe stick to weekends for the rest. We'll see how it goes. At least I have the official list of Prompts to get my creativity going: ( 2017 Inktober Prompt List )
I'm thinking of trying brushwork with ink, not just using a pen or marker. Will be interesting experimenting with an ink pot, and painting in monochrome as well. I tend to lean heavily on colour blending to create visual impact in my art, so it will be a good opportunity to play around with positive/negative space etc. instead, to get that sense of drama.
bars around the toilet
bars in the shower
doors wide enough to accommodate my chair
toilet on floor not hanging from wall
Those are my basic asks. This had been checked assiduously and everyone was confident that we were good to go. So we arrived at the hotel, tired from a full day lecture and a long drive. Rolled into the lobby to find that a wheelchair user couldn't get from the lobby to the room because there were three steps up to the elevator.
To get up to the elevator we had to leave the hotel, go back into the parking lot push uphill to the next door, the door they brought luggage through from large tour buses, and then push up the really steep ramp leading to the door. It was hard to do. I usually push myself and rarely ask Joe for help but I simply couldn't do the ramp. Joe himself had difficulty, even with my help making it up the steep slope to the door.
In the morning we went down for breakfast only to find that they had two huge luggage carts piled high with luggage and one cleaning cart blocking my way out. We moved the cleaning cart and then I carefully picked my way by the luggage cart really hurting my hand along the way. But I got by and I got out.
Then it was back into the lobby but something had happened to the door overnight and now it opened and closed quickly. I rolled back to the door because, again, the slope was steep and I had to use hands and feet to get up it. But the door would close just before I got there, the automatic sensor couldn't see me. So it was down and back up, down and back up, down and back up, the third time Joe stuck his foot in the door and held it as it pushed hard against his foot to close. But I got in.
I went straight to the desk, told them that I hated going into hotels through back doors and that if they had one disabled entrance and a car park full of cars parked in disabled bays they shouldn't be blocking that one door, I told them I had hurt my hand in trying to get by and that my hand was integral to my movement.
They stared at me.
Said not a word.
Just stared at me.
It is amazing what the privileged think is good enough for others. It's amazing no one though that it might be a problem for people having to use back door entrances. It's amazing that they call themselves accessible yet treat their disabled guests as second class citizens.
Let me give a hint. If what you think is good enough for others isn't good enough for you ... you are, without question a bigot.
Hulu has episodes from 3 seasons of A Crime to Remember, which is an Investigation Discovery show. In my ongoing love/hate relationship with true crime media, ID stands out for their high production values and for about as unexploitative an attitude as you can have. (I wonder, perhaps unworthily, if part of what makes ACtR seem thoughtful rather than vulture-like is that the executive producer and a bunch of the writers & directors are women.) I have also been very fond of Homicide Hunter, partly because the show does not try to sugarcoat Lt. Joe Kenda at all. He's very good at his job, and he is a ruthless avenging angel, but he is not a nice man. I kind of adore him. (I'm pretty sure he'd hate me, but that's okay.)
But ACtR. All the episodes are period pieces. (I joked to my therapist that they must have come up with the idea because they wanted everyone to be able to smoke on camera.) I'm not super fond of the gimmick, in which every episode has a narrator who is a minor fictional character in the real crime being portrayed, but most of the time it works okay. (It works extremely well--give credit where it's due--in "The 28th Floor" (2.4).) The actors--"character" actors all--are excellent, and most of the time they even get the accents matched up to the region. (There are exceptions.) And the producers have interview clips with true crime writers who have written about the cases; with people who investigated the cases (when those people are still alive); with Mary Ellen O'Toole and other experts in various fields; with friends and family of murderers and victims alike. They frequently featured Michelle MacNamara before her death in April 2016--pretty obviously because she was very good at conveying information clearly but without sounding scripted. And, again, because they seem to look for women. They also have gotten Catherine Pelonero more than once. (I actually haven't been able to bring myself to watch the episode about Kitty Genovese, but Pelonero does a great job in the other episodes I have watched her in.)
My true, serious beef with ACtR is its insistent trope of the loss of American innocence. Almost every case is framed as something that destroyed a piece of American innocence, and this is infuriating to me for several reasons:
1. America has never been innocent.
2. The idea of the Golden Age, the before time just out of reach in which everything was perfect, is a very, very old fallacy. (The Romans were all over it.) I think it is pernicious, because it validates reactionary attempts to return to "the good old days," which are "good" (in 20th century America) only if you are white, middle-class or above, and it helps if you're male. ACtR does deal with racism, sexism, and classism, but it doesn't seem to recognize the contradictory position it puts itself in thereby.
3. Casting these crimes as destroyers of American innocence erases crimes that went before. I can give one very specific example: "Baby Come Home" (2.8) about the 1953 kidnapping and murder of Bobby Greenlease, who was murdered before his kidnappers ever tried to extort ransom from his parents. Now I am not at all denying that what happened to Bobby Greenlease is vile and horrible and an expression of the worst part of human nature, but claiming that Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Heady somehow invented kidnapping children for ransom--or even just the worst and most cruel of bad faith negotiations after the child was already dead--erases what happened to, for one example, Charles Lindbergh, Jr. Or, for another example, Charley Ross. If there was any innocence to be lost in this particular genre of crime, it was lost in 1874, 79 years before Bobby Greenlease's death.
So, yeah. That's the one thing that I really think they get wrong. Otherwise, they do a lovely job, and they have taught me about murders I'd never heard of but I think should not be forgotten: the terrible deaths of Judge Curtis Chillingworth and his wife Marjorie in West Palm Beach in 1955; Charles Whitman's sniper assault on the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Texas in 1966 (which I knew about, but knew kind of wrongly); the bizarre murder of Betty Williams in Odessa, Texas, in 1961; the murder of Veronica Gedeon in New York in 1937, and how the case was largely solved by the editors of the true crime magazines she was a cover model for; the murder of Roseann Quinn in New York in 1973, which was the inspiration for Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and I deeply appreciate the way ACtR questions the LfMG myth and suggests that Theresa Dunn is a cruel travesty of the real Roseann Quinn and the reality of her death. If you are interested in criminology or American history (because nothing tells you more about a culture than its cause celebre murders), I commend this series to your attention.
Fandom: Xena Warrior Princess
Song: Airplane (edited for length) by The Indigo Girls
Characters: Gabrielle, Argo, Xena
Summary: Travelling with Xena is hard
Download and streaming at my journal
The Little Rock Zoo recently announced the arrival of two Pygmy Slow Loris babies to their family.
Born in August, the tiny male and female primates are healthy and active in their exhibit. They have been given the names Apollo and Artemis and were born to 3-year-old mom, Mihn Yih, and 7-year-old dad, Frasier.
The new births are part of a Species Survival Plan by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. There are currently only 56 Pygmy Slow Lorises in human care in AZA zoos, including the four at the Little Rock Zoo.
"Our work in the field of conservation is one of the most important roles we have as an AZA-accredited zoo," said Director Susan Altrui. "To have not one but two babies born here is significant not just for us but for the future of this vulnerable species."
Apollo and Artemis were born three days prior to the calculated due date the Zoo's keepers had determined based on observation. So far, first-time mom, Mihn Yih, has been an attentive mother. As she works to gather food, she is careful that she is never too far from where the two siblings are “parked” on branches. As they get older, she will leave them for longer periods of time, until they are ready to be on their own.
The Pygmy Slow Loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus) is a species found east of the Mekong River in Vietnam, Laos, eastern Cambodia, and China. It occurs in a variety of forest habitats, including tropical dry forests, semi-evergreen, and evergreen forests.
The animal is nocturnal and arboreal, crawling along branches using slow movements in search of prey. Unlike other primates, it does not leap. It lives in small groups with one or two offspring. An adult can grow to around 19 to 23 cm (7.5 to 9.1 in) long and has a very short tail, and it reaches a max weight of about 450 g (1.0 lb). Their diet consists of fruits, insects, small fauna, tree sap, and floral nectar.
The Pygmy Slow Loris is classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The pet trade, habitat destruction and hunting are the biggest threats to its survival.
As much as I thought it might not, time is starting to assume its normal course. The days are starting to be the length that I expect them to be, not stretching out in front of me like a desert I didn’t bring enough water to get across. For a while there I had to be so busy just to fill those days up. Walking, riding, swimming, cleaning, organizing… if I stopped too long and tried to do something like write or knit then I had too many of those pesky feelings all at once and had to clean out another damn closet. Now I’m mostly okay as long as I don’t think about how Thanksgiving is in two and a half weeks and I really don’t know how to manage that holiday if I can’t have it with my mother and where do we have dinner now for all the holidays and really I’m going to have to move because my dining room can’t hold everyone and… see. There it goes. I’ll worry about that next week when it might not result in having to clean all the grout in the house with an old toothbrush after jogging 3km.
The point, before I started worrying again, was that things are okay enough now (oh man who is going to make the pies) that as long as I stay sorted, I can knit, and it feels like it helps a lot, and what’s really interesting is that this idea, that once the shock passes, that knitting is going to be a really useful way through grief… It’s not just me who thinks it. My inbox (thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderful notes and letters and thoughts, I am reading them all, even if I can’t answer) is chock full (okay there are five) people who have written to me not just to suggest that knitting would be helpful (because there are a lot more than five of you who think that) but to call the kind of knitting they think would be helpful “Grief Knitting.” These charming knitters have even gone so far as to cite the specific projects that they think would be the most helpful, and you know what’s interesting? They have a lot in common.
All the projects are challenging – challenging from the perspective of that particular knitter, for sure, but challenging none the less. They were kinda tricky for the knitter to complete, and they took up some of that scary mental energy that comes with grief. (Oh no mum always makes the turnips too.) All the projects are things that sparked a tremendous amount of joy and pride – the knitters think what they made was beautiful, and feel that they did a good job… and finally (here’s where it gets weird.) All of the projects but for one, were for babies.
Think about that. It’s a pretty compelling bit of information, and it makes me feel better that the two things I’ve knit since my mum died are both tiny things. First the little hat, and now Elliot is bedecked in a matching sweater.
It’s beautiful to be sure – the yarn is Northampton, but with a bit of a twist. It was the natural colour, but I gave it to Judith to dye at the last Strung Along retreat, and it went for a swim in her indigo pot. It’s a beautiful blue now, and reminds me of her when I look at it, which is really quite nice, and it suits Elliot pretty well.
The pattern is Gus, and here’s where it didn’t quite fit the bill to be Grief Knitting, it was pretty easy. The pattern’s well written – so I didn’t struggle with anything at all. I’ll have to try something from a less competent designer next.
I tell you this, even unfinished (which it technically is, I’m waiting for the buttons) it does spark a tremendous amount of Joy. Part of it is that little face, and the other part? It is the pockets. I can’t tell you how much I love pockets on a baby sweater. It gives me an unreasonable amount of happiness to think of two perfect, tiny pockets, in a proper, handy spot… all for someone who has absolutely nothing to put in them.
Yay, the cover for The Murderbot Diaries III: Rogue Protocol is on Tor.com:
The cover reveal for Murderbot Diaries II, Artificial Condition was here on The Verge:
Art by Jaime Jones