We spent one week in Almaty and one week in Astana, with a day in Bishkek and a train journey across Kazakhstan. It was every bit as wonderful as I could have imagined, and we had an amazing time. The people are so lovely and the cities so beautiful.
We spent one week in Almaty and one week in Astana, with a day in Bishkek and a train journey across Kazakhstan. It was every bit as wonderful as I could have imagined, and we had an amazing time. The people are so lovely and the cities so beautiful.
You post a comment with the lists of your requests for fandoms/characters/prompts, and the type of gifts you'd like to receive, and the mods post your lists in a separate post which is temporarily screened. People may then gift you fic and art based on what you've posted.
You don't have to gift other people - it's not an exchange. However, it's hoped you'll go looking for someone who has interests that match yours and give them a little something.
Sign Ups at fandomgiftbox run until the 7th July.
But I do have Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, Sense8, and a number of movies lined up for watching...
Published: June 2017 by Subterranean Press
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Rivers of London/Peter Grant #7.5
Genres: Contemporary fantasy
Available: Publisher (print and electronic) ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia ~Kobo
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.
Enter PC Peter Grant junior member of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Assessment unit a.k.a. The Folly a.k.a. the only police officers whose official duties include ghost hunting. Together with Jaget Kumar, his counterpart at the British Transport Police, he must brave the terrifying the crush of London’s rush hour to find the source of the ghosts.
Joined by Peter’s wannabe wizard cousin, a preschool river god and Toby the ghost hunting dog their investigation takes a darker tone as they realise that a real person’s life might just be on the line.
And time is running out to save them.
The Furthest Station is a quick novella that retains the spirit of the series but which remains unsatisfying.
Peter’s distinctive voice is present; even though the novella is short, there’s still space for his digressions and pop culture references. There’s even a few footnotes addressed to his American counterpart, though I found these a bit disruptive. They call into question the nature of the story, particularly as there is no framework set up to indicate Peter is addressing someone particular.
The story does a reasonable job of introducing who Peter is and what he does for a living. However, I’m not sure I’d recommend it as an entry point to the series. For example, the oddness of Molly is never explained for a new reader and the references to Beverley and her family are cursory. There’s a lot of background present which is likely to make it confusing.
I enjoyed seeing Peter spend more time with Abigail, though there’s never any real change in their relationship. Preserving the status quo for the novels in such a way leaves it ultimately feeling like filler.
The main plot held up fairly well until the ending. While it was nice to see an acknowledgement that not all police work ends tidily or in a dramatic fashion, the number of loose ends made it unsatisfying to me.
All in all, The Furthest Station was a pleasant read, but not one of Aaronovitch’s better works.
Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.
During the week, baked a loaf of the Shipton Mill 3 Malts and Sunflower Organic Brown Flour.
Friday supper: Gujerati khichchari - absentmindedly used ground cumin rather than cumin seed but I don't think the effect was disastrous.
Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls recipe, 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/dark rye flours with maple sugar and sour cherries.
Today's lunch: redfish fillets rubbed with Cajun seasoning, brushed with milk and egg and coated in panko crumbs, panfried in olive oil, served with steamed samphire tossed in butter and baby leeks healthy-grilled in avocado oil and splashed with gooseberry vinegar.
Dhalgren: Sunrise is comprised of bits of text from what I assume is Dhalgren the book, accompanied by dance, light, and music, almost all of it improvised. Also, some of the music was performed on imaginary instruments. "That must be a theremin!" I thought brightly to myself on seeing one of the instruments, mostly because I don't know what a theremin looks like and therefore I assume that any instrument I don't recognize is a theremin. But it turns out it was not a theremin, because there was a credit in the program for 'invented instruments,' though I don't know whether the one I saw was the Diddly Bow, the Bass Llamelophone, or the Autospring.
Anyway, so my new understanding of Dhalgren is that it is about a city in which Weird, Fraught and Inexplicable Things Are Happening. This is not a very thorough understanding, but it's still more of an understanding than I had before. The show is composed of seven scene-vignettes:
Prelude: A brief reading of [what I assume to be] the book's introduction.
Orchid: Three women dance on a bridge and a man acquires a prosthetic hand-weapon-implement. The director at the end gave special thanks to the dude who made it, understandably so, because it very effectively exuded Aura of Sinister!
Scorpions: Gang members dance and fight in front of a building? Alien gang members? Just aliens? Anyway, some entities wrapped in glowing lights have a dance fight in front of a building; the text is from the point of view of a worried inhabitant of the building who Has Concerns.
Moons: The moon has a new secondary moon friend named George. The dancing in this section was one of my favorite bits -- the Moon did some amazing things with her light-strung hula hoop. aamcnamara pointed out later that the narration in this bit, which featured a wry and dubious radio announcer, seemed like a perhaps-intentional echo of Welcome to Night Vale. I have never actually listened to Welcome to Night Vale, but from my cultural osmosis knowledge this seems about right.
Fire: The light show took front and center in this bit about everything being on fire and also, simultaneously, not on fire. The maintenance man doing the narration is very plaintive about all of this. There may also have been dancing in this bit but I don't remember what anyone was doing.
Sex: The guy with the sinister prosthesis has an intimate encounter with two other people inside a blanket fort. I always like the blanket-fort method of showing sex onstage, it hints appropriately while allowing actors not to have to do anything they're uncomfortable with. At some point in this process the sinister prosthesis is removed for the first time, which I expect symbolizes something about human connection.
Sunrise: The characters who have previously just had sex emerge from the building and now seem to have a difference of opinion about whether the sunrise is just normal, or whether the earth is actually falling into the sun. Eventually all the characters are onstage being distressed, along with the music and the lighting -- again, really cool light effects here, especially the final overwhelming projection of light followed by and darkness.
It's a one-hour show without intermission, which we all agreed afterwards was for the best; the deeply weird mood and atmosphere would have been difficult to slip back into if one could get up in the middle to go to the bathroom. For those of you who have actually read Dhalgren, I will leave you with aamcnamara's sum-up: "It was a strange experience, but honestly could have been stranger."
I finally took a benadryl at around 3 am and slept until 8:45 so I guess I'll call it a win. Then I stayed in bed and finally read 84, Charing Cross Road, which innie_darling lent me the other night as it doesn't come in an ebook yet. What a darling little book! I highly recommend it.
And I just finished watching this week's Orphan Black: Beneath Her Heart. Alison once again proves she's the stealth MVP of clone club, and also who knew it would ever be possible to love Donnie so much? What a great episode!
( spoilers )
Now I am getting ready to meet L. for boozy brunch so I hope you all have a lovely Sunday.
I finished two fics yesterday. Well, one is certainly done, barring a thorough proofread. It's gen, so that's not nearly as hard to arrange as it might otherwise be. The other needs a second opinion if I can find someone willing given the moderately obscure fandom and the explicit and potentially squicky content. I've got a couple of people I can ask, but I was a little too fried last night to do it.
We went out for frozen lemonade at Sweetwaters last night. Sweetwaters gives coupons to the middle schools to hand out to every child who gets at least three A's on their final report card, and the school put the coupons in the envelopes with the report cards. Cordelia got hers and got a cinnamon roll. I got a frozen lemonade and a chocolate croissant. Scott got a ginger tea.
We finished that up a little after 8:00, and as we were just across the street from Plum Market, we went over there for the half price bakery goods.
It's been very cool, in the low 70s, so Scott opened a lot of our windows early yesterday afternoon. They stayed open all night and are still open. I don't think this relates to my sneezing because that didn't start until the windows had been open for about twenty hours.
Cordelia has been doing movie marathons. She's currently got about a dozen DVDs from the library. Of course, mostly what she's been doing is listening to her Hamilton CDs over and over (those were a gift from Scott's brother and his family). We listened to a little of that in the car last night, on the way to and from Sweetwaters. I still can't say that it does anything for me, but I'm glad Cordelia has something she's really passionate about.
Both of our Time Capsule storage drives are insisting that they're too full to allow backups. The program is supposed to delete old backups as needed in order to keep making current backups, and we have backups going back at least two years. At this point, anything from 2015 can absolutely go. One of the drives has a terabyte of storage, and the other has three. We have no idea what's going on to make them say they only have a few megabytes of space left. Scott thinks that wiping them is probably going to be necessary. We'll start with just one in case we need the backups on the other before we have clean backups on the first. Scott keeps saying that he needs a lot of time to do this and then getting cranky with me when I mention that it needs to be done (and later today he will be more cranky because I didn't make him do it while he had time).
Maybe he can figure out how to get Cordelia's laptop to backup via Time Machine, too. We've never managed that, and at this point, she's actually got stuff she'd be devastated to lose. It wasn't so important when she was seven.
19.A song that makes you think about life
Rizzo's story is sadly overlooked in many productions of Grease, perhaps because this song is the only time that any of it is directly expressed (although it's very much there in the film, if one looks for it in her expressions and tones of voice) - but she's perhaps the only character who understands the whole game that everybody is playing, and conciously chooses how much to engage.
We all struggled with the heat this week. This house does a good cross-breeze when such a thing is worth doing - this week that was usually from approx 9pm to 7am, so a lot of opening and closing windows and doors according to temperature and people being awake. We acquired a standing fan to help. I did a lot of waking up about 5am to open things and then droop back on my bed waiting for the breeze to help. I think I'd be a lot less resentful of the lost sleep if I'd been able to be productive with the time, but no.
I went out to a PARTY yesterday and enjoyed catching up with people, and being introduced to Subjective Guess Who? This is played using the standard board game set, but you can only ask questions which have no objective answer - some memorable ones from last night included "Have they ever played World of Warcraft?" and "Are they a morning person?". The kibbitzing from the audience is the best part.
Going to the party was utterly self-indulgent given the state of my studying since the election. Today will probably not include much studying either, as plans already include: taking C to see Transformers: The Last Knight, attempting to get some sandals beforehand, getting in my weekly call to my mother before she gets on a bus to San Francisco, and making the cheating version of Tudor costume for C's class trip to Kentwell this week.
Today, James and I will go to the hospital to fetch her belongings. Monday, the social worker will contact me about arrangements for her disposition.
The kids are fine. James and I are fine. My mom is alternately fine and wrecked, which will probably be the way of things for a while.
We lost her a long, long time ago. There's some finality in the past day's events, but not much has changed.
Munchkin the Younger came up yesterday to check in, to tell me that I am her real mother, and to get comfort in talking to someone who understands not having any emotion left for the person we lost all those years ago.
I'm sorry there was no way for us to reach her. I'm sorry her life was sad and hard, and that she caused so much damage in our family.
She's been wanting lots of hugs and cuddling and reassurance that I'll always be there for her. She's also afraid any time she lets herself stop and think (mostly in the evenings). Her days have been pretty full, but she comes home and tells me that, even though she had fun, she missed me horribly. I think she's got some sort of worry that, if she's not checking up on me regularly, I'll just vanish.
I finally listened to the voicemail Cordelia's psychiatrist left. She says that the Celexa ought to stay at a steady level for twenty four hours on a single dose and that this may mean the dose is too low. Cordelia is afraid of upping the dose because she's connected her tiredness to the medication. I need to call the doctor back on Monday to discuss it.
Cordelia has more or less mastered swallowing small pills. Last night, she asked what I take for cramps, and I gave her a naproxen. It took her two swallows to get it down, but she did, and she was astonished to discover that it did help.
Her report card came today. It's all A's with an A+ in gym and an A- in algebra. Cordelia's of the opinion that they can't have counted the algebra final in that grade because she thinks that would have taken her down to B+ or even B range. I can't tell from PowerSchool whether or not she's right. It doesn't actually matter. B grades are good, too, and that particular class has been nasty for all the students due to the teacher not being very good.
Scott had to work 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. today. We got a call from the shift supervisor about half an hour after Scott went to bed. The guy wanted to make sure Scott knew he had to come in. He kept stumbling over what he was saying and talking in circles. I'm pretty sure that he had a script in mind for the call and that I blew it up by saying that Scott was in bed and couldn't come to the phone. Scott identified the caller simply based on my description of the guy's confusion.
I ended up staying up a bit later than I meant to because the writing was working well. For some reason, just the thought of needing to go to bed makes me able to produce words and plot and all of that. I think I slept a solid eight hours once I did go to bed, so there's that. I kind of want to go back to bed, though.
Scott has Monday scheduled off because it's our anniversary. I have a couple of minor errands that will be much easier if someone gives me a ride, so we'll deal with those. The rest of the day is ours. Cordelia is now saying that Scott and I should celebrate however we want, including without her, because it's our day. (She said something on the order of "I wasn't involved in your wedding.") This is a change from years past. I don't know that we'll leave her at home, but it's nice that, if we did, she'd be okay with it.
- Let Me Go - Heaven 17
- Hit That Perfect Beat - Bronski Beat
- Don't Go - Yaz
- Love to Hate You - Erasure
- Obsession - Animotion
- West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys
- Tenderness - General Public
- I Melt With You - Modern English
- Whisper to a Scream - Icicle Works
- Cruel Summer - Bananarama
- Voices Carry - 'Til Tuesday
- Forever Young - Alphaville
- What Do All the People Know? - the Monroes
- Heart and Soul - T'Pau
- If You Leave - OMD
- Question of Lust - Depeche Mode
- The Promise - When In Rome
- True - Spandau Ballet
- Hold Me Now - Thompson Twins
- No One Is to Blame - Howard Jones
- Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
I am fairly hmmmm about this piece on empaths, and wonder if some of those consultant empaths are employing the cold-reading tricks attributed to psychics, but buried in it is actually an interrogation of how useful quivering responsiveness to emotion is and the suggestion that 'empathy alone is not a reliable way of coming to a moral decision', and
Empathy is not action. It’s much more useful to be knowledgable about what’s happening so you can effect structural change. If everybody’s swimming in a sea of feelings, it’s an impediment to action.
And possibly somehow related to this, on the advantages of scheduling over spontaneity.
See also, review here of Selfie by Will Storr: 'This engaging book links the ‘self-esteem’ industry to Ayn Rand and neoliberalism. But is the selfie-taking generation unusually narcissistic?'. And is there not something problematic about making a big deal out of a single young woman who takes a lot of selfies? (shoutout here to Carol Dyhouse's Girl Trouble and the constant motif of young women's behaviour epitomising what is supposedly wrong with These Here Modern Times.)
And in Dept of, Countering National Stereotypes, the French minister who wants sexual harassment fines and is annoyed by the cultural myths about Frenchwomen.
Born in 1799, Anna Atkins captured plants, shells and algae in ghostly wisps and ravishing blues. Why isn’t she famous? - how long have you got to listen to my answer?
A book on hares which is, it sounds like, more about hares than the writer's journey and epiphany from their encounter with nature
Pursuing political ladies, continued: with shoutout to gothickess
Another day nose-down in the Wallace papers, surrounded by that typical local record office buzz of family historians, clattering microfilm readers, etc. How very different from the rather sinister solitary sepulchral hush of the Mulcaster Muniments and its soft-footed and decrepit curator, straight out of a gothic novel (I was in constant anxiety that the strain of fetching files would do for him, probably on the wrong side of the door, leaving me locked in: no wifi, no phone signal).
Today’s box turned out to be pure gold: those copies of The Intelligencer in which Susannah Wallace’s political journalism appeared – marked up and annotated in Sir Barton’s hand with comments about his ‘clever wife’: Awwwwww, ded of kewt or what?
Furiously snapped away at these for future perusal in detail, but got distracted by the other contents of the paper: surely there must be historians who would be fascinated by ‘Sheba’s’ fashion tips? And, the fiction!
Particular shout-out here to gothickess: There is a serial ‘The Silent Simulacrum’ by ‘the author of The Gypsy’s Curse’ that I’m pretty sure you’ll be interested in for your project: intriguing conflation of the gothic, social comedy and feminist critique.
Alas, the final episode must have appeared in an issue to which Susannah did not contribute, so I can’t tell you how it ends, but, the story so far:
Our heroine is a lovely young widow so widely accepted in Society that she finds herself overwhelmed with invitations to the extent that she is in considerable concern that her inability to be in two places at once will give offence to those holding social occasions that she is physically unable to attend.
Enter her brother-in-law, a
mad scientist and inventor. She unburdens herself to him, and he proposes to make a simulacrum of her that she can send to those events that she herself cannot attend. But, says he, the problem is that although he confides that he can construct a simulacrum that will move, and even dance, he cannot see any way in which it might be made to speak.
Our heroine responds with a laugh that so long as it can look very intent at any that addresses it, she doubts any will notice.
The simulacrum is constructed, and indeed, no-one notices that it is not very conversational when it goes into society.
Our heroine sends it particularly to those occasions where her very unwanted, most objectionable, suitor will be present –
I suspect that there will be some horrid outcome involving him (castrated perhaps by the inner mechanism of the simulacrum when he endeavours a rape?), but this would need following up – have a nasty feeling that this would involve microfilm, don’t think The Intelligencer is yet available in any online databases. (Which was why I was massively chuffed to find these copies, even if they hadn’t been so usefully marked up.)
But, anyway, back to the correspondence files (Y O Y did they not date letters properly? ‘Tuesday’ is really not very helpful.)
I think I felt like that because I did spend the morning in my pajamas wasting time on Twitter. But also, I was fielding comments on a Lib Dem Voice article introducing our new group, Lib Dem Immigrants (which I am super excited about). Unfortunately, anything about immigration attracts some trolls, even if it's as innocuous as "here's a new internal party body" (I did like that we also got a comment saying "we waste too much time on internal party shit!"). I found this set of comments dismaying for an interesting new kind of separating the wheat-from-the-chaff approach to immigration: even the people telling me they want to end freedom of movement and other such things tell me that they support me having rights, and right away, because I married a British citizen. Hm.
Anyway, I eventually made myself do a bit of tidying, sort out the room booking for Plus's AGM at Autumn Conference (which I don't know if I'll be able to go to because I can't afford accommodation, which is making me very sad), call up our soon-to-be-ex-home-insurance-company which gosh that phone call made me glad of because it was agonizing, get a Plus parcel ready to post and send it off, go to the shops to buy boring things like a light bulb, stand precariously on a too-short ladder to replace the light bulb, go see my friend Katie for a couple of hours, come back via a different shop to buy dog poo bags which we were suddenly out of, and watch Lego Batman with Andrew which we'd been trying to find time and energy for all week.
That is an okay day. I didn't do all the things I wanted to do, but I did a lot of good things.
Today I'm going to see fictive-nephew (who's almost eight already, how is that even possible) in some local am-dram production, and then Games Night has restarted so I get to see my Brighouse people twice in three days! This should be a good day too.
(The most interesting thing which happened recently in the legal world prior to Quizgate was the merger between Bond Dickinson, a firm memorable for one associate complaining that "I have more chance of being savaged to death in the gents loos by a walrus than I have of making partner at Bond Dickinson" during a RoF Quality of Legal Life survey, and Womble Carlyle , a US firm, creating a "transatlantic giant" to be called Womble Dickinson which, as per a lawyer I bumped into at a recent course on digital rights confirmed, is as a result in the middle of a mass exodus of talent, since it's bad enough being expected to work US legal hours on a UK legal salary, but having all your peers at other firms singing, "Remember you're a womble" at you on every conceivable opportunity puts the cherry on top of the shit sundae.)
Anyway, Holman Fenwick are a traditional shipping firm, and those always have a bit of a reputation for excessive machismo, especially the "wet" shipping specialists, and as per people chipping in in comments, the partner in question has the reputation of being the biggest wanker in a tough field. When his team won the Christmas quiz by a large margin, it was whispered in the ears of HR that there might have been dirty work at the crossroads, and, indeed, it transpired that the quiz question and answer document had been opened on said partner's computer hours before the quiz commenced.*
Where things then took a turn for the worse is that the partner alleged that it wasn't him, squire, his computer must have been hacked. And while cheating on the Christmas quiz barely registers on the list of batty things I've heard of partners in law firms doing in my thirty-odd years in this profession (in no particular order, these include but are not limited to: ordering one's trainee to iron one's jodhpurs in time for hunting at the weekend, throwing a Company seal at the head of a trainee, ordering a trainee to mouth-siphon petrol out of another car in the office carpark during a fuel shortage, resulting in hospitalisation of said trainee, asking a dark-skinned and a light-skinned secretary at a Christmas party, "Well, girls, how do you feel about cafe-au-lait?", inviting two interviewees to a brothel as soon as the interview had finished with the words, "Well, now that's over, let's go and get our nobs polished" ....) allegations of hacking into partnerial computers** get the IT team really interested, officially because it threatens the integrity of client communications, but really I suspect because it gives them a chance to give the thing a right going over in the hope of being able to go "Good God, I'm glad you brought us in. The same person who framed you for the Christmas quiz must have also tried to frame you for the possession of porn! Look, this file here --and here -- and here -- there's terrabytes of the stuff! We'll have to extend the search to all your mobile devices too, I'm afraid."
Anyway, I'm going with "watch this space."
*HFM clearly take a Kingscote-like approach to security of examination questions and the like. It would never have happened in the Airedale Quiz league, in which I played for about five years.
** Which is usually like taking candy from a baby, tbf; I once many years ago took advantage of the habit one of our partners had of leaving his computer logged on and unlocked while he went off on hours-long gossip sessions with the other team partners to send round an email warning the department of the dangers of leaving one's computer logged on and unattended, and then departed on holiday before the fallout happened.
In the wake of the (much-delayed) delivery of an actual Perth Winter this week (cold, wet, grey, windy) I got all enthused and bought a new tarpaulin to cover our clothesline. The previous one had deteriorated to a set of holes, loosely held together by blue raffia, over the course of the past twelve months (well, a bit less than that, actually - maybe about ten months all up?), and it wasn't doing the necessary job of keeping the clothesline dry during rainy days. Given we don't have decent facilities for drying clothes inside the house on rainy days (we don't own a clothes dryer, and we can't afford to have a heater running all day in order to dry things off) we need the cover provided by a tarp over the clothesline. There are other reasons for the tarp as well - our clothesline is situated under the overhang of a neighbour's jacaranda tree, and jacarandas, while being lovely trees for the most part, drop leaves in late winter, purple blossoms in late spring, and are favourites of the local bird life all year round (who drop things I don't want on my nice clean laundry at all). So we pulled off the old one yesterday and lashed down the new one, and since I bought a good quality one which is UV-stable and has a 4-year warranty, it should hopefully work to keep things dry and clean for at least the next year or two.
What else happened this week? Oh, we got the renewal on the lease, which I have to print out so we can sign it and initial all the pages, before returning it to the real-estate people. So I'll probably do the printing out today, and we can get all the signing and initialling done over the course of the next couple of days and hand the wretched thing in on Monday.
Some things I’ve read recently!
The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata
If you didn’t read Nagata’s The Red Trilogy, well, you might want to consider doing so. But whether you have or you haven’t–The Last Good Man is near-future military sf. It’s tense and compelling, and features a middle-aged woman protagonist, an ex-Army pilot who now works for a private military company. During a rescue mission she discovers something that casts a new and disturbing light on an event that she’d thought, well, not safely in the past, but over and done with and accurately understood. But she wants the truth, no matter the cost. If near future and/or military is your jam, don’t miss this.
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
This is volume 1 of the Murderbot Diaries, and I suspect a certain percentage of my readers don’t need to hear anything more. Go, purchase, download! You will enjoy this.
Murderbot is a SecUnit–a security android, part organic part mechanical, that isn’t supposed to have any sort of free will. It does, though, and having achieved that free will it secretly names itself Murderbot and then works hard to hide its freedom of thought from the corporation that owns it. It doesn’t actually want to murder anyone, though. It just wants to be left alone to watch its stories. Unfortunately, someone is trying to kill the humans Murderbot has been tasked to protect.
I’m not kidding, I can almost guarantee that my readers will enjoy this. I have already pre-ordered volume 2, which is out in January.
Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns
So, Lesbian Space Pirates. Out at the end of October. That may be all I need to say.
Or not. Our heroines hijack a colony ship in a bid to join a famous band of space pirates–only to discover the pirates are not, as widely believed, hiding out on Barbary Station rolling in money and loot, but are in fact trapped there by the station’s renegade AI. Why is the AI doing what it’s doing? Is it conscious? Does it matter when it’s trying to kill you?
This book is good fun. Set in the Solar System, lots of action, I really enjoyed this, and I bet you will, too.
Mirrored from Ann Leckie.
row 1: my kids; gardening; tutoring; the fanfic community; Octavia Butler;
row 2: stories; books; autonomy; Wiscon; storytelling;
row 3: dogs; Rachel Maddow; math; different points of view; raptors;
row 4: introversion; puzzles; podfic; logic; making people laugh;
row 5: compost; R.A. Lafferty; science fiction; due South; ecology;
I made this at http://myfreebingocards.com
I picked 25 topics that I like, and that I like to talk about.
I let the web page randomize the placement. I was lucky that "my kids" didn't end up in the middle.
I clicked "Play Online Now" to get an image I could snip.
Check off the things that also interest you and see if we have a bingo.
She's in ICU right now, unlikely to regain consciousness, unlikely to live out this day, and I'm sorry that she had such a mean, small, painful life, but I'm not at all sorry that she'll be gone, because it's hard to cause fresh hurt and injury once you've died. Not impossible, but hard.
I'll go with my mom this evening so she can say good-bye. For myself, I don't find it necessary; Barbara's been out of my life since my kid turned 18 (gosh, almost 8 years ago), and for the last couple years, she was in prison, so there's nothing to say good-bye to. For my mom, this is so so so fraught. She blames herself for my sister's mental illness, dissipation, and alienation. She feels like if she'd been a better mother, it would have gone better.
Honestly, my mom was a better mother to my sister than to me -- children who act up often get more attention and effort than the compliant, goody-two-shoes ones. I haven't made any secret of my sorrow over my mother's mistakes in parenting, but they're not the reason my sister is who she is. Not saying none of it was ever a factor. Just that picking one person as the cause of another's bad deeds is pretty much never the way to bet.
Anyway, I'm totally fine, emotionally. I'm just feeling pensive about the ripple effects we all have on the people in our circles, even years after we have any contact at all, and I'm feeling a renewed desire to be a positive force in my loved one's lives, instead of a negative one.
*sigh* I just spent about 40 minutes trying to get some ebooks onto my ereader, which didn’t work very well because it’s been a while since I’d done it and I’d kind of forgotten how. It’s not hard. It used to be hard, and I defaulted to the much harder version, which obviously took more time than the newer easy way, and also the USB port I first plugged it into on the computer wasn’t working and it took longer than reasonable to figure that out, so that was just, yeah.
I wanted to re-read the very comforting BLUE SWORD, but didn’t want to read my 30 year old worn-to-bits paperback. Finally got the books onto the e-reader. Discovered THE BLUE SWORD wasn’t there. Furthermore, it’s not available on kobo’s website, either, at least not on this side of the pond. Gave up in despair, deciding to read Daniel Keys Moran’s THE LONG RUN again, as it’s pretty well equally comfort reading.
And then I remembered I had specifically asked for a bunch of Robin McKinley books in hardback so I could read them at my leisure without wrecking my old worn to bits paperbacks, and of course THE BLUE SWORD is one of them, so I have a lovely hardback edition and now I’m too tired to read it.
So here it is, 5 to 9 on a Friday, and I’m going to bed, because I’m a real party animal. :p
(x-posted from The Essential Kit)
Hi, my name is [watersword] and my zip code is [redacted]; I'm calling to ask you to add a tally mark to your count of constituents who have called and are very angry about the Republican anti-health care bill.
Both times I was answered fairly promptly, the staffer was clearly charmed by my "I know you are on my side, I'm trying to help," and I was informed that Schumer's office has gotten ~500 calls over the past ten days on the issue (I'm not sure if that's all the offices, including Washington, or just the NYC office I called), and the Gillibrand staffer I spoke was on his ~60th call on the subject for the day. This is a horrible slog but I am going to keep showing the fuck up.
Well, not literally.
But I have finally managed to have a discussion with the editor at the Very Estimable and Well-Reputed Academic Press whom I had hoped to get together with during the Massive Triennial Conference the other week, which did not happen for, reasons.
And they are very keen about a book I have been thinking about for ages, which is not the Major Research Project of the moment, though somewhat tangentially related, and I'm hmmmmmm about it.
Because it's a book where I haven't done more than research rather a small part of one angle of the bigger picture, but on the other hand, I do know what has to be in there and where to look.
And unlike the Major Research Project, which is large and contains multitudes, this would be a discrete project that wouldn't (I hope) keep starting yet more hares for me to go baying after.
I'm debating Camp NaNo. The main thing against it is that it doesn't tend to motivate me to write more or more often. The social aspect only works for me if I know the people I'm interacting with. Then again, signing up costs me nothing (except a lot of emails from the website).
I realized yesterday that the first two pages of a side project I was working on didn't belong in the story at all. They were necessary world building/scene setting for me but would probably bore readers. I can work in a lot of the details that matter later in the story and in small chunks.
Does anyone know anything about the folks running captiveaudience? The maintainers on the AO3 collection are nonx and CaramelShadows. The former looks like a sock, and I don't recognize the latter. The exchange theme, captivity with either Stockholm Syndrome or Lima Syndrome, sounds like something I'd have fun with, but I suspect it's not likely to be a large exchange. At the moment, it looks more appealing than Fic Corner simply because there's nothing in the Fic Corner tagset that I'd be really enthusiastic about writing. There are a number of things I could write and/or request, but I don't know if I'd enjoy writing any of them.
I suspect that part of the problem is that the things I'd be comfortable offering to write are all kind of old and not necessarily the sorts of things that people think of first when signing up for exchanges. There are often specific requests that are things I'd be comfortable writing, but without the specifics, I don't dare offer because there's a lot of those canons that I don't feel I know well enough or have time/access to review properly. The things I can generally offer always have way more offers than requests.
It's warm and clammy today, which is my second least favorite combination (cold and clammy is worse), but I'm looking forward to the weekend, as this week has seemed endless. It was so hard to get out bed. Sigh.
I did just get off the phone with 1. the realtor and then 2. the lawyer, so things are progressing there re: the negotiation of a slightly lower price due to the low appraisal (all thanks, apparently, to the fact that while the seller lists the apartment in Forest Hills, it actually exists in Rego Park which is one - slightly less expensive - neighborhood over. And if you are from Queens, you know what I mean). The question is whether this affects the lender in any way, but since the loan amount is the loan amount regardless, I'm not sure why it would? but what do I know? As per my lawyer's instructions, I am playing dumb (I mean, on this topic, despite all the info from Uncle Google, I actually am kind of dumb? so it's not hard! *hands*) The lawyer and mortgage broker are on top of that.
When I spoke to the realtor this morning, I was like, it's been a week since they received my application but I shouldn't expect to hear from them before the Fourth of July weekend? and he was like, "they don't like to disclose their schedule but I'll ask for an update," and then he just texted me to say that the board has received and is reviewing my application so EEP! That, more than the bank or the seller or the more normal processes of home-buying is what is freaking me out. I have more to say about this but probably not until it's all over, and even then, probably only in a locked post. Mostly what I want to say is EEP! At least I found my black dress (and my mom's pearls *snerk*) so I'm prepared!
I feel like I should have something fannish to say, and I'm sure I did before these phone calls all started happening, but I guess for right now, this househunting business is my main fandom. Sigh.
The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.
This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.
( opinions )
I mean, what did you, yourself, actually do to influence where you were born or bred? Unless you were a particularly ambitious embryo, the answer is “nothing”. Sure, your parents might have made some kind of effort to select your place of birth. Maybe they strove to move to better housing in a neighbourhood with better services and schools. Maybe they’re even immigrants, like my dad, and they struggled long and hard to learn their fourth language in order to integrate into their adopted country. But you? You didn’t do anything. Why are you so proud of that? Think of the things you've accomplished in your life. Isn't it far more fitting and fulfilling to be proud of those?
And why the obsession with asserting the superiority of a single identity over the others? “I’m English first and then British.” Pro-tip: Most of the rest of the world considers both of those to be synonymous with “ex-colonialist imperialist arsehole” so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. ^.^
Here is a list of the geographically-linked identities that I consider myself able to lay claim to. I’m proud of some and not others.
- San Diegan
- Brummie (this is a new one; still feels a little odd)
Today, I think I’m proudest of being European. I earned that identity and that passport, and I’m still very pissed off that some people want to take it away.
Today is also, weirdly, simultaneously:
- the anniversary of Brexit, aka the Colossal Waste of Time and Money Foisted Upon Us by a Generation That Tore Down Decades of Painstakingly Won Goodwill with Our Neighbours and Won’t Live to Experience the Disastrous Consequences, Thanks a Lot, Dickheads.
- International Women in Engineering Day
So, to close this post, here is a peaceful photo of a woman doing some engineering.
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
This is a series of essays about the experience of being an ethnic minority in the UK. A lot of the ideas were things I'd encountered before, but all presented thoughtfully and engagingly, so it would be a really good starting point for someone who hadn't thought much about race relations to introduce themselves to some of the common ideas and experiences. But there was also a lot that was new to me. Thoughts about representation and tokenism in popular media, about the relationships between generations with different levels of integration, about colourism and casteism, and about the impact on ethnic minority children of growing up learning that stories are about white people.
Seed to Harvest (Wild Seed, Mind of my Mind, Clay's Ark & Patternmaster) by Octavia Butler
This is a collection of four of the five Patternist novels (the fifth is set in the same universe, but I understand doesn't include any of the same characters, and is disliked by the author). These are all exciting and easy to read novels, but other than that and the plot thread that runs between them, they have surprisingly little in common. Wild Seed is alt-history, Mind of my Mind is a near future story about psychic mutants, Clay's Ark is gritty apocalyptic stuff, and Patternmaster is in a distant future that feels more like fantasy than sf. They're all great though - lighter than Kindred, but still packed with ideas about society and hierarchy.
Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe
This book has a phenomenal amount of detail about the anatomy involved in five major lifts - the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, and power clean. A fairly tedious read, but one which I hope will make me less likely to injure myself.
Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity by Fr James Martin SJ
I really like Fr James Martin, and his "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything" is one of the best books about life and religion that I've ever read. This is a short book in two parts; first an essay based on a talk about how the Church hierarchy and LGBT Catholics can heal the divide between the two groups, and secondly a series of suggestions of bible passages and questions that LGBT Catholics and their allies might find useful in prayer and reflection. I liked the essay, although more because it echoed a lot of my own thoughts back at me than because I learned much from it. I think that the more traditionalist members of the church could benefit a lot from reading it and taking it to heart. I think that most LGBT people, especially those who aren't Catholic, would find the suggestion that they too need to show respect, compassion and sensitivity towards those in the hierarchy who have hurt and oppressed them quite frustrating. I have a lot of sympathy with that, but ultimately I think that Fr Martin is correct, both because we are called to love all our neighbours, not just those whom it's easy to love, and because I don't think we will see change any other way.
Friday evening I was walking to the library with Aiko. I was on the north side of the street, heading east. I saw a couple walking toward me, but there was a break in traffic and I crossed the street before we met. On the south side of the street, Aiko was uneasy. He kept stopping and looking back. I looked back too, and saw the couple that had been on the north side of the street, going west, were now about half a block behind me, on the south side of the street, going east.
Well, people do change their minds and turn around. But Aiko would not settle down, so at the next street I turned south. The couple behind us also turned south, but I was on the east side of the street and they were on the west. I stopped and let Aiko sniff for a while, so I got to the next intersection after them. They crossed to the south side of that street. I did not. I turned east. They also turned east, and continued to walk about half a block behind me, on the other side of the street, for about seven blocks. Then we were in a well-populated area, and I didn't see them again.
I am a short fat old woman, and my hands were encumbered. I had library books in one hand, and a leash and a bag of dog poop in the other. But I was walking a German Shepherd! How did they plan to assault me without getting bit? Also without getting a bag of dog poop in the face? Though it was one of the good bags, and probably wouldn't have burst even if it had hit. Also, I didn't have any money on me, though they didn't know that. I was wearing a fanny pack, which is where my wallet would have been if I was wearing my wallet. I thought about taking my phone out and taking their picture, but they had dropped back far enough by the time I thought of it that it wouldn't have been much of a picture. The fanny pack has the kind of buckle that you squeeze to open. Probably they planned to run up beside me, grab the buckle, and run off with the fanny pack before Aiko could react. They would have got my phone and my housekeys, and could probably figure out where I live from the phone.
Anyway, I do think that there is observable, identifiable behavior that signals that one human being is looking at another human being as prey, and I think Aiko observed and correctly identified it.
But also buying clothes off the peg is much more immediate - you see straight away whether the colour or the cut or the cloth suits you when you try it on and before you decide to buy it. By the time you've finished making a piece of clothing, you can still fiddle with it but a lot of the decisions are already behind you. I'm not saying I'm giving up on making clothes for myself, but I can see I need practice before I make something that I'm actually pleased enough with the outcome to keep wearing it happily for months and years afterwards (which is where I want to be).
Making accessories or making clothes for the kids, though - much more immediately rewarding.
Like this hat. It functions as well as the skirt I made myself (fits well, stays put where it's meant to, does the job it's supposed to) but in addition it just makes me cheerful everytime I lay my eyes on it. I need to find a balance and make sure I include plenty of these cheerful items, but also keep trying on the clothing-myself front. Because having a skirt that is really comfortable is a definite plus, so long as at the same time it is one that I positively want to wear.
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable
You'll note that Norman Lamb has moved from probably standing to definitely not standing. He announced this with rather petulant article in the Grauniad, in which (among other things) he proclaimed the Lib Dems' second referendum policy as toxic. Now I agree, it is toxic. "First we'll negotiate brexit, then we'll set up a referendum, then we'll campaign against the deal we ourselves negotiated!" is an utterly ridiculous policy. The problem is, it was only in the sodding manifesto due to the insistence of people on the rump brexity wing of the party, of which Norman Lamb is definitely one. This was as far as the rest of the party, who just wanted "we will stop brexit" to be the manifesto position, could be dragged. Policy making by committee often comes up with soggy centrist compromises, and often that's a good thing and satisfies most people, but sometimes it's patently rubbish. This time was the latter. What I don't get is Captain Brexit blaming the rest of the party for it. Well, I do. He'd like us to embrace brexit. And that is not going to happen.
Anyway, the rest of the article sticks the boot in to members in various other ways, and alludes to, but doesn't actually acknowledge, the problems autistic people have with the idea of Norman as a leader, and frankly, just makes me glad he's not standing. At least he has the self-knowledge to know he's not right to lead the party as it currently is, even if he declares it in a rather Skinnerian way.
So the only likely runner at this point undeclared is Ed Davey. And there will be siren
Don't stand, Ed. Leadership elections are expensive, Ed. They are divisive and set party members up against each other, ed. It'd be easier all round just to crown Vince, Ed. You don't want the hassle, Ed. The party doesn't want the hassle, Ed. Lets just have a coronation, Ed.To which I say, pish, tosh, bunkum, bollocks, and bullshit.
Yes, leadership elections are divisive, and do set members up against each other, and sometimes even cause resentments. Do you know what's even more divisive, and causes even more resentments? Not letting Lib Dems have democracy. Not letting us scrutinise each candidate and come to a decision on merit. Not having hustings at which we can put questions to candidates and examine their views and records and promises. Imposing a leader on us without us having a say. I can guarantee you that while a leadership election might be divisive, it's nowhere near as divisive as a coronation.
Now, Ed Davey told one of the BBC politics correspondents (I think Norman Smith) the other day that he would declare whether or not he was standing "on Thursday or Friday". He didn't declare yesterday. I'm hoping he declares he's standing today.
And if you'd told me last month I'd be crossing my fingers for Ed Davey to run in a leadership election, I'd have thought you insane in the membrane, crazy insane, got no brain. Just goes to show what a funny old world it is...
Wish there were more people in my fandoms in multifandomdrabble fest. Sign ups open for another day!
I know people have been looking for nice Bill icons from this series of Doctor Who. Here are a bunch made by luminousdaze, along with 12, Missy, Clara and a bunch of the gang.
I really like this essay by lydy: The Rules: A Memo for Every Man in My Life.
Instead, I want to address something that comes up over and over in these conversations, and always from men. "What are the rules?" "How can I know how to behave if you won't clarify what you want?"
Dear men, please do not ask me to provide to you something that I have never had. I cannot provide you the rules. I do not know what they are, and I never have.
Pitssburgh Queer History project has some great archival material here.
ETA: For those who like Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells is doing an AMA here, and here's a quote from the next one.