Music Meme

23 Aug 2014 09:11 pm
qem_chibati: Coloured picture of Killua from hunter x hunter, with the symbol of Qem in the corner. (A cat made from Q, E, M) (Default)
[personal profile] qem_chibati
You can tell a lot about someone by the music they listen to. Hit shuffle in your iPod/iPhone/iTunes/media player and write down the first 10 songs.

- tagged by [profile] aiwritingfic on tumblr, as always if you feel like doing - please feel free!

... I know what this says to me... I'm curious what it tells other people though. ^.^;;

1. After the Storm - Alpine Fault

2. Evolution - Tranmustation -!shop/c61v

3. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - Radio Head

4. Memory - Sugar Cult

5. Sherlock holmes - The Secret of the Silver Earring Original Soundtrack - Baker Street

6. Yunyu - Spiked Soul - 06 Too Subliminal (rock)

7. Pink Floyd - Delicate Sound Of Thunder - 1-02 Learning To Fly [Live]

8. ASAP - Hayashi Yuuki/Various, Let them eat cake

9. Au Debut du Voyage - High Skies

10. Liggadigga - niceface (NSFW to listen to)

Friday night mishmash post

22 Aug 2014 08:25 pm
umadoshi: (Winter Soldier - Bucky)
[personal profile] umadoshi
--I'd be more pleased about having only 60-odd tabs open (..."only 60-odd" *sighs*) if it was because I'd actually gotten them dealt with, but I'll settle for having made the OneTab add-on work. It's not nothin'.

--I meant to mention this back when I saw the Tori Amos concert a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot. *g* One hazard of the way I handle the acquisition of new albums: when I was at the merch table I looked at the deluxe edition CD of Unrepentant Geraldines, with its sticker announcing that it contained the bonus track "Forest of Glass", and I frowned and thought, I'm sure I ordered the deluxe version, so why don't I know that song? Answer: because I bought the album on CD and then torrented it so I didn't have to actually, you know, open the CD packaging and rip it myself. So I've had that song for months without remembering to listen to it, one way or another. *facepalm*

--One of my random to-do list items for a while has been to actually make a list of my computer games, since I know I have a whole bunch that I haven't played. Yesterday I finally threw a basic spreadsheet together, and I have over 70. Of which I've played...fewer than ten, certainly in any real way. This is what comes of Steam sales and Humble Bundles, I tell you.

(Four of those ten-or-so are StarCraft: original, Brood War, and the two chunks of SCII that're out so far. And come to that, I haven't even finished SCII: Heart of the Swarm yet, for all my excitement about it. [I've played through most of it, but Casual Job went back in before I finished, and that was...a year and a half ago? O_o I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as I enjoyed the Terran campaign of SCII in relation to the original game. The Zerg were changed more, I think.)

--On the games front, while I was away I was persuaded--not through conscious effort on anyone's part--to get a PS3. K and her family have one that they're using largely as a media server (we have a media server here, in the form of my retired desktop system, but I really liked the interface), and Ginny has one, and the combo of "convenient media server interface, Blu-ray (which we didn't have at all), and above all, Netflix" sold me. Netflix is--or was, last I checked--such a pain in the ass to run under Linux that we never bothered, and [personal profile] scruloose flatly refused to maintain a Windows partition solely for the purpose (and fair enough--he would indeed have been the one maintaining it). But inexpensive legal media! I am very much in favor of this. Yes.

(Plus I hear the thing allows one to "play games"...? ^_-)

--A link: Foster Dad John, who operates my favorite kitten!cam Livestream, adopted one of the kittens from his last litter (the first time he kept one, out of 42 litters of fosters). His own cats aren't allowed in with the fosters, but the other day while he was in with the current batch, Trillian--the recent adoptee--got in as he was leaving. And what an entrance! ^_^ Behold: "Suddenly, Trillian!", which includes a slow-motion replay. Hee!

--One more link: via [ profile] knitmeapony, a seriously excellent Captain America: TWS fanvid.
starlady: Twitter quote: @magneto "come home" (my offer still stands)
[personal profile] starlady
I'm in Istanbul this week and so far I've been having a very good time. Based on my experiences in Belgium, I was expecting to sleep a lot and not see that much, but so far I think we've actually done quite well--I've seen the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Basilica Cistern, the Archaeological Museum, the Topkapi Palace, and the Chora Museum, the latter of which was particularly fantastic. I'm staying with a friend on the Asia side, so we've been taking the ferry back and forth every day (she doesn't trust the Marmaray line) and it's been pretty grand all in all. I will definitely be back, and in the meantime, it's been kind of wild wandering around a city about which I've only read so far. This is what being in Rome was like when I first went there, except I don't have a map of Constantinopolis in my head the way I do Rome.* There's a lot more porphyry floating around than I would have expected from its rarity in the Western Empire--there's a joke there somewhere about πορφυρογενητος, but let it be. Tomorrow we're going to Taksim and the Galata Tower. Istanbul reminds me a little bit of Cuzco in that the jointures between civilizations are so blatantly displayed. It's all quite fascinating. And the food is good.

*Sort of. Long explanation redacted.

New default icon

22 Aug 2014 11:59 am
dragovianknight: (Default)
[personal profile] dragovianknight
Because while doing endless screencaps of the Pandaren OTP on Turtle Beach, I happened to catch Irohne glaring at Anying and Anying looking like she just totally got away with something.
umadoshi: (Newsflesh - couple time (kasmir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
For reasons unknown, today I feel like posting smut. Awkwardly, I don't even have a working draft of any smut, never mind anything actually ready to go. Woe.

Instead, I'm going to post something that may or may not be of any interest to anyone (?); it's an attempt from several months ago to consciously pin down some of the differences in how I write Georgia and Shaun. Their PsOV (POVs?) feel very different from each other in the Newsflesh books, and while I've consciously IDed a few elements (mostly different aspects of "Georgia tends to process things clinically, right down to her own feelings, which Shaun's more prone to filtering things through his emotions" and the way they notice different things), mostly what I'm doing when I write fic for them is intuitive--and pretty comfortable at this point, so my curiosity about what I'm doing is sort of academic? If that makes sense?

Anyway, back when I was writing "We Dreamed a Garden" (Georgia's POV, in which she and Shaun admit to their profoundly socially-unacceptable feelings for each other and start acting on them), I took a few paragraphs from immediately after their first kiss and rewrote them from Shaun's POV. I obviously can't do anything with that, really, so here are both versions, just 'cause.

content warning: two different first-person POV versions of the moments after an (entirely consensual, to put it mildly) first kiss between sixteen-year-old adoptive siblings )

(no subject)

22 Aug 2014 11:03 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I woke today with a headache. I don't know why. The most likely explanation is that my period is going to start up again, but it's only been about twenty days since my last one, so I'm hoping not. I haven't taken anything for the headache yet. I'm waiting to see how much my morning caffeine will help.

My morning caffeine is instant coffee, two cups of it (in a single travel mug). It comes powdered in a tin with sugar and creamer already mixed in. It's the store brand, French vanilla flavored supposedly. I haven't been able to find out just how much caffeine it contains because Kroger doesn't want to give that information and because the websites I've found that talk about the amount of caffeine in various things give an incredibly broad range to instant coffee, going from a teeny amount up to as much as normal coffee. I know that it's enough caffeine to help me out in the mornings (when I don't drink coffee, at least during the school year when I'm getting up at 7, I almost always have to nap after Cordelia leaves for school). I think the stuff has less caffeine than normal coffee because, on the rare occasions when we eat breakfast out, I have a single cup of normal coffee, and that seems to be enough to keep me from caffeine withdrawal. I just don't like how normal coffee tastes, even with cream and sugar. I've also had it with just milk, no sugar, a couple of times (while camping with the Girl Scouts and while visiting my grandmother), and that's plain nasty. I can choke it down, but I don't enjoy it.

I am considering going to a different type of instant coffee and adding my own sweetener (probably stevia) and almond milk. I'm not entirely sure it's a good idea as that would be two more things to track to make sure we didn't run out of them, mid-week. (I hate being dependent on Scott to get things we run out of. I can't get to the store on my own, and it makes one more thing he has to do when all he wants is to get home and crash.) Cordelia drinks the almond milk, so it can disappear rapidly and irregularly. A tin of my current coffee lasts me a week pretty reliably, so it's easy to keep track of.

Of course, coffee sweetened with stevia might throw off my morning balance. Most mornings, I don't eat breakfast. I just let the roughly 180 calories from the coffee stand alone. I almost never get hungry (if I do, I eat. I just have to take medication half an hour before I eat anything), so eating at noon or 1:00 is fine.

The other barrier to switching brands is that Scott does the grocery shopping. I make the list, and I have to be very specific about what I want. If he doesn't know what brand I want, he gets the cheapest available and switches brands depending on cost. With instant coffees differing so much in how much caffeine they contain, I'm not keen on being at the whim of Kroger's pricing.

Also, without being in the store, I can't make any judgment about what sort of instant coffee I'd like to try. I don't even know what the options are. I suppose I could ask Scott to get one of every brand so that I could try all of them. That seems unnecessarily expensive (and likely to take a lot of cupboard space), however. I'd rather try one at a time and track what I think of them.


22 Aug 2014 09:53 pm
qem_chibati: Coloured picture of Killua from hunter x hunter, with the symbol of Qem in the corner. (A cat made from Q, E, M) (Default)
[personal profile] qem_chibati
*came home and had a severe bout of nausea*
*sits in bed, in bedroom at the front of the house, and feel sorry for self.*
*listens to people arrive at house in front yard.*
*grumbles about husband not telling her about whatever he's organised with his friends (he's not home this weekend) and gets up, then collaspes back in bed*
*listens to someone open a car parked on the front yard*
*makes a o___________________O face*
*listens to people grunt and push car off lawn onto driveway and then onto the road*
*................. decides eh, it's only a volvo. why would I want to get involved?*

15 mins later.

"goddammit they brought it back."
mm_writes: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] mm_writes

As of July 18:

XFINITY Bundled Services
Internet Plus Includes Limited Basic note: that's Expanded Basic, HBO, Streampix, a standard definition digital converter note: that's an HD/DVR/DVD converter and remote for the primary outlet and Performance Internet Promotional Rate.
Promotional Rate for 12 months $ 44.99

Additional XFINITY TV Services
Addl Outlet $ 0.00
Digital Converter $ 0.00
Digital Adapter Additional Outlet $ 0.00
Digital Adapter Additional Outlet $ 1.99

Additional XFINITY Internet Services
Modem Rental $ 8.00 note: this charge will eventually be credited
Additional Products & Services
Service Protection Plan $ 3.95
Other Charges & Credits
In-Home Service Visit $ 39.95
note: this charge got credited
Install Fee In-Home Service fee $ 0.00
Broadcast TV Fee $ 1.50
Taxes, Surcharges & Fees $ 7.24

Grand Total $ 107.62 67.67

As of yesterday (new email from Comcast showing recent "changes"):

XFINITY Bundled Services
Starter Double Play Includes Digital Starter with HBO and Streampix with access to On Demand Programming and Blast Internet Promotional Rate.
Promotional Rate for 12 months $ 89.99 (not $44.99 like above)

HD Technology Fee $ 9.95 (new charge, never before seen)
Additional Outlet HD/DVR (Includes HD Technology Fee) $ 17.95 (new charge, never before seen)
Additional XFINITY TV Services
Addl Outlet $ 0.00
Additional XFINITY Internet Services Speed Increase Blast! Internet Promotional Rate. Promotional Rate for 24 months $ 0.00
Digital Converter $ 0.00
Digital Adapter Additional Outlet $ 0.00
Digital Adapter Additional Outlet $ 1.99

Additional XFINITY Internet Services
Modem Rental $ 8.00
Other Charges & Credits
In-Home Service Visit $ 39.95 (and without my consent they've removed the $3.95-a-month Service Protection Plan, as well, so now I'm supposed to pay for this visit? Is THAT how it works?)
Install Fee In-Home Service fee $ 0.00
Other Charges & Credits Broadcast TV Fee $ 1.50
Taxes, Surcharges & Fees $ 12.23
Grand Total $ 141.61

So if that comes to "just" $141.61 then what comes to $251, you ask? Why, the actual bill does, of course! It has all those charges plus two more for boxes we never ordered or got at $9.95 each and the fact that it looks like they show my last $105 payment as received but never credited it. There is $10 or so missing somewhere either in their favor or mine but basically that accounts for most of the differences I can see between the $67 bill I was expecting this month and the $251 bill I actually got.

Just ask Comcast! These fuckers have ALL the answers.

August 14-20, 2014

21 Aug 2014 05:07 pm
[personal profile] dsgood
Thursday August 14, 2014. Adult Children Anonymous -- got my eight-year medallion.

***On the bus home, a large group which included some with cat whiskers painted on their faces boarded. Turned out they were returning from the International Cat Video Festival.

***The August issue of Chess Life has an article on Fritz Leiber's chess-related sf and fantasy stories.

***Friday August 15, 2014. I usually wish the classical music announcers on KSJN talked much, much less. However, this was Leon Theremin's birthday. Turns out he was a Soviet spy, along with his other work.

***Saturday August 16, 2014. Mnstf (Twin Cities sf club) meeting at Scott and Irene Rauns. Good meeting.

***Sunday August 17, 2014. Reread Melissa Scott's Conceiving the Heavens -- a book on writing science fiction, published in 1999. Included was a bit of speculation about electronic currency. I suspect Ms. Scott didn't expect it to arrive just ten years later.

***MinnSpec (Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers) meeting at the Uptown Lunds supermarket. Topic: Emotional Manipulation of the Reader. I suspect the topics brought up could be used for at least six panel discussions.

I brought the (not(yet?)) official MinnSpec Library for its first outing. The library was, so far, six books on writing which I hadn't read in a while. One got taken out.

***Wednesday August 20, 2014. Birthday of H. P. Lovecraft and Jacqueline Susann.
mm_writes: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] mm_writes

Poor Aesop, she's looking at permanent retirement: she's never played video smoothly even with all her hardware maxed out to specs supported by the motherboard (currently, that's 2GB of RAM, a 1.74GHz single core processor, a 232GB hard drive that could be bigger but meh, who cares, and she's not running a slave right now because I'm using an external hard drive as a file server so just why bother).

So in the last two weeks we've had these new and exciting issues with Comcast: the DVR that comes with our On Demand TV suddenly stopped working one night for no discernible reason but we were both so damn tired of calling Comcast that we just stopped watching TV for a week or so. When we did finally call them, maybe 3-4 days ago, it turned out they had to reset some kind of code for it. That is becoming quite the theme around here, as you will see.

Even before that I'd noticed our Internet speed had dropped from the moment the amplifier was added on weeks ago. Dropped. It made the TV work better and the Internet speed much worse, or so it seemed. We were so damn tired of calling Comcast by then that when my fiance finally called to have the DVR problem fixed the Internet issue was not even mentioned. Then a "customer care specialist" (one of the Retention guys; I hate them with a passion that makes me do the craziest fucking things, like start Anti-AOL?) called me two days ago to see how everything was going. Did I want to upgrade? Oh, he could see that I could upgrade both my TV and my Internet RIGHT NOW! Wowzer bowzer! How about we get started on that? OK: I practically need a Valium to jot down the next paragraph because my hands are shaking just recalling this snake oil salesman's oil slick of "let's get going" rah-rah buy buy buy mad upselling skillz...

"I'm not interested", I said, cutting him off mid-sale.
"But I see here we can definitely upgrade you from 25MBs per second on your connection speed and expand your TV package! So why not let's let's get started on that!"
"OK..." *nervous chuckle* "Uh, OK, so you're not interested in the best XFinity has to offer and having faster Internet and better TV. I can upgrade you right now! Yes, I see that I can do that for you this minute!"
"Look, of course I'm interested in having faster Internet and better TV. Who isn't interested in that? But if I upgrade it won't be for free. You're going to charge me MORE MONEY and I don't have MORE MONEY to give you guys right now. Is that...clear enough?"
"Well, if you want to talk about money, you're paying ...what? You have a pretty expensive package right now, what with the Internet Blast and your TV package, you're paying $251 a month for it?" [ETA: turns out that was technically what I was charged this month for the same thing I've been getting]
"Uh, I said you're uh, you're paying...?"
"No, I can assure you I'm not paying $215 a month for it. It might be a $215 a month package, I don't doubt that. But the thing is, I've had such horrible service from Comcast and such a broad range of problems with the service - everything from the wrong cable laid in my driveway which is still there to this day to billing problems to constant connection interruptions to slow Internet speeds to problems with the TV signal to problems with the techs that I get my package at a steeply discounted rate to make up for all the trouble we've had with Comcast over the last year. I've had basically nothing but problems with you guys from Day One."
"Huh, well, I, I...I'm sorry to hear that. I uh, is there, uh, anything else I can help with today? Are you still having any problems?"
"Yes, the Internet has been slow since the day the amplifier was installed a few weeks ago, which was done because a contractor lied the same morning about not having the RG11 cable we were supposed to have from day one but never got and gave us new RG6 instead. And our DVR was not working correctly until earlier this week when we called and got them to send it a code it needed to work properly again."
"So you're saying you got the package with the DVR just last week?"
"No, I'm not. We've had the package for a few months. The DVR stopped working within the last few weeks, but it only got fixed last week. The Internet speed still needs fixing but I am so damn tired of calling Comcast I just haven't bothered trying to get you guys to look at that, too."
"Huh, well I'm really sorry to hear that. I'm sorry you've had so many problems with Comcast...but uh, is there anything else I can do for you today?"
"No, not right now."
"OK, well, thank you for choosing Comcast and..."
"Wait! Can you answer a question for me?"
"Sure, I'll try."
"I uh...did you just say a little bit earlier that my service includes Internet Blast? Did you say that?"
"Yes, yes, I did."
"So it says on your screen that I get Internet Blast as part of my package, right?"
"Yes, it does."
"Well, no one's ever told me that before and I'm not getting Internet Blast speeds. Internet Blast is a minimum of 50mbps, right? Is that correct?"
"Yes, it can be as low as 50mbps or as high as 105mbps."
"Huh, well, I'm only getting 25mbps. I'll have to talk to your tech support about that, too, I guess."
"It could be your modem", he averred. "Looking here it says you have a DOCSIS 2.0 modem."
"Oh no I don't. We have the latest Xfinity modem that supports DOCSIS 3.0. I know that for a fact."
"Well according to the information I have here, ma'am, you have a modem that only supports DOCSIS up to 2.0."
"Well, is your screen telling you what kind of modem that is? Because that sounds like the info for my old modem, not the one I have now."
"No, It doesn't give me that info, it basically just tells me what version of DOCSIS your modem can support."
"If I read you the model number on the modem can you confirm that for me? That this Xfinity modem only supports DOCSIS 2.0?"
"Sure, I can try", he said, but the modem didn't have a discernible model number and there was no other way for us to put together exactly what the hell his screen was talking about, so he thanked me again for choosing Comcast and we hung up.

That night the fiance called Comcast again because our Internet connection got knocked out so we needed a refresh signal; after that issue was fixed he got two appointments set up: one to re-lay the RG11 cable that never got laid in the first place, another to have a tech come out and figure out why we're getting 25mbps instead of 50mbps. Oh, joy.

Today was the big day but the contractor never showed up to lay the cable. The tech came this afternoon, though, right on time. After I explained how I pay for but don't receive Internet Blast he checked our signal and ascertained it wasn't the issue despite RG6 cable in use on a huge patch of land that by all rights should have RG11 and despite how I noticed the signal dropped by 3-5mbps immediately after the amplifier was installed. The tech assured me it's not the amplifier, it's not the cable, and that my signal is more than sufficient to get all the speed we could want or need. So guess what the problem is?

"Yeah, it's not any of those things. What we're looking at is a ...uh, we call it an issue with the code."
"A rate code issue", I said, having been around this block before.
"Yeah, exactly. I'll need to call Comcast and have them reprovision the code and roll it back for you."

He got that done in under 5 minutes. My fiance tore apart his computer last week to use his own parts to fix someone else's rig and hasn't bothered to put it all back together but it's the only decent computer we have, so we had to test the new connection speed on my computer, good old Aesop; sure enough the speed still came up at just 22-23mbps. I was genuinely puzzled and thought maybe the rate code voodoo simply hadn't worked, not an unexpected outcome considering just how much stuff Comcast routinely fucks up. But the tech thought otherwise.

"Maybe your hard drive is shot." If my computer tech fiance had been here there's a good chance he wouldn't have even wanted to live through his response. I know I'd rather crawl under a rock than have it directed at me. I also know that "maybe your hard drive is shot" is not a suitable answer to "why your Internet speed is taking an awfully huge crap". Before I could get into how your hard drive's health isn't really capable of controlling your Internet speed, though, he asked if I had a laptop.

So I hooked my tiny little Lenovo notebook up to the Ethernet and surprise, surprise, we get 50-60mbps down now, so all is well - that is, except for old Aesop. After I publish this - a post I'm writing on Aesop because she never breaks down and always does what she can, because if computers were humans this one would have a heart of gold, the willpower of a monk and the strength of a horse - I'm going to reinstall XP on her one last time and see if that solves the connection speed problem. And I'm going to start saving up for a new computer whether it does or not. Poor fucking Aesop.

(no subject)

21 Aug 2014 03:14 pm
[personal profile] dsgood
Happy Birthday, wildrider!
starlady: (bibliophile)
[personal profile] starlady
Books Read
Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria (2013) - I was talking to [personal profile] jhameia about this book, and about how the writing reminded me a lot of The Secret Service, and she said, "It's so sad." Which it is. And it's also, to my mind, much less about reading than other people had led me to believe. It's about travel, and being a traveler in a strange land, and yes about the power of books but also about how books aren't everything and about how they can and can't save you. It's melancholy and gorgeously written and wonderful, you should read it.

Yangsze Choo, The Ghost Bride (2013) - I enjoyed this book about a young woman who receives an offer to marry a dead man in turn of the C20th Malaya, although I am sympathetic to those reviews who complained that Choo's prose is somewhat more telling than showing at times, and the conceit that the narrator's father educated her sometimes stretches a bit thin in the face of facts about Malaya that she supplies the reader. But the narrator and her personality, and the vivid country of the dead to which she journeys, are more than enough to carry the story through. I am ambivalent about the ultimate denouement, but only because I saw someone else on DW compare the choice the protagonist faces to Aeryn's at the end of The Blue Sword. All that having been said, I really liked the book and very much will read Choo's future books.

Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013) - Being spoiled for the essential conceit of this book did not make it any less awesome in the reading; at times while I was on the train reading it I had to laugh out loud. I've never read any of Fowler's work before, but this was awesome, and well deserving of all success. The narrator and her perspective are a treasure.

Kate Elliott, Spirit Gate (2007) - I started reading this, the first in the Crossroads trilogy, because one of Elliott's forthcoming 2015 books is set in the same world many decades later. I did not regret it. There are GIANT JUSTICE EAGLES and also, with two notable exceptions, all of the men are at best incompetent and all the women are badass in different ways. The setting is also entirely Asian-inspired, and the entire cast POC. I'm already 1/4 of the way into the next book.

Zen Cho, Spirits Abroad (2014) - This book was published in Malaysia, and I arranged with the author to purchase a paper copy for Loncon. I read it on the plane to Turkey and loved every second of it; I've previously read and quite enjoyed Cho's romance novella, but her short stories are also a true delight, particularly "Prudence and the Dragon" and "The Four Generations of Chang E" and…all of them, really. Many of Cho's characters speak Manglish, and having attended a few of the author's events at Worldcon, it was interesting to note bits of her personal experience reconfigured and reused throughout her work. I very much hope that her novel is picked up and published soon! 

Currently Reading
Kate Elliott, Shadow Gate (2008) - Second in the Crossroads trilogy. Has more of [spoilers] but also more of a character who I honestly wished had been killed at the end of the last book. I think I get the point of his plotline, but he's still damn annoying.

The rakugo manga - still

Book-shaped space for acquisitions
Various, Kaleidoscope (2014) - I downloaded my ecopy of this anthology, which I supported in Kickstarter, and can't wait to read it.
Hagio Moto & Komatsu Sakyo, Away vol. 1 (2014) - new manga by Hagio Moto from a Komatsu Sakyo story!!!!!

Reading next
I acquired an excellent badge ribbon emblazoned with the phrase "All power corrupts, but we need electricity" at Worldcon, which makes me want to read the book it's from, namely Diana Wynne Jones' Archer's Goon. Also probably Michelle Sagara, since I'm behind on the Cast books. Also Kameron Hurley because she won Hugos. Also Seanan McGuire because I am WAY behind on her books. Also…you get the picture.

(no subject)

21 Aug 2014 09:36 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I've got to remember to ask our cleaning lady, when she comes today, if she can give me an extra hour next week or the week after (and maybe for two weeks in a row) so that we can work on cleaning the basement. Then again, I'm not sure how much of what's down there is stuff she can help with. She can sweep and mop and maybe dust and deal with spiderwebs, but she doesn't know where any of the crap on the floor goes. She should be able to help me move the broken furniture that's stuck in the corner by the treadmill, though. It's not heavy stuff. If it didn't have to be lifted, I could move it.

I'd like to get Cordelia involved in this-- most of the debris in the main part of the basement is hers-- but the timing may not work out. She'll have two friends over a week from today (their mother asked me to babysit. I'd say no to a playdate on a Thursday afternoon so as not to make things harder for the cleaning lady, but this is different), and after that, she'll be back at school and dealing with homework and all that.

Speaking of going back to school, Cordelia didn't believe me when I told her that she'd have both sixth grade teachers, just for different subjects. She's used to having a single classroom teacher for all subjects, but this year, one teacher will teach language arts and social studies while the other teaches math and science. They've told us that the sixth graders will actually switch classrooms on a schedule. I'm not clear as to what that will look like. I suppose we'll find out.

Creative matters

21 Aug 2014 12:44 pm
whatistigerbalm: alan by redsch ftmfw (Default)
[personal profile] whatistigerbalm
Item one, I'm really happy with how this original story is going, and typing up every new update gets me more excited. Having passed 25K words I'm past the point where I worry if anyone will like it (though I have friends who do and you guys are the best) and I'm just riding this wave of joy for as long as it lasts. You know by now I'm ill IRL and it affects my happiness and my will to do things, so having something like this happen is fantastic.

One thing I noticed is that putting all of this finally into words rather than just having it swirl as ideas in the mist of my mind, is how much of it is cliches I took for granted. Things like "of course X would get upset that their BFF Y is now hanging out with Z" instead of thinking that maybe X and Z would find something in common too, and have that come in useful when they need to deal with Y at some later point. This is not an actual example but the principle stands; and while I'm having an absolute blast doing away with these cliches as I find them (and I'm in no doubt that there's still stuff there that I'm totally oblivious to) it's a learning experience in itself to realise just how many tropes I never questioned. Live and learn, I guess.

The other thing is the exciting and pretty complicated task I set myself in splitting the delivery of information between four POV characters, three of which are doing stuff "now" while the fourth one is somebody who lived many centuries before the rest of this crew. At the same time, two of the "now" characters are on one side of an ideological and cultural divide, while the historical character and the third contemporary narrator share the other. Breaking this further, each of these pairs differ in their goals and perspective in accordance with their respective circumstances, so that too affects how they interpret the central story (in the sense of being the common element to these four) which is the life and legacy of a non-POV character.

... if that made any sense.

So yeah, none of that is new in any sense, storytelling-wise I mean, but it's a great way for me as somebody who loves both history and research to pour that love and frustration both into a piece of fiction, and have characters interpret the history of their world in a way that's relevant to them. (And argue over it, because their lives may be at stake.) I have no idea if any of this will come across or if it's just a pile of WTF, but that's what second and third drafts etc. are for. So far it's moving and that's all I want.

Item two, I recently posted a late-night piece of fanart to tumblr and got nearly four thousand notes in its first two days, plus thirty new followers and a bunch of really sweet messages in my inbox. But what this taught me is that while I did always wonder what it would be like to have a fanart post explode (I'm not a newbie to notification avalanches as my dog blog tends to do pretty well and I've had tens of thousands of notes pile up on a single post), I'm here being sad instead, because what I really want is not for my drawings to do well, but for my fandom to do so.

The fanart in question is Bob Ross' love of trees and woodland creatures applied to Rocket and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy so yeah, huge fandom = lots of notes. But I'm not in the Marvel fandom - I made a Bob Ross joke, not a GotG one - and while I see how easy it would be to get tons of notes if I drew more fanart for trendy things, all I want is for Tron posts to get this kind of response. Dammit, why do I care for something Disney owns and doesn't give two shits about? Agh.

Anyway, yeah. I want the third Tron film to get made, I want it to be good, I want it to have a hugeass fandom so that I can roll in it for years. It's unlikely to happen but a girl can dream, n'est-ce pas? Just make it not shit, that's seriously all I want.

And that's it from me until I catch up with your posts. See you in the comments, guys!
umadoshi: (W13 - Claudia MEEP (winterfish))
[personal profile] umadoshi
re: subject line, see also: despair and/or Sisyphus. (I am currently at 308 tabs on Mahir, my main computer, and I think I still have another 30 or 40 open on Lincoln from while I was away.)

And thus we have another batch of unsorted linkspam rather than a reading meme or some such. ^^;

I just updated [ profile] jinksyandthebrain (my kittens-only Tumblr) with the photos [personal profile] scruloose sent me while I was in Ontario. (Kas sent a few too, but another friend is in a couple of them, so I need to ask her before posting them.)

Signal boost (since for once I'm managing this in a [sort of >.>] timely manner): as of a couple days ago, [personal profile] d_generate_girl was wondering if anyone has any leads or advice on finding a place in NYC for the end of the month.

My usual library branch is the main downtown one, which is scheduled to close very soon. Here's an article about the new building that's replacing it. (This change has so far resulted in the two books I have out now not being due until December, and the need for me to choose a new pickup location for each new hold I place. I don't expect the library system to take into account that I automatically suspend all of my holds for two years [the maximum period it allows], but it'd be nice if I could simply change my default pickup location myself instead of needing to do it every time, especially since none of the branches' official names are how I think of them.)

Via Twitter, "The Spy Who Loved Me: An undercover surveillance operation that went too far", an article about a woman discovering that a man she was involved with and who fathered her eldest son was an undercover agent infiltrating a group she was part of. O_O

A few links via Facebook:

--Consider the messages that tattoos are sending". "Thanks to my medical career, I have more than a passing familiarity with a wide variety of tattoos. Although I don’t have any myself, I can appreciate the art form. I have commented to patients about the beauty of some of their tattoos."

--"45 Random Observations About Nova Scotia".

--"Photographer Sends His Kids Back In Time With These Moving Vintage Photos".

--"I am racist, and so are you: Recognizing and addressing racism in yourself". "This post is aimed at white folk, because our position of privilege allows us to benefit from, rather than be oppressed by, institutional racism."

Via Twitter, "12 things white people can do now because Ferguson".

Via [community profile] ladybusiness (and I'm lifting Ana's description from them), "Trigger Warning: Breakfast" is "a powerful comic about a woman's experience with rape and how we need to tell different kinds of stories; ones that acknowledge how often life differs from the kinds of scripts we recognise."

Via [ profile] draycevixen, a 2007 film of choreographer Matthew Bourne talking about creating m/m ballet love duets. There's some really lovely footage.


20 Aug 2014 04:13 pm
mishalak: A fantasy version of myself drawn by Sue Mason (Nice)
[personal profile] mishalak
A completely pointless milestone! I have more than 11,500 songs in my computer library currently. Late last year I decided to listen to all of them again (or for the first time). I passed 10,000 today. That is about 576 hours of music listened to with 81 hours to go (more or less).

And then I will probably start adding albums to my library again.

Media consumption Wednesday

20 Aug 2014 01:51 pm
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat

The Bodyguard
Thai gun-fu/wire-fu action comedy. We stuck it on our Netflix queue several years ago because we like Tony Jaa. We started watching it with few expectations and ended up REALLY impressed. The director-star, Petchtai Wongkamlao, is a SUPERB actor and comedian. There are lots of very long choreographic gunfights and kung fu fights in various styles. Tony Jaa is on screen for only a few minutes in a scene set in a supermarket. The funniest scene was (no, I'm not going to tell you, it's funnier if you don't know what's going to happen). The star is a little plump but nothing is made of this. There is another fat guy in the movie who wears outrageous costumes (normally I wouldn't like this, but the people making fun of this character are portrayed as ridiculous and he is portrayed as dignified; also they make fun of his costumes and not his size, so it didn't bother me). One of the actors appeared to have Down Syndrome. On the less enjoyable side, there was some sexism and body mockery among some minor characters that did bother me, but the rest of the movie made up for it. For all that I liked it, I wouldn't recommend it as an introduction to these genres.

Guardians of the Galaxy
I made a separate post about this.


The Wire
Seasons 1–4 were the best serious television I've ever seen. We had heard that Season 5 was good, but not as good as the other seasons. We watched three episodes and were not very happy with it, so we decided to stop watching. The episodes of Season 5 we watched had moments, but overall it was feeling meaner than the previous seasons, and we thought that some of the character development wasn't right. E.g. it really bugged me that McNulty went from all-but-teetotaling throughout season 4 to drunk-off-his-ass and cheating every night starting in episode 1 of season 5 and no reason was given for the change at all. I also looked at the plotline for the rest of the season and I didn't want to watch Omar or Prop Joe or Snoop getting killed although I'm sure the actors turned in great performances on those scenes.


Robert Greenberg, Mozart: His Life and Music
Series of lectures by a professor of music. He is way over the top; listening to him is more like listening to a stand-up comedian than to a typical professor. But if you don't mind that or like it, it's fun. Of course he spends much of the time vociferously debunking various myths about Mozart's life. (One I didn't realize was a myth, although I should have, is that "Amadeus" is not Mozart's real middle name; that is, he was not christened that and didn't use it during his lifetime, except as a wordplay.) There are bits of good music, if you like Mozart music and/or his contemporaries. I thought Greenberg could have done a more thorough job of explaining what to listen for in the music, but he did do some of that.


Kerry Greenwood, Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1)

Tessa Harris, The Anatomist's Apprentice (Dr Thomas Silkstone Mysteries #1)
Narrated by Simon Vance, who is very skillful but I am starting to hate him. This series "uses a fictional character Thomas Silkstone to examine the beginnings of forensic science, anatomy and surgery" (sez Wikipedia) and is set in the late 1700s. There's a lot of dissection/autopsy porn. It's got a classic mystery plot (country estate, lots of suspects, dark family secrets revealed, etc.) that's done well until just before the end. There's also a romance, which I didn't find very compelling. I didn't like the ending very much.


A New Beginning
Daedalus point-and-click game/story about time travel and environmentalism. I got sucked into it (there's good voice acting and the Bent Svensson character is interesting), but I didn't really like the story. There is an interesting female protagonist but she gets verbally abused a lot throughout the story (for incompetence), she has a technical job but constantly has to ask male characters about technical stuff, and then she sacrifices herself at the end to save the male protagonist. There were some things I liked about the gameplay, but I am not clever at lateral thinking (or grinding through trying every combination of possibilities) of the kind that this game often relies on for its puzzles, so a lot of the puzzles were too obscure for me, and I used a walkthrough.

Vacation '14, Day 8: Home Again

20 Aug 2014 01:03 pm
edenfalling: a circular mosaic in two shades of blue, depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
[personal profile] edenfalling
I am writing this one day after the fact, but oh well, so it goes.

My flight from Bemidji left at 12:30ish, so Mom, Dad, and I left the island at 10:45 so as to reach the airport in plenty of time. Bemidji is a very dinky airport, but their staff are very, shall we say, careful, so getting through security takes a while. I suspect this may be because they are such a dinky airport. The Ithaca airport, for all its tiny size, gets a fair amount of traffic -- it is served by THREE airlines! *gasp shock awe* -- and so their staff are a lot more practiced and efficient.

I had a three-hour layover in the Twin Cities, during which I ate lunch, did a couple crosswords, and read a chunk of The Iroquois by Dean R. Snow. (I have been on a local history kick lately.) Then, right after I boarded the plane to Detroit, the captain announced that a line of thunderstorms was moving over Detroit, which meant planes currently in the air couldn't land, which meant planes currently on the ground but intending to head for Detroit weren't allowed to take off; this is, I believe, known as a ground stop. Anyway, we sat at the gate for about 45 minutes, and ended up taking off almost exactly one hour late.

I had a scheduled two-hour layover in Detroit (which is more like one and a half, really, since layovers are counted with reference to departure time rather than boarding time), so even after losing an hour to the weather I still had time to run and grab some dinner -- a bacon cheeseburger with grilled onions and pickles, from Fuddruckers, mmmmmm -- and make it to my assigned gate with fifteen minutes to spare. The flight into Ithaca was smooth and on time, and my suitcase (which I had voluntarily checked in the Twin Cities, since the flight was full and they didn't have enough room in the overhead compartments) was waiting for me at baggage claim.

Then I discovered my car battery was dead.


Fortunately the guy staffing the parking lot ticket payment booth was just about to get off-shift, and he offered to give me a jump-start. I got my jumper cables out, he duly drove over and fastened them (and now I know how to do that myself in the hopefully unlikely event of another dead battery), and got me going again. I then spent over half an hour driving randomly around the greater Ithaca area, to make sure I got the battery recharged enough to be able to start the car again today. (I haven't checked that yet, but I need to go buy groceries this afternoon or evening, so fingers crossed!)

I think what happened is that when I parked, I turned on one of the auxiliary ceiling lights by the rear-view mirror to make sure I hadn't left anything in the car. Then I forgot to turn it off and didn't notice the light since it's pretty faint and I was parked close to a street-light. But even a small, faint light bulb will drain a car battery over the course of a week, so whoops.


In other news, all my peppers survived my absence! Actually -- and this is the really crazy part -- I seem to have more peppers than when I left. Last week I took the bitten-off top half of the much-abused pepper my mom brought me and stuck its stem into the empty pot that used to hold a completely uprooted pepper. And I think it has grown new roots! At any rate, its leaves are all still green and healthy-looking rather than wilted and shriveled, so I'm pretty sure it's been getting water and nutrients from somewhere, and it is sitting upright in a patch of soil, so... we'll see!

(no subject)

20 Aug 2014 10:31 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I'm reading a pretty good fanfic right now, but I keep thinking that I should stop because it's really long. My e-reader puts it at about 1300 pages, and I'm only about 200 pages in. That's a really big reading commitment, and while the story is good, I'm not sure it's 1300 pages good. It's a time travel story, Harry Potter, in which Hermione is thrown back in time to when Harry's parents were at Hogwarts. She has no way to return to her own time but to take the long way around. She's trying not to change anything, but her very presence is a change, and the repercussions of that haven't really begun to make themselves felt yet. Judging by the pace at which this is progressing, it's going to cover many years. It may get all the way back to the original time.

We've heard from the coaches of Cordelia's soccer team. There will be two practices a week, Mondays and Wednesdays. They haven't asked Scott to help, but he plans to offer at the first practice. We're not entirely clear-- It's possible that the team combines sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Something somebody said suggested that, but when we signed up, Rec & Ed didn't say anything about combining grades. I suppose it might be a way to make up for how few kids sign up at the middle school level. We're fortunate; a girl who lives near us but who is going to the middle school instead of staying at the old school is on the team. Cordelia and I can call on her family for help if Scott has to work.

I'm a bit worried about the two practices a week. Come October, Cordelia will have volleyball practice, too, and there's no guarantee it won't conflict with soccer. (There's a chance she'll be on the team coached by the mother of one of her soccer teammates, but it's by no means certain.) I hope volleyball doesn't have two practices a week. I can see them wanting the kids at higher levels to be more committed, but one thing I've liked about Rec & Ed sports is that they're laid back and don't put a lot of pressure on the kids. Cordelia prefers volleyball to soccer, so that will take precedence if there are conflicts.


kaigou: Sorry to barge in, but we have a slight apocalypse. (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

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