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Jun. 24th, 2017 05:08 pm
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
[personal profile] skygiants
Our adventures with Star Wars: The Clone Wars continue! Though, alas, those of many of our clone buddies do not.

Episodes 11-20 of Season 1 under the cut )
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
[personal profile] jazzy_dave

Hunter S.Thompson - "The Proud Highway: 1955-67, Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman" (Bloomsbury)








This is the fist installation of the Fear and Loathing Letters and hence is known as volume one.


I read a majority of this book during my travels over the last six months and often people around me thought I was crazy because of how often I would laugh out loud at his writings. It reminds me of the best of Spike Milligan's humour in many ways.

It was pure Hunter, same style of writing as his journalism, but with a more personal feel and added insights to what was going on in his life. I also felt like it took forever to finish, but I tried to view it as a marathon, not a sprint.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

Jun. 24th, 2017 01:56 pm
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly photoblogs about her trip to Berlin.

  • Dead Things reports on a recent study that unraveled the evolutionary history of the domestic cat.

  • James Nicoll notes that his niece and nephew will each be performing theatre in Toronto.

  • Language Hat has an interesting link to interviews of coders as if they were translators.

  • Marginal Revolution looks at Chinese video game competitions and Chinese tours to Soviet revolutionary sites.

  • Steve Munro shares photos of the old Kitchener trolleybus.

  • Roads and Kingdoms shares the story of the Ramadan drummer of Coney Island.

  • Savage Minds shares an essay arguing that photographed subjects should provide they consent and receive renumeration.

  • Torontoist shares photos of the Trans March.

  • Towleroad
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Consider this post a consequence of a consolidation of my blogroll, with three posts from older blogs I've added previously and two new posts from new blogs.


  • Missing persons blog Charley Ross shares the strange story of five people who went missing in a winter wilderness in 1978.
  • Roads and Kingdom shares an anecdote by Alessio Perrone about a chat over a drink with a Cornishman, in a Cornwall ever more dependent on tourism.

  • Strange Company shares the story of Kiltie, a Scottish cat who immigrated to the United States in the First World War.

  • Starts With a Bang, a science blog by Ethan Siegel, argues that there is in fact no evidence for periodic mass extinctions caused by bodies external to the Earth.

  • Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, a group blog by Canadian economists, considers the value placed on Aboriginal language television programming.

the ugly truth

Jun. 24th, 2017 11:04 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
(I said this on Twitter, I might as well say it here.)

So, yesterday I outed myself as mentally ill. Which was a conscious choice & one I'm not fully happy about, but it needed to be done. It also means that I have admitted I have a disability. (Actually, I have several.) Which I'm also not happy about, but facts are facts.

However, I'm now waiting for the person who's going to come along and tell me I'm not disabled enough:
  • "You don't look/act disabled." (You're not really disabled, just making excuses/trying to make yourself look special.)
  • "You're not on disability." (You fail to meet a arbitrary, quantifiable standard of disability, therefore you are not disabled.)
  • "I don't think you have a real disability." (You fail to meet my arbitrary, unquantifiable standard of disability, therefore you are not disabled.)
  • "You have a job." (You can't really be disabled. You're too functional.)
  • "Your description of your disability does not match with other people's descriptions of their disability/with my experience of my disability." (You're not disabled, you're just lying.)
  • "Other people have disabilities that are much worse than yours." (How dare you claim to be disabled.)

Well, if that's how you think, I have news for you:

1. FUCK YOU.

2. Disability is not a competition. Yes, there ARE people whose disabilities are much worse than mine. That doesn't make the issues I struggle with less real.

3. You have no idea of how hard I may be working to not "look disabled."

4. Also, once again, fuck you and the horse you rode in on. Whoever you are and whatever your credentials, you do not get to constitute yourself the disability police and tell me, once again, that I'm not disabled enough to count.

I don't want to be disabled. (Jesus fucking Christ, who would?) I don't want to acknowledge that I'm disabled. I'm doing so now because the Republicans are trying to make people with disabilities disappear, and it's time to BE VISIBLE as a person with disabilities who doesn't "look disabled," instead of just passing for "normal" as best I can.

So stop telling me to shut up because I don't meet your standards.

I have disabilities. They're real. By the definition of the health care that I'm in danger of losing, HELL YEAH are they real. I *do* have a dog in this fight, and me and him, we're gonna go down YELLING OUR FUCKING HEADS OFF.
musesfool: lester bangs on rock'n'roll (music)
[personal profile] musesfool
So this week's AV Club Q&A is favorite one hit wonders (though certainly the definition of "one hit" is...elastic, and dependent in many cases on where you live), and more than a couple of songs I love got mentioned and then I ended up departing from that original premise and going on a youtube spiral of music from my teenage years, a lot of which I hadn't heard in decades probably (and some of which is still in regular rotation on my iPod, though I left out most of the usual suspects), but here are some gems:

- 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

***

PW reviews Penric's Mission

Jun. 24th, 2017 08:37 am
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
Of the Subterranean Press hardcover; I don't think they cover many e-books. May be seen here:

https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-...

A Publishers Weekly review is, or was (probably still is), considered rather a coup for an aspiring writer. I remember how excited my agent was for my first one; she mailed me a clipping, which should give you an idea how many years ago.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on June, 24
rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
I spent yesterday evening down with a friend taking in Pride Toronto down at Church and Wellesley, wandering up and down the streets dense with people and vendors and venturing over into
Barbara Hall Park and the AIDS Memorial. It was a lovely evening, made all the more so by a late evening sky coloured in rainbow pastels.

Walking down Church


Toward the Wellesley stage


The new Glad Day Bookshop sign


Towards Maple Leaf Gardens


By the roses


Behind the DJ


Roses in pink and red


Friends


Rainbow lights and sky


Pastels above


Seven flags over the 519


As evening falls


South on Church


West on Wellesley
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Why YouTube did this seems unclear so I am just going to jump to a conclusion completely unsupported by the available evidence and assume this is yet another example of right-wing trolls gaming a site's complaint mechanisms.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Without spoiling the title, it's old timey SF from a series set on the worlds of the nearer stars. Wikipedia has a current list. In my day, the right hand column would have been filled with "here there be dragons," not lists of exoplanets.

That one KSR about how if you send a generation ship filled with the learnedly ignorant, colonization will surely fail aside, are there any SF novels recent enough to use the exoplanets we now know of as settings?

hey linux networking peeps

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:32 pm
solarbird: (molly-thats-not-good-green)
[personal profile] solarbird

I’m finally getting back to working on a new gateway/router server and I’m basically setting up this old-school sort of DMZ, with the rest of our servers hanging off one card, and our internal LAN/DHCP/NAT side hanging off the other. (Using ISC, which Debian seems to like.) And all of that seems to be right from the new server’s perspective, which is yay!

Except there’s no packet forwarding from the DHCP side even though it’s enabled and I’m sure I enabled it and yes the kernel thinks its enabled but it isn’t happening.

Any ideas where to start?

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Chapter Update: Celluloid Hero

Jun. 23rd, 2017 09:37 pm
gwyn: (steve rogers shield)
[personal profile] gwyn
Celluloid Hero (29728 words) by gwyneth rhys
Chapters: 6/?
Fandom: Captain America (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe, Golden Age Hollywood Actors
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Steve Rogers, Bette Davis, John Garfield, USO Tour Dancers (Marvel), Original Characters, Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Tierney, William Powell, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Jack Warner, Delmer Daves, Ida Lupino, Hedy Lamarr
Additional Tags: Golden Age Hollywood, Hollywood Canteen, World War II, The Star-Making Machinery, Propaganda, someone's going to get his V-card punched, and by someone I mean Steve, Letters, Minor Bucky Barnes/Steve Rogers, First Motion Picture Unit, Pining Steve, Period Typical Everything
Summary:


The talk of the town last night was Captain America’s star-spangled appearance at the Hollywood Canteen, where the ladies swooned and the gentlemen cheered. Rumor has it he will be meeting with studio heads to discuss bringing his patriotic man with a plan to the silver screen.



Chapter 6 finally posted! In which Steve doesn't do well at his own premiere, learns how to play the Hollywood game, gets to know Ida Lupino and Hedy Lamarr, and receives a very important envelope.

What I Bought 6/16/2017 - Part 2

Jun. 23rd, 2017 09:26 pm
[syndicated profile] calvinpitt_feed

Posted by CalvinPitt

Alex' roommate wanted us to watch this Netflix show, Haters Back Off. We made it through a little over one episode, and it is the worst goddamn thing I've watched this year, which is saying something. Painfully unfunny. Maybe Clint was getting revenge because we don't clean his grill enough after using it? But we share the barbecue with him! Anyway, comic books.

Ms. Marvel #19, by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Marco Failla (artist), Ian Herring (color artist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Must have been a lot of worked to stitch all those faces on there. Kind of complicates the costume.

Kamala's family attempts to celebrate Eid Al-Adha, but those HYDRA dopes are at it again, having managed to get that Chuck Worthy twerp installed as mayor without the pesky hurdle of winning an election. The wannabe fascist Becky, from the Civil War II tie-ins, is working with them, and has herself a henchman, who is extremely smug and self-righteous. And it looks as though Wilson is going to address the whole thing about Aamir getting super-powers right before Secret Wars maybe rebooted everything. Only took almost two years of completely ignoring it.

I would be a lot more impressed with Discord's attempt to play on Kamala's compassion if we weren't dealing with a group that's being run and/or supported by Dr. Faustus. Who mind-controls people? Who showed up in this book originally with some mind-control soda pop thing? So I can pretty easily dismiss all those "angry" people who support what HYDRA's up to as being mind-controlled.

Or, they're not being controlled, they're just idiots. Or assholes with abhorrent views. In either event, I don't care what they want, so I hope we're not going to spend a lot of issues of Kamala doubting whether she should get involved because the side rounding people up on no good grounds has supporters, too. But we'll see.

Failla's faces tend to be elongated with chins I find distracting, and there are times I'm not sure what expression he's going for. The panel of Kamala, Aamir, and Tyesha I assume fighting over a chocolate in the car, I assume it's supposed to be kind of funny, them all grabbing for it, but the looks are so intense and weird it doesn't really feel funny. The page of Kamala stretching out of the way of a bunch of attacks was really good, though.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #21, by Ryan North (writer), Erica Henderson (artist), Rico Renzi (color artist), Travis Lanham (letterer) - Brain Brain's logo reminds me of something, but I can't remember what. It may be the current Batgirl's logo, between the large yellow emblem against a purple outfit, but I'm not sure that's it.

Ken, Tomas, and "Brian" are confronted with a series of crimes being pulled off by people dressing up as villains and heroes. The heroes pretend to arrest the villains, but are actually sneaking off with the loot. There are so many heroes in New York, it'll be hard to know if the ones they see are real or not, but Brian has worked out an algorithm so he can better distinguish faces and this lets them tell who's a fake or not, and capture everyone.

Most of the trouble for our heroes comes from Brian's attempts to initiate hanging out protocols which ruin everything. Although that teacher giving Ken math problems to perform in class in front of everyone for 5% of his grade is complete bullshit. I'm sorely disappointed in Tomas for not stepping up on Ken's behalf and giving that tool an earful. I exempt Brain Drain because he would have rolled out some soliloquy about how math, though a vital tool in demonstrating the ultimate descent into nothingness of the universe, can't fill a man's heart. Maybe that would have crushed the professor's spirit, as he realizes he has wasted his life in academia.

I was debating whether the Doctopus was really a good analogue for Steel (since each of the Octopals is representing one of the guys who popped up after the Death of Superman), but Steel took the "Man of Steel" thing and made a man-shaped suit out of a steel-like material. So a Doctor Octopus with a literal octopus on his head is appropriate, although it can't be much fun for man or gastropod. Also, Doctopus was carrying hammers, so totally a proper analogue to Steel.

I appreciate the touch that Brian's eyes simply float wherever they want in that jar. So they can be in the top half, bottom half, swing way over to the side. It's fun watching where Henderson sends them from one panel to the next. As is Brian's questionable fashion sense. That cool dude outfit was awful. He ought to be hanging out with friggin' Brad wearing that.

And at least fake Spider-Man remembers he has a spider-sense, even if Spidey's own clone apparently does not.

Recent Reading

Jun. 23rd, 2017 06:04 pm
ann_leckie: (AJ)
[personal profile] ann_leckie

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.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Steve Munro reports on the many problems associated with implementing new express buses, in Toronto and elsewhere.

  • Global News was one of many sources reporting on the high rate of failure of the new Bombardier streetcars.

  • Ben Spurr notes the astounding failure of the City of Toronto to do basic things at Union Station, like collect rent.

  • Transit Toronto notes that GO Transit's seasonal routes to Niagara have started today and will go until 4 September.

a not very successful book hunt

Jun. 23rd, 2017 09:01 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

*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)

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

Dear suspiciously rotund cat

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Not my cat, not my house. Please don't be pregnant.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
ETA: Per Snopes, the Warm Springs Foundation, which provided Senator McConnell with polio rehabilitation, was a nonprofit organization with extremely close ties to the federal government (as we'd probably phrase it today). If someone from Senator Johnson's office contacts me to point out my errors, at least I'll know they read my letter.

ETA(2): ALSO THIS.


[via email]

Dear Senator Johnson:

First of all, thank you for speaking out against the speed with which Senator McConnell is trying to force his Better Care Reconciliation Act through the Senate.

Secondly-- As it turns out, Senator McConnell had polio as a small child; his health care was entirely government-funded. This is exactly the kind of health care--the kind that provides needed services to children whose parents *are*not*wealthy*--that he is trying to destroy. The hypocrisy of this infuriates me, above and beyond all the other things that I think are appalling, shameful, and horrifying about the BCRA.

The BCRA is potentially catastrophic for me. I have a number of chronic conditions, including Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Restless Legs Syndrome, that are controlled, entirely or in part, by medications--medications that I cannot afford without health insurance. Without the chemical assistance to straighten out my brain chemistry and neurology, I will very quickly become paralyzed by the apathy of depression and the brain-lock induced by OCD--not to mention the chronic sleep-deprivation caused by RLS. And these conditions are all incurable. They can be *managed* very successfully, but I will never be free of them. I need these medications for the rest of my life. (I'm 42. I'm hoping "the rest of my life" is a very long time.)

Right now, I have insurance through the State of Wisconsin. But--as you are possibly aware--the state has been steadily chipping away at its employees' health benefits for the last 20 years, and if the BCRA passes, it gives Wisconsin greatly increased leeway to make state employees' health benefits ever more meager, which will mean my out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions and doctor visits will continue to increase and increase, while my insurance covers less and less of the care I need. (The medication which principally controls my RLS already has a co-pay of more than $100 a month.) And if I *lose* that coverage, I will be uninsurable. I am a walking compendium of "pre-existing conditions"--I didn't even tell you about the chronic migraines or the fibromyalgia or the Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Senator, I need health insurance. I need it to be affordable. I need it NOT to be contingent on my never having been and never becoming sick, because that door slammed shut a long time ago. I need it to PROTECT ME, not benefit the health insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

I am hoping that, as my senator, you care more about my well-being than you do about providing tax cuts to a handful of people who do not need them. I am hoping that you recognize Senator McConnell's rank hypocrisy and that it angers you as it does me. I am hoping that you will defend me and your other 5.77 million constituents who need, as a matter of quite literally life or death, the access to affordable healthcare that Senator McConnell and his BCRA are trying to strip away from us.

Please continue to oppose the BCRA. Do not let this unconscionable bill be your legacy.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:43 pm
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • The Big Picture shares shocking photos of the Portuguese forest fires.

  • blogTO notes that, happily, Seaton Village's Fiesta Farms is apparently not at risk of being turned into a condo development site.

  • Centauri Dreams notes a new starship discussion group in Delft. Shades of the British Interplanetary Society and the Daedalus?

  • D-Brief considers a new theory explaining why different birds' eggs have different shapes.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas commits himself to a new regimen of blogging about technology and its imports. (There is a Patreon.)

  • Language Hat notes the current Turkish government's interest in purging Turkish of Western loanwords.

  • Language Log's Victor Mair sums up the evidence for the diffusion of Indo-European languages, and their speakers, into India.

  • The LRB Blog notes the Theresa May government's inability post-Grenfell to communicate with any sense of emotion.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen wonders if the alt-right more prominent in the Anglophone world because it is more prone to the appeal of the new.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw wonders if Brexit will result in a stronger European Union and a weaker United Kingdom.

  • Seriously Science reports a study suggesting that shiny new headphones are not better than less flashy brands.

  • Torontoist reports on the anti-Muslim hate groups set to march in Toronto Pride.

  • Understanding Society considers the subject of critical realism in sociological analyses.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia's call to promote Cyrillic across the former Soviet Union has gone badly in Armenia, with its own script.

galacticjourney: (Default)
[personal profile] galacticjourney

by Victoria Silverwolf

In this age of Cold War tensions, it's a little disconcerting to discover that the United States made two failed attempts this month to detonate a nuclear warhead in space. The project, whimsically known as Operation Fishbowl, launched Thor missiles from Johnston Island, a tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean under the command of the US Air Force. The missiles launched on June 2 (Bluegill) and June 19 (Starfish) had to be destroyed in flight due to technical problems. (Radar lost track of Bluegill, and the Starfish rocket engine stopped prematurely.) Some of the debris from Starfish landed on Johnston Island, potentially contaminating persons stationed on the atoll with radioactive material.



If that weren't scary enough, the three inmates who escaped from Alcatraz a couple of weeks ago are still at large. It's probable that they drowned in San Francisco Bay, but I'd advise those of you who live in the area to keep your doors locked.



Raising the alarm in these troubling times are two newly published documents drawing attention to the problems we face. The left-wing organization Students for a Democratic Society released a manifesto entitled The Port Huron Statement a week ago, promoting universal disarmament and other social and political reforms through non-violent civil disobedience.



(It's interesting to note the cover price is the same as that of the magazine I'll eventually get around to reviewing.)

At the same time, The New Yorker (which costs ten cents less than Fantastic or The Port Huron Statement published an excerpt from Silent Spring, an upcoming book from marine biologist Rachel Carson which discusses the danger posed to the environment by chemical pesticides.

With all of this depressing news, it's not surprising that a melancholy ballad of loneliness and lost love has been at the top of the charts for the entire month. Ray Charles isn't the first musician to have a hit with Don Gibson's 1958 country song I Can't Stop Loving You -- besides Gibson himself, Kitty Wells released a popular version the same year, as did Roy Orbison in 1961 -- but his version is by far the most successful. It seems likely that this unique combination of rhythm and blues with country-western will have a powerful impact on popular music.

In keeping with this mood, it's appropriate that many of the stories in the current issue of Fantastic feature characters haunted by loneliness, isolation, and lost love.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

Cool Stuff Friday

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:18 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is almost finished with this first draft…

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

it's braver sometimes just to run

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:55 am
musesfool: Kermit the Frog (can't look clowns will eat me)
[personal profile] musesfool
Last night, we had dinner at Joanne's, the Lady Gaga family restaurant. The food was fine, but for the prices they charge, I expected at least two meatballs with my spaghetti and meatball dinner. To be fair, the one meatball was of decent size, but still, it's listed as spaghetti and meatballs on the menu so it's not ridiculous to expect there to be more than one meatball on the plate. I am just saying.

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.

***

What other Nicolls are up to

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:15 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My niece Ilia and nephew Jake are appearing here:

Read more... )
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Yesterday morning before work, I ventured over to the rooftop patio of the Yonge Eglinton Centre. The views that it offers of midtown Toronto from three stories up are lovely, but I like the park itself, a green space surrounded by the towers of the YEC.

Greenery on the roof (1)


Greenery on the roof (2)


Looking north


Looking up


Greenery on the roof (3)

Friday For What It's Worth

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:13 am
marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells
This has been a week of extreme highs and lows. The high points were awesome but the low points are...low.

I've got news I can't share yet so this is kind of a boring post. I need to get back to my book rec posts but Fridays are kind of a bad day for them.

We were supposed to have a hurricane but it turned and is now torturing a different part of the country.

Oh, I did a Reddit r/Fantasy AMA yesterday, and got a great question on Worldbuilding:

Question: One of my favorite things about your books is the incredible detail and authenticity to the cultures and societies you create. I've read City Of Bones and your Raksura books and I am always immediately engaged when the characters travel to a new city. The residents, architecture, customs, languages, and overall presentation feel well rooted and historical. It really adds an incredible flavor to your writing and inspires me to improve my own.

Are you willing to describe the process in which you develop a new city? When you sit down to create a new location, how you start the vision and do you have a system in how you begin to add layers of detail until the city/town/society feels authentic?

Me: Thank you so much!

I use different methods for different types of book. For the Ile-Rien books, where the locations are based more on real-world places, I did a lot of research into cities in similar cultures, climates, environments as my imaginary city. For the Raksura books, I tried to think of a neat setting for a city, then tried to make it as weird and extreme as possible. Like the Turning City, Keres-gedon, which started out as just a camp in the mountains.

Basically it's a process of coming up with an element you want in your city, like canals. You look at cities with canals, like Venice, and maybe Angkor Wat. What are the canals used for? Transportation, a reservoir, entertainment, defense, etc. You think about how the environment and climate of your city is going to affect your canals. Can they freeze over? Are they affected by drought? Sewage? Plant growth? Underwater monster issues? Etc. Why or why not are they affected by these things? Once you make all those decisions, you decide how they affect the inhabitants of the city, their culture, their everyday life. It can be simple or complicated, and ideally, it leads to ideas that can further characterization and plot. And the big thing to remember is that the reader doesn't need to know everything you know about your canal system. They'll be able to infer a lot from the bits and pieces they see as your characters move through the story, and the sense that the city is operating by a logical system is more important than knowing the exact details.

I also don't usually figure out too many of the details of my settings in advance, since I'm going to concentrate mainly on the parts my characters are interacting with. Like most of the city may be sketched in, but the characters are going to need this little train system and this temple hospital, so those bits are going to get more attention and development. Also keep in mind that cities change over time, with new buildings, new roads, and what stays in place and what gets built over or torn down all say things about the people who live there.

It also helps not to set too many boundaries. You never want to tell readers that there's nothing over the mountains, because it's going to make the world feel closed in, like a puddle instead of a huge mysterious ocean. And if you keep writing in this setting, you may eventually need those empty places to put things in.

I hope that helps!


***

Also:

I have a signed copy of The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red in the Authors for Grenfell Tower Auction: https://authorsforgrenfelltower.com/2017/06/23/signed-copy-of-the-murderbot-diaries-all-systems-red-by-martha-wells/

There are tons of other great items up for auction to benefit the tower fire victims. Please check it out or pass it on.

Links

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:10 pm
selenak: (rootbeer)
[personal profile] selenak
Confessions of a Trekker: I really don't like ST VI - The Undiscovered Country. Which is, I've discovered, something of a minority opinion, for at least the vocal part of fandom holds this last cinematic outing of the TOS crew in a fond light. However, now and then the dissent becomes vocal, too, as in this rewatch post about the movie in question .


In more fun Trek news, check out this vid about everyone's favourite Cardassian tailor-plus-spy:

Dedicated Follower of Fashion

(Every now and then I wish the movies instead of going for the nth version of Wrath of Khan (with or without a villain called Khan) would tackle the Cardassians instead. And then I conclude the movies would probably mishandle the Cardassians as badly as they did the Romulans, and am glad the Cardassians so far have been reserved for tv.)

And lastly, a BSG fanfic rec:

Rippling Light: tender and heartbreaking take on the friendship of Felix Gaeta and Anastasia Dualla, two characters for whom the phrase "they deserved better" might have been invented.

Northern Summer on Titan

Jun. 23rd, 2017 05:01 am
[syndicated profile] apod_feed

While yesterday's solstice brought summer to planet Earth's While yesterday's solstice brought summer to planet Earth's


annathepiper: (Good Book)
[personal profile] annathepiper

Noting this as I actually bought a couple of print books from Third Place the other day–things that fall into the general category of Authors Who Are Absolutely Vital For Me to Have In Print. The people for whom a lack of access to their books would make me sad, whether due to power outage or loss of reading devices or what have you.

The first of these purchases was In the Labyrinth of Drakes, Book Four in Marie Brennan’s excellent Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I’ve actually already read this and I did indeed love it immensely, but I definitely wanted the Lady Trents in print. And this one finally was available in trade now that the hardcover of Book Five is out.

Beren and Luthien

Beren and Luthi

Much more importantly, I acquired a hardback copy of the new Tolkien release, Beren and Luthien!

Y’all know my love of Tolkien, and you’ll probably also remember that I’m particularly fond of the tale of Beren and Luthien, which is hands down my favorite thing in the whole of The Silmarillion.

Relatedly, when Christopher Tolkien released the excellent Children of Hurin version of the other big tale from The Silmarillion–the tale of Turin Turambar–I nabbed that in hardback. I’ve said before how I had to have that in hardback just for the gorgeous illustrations, and out of general appreciation of the beauty of the work that went into putting that book together as an object.

So given all of these things together, you better believe I had to jump on the Beren and Luthien release.

Fair warning though to fellow Tolkien fans who may be covetously eying this release too: it is not cheap. (I got the hardback for $30.00, and while I could have gotten it for substantially cheaper at Barnes and Noble, I made a point of buying it from Third Place instead because local-to-my-house indie bookstores are love.) If you want that hardback and you’re more budget-pinched than I am, be aware you’ll get it for much cheaper on Amazon or with B&N, both of whom are showing prices for it around $18.

Likewise, the ebook is stupidly expensive right now. It’s clocking in at $16.99, and that price is the main reason I haven’t already nabbed this release as well in digital form. Do not mistake me: I will also be buying this book in digital form, because a) Tolkien pretty much would top the list of authors I require in both formats, and b) under no circumstances am I taking the hardback out of the house. But that price annoys me, as it’s yet another indicator of the return of agency pricing, and I have an ongoing gripe with the publishing industry seeming bound and determined to piss off digital readers by making ebooks as expensive as possible.

I’m genuinely torn, though, as to whether Tolkien is worth it to me to shell out for the ebook at that price anyway; if any author merits doing that out of all my favorites, it’s Tolkien.

Either way, the ebook edition will eventually be joining my collection too. And that’ll likely be the way I read it, just because I do most of my reading on commutes.

For now, that’s two additional book purchases to add to the tally this year, which has been quite small. (I’m actually trying to make an effort to put a dent in the backlog of books I actually own, doncha know.) 17 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Links

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm
muccamukk: An orange life ring floating in the sea. (Lights: Lifering)
[personal profile] muccamukk
I ended up signing up for [community profile] fandomgiftbox, which is sort of [community profile] fandom_stocking in the summer with slightly different rules. I had fun treating it last year, so why not.

Wish there were more people in my fandoms in [community profile] 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 [personal profile] luminousdaze, along with 12, Missy, Clara and a bunch of the gang.

I really like this essay by [personal profile] 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.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald


The Pet Shop Boys' 1996 song "Single-Bilingual" was not as big a hit as their iconic global singles of the 1980s. Perhaps it was because this song, like the rest of their album Bilingual, was a shift from their previous European-styled electronica, incorporating Latin rhythms. This is a shame, because this song and others are among the group's slyest.

The songs of the Pet Shop Boys, like those of all great songwriters, can say many things. See "Single-Bilingual". Listening to the peppy song, Neil Tennant singing in the voice of a self-styled cosmopolitan businessman who claims to be the master of his world, there is humour. As Wayne Studer points out, this man is not all he thinks he is. He's just a cog in the machine.

They call this a community
I like to think of it as home
Arriving at the airport
I am going it alone
Ordering a boarding pass
Travelling in business class
This is the name of the game
I'm single, bilingual
Single, bilingual


I find myself wondering, too, if this song fits on the soundtrack for Brexit. From a pretended cosmopolitanism down to an actual solitude?
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[personal profile] rfmcdonald
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Daily Xtra's Arshy Mann and Evan Balgord report on how the Jewish Defense League plans on marching in Toronto Pride. Grand.

  • Spacing's Shazlin Rahman reports on the Jane's Walk she organized around sites of significance to Muslims around Bloor and Dufferin.

  • The Toronto Star's Nicholas Keung and Raju Mudhar reported earlier this month on the happy reunification of a Syrian couple with their cat.

A Christmas Movie In June

Jun. 22nd, 2017 05:28 pm
[syndicated profile] calvinpitt_feed

Posted by CalvinPitt

Decided to rewatch The Ref over the weekend. I randomly found out it was on Netflix a month ago, and given how badly all my recent attempts to watch movies I hadn't seen before have gone, going back to something familiar I liked didn't sound too bad.

Denis Leary is a thief, trips an alarm robbing a house, his driver panics and bails, so he takes Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis hostage. This leaves him trapped in their home on Christmas with the squabbling couple, Spacey's idiot brother's family, and their domineering mother. Angry, hilarious yelling ensues. I think "Shut up" constitutes one-third of all words spoken during the movie.

I hadn't watched this in years, so I remembered the part where the in-laws have arrived, and Leary tries passing himself off as Caroline and Lloyd's marriage counselor being a much bigger part of the movie. It's actually only the last half-hour. Prior to that is the burglary, the intro to Caroline and Lloyd's dysfunction, their delinquent son (who is annoying in that way "bad" kids in '90s movies often are, but the film points out the kid really has no idea how good he has it, so I think he's supposed to be annoying).

Every character in the movie is right, but also wrong. (Except Lloyd's mother, who is a complete ass with a martyr complex. My favorite line is Lloyd leaning down to her and telling her that next Christmas, "we're going to get you a big wooden cross, and every time you feel unappreciated you can climb up and nail yourself to it." Spacey has this great look of smug satisfaction come over his face as he says it, too. You can tell he had hit his limit with her, and he's pissed enough to let her have it with both barrels. Best of all, she's never going to see it coming from her dear boy.)

Characters are quick to point out each other's faults, but are oblivious to their own, and often misread the others. Gus, for all that he cuts through Lloyd and Caroline's bullshit, also brings a lot of his own class resentments into how he sees them. He's not happy with his life, and figures Lloyd should be with his, not realizing the truth of it. But Lloyd does have a little of the martyr in him, with his whining about how someone (meaning him) has to be responsible.

You end up a few people with love each other, but have allowed too much crap to build up between them, and a bunch of other interactions where the characters hate each other, but pretend they enjoy spending time together because that's what you're supposed to do. Connie doesn't really want to visit Lloyd and Caroline, hates the food Caroline prepares, but it's what you're supposed to do, so they go and pretend to like it. Gus, the wandering Santa, probably doesn't like delivering a fruitcake to Lloyd and Caroline, but does it out of routine. No one likes Rose, but she's the matriarch, and has a fuckload of money, so they all pretend.

And it's Gus, who as a cat burglar trying to avoid arrest and preferably not be noticed, and therefore the one with the most to gain from everything proceeding as normal, who upends everything. His presence applies enough pressure that all the facades shatter. It happens even before he meets Caroline and Lloyd, because his crime brings all the wealthy asshole bigshots to the sheriff, who can't deal with any more of their self-important crap and tells them so, rather than continue to kiss their asses. The added stress of a gun-toting burglar having their son as a hostage upstairs leaves Caroline unable to keep up a pretense of everything being OK, which gets to Lloyd. And that starts to infect the others, and they start to grate on Gus, and he loses control and the whole thing spirals out of control. It's a lot of fun sometimes to watch fictional people with fucked up families scream at each other (it helps that no one is going to get seriously hurt).
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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Craig S. Smith notes the profound cynicism of Kellie Leitch in using one Syrian refugee's abuse of his wife to criticize the entire program.

  • CBC's Carolyn Dunn notes that the story of the Trinh family, boat people from Vietnam who came to Canada, will be made into a Heritage Minute.
  • James Jeffrey describes for the Inter Press Service how refugees from Eritrea generally receive warm welcome in rival Ethiopia.

Senate Healthcare Bill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Senate Republicans have finally released what appears to be the draft text of H.R. 1628, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

It’s 142 pages, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time deciphering it all. (Not a lawyer or a legislator.) But here are some things that stood out at me…

Elimination of the individual and employer mandate. (Pages 10-11)

Tax repeals on medications, health insurance, health savings accounts, etc. (Pages 25-29)

This includes the “Repeal of Tanning Tax” on page 29.

The continuing attack on abortion rights.

“Disallowance of small employer health insurance credit for plan which includes coverage for abortion.” (Pages 8-9)

“No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity,” which is then defined as an entity providing abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. (Page 35)

#

According to a USA Today analysis, this bill would:

  • Reduce or eliminate most subsidies for individuals and families
  • “Eliminate the ACA’s requirement that insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what younger customers pay for the same coverage. Instead, those in their 60s could be charged five times as much, or more.”
  • Eliminate penalties to large employers who choose not to offer health insurance. (Elimination of the employer mandate.)
  • Make it easier to drop coverage for things like maternity care and mental health issues.

CNN points out that the bill would also:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
  • Require coverage of preexisting conditions. However, it also lets states “waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover… This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies, so those with pre-existing conditions may not have all of their treatments covered.”

A PBS article says the bill would:

  • Cap and reduce Medicaid funding, and allow states to add a work requirement for “able-bodied” recipients of Medicaid.
  • Provide $2 billion to help states fight opioid addiction

Fox News, unsurprisingly, focused on what they saw as positive in the proposed bill:

  • It preserves health care for people with preexisting conditions (with the potential exceptions noted in the CNN bullets, above), and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan through age 26.
  • It expands health care savings accounts.
  • It provides a short-term stabilization fund to help struggling insurance markets.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release their report on the senate bill next week. The CBO estimated that the House-passed bill would result in 26 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, and would cut the budget by $119 billion over the same time. (Source)

#

Nothing here is particularly shocking. I’m glad I and my family can’t be kicked off our insurance for our various preexisting conditions…though some of those conditions might no longer be covered, which sucks. It would hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and the mentally ill, among others. None of my readers will be shocked to hear that I think this is another step backward. The ACA was far from perfect — it’s like a patient with a broken leg, but instead of trying to fix the broken leg, we’ll just throw them through a woodchipper, because hey, it’s cheaper!

It looks like this may be a tight vote, which would make this an excellent time to call your Senator.

Please keep any comments civil. I’m angry about this too, but I don’t have the time or the spoons to moderate fights and nastiness today. (Which probably means I shouldn’t have posted this in the first place, but I never claimed to be that bright…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

A Liverpool Lark!

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:07 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

A few weeks ago my friend Leah said her husband wasn’t much interested in seeing Wonder Woman, so she wasn’t likely to see it in the theatre, and Ted said “THIS WILL NOT DO” and checked to see how much plane tickets to Liverpool were and they were practically nothing so he sent me to Liverpool for a lark with Leah, and we went to Wonder Woman together!

Knowing I had to get up wery wery early for my flight, I took a shower the night before and ended up with…Quite The Hair in the morning.



But I tamed it, and got myself some hot chocolate at the airport. I was very tired. But less large of hair. :)



It was the shortest flight I’d ever been on that didn’t involve being in an actual puddle-jumper (ie, 6-12 seat twin propeller airplane). We went up, we went down, there I was. I hung out at the airport for a while, reading, until Leah could collect me, and we spent an EXTREMELY giddy couple of hours ranting about work, children, and the patriarchy. (And, to be fair, a bit about Tom Hardy. Not so much ranting there, mind you, but. :))



These drinks are not actually alcoholic, because it was 11am, but they were DELICIOUS!



We went to our movie. We sat through a truly inordinate number of ads, which, thankfully, had no sound. We started to become concerned, in fact, after many many soundless ads. Then the trailers started, also soundlessly. They were doing these weird little 10 seconds spots for Dunkirk, and the second-to-last one faded to black and immediately came up with the trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, except because there was no sound and the fade to black had been so brief, they really looked like one trailer.


“Is this how we won WW2?” Leah asked, mystified. “Woody Harrelson and an army of monkeys?”

Then a theatre employee came in and said the entire sound system in the theatre had blown and they would not be showing us Wonder Woman in that theatre at that time.



However, there was another showing half an hour later, and they let us go to that one!



We had an utterly splendid time. Leah really enjoyed the movie. It ended and she said, “That was…that was *good*,” in astonishment, and then we went back to the airport, picking apart all our problems with it and rewriting things to our satisfaction, but we were really happy and had such a good time! And decided that we should really do that more often, because it turns out to be really cheap to pop over for a day, and ours is one of those friendships based on kindred spirithoodness rather than regular meetings in real life (we think that was our 6th time actually being on one another’s physical presence), but it was such fun that it seems like it should be a thing we do, and I need to look into doing that with OTHER friends in England and equally nearby locales…!

But yeah. That was really great. Yay for a lark!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:49 pm
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith points to his blog post about the strengths of the chosen families of queer people, in life and in his fiction.

  • Beyond the Beyond's Bruce Sterling revisits the politics behind France's Minitel network, archaic yet pioneering.

  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly blogs about meeting her online friends in real life. Frankly, it would never occur to me not to do that.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at how Kepler's exoplanets fall neatly into separate classes, super-Earths and mini-Neptunes.
  • The LRB Blog has a terrible report from Grenfell Tower, surrounded by betrayed survivors and apocalypse.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the inclusion of Canada's First Nations communities on Google Maps.

  • The NYRB Daily's Robert Cottrell explores the banalities revealed by Oliver Stone's interviews of Putin.
  • The Planetary Society Blog's Jason Davis considers the likely gains and challenges associated with missions to the ice giants of Uranus and Neptune.
  • Towleroad notes the new Alan Cumming film After Louie, dealing with a romance between an ACT-UP survivor and a younger man
  • The Volokh Conspiracy's Ilya Somin does not find much good coming from Trump's announced Cuba policy.
  • Window on Eurasia warns about the threat posed by Orthodox Christian fundamentalists in Russia.

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:40 am
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Well, I work about two miles away from this zoo, so I could go and be disdained by this giraffe calf in person.

Theoretically. The air is about the temperature of boiling right now and the idea of actually setting foot on zoo grounds is not that tempting, really, even with the possibility of being personally disdained.

r/Fantasy AMA

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:00 am

American Gods 1.08

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:42 pm
selenak: (Illyria by Kathyh)
[personal profile] selenak
Getting this done before the Munich Film Festival starts tomorrow (guests of honor: Bryan Cranston and Sofia Coppola, who brings her parents along!).

Now that the season is over, I'm still not sure whether Fuller's decision to stretch the main plot out and pace it the way he does is justified. I mean, we STILL haven't reached the House on the Rock yet, and I assumed that would happen in the third episode, as it's this story's Council of Elrond scene, so to speak. Just think of a LotR tv adaption where they've barely made out of the Shire by the time the season finishes. Otoh, all that Fuller & Co. have added does enrich the story and I wouldn't have wanted to miss it, so.

And the moral of the story is... )