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Three sentences about 2017-10-16

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:00 am
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
Back to work! Tired, in that weird space of having gotten *almost* enough sleep, which is somehow groggier than being very short. Progress on the security thing (restricting our durable AWS keys to have zero privs other than to get us more-privileged but temporary keys), ran into a couple kinds of "oh wait duh you can't do that in bash" stupidity, may yet rewrite the whole thing in Python, probably should've just shut up and done that in the first place, also want to move on and get back to other more critical-path stuff. (The authentication stuff is important, but won't stop us from going live.) Amy made a tasty dinner of mushrooms, green beans, and white beans in a bacon garlic sauce that we'd picked up during some big EVERYTHING MUST BACON extravaganza at Stop & Shop a while ago, and it was super tasty. I then headed over to Hardy for a meeting about outdoor playground space, which was a good meeting, but focused on different (but more important, and also (especially) more urgent) stuff than I'd expected, and I didn't feel like I had a whole lot to contribute, but I'm trying to stay involved. It ran long, though, so I only got home after the kids were already in bed. Did a bit more work, and then to bed myself. (And forgot to post, but I'm now claiming that if I do it by 07:00, it counts.)

Approximately weekly diet report )
[syndicated profile] apod_feed

Both gravitational and electromagnetic radiations have been detected in Both gravitational and electromagnetic radiations have been detected in


Supergirl 3.02 "Triggers"

Oct. 16th, 2017 09:52 pm
alethia: (Supergirl Kara)
[personal profile] alethia
Supergirl 3.02 Triggers )
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • The Muse song "Neutron Star Collision" went through my head when I heard the news.

  • This Guardian article went into great detail about th
  • You can tell that Bad Astronomer Phil Plait really enjoyed writing about the neutron star collision in NGC 4993.

  • D-Brief notes that Einstein doubted the existence of gravitational waves, ever mind their detectability, and looks at the way GW170817 helped nail down the Hubble constant, measuring the rate the universe expands.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel provides a nice overview of GW170817.

  • Sophia Chen's Wired article takes an interesting look at the culture of gravitational wave astronomy, traditionally secretive for fear of criticism.

unf

Oct. 16th, 2017 05:14 pm
solarbird: (widow)
[personal profile] solarbird
last time i posted, i was in a bit of a slump - possibly more perceived than real, according to the numbers - but i've been digging back out a bit the last couple of days. i definitely needed to do more annabots, because of what it does for my tracking, which deathmatch does not do. the two training modes compliment each other well.

anyway, i'm home sick today with a head cold, and so had two daytime sessions and i just gotta say

do not step to me as widowmaker on defence in hanamura

just

don't

okay, so, i'm up to a 12 kill streak and my scope percentage is pretty good and my critical hit count is decent, and there's like 35 seconds left and we seem to be in good shape on defending the second point. torbjorn's got his turret up, all that, i'm coming back from spawn where i've re-healthed 'cause we don't have a healer, but while i was healing up, somebody blew up my mine on the upper platform on our left.

so i'm running out the right corridor and it's mccree and his ult is up and nobody on our team takes him down. he pulls a quadruple kill, then takes out a fifth, but gets taken down doing it.

i proceed to hold the point solo as widowmaker against reaper, lucio, and the piggy, the latter with no doubt the most brutally effective widow:76 play i have ever pulled off.

15 kill streak. and my whole team has seen it 'cause I'm the only one alive.

they all come charging out as i'm finishing off roadhog and i just wave - "hello there!" - and present them with a cleared objective, and we win.

smooth as silk.

unf.

Coyote Cinema: Bladerunner 2049

Oct. 16th, 2017 08:08 pm
cyrano: (Coyote Cinema)
[personal profile] cyrano
This is, no argument, a beautifully shot movie. It's dustier/hazier than the original, but of course they spend a lot of time heading out to the desert. There were lots of reflections from the original, but I couldn't tell if they had any thematic consequence or if they were just easter eggs. ("Nice dog. Is it real?" "Why don't you ask him?") And at the end of the film, nothing seems to really have changed. The viewer has caught up on the secret, but aside from the people (and AIs) who died, everybody seems pretty much in the same place they started from.

I expect to get some push back on this view, and am looking forward to it. I'd love for this movie to be more than bioluminescent sea foam frothily floating across the screen for three hours.

What I Bought 10/12/2017 - Part 2

Oct. 16th, 2017 05:21 pm
[syndicated profile] calvinpitt_feed

Posted by CalvinPitt

I haven't done nearly as much with my scanner as I intended so far. Just no time. Maybe next month, when this sketching project is over. Also, I have no new comics coming out this week. Bummer.

Ms. Marvel #23, by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Diego Olortegui (artist), Ian Herring (color artist), Joe Caramagna (letterer) - Someday I should try hanging out on top of a moving train, see what that's like. Answer, probably terrifying.

So a train is slowly out of control, and Kamala is trying to figure out what to do about it. And she has some company. The Red Dagger, who she met on her trip back to Karachi in issue 12, showed up in town. As did Kareem, the friend-in-law she met during that trip. Kamala's still not sure about herself after  decent section of the locals revealed they blame her for things that go wrong, so she's a little on edge, but also kind of blase. Like, I get stopping a train is difficult to do safely, but it almost feels like she uses it as a chance to take a trip through the countryside.

I was initially distressed to see yet another new artist on the book, but I like Diego Olortegui's work.  It's very expressive, and he's quite good at the little bits of humor. Nakia reaching across the aisle to gently wrench Mike's swooning gaze away from Kareem. Also, now that Kamala's powers are moving more in the direction of Mr. Fantastic's, Olortegui gets to play with that. Drawing Kamala flattening out to go under the bridge, then showing her only partially reinflated as they emerge from the other end. Kamala and Aamir's happy faces on page 2 looked a little strange. That might just be that Aamir's face doesn't look quite right. He's usually drawn with a much longer, thinner face and larger nose, none of which he has here. That might be something to work on going forward, but for the most part, everyone is still on model.

As always, Herring's colors help to maintain a consistent feel to the book. Even as the style shifts from artist to artist, he has those warm tones, the yellows and oranges that help it always feel like you're reading the same book.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #25, by Ryan North (writer), Erica Henderson (artist), Rico Renzi (color artist), Travis Lanham (letterer) -  How about you? You ready to follow Squirrel Girl into the jaws of death? Like it says on the cover, clearly, the answer is no.

Doreen must keep Ultron occupied and save Kraven while Nancy and Stefan rally the other programmers to devise a program that will occupy all Ultron's memory so he can't do anything else and they can reset him. Keeping Ultron occupied is difficult but fortunately, Kraven trained the dinosaurs to come when you whistle. You know how to whistle right?

I'll be curious to see if Ultron reappears down the line as a benevolent plant android, whatever that might look like. I am not convinced planting it in Maureen's garden is such a good idea, given the high probability, based on past experience, that Ultron will still choose to be evil.

Overall, a solid storyarc. Didn't overstay it's welcome. Got some dinosaurs, got some Ultron, Nancy flirted with the idea of a romance, but she and Stefan opted against it. Doreen got to wear a ridiculous Savage Land outfit, as you are often required to do when visiting the Savage Land. Squirrel Girl got to use her rarely used - for entirely valid reasons, including hygiene and not being the sort of person who enjoys stabbing people - knuckle spikes. That's not how I would have pictured them. I had figured there was one for each finger, like pointy brass knuckles. That's OK.

The part where Nancy repeated Superman's "world of cardboard" speech from the end of Justice League Unlimited was a bridge too far. I get it's supposed to be funny that Squirrel Girl is gonna really cut loose, and that what that means is. . . knuckle spikes. But it still felt cheap just ripping the dialogue off like that.

The panel of the dinosaurs tearing Ultron apart, done in the classic Looney Tunes "big cloud of dust obscuring most of the fight" style was really good. I'm going to guess Erica Henderson enjoys drawing dinosaurs. At least, I hope she does or this was a horrible storyline for North to inflict upon her.

I'm disappointed we didn't get to see DINOSAUR ULTRON, but also with laser eyes, jet feet, chainsaw hands, and x-ray vision. Guess I know what I'd ask Erica Henderson to draw if I ever had the opportunity to commission a sketch from her.
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
[personal profile] jazzy_dave

Ted Hughes "Birthday Letters" (Faber and Faber)





As background Ted Hughes was probably one of the finest English poets of the 20th century.

He married Sylvia Plath in 1956 and was estranged from her upon her death by suicide in 1963.

This is visceral, confessional poetry of an immense power and feeling. It is the final work of a man who, knowing he is soon to die, cares nothing about displaying the soiled linen of their relationship; her weaknesses, fears, obsessions, his failings as he looks through the demonic power of his words to their inevitable conclusion. One is cut to shreds as he sifts the spikes and shards of their failings and failed relationship. There is bitterness too, Plath's father is certainly not spared, nor is Hughes himself but there are goblins and bees aplenty in that superlative, supernatural and ill-fated place they inhabited together. I wanted it to cease, I longed for it to be over, I never wanted it to end.

Hughes spared nothing. He was blunt and his verse often less than flattering but always the images conjured are powerful:

From 18, Rugby Street

, "And I became aware of the mystery
Of your lips, like nothing before in my life,
Their aboriginal thickness. And your nose,
Broad and Apache, nearly a boxer's nose,
Scorpio's obverse to the Semitic eagle
That made every camera your enemy,"

His word in "Visit" are stark and doom-ladenly prophetic

"Inside that numbness of the earth
Our future trying to happen.
I look up - as if to meet your voice
With all its urgent future
That has burst in on me. Then look back
At the book of the printed words.
You are ten years dead. It is only a story.
Your story. My story."

Looking back on that time and facing his own curtailed future (he died of cancer shortly after publication) Hughes left possibly his best work for the very last to be savoured after his passing. Given the subject matter that was just right.
jazzy_dave: (bookish)
[personal profile] jazzy_dave
Richie Tankersley Cusick "The Harvest : (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)" (Simon Spotlight Entertainment)






The Harvest is the novelization of the first two episodes of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (episodes by the same name, for that matter). As novelizations go, it's really not bad. Cusick manages to adapt the script into something very readable whilst also incorporating some of the charm and originality that the actors brought to the show.

Also, as media novelizations go, the writing -- while again, not bad -- seems to target a younger reading audience. In my opinion, it was at level with tween-ish YA. Content wise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer had not yet reached the maturity level that it would in later seasons, and the edgiest things in The Harvest are standard action-movie violence and mild references to sexuality.

This introduction into the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe (following the events of the 1992 movie flop) follows slayer Buffy Summers as she transitions into a new life and new highschool in Sunnydale, CA after being kicked out of her old highschool for events that those familiar with the movie will recognize. She thinks she can finally have a normal life, but her slaying duties reappear almost immediately -- along with a new watcher (a person meant to help train and guide the slayer as she battles evil creatures) and a new group of surprisingly resilient friends. Her first challenge in this new town -- which has more than its fair share of vampires and other nasties -- is to prevent "the harvest" -- the ascension of a particularly gruesome vampire from the church he has been trapped in underground for many decades -- and the evil that follows it. Many new allies are created -- including some that will become popular additions to the character lineup very shortly -- and the theme and style of the series is laid out.

The action is carried along smoothly with very little added to what is cut-and-dry from the script I imagine. Cusick attempts to add some internal monologue for some of the more major characters, but in most cases it falls kind of flat. One of the challenges of adapting media is obviously making it recognisable but not so true-to-form that the reader would be better off just reading the script. Cusick manages to get a good, steady rhythm going and sustains it throughout the entire novel and with a little more adventurousness I think this could've actually been a very good book. As it stands, it is passable and enjoyable for Buffy fans but not likely to lure any new folks in.

Black Panther trailer

Oct. 16th, 2017 03:46 pm
heresluck: (friday night lights: vince)
[personal profile] heresluck
There is SO MUCH to be excited about in the new Black Panther trailer, but I have to tell you, by the end of it all I could think about was this interview with Michael B. Jordan from back in 2011:
AVC: Vince and Wallace and Alex [are] at heart good guys who just happen to come from difficult backgrounds. You never really play the badass. Is that something you’d like to do?

MJ: Playing a bad guy? Playing a bad guy would be fun, I’m not going to lie. I’d definitely do that in a heartbeat, because it’s so out of my nature.

I am THRILLED that he finally gets to do this.

I am also thrilled about basically everything else in the trailer, which looks amazing.

Reading the News

Oct. 16th, 2017 12:38 pm
muccamukk: A basket with a seal in it. Text: WTF!? (Politics: Phoque (WTF!?))
[personal profile] muccamukk
(Canadian Edition)

Oh hey that's kind of cool: Mi'kmaq Grand Council flag symbol of change, acceptance for Indigenous Nova Scotians.

And they're adding an acknowledging the land bit in all their publications. Baby steps, but steps all the same. Good for you, Nova Scotia.

FUCK YOU, QUEBEC: Quebec set to pass law banning face coverings for anyone receiving public service — even a bus ride. (Couillard government will hold vote on Bill 62 aimed at establishing 'neutrality of the state.')

No, seriously, what is the matter with Quebec!? (I mean, I know the answer is "racism" but still, wow.)

Not Canadian, but cool: Black Panther trailer.

Conclusion: T'Challa's mom is SMOKING. I'm sorry. I'm shallow. (but she IS.)
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Yesterday afternoon I went over to the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site, to catch an exhibition of drawings by Daniel Rotsztain there. I stayed to explore the lovely grounds, fresh and green in the rain.

Looking down #toronto #todmordenmills #stairs #latergram


West across #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #stairs #latergram


Cottage amid green #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #cottage #latergram


House and leaves #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #house #latergram


House and leaves (2) #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #house #latergram


Back of a barn #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #brick #latergram


Dashing into the wedding tent #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #wedding #latergram


Table #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #table #latergram


"Welcome, Angel and Tomme" #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #wedding #latergram


Up the valley #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #towers #playterestates #rain #latergram


Umbrellas on the bridge #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #towers #playterestates #umbrellas #bridge #rain #latergram


Bridge north #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #bridge #rain #latergram


Looking at the Mills #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #bridge #rain #latergram


Fresh green in the rain #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #green #bridge #rain #latergram


Just short of the top #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #green #bike #rain #latergram
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Yesterday afternoon I went over to the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site, to catch an exhibition of drawings by Daniel Rotsztain there. I stayed to explore the lovely grounds, fresh and green in the rain.

Looking down #toronto #todmordenmills #stairs #latergram

West across #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #stairs #latergram

Cottage amid green #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #cottage #latergram

House and leaves #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #house #latergram

House and leaves (2) #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #house #latergram

Back of a barn #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #brick #latergram

Dashing into the wedding tent #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #wedding #latergram

Table #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #table #latergram

"Welcome, Angel and Tomme" #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #wedding #latergram

Up the valley #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #towers #playterestates #rain #latergram

Umbrellas on the bridge #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #towers #playterestates #umbrellas #bridge #rain #latergram

Bridge north #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #bridge #rain #latergram

Looking at the Mills #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #bridge #rain #latergram

Fresh green in the rain #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #green #bridge #rain #latergram

Just short of the top #toronto #todmordenmills #donvalley #green #bike #rain #latergram
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

[AO3 link]


"I'm pretty sure I know what we're gonna see on this video," Venom said, back in her Tracer garb, but still more than a bit blue at the edges and entirely gold in the eyes. "'Cause I'm pretty sure I know what I saw." She gave Angela Ziegler a pointed look. "But... I might be wrong."

Most of the current members of Overwatch Lunar Embassy sat around a table in the ambassador's workshop - even Fareeha, though her thoughts clearly chased rabbits elsewhere. Lena glanced over with more than a little sympathy - she hardly even remembered her mother, and couldn't even imagine what it would be like to have one return from the grave.

"If everyone's ready, I'm going to start with Ana Amari's recording," Winston said, to general assent. "I haven't looked it yet - Athena's just finished deep-scanning the media for anything... inappropriate... to our systems."

-----

Jack Morrison looked at the drive containing the video. He didn't really want to play it again - it scared him. He had some ideas about why, but he didn't like them. Being a super-soldier was one thing. Being... whatever this implied... was another entirely.

He sat quietly in his temporary quarters on the small Los Muertos compound just south of the New Mexico border. He could hear Delgado outside, running her fighters through the training regimes he'd taught her, with that new man, Arturo, acting as her second. Jack smiled to himself, hearing the noise. If we're not careful, I'm going to end up with a pretty good strike team here. Already got one that's not half bad, he thought.

The former - and, arguably, again - Strike Commander looked at the drive a third time, thought, the hell with it, and linked it to his padd. A notice came up, saying the file system was damaged, and he let it repair itself, which took only a couple of minutes, and produced a slightly larger video file.

-----

Winston hit play. The large wall display showed a view through a sniper rifle - a conventional firearm, not Talon make - and Venom chuckled a little to herself. Still using the old-style scopes, grams? Good to know. Through it, from above and from two alleys situated a town that looked hot and had signs in Spanish, a group of Los Muertos fighters spilled out, led on the far side by one all too familiar white-haired super-soldier, on the near side by a woman clearly his lieutenant mirroring his actions, and through upper windows by a set of three sharpshooters. Military tactics against cheap street thugs means a battle that would end quickly, until blam, blam, blam, and all three sharpshooters were down, and there was chaos.

Morrison dodged into view, and the sniper fired, again, quickly - Venom could see Jack all but centred in her sight - and again, that blur, and then, Morrison is fine, and dodging away, and one of the fighters with him is dead on the ground.

"What th'..." said Reyes, as Mercy blinked, and looked confused. Mei looked at the screen, and back to the doctor, similarly confused. "What just...?"

-----

Morrison saw himself spill out of the passenger side of the lead vehicle, face bloodied, just as he remembered. He stopped the video, and zoomed in as far as the footage would allow - the resolution wasn't bad, but the lens wasn't great, and the image could've been shaper. Then, the blurriness got much worse, before returning to sharper focus, and his tactical visor was intact.

What the hell, he thought.

He stopped the replay, and backed up the video, and ran it again, in slow motion, frame at a time, zoomed in as before, tracking his own movement manually.

-----

"Winston, stop the replay?"

The scientist nodded, and motion stopped.

"...re-run that last shot at Morrison, slowly."

The sniper's scope tracked the soldier, a second fighter next to him, close by, but not unduly close. The shot rang out, just behind the former strike commander's motion, but still clearly a headshot. Then the blur.

-----

His visor had definitely been wrecked. Whoever took the shot had hit it perfectly, sheering right across his eyes, ripping most of it off his face without touching his skin. Hell of a shot, he thought, complimenting whoever - or, knowing Talon, whatever - had taken it. Then the blur.

He stopped the video, and studied the frame carefully. The compression wasn't too bad, but the resolution could've been better. He zoomed out, and saw the side of the truck in as sharp a focus as it had been a few frames before - just the upper part of his face became an indistinct mass.

-----

"Stop," said Venom. The video froze in place, blur still covering most of the field. She walked up to the screen. "See these?" She pointed at the sniper scope ticks around the frame, still in perfect focus. "And this?" She pointed at a perfectly-focused truck lamppost base, in the upper left corner. "This isn't recorder artefact."

Winston nodded. "I agree. Whatever this is, it's a real effect."

"Sorry luv, but the news gets worse. I saw exactly this happen," Venom said, "though my sight. I didn't talk about it yet, 'cause I figured maybe I blinked" - though she knew damn well that was impossible - "or maybe someone ran between me and Jack right as I took the third shot. But I know I had him dead in my sights, and when I fired, somebody else was dead on the ground."

"You took a kill shot?" asked Reyes.

"Third time, in that mess? Bloody right I did."

Mei looked unhappy and Gabriel frowned, but found couldn't really argue. "...fair enough."

Venom nodded. "Step through, frame at a time?"

-----

Several more frames of blur, and then, one where it seemed to thin, and then form a line along the horizontal centre of the visor, and there the visor was, again, intact, and Morrison saw himself reaching up and activating it, without a second thought, just as he remembered, during the battle.

He flipped through the last set of frames. Nothing more than what he'd already seen - a broken visor, a blur, and an intact visor, in that order. It didn't make any sense. Nothing in the Soldier Enhancement Programme could do anything like that.

Unless.

Unless it wasn't the SEP.

-----

Several more frames of blur, and then, one frame where the blur, the fog, seemed to coalesce on the right side, and then the soldier's head was to the right, apparently unharmed, and the fighter whose head had been all but out of frame was dead, on the ground, a large section cut out, almost scooped, mostly missing, and Mei made a small choking sound as the view through the scope swept from the dead fighter's body, back to Morrison's intact and dodging head, and back to the woman, and back to Morrison, before the shooter took another shot just too late, into a wall, as Morrison dove down an alley and behind a skip.

Winston blanched, and spread the key frames across the display. Gabriel looked more than a little ill, himself. "I have seen some fucked up things in my life, but that..."

Venom looked over to Dr. Ziegler, her anger controlled, but not entirely concealed. Angela said nothing, staring intently at the images. "Doc? You gonna say somethin'?"

-----

Morrison thought back to the failed defence of Overwatch Geneva, when everything came apart, falling into Angela Ziegler's lab, badly hurt, bones broken, stumbling around in the dark, the only light the emergency exit signs and his biotic field, as he grasped around, looking for the aid kits he knew had to be down here somewhere.

He remembered finding one, no, two, and applying them both, and passing out as another blast hit the base.

And then he remembered nothing until he awoke, having somehow made his way outside, having scavenged a UN uniform from one of the Talon soldiers, and feeling more than a little out of joint, like he didn't fit back together quite right, like everything was just a little off, or a little more than a little off, and he remembered putting it out of his mind and concentrating on getting away, getting as far away as possible, before Talon's UN puppets could get ahold of him, and make him pay for his defiance.

What were you working on down there, Angela? he thought to himself.

-----

"I... this cannot be happening," the doctor said.

"Pretty sure we just saw it," replied Venom.

"What are you talking about?" asked Winston.

"Angela?" the assassin prompted.

The medic shook her head. "I know what you are thinking," she said to Venom. "But you do not understand. My experimental nanosurgeons were not capable of doing what we just saw. Not even the most advanced ones."

Mei jumped in, supporting the doctor. "It's true! I knew that generation, this was not in their operating parameters."

-----

Jack pulled out his knife, pulled up his sleeve, and cut a long gash in his arm - nothing too deep, just enough to test his enhanced healing. The skin knit itself back together, normally, like it had ever since the treatments all those years ago back in California.

He cleaned his knife, put it away, and pulled out a pistol to replace it. He stared at the medium-caliber firearm, not sure he was ready to do what he needed to do, then chided himself for not being enough of a soldier. Enough of a man. It worked.

"Delgado!" he shouted.

"Yeah, Spooky?" she replied from outside.

"Pistol's acting up. Gonna fire a couple of test rounds in here, clear it. Don't freak out."

"Sure you don't want to go to the range for that?"

"It's fine, I've got a fire box."

"Oh, okay. Thanks for the warning."

"No problem."

-----

Venom pressed the point. "You're sayin' that's not some kind of experimental nanosurgeon swarm? 'Cause it looks to me like Ana made that headshot, and then somethin' stole some parts from whoever was nearby to fix it."

Dr. Ziegler rubbed her temples. "I agree that is what it looks like. But it cannot be what I made. If nothing else - I am careful! None of my experimental versions will, or even can, remain active for so long. The last time he could've had access was when the UN moved against the Geneva watchpoint, and nothing from that generation could survive."

"The evidence," said Winston, "indicates otherwise."

"It can't be!" She slammed her palms atop the table. "None of the experimental models from that era could!"

Venom narrowed her eyes at the doctor. "None of 'em? You sure about that, doc?"

Dr. Zhou leaned over to Dr. Ziegler. "I don't think you should rule it out, I could help you go over the old records, over everything that was in there when the fighting happened..."

Angela looked over to Mei-Ling gratefully. "I really don't think it's necess..." and she blinked at a thought, and looked back to Venom. Is... that what you think? Venom's face caught the doctor's surprise, as she realised that the researcher hadn't actually put it together herself yet, and the Talon assassin just nodded, and the doctor bit her lip. "...I... it has been some years, and that was a tremendously hectic - even chaotic - time. It... we should investigate. I would very much appreciate your help in that, Mei."

"Sure, Dr. Ziegler," confirmed the eco-biologist.

"Thank you," Venom replied, nodding. About time.

"God damn," said Reyes, "Could it be more than just him? Could others be... infected?"

"Absolutely not," said Angela. "My nanosurgeons would've impressed themselves with the initial contact DNA, it would be impossible for them to spread successfully. All" - she stressed, pointedly - "of my technologies rely on that. All of them."

-----

Morrison pulled up a trouser leg, pulled off his left boot and sock, and aimed the pistol at the outer edge of his foot. It'd hurt, but it wouldn't kill anybody - particularly not him. But he hesitated.

Do it, you coward, he thought to himself. God damn it, just do it.

And he fired.

The pain was brilliant and sharp, more than he expected, but muted itself quickly. He felt suddenly almost like he was in a dream, half asleep yet fully awake, as he watched his foot splatter, then turn into a greyish and pink mist, and reform, in front of his eyes.

-----

"Meanwhile," said the Talon assassin in Tracer orange and Overwatch white, "I don't think there's any safe way to bring him in alive now. I think our friends should get the next shot."

"No!" interjected Mei, with unexpected force. "That's not what we agreed!"

Tracer, or Venom, looked over to the Chinese scientist. "We agreed Overwatch gets first shot, then..."

"No!" she insisted, even more forcefully. "I will not go along with that!" She looked straight into the assassin's gold eyes. "You are not the only one he abandoned to her death. He abandoned my entire team and I want him tried for that. I want it exposed! I want my friends to be..." she choked a little, and suddenly she was crying, "I want my friends to be remembered! I want justice for them! In court, with it all exposed for the whole world to see him for the monster he is!"

Lena blinked, and blinked again, shocked by the intensity of the normally cheerful woman's outburst, and leaned forward, "Oh wow, Mei, I'm sorry, I know what..."

"No, you don't know!" The small woman shouted. "You know what it's like to disappear for years and wake up in the future but you do not know what it is like to wake up and find all of your friends dead because he couldn't be bothered to send a rescue ship! He knew we were in cryogenic suspension and still alive. At least with you, he thought you were probably dead, but with us, he knew we were alive, and just decided to let us die!"

She continued in a small, quiet voice, "And most of us did. Slowly. In the cold. As the power ran out."

Nobody knew what to say. Gabriel and Winston knew it wasn't that simple, but knew better than to open their mouths. Angela just leaned over to the smaller woman and offered her hand, and Fareeha just sat quietly next to her wife, comforting her in turn. And then Venom found her voice, at last. "I'm... I'm sorry, Mei. You're right."

Lena "Tracer" Oxton took a long, slow, deep breath, and let it out. "I withdraw my motion. Our friends will remain on stand down. Overwatch will try again."

-----

God damn you, Ziegler, the stroke commander thought, staring at his perfectly intact left foot, which moments ago he'd shot through for a second time. He shook with unreasoning fury. What the hell did you do to me?

this is not my beautiful wife

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:50 am
musesfool: a sword (honour demands it)
[personal profile] musesfool
Yesterday, I scheduled my grocery delivery for the 8 am - 10 am slot, since I had plans for the afternoon, and so I set my alarm for 7:30 so I could at least have brushed my teeth and put on pants, but I hit snooze instead of getting up, and then the doorbell rang at 7:45. Needless to say, teeth were not brushed and pants were not acquired - I did pull on a pair of boxer shorts before I answered the door, but I was still half-asleep while the guy handed me my groceries.

I guess being early like that almost makes up for two weeks ago, when they didn't show up at all? Even though they said they delivered it to someone in the household? And I spent half an hour on the phone with Amazon assuring them that as the only person who lives in my household, I had not received any groceries. They refunded my money, of course, but it meant I had to actually go do grocery shopping. And then my baby spring greens froze (I think it was the packaging? because the bagged salad doesn't do that) and I had to buy lunch all week anyway, because ugh, salad that has frozen and then defrosted is all limp and slimy and I couldn't bear a week of lunches of it.

In better news, my plans yesterday were meeting up with [personal profile] tenaciousmetoo, her husband, and [personal profile] innie_darling to go see the 30th anniversary screening of The Princess Bride, which was, of course, fantastic. It opened with Ben Mankiewicz interviewing Rob Reiner, and Rob Reiner telling cute stories about the filming of the movie (and then there was a second brief interview segment bookending the movie).

The movie still holds up. It's still sweet and funny and romantic and funny, eminently quotable with iconic performances, sword fights, pirates, evil princes, and true love conquering all. Do I wish Buttercup were a little more active in the fire swamp? I do. But I am heartened by having seen Robin Wright as General Antiope in Wonder Woman, and the progression of yet another princess from my youth (I was 17 when TPB came out, so I can't say childhood) becoming a general. Anyway! It was great to see it on the big screen again, and I definitely recommend it.

Then we had dinner at the Grey Dog - the food was good but the music was loud - and talked for a couple of hours. All in all, a great way to spend a grey October afternoon.

And then the Giants actually won last night! A game where they were supposed to be annihilated! So that was fun. *g* But now I am very sleepy and wish I was home in bed instead of at my desk at work. Sigh.

***

Guess the author!

Oct. 16th, 2017 10:07 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"Atwood lifted much of HANDMAID from Heinlein. Yet the world thinks she’s an original."

Three sentences about 2017-10-15

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:59 pm
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
Happy Eggplant Party Day! We (Amy) made deviled eggs, as we are wont to do, and we enjoyed various tasty foods made by others. First, though, Junie and her friend A, and A's parents, and her little sisters (two and four years younger), and Quentin and I, went on a bike ride! To the Cedar St playground in Cambridge, location of that XKCD meetup a little more than ten years ago. (I think we didn't go, but I think we may have been vaguely aware of it, or even driven past? I don't remember now, and I don't seem to have posted about it at the time.) A little over two miles, Junie rode her bike, I towed Q in the trailer. We played some with his new basketball, which he's very excited about, but the hoop wasn't adjustable, so he just dribbled an passed, but he didn't seem to mind not being able to shoot. :^) Home, lunches, a shower for me, and then the Eggplant Party, where we saw various nice people and had a generally good time. The kids had eaten a few small familiar non-eggplant things, so needed dinner when we got home, so I made orange chicken, which was well devoured. Oh, although first we watched Korra 2:7 and 2:8, a two-parter, aka "when it gets good", and indeed it was quite good. Oh, and we also built a bookcase in here somewhere, and then another after dinner, the last of the recent IKEA furniture purchase, and then installed them in the guest room after the kids were in bed. Now it's late and my bedtime too.

Fiddle practice geekery post

Oct. 15th, 2017 03:26 pm
annathepiper: (Musical Jack)
[personal profile] annathepiper
Put up a fiddle practice report over on my Wordpress blog, here. Notably, I made it a multi-instrument practice today, with both fiddle and winds, because I decided I needed to work on arpeggios not only on the fiddle, but also on the winds, which are the things I'm way more likely to actually play at a session right now. Plus, there's bonus exulting over starting to work out "Ciel d'automne" on the fiddle, since that's arguably one of my top favorite André Brunet tunes.

To this I will add, for those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, and to just put a bit of unique content into this post as well, that our last session was lovely. <3 Dara came with me and noodled around a bit on her own fiddle on the periphery of the circle. But one of my coworkers, Ian, also showed up!

My current team at work is in fact pretty musical. There are two of us who are in actively performing pro bands. There's a third one of us who is more into techno and can do drum beats on suitable equipment. And there's the aforementioned Ian, who is a way better fiddle player than I am, in that he can actually play. ;D

And they'd all been hearing me geek out about Quebecois trad for a while now. But then Ian went to this year's Valley of the Moon, where he got to meet and learn from André, woo! And he came back from that to tell me "so right then about this Quebecois session you go to", because André is awesome like that. So I handed Ian ALL THE DATA, a number of the tunes we are fond of playing, and the appropriate address for this month's session. So Team Venture got to represent. It was great!
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • These Forest Hill homeowners' claim that renovating neighbours stole their intellectual property seem silly to me. The Toronto Star reports.

  • Shawn Micallef notes that the traditional architecture style of Toronto is of one pastiche or another. Maybe modernism especially?

  • Toronto Life shares photos of a beautiful waterfront home in the Beaches, one I have passed by frequently. Only $6 million!

  • Ellen Scheinberg of Spacing tells how detective work tracked down the house that was subject of Lawren Harris' "Toronto House".

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:47 am
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the discovery of rings around Kuiper belt dwarf planet Haumea, as does the Planetary Society Blog's Jason Davis.

  • The Big Picture, from the Boston Globe, shares photos of the devastation of Puerto Rico by Maria.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the strong support of many--most?--on the American right for apartheid.

  • The LRB Blog shares an article by Mike Davis looking at the vulnerability of California, especially Napa, to wildfires.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a beautiful detailed map of the French railway network.

  • The NYR Daily reports from Catalonia on the edge of a meltdown.

  • North's Justin Petrone writes about going hunting for mushroooms in Estonia.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel shares five especially noteworthy photos provided by NASA. (What, no Pale Blue Dot?)

  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russians in Tatarstan, unlike other groups, are unique in not wanting to learn Tatar.

rfmcdonald: (photo)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Alley south off Wallace #toronto #junctiontriangle #wallaceave #evening #rain #alley #laneway


I walked home last night from the west, passing from Dundas West station and up over the rails over the Wallace pedestrian bridge and down onto Wallace Street on the far side. The soft rain, in the light of evening, lent itself to beauty.
[syndicated profile] calvinpitt_feed

Posted by CalvinPitt

Plot: Bob is rescued from a night spent taking care of measles-ridden Andy by Donna, so that he can resume his planned trip to the strip club with Mike and Barry. But God is waiting in the parking lot with an assignment. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.

God asks Bob to deface a billboard by writing "SMILE" on it. The highway patrolman is surprisingly understanding, until the Devil uses a homunculus to make Bob assault the cop. Bob's arguing in the back of the patrol car with "the Devil" gets him a trip to Grassy Knoll Asylum. While Bob tries to devise an escape with the help of the other patients, the Devil assumes Bob's identity. Two things go wrong for the King of All the is Evil: One, Donna is entirely resistant to his attempts to charm, command, plead her into sex. Two, the Devil is apparently not immune to measles. And during the course of Donna caring for "Bob", the Devil falls for her.

How's Bob going to get the Devil out of his bed? Maybe with a little help from the musical library of Tony Orlando.

Quote of the Episode: Smeck - 'This is so cool. Why don't we do this more often?' Devil - 'Because it's cheap, Smeck. We're better than this.'

Smeck Smacks: 1 (20 overall).

Other: Smeck likes Stratego, which I remember seeing ads for in '90s Marvel comics, but have never played. The ads featured would-be alien invaders who think it is the key to Earth's defenses. The alien infiltrator was so proud he'd brought it back to his bosses. Boy, will his face be red when it turns out Earth's defense strategy is, "argue among ourselves, maybe throws some nukes at the problem."

One of the patients, named Fred, introduces himself to Bob while dressed up as a doctor. The orderly arrives swiftly to take back the clipboard and lab coat. And a fish-shaped Jell-O mold. I'm not clear on why Fred had that, but I'm also not clear on why they made him give it up. Maybe the thought of making Jell-O brings him joy. Let Fred have his joy!

God brought the Devil a ficus while he was sick, which ended up with the Devil grumbling about wanting a plumeria. He did take it with him back to Hell. I can't imagine it'll do well in that dry climate.

Andy saw through the Devil's disguise immediately, although he believed Megan when she said Dad was a pod person, so he wasn't quite in target. Splashing Bob with the bucket of water mixed with chemicals was a good try, though.

The Devil wound up being right that God making Bob deface that billboard was just the opening move in a larger plan. The balloon Bob stole had a smiley face on it, and it briefly lands right on top of the billboard. Which makes people stop and notice and be happy. I'm confused by this world where cars stopping on the freeway to gawk at something on the side of the road doesn't prompt angry honking and profanity from the vehicles behind them.

The patients end up taking the balloon back to the hospital, which is good, I guess? The show doesn't pretend like they just magically got over their troubles because Bob let them come with him. Or that they aren't aware of the fact they have a condition? I'm not sure what Bernie's was, although he understood immediately when said the Devil was after his family.

It was nice that Bob, having returned home and driven the Devil out, immediately got suspicious when Donna mentioned he'd been in bed a lot recently. 'Cause then he started trying to figure out if she and "Bob" got up to anything, and Donna got to make a few cutting remarks in the direction of his sexual prowess and intelligence. I'm sure she'd been consciously holding back while he was under the weather.

Three sentences about 2017-10-14

Oct. 15th, 2017 01:20 am
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
A pretty good Saturday, with a bit of stress at the end. Made some progress on paperwork/finances type stuff in the morning, with a particular breakthrough in the form of being able to scan things on our combo printer/scanner/copier thing (an Canon MX922) and send them directly to my laptop. I didn't get very far into my long backlog, but established a process for doing it that should make future progress much easier. I then took the kids to circus class, and managed to get a seat by the window such that I could actually watch them a bit, which was nice. Headed home and made them lunch, and then Amy took them out to see thy new My Little Pony movie -- which was sadly sold out! So they detoured to the elementary school's annual Harvest Festival instead (which had been the original plan, but it was raining, so a movie sounded more fun; but then the rain more or less stopped, so), where they each painted a cute small pumpkin. I napped while they were out, and after they got back too, thus being somewhat surprised when I woke up to go to the bathroom and found everyone home. :^) I napped a bit more, and then got up to take the kids to Friendly's while Amy went out to dinner with Kyra, who's in town for the Eggplant Party. That went reasonably well, and we came home and played a couple of rounds of animal stacking game Tier Auf Tier, which also went well... But after that, things fell off the rails a bit, as no one wanted to get ready for bed, then there was a lot of over-the-top physical play, eventually leading to angry shouts to stop, and a bunch of stomping around and self-recrimination. We talked our way through it, but didn't actually make it into beds until after 21:00, oy. :^( I read a bit more, while indulging Sweets Day with some Cookies & Cream M&Ms (weird but addictive) and TJ's Cocoa Truffles (not at all weird, melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and addictive), did a bunch more scanning, and now it's way past bedtime.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • The failure to repair the railway linking Churchill to the rest of Canada is going to have huge consequences. CBC reports.

  • With relatively green hydro energy, Hydro-Quebec is set to become a major exporter of power to the US. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • The old lands of Mr. Christie to Mimico, in south Etobicoke, is set to become a new condo-heavy Liberty Village. Torontoist reports.

  • Christopher Hume does not at all like the idea of just giving a bit chunk of the Port Lands to the movie industry. He writes in the Toronto Star.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • I bet that, as numerous reports have indicated, LIGO picked up a neutron star collision, with EM traces. D-Brief reports.

  • Neanderthal genes seem to have had a big influence on modern human health. I would be surprised not to have some. National Geographic describes.

  • Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go may evoke crises of bioethics, but I'm not sure it relates to genetic engineering. VICE reports.

  • These apocalyptic visions of technophiles who want to create an artificial intelligence to become god are notable. The Guardian takes a look.

musesfool: han/leia from TFA (stlil crazy after all these years)
[personal profile] musesfool
I answered the first ten questions of this meme here, and now I'm doing the second set of 10:

Ship Questions for your Current Fandom

11. Who is your current OTP?
I guess if my "current" fandom is technically Star Wars, then Han/Leia is my current OTP. *hands* And also Rey/Finn and Obi-Wan/Satine and Kanan/Hera.

12. Who is your current OT3?
Rey/Finn/Poe. Anakin/Padme/Obi-Wan (which is more...how could these relationships be better/more healthy than fervent shipping; but they do work better as a trio. IJS).

13. Any NoTPs?
Didn't I already answer this last time? Reylo for Star Wars, definitely.

14. Go on, who are your BroTPs?
Han and Luke, I guess? Though I'm okay with Luke being there as part of the OT3 with Han and Leia. *hands*

15. Is there an obscure ship which you love?
Obi-Wan/Satine. Obi-Wan/Ventress. Also, Anakin/Ahsoka. I would also love some Ahsoka/Steela if people would write it.

16. Are there any popular ships in your fandom which you dislike?
Hux/Ren. Ugh. DO NOT WANT.

17. Who was your first OTP and are they still your favourite?
HAN/LEIA. OTP OF OTPS.

18. What ship have you written the most about?
I haven't really written much ship fic in Star Wars.

19. Is there a ship which you wished you could get behind, but you just don’t feel them?
Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan. I guess I can see why people ship them but I find them a huge yawn and have mostly been unable to sustain interest in reading fic about them where the romantic relationship is the focus. See also Finn/Poe, which doesn't interest me unless Rey is also present. I also just don't get any of the Obi-Wan/clones fic. I mean, knock yourselves out, but I don't get it.

20. Any ships which you surprised yourself by liking?
Obi-Wan/Anakin. Which - I don't read most of the fic for it, because I don't see it a regular romance? But I have a hard time with them being separated (before Anakin turns evil, I mean) even if they are technically involved with other people.

***
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • VICE suggests that drag in Brooklyn is having a big creative moment.

  • This interview with the director of the Tom of Finland biopic sounds like he has grasped the issues.

  • LiveScience tells of a formal study suggesting heterosexual guys prefer bromances to straight relationships ... huh.

  • Does online dating have the ability to transform society, by making all kinds of unexpected links across boundaries? Technology Review reports.

rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • Spacing's John Lorinc considers confusion over what the idea of "mixed-use" development on the waterfront is.

  • Dave Leblanc looks at the PATH, the underground tunnels in downtown Toronto making up a huge mall. It counts. The Globe and Mail reports.

  • It turns out that the #worldslargestrubberduck was actually really good for waterfront businesses. The Toronto Star reports.

  • Toronto Life interviews RioCan head Jonathan Gitlin, who thinks rent control will be terrible for renters.

(no subject)

Oct. 14th, 2017 02:40 pm
skygiants: Mosca Mye, from the cover of Fly Trap (the fly in the butter)
[personal profile] skygiants
I was resigned to waiting until October 17th for A Skinful of Shadows to come out in the US. However, [personal profile] izilen, horrified at both the long wait after the UK publication and the clear inferiority of the US cover, acquired a copy on my behalf and mailed it over the ocean -- after first warning me it was the darkest Frances Hardinge book yet.

Having now read it, I don't know that it's actually that much creepier than the first third of Cuckoo Song, or the bits of Lie Tree where Faith in her deepest self-loathing slithers snakelike through the island purposefully destroying everything she touches. It definitely has a higher body count -- a much higher body count -- but I mean it's a book about a.) ghosts and b.) the English Civil War so maybe that's to be expected ...?

Like many of Hardinge's books, it features:
- a ferocious underestimated girl struggling to hold onto a sense of self in a world that wishes her to have no such thing
- a recognition that the people you love and who believe that they love you will sometimes betray you, sometimes for reasons they believe are good and sometimes not
- a ruthless and terrible female antagonist whom the heroine cannot help but respect and admire
- a struggling journey up out of solitude towards a coalition built of necessity with the least likely individuals
- including an undead bear
- admittedly this is the first Hardinge book to include an undead bear
- it is also the first Hardinge book about literal ghosts, a lot of ghosts, a lot of very unpleasant and sinister ghosts but also some ghosts for whom I have a very deep affection, including the very bearlike bear.

I also have a great deal of affection for Makepeace - the illegitimate scion of a very old noble family that is quite confident it will be able to chew her up and spit her out, and finds itself repeatedly mistaken. I don't think I love her yet quite as much as Trista or Faith or Mosca, but that's what I said about Faith right after I read The Lie Tree, too, and LOOK AT ME NOW.
coffeeandink: (Default)
[personal profile] coffeeandink
These are very gossipy shallow reactions, but maybe I will get back into the swing of posting, who knows.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S03E01 )

Jane the Virgin S04E01 )

Duma Key, by Stephen King

Oct. 14th, 2017 11:39 am
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Of all the new-to-me books by Stephen King that I’ve read in the last year, this and the middle Dark Tower books are the ones I’ve re-read the most. I’ve re-read Duma Key three times in the last two years, and I can tell it’s a book I’ll keep coming back to. Here’s the first page:

How to draw a picture


Start with a blank surface. It doesn't have to be paper or canvas, but I feel it should be white. We call it white because we need a word, but its true name is nothing. Black is the absence of light, but white is the absence of memory, the color of can't remember.

How do we remember to remember? That's a question I've asked myself often since my time on Duma Key, often in the small hours of the morning, looking up into the absence of light, remembering absent friends. Sometimes in those little hours I think about the horizon. You have to establish the horizon. You have to mark the white. A simple enough act, you might say, but any act that re-makes the world is heroic. Or so I’ve come to believe.

Imagine a little girl, hardly more than a baby. She fell from a carriage almost ninety years ago, struck her head on a stone, and forgot everything. Not just her name; everything! And then one day she recalled just enough to pick up a pencil and make that first hesitant mark across the white. A horizon-line, sure. But also a slot for blackness to pour through.

Still, imagine that small hand lifting the pencil ... hesitating ... and then marking the white. Imagine the courage of that first effort to re-establish the world by picturing it. I will always love that little girl, in spite of all she has cost me. I must. I have no choice. Pictures are magic, as you know.


On the one hand, this is my favorite prose passage in the book. On the other hand, the entire book has that same atmosphere and themes: the magic of art, the bleakness of loss, the terror of opening a door into darkness, human empathy and connections, and, always, how making a mark on paper is both simple and difficult, the dividing line between nothing and everything.

Unusually for Stephen King, Duma Key is set in on the Florida coast – an incredibly vivid and atmospheric Florida, which becomes enough of a character in its own right to make the book a very satisfying sea-soaked, sunset-lit Gothic.

I am pleased to say that this is one of the least gross King books I’ve read, bar a rotting ghost or two. It’s also one of the scariest, in a very classic “terrify by keeping the scary stuff mostly off-page” manner. The Big Bad is never quite seen directly, and is one of King’s creepiest and most mythically archetypal figures.

It’s also one of King’s most heartbreaking books. Almost all the characters are really likable, and if not likable, than still very human. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon opens with, The world had teeth and it could bite you with them any time it wanted. Duma Key is about the beauty and magic and redemption of the world, but also about the teeth.

It begins with a wealthy self-made man, Edgar Freemantle, getting into an absolutely horrific accident while visiting one of his job sites. He loses an arm and gets some brain damage; he’s barely out of the hospital before his marriage has ended, his life as he knew it has ended, and he’s on the brink of suicide.

After some talks with his psychiatrist, he ends up taking up art, which he’d enjoyed as a boy but never pursued, and moving to a cabin in the Florida Keys. There he meets a chatty guy, Wireman, who’s the caretaker for Elizabeth, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s – both of whom have pasts which slowly, heartbreakingly unfold over the course of the book. Edgar finds that painting is his new passion and genuine talent… but his paintings are odd. Eerie. And they can change things…

The first half of the book follows Edgar as he recovers from his accidents, explores his new talent and gains critical and commercial success, and loses some old friends and gains some new ones. The emotional and physical recovery from the accident and its fallout (which doesn't mean he'll ever be the same as he was before) was incredibly well-done and vivid. I don't know if it was technically correct, but it felt very believable.

In classic Gothic fashion, there’s creepy stuff going on simultaneously, but it’s comparatively subtle. I found this part of the book hugely enjoyable even though tons of scenes are just Edgar painting or eating sandwiches and shooting the breeze with Wireman. On the one hand, it probably could have been shorter. On the other hand, I could have happily gone on reading just that part forever.

And then the creepy stuff gets less subtle. A lot less subtle.

This has an unusual story arc. I’m putting that and other huge spoilers behind a cut, but I’ll also mention that even for King, the book has some very tragic aspects— ones which he’s explored before, but there’s one I’ll rot13.com (feed into the site to reveal) because it’s a specific thing that people may want to avoid. Gur cebgntbavfg’f qnhtugre vf xvyyrq. Fur’f na nqhyg ohg n lbhat bar (n pbyyrtr fghqrag) naq irel yvxnoyr, naq vg’f gur ovttrfg bs frireny thg-chapurf va gur fgbel.

If that’s not a dealbreaker, I suggest not reading the rest of the spoilers because even though if I’d sat down and tried to figure out where the story was going, I probably could have, the experience of reading it feels unpredictable; you can guess the outlines but a lot of the details are unexpected.

Read more... )
galacticjourney: (Default)
[personal profile] galacticjourney

by John Boston

Once more, the question: must the middle of the road be the ceiling? Will this November Amazing present us anything more interesting than the competently readable fare featured in recent issues? Well, yeah, a little, but it takes a while to get there.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

Oct. 14th, 2017 01:13 pm
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Bad Astronomer Phil Plait talks about the discovery that the early Moon had a notable atmosphere. http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/air-de-lune

The Big Picture, from the Boston Globe, shares terrifying pictures from the California wildfires. https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/bigpicture/2017/10/10/raging-wildfires-california/GtkTUeIILcZeqp5jlsLTMI/story.html

The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly talks about how writers need editing, and editors. https://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/why-editors-matter-more-than-ever/

D-Brief notes that forming coal beds sucked so much carbon dioxide out of the air that it triggered an ice age.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2017/10/10/coal-earth-ice/

Dangerous Minds looks at Michael's Thing, a vintage guide to gay New York dating from the 1970s. http://dangerousminds.net/comments/michaels_thing_new_york_citys_once_essential_queer_city_guide

Cody Delistraty looks at a new Paris exhibition of the works of Paul Gauguin that tries to deal with his moral sketchiness, inspiration of much his work. https://delistraty.com/2017/10/09/paul-gauguins-insurmountable-immorality/

Hornet Stories notes that same same-sex-attracted guys opt to be called not gay but androphiles. (Less baggage, they say.) https://hornetapp.com/stories/men-who-love-men-androphile/

Language Hat notes a claim that the Spanish of Christopher Columbus was marked by Catalan. http://languagehat.com/columbuss-catalan/

Language Log notes that the languages of southern China like Cantonese are actually fully-fledged languages. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=34933

Lawyers, Guns and Money notes an argument that Chinese companies do not abide by the terms of tech transfer agreements.
http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2017/10/tech-transfer

The LRB Blog notes an old Mike Davis article noting how California, at a time of climate change, risks catastrophic wildfires. https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/10/10/the-editors/california-burning/

The Map Room Blog is unimpressed by the new book, A History of Canada in Ten Maps. (It needs more maps. Seriously.) https://buff.ly/2gcdLKG

The NYR Daily takes another look at the nature of consciousness.
http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/10/09/consciousness-an-object-lesson/

The Planetary Society Blog shares a scientist's story about how he stitched together the last mosaic photo of Saturn by Cassini. http://www.planetary.org/blogs/guest-blogs/2017/cassinis-last-dance-with-saturn-farewell-mosaic.html

The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer notes that an unnegotiated secession of Catalonia from Spain would be a catastrophe for the new country. http://noelmaurer.typepad.com/aab/2017/10/la-econom%C3%ADa-de-la-secesi%C3%B3n-en-la-madre-patria.html

Roads and Kingdoms considers what is next for Kurdistan after its independence referendum. http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2017/whats-next-for-kurdistan/

Science Sushi considers the sketchy science of studying cetacean sex. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/science-sushi/2017/10/10/dolphin-penis-vagina-simulated-marine-mammal-sex/

Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel notes that exceptionally strong evidence that we do, in fact, exist in a real multiverse. https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/10/12/the-multiverse-is-inevitable-and-were-living-in-it/

Strange Maps looks at rates of reported corruption across Latin America, finding that Mexico fares badly. http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/half-of-all-mexicans-paid-a-bribe-in-the-previous-12-months

Window on Eurasia notes new inflows of migrants to Russia include fewer Europeans and many more Central Asians. http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.ca/2017/10/gastarbeiters-in-russia-from-central.html
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Nothing ages faster than style guides; the language moves on while the guide continues to shake a fist at the previous generation's shibboleths. (Lookin' at you, Strunk and White. Fowler is at least funny.)

Today, I give you Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right, published 1909. There are gems on every page, but here are a few:

THE BLACKLIST
A for An. "A hotel." "A heroic man." Before an unaccented aspirate use an. The contrary usage in this country comes of too strongly stressing our aspirates.
Note that this means he thinks you should say "HOtel". Some people (*cough*fuddyduddies*cough* still agitate for "An heroic", but I've never seen anybody objecting to "A hotel".

Chivalrous. The word is popularly used in the Southern States only, and commonly has reference to men's manner toward women. Archaic, stilted and fantastic.
I kind of love this. Boy, would Bierce hate "kind of".

Every for Ever. "Every now and then." This is nonsense: there can be no such thing as a now and then, nor, of course, a number of now and thens. Now and then is itself bad enough, reversing as it does the sequence of things, but it is idiomatic and there is no quarreling with it. But "every" is here a corruption of ever, meaning repeatedly, continually.
Good old false etymology.

Some forgotten slang and dialect:
Avoirdupois for Weight. Mere slang.
Clever for Obliging. In this sense the word was once in general use in the United States, but is now seldom heard and life here is less insupportable.
Decidedly for Very, or Certainly. "It is decidedly cold."
Gent for Gentleman. Vulgar exceedingly.

So. Tell me your favorites!


Back, Media Reviews, Plans

Oct. 14th, 2017 08:45 am
muccamukk: Text: "We're way over our daily quota of emo." (RoL: Daily Quota of Emo)
[personal profile] muccamukk
So I wasn't gone gone, but I did spend less time online, and read a lot, and I think that settled me out a bit?

My conclusion, after all that, is that Discord and I are not mixy things. I keep picking fights on it, and it's not a good look, and I should just... not. (Nenya: "You pick fights on tumblr at the time!" Me: "But I MEAN to pick fights on tumblr; they just sort of happen on Discord.") Since I don't have the bandwidth for tumblr (fights or no fights), my ip is blocked on irc, and I don't understand twitter, I'm going to try to post more here. Hooray! (And since the site went to HTTPS, I don't get randomly logged out any more! Double Hooray!)

I mean to do a picture post soon too.

TV Watched:
Also think I need to not watch Star Trek Discovery right now. I can't add "and Starfleet sucks" to my list of problems this year.

Watched the new episode of Legends of Tomorrow (3x01) and enjoyed having my silly show back. I think that they made the Legends look worse than they (usually) are for effect, and I'm wondering what Rip's DEAL is, but yay! Silly show back! Now we just need to finish getting the band back together.

Movies Watched (mostly as perspective yuletide offers):
Hidden Figures (2016), which was not as good as the book, had enough NASA over-simplification to make my eye twitch, and really didn't need Kevin Costner in it that much, if at all, BUT was otherwise delightful. It's hard to say no to a movie whose premise is "Woman walks into room and does math, everyone cheers!" I liked the differences in approach of the three main characters, their interactions and friendships, and how they each figured out how to get through. Also: SPACE!

The Big Country (1958), which was the first Gregory Peck western I've seen where he didn't try to rape anyone, and therefore the best of the three. Otherwise it didn't blow me a way. The filming was gorgeous, and he was pretty slashy with Charlton Heston, but the romances were a bit flat, and the feud that drove the storyline was predictable (though a step up from The Yearling with Righteous Poverty vs Unrighteous Poverty, but isn't everything a step up from The Yearling?) Anyway, nice to have that man's face on my screen again.

Moonlight (2016), since Nenya hadn't seen it. Perfect. Beautiful. Loved it all over again. Amusing cast overlap with Hidden Figures.

Books read (I keep missing Reading Wednesday, so here we go):
Flying Close to the Sun: My Life and Times as a Weatherman by Cathy Wilkerson
Reading this back to back with Assata, one couldn't help but notice that this was longer than it needed to be, but on the other hand, I'm young enough to have appreciated the context Wilkerson provided. I also appreciated the constant call backs in how she talked about her thinking at the time, and what allowed her and blocked her from seeing the flaws in it. It gave a really good read on what it felt like to be in a cult, and how Wilkerson emotionally progressed to the point where she needed to be in one. Also why she left and how that felt.

Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett, narrated by David Colacci
Absolutely fascinating read. The author is largely pulling from the published accounts (plus ship's logs) of the voyages, but tells the stories well, and ads in great biological context to the adventure story. The contrast between the two groups of shipwreck victims was fascinating, and I love all the details of how one group was able to build things and prosper (though poor seals).

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, narrated by Paul Ansdell
Solid ghost story. I enjoyed listening to it as the narrator was very good.

Her Every Wish (The Worth Saga #1.5) by Courtney Milan
I was like, That's it! I've had a day! I'm reading a romance novel. And this was a good romance novel. I liked the heroine's determination to make her plan work, and her conflict with the hero was believable and came to a reasonable resolution, as did the plot. It didn't on the whole have any of the delight that I associate with Milan well done. I miss the Brothers Sinister series.

Me Sexy: An Exploration of Native Sex and Sexuality edited by Drew Hayden Taylor
I really enjoyed this. I loved how varied the essays included were, and especially that it included three queer authors all with very different perspectives. I liked the language lessons, and the essays that dealt with the effects settlers had on the different cultures. It was very well put together, informative, and often funny. I probably could have lived without the Boyden essay. I often don't get his writing.

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
Super cute middle grade book about a 4th grader who accidentally starts a library out of her locker, and then ends up taking a stand on freedom of speech. It was very sweet and quite funny, and most of the kids actually sounded like they were 10-11. It was probably a touch didactic, but not annoyingly so.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kmmerer
Loved this book. Loved the combination of cultural history and beliefs, personal experience and science. Loved the compassion and insight of the storytelling. Loved the descriptions of plantlife in all the places she'd lived and loved. Loved the ideas, and proposed solutions. Need to read again soon.

Did Not Finish:
Legacy (The Sharing Knife #2) by Lois McMaster Bujold
I read two hundred pages of this and realised that I didn't actually care, skimmed to the end and sent it back to the library. I enjoyed the first one a fair bit, so I'm not sure from whence my apathy about this one, but I sure wasn't invested in a story that should have been my jam. Oh well.

The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Listened to a hour and a bit of the audiobook, and was pretty put off, basically. The narrator was overacting, but mostly it was so dreary and had some really odd fatphobia stuff. I'm... probably missing the point.

Ice Diaries: An Antarctic Memoir by Jean McNeil
I'm 100 pages in. I've been 100 pages in for... a while. The writing itself is gorgeous and insightful, but I'm just not invested in this woman's life. Back to the library it goes.

Pull the Football

Oct. 14th, 2017 07:41 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Rachel Manija Brown has started a campaign called Pull the Football, which in essence is a grassroots effort to get Congress to take the nuclear football (the ability to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on his own recognizance) away from Trump.

I think Gen X in particular (although hardly exclusively) grew up with a sort of fatalism about nuclear war. It was probably going to happen and because we were kids, there was nothing we could do about it. It became reified (thing-ified), turned from a series of decisions made by human beings into something like the monolith from 2001, unknowable and impervious to anything human beings could do. Many of us were shocked to reach 25, and we've never quite been sure about what to do with the fact that we have survived into adulthood. It would be horribly easy for us to slide back into that same fatalism, to go back to living with one shoulder unconsciously hunched against the monolith just outside our range of vision.

But we aren't kids any longer and there is something we can do. There is specific legislation already proposed in both the House (HR 669) and the Senate (S 200) that would take away the "nuclear football" that gives Trump the power 24/7 to launch a nuclear strike without consulting anybody. (It would take him about five minutes.)

Nobody should have this power. Nobody.

I think it's a sign of how sick the Cold War made all of us, not only that the President was given this power in the first place, but that it's never been rescinded, even though it's been 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down. The cure is simple, and that's the point of Rachel's Pull the Football campaign.

I don't agree with everything Rachel says--I don't think it's worth trying to persuade congresspeople who aren't YOUR congresspeople to do anything because all the staffers I've seen say anything say that non-constituents will be disregarded--but I am in 100% agreement with her goal and in 100% agreement that, while one person pushing gets nowhere, if we all push together, we can effect change.

So, yes. Please call--and keep calling--your congresspeople. If they are already co-sponsoring either HR 669 or S 200 tell them you support them and ask them to speak out publicly about it. (It is SUPER IMPORTANT to tell your representatives when you support what they're doing. They need that data.) If they aren't co-sponsoring their respective bill, ask them to get in the game. AND KEEP ASKING. A lot of people have spent a lot of time this year repeatedly calling their representatives about saving the ACA and that is in no small part why Congress has been unable to pass a repeal bill.

The Congressional switchboard is 202-224-3121. The voicemail system is extremely polite and easy to navigate (and has the only robot voice in America that I actually find pleasant to listen to). If you can't face the idea of talking to a real person, believe me I sympathize. You call call at night, in the early morning, on the weekends, and leave a voicemail. VOICEMAIL COUNTS.

Use Resistbot. Text resist to 50409, and it will help you write faxes or letters to your representatives.

Send email. Your representatives will have contact forms on their websites. Even unresponsive representatives like Senator Ron Johnson are marginally more responsive to email. You at least get a form letter telling you all the reasons why the thing you oppose is a good idea.

Send letters to your local paper. Congresspeople have staffers who compile press cuttings, and they are keenly interested in what shows up about them in public fora. Being a politician is largely about PR, so anything you can do that shows up IN PUBLIC will at least get their attention.

And when you call your reps or send an email, tweet about it or post about it on Facebook or whatever social media platform you favor. Show people that it's easy to make themselves heard. Remind them that their congresspeople are their elected representatives. It is their job to listen to their constituents. Even if you've got nothing but Republican apparatchiks, it is still worth telling them what you think and what you want.

My philosophy about representatives like Johnson, who seem to have been expressly created to embody everything I hate, is that even if I can't teach the pig to sing, I can annoy the snot out of him. I won't change his mind, and don't expect to, but I can make him less willing to, for example, vote yes on repealing the ACA. That's what killed it this last time in the Senate; McConnell decided he couldn't be sure of getting the votes he needed. Too many Republican senators were getting too much pushback.

Pull the Football is a little different, since the goal is to gain co-sponsors and yes votes, but the same principle applies. They're going to bend in the direction popular opinion is blowing, and what we want is to escalate popular opinion from a breeze to a gale. (If you like the image of congresspeople falling over like bowling pins, that's okay, too.)

I don't want nuclear war. I don't think anyone wants nuclear war (except maybe Trump). The nuclear football is a sick hangover from the Cold War, and honestly no president needs or should have the ability to pre-emptively (i.e., without provocation) nuke anyone.

So by whatever method you favor, please apply pressure to your elected representatives. Pull the football away from Trump.

Today's Troubles

Oct. 14th, 2017 01:53 am
cyrano: (Scream)
[personal profile] cyrano
And every time trump takes a sledgehammer swing to the ACA, bravely defending us from not dying and maybe Obama getting a scrap of credit from it, my stomach knots a little tighter and anxiety ratchets up another notch. And I think what the hell is going to happen to me next year? Especially if he manages to take out Medicare on his way through. But wondering about it, worrying about it, won't change anything. Do you know who your representatives are? Better yet, do they know who you are?