omfg.

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:04 am
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Today is Sat Aug 19.

That means I have seven days to pack and clean, three days to move, and half a day to clean before I have to hand back the keys to this here apartment. (Double-counting the day on which we get the keys to our new apartment. And WHY did I not ask for Mon 28 off too? My sorry ass is going to be cleaning that day from eight to three-thirty and working for that paycheck from four to midnight!)

This apartment does not look moving-ready. This apartment looks like the aftermath of Hurricane Alex—send in the Red Cross!

My todo list has seven sections. Each section has from four to fifteen bullet points. While most are once they're done they're done, some of them will need done more than once this week. (Six of the day's bullets are four instances of "eat" and two of "feed cat", and "rest 10min for every 20min working" will appear as often as it damn well needs to, but that's totally beside the point.)

My anxiety level is already RED ALERT. My spoon level has spent a lot of time recently at DANGER DANGER, and isn't terribly far above that now. (I got my psych doc to prescribe lorazepam for as-needed over the next couple weeks, in order to calm my shit because 100% focus on calming centering breaths means nothing else gets done and less than 100% focus on etc was for days meaning being on the verge of an anxiety attack, but. And no, having other warm bodies to help—except on Sat 26, which is furniture hauling day—is not apparently an option; I keep asking.)

I need all the cheerleading I can get!

Books read, early August

Aug. 19th, 2017 06:20 am
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Christopher Brown, Tropic of Kansas. Apparently two different professional reviewers described this as “the feel-bad book of the summer,” which makes me laugh and yet is not entirely wrong. (I enjoyed this book.) It’s an alternate America torn apart by climate change, a fascist government, the surveillance state, and…alternate. Yes. It is indeed alternate. But there are parts that make you wince, and the “ultimately hopeful” ending promised on the cover is a…conditionally hopeful ending. It’s the kind of hopeful ending that involves burning down institutions that need burning down. Which, depending on your personality, may be upsetting for you right now or just what you need.

Lois McMaster Bujold, Mira’s Last Dance. Kindle. This is the latest Penric novella, and I felt that it completed the arc of a previous story rather than standing on its own. It explores a bit more of what exactly it means to have all of Desdemona’s previous hosts living in Penric’s head with their own identities, but it’s at novella length, not novel, while juggling action and romance along with it, so while it seemed to me to be handled respectfully, there was plenty of room to go into more of it if she continues with this series.

Italo Calvino, Collection of Sand. This was a series of essays, all very short, very erudite, very much in the vein of, “Huh, wouldja lookit that.” If someone is not going to get intimidated by it being Calvino, it’s an ideal bathroom book, despite not being screamingly marketed as Italo Entertains You On the John or anything like that. Short attention span theater of letters.

Zen Cho, The Terracotta Bride. Kindle. Another novella, this one set in a Chinese-Malaysian hell with all the theological implications of same–with technological developments appropriate thereto, and interpersonal relationships the same. There’s a lot packed into novella length here, and I liked it.

George MacDonald Fraser, The Steel Bonnets. A history of the Scottish-English border and the wars and raids they had and the period when they settled down into not so much having them. This had been on my library list for awhile, and I thought, well, I’ll give the first few pages a chance and send it back rather than have it languish indefinitely on my list. Fraser doesn’t do what a modern historian would do with the topic, but he’s plenty engaging. I had had quite enough of the exploits of various clans and their scions by the time I was done, but it was a fast read for its size and worth the trouble of getting it from the library; I’m glad I tried it rather than thinking that anything that was on the list that long was clearly not a priority.

Seanan McGuire, Down Among the Sticks and Bones. A novella prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, and…I feel like it undermined that book weirdly. Every Heart a Doorway did the not-obvious thing, it did the “what happens after” thing. Down Among the Sticks and Bones gives you the portal fantasy that begins it all. Except that of all the fantasy worlds hinted at in Every Heart a Doorway, it picks the most obvious, least interesting one to portray–and only one–and then gives a backstory that makes the plot of EHaD feel…like it makes a lot less emotional sense to me. I don’t want to be more spoilerific than that, but people who have read both and would like to talk should email me about the experience.

Naomi Mitchison, The Fourth Pig. This is a collection of Mitchison’s retold fairy tales, done in the 1930s. It is fascinating in its own right, it’s fascinating if you’re passionately interested in the Great Depression (which I am), and it’s fascinating if you’re interested in retold fairy tales and want a look at what they looked like before Angela Carter got at them. I’m slowly working my way through Naomi Mitchison (she and Gerald Vizenor and Rebecca Solnit are the triumvirate of the moment that way–write me a joke where they walk into a bar) and I’m very very glad to have gotten to this one.

Rebecca Solnit, Savage Dreams: A Journey Into the Hidden Wars of the American West. And speaking of whom. This is not what I thought it was. It is mostly about nuclear testing. It is a bit about Yosemite and how we construct ideas of wilderness and other legends of The West. But it is really, really substantially about nuclear testing, which is something I mostly had focused on when it was interesting from a physics standpoint; what Solnit illuminated in some ways and could not illuminate in others, was not trying to, was the category of nuclear testing that occurs when the physics has been settled, and as a recovering physicist that had an extra-special horror. I think there are ways in which she made some stabs at understanding the physicists involved and got some part of the way there and some ways in which…eehhhh. I love me some W.H. Auden, too, but he is not a source of all models for everything in life maybe? I mean, maybe I’m wrong, maybe he is, but we can at least talk about this. “W.H. Auden handed me a dichotomy!” You’re allowed to hand it back I think. Uncle Wystan is dear and beloved, but so are your 6-year-old cousins, and some of the things they hand you can be deposited in the trash and your hand washed thoroughly after. I am still glad I read this. But I spent moments making faces of not-really-no.

Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Cary Pietsch, et al, Lumberjanes: Sink or Swim. What is better than Lumberjanes? Lumberjanes with a focus on water myths. Yes. For sure.

yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
I've been zigzagging between S1 and S2 because the Dragon didn't want to watch S1 (too much interpersonal drama for her taste) so I was watching S2 with her up till her bedtime, and going back to finish S1 with Joe.

cut for spoilers? )

(ahahahaha my husband gets the joke in my moodicon tonight but I wonder how many other people will get it?)

Hymns by Sherman Alexie

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:24 pm
taiga13: Raylan Givens from Justified (Justified)
[personal profile] taiga13 posting in [community profile] poetry
Published August 16, 2017 in response to recent events in the United States

Why do we measure people's capacity
To love by how well they love their progeny?

That kind of love is easy. Encoded.
Any lion can be devoted

To its cubs. Any insect, be it prey
Or predator, worships its own DNA.

Like the wolf, elephant, bear, and bees,
We humans are programmed to love what we conceive... )

Books I’ve Read

Aug. 18th, 2017 08:04 pm
ann_leckie: (AJ)
[personal profile] ann_leckie

Some books I’ve recently read and enjoyed! As always, none of this comes close to anything like a review, because reviewing isn’t a thing I’m good at.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw

Dr. Greta Helsing (yes, she’s related) specializes in treating London’s supernatural denizens–people whose safety might be at risk if most Londoners knew they existed, and who might not get any sort of healthcare otherwise. It’s not going to make her rich, and it’s difficult enough with her small practice to care for vampires, mummies, ghouls, and…other sorts of creatures, without someone going around trying to kill her patients.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, and am looking forward to the next installment. You can read the first chapter here.

Ack Ack Macaque by Gareth Powell

It took me way too long to read this, but that gives you some idea of how out of control my TBR stack is. Back in 2014 I was absolutely tickled when Ack Ack Macaque tied with Ancillary Justice for the Best Novel BSFA, and I was really glad to be able to meet Gareth in person at Worldcon later that year. Now I’ve finally read this! It was a lot of fun. In the wake of WW2, France and Britain have unified–look, just go with it, ok?–and a hundred years later there are nuclear powered airships, and actual monkey Ack Ack Macaque is the central character of an amazingly popular online multiplayer game. In the non-game real world, murders and skulduggery are happening and the very survival of everyone on Earth is at stake. This book is great fun, a quick, compelling read. I’m putting the sequels on my ever-growing TBR pile.

The Course of Honour by Avoliot

Okay, this one is kind of a bonus. As in, it’s free! You can click that link and find the Download button (up there in the righthand corner) and nab a copy in your favorite ebook format. Or, you know, you can read a chapter right here on your screen, and then click on to the next at whatever pace.

I want to thank Liz Bourke for tweeting about this, because I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’ve said before that I’m not much for category romance (though I do enjoy them now and again), but the fact is I’m a sucker for a good Arranged Marriage/Fake Marriage plot. And this was a good one! Jainan was married to Prince Taam of Iskat–a marriage arranged for political reasons, and when Taam suddenly dies [ahem] accidentally, the Emperor of Iskat declares that party-loving Prince Kiem will step up. And…look, I’ll just paste in the “additional tags” here, so you’ll see what you’re getting into:

Romance, Slow Burn, Arranged Marriage, Pining, past abusive relationship, space princes, Court Politics, Emotional Hurt/Comfort

Space princes. I mean. Seriously. Give it a look, and maybe leave some kudos if you like it.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
I did not finish this book not because I thought it was poorly argued or poorly written, but because, despite it being very interesting, I just cannot brain this right now. (I'm under deadline for a novel.)

Heath Fogg Davis is a trans man and associate professor in political science at Temple University, and his book, Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? suggests that there are many situations in which clinging to gender categories is not necessary and even counterproductive. The context appears to largely be USAn, although I only got a little way into the book so that might not be true of later chapters.

The book opens with the case of a public transit system in Philadelphia that used to issue passes in both male and female variants. It begins with the dilemma of a trans woman who bought a female pass, only to be bounced off the bus because the bus driver judged her not to be a "real" woman, so she bought a male pass, and was bounced off the bus for not being male. At that point, she's screwed--what does she do? But trans people weren't the only one hit by this--a lot of cis people who didn't match certain bus drivers' preconceptions of gender presentation/appearance were also sometimes denied passage.

Davis then goes on to examine the reason why bus passes even had this designation to begin with. Apparently the stated intent was to reduce fraud--basically, each person was supposed to buy their own pass, and they were trying to prevent husbands and wives from sharing a single pass. Except, of course, if you look at the problem and the "solution," it makes no sense--you could easily still have fraud with two people of the same "sex" (whatever that means, a topic Davis takes up later) sharing a pass. So basically the "solution" screwed a lot of people, was intrusive and humiliating, and didn't even solve the problem.

The chapters in this book are:

Introduction: Sex Stickers
1. The Sex Markers We Carry: Sex-Marked Identity Documents
2. Bathroom Bouncers: Sex-Segregated Restrooms [1]
3. Checking a Sex Box to Get into College: Single-Sex Admissions
4. Seeing Sex in the Body: Sex-Segregated Sports
Conclusion: Silence on the Bus
Appendix: The Gender Audit: A How-to Guide for Organizations

[1] I lived for two years in a dorm in undergrad that had co-ed restrooms. Nothing bad happened. My dad would have blown a gasket if he had found out, though. :p

I only got through the intro and the very beginning of chapter 1 and what I saw looked encouraging and thought-provoking, but please don't ask me what's in the rest of the book because I genuinely don't know. I'm going to return this and hope to check it out later when I have more brain so I can think about the issues properly; it's good knowing the book exists so I can return to it at some later point.
cyprinella: Picture of my dog Greta with a big doggie grin and her tongue hanging out (Greta yay)
[personal profile] cyprinella

It’s been about a week to the hour since I came home early from work. Greta got up to greet me. After I bustled around the house a bit, I noticed that she was standing in one place staring at me. I thought she wanted up on the couch but wasn’t feeling up to jumping so I lifted her up. She sat there for a minute and then oozed slowly off to lay on the floor and pant. Her tail never wagged when I said her name. That’s when I realized it wasn’t good.

I’m gonna spare everyone the hours of trying to get a hold of my husband while crying and then waiting for him to get home, all the while exchanging text messages with A. who had gone through similar stuff recently and was an excellent support. We got Greta to the emergency vet and they confirmed that her tumor had started bleeding into her abdomen. One overdose of anesthetic later and she was gone.

I miss her dearly. My house is too quiet while trash thieves and children on bikes pass unchallenged. My bed is too big, my couch too empty. There’s no (non-poop fountain) dog here to eat my carrots, cheese, and crackers. It’s been a rough, sad week.

I’m glad we have Zille here. Her solution to everything is “Throw a ball.” It’s a good distraction. And by god, she’s an easy dog, which is something you could never say about Greta. But I don’t think she could have taught me nearly so much about dogs as Greta. I’m a better person for Greta being in my life.

I’m going to end this three pictures that I think encompass how I’ll always think of her: Checking to see if the dinner I was eating was for dogs with her tail a blur of hopeful wags, snuggling with me on the couch, and telling boats to fuck right off. I’ll miss you, Greta-face.

Greta begging at the table

Greta snuggling on the couch

Greta standing in a large body of water and looking away in the distance

Cool Stuff Friday

Aug. 18th, 2017 10:31 am
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

I’ve been–I don’t think I’ve been doing it on the blog, but on Twitter and my FB page I’ve been keeping pretty close tabs on Wonder Woman all summer long. I’ve seen it five or six times in the theatre (including infamously flying to Liverpool to take my friend Leah to it to make sure she’d see it when her husband didn’t particularly want to!). I’ve been watching it break record after record–it was the biggest opening for the first weekend in June ever, it’s the biggest female-led, female-directed movie in history, Warner Bros have announced they’re going to be running a major Academy Awards campaign for it for Best Picture and Best Director (and I tell you, having seen it six times, I *still* think Gal Gadot deserves a Best Actress nomination). It stayed in theatres at nearly unprecedented numbers–it’s down to under 1000 now, but it only dropped that low last week–and I’ve just been hanging on to watching it go from success to success. It’s meant a lot to me. It shouldn’t *have* to, but it has.

And now I’m looking at this week’s nubers. $402.8m in North America as of Wednesday. $396m internationally (and that’s as of the weekend, because Box Office Mojo doesn’t get international numbers as rapidly). $798.7m all together, worldwide.

So I’m calling it: Wonder Woman is going to squeak over $800m worldwide *before* it opens in Japan on the 25th.

The fascinating thing is that Japan is a total wild card. At the worst it’ll play like the other DCEU movies and make about $15m there. But it’s a princess warrior movie, and Diana’s voice is being dubbed by the woman who does Sailor Moon’s voice, which is as canny a bit of casting as ever there was. And Japan *loves* princess movies. It *could* play like a Disney princess film and make tens of millions.

It needs $873,260,195 to beat Batman vs Superman by $1.

Come on, Wondy.

(Also the director, Patty Jenkins, is reported to be just about to sign a historic deal for the sequel, with the expectation of a payday unlike anything a woman director has ever seen. Come on, Wondy! #emotions)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Jesus of the ...

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:54 pm
asakiyume: (far horizon)
[personal profile] asakiyume
This font for holy water was in a model seventeenth-century Acadian house on the grounds of a historic gardens in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

If you click through and look at Jesus up close, doesn't he seem strange? Otherworldly in an unexpected way, as if the painter had a vision of Jesus of the fishes, or Jesus as a curl of smoke, or Jesus whose body is a shroud, about to be lifted away.

Holy water

Linkspam Confronts Hates At Home

Aug. 17th, 2017 09:16 pm
jjhunter: silhouetted woman by winding black road; blank ink tinted with green-blue background (silhouetted JJ by winding road)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Alex Schiffer @ Washington Post: Teen tackled by bystanders after vandalizing Boston Holocaust memorial
It was the second act of vandalism in less than three months at the site, located in Carmen Park near historic Faneuil Hall.

Steve LeBlanc @ US News: Gov. Baker Signs Resolution Denouncing White Nationalism
BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker joined with Democratic leaders to sign a resolution Thursday denouncing neo-Nazism and white nationalism.


ETA: Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP): Donate to the New England Holocaust Memorial
Read more... )

Free Speech and Nazis

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:42 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Like many of us, I’ve been struggling to process what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend, and what’s been happening in this country for a while now. The racism and hatred and violence didn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It’s been building up for a long time…in fact, much of it has always been there. It’s just boiling over into the open right now, making it harder (but obviously not impossible) to look away and pretend it’s not happening.

Part of the argument I’ve seen centers around free speech and the First Amendment. Free speech is a right, an important one, and rights apply to everyone. Even people you dislike and disagree with.

But freedom of speech in this country is not and has never been limitless. From the U.S. Federal Courts, here are a few examples of actions not legally protected by freedom of speech:

  • Students making an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
  • Making/distributing obscene materials.
  • Inciting actions that would harm others (e.g., Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.)

Now, here are some of the “alt-right” protesters who gathered in Charlottesville.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
Currently reading Freedom and Necessity, and enjoying it, as expected. One thing I hadn't expected: the print feels tiny. Unsure if this is just a natural result of Getting Old or if it's actually small. There doesn't appear to have been an ebook release, which makes me a little sad.

Gonna be a busy fall, bookwise. Just preordered new books from Kat Howard, Ann Leckie, eBear, and Steve Brust. Need to get on with that Great Big Dragarea Reread prior to late October. At least the eBear won't demand my immediate attention: reading Book One Of A Trilogy is a mistake I try to avoid making when the author is known to write bound book-fragments.

I biked for an hour and a half yesterday, going to a small get-together that may be the kind of thing I'm looking for. Mostly, a good ride, if overly sweaty, and tough going uphill. There's an exhilaration in a steep downhill, though, and a long gentle decline makes for a pleasant coast.

It occurred to me last week that my hip problem likely isn't just from wallet-induced sciatica. It's also possibly a result of babying my right ankle (and hence leg) for several months after I twisted it pretty sharply (CW: depiction of trauma, neither graphic nor permanent). So there's that.

Erin pointed out awhile ago that I do a lot of railing against the Confederacy (sometimes on FB, sometimes in person). I grew up hating everything about the South: the weather, the people, the history, the culture. I've mellowed on that a lot in the last decade or so, but Treason In Defence Of Slavery still gets me wound up. I think it's that it's a reminder of everything I hated about the South. Or maybe just that it's a part of my upbringing that's still acceptable to hate.

And in actual significant news, I've lost a friend over the breakup. One that I know of, I mean. I'd hoped for some compassion and understanding but it was not to be. I'm sad, and a little surprised, but only a little: she's prickly, far more invested in Emily's emotional state, and I suspect skeptical of the whole poly thing anyhow. (A conclusion I draw from sentences like "Since November I've watched you break up with Emily in slow motion.") Losing friends I care about doesn't get any easier. Especially not when they've been good friends and sources of support in the past. Oh well. She's not quite burned the bridge, I guess. She's poured gasoline on the bridge, offered me a book of matches, and walked away. Best I can do is not actually light the fire and be here if and when she changes her mind.

Overall? Still flailing around, still trying to sort out what I want my life to look like and how to make it look like that.
owlmoose: (quote - B5 avalanche)
[personal profile] owlmoose
Between North Korea and Charlottesville and everything else happening, it's hard not to feel like everything is burning down. But until the world actually ends, it's better to proceed as if it will keep on turning, so have some linkspam.

Mid-week Anti-procrastination Post

Aug. 17th, 2017 06:58 pm
peaceful_sands: butterfly (Default)
[personal profile] peaceful_sands posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Well, it's a little belated but we've not got to the weekend here yet, so I figure we're still good to call it a midweek anti procrastination post.

So what have you been tackling? How's that motivation going? What's your priority absolutely must not be procrastinated task?

If you're in need of a challenge or a little encouragement.... Hmmm, now let me think... How about 10 minutes (or whatever time suits) to tackle something clothing related - suggestions include : sorting washing into loads that can be done together, actually tackling a load of laundry, handwashing some items, folding some dry clothes, ironing, re-organising a drawer, shelf or wardrobe space to make it more user friendly. I'm sure there are other related tasks. Ooh, I've thought of another - repairing an item e.g. sewing a button on.

Set the timer for the amount of time you think you can spare or manage energy wise and go for it. Surprise yourself with just how awesome you are! And share with us.

Good luck, team! You're awesome!
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

So a while back I looked at my short stories and realized, huh — they kind of fall into these nice little groupings. Not enough in any one grouping to fill a whole print collection, but very nicely sized to make a set of tidy little ebooks.

The first of those is now available for pre-order! The title is Maps to Nowhere, in homage to Diana Wynne Jones’ novel Fire and Hemlock and the “NOWHERE” vases that are a recurring motif in it. (The same novel that inspired me to become a writer, and in a roundabout fashion sparked another story of mine.) It contains ten short stories, all set in secondary worlds. To whet your appetite, here’s the table of contents:

Maps to Nowhere


cover art for MAPS TO NOWHERE by Marie Brennan

Maps to Nowhere will be out on September 5th!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
[personal profile] sartorias
Everything they have worked toward is . . . here.

Mei Changsu's reason for existence is just about to be completed, but what about Lin Shu? The man wearing Lin Shu's body is not a nineteen year old battle wizard impervious to cold and pain anymore. The mask is less a defense than a wall.
Read more... )

Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist...

Aug. 16th, 2017 10:04 pm
rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Full letter with prompts to come ASAP. The letter below is incomplete.

ETA: I changed my sign-up since I posted this, so if you looked early on, look again if you're interested - I added a fandom and switched out some of the Original Work ships.

Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist,

Thank you so much for writing for me! This is my first time doing FemslashEx, so I'm really excited.

(I only requested art for one fandom; however, if anyone is moved to do an art treat for me in any of them, I would absolutely love that.)

Loves, DNWs, and notes/prompts for my fandoms (Aliens, Carrie, Original Work, Star Trek: Classic Timeline, X-Men comics (Marvel 616) and X/1999 below cut). Read more... )

Face Off through 1.5

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:47 pm
yhlee: hexarchate Andan blue rose (hxx Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
Note: I've been spoiled for the winner of S1 because I started with 2.1-2.2, both of which I rewatched tonight because the Dragon wanted to watch the show with me, and she wanted to skip S1 because she couldn't stand the backbiting. The Dragon loves art (she's in Talented Art in school) and I think it's really good for her to be exposed to this show since she's enjoying it, and I hope she finds the discussion of aesthetics inspiring. But mostly we're watching it for fun. =)

Read more... )

Meanwhile, in happier news, guess which household's preordered hardcopy of Starfinder RPG arrived today?! =D =D =D I'm not convinced by most of the class/character artwork (some of the gun designs are atrocious--why the fuck would you make a scope design that undulates?!) but the environment/matte painting is gorgeous. I oohed and ahhed over the illustrations for the different homeworlds in particular.

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