juushika: Photograph of a row of books on a library shelf. (Books Once More)
[personal profile] juushika
Title: The Ecliptic
Author: Benjamin Wood
Narrator: Jane MacFarlane
Published: Penguin Audio, 2016 (2015)
Rating: 2 of 5
Page Count: 470
Total Page Count: 232,315
Text Number: 740
Read Because: this review, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: In the first third: an artist's colony, stylized and idyllic, contemplating themes of inspiration and artistic craft. In the middle third: a life history which initially and often feels like an excessively long parenthetical, wherein is revealed that the protagonist suffers severe mental health issues. In the final third: the aspects are united, revealing the colony as a hallucination which is part of the aforementioned illness. The voice is decent, overlong and overdetailed in a way that offers a hypnotic immersion if the reader is willing to be lost to its rhythm. The navel-gazing about art is indulgent, but counterbalanced by some extent by revelations in the ending which contextualize and deescalate all the artistic angst. But I hate, hate, hate the use of (mental) illness as a plot twist—in part because it made for unexpected, triggering content which dampened my reading experience; in larger part because it's insincere and exploitative—yes, even the twist is justified by the nature of the condition, even when the portrayal is sympathetic. It consigns it to a gimmick, to a mystery, rather than a lived experience, and the style and themes can't hold up with the twist removed. I admit my bias; bias or not, I don't recommend this.


Title: The Changeling
Author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Illustrator: Alton Raible
Published: New York: Scholastic, 1974 (1970)
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 230
Total Page Count: 232,545
Text Number: 741
Read Because: beautiful, old copy found at a Little Free Library
Review: Chubby, mousy Martha's childhood best friend is Ivy, daughter from a no-good family who claims to be a changeling. This has an episodic structure that threatens to be overbearing: the adventures of two imaginative outsiders are charming, evocative, sympathetic, but also frivolous. It's the cumulative effect which matters more, and while Martha's arc is dated (fat reader surrogates are fantastic; fat reader surrogates who lose weight while gaining confidence is problematic) her emotional growth still resonates and the relationship between the girls has sincere chemistry. Ivy is by far the more interesting, dynamic character; Martha is a conservative PoV choice, but Snyder's compassion prevents Ivy's story from becoming a morality lesson and off-centering the most thoughtful parts of the narrative is something I suspect would age well with the reader. I would have liked this more as a younger reader; the restrained, episodic style means there's nothing especially engaging for an incoming adult reader. But I think I would have liked it very much indeed, and still appreciate Snyder's humor and humanity.


Title: Infomocracy (The Centenal Cycle Book 1)
Author: Malka Ann Older
Narrator: Christine Marshall
Published: Macmillan Audio, 2016
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 390
Total Page Count: 232,935
Text Number: 742
Read Because: personal enjoyment, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: In the near future, micro-democracy has divided the world into miniaturize nationstates headed by a single supermajority. But irregularities in the upcoming election threaten to destabilize the entire process. The setting is worldwide and convincingly detailed (especially the food and internet use), even if the technology/centralization is untenable. There's an attempt to make the characters accessible (and this almost succeeds in Mishima, arguably the protagonist), but with so many characters and such an excess of headhopping it's difficult to grow invested. The plot has a quick, clever pace—but I confess that I had a hard time keeping track of all the players and names, and was insufficiently invested to care. In other words, a decent book with the wrong reader—there's an audience for that Older is doing here, for smart and diverse techno/political thrillers; but it's not for me, and nothing jumped out to convince me otherwise.

Winter is over

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:01 am
ironed_orchid: "axial tilt is the reason for the season" (axial tilt)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid
At least until next time.

This winter really kicked my arse. I had colds and flu three times (April, July, and August). And generally struggled with energy and motivation.

As of today I am taking a week of annual leave, and the only thing I need to do today is be awake and at home during the hour my groceries are scheduled to get delivered. This is a good amount of responsibility to have.

Over the next 9 days I want to do the following 3 things:

1. Take laptop in for repairs
2. Book and have an appointment with osteopath
3. Spend a night at my dad's.

Also do some chores around the house, but not to spend more than 2 hours a day on them.

Also finish The Stone Sky and start on The Shepard's Crown.

Also some Ingressing if the weather is nice.

Also lots of naps.

Blessings on the Autumn Equinox

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:08 pm
earthspirits: (autumn witch)
[personal profile] earthspirits
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
Hi there,
 
We're putting the Antigua dataset on hold for the moment so that we can cover an urgent need from Rescue Global: basic information about building density in Puerto Rico. Even before post-Maria images come in, we can make maps of population density and expected damage for Rescue Global, but we need more accurate and up-to-date building information than we currently have available.

So this dataset is a bit different than the others: we are only using "Before" images, taken in the past few months, and we are only asking the first question we've been asking of the other datasets: how many buildings do you see?

We're hoping we can get through this quickly, so we're keeping the question to just basic categories of image counts instead of, for example, asking people to spend more time marking individual buildings.

With your help, we can use this information to make a map of expected damage, which will help Rescue Global decide where to focus their initial reconnaissance flights in the days immediately after Hurricane Maria, when power, phones and internet are expected to still be down throughout most of the large island of Puerto Rico.

Please continue to help at www.planetaryresponsenetwork.org.
 
Thank you,
 
Grant & The Zooniverse Team
 

Loose-leaf Links #48

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
[personal profile] calissa

Earl Grey Editing, Loose-leaf Links, loose-leaf tea, plum and cinnamon tea, The Tea Centre

Loose-leaf Links is a feature where I gather together the interesting bits and pieces on sci-fi, fantasy and romance I’ve come across and share them with you over tea. Today’s tea is Plum and Cinnamon, a new blend from The Tea Centre. It’s a bit more cinnamon than plum for my liking, but makes a lovely afternoon tea.

Follow Up ) Awards News ) Community and Conventions ) On Equity ) For Writers ) For Readers )

 

And lastly, Christina at Books and Tea has a review of two tea-flavoured candies. Yum.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

150 random icon batch (36)

Sep. 21st, 2017 09:12 am
kalli: (sway)
[personal profile] kalli posting in [community profile] pretty_pixels
A new batch of icons! Random people, friends, outdoors, nature.

Save, comment & credit [community profile] pretty_pixels :)
(Numbers are above the icons. Feel free to add text if you like.)

samples:


...a whisper from the moon... )

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 08:37 am
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
We only ended up with one guest last night. Cordelia stayed in her room, and Scott, [livejournal.com profile] cherydactyl, and I watched Wonder Woman which they'd both seen but I hadn't. I enjoyed it overall, but I failed to connect with it emotionally. This is a common problem for me with action focused movies, especially superhero movies. I get distracted and just don't see what other people see.

Scott is showering right now. When he's done and dressed, we'll head for Cordelia's school to meet with a counselor. Hopefully, that will go well and not take too long. I just hope they've fixed the elevator. I don't want to climb to the fourth floor.

I slept badly last night because of anxiety. I was sufficiently wound up that the amount of Halcion that would normally let me fall asleep and stay asleep simply didn't. I didn't feel even vaguely sleepy. It was that I wasn't tired as much as it was that I had enough in the way of adrenaline and such going on to be quite awake. I'm not sure that Ativan would have done better for me, but maybe it would have.

Cordelia's dental appointment went okay. The dentist left us sitting for longish stretches off and on because they'd fit us in when they were already full up. She did an x-ray and didn't see hidden decay. She said that Cordelia's wisdom teeth aren't pushing on anything or positioned in a way that she'd expect to cause pain. The joint of the jaw seems to be fine. So we don't know the underlying cause of the problem. She suggested a cheap night time mouth guard in order to see if a guard would help at all (and in order to avoid paying $500 for something that, at her age, might not fit next year).

From the dentist, we went and got bubble tea for me and Cordelia. They've changed their menu display and options, so I had to spend a little while figuring out if they still had what I wanted.

After that, we went to Target and got Wonder Woman and the mouth guard. We stopped at Plum Market to pick up dinner at their buffet (you pay by weight). I gambled on a couple of things that looked (and were) tasty but that I probably shouldn't have touched because of spice levels.

My Captive Audience recipient has gotten back to me. I was right in suspecting that things had gotten lost.

Comic rec

Sep. 21st, 2017 01:10 pm
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
I've been enjoying Power Ballad by Molly Brooks. Both the artwork and the story have been very appealing so far.
James Nicoll's review if you want to have a look jamesdavisnicoll.com/review/i-know-at-last-the-secret-of-it-all  but if you would like to wander into it with no pre-conceptions, go ahead, right here.


12 Characters Meme -- answers

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:13 pm
justice_turtle: MacGyver reading with finger to lips, text "im in ur library shushin ur books" (shushin)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
First of all, the character list, on which I have broken one of my own rules and put two people from the same fandom:

1. Wes Janson (Star Wars: Rogue Squadron etc)
2. Methos (Highlander)
3. Storm (X-Men comics)
4. Steve Rogers (MCU)
5. Ethan Rayne (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
6. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (Star Trek)
7. James Cowan (one of my OCs, because why the fuck not)
8. Constable Odo (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
9. Teal'c (Stargate SG-1)
10. Evelyn Carnahan-O'Connell (The Mummy movies)
11. Ardeth Bay (The Mummy/The Mummy Returns)
12. Todd the Wraith (Stargate Atlantis)

Read more... )

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:03 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Cordelia's having some pain at the hinge of her jaw, so Scott and I will be taking her to the dentist tomorrow afternoon. She also says her teeth are cold sensitive. I suspect that she's clenching and/or grinding at night since that's generally what gives me that sort of trouble.

I like Scott being awake and energetic in the evenings, so that's a positive for working third shift. The negative is that I have to be super quiet all day so as not to risk waking him. I'm even hesitating to make tea because of the noise of the whistle.

My left elbow is hurting a lot. Even when I'm not using the arm or hand, it sometimes hurts enough to make me mutter. The doctor recommended cold packs, but those hurt worse while I'm applying them and don't make things better after, so I'm wondering if I should try heat. That will be a bit harder because Scott moved my rice pack, and I'll have to find it. The elbow is bad enough to wake me if I move wrong, but I discovered this morning that, if I lie on my right side with a pillow between my arm and my body, the damned thing doesn't hurt. It's not ideal because I'm still feeling too warm most of the time and because the rest of my body doesn't like staying in that position, but it's better than nothing.

I have pulled out my sling. It can be useful in reminding me not to try to pick things up with that hand, but it also seems to make things worse in the long term. There's something about the angle and about how close in to my body the sling is that just doesn't work right. Possibly, I need a sling that holds the arm about three inches out from my torso.

I think that I have a solution to the problem of my c-PAP headgear sliding off-- I loosened the straps just a tiny bit, and now the dratted thing stays in place better. It's counterintuitive, but I've had it that way for two or three nights now, and it is better.

Sleep is still not great. Halcion has an effect, but it's not what my doctor said it would do. The stuff is supposed to be very short acting and hit me like a ton of bricks. It doesn't make me more immediately sleepy, but I am tending to stay asleep longer before I wake up to pee. The downside of that is that I'm getting up for that too close to when I have to get up for the day to be able to sleep again. When that's ten minutes, it's not such a big deal. When it's more than an hour... That's enough to matter.

Conflux 13 Schedule

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: (Calissa)
[personal profile] calissa

Conflux, Canberra’s annual convention for speculative fiction writers and fans, begins next week! This year it is taking place from Friday 29 September until Monday 2 October and the theme is Grimm Tales. Hugo-winning editor Ellen Datlow is the international Guest of Honour, and dark fantasy/horror author Angela Slatter is the Australian Guest of Honour. Kaaron Warren will be the MC. As usual, I will be attending and am very much looking forward to making some new friends as well as catching up with some old ones.

Where to find me

I will be sitting on four panels. Exact details are subject to change.

Con 101

When: Friday, 29 September 10:00 AM

Where: Program Room 3
Hotel Vibe
1 Rogan Street, Canberra

Panellists: Elizabeth Fitzgerald and Leife Shallcross

New to Conflux? Not been to a con before? Come and get your starter packs here. (Mostly just friendly chat–no actual starter packs will be issued, but there may be Tim Tams.)

 

Creating Story for Games

When: Friday, 29 September, 2:00 PM

Where: Program room 2

Panellists: Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Adam Hale (m), Rik Legarto, Alistair Ott, Maddy Piggott

Whether it’s roleplaying IRL or in a computer game.

 

Beyond the Hunger Games

When: Saturday, 30 September, 11: 00 AM

Where: Program room 1

Panellists: Felicity Banks, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Adam Hale, Aiki Johnston (m)

The best YA books in the last 12 months

 

The Hugos are a Joke

When: Monday, 2 October, 11:30 AM

Where: Program room 1

Panellists: Alan Baxter, Ellen Datlow, Elizabeth Fitzgerald (m), Tim Napper

Or have they redeemed themselves? And what about the Nebulas? And how could we get better Aussie representation on the shortlists?

 

If you have an interest in speculative fiction and can make it along, please stop by and say hi! I love getting to know new people. However, if Canberra is a little too far away for you or attending conventions is not your sort of thing, there’s no need for you to miss out entirely. I shall be posting a convention report once the excitement is over (and I’ve had the chance for a few restorative cups of tea).

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Arrrrr!

Sep. 19th, 2017 09:13 am
leecetheartist: Default green dragon head, with eyepatch, parrot and Arrr! "Pieces of 8!" (Pirate)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
What be your favourite pirate movie?

If ye can't be makin' up yer mind,  pick a couple.

I can't be decidin' between Captain Blood and  The Pirates band of misfits at this very moment. 

Fic announcement

Sep. 18th, 2017 03:26 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I still haven't gotten any feedback from my recipient for Captive Audience, no indication at all that they even saw the story. Even if they somehow didn't get a gift notice because of the whole revealed on posting and then hidden again thing, there were only 21 stories in the archive, so it wouldn't have been hard to find.

Possibly one of the guest kudos was theirs or maybe they left one under a different account. I'm pretty certain that the account I wrote for was a sock, so both of those are actually reasonably possible. I'd rather think that than that I accidentally hit all of their DNWs (no letter or details in the request).

The story really needed to be about twice as long as it ended up being, but August had bumps that ate all of my writing time, and part of me thinks that I really should have managed the character development/change I wanted in the 10823 words I wrote.

Title: For These Cramped Fragments
Fandom: Original fic
Rating: E
Pairing: Female Admiral/Captured Enemy Prince
Tags Rape/Non-Con, Science Fiction, Captivity, Politics, Stockholm Syndrome, War

Blurb: The very orderliness of the Scarlet’s surrender had been her first clue that her captain might not be as dead as his second claimed.

His father would have expected him to die rather than risk capture. Perhaps the new king had changed the standing orders since the old man's death. Perhaps not.

Apparently Captain Prince Vikenti wanted to live.

Notes: The Captive Audience exchange was for stories involving either Stockholm or Lima syndrome that showed the changing feelings of the captor and/or captive. There's more world building and character stuff than there is explicit sex, but the sex is in there, too.

Fic at AO3.

(no subject)

Sep. 18th, 2017 01:10 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I've been steadily chipping away at my to-do list since Scott went to bed this morning. I think today's my best bet for dealing with phone calls and forms. Scott said that, since he'll be home during business hours this week, I could pass him a list of calls, too.

I've got about two hours before Cordelia gets home, and I'm trying to figure out my priorities. I have to find another black pen so that I can finish filling out the Aetna claim forms (I knocked my last one under the loveseat and am not quite desperate enough to try to move that to retrieve it). I have a non-urgent email and a non-urgent phone call. There is an urgent-ish call on Scott's list, and I maybe ought to make that one as it needs doing while Cordelia's not home.

Of course, what I really want to do is nap. I may just give up and do that.

I did a little bit of writing last night and realized why I haven't gotten much done recently. Cordelia's been glued to my side for considerable periods and turning up for that more or less at random during the time she's home. She reads whatever's showing on my laptop and rather disapproves of me writing fanfic because I'm old. She especially disapproves of me writing anything even vaguely sexual.

Scott and I drove into town this morning to return a book to Community. Cordelia claims she told me to take it back on Friday when I went in to withdraw her, but I don't remember that at all. At any rate, it took about ten minutes this morning, so it wasn't a big deal.

I need to talk to folks at Skyline about letting Cordelia sign herself in and out with me either calling or writing a note to authorize it. If she can do that, it would make appointments during school hours infinitely more possible from my side of things.

I discovered today that, while I can shut down the ringing of our landline phones, I can't shut down the ringing from the base unit/charger. I'm not sure what the point is of being able to mute ringing on the mobile bit if the base is just going to howl. The problem is that we have a phone in our bedroom, so Scott was awakened by a junk call around 10:00 this morning. We only have a landline at this point because it was cheaper to get cable and phone with the internet than to get the internet connection on its own. The 'landline' isn't exactly a landline, either, and stops working when we lose power, so it doesn't even give us that.

meeeeme

Sep. 17th, 2017 11:31 pm
justice_turtle: text reads "I don't want logic, I want a half brick" (half brick)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Yoinked from [personal profile] lost_spook, slightly adapted because I ran across a pregenerated list with twelve characters, which I can use in case there are not enough questions from y'all. ;-)

1) Make a list of twelve characters first, and keep it to yourself for the moment. [I am going to mention here that only two of my characters are under six feet tall, because this amuses me.]

2) Ask your f-list to post questions in the comments. For example: "One, nine, and eleven are chosen by a prophecy to save the world from four. Do they succeed?", "Under what circumstances might five and seven fall in love?", "Which character on the list would you most want on your side in a zombie invasion?"

3) After your f-list has stopped asking questions, round them up and answer them using the twelve characters you selected beforehand, then post them.


Anybody? :D

Ticky Yessy Postie

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:57 am
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
Last week the postal survey for the Australian Marriage Law alteration yes/no arrived.
I opened it, ticked yes and took it to the mailbox that night.
I find it hard to understand why anyone wouldn't.
I'd be guessing most of my readers would be in favour of marriage equality.
Let's support this push for equality so that bigotry, hatred and oppression can take a back step for once.
Let's get in there and let people have the same legal rights.
Let's give the economy one heck of a shot in the arm.

Do this
!


(Edited for a momentary lack of yellow and phrased it betterer)
juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
[personal profile] juushika
I woke to rain outside, and kept hearing it, on and off, through the day; hearing it because I've been able to keep a window open and the fan off for a few days now. The window here is behind a substantial bush, so the light is gentle in the mornings (the birdsong, on the other hand, not so much). Yesterday morning, I sat under that open window and peeled and cut apples while watching Supernatural. (Every year about this time I catch up on Supernatural; every year it's still awful, but the kernel of the show it could be, the 11.4 "Baby" show, the AU werewolf!Claire show, the show of ambiguous landscapes of denuded, earthen British Columbia forests pretending to be the Midwest, the show of flannel and bunkers and overnight drives, always leave me wistful.)

The apples came from the back yard, half-feral apple trees that produce tart, hard, dry green apples with just a few bugs. When I taught Teja how to make applesauce, I told him "peel, chop, boil over medium heat"—it's impossible to screw up. This year made me wonder if I was wrong; the first batch was prone to scalding and awfully tart, and required a cup of water (I'm used to ladling off excess fluid instead) and half a cup of brown sugar (there are greater sins). And it wasn't ruined, it turned out fantastic. Homemade applesauce always is.

Anyway, I moved last month. Moving is objectively always awful, but this went fine, even if it left me wishing I owned zero physical objects—despite that it was making a place for objects (specifically, an overhead shelf with nothing but blankets and plush and treasured figurine) which made me feel settled in.

August and Gillian are settling in too, decently well. The stress of the move, and the smaller space and relative isolation, has made them much more companionable. They've lived together for five years, with tolerance but no intimacy. Now, they're touching all the time! They share a blanket! This morning, August licked Gillian's face three small, sweet times. I'm not getting invested in the future of this intimacy, but feel blessed to witness the little signs of it.

I've been taking a few shitty snapshots of the cats, and you can find them over on my Tumblr; here are some cat-touching highlights:






Their peace and comfort, and also mine, has been interrupted by a fairly severe flea infestation—with which we are dealing, but which may be an ongoing/reoccuring battle for reasons outside my control, and I'm mad about that. They're just so uncomfortable, and only have the energy to groom and eat and then nap; not eager to play, too sore for most cuddles. Hopefully things will improve as the medication does its thing.

Autumn is the season of my heart, and the weather report says the rain is not just today, it is the next five days, and by then it's late September; 70 degree days after that will just be sunny days in autumn—the season is here. Most people don't get such a clear cut-off date! But ours was September 17, and rain, and rain, and rain.

(no subject)

Sep. 17th, 2017 06:59 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Cordelia's caught up in all of her classes except social studies. That's proving difficult because the teacher didn't give her the handouts that everyone else got, just the accompanying worksheets. The questions are on the handouts rather than on the worksheets; the latter just have spaces for answering the questions.

She texted the one person she knows in the class to ask her to send a copy, but that other student hasn't responded.

The topic is Judaism, specifically (I think) things found in a typical synagogue. I know that some of you could and would help her with it, but she's not willing to ask for help from anyone but me and Scott (who is currently sleeping in order to be able to work 3rd shift starting tomorrow night). Apparently the prospect is too overwhelming.

Google will help for things like what a shofar is, but it's not going to be much help in figuring out what the teacher wants with regard to the intersection of 'windows' with a synagogue. It also won't help with the drawing she's supposed to make of the interior of a synagogue (starting with a dozen or so lines printed on the sheet to show where to begin).

I have an email address for the teacher, but it's a crap shoot whether or not he'd even reply. I'm pretty sure that he wouldn't reply any time today. She needs to turn in the worksheets tomorrow.

I ended up in bed most of yesterday with IBS related pain. It was very frustrating but at least was during a day when I didn't have to get anything done. I mostly worked on reading library books, specifically the dozen graphic novels I had stacked up. That leaves eleven novels that I haven't opened, two books of poetry, and a book of non-fiction. I've got two graphic novels left to finish. After that, I have a book of poetry and three novels with me in the living room. The others are in the bedroom and inaccessible until Scott gets up.

The downtown library is closed until some time tomorrow due to a sewage back up. I'm not entirely sure it will open then because they've been promising just one more day since this started. At any rate, it means we need to go to a different branch to return our books and such and will have to go downtown mid-week to get our holds.
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

Fake Geek Girl, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Belladonna University, Earl Grey Editing, books and tea, tea and books

Published: March 2016 by Sheep Might Fly
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Belladonna University #1
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Author
Reading Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017
Available: Author’s website (electronic, free) ~ Sheep Might Fly (audio, free) ~ Review of Australian Fiction

Meet Fake Geek Girl, the band that plays nerdy songs at the university bar every Friday night, to a mixture of magical and non-magical students: lead singer Holly writes songs based on her twin sister Hebe’s love of geek culture though she doesn’t really understand it; drummer Sage is an explosive sorcerous genius obsessing over whether Holly’s about to quit the band to go mainstream; shy Juniper only just worked up the nerve to sing her own song in public and keeps a Jane Austen themed diary chronicling the lives and loves of her friends. When the mysterious, privileged Ferd joins their share house, everything starts to unravel…

Fake Geek Girl is a fun short story that brings magic to an Australian university.

The world-building was one of my favourite parts of the story. It’s set in an alternate version of the present where magic (also referred to as the Real) and technology (the Unreal) exist uneasily alongside each other. Magic is very much the norm, with almost everyone having some degree of magic proficiency. Students have laptops and mobile phones they need to keep protected from magic radiation, and heaven help the student who tries to use magic Post-Its on his ordinary textbook. The university likewise reflects this dichotomy, with the more prestigious College of the Real teaching thaumaturgy and similar magic classes, while the College of the Unreal includes Gender Studies and Unreal Literature.

The characters were also wonderful. Each character is distinct, with their own personalities and quirks. Hebe is a sweet girl who cares about her friends and isn’t afraid to snark when she’s constantly mistaken for her rock-star twin sister. Sage is the glue that holds the band together… well, usually. And shy Juniper’s love affair with Jane Austen was gorgeous. I was actually a little disappointed we didn’t get to see more of her, but I’m hoping that may be rectified in a later story.

As you might gather, friendship is very much at the heart of the story. Changing circumstances threaten to steal away one friend, but has simultaneously delivered a new one. The characters don’t always face these changes with grace, making them very relatable. They also come with a side order of banter.

The story is written in first person with the author’s distinctive voice–sarcastic but fun and upbeat. The chapters alternate perspectives, with the heading title incorporating the perspective character’s name. Despite this, I didn’t immediately twig to the shift in perspective and it threw me off in the second chapter. However, the story was too much fun not to persist.

Overall, I really enjoyed Fake Geek Girl and the series has become my new favourite of the author’s work.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Life lived in dot points

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:45 pm
fred_mouse: Mummified mouse (dead)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
I haven't had spare energy for a lot of things lately, in particular for blogging. I've a short term contract, in which I'm attempting to debug some code, which is going somewhat slowly (the first bit was a trivially short piece of code that turned out to have a single wrong command buried in it, but it took some sorting out how that command differed from what it ought have been). Other than that, over the weekend (including Friday night) I
  • Briefly went to work Friday drinks; I think I know everyone's names...
  • Friday dinner at Han's cafe; stupidly ended up ordering a fish dish that came battered. Ate it anyway; stomach sore Saturday, but no emotional meltdown. Will continue minimising gluten, but nice to know that a slip up isn't always a disaster.
  • Went to see Totoro on the big screen at Innaloo on Friday night (with artisanat and friend S)
  • Slept in Saturday, because youngest was in Sydney, and thus did not have training*
  • Went to dance, despite really not wanting to. Entire class was focused on how to push one's heel forward correctly (battement tendu, battement long, fondu, some other things I've forgotten). Hips are Very! Sore! today. Turns out that I have sufficient flexibility in my toes that 'tuck your little toes under' is a cheat for me, so that I don't actually stretch where I should -- everyone else has to stretch to do that.
  • Crafternoon. Finished the border on a blanket that has been abandoned for some time (crochet, all the pink variegated yarns). Sewed in the ends. Now it just needs blocking. Watched the first episode of Outlander, because I had it queued up and ready to go when ariaflame arrived, and they were happy to watch as well.
  • Attended the evening part of a friend's 40th birthday festivities; cocktail bar, I am the kind of person who drinks scotch and dry when cocktails are on offer.
  • Went to a marriage equality rally**. Am very quietly grumpy at all the people calling it 'same sex marriage'. Went and was nice to one of the people standing at the side wearing t-shirts saying something like 'Libs and Nats for marriage equality', to make sure that they got positive feedback for being at an event where they could well be a long way off the political beliefs of the majority
  • Met up with a number of people at said rally; six of us went in to Claisebrook for lunch. Tasty lunch, although not convinced that either of the options were good for me. All were gluten free though (and the pasta was v. nice; risotto was a bit richer than I was expecting).
  • Came home, lay down, failed to achieve anything. I have to go to work tomorrow, but ow, I really really don't want to. Hurts a lot.

    * team came fourth of seven; youngest got to very briefly catch up with a few family members, and delivered some gifts that have been mooching around the house since last December
    ** with artisanat and middlest. Eldest was fast asleep and grunted at the idea of getting out of the house to make it in to the city for 10am

Gaming and Other Activities

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:01 pm
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Have had a fairly busy week in my favourite pastime. Every day this week I've been working on finishing Papers & Paychecks as well as RPG Review 35-36, now a double issue of Antipodean gaming material. To have both out by the end of the month would be ideal, and I think that is certainly going to happen at current rates of work. Much of RPG Review has been helped by [personal profile] reverancepavane whose epic writing for RPGaDay has been nothing less than extraordinary. In actual play on Wednesday finished the classic introductory Stormbringer scenario The Tower of Yrkath Florn which includes nothing less than a Melnibonéan wheel (my calculations put the value at around $3m AUD). As I've wryly remarked this may very well be our Stormbringer; a theme which I don't think the game does well is the idea of tragedy from power. It was also a heavy Eclipse Phase weekend, with a game on Friday night which curiously was chasing down a antagonist whom the players in my Sunday game are close to encountering for the first time. Whilst a good scenario, once again I could not help but chuckle at the author's rather light idea of what a seedy "sex and drugs and gangs" red-light district would consist of - especially in a transhumanist environment.

On Friday finally managed to write up my review of The Residents concert from March last year. On Saturday attended Software Freedom Day and the LUV AGM, where I have found myself on the committee for yet another year. Afterwards went to [livejournal.com profile] usekh's memorial birthday at the Back Bar. Kudos are due to [personal profile] damien_wise for doing most of the organising of the event. Today visited St Michael's to hear Rev. Ric Holland's impressive service on forgiveness, also taking the opportunity to introduce Shupu, to the location. I hadn't been for several months and was never a regular attendee, so I was quite surprised to discover a few people remembered me. The Rev. offered to catch up for coffee some time and I certainly intend to take up that invitation. Afterwards made my way to university, and stumbled upon the a protest against racism and fascism which I attended; the media of course, concentrated on a very minor disruption, ignoring the important message that the Rohingyan refugee speaking was presenting at the same time.

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2017 01:19 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Getting to Skyline yesterday was stressful, and getting home was worse. The bus company website doesn't actually provide accurate information about the bus line that runs out there-- The schedule I could access on my phone claimed two buses around when school starts and three around when it ends with nothing in between. I knew it was a lie, but I couldn't get the site to cough up anything else. The first bus to come by as I waited was going to go out of service at the next stop, so I had to wait another half an hour for a bus to come.

What I really wanted to do was to find somewhere to get coffee and food and to sit for a while before I dealt with the bus, but there is absolutely nothing out by Skyline. Zilch. To walk anywhere useful, I'd have to cross three traffic circles, two of them connected to highway entrances/exits, and none of them having any design considerations for possible pedestrians. By the time I was actually on the bus, the idea of getting off again was horrific. I didn't do it until I had to transfer downtown.

It wasn't quite 10:30 when I got downtown, and I didn't feel like I could walk to try to find somewhere to sit and try to calm myself, so I just walked down the block to where the bus I needed would come.

I left both my water bottle and Cordelia's somewhere along the way. I only realized that I didn't have them when I was gathering my things to get off the bus at the stop by our house. They might be at the Skyline bus stop. They might be on the bus I took into town. They might be at the transit center. I couldn't deal with calling to try to find them, so they're gone. Scott bought me a replacement that I need to wash before I start using.

I can't tell how much of how bad going back and forth to Skyline was yesterday was due to it coming at the end of a horrible, horrible week and how much was the trip being intrinsically difficult for me. It's probably a bit of both.

I got pretty angry at Scott yesterday (and a few times earlier in the week) because he wasn't bothering to give me any encouraging words or anything. He gave Cordelia a lot, and he was having an awful week, too, but it would have been nice to get a comment indicating that he had my back on anything at all. I don't think he realizes how much he left me flapping in the wind all week. If I asked for something very specific, he'd do it, but there wasn't anything at all that I didn't ask for. Not even a "I know this is hard for you, but you can do it."

I think Scott also doesn't realize that Cordelia going to Community gave me a brief feeling of intense relief that I wouldn't have to deal with a huge, huge problem that I've seen coming for literally years-- The problem of me getting her from school for appointments and then back to school after. Nothing about the trips I've made to Skyline has made the problem seem less severe or more easily addressed. I really am thinking that Scott going to third shift may be the only sustainable solution, but if he does that, him ever getting back to first shift is unlikely.

I suppose the first thing I have to do is to find out whether or not I can get Skyline to let Cordelia sign herself out for documented appointments and then back in again after. That would make things actually manageable and could be argued as an accommodation for my disability every bit as much as letting me use the elevator when I visit the building.

I'm really, really hoping that next week I can start doing something other than putting out immediate fires. I don't think writing is going to happen while Cordelia's home because she tends to turn up and sit next to me for twenty to thirty minutes at a time and express disapproval over me using my laptop at all. She also reads what's on my screen.

Today's main goal is to read some library books so I can return them tomorrow. I've got more than I like just sitting on my shelf unopened. Also, the interlibrary loan stuff needs getting through quickly. The system won't let me request multiple volumes of the same manga title at once because it considers them all the same book in spite of the numbering difference. This means that from October 1st until maybe April next year, I won't be able to move forward on Natsume's Book of Friends, Case Closed (Detective Conan), or Prince of Tennis. That last is particularly frustrating because the library is missing 29-32 and 36. It has 33-35 and 37-40 (are there volumes out beyond 40? I don't know. I haven't looked yet). I have v.29 waiting for me to pick it up. If I read it fast and return it immediately, I might be able to get v.30 by the end of the month. I just don't see managing four volumes in that time because of the time it takes to get ILL books.

I also have a movie that's due tomorrow and can't be renewed. I can probably either finish it today or reach a point in it where I'm sure I don't care about finishing.

Cordelia has a birthday party to go to later this afternoon. They're going to a Tigers game as part of it. They did the same last year for this girl's birthday. My guess is that they'll have fun again and that it will be rather more about being there as a group of friends than about the game.

Halfassed Hiveswap Act 1 Walkthrough

Sep. 15th, 2017 03:14 pm
alias_sqbr: WV stands proudly as mayor (homestuck)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Hiveswap Act 1 is the long awaited Homestuck point and click adventure game! It's a lot of fun and not TOO hard but I still got stuck sometimes. Also quite short! Here's a full playthrough video I used when I got stuck.

Note for anyone with bad reflexes: the vast majority of it isn't time based but one section is and I found it mildly challenging as someone with very poor hand eye coordination. Also there's some references to abusive behaviour on par with stuff in Homestuck.

Below the cut is a half remembered text walkthrough. It's just the relevant instructions, but still pretty spoilery.
Read more... )

So when I was in Finland

Sep. 15th, 2017 12:04 pm
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
We kept seeing women in long black velvet skirts here and there. I wondered who they were, so just now I did some research.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Kale - they're descended from Rom who fled England and they make a decision around 15-20 years of age whether to go for traditional dress for the rest of their lives or not.

Guest Post: Ethical Tea Reviews

Sep. 15th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
[personal profile] calissa

Photo by Lyss Wickramasinghe. Used with permission.

Despite rumours to the contrary, I am not a tea snob. While I drink plenty of loose-leaf tea, I also drink a ton of tea bags. So, I was delighted when Lyss took time out from the Never Never Book Box launch to pitch this to me.

Everyone loves a cup of tea! But more and more people are coming to care about where their tea comes from. Ethically sourced tea is a massively growing industry, with many ethical brands now being available at the local supermarket in Australia.

But are they any good?

This is the real question for tea connoisseurs. Is there any quality difference between the ethical brands and our old favourites? And just which ethical ratings can you trust?

Well don’t panic, we here at NeverNever HQ are going to figure all this out for you!

Read more... )

Lyss Wickramasinghe, reporting from the bottom of a teapot at Never Never HQ. She had to battle off a few hundred pirates and a couple of pesky Lost Boys, but can now enjoy her cuppa in peace.

To share her love for ethical and delicious tea, The Never Never Book Box has included a specially blended organic tea in their Upcoming Questing box.

Sign up to their mailing list for a chance to WIN a Free Box at http://the-never-never-book-box.launchrock.com/

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

juushika: Photograph of the torso and legs of a female-bodied figure with a teddy bear. (Bear)
[personal profile] juushika
Moana, film, 2016, Disney
Came for Accessible Disney Emotions; largely received them. It's interesting the way that gender/racial choices reinvigorate traditional heroic quest arcs—because this is extremely by-the-book, but feels empowering rather than redundant; Moana's personal growth and the way it ripples out to supporting characters and the resolution is extremely satisfying. Interesting musical choices: when they started a song about coconuts I was underwhelmed, but there's—

(Now imagine a pause while I check Google to see if anyone else has made a link between the lyrical evolution/reiteration of Moana's "I want" song and the unique lyrical style of Hamilton, and then I discover that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote that song, and that the link isn't influential but direct. I sincerely didn't know he was involved with this movie.)

—there's a beautiful lyrical evolution/reiteration in that main theme which is reminiscent of the self-referential wordplay of Hamilton; it's clever, and substantial enough to carry the film's emotional thrust. But while the denouement is fantastic, the resolution is flat, and that's all due to the design of Te Fiti—there's a dozen ways to conceptualize nature-as-humanoid/-goddess which is more evocative and less "vaguely fuzzy giant green lady" (even the willow tree in Pocahontas was better!), and what's rendered here undermines that final emotional resolution. I also hate the water tentacle—the hair is amazing! the natural water is beautiful! there are some great renders in this, but the nondescript water tentacle that shakes its head isn't one of them. Also: I sincerely don't get why anyone cared about the chicken, and the grandmother is one of the best characters I've ever seen and I both want to know her and want to be her, someday. I found this more successful than not, but the ending missteps.

Closet Monster, film, 2015, dir. Stephen Dunn
This is really good. It perfectly bridges its surreal/imaginative/symbolic aspects to its concrete events. It's sincere, convincing, compelling; accessible but also private; heartbreaking but cathartic, without being exploitative or simplistic. (The way it depicts violence is particularly successful, cutting away/using discretion shots in a way that simultaneously preserves tension, confers respect, and still conveys trauma). There are flaws (the hamster is heavy-handed; the final scenes too idyllic), but I'm sincerely impressed by what it achieves.

The Levelling, film, 2016, dir. Hope Dickson Leach
If I had thought about it, perhaps "vet student from a farming family" and "family trauma post-suicide" was not an ideal combination for me, in particular; but I didn't think about it, and did watch this through, and it was vaguely unlikable, if only for slipping "forgive and reunite with you abusive family members" in there at the end. I do this a disservice: the interstitial shots of an English countryside caught between the idyllic and the eerie and the muddy mundane, and the localized loss in the wake of a suicide, are effectively staged; the whole weight of the film rests on Kendrick's shoulders, and she can bear it. But it is absolutely about how awful suicide is for the survivors, and about forgiving/healing past familial abuse, and using violence against animals/the farming industry as psychological manipulation and metaphor: all tropes I deeply despise and shouldn't've put myself through.

American Fable, film, 2016, dir. Anne Hamilton
Honestly, pretty awful. There's an interesting story here, about poor rural white America's interaction with—well, Jewish bankers, the boogeyman of Jewish wealth, economic antisemitism and both sides of economic anxiety; you can't cast an identifiably Jewish person in the role of "wealthy man buying up farmland who is kidnapped and tortured by farmers" and then not address the Jewish issue—it creates a Jewish narrative in absentia and I have no idea: is that intended? is it just really poorly executed? is it just because of Schiff's casting? It doesn't particularly matter as the rest of the movie is forgettable, hamfisted plot development and campy horror pacing, with a beautiful setting, promising but undeveloped imagery, and some decent acting from Kennedy and Schiff that has no particular payoff.

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, film, 2016, dir. Oz Perkins
I thought I would like this; I really did like this. April Wolfe of The Village Voice described it as "the most atmospherically faithful adaptation ever of a Shirley Jackson book that never existed" (thanks, Wikipedia)—and it's no Shirley Jackson, but it does have that feel to it: a strong sense of place and costume and set design, an investigation into women within gothic archetypes (and women's life as gothic) which isn't hugely robust but is largely successful, some gentle queer subtext, a plot which isn't hugely complicated but which does clever things with narration, and a really satisfying tone. It wasn't objectively perfect, but I wanted it to never end; I wanted those empty rooms and facile but appealing metaphors and mustard accents to last forever.
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
Did you ever wonder what it was like to be John Tracy in International Rescue? Do it for real. You'll be the eye in the sky. Look at photos and get the information to help the rescue teams on the ground. Don't worry, there's a short tutorial to help you!

The details or just go to http://www.planetaryresponsenetwork.org/ )

(no subject)

Sep. 13th, 2017 08:51 am
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I managed to get myself signed up to run events at UCon. A two hour Sentinels of the Multiverse game and a four hour rpg. The rpg plot is still very squishy in my head. I know where and how it starts, and I've got character ideas, but I still have to hammer out details.

I'm also waiting to hear from Cordelia how going to Skyline just for choir has worked. There was some stress about because the choir teacher never responded yesterday. That left Cordelia going to Skyline without a clear idea of what would happen. I don't know, at this point, if she'll be getting a ride in with someone or if she'll be rushing to catch the bus. I promised her that, if she misses the bus, I'll call Community to let them know that she'll be late.

After she gets to Community for the day, I'm probably going to try to nap. I have to meet Cordelia downtown after school's over. She has a 4:15 appointment down that way.

I woke this morning with a headache. Sugar and caffeine killed it, but it was fairly nasty before that. I'm pretty sure it's fallout from me not sleeping much Monday night and from me walking too far yesterday. (Cordelia's comment was, "Mom, you know that never ends well.")

My appointment at the sleep disorders clinic went pretty well. I saw a doctor rather than the PA I was expecting. I really have lost track of who I'm supposed to be seeing there. The doctor was pleased by my numbers as recorded by the c-PAP. I'm having a lot of 'episodes' during the period while I'm wearing the gear but not yet asleep. If I get up after an hour of being awake, the machine generally says I've had between 7 and 10 episodes in that time. By the next morning, it will give me an average between 1 and 2.5, depending on how long I used it and getting lower the longer I did, so I'm assuming that most of those are while I'm still awake with pretty much nothing while I'm sleeping. The doctor seemed to think that was the case too (the card recorded me having many events clustered early and then nothing much later, so).

The current mask/headgear is much better than the nasal pillows except for one thing. The strap around the back of my head that anchors everything won't stay. When I'm asleep, it gradually migrates up so that everything else starts to fall off. I have to manage to wake enough to move the strap back to where it's supposed to be. I will call Medequip and ask about it, but the doctor thought that they wouldn't have a solution. Her suggestion was a hat of some sort to provide more friction. Clips in my hair aren't an option because those will slide right out.

I took a cab to the appointment because I was just that tired. I had to take the bus home because the cab company said it would be an hour and a half, minimum. I was too tired to climb the hill from that bus route, so I went downtown to catch the bus that stops at the top of the hill. I ended up with at fifteen minute wait downtown. Cordelia was kind of worried that I wasn't home when she got there even though I texted her about it.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
[personal profile] juushika
Title: The House of Binding Thorns (Dominion of the Fallen Book 2)
Author: Aliette de Bodard
Published: Ace, 2017
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 340
Total Page Count: 230,925
Text Number: 737
Read Because: recommended by Rachel, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: Not long after the events of the first book, House Hawthorne becomes embroiled in conflicts and alliances with the dragon kingdom. This has a slow start—there's a big cast and numerous subplots, all tied together by something like a murder-mystery (of which Bodard is fond, and I am not); it stands largely independent of The House of Shattered Wings, and maintains most of that book's weaknesses (like repetitive descriptions) and indulgences (like the moldering elegance of the setting). It's the second half where things come together. The plot coalescing is adequate, and Bodard has a knack for large finales (here, perhaps, overlong), but the real joy is in the characters—there's a number of great character types (a pregnant woman and her angel wife is an especial delight), and Asmodeus's development, as an unrepentant and unforgivable person who still has depth, even value, is ambiguous and subtly-wrought. I didn't particularly enjoy this, but appreciate its payoff; it's more successful than Shattered Wings, and may be worth reading if you've already begun the series.


Title: Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
Author: James Tiptree Jr.
Published: Tachyon Publications, 2004 (1990)
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 505
Total Page Count: 231,430
Text Number: 738
Read Because: personal enjoyment
Review: Eighteen stories, most published under the Tiptree pseudonym, combining themes of gender, sex, death, and speculative science. This is a long and thorough collection, in part because many of the stories are novella-length, in part because Tiptree's voice and theme are confrontational and fatalistic. Tiptree has some repetitive stylistic choices: many of the stories end with a twist or thematic summation, often individually successful (as in "The Screwfly Solution"), but transparent and repetitive when viewed in sequence; in the forgivable search for an idealistic solution to the anger and fear that motivate these stories, some are over-long, some defy suspension of disbelief ("With Delicate Mad Hands"). But, while the angry, didactic tone can be punishing, the content and perspective more than compensate. Tiptree embodies a masculine point of view while writing feminist fiction ("The Girl Who Was Plugged In," "The Women Men Don't See"—a central, prevalent doubling of identity, including but not limited to gender identity), intertwines speculative concepts with intensely critical social themes, and possesses intensity, vigor, and valuable rage. The cumulative effect of this collection far exceeds its component parts. .


Title: Way Station
Author: Clifford D. Simak
Published: Open Road Media, 2015 (1963)
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 215
Total Page Count: 231,645
Text Number: 739
Read Because: recommended by Kalanadi, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review:

That was how it started, Enoch thought, almost a hundred years ago. The campfire fantasy had turned into fact and the Earth now was on galactic charts, a way station for many different peoples traveling star to star. Strangers once, but now there were no strangers. There were no such things as strangers. In whatever form, with whatever purpose, all of them were people.


From a Midwestern homestead, one lonely man runs a way station for alien travelers. This takes a quiet, almost distant approach to its premise; the protagonist is more witness than actor and the tone is wistful, contemplating the vastness of the universe and what role humankind deserves within it. It's eminently quotable.

"There may come a day," Ulysses said, "when it won't be like that. I can look ahead and see, in some thousands of years, the knitting of the galaxy together into one great culture, one huge area of understanding. The local and the racial variations will still exist, of course, and that is as it should be, but overriding all of these will be a tolerance that will make for what one might be tempted to call a brotherhood."

"You sound," said Enoch, "almost like a human. That is the sort of hope that many of our thinkers have held out."


Half of the narrative is akin to a science fiction fairy market, a cavalcade of wonders which rambles almost like a travelogue, slowing the pace but suiting the tone. The plot eventually coalescences, pulling neatly from perhaps too many of the established elements, and is a little too large, leaning on coincidence and hinging on problematic tropes regarding disability. But the ending preserves the overall tone, and if the small pieces are better than the larger plot, then they are fantastic pieces: beautiful, mournful, hopeful, idyllic but not idealized, profound without slipping into the facile. I sincerely loved this; a pleasure to read.


Her Smoke Rose Up Forever and Way Station both made it on my favorite and formative list—there are absolutely objective flaws here, and ones I can recognize (unlike the rare favorite which I know must not be objectively flawless & yet which makes me convinced it is), but they're solid 4.5 "it feels like a 5-star book," where feeling is the operative response—they are both a little more than themselves. Satisfying to have a few of those after a slew of sheer mediocrity.

(no subject)

Sep. 12th, 2017 11:49 am
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Getting Cordelia enrolled at Community was mostly painless. We had to wait for the people we needed to talk to to arrive, so my worry that we'd be late was groundless. There was one other new 9th grader enrolling, and the woman in charge of the process declared the 9th grade class officially full once she had both kids in the system. Some of the other classes still aren't quite full, though, so she's not done with the process yet. She told us that they had a lot of last minute drop outs this year and that it's highly unusual.

The building is a much more manageable size than Skyline is. It's three floors but still probably not bigger than Cordelia's older school because that sprawls more. We were able to find all of Cordelia's classes. Then her friend who has been there since day one managed to get out of class about twenty minutes early (the classes are in long blocks) and came out to keep Cordelia company. I left then and just barely missed the bus (I got turned around, and none of the people I asked for help in finding the right exit gave me the correct directions). Since it was half an hour until the next bus I started walking.

I missed the next bus because I'd detoured into a park to hack some portals I hadn't before. That was on me. I ended up walking another twenty minutes and then stopping to wait for the next bus. Standing and waiting was much, much harder than walking. I almost fell over while waiting because my legs just couldn't.

On the plus side I earned a silver badge for deploying mods in Ingress.

Cordelia decided to take Spanish rather than to try to find a way to take Chinese. Taking it at Skyline wasn't likely to work due to the bus schedule. We're still trying to figure out how to make choir at Skyline work, but getting back to Community in time requires catching a bus only one minute after the class ends (she can get to Skyline on the school bus because it's a first period class). Basically, any bus option for getting to Community by 9:35-- which she must do-- requires leaving before first period ends.

I'm not enthusiastic about relying on the teacher letting her go early and on Cordelia being assertive enough to point out that she has to. Still, I've emailed the teacher and will try calling her cell phone (which I have because of camp) a bit later one. We need to figure it out by 6:50 tomorrow morning so that Cordelia can got to Community if she's not going to choir. (Yes, the bus to Community is almost twenty minutes earlier than the bus to Skyline.)

I have to get her textbooks back to Skyline. She'll be using the same text in geometry at Community, but bureaucracy dictates using a different copy. If Cordelia keeps taking choir, she can take them in herself, either all three at once or one at a time, but I'm kind of assuming that we're not going to figure out a solution.

Hopefully, Cordelia figured out where to buy school lunch. Community has an open campus, so most kids buy lunches outside, and the school doesn't have a cafeteria. They told us that she can buy lunches at school, using her prepaid account, but they didn't give us a clear idea of where she needed to go. Her friend didn't know because she hadn't ever done it.

Warring earworms

Sep. 12th, 2017 10:25 am
leecetheartist: A lime green dragon head, with twin horns, and red trim. Very gentle looking, with a couple spirals of smoke from nose. (Default)
[personal profile] leecetheartist
Ada Palmer and Sassafras

Ice and Fire   https://sassafrass.bandcamp.com/track/ice-and-fire


Down, down, down, down, down into Ginnungagap 
Down, down, down, down, down into Ginnungagap
Down, down, down, down, down into Ginnungagap
Down, down, down, down, down into Ginnungagap



battling

Spray and Hyperbubble

We're at the very nerve centre of art video cliche
I think it's going to turn out alright
We're at the very nerve centre of art video cliche
We're going to take it right through the night

We'll be
synchronised
We'll be 
hypnotised
We'll be 
paralysed by the sight

of the imagery
of the irony
of the way we captured the light
CAPTURED the light!





Acadie by Dave Hutchinson

Sep. 11th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

Acadie, Dave Hutchinson, Tor.com, Earl Grey Editing, tea and books, books and tea

Published: September 2017 by Tor.com
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Science fiction
Source: NetGalley
Available: Abbey’s ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia ~ Dymocks ~ Kobo

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Colony left Earth to find their utopia–a home on a new planet where their leader could fully explore the colonists’ genetic potential, unfettered by their homeworld’s restrictions. They settled a new paradise, and have been evolving and adapting for centuries.

Earth has other plans.

The original humans have been tracking their descendants across the stars, bent on their annihilation. They won’t stop until the new humans have been destroyed, their experimentation wiped out of the human gene pool.

Can’t anyone let go of a grudge anymore?

Acadie is an entertaining sci-fi novella, but one that ultimately didn’t work for me.

The first line is a good hook, but the story gets off to a bit of a slow start as daily life is established. Although the low gravity makes it plain things are a bit unusual, there were some small details I really enjoyed. For example, low gravity still doesn’t stop cats from chasing each other around the house.

Its sense of humour is a strength of the story. John Wayne “Duke” Faraday might be the President of the Colony, but he’s a pretty ordinary guy just looking to enjoy a holiday. In fact, the only reason he’s president was because he was away during the elections. Unfortunately, it looks like the Bureau might have discovered the hidden Colony on his watch.

As you might have gathered, the story is full of pop culture references. Duke interacts with people who have genetically engineered themselves to look like the elves from Lord of the Rings or Klingons from Star Trek. The founder of the Colony is Isabel Potter. And Connie’s full name made me chuckle.

The author builds a fascinating world in a very short space. There were some great character interactions and enough detail to paint a vivid picture.

Unfortunately, the surprise twist at the end undermined the story for me. Although clever, it left me wondering what the point was supposed to be.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

(no subject)

Sep. 10th, 2017 02:19 pm
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[personal profile] the_rck
I nominated for Yuletide last night. I ran into a problem of wanting to nominate something I don't own that's relatively recent. I couldn't remember the names of the characters I wanted to nominate, and I didn't want to nominate just the two I could find named online. There's a copy on the shelf at one of the library branches (not the one we'll go to to pick up our holds), but getting there would be more than I want to ask of Scott today. He drove Cordelia and her friends to a movie and has now taken her out for groceries. We need to visit the downtown library in the next three and a half hours. I think the lawn needs mowing pretty desperately, too. I've washed Scott's work clothes. The dishwasher is running. I showered and took care of the essential phone call I was waiting for. I'd like to wash a load of regular laundry by the end of the day.

At any rate-- Yuletide nominations: LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures, Baba Yaga's Assistant, and (a request from Scott) Kerbal Space Program. I just don't have the energy at the moment to want anything strongly so I was looking for things that just might be good springboards for fic as opposed to being things I pine for. The Freemaker Adventures are silly enough to be fun but have enough plot and characterization to hang interesting stories from. Baba Yaga's Assistant is a short graphic novel aimed at kids. I think that exploring an ordinary(ish) teenager working for Baba Yaga would be fascinating. I thought about The Time Museum, but that's the one I'd have to either buy or get from the library in order to get the character names. I thought about Ursula Vernon's Hamster Princess books, but I didn't want those enough to get up and go to the bedroom to check the character names, so I just asked Scott if there was a small fandom he'd like fic for. He asked for Kerbal and gave me some character names. I'm not against fic for Kerbal. It could be fun. I think I've got enough sense of the game from Scott playing it to understand a fic. I don't know that I'd try to write one, but there are sure to be a lot of things nominated that I can write.

My nominations haven't been reviewed yet, so I could still change my mind, but I doubt I will. I'm too creatively exhausted for it. The fact that I don't have any writing deadlines now is a huge relief.

I still don't have a giftfic for Captive Audience, and waiting for that is delaying the archive opening. The announcement said that they're just waiting for one fic, and I don't have one, so... I feel bad about it but am not really prepared to say that it doesn't matter and to go ahead and open things. I feel like I should say that, though, and not be a bother. They're now saying Monday at midnight for the opening, so forty eight hours late.

I took a full tablet (0.25 mg) of Halcion last night and don't feel groggy today. I fear that that's because I got a bit more than eight hours of sleep rather than because it making me groggy on Friday was a fluke. I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be able to get eight hours on a school night because Cordelia and Scott aren't respecting my need to. I'm not sure how much clearer I can make it to Scott. Cordelia... Well, she's actually needing me, so that's harder.

Cordelia's best friend visited yesterday and stayed until about 10 p.m. Both girls really seemed to enjoy the chance to spend time together. They're at different schools now. The other girl's family is still hoping to buy a house and move out of student family housing (the mother graduated three or four years ago but still works at the U. There's very little demand for those apartments now, so they've been allowed to stay). The last I heard, they were hoping for a place within walking distance of us. I think they'd still want their daughter at her current high school, but visiting would be so much easier. Right now, it takes about half an hour of bus riding with a transfer or two and is a much longer walk.
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The five days of attending the NCI spring training course in Canberra over the past week was a pretty average to be honest. I really appreciate the effort put in by the trainers and their assistants, because I know how much work it is, but the course content and methodology could do with a critical and professional eye. The class sizes were too large and and the time was too long to successfully engage many present. The content was mostly good, but required more relevant hands-on activity and structured approach. Still, out of the five days I think I have enough material to put together a summary version of a single day course for researchers that need to transfer from our local HPC system to the peak national facility. Whilst my week largely consisted of "wake up, go to course, go to hotel, work, sleep; repeat", I did get the opportunity to catch up with [livejournal.com profile] taavi on the final day. Best part of the conversation was on the possibility of using input-output analysis on some of the economic records of The Palace of Nestor.

After returning late on Friday night, Saturday was spent in the company of Kerrie H., and Brendan E. Although in good spirits, Kerry has found herself in a situation where she has to sell her house and downsize, so we went to deepest suburbia where I could make use of my skills at moving heavy objects quickly. Afterwards we went back to Brendan's to have dinner at the local Indian restaurant and followed up with a few episodes of the second season of Black Jesus. I think a number of self-described Christians could learn a lot from this series, especially Australia's own Lyle Shelton whom I have cause to respond to this week. On a related matter, wrote (or rather co-wrote) Pansy Division: Notes on a Certain Petition based on events from the previous week which covers matter of the current marriage equality debate and how 'free speech' isn't an absolute right (and nor should it be). Further, have just released a newsletter for the Victorian Secular Lobby with an upcoming meeting with Lesley Vick from Dying with Dignity Victoria on the impending voluntary euthanasia legislation.

(no subject)

Sep. 9th, 2017 01:11 pm
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I used a half tablet of Halcion last night and don't feel hungover/groggy today. I'm not sure that it helped me sleep, though, so it may be a tradeoff. I'll try a whole tablet tonight and see how that goes given that I should be able to sleep myself out tomorrow. The whole tablet Thursday night did help me sleep, so I'd like to know if the fatigue on Friday was from the Halcion or just from it being the end of a trying week with less sleep than I actually need.

Scott and I are poking at Steam to see if there are games there that Cordelia might like (and be willing to have us know that she's playing). He's used Steam for a while, and I never have. I'm frustrated because I can't get the searching interface to do what I think it ought to, because I can't make it cough up a complete list of searchable tags or categories. I'm also not seeing any sort of label that indicates a target age range or levels of gore, sex, profanity, etc. Cordelia says she doesn't want any of those things, so sorting in a way to eliminate them would be beyond helpful.

I don't think this entirely me because Scott was having trouble with it last night. It may just be that neither of us know the code words that would tell us what's what. He mostly does combat stuff, board/card games, and the like. Things Cordelia's decidedly not interested in.

Scott and I are thinking that Cordelia might like something in the vein of a visual novel. Assuming we can find one that has a female protagonist, no graphic sex or violence or horror elements, and isn't romance/dating focused. Cordelia has informed me that she's not interested in hidden object games (I tried to sell her on the Dark Parables series which I enjoyed and which otherwise fit what she seems to want-- no time pressure, no risk of losing due to making a mistake, no reflex tests or need for eye-hand coordination, no gore, no explicit sex, no swearing, etc.)

I'm not sure whether Cordelia's really not interested in having any romance or just isn't interested in us knowing that she is.

Scott is trying desperately to get his payment information changed in a dozen different places where he'd pay monthly bills via Discover (his card number was used for Lyft several times last Saturday while he was at work so new number). Verizon has locked him out because he couldn't answer a security question that he's absolutely and utterly certain that he wouldn't have chosen because it's something that he doesn't have an accurate answer for (What was his first school). I think he got Netflix and Hulu updated. Discover very kindly sent him a list of places he's been making regular payments to. Verizon's just being unpleasant.

We were a bit freaked when the new card arrived because the front was blank apart from the Discover name and logo. They're now printing the number and name and expiration on the back and not bothering with raised type. We were sure, at first, that they'd just sent a completely blank card. Why on earth put the information on the back? I can't imagine that's actually more secure since turning the card over is beyond easy.

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