take on me

2017-03-28 10:13 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Courtney Milan, Hold Me (2016): amidst everything, I nearly failed to notice that it's also nonbinding teacher/student (they're not in the same field or connected instructionaly). Way to overclock the setup.

That setup emerges from the narrative's predecessor, Trade Me. Here, Tina's best friend Maria runs a pseudonymous blog that was begun as a lightweight distraction but has gained some rather heavyweight-intellectual reader-commenters, including someone who signs himself Actual Physicist. Over time, MCL and A. have begun exchanging text-message confidences. Then we see them meet in person for other reasons, with instant enmity on both sides; then, of course, one of the two discovers the link. That's the main line. But it's also a book about multiple trans and queer individuals who form a group but aren't the same and don't all get along, and about being overtly femme with shoes that speak, and about men in technical fields who think they're allies and aren't, and about being a non-traditional undergrad, and about being wrong on the internet....

Whereas Trade feels slightly stitched-together to me (except for Falun Gong, I know every single riff's antecedent well, so the narrative tradeoffs show), Hold manages a self-consistency and balance while juggling so. very. many. complicated elements. Read more... )
umadoshi: (kittens - Claudia - pensive)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

There's a trailer for the upcoming Ancient Magus' Bride anime! [YouTube, ~1 minute]

If you ever want the bat wing necklace Claudia wears on Warehouse 13, this is where you get it. [Via Allison Scagliotti's Instagram.]

"Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman to Host ‘The Handmade Project’ Weekly Series at NBC".


Via The Rec Center:

--"Full-body reading: Literary criticism taught me to scrub my feelings out of my reading, but a medieval mystic showed me how to put them back in".

--"Mary Sue: From self-inserts to imagines, how young women write themselves into the narrative". [Elizabeth Minkel]


Social Justice

"The List of Books Men Must Read Before Messaging Me About Feminism".

I may have linked this one before, but what the hell: "Men Just Don’t Trust Women. And This Is A Problem".

"A Conversation About Disability Rights in Education".


At The Establishment:

--"The Problem With Judging Other People’s Food Choices". [Sarah Kurchak]

--"‘It’s Because You’re Fat’ — And Other Lies My Doctors Told Me".


Cute Stuff

"You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Heard Baby Sloths Having a Conversation".

"Watch: Corgi racing is more amazing than you would ever have imagined".


Miscellaneous

"The Folly of 'Purity Politics': A new book argues for the value of owning up to your imperfections".

A Twitter thread from [twitter.com profile] Delafina777, starting with "Okay, so, some thoughts about how multiple women in meetings can help each other be heard". (And from within that thread, we have "Donald Trump-inspired app counts how often men interrupt women" [Mashable] and "5 Nice Things You Do Daily (That Secretly Ruin the World)". [Cracked, 2014])

"Cat Anxiety: How to Recognize & Treat It".

"Tattoo Artist Who Lost His Arm Gets World’s First Tattoo Machine Prosthesis".

"Cats Are Actually Nice, Scientists Find".

Mallory Ortberg, formerly of The Toast, just started a TinyLetter newsletter. The first letter is called "'I felt like Salieri, or a dog watching TV: furious and hostile and confused': Bellowing about trees with Sondheim", in which she spectacularly fails to bond with Into the Woods. I adore Into the Woods, but not bonding with it is fair, I suppose (no, no, it's fair), and Mallory Ortberg is hilarious. "By the end I no longer hated anyone, not even myself; I desired only to be reconciled with all of humanity. I could not imagine leaving the theater, nor in letting any of the actors leave the stage. They were all my children, which meant they were also my beans, and beans are wishes, and dreams don’t exist."

a POLL of PORTENTOUSNESS

2017-03-28 09:14 pm
yhlee: snowflake (StoryNexus: snowflake)
[personal profile] yhlee
Poll #18118 side project for fun
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 10


If I were to do a mini-gamebook (~100 sections) just for fun as a side project, it should be about:

View Answers

the hexarchate
6 (60.0%)

a sequel to Winterstrike (StoryNexus game)
3 (30.0%)

non-hexarchate space opera
1 (10.0%)

something else that I will explain in comments
1 (10.0%)

ticky the talky tea tocky!
3 (30.0%)



For reference: Winterstrike is now completely free to play (all the previously Nex-locked options are now free options, which should make it play faster!).

Fanfic Question Meme

2017-03-28 05:09 pm
calliopes_pen: (54 IJ Edith silhouette books)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Taken from many people, here’s a fanfic focused meme.

Choose a fic and 1 (or more) question(s) from the list below:

1: What inspired you to write the fic this way?
2: What scene did you first put down?
3: What’s your favorite line of narration?
4: What’s your favorite line of dialogue?
5: What part was hardest to write?
6: What makes this fic special or different from all your other fics?
7: Where did the title come from?
8: Did any real people or events inspire any part of it?
9: Were there any alternate versions of this fic?
10: Why did you choose this pairing for this particular story?
11: What do you like best about this fic?
12: What do you like least about this fic?
13: What music did you listen to, if any, to get in the mood for writing this story? Or if you didn’t listen to anything, what do you think readers should listen to to accompany us while reading?
14: Is there anything you wanted readers to learn from reading this fic?
15: What did you learn from writing this fic?

My fanfic (from Yuletides past, mainly) can be found here at Ao3. Or here at Teaspoon, where I last added anything from Doctor Who seven years ago.

Or you can peer into the depths of a tag called ‘fanfic I’ve written.’ There’s one Firefly fanfic down there somewhere, and quite a few drabbles for that and Buffy from back when I was starting to dabble in fanfic for the first time.
yhlee: M31 galaxy (M31)
[personal profile] yhlee
When I was younger, I cared a lot about worldbuilding in the sense of realism or plausibility. I hoped to write fairly standard Eurofantasy. I pored over books on siege engines and polearms, pondered the role of Swiss mercenaries as inspiration, took copious notes on books like Dorothy Hartman's Lost Country Life. I was determined for my worlds to be as "realistic" as possible, whatever that meant. Why? Because I was convinced that this kind of faithfulness to the waking world was the key to capturing readers; that a world with every pothole papered over, in which every city was mapped out to the least cobble, would be the most immersive.

I don't believe that anymore.

I came to this thought by way of games. For the longest time--an embarrassingly long time--I tried to learn chess the wrong way. The pageantry and imagery of chess, the fluff if you will, fascinated me: queens and knights and kings, rooks that looked like castles. I was very young when I had my first encounter with chess, and I developed this conviction that because the imagery of chess was based on medieval warfare, understanding medieval warfare would help me understand how to win chess.

(Those of you who do play chess are laughing. Hell, those of you who don't play chess are laughing. I know, I know!)

There are all sorts of things that an interest in medieval warfare will get you, but playing better chess is not one of them. I presume medieval knights did not get around the battlefield by jumping in L-shapes. On the other hand, chess knights never have to worry about broken lances or drowning in their own blood if their helmets get smashed in. (I read about that somewhere--whether it actually happened, I don't know. I don't remember the source.)

One thing is clear, though. The "failure" of chess to simulate medieval warfare in a mimetic sense has nothing to do with how successful, or immersive, it is as a game.

Video games are another example. These days a lot--not all, but a lot--of games sport beautifully rendered graphics that make my aging computer cry. The vocabulary of game graphics became so embedded in my thought processes that I have on multiple occasions had beautifully rendered dreams where I thought, Wow, that's some amazing polygon count there. (I have lucid dreams sometimes.)

Yet I remember being addicted to games with crude pixellated graphics back when I was in high school. I will own that one of those games was the Gold Box game Azure Bonds, which we picked up a bootleg of from an entrepreneurial fellow student when I was in Korea. (Something like two decades later, I caved and bought a legitimate copy from Good Old Games.) There was something jinxed about the bootleg's graphics, and it wasn't just the pixellation, which was how the game was supposed to come. No; something about the bootleg caused all the colors to load up in shades of sky blue, aquamarine, and lavender. (Given the title of the game, perhaps not entirely unfitting!) Nevertheless, the crudeness of the graphics and the eye-searing colors didn't destroy my enjoyment of the game. We never beat it (even today I haven't beat it!), but we spent hours killing trolls for bounty, trying to figure out how to outwit a black dragon, and prowling through the labyrinthine halls of Zhentil Keep. It's been rare that a more modern computer roleplaying game, despite the high-powered graphics, has been able to keep my attention in the same way.

The more books I read, to say nothing of book reviews, the more I become convinced that immersion in sf/f, as in games, is not a function of "realism" or even, necessarily, of meticulous worldbuilding. What a given reader will find acceptable--"plausible"--seems to be a function of familiarity or preexisting prejudice. We have hordes of hard sf books where faster-than-light drives are casually referenced; Jack Campbell's (excellent) military sf adventures have ships maneuvering at significant percentages of the speed of light yet the Lorentzian contraction factor never comes into play. The message I take from this is to choose what matters to you, and don't worry about the rest, because there is no such thing as perfect worldbuilding. I am not even convinced that perfect worldbuilding of the intensely time-consuming Tolkienian type is always desirable. Certainly it is sometimes desirable (it is difficult to argue with Tolkien's success!). But that doesn't mean it is the only storytelling mode that can work.

We accept all kinds of compromises with reality as part of the "speculative" part of speculative fiction. If you're telling a branching-lives story about how a woman's life might have played out if she had come to different decisions about how to handle her best friend's illness, is it all that realistic from a quantum mechanical "many-worlds" hypothesis standpoint that all the branches being explored have to do with her emotional crisis? When I'm reading a Warhammer 40,000 adventure in the grimdark future, does it really matter that the Latin is distorted in odd ways? If I had to read every line of dialogue in footnotes in a work that sought to represent pervasive multilingualism, would it really enhance my pleasure in the story, as opposed to concessions to the author and reader's actual shared language(s) and the occasional too-good-to-resist pun that exists in English but probably not as well in the constructed language of your choice?

Different readers care about different worldbuilding details; different writers care about different worldbuilding details, and both groups have differing areas of expertise. What's more, a given story may not rely in the slightest on a realistic depiction of its setting. I can watch Suits and enjoy the banter and office politics because I don't have the faintest clue how a law firm runs, but some of my friends are lawyers and they have all told me that they can't stand that show. Suits might perhaps best be considered a fantasy (in the loose sense of the term) only vaguely using the furniture of a law firm as a backdrop for its exchanges and power plays. If Suits had been written--worldbuilt--with greater attention to how law firms and legal negotiations actually work, it wouldn't do thing one to enhance my enjoyment of the show. That level of mimesis in that particular area is simply not relevant.

In its way, a story can be likened to a model. And no model can perfectly replicate the original, or it wouldn't be a model anymore. As an author, I want to carefully choose where I expend my effort building a world. If the story is mostly concerned about gardening, there might be much discussion of mulch, weather patterns, and slugs, but less care taken with the provenance of the yarn that shows up in a one-line throwaway. Not every aspect of a story can be rendered with equal depth, nor should it be. When I spend a lot of time on that mulch, and very little on the yarn, I am signaling to the reader what is important in this particular story. (And also saving myself time researching fancy yarns. As an ex-knitter, I have been that route!)

It is not that worldbuilding is bad. It is that worldbuilding is a tool, like any other--to be used judiciously.

(yes I know I'm a massive hypocrite)

[cross-post: Patreon]
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

My sister and I went to see the Power Rangers movie this past weekend.

You may think this was due to some nostalgia on my part. It’s not: I never watched the show, never had any of the toys, only vaguely knew it was a thing. My previous attachment to Power Rangers was nil. But the trailer looked fun and I’d done a whole lotta adulting over the previous couple of days, so off we went, even though my sister said that “everything Haim Saban touches is covered in a layer of Cheez Whiz.”

This led to us formulating the Cheese Theory of Adaptations.

At the low end you have something like the G.I. Joe movie. Was it cheesy? Yes — but it wasn’t good cheese. In fact, it was pre-sliced American cheese, and we’re not even sure the film-makers remembered to take off the plastic wrapper before offering it to us.

On the high end you have the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Which is also incredibly cheesey — but you find yourself saying, “dude, is this gruyere?” We’re talking high-quality cheese here, folks. The sort you can eat without feeling ill afterward, and even want to eat again.

The Power Rangers movie isn’t gruyere, but my sister and I agreed that it’s a good, decent cheddar. The weakest part of it was the obligatory Mecha Smash Fight at the end; by putting all the heroes into mecha, you restrict 90% of their opportunities to act, because the close-up shots of them mostly consist of them talking and then being shaken around their cockpits. But the good news is that the mecha part only comes at the very end of the movie, because the writers were far more interested in spending time on character development. These Power Rangers are a bunch of messed-up kids, and they aren’t able to “morph” (manifest their color-coded suits of armor) or control the mecha until they sort out some of their messes. That runs the risk of being pat — an After-School Special kind of story — but it isn’t, because “sort out” isn’t the same thing as “get over.” Nobody learns a Very Important Lesson and is thereafter rid of all their issues. Resolution comes in the form of honesty, of admitting they’ve got problems and trusting one another with their secrets. It lends weight to the idea that they have to work as a team; you can’t do that when you’re afraid to show your true self to your teammates, very real warts and all.

And there’s something to be said for throwing your entertainment dollars at a movie that shows a broad cross-section of the teenaged world. The Red Ranger and team leader appears to be your usual whitebread sports hero (and in the TV series that’s apparently what he was), but he’s got a history of sabotaging himself in disastrous ways; the introductory scene ends with him wearing a police-issued ankle monitor after a high-speed chase and subsequent wreck. He’s the only white member of the team. The actress playing the Pink Ranger (whose color palette has shifted closer to the purple end of the spectrum) is half-Gujarati, and her character is in trouble for having forwarded a sexually explicit photo of her friend to a guy at school. The movie shifts things around so that the black character is no longer also the Black Ranger; he’s the Blue Ranger instead, and on the autism spectrum, while the Black Ranger is Chinese-American and taking care of his seriously ill mother. Finally, there’s been a fair bit of press around the fact that the Yellow Ranger (played by a Latina actress) is the first LGBTQ superhero in a feature film.

So like I said: a good, decent cheddar. The characters are vivid and interesting, their problems feel very real, and the resolution on that front isn’t too tidy or simplistic. The villain and the throwdown with her are the least interesting parts of the whole shebang, but they don’t take up too much of it overall. It was a fun way to spend my Sunday afternoon.

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

Rules of Play

2017-03-28 03:24 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
The most recent book I read is Katie Salen & Eric Zimmerman's Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. I never had a very large collection of books on game design and game design theory, but I lost almost all of them in the flood last year. Generous benefactors, donated replacements for a couple, which I am still reading (I tend to bounce between books); but it also occurred to me that I could check the local public library for any game design books. This was one of my finds.

My interest in game design comes partly from screwing around with game design, as you might expect; past efforts have included parser IF (interactive fiction--think text adventures like Zork), a really terrible Monopoly mod involving thoroughbred racing, and a fantasy adventure game that inadvertently resembled Talisman more than it had any right to. It also partly comes from the intersection of game-as-narrative and narrative-for-writing, and partly from my fascination with game designer John Wick's statement that roleplaying games are the most immersive form of storytelling because they're the only kind in which the audience is also the author. (Something like that. I'll try to dig up the exact quote sometime.)

So, here are the good things about Rules of Play: it is 600 pages of chewy, thoughtful, massively interdisciplinary theorizing about how games work, what makes them tick, what makes good games good. While it's copyright 2004, I would say that on a theoretical level almost all of its material remains relevant, even when some of the examples are dated. (I mean, I suspect that Chess is still Chess, you know?) It is also one of the most beautifully organized textbooks I have ever seen. The book is divided into thematic units (Core Concepts, Rules, Play, and Culture; Rules, Play, and Culture represent three outward-expanding schemas through which games can be studied), and each unit into chapters. Each chapter lucidly explicates different frames (e.g. Games as Emergent Systems, Games as Narrative Play, Games as Cultural Resistance), and ends in a 1-2 page summary with vocabulary/terminology bolded for easy notetaking. (I did just that--I copied out all the summaries. If the book had been of a size amenable to photocopying, I would have done that instead, but alas.) There are also recommended readings that further elucidate on the topics of each chapter, a few of which I was already familiar with, most of which not.

Also interestingly, each unit ends with a commissioned game that requires very basic materials (think a deck of playing cards, or some six-sided dice, or a game board printed in the book itself) as well as the designer's notes/diary on the design and playtesting process. The game designers are Richard Garfield (who is best known for Magic: The Gathering), Frank Lantz (Gearheads and The Robot Club), Kira Snyder (Game Designer and Lead Writer on Majestic at Electronic Arts), and James Ernest (Cheapass Games, e.g. Kill Doctor Lucky and Give Me the Brain). I was particularly taken by the beauty and cleverness of Lantz's Ironclad, which is almost two games in one on a 6x8 checkerboard, with one game taking place on the squares and the other on the intersections, and the two inner games interacting with each other in interesting ways.

This is an excellent textbook, and I do not hesitate to recommend it if you are interested in game design theory, but it comes with an ENORMOUS caveat--not something that's bad, but something you should be aware of. It is that this book will not teach you how to design a game. It will teach you a ton of theory about game design and analysis. But it will not lead you through the game design process, or present exercises, or talk about rapid prototyping, or about the business side of the game industry, or any of that. I can in fact imagine someone picking up and reading this book and not ending up with much clue as to how to start designing a game. It would undoubtedly make a fantastic supplemental text to a course on actually doing so, of course. But as far as practical game-designing advice goes, you'll want to go elsewhere.

The most accessible resource I have seen for actually learning to design a game remains Ian Schreiber's online course Game Design Concepts, although it also requires the text Challenges for Game Designers by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber. That text is well worth it, and is more hands-on as well (I have read it, although God knows I didn't do the exercises--so many exercises!). As an example of how Schreiber's approach differs, one of the first things GDC does is to lead you through the creation of an extremely simple racing game. It's not an original game. It's not even necessarily an interesting game. But it does break that first "What do I do?" block.

[cross-post: Patreon]

okay now i can go eat my ramen for lunch LUNCH LUNCH OM NOM NOM

slush as a form of meditation

2017-03-28 03:31 pm
rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
The line I return to over and over about the slush pile is that all of human life is there, and I don't think I'm going to get sick of saying it. If I'm feeling particularly depressed about humanity, all I have to do is read slush for a while, and I will find something to make me feel better. Of course, if I'm feeling particularly good about humanity, all I have to do is read slush for a while, and I will find something that makes me despair for our future and, indeed, past and present as a species.

I feel as though at some point some ancient and secret confraternity of editors has codified the guidelines of slushomancy, and I hope someday they let me in on it: next year will be heavy on space squid, say, with a chance of light pastiche storms. I'm not sure you could use it to predict real events, although it certainly has about as much randomness included as any yarrow stalk or marrow bone.

There are a few trends that have become clear, of course. More fantasy than science fiction, always, always. Sad lesbians, or lesbians in romances that don't work out for one reason or another, are very in. People who write excessively effusive cover letters have frequently never learned how to use spellcheck. Every so often there will be a story I absolutely love which is simply completely wrong for the magazine, and I will have to write a very sad note reading Dear X, this is amazing, there is nothing wrong with it, I love it, have you tried a mainstream lit mag/a horror magazine/an erotica anthology? I always fear they won't believe me, is the problem with that.

Also, every so often we get actual answer stories, stories written in direct response to and in conversation with other works in the field. What fascinates me about these is which works people choose to respond to. I mean, more than fifty years on we are still getting direct replies to 'The Cold Equations'. That's a sub-genre of its own, people who object to something or other about 'The Cold Equations'. Which is fair, except that at this point I suspect it has all been done. There's that, and then responses to Ender's Game are a subgenre (one which has become more impassioned since Card proved to be... the kind of person he is), and then responses to 'The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas'.

We do occasionally get really good response stories. I'm not inherently against the idea of publishing them. But the problem with response stories is that you don't just measure their quality against your own standards, you measure them against the original, and while that isn't a horrific problem with Card or 'The Cold Equations', I feel bad for people who are directly attempting the prose style, let alone the story structuring, of Ursula K. Le Guin. Probably the best way to go prose-wise with an Omelas response would be to be as different as humanly possible, because direct comparisons are going to be odious. Unfortunately, this memo has not reached many of the writers in question.

Ah well. You can't make an Omelas without breaking a few egos.
larryhammer: a naked woman lying prone with Greek text painted on her back, label: Greek poetry is sexy (greek poetry is sexy)
[personal profile] larryhammer
Short shameful confession: “Tee hee!” quoth she, and clapped the window to is my favorite line from any poem ever.

---L.

Subject quote from "Titanium," Sia, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort, & Afrojack.
steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
A recent radio programme suggested that most of us talk to ourselves (guilty as charged). Quite a few also commentate on their daily behaviour, and of those, a large majority do so in the voice of David Attenborough narrating a wildlife documentary.

I wonder if this is as common a thing in the UK as dreaming of the royal family?


ETA: Incidentally, I wonder about the history of this habit. People couldn't imitate commentaries before there were commentaries, after all. I remember in Ian McEwan's Atonement the little girl Briony swipes the heads of dandelions with a stick (or something similar) and imagines someone commentating on her as if she were at the Olympic Dandelion Beheading final. That would be in the late 1930s. By that time there was certainly radio commentary on football, and I daresay cricket and horseracing too. Live coverage of the Olympics, though? I'm not sure. And, before Marconi, were our imaginations mute?

Random facts meme!

2017-03-27 11:44 pm
umadoshi: (kittens - sharing a chair)
[personal profile] umadoshi
[dreamwidth.org profile] owlmoose tagged me for this a few weeks ago! I'm ignoring the "tag other people" bit, but I enjoy reading things like this, so if you need a nudge to do a random-facts post, consider yourself tagged.

(If I think too hard about "wait, does everyone already know this?" I'll freeze up, so...I'm not gonna think about it much.)

RULES // POST 10 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF AND PASS IT ON 15 PEOPLE

1. On an average day I probably drink three or four mugs of tea, but I didn't start drinking tea at all until I was in my late 20s. (I think I was 27.) One more thing to pin on internet friends, because what got me started was Shadow (from the Furuba days) sending me a small array of flavored black teas to try. I have no recollection of how this came about.

2. Halifax and Toronto are the only places I've ever lived. When [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I lived in Toronto, the things (other than people) I missed about Halifax were a) the cleaner air, b) the subliminal awareness of the ocean's presence, and c) pizza. (Halifax pizza, as a sweeping statement, has declined in quality since those days. Alas.)

3. I'm still friends with quite a few people I initially met online, and then in person, via the Sailor Moon fandom, which I haven't been active in since about 2000.

4. My gateway comic was Power Pack, which I read via the library sometime in Grade 2 or 3.

5. I love Siberian cats with all my heart, and may never have any other kind of cat again, but historically my favorite breeds (neither of which I've ever lived with) are Abyssinians and traditional Siamese (which Wikipedia recently told me are now called Thai cats, and it's nice that they have a separate name, I guess, but it bugs me a bit that they didn't get to keep the original name and have the new one assigned to modern Siamese).

6. I took ballet for about seven years, starting when I was 15, and jazz dance for about six (starting the year after ballet). I was never terribly good, but I really enjoyed barre. If I could take a class that was just barre, I'd be very tempted. (Yes, I know that many exercise studios offer a "barre" class these days. I've looked into several. They are not what I want.)

7. I can't drive, ride a bicycle, blow bubbles with gum, or whistle.

8. I had size 4.5 feet until I was about 20. Thankfully they're now a much-easier-to-shop-for size 6/6.5.

9. Drinking milk makes me unwell. I am not lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy; I can and do consume every other dairy product, including milkshakes or hot chocolate made almost entirely of milk poured straight from a carton, and I put milk in my tea. But I haven't had a glass of milk since my early 20s. I still kinda miss it sometimes. (Cereal hasn't ever been something I was into, so I don't have a data point for whether I can eat cold cereal in milk.)

10. I took my minor at a different university from my BA so I could take a few classes from an amazing professor [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose had studied with. Fortunately, Halifax is so packed with post-secondary schools that I could literally walk between the two universities in fifteen minutes.
umadoshi: (Deadline Russian cover)
[personal profile] umadoshi
1) The second-last round of the Unbound Worlds Cage Match is underway, and Georgia is facing off against Ragnar Volarus from Red Rising. So far things aren't looking good for her, but voting's open for three more days. Please vote for her! Get [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire to write just one more of these little vignettes!

Pleasepleaseplease?
There was nowhere for me to run. Wolf girl had taken her forest with her when she left, and now I was alone in the nothing, looking at a mountain that seemed to have decided it wanted to be a man in its spare time.

I had never been murdered by a landscape before. What an educational day this was turning out to be.

2) And then there's this: "Blizzard is remastering StarCraft [including Brood War] in 4K resolution this summer". I don't have much to say about this, but there was such flailing when it crossed my Twitter feed. Remastered StarCraft, guys. *starry eyes*
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
[personal profile] hawkwing_lb
Books 2017: 43-49


43. Emma Newman, Brother's Ruin. Tor.com, 2017.

Read for column. Entertaining, if a bit weird.


44. Marie Brennan, Lightning in the Blood. Tor.com, 2017.

Read for review for Locus. I REALLY liked it.


45. Lois McMaster Bujold, Penric and the Shaman. Subterranean Press, 2017.

Read for column. Kind of perfectly exactly what I wanted.


46. Elizabeth Moon, Cold Welcome. Orbit/Del Rey, 2017.

Read for review. Meh.


47. Aliette de Bodard, The House of Binding Thorns. Gollancz/Ace, 2017.

Read for review. THIS IS SO GOOD IT IS SO MARVELOUS READ IT READ IT NOW.


48. Robyn Bennis, The Guns Above. Tor, 2017.

Read for review. A hell of a lot of fun.


nonfiction


49. Matthew Wright, The Lost Plays of Greek Tragedy: Volume 1: Neglected Authors. Bloomsbury, London, 2016.

I will have more to say about this later - I believe I will write something about it at length for Patreon, maybe. But it is really interesting and extremely accessible, and makes me want to learn more.
larryhammer: a naked woman lying prone with Greek text painted on her back, label: Greek poetry is sexy (poetry)
[personal profile] larryhammer
A Monday for a Poetry. Er, poem. Something like that.

Remonstrance with the Snails, Anonymous

        Ye little snails,
        With slippery tails,
        Who noiselessly travel
        Along this gravel,
By a silvery path of slime unsightly,
I learn that you visit my pea-rows nightly.
        Felonious your visit, I guess!
            And I give you this warning,
            That, every morning,
                I’ll strictly examine the pods;
            And if one I hit on,
            With slaver or spit on,
                Your next meal will be with the gods.

I own you’re a very ancient race,
    And Greece and Babylon were amid;
You have tenanted many a royal dome,
    And dwelt in the oldest pyramid;
The source of the Nile!—O, you have been there!
    In the ark was your floodless bed;
On the moonless night of Marathon
    You crawled o’er the mighty dead;
        But still, though I reverence your ancestries,
        I don’t see why you should nibble my peas.

The meadows are yours,—the hedgerow and brook,
    You may bathe in their dews at morn;
By the agèd sea you may sound your shells,
    On the mountains erect your horn;
The fruits and the flowers are your rightful dowers.
    Then why—in the name of wonder—
Should my six pea-rows be the only cause
    To excite your midnight plunder?

I have never disturbed your slender shells;
    You have hung round my agèd walk;
And each might have sat, till he died in his fat,
    Beneath his own cabbage-stalk:
But now you must fly from the soil of your sires;
    Then put on your liveliest crawl,
And think of your poor little snails at home,
    Now orphans or emigrants all.

Utensils domestic and civil and social
    I give you an evening to pack up;
But if the moon of this night does not rise on your flight,
    To-morrow I’ll hang each man Jack up.
You’ll think of my peas and your thievish tricks,
With tears of slime, when crossing the Styx.

See also Considering the Snail by Thom Gunn and For a Five-Year-Old by Fleur Adcock. And other snail poems I'm sure some of you will link to.

---L.

Subject quote from "The Wreck," John Ruskin.

some things

2017-03-26 10:10 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Cajsa cardigan: done, washed, drying. It took a while to find enough virtual spoons to sew the edges of the two pocket-bags, and it just plain took a while to bind off the lower hem in i-cord. I'm glad to have good tools: ChiaoGoo steel circular needles for sssk with slightly stiff 50/50 linen/wool, though usually I prefer Crystal Palace wood circs for the sake of their cord/needle swivel. My hunch that there wouldn't be enough of the neutral main color---an undyed linen hue, pale brownish---was right, and the faded aqua contrast at body and sleeve hems, button band, and pocket-bags looks all right. More notes are on Ravelry. As before, photo awaits dry finished object, and I haven't quite enough photos to wrestle with an access-locked image post yet. I suppose you could find me on Instagram if you don't use Rav and wanted a peek sooner?

The reassigned Dovana shawl is partly bound off. The baby gift is at 90%, except that my mother has talked me down from bestowing it on that friend. I'll buy a less potentially embarrassing gift, and the knitted gift will go to the relative with a former high-risk pregnancy and now a healthy newborn.

Next up: I began Reason's much-requested replacement orange cardigan some weeks ago, and it has nearly reached sleeve separation point (from the top down, not bottom up), but it emerges from its little bag only after dark because Reason insists she doesn't want to know whether I've decided to make it. Given healthy tiny relative, I've also begun Reason's hooded vest, which is meant to share yarn with a yearling-sized cardigan. Otherwise, there's MIL's Tidblad, and I've taken up a shawl for myself which was begun a year and a half ago to commemorate my final solo project at the prior office. That final project was itself delayed for six years behind "more important" ones; I hope the shawl doesn't dawdle that long. How's that for displacement of another garment-for-self attempt....

The cardigan pattern intended for my mother ought to be released soon.

I am behind on email, btw. Sorry.

(no subject)

2017-03-26 09:44 pm
skygiants: Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle with Calcifer hovering over her hands (a life less ordinary)
[personal profile] skygiants
So I tried an experiment to see if it was possible to make a Howl's Moving Castle book vid using Howl's Moving Castle movie footage. Results: ???

(Results mostly that I need to get better at figuring out how to change targeted colors in Adobe Premiere, let's just pretend it's fine.)

Title: In Which Sophie Expresses Her Feelings In The Absence Of Weedkiller
Music: "You're A Cad," The Bird and the Bee



Download link
umadoshi: (LOK - Korra smiling (sugarplums))
[personal profile] umadoshi
"The New Autistic Muppet Could Save People Like Me A Lifetime Of Pain". [Sarah Kurchak at The Establishment]

"Are Straight Women Okay?" [Autostraddle] "But a stroll down the “his and hers” retail section will still have me on some Family Feud Steve Harvey levels of disbelief. [...] When you further investigate this phenomenon, as I did, things get real dark, real quick. The items themselves are worrying enough on their own as they reveal a prison of what women are allowed to be and should want, but then you dive deeper and the culture that lurks just behind these items reveals itself. I’ve seen the depths of this landscape and I need to ask a question: are straight woman okay? Like, not in a joking way — do they need assistance?"

"10+ Pics Proving That Cats Are Actually Demons".

"Earth’s newest cloud is terrifying".

Flaredown is "a free web and mobile app that helps patients track and visualize their illness, treatments, and symptom triggers so that they can understand how their choices affect their health". (I haven't used this. I'm passing along a rec of it being something that might be worth looking into.)

"Smurfette’s Roots: In her original incarnation, the only female Smurf reminds me of all the assumptions I’ve had to navigate about my sexuality and sense of self as a Jewish woman".

"Anorexia Survivor Posts Powerful Side by Side Photo to Instagram". [Teen Vogue] "Instagram user Megan Jayne Crabbe, a body-positive role model who beat anorexia and now uses the handle @BodyPosiPanda, posted a side-by-side image to the social media site to highlight the differences between posed photographs and reality. In both images, she's wearing the same purple lingerie, tie-dye hair, and infectious grin — but that's where the similarities stop." [Content notes: mention of past anorexia, but the photos are not from that time period.]

From last year: "The 'Gay Porn With a Different Ending' Comment, and the Problem With Homophobia in MMA". [Sarah Kurchak at the Fightland blog]

"How Can Jordan Peele Make a Movie Like Get Out & Have a White Wife? Pretty Easily Actually".

"Why do so many male journalists think female stars are flirting with them? A magazine’s profile with Selena Gomez is the latest to have an icky fixation on its subject’s looks. Perhaps it’s time for men to be banned from interviewing women".

"'Mischievous' Jane Austen 'made up' marriage records". [BBC]

"How a study about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was doctored, adding to pain and stigma".

"Pakistani Artist’s Concept Art Of A Sci-Fi Pakistan Will Blow You Away".

"A Journey Into the Merriam-Webster Word Factory". "This month, [Kory Stamper, lexicographer], the author of the new book “Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries,” was more than happy to offer a tour of some of the distinctly analog oddities in the basement."

"2016 didn’t just give us “fake news.” It likely gave us false memories". (This touches on Trump and current events a fair bit, but is mainly about the research into memory.)

"Canadian Literature, Settler Colonialism, and Sex With Vegetables? [twitter.com profile] HeerJeet has some insights". (Storify. Also mentions CanLit that involves sex with animals, which...is apparently a thing?)

"THE POTATO APOCALYPSE: To set off a truly epic rant you have to bide your time and wait until someone you know with Serious Ranting Chops is just a wee bit tipsy. Your patience will be rewarded. As mine was tonight". A Storify of an [twitter.com profile] UrsulaV rant about potatoes.

"Dystopian dreams: how feminist science fiction predicted the future".

Fic meme from Tumblr

2017-03-26 01:33 pm
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
This is one of the best fic memes that I've seen. I love most of these questions.

My fic

1: What inspired you to write the fic this way?
2: What scene did you first put down?
3: What’s your favorite line of narration?
4: What’s your favorite line of dialogue?
5: What part was hardest to write?
6: What makes this fic special or different from all your other fics?
7: Where did the title come from?
8: Did any real people or events inspire any part of it?
9: Were there any alternate versions of this fic?
10: Why did you choose this pairing for this particular story?
11: What do you like best about this fic?
12: What do you like least about this fic?
13: What music did you listen to, if any, to get in the mood for writing this story? Or if you didn’t listen to anything, what do you think readers should listen to to accompany us while reading?
14: Is there anything you wanted readers to learn from reading this fic?
15: What did you learn from writing this fic?

Films watched

2017-03-26 08:38 pm
thawrecka: (Default)
[personal profile] thawrecka
(1) The Hunt for the Wilderpeople which is sort of like Up, New Zealand style. Strange but ultimately cute.

(2) Paper Planes which is your generic white boy underdog overcomes disadvantages to become best at thing while getting the girl and ultimately befriending his rival story except that it's about international paper plane championships. Yes, really. There's a really serious scene where the main character touches freshly made paper in Japan and looks like he's about to start sniffing it. David Wenham plays a former golf pro, Deborah Mailman has a cartoonish bit part, Sam Worthington (does anyone but the readers of New Idea remember that guy?) is the obligatory parental figure that the main character must reconnect with, and the kid from The Hunt for the Wilderpeople is also in it as the friend back home that supports the main character's dreams. To win a paper plane throwing competition, I shit you not. This was apparently really successful at the Australian box office.
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