umadoshi: (Newsflesh - check this out (kasmir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
--I updated [tumblr.com profile] jinksyandthebrain for the first time in a couple of months. Have some pics [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh took in March. (I especially love the three of Jinksy!bear sprawled on his back on the sofa. The belly is not a trap.)


--I promise not to get in the habit of signal boosting lots of [dreamwidth.org profile] aftertheendtimes posts over here, but [dreamwidth.org profile] cantarina is trying to gauge interest in a fanworks exchange covering all of [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire's worlds.


--[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose, Ginny, Kas, and I went to Happy Veal for lunch, and we're forced to conclude that while the food ranges from "tasty" to "AMAZING" (hello, green onion pancakes), the service is just always either mediocre or awful, so we're always going to have to calculate if we're up for dealing with that. TL;DR, the food arrived SLOWLY. No, more slowly than that ) And yet I can't swear off the place. The green onion pancakes are so good I could cry.


--Garden: [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose dug out the rough shape of the flowerbed, and it looks like getting that ready will be trickier than we'd hoped. OTOH, transplanting our six tiny Lemon Boy tomato seedlings into their interim pots was quick and simple. And in between those things, when Kas and Ginny dropped me and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose off, they came in to borrow a spade and see the breathtaking new openness of our small back yard. Ginny got a look at Neighbor L's dandelion ripper, and then [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose brought our shiny new one out...and Ginny proceeded to spend something like half an hour, in her Fluevogs and cute dress, merrily massacring dandelions for the sheer delight of using the thing.

It's remarkably satisfying. [/understatement]
brigdh: (Default)
[personal profile] brigdh
What did you just finish?
The Burning of Bridget Cleary by Angela Bourke. In 1895 in rural Ireland, a young woman named Bridget Cleary was burned to death by her husband. She had been sick with bronchitis for the previous week, and her family had apparently become convinced that the "real" Bridget had been stolen away by fairies, leaving a sickly changeling in her wake. In fact, the night before her death, her husband was assisted by her father, her aunt, and various cousins of hers to perform a magical ritual/exorcism that verged on torture. But the question of how much any of them really believed in fairies remains open. Was her murder simply domestic violence that used the legends as a cover-up? Was it an unfortunate accident? Something in-between?

All of this gains resonance from the fact that the story of Bridget's death hit newspapers at the same time as Parliament was debating Irish Home Rule and Oscar Wilde was undergoing trial for homosexuality. The idea of Irish peasants (not that any of the people involved truly qualified as such... ) blindly following fairy legend to the point of murdering a pretty young woman provided ammunition for all sorts of political goals.

This true event makes for an absolutely fabulous story. Unfortunately Bourke is not the person to tell it. She frequently jumps around in time, making it hard to understand the chronological order of events. She positions Michael Kennedy as the protagonist, though God alone knows why – he's one of Bridget's cousins, but wasn't even there on the day she was killed, doesn't give particularly elaborate or compelling testimony in the trial afterward, and has nothing to distinguish him from the rest of the family. She makes the thesis of her book the idea that Bridget was killed out of jealousy, but doesn't even try to show that this jealousy actually existed; she simply treats it as a foregone conclusion. And, I mean, Bridget was better-educated and wealthier than the rest of her family! I am willing to believe this was an important factor in her death! I am totally the choir, and yet Bourke wouldn't preach a single piece of evidence to me.

Ugh, I have such mixed feelings about this book. There's a lot of interesting details in it, from the history of fairy legends to the contemporary Romantic tradition of writing poems and collecting folklore, to the case itself, but it's all so muddled and incompetently done. There's a kernel of good here, but it's coated by a lot of poor writing.


Marriage by Susan Ferrier. Ferrier – at least according the back of the paperback I read – is considered the "Scottish Jane Austen". And based on this book, I have to agree. We've got romance among the lower gentry, country folk coming to the city (in this case Bath), and, most prominent of all, lots of wry observations about other people's foibles. It's not exactly like Austen (among other things, there's a fairly heavy Christian tone to the narrative, though it never gets so moralizing as to ruin the fun for me), but it's close enough that if you like the one, you'll probably like the other.

So, the plot! Juliana is the daughter of an earl and is engaged to a (old, annoying, but rich) Duke. However, she is in love with a handsome soldier boy, Henry, so they elope. Henry is promptly fired from his position and Juliana disinherited by her father for such behavior, so they are forced to go live with Henry's family in rural Scotland. Since they're both shallow, spoiled, dumb young things, this is basically a fate worse than death, especially given Henry's collection of meddling spinster aunts. Juliana may have promised that she was willing to live in a desert to be with Henry, but it turns out that was because she didn't know what a desert is. Eventually Juliana gives birth to twin girls; she and Henry keep one, and the other is given to Henry's childless sister-in-law, a woman who stands out by being the only person with any sense and good-heartedness in the whole book.

All of this takes up the first third or so of the book. Afterwards we have a timeskip of sixteen years, allowing the twins to grow up. Juliana has managed to make it back into society, where she is a center of fashion. She's raised "her" twin, Adelaide, to be charming and to value marrying rich above all else – she doesn't want to see her daughter repeating her own mistake! The other twin, Mary, is well-read, charitable, humble, and has all the generic goody-two-shoes traits you might imagine, though she's a little too genuinely nice for me to ever resent her for this. The plot begins when Mary is sent off to Bath to meet her mother and sister for the first time in her life. People fall in love, marriages are made (not necessarily the same as the ones in love), and a multitude of ridiculous secondary characters march in and out of the narrative. My personal favorite was Doctor Redgill, a man so obsessed with food that he considers the only 'good marriage' to be one that comes with a French cook.

It was a fun book, but I have to complain about the edition I read (which I picked up for free from a box on the street, so I suppose I can't really grumble too much): Oxford University's "World's Classic" edition from 1986. It's stuffed full of footnotes: do you need what "backgammon" is explained to you? how about the phrase "you shouldn't game" (as in gamble)? And of course it is vitally important that a common phrase like 'it's an ill wind that blows no good' should come with a citation for its earliest appearance in print. On the other hand, an entire paragraph in French doesn't need a translation, silly! Doesn't everyone speak French? The editors are absolutely desperate to find allusions to other pieces of literature; I'm sure not every single time a character is described as "pale" it's a quote from Bryon. I literally can't imagine who these footnotes are intended for, and yet someone spent so much time assembling them, coming up with 4-5 per page. It's... funny? sad? irritating? Well, it's certainly memorable.

I enjoyed the book, though I might recommend acquiring a different edition.


Mount TBR update: Jumping up by 2 to hit 17!

What are you currently reading?
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman. A novel set in late 1700s Bristol about a female boxer. It's so much fun!

Random observations

2017-05-22 20:56
naraht: (Default)
[personal profile] naraht
• I've ordered, from Japan, a tenugui towel with an udon noodle design. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and to be fair the shipping was only £1.50. All the designs are amazing, but I was particularly struck by this. (Tell me that Yuuri Katsuki doesn't take one to the rink with him.)

• I also seem to be buying excessive quantities of culottes. (Well, two pairs, but you know.) For once I'm on trend. I know I have to buy now, before they disappear for another twenty years. I hate the fashion cycle.

Victor isn't the only one who has a phone case of himself

• This weekend I'm going to Belgium, and it's now clear that it's going to be boiling hot, like 28C/83F on Sunday. Currently reconsidering my packing list, plans, life choices, etc. (Don't laugh, people from elsewhere.) I still plan on climbing the Wall of Geraardsbergen but I'll have to do it early in the morning. And, you know, on foot. Needless to say.

Catching up on New Worlds

2017-05-22 12:57
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

I’ve been very remiss in linking to my New Worlds posts over on the Book View Cafe blog (brought to you by my lovely Patreon backers). Here’s the full lineup to date:

If that stuff looks good to you, please consider becoming a backer!

And, for a bonus: I’ve been neglecting the Dice Tales community on Imzy, but I put up a new post today ranting about how combat-oriented rules can screw over plot.

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

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
No, a literal one, not (just) metaphorical. I had to Google to be sure. Reality is getting way too on-the-nose lately.

Also: TPM: Trump Denies He Said ‘Israel’ When He Shared Israeli Intelligence With Russia

That's right: while in Israel, Buttercup spontaneously confirmed for the press that Israel was the source of the uber-classified intel he shared with the Russians without the Israelis' permission, but he thinks it's all fine because he didn't say the word "Israel" while in the room with the Russians (just, you know, now, on TV, in front of the entire world, in case the Russians had any remaining doubt about where the intel came from), so that's okay.

(no subject)

2017-05-22 13:05
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
I owe ten guest blog posts in connection to Raven Stratagem.

So far I have the following ideas:

- Kel military rank structure and culture (why I decided to go with army ranks). (Highly relevant to the plot of RS.)
- Statting out characters for my continuity bible.
- The Shuos, bureaucracy, and that summer job I used to have working for the Cornell Engineering Registrar.
- Ridiculous fuck-ups (uh, except worded more nicely) and how I like using them in fiction, or, why Seth Dickinson and I are antiparticles--cf. Seth's Tweet:
one of my rules for baruworld is that nobody (even extras) can be conveniently bad at their skill. prisons hold, archers shoot straight, etc

By the way, he's not wrong, it's just a different philosophical/aesthetic approach to world/plot. :p
- ?????

Any other ideas?! I have to...come up with...more of these...maybe something on game design and the Shuos?!

too awesome not to share

2017-05-22 12:49
yhlee: recreational (peaceful) tank (recreational tank)
[personal profile] yhlee
War Aircraft through the Lens of a US Army Training Manual [Ars Technica]. There's a link to the PDF of the training manual, which I have duly downloaded. Don't forget to read the comments--some comedy gold in the anecdotes/quips there. One of my favorites:
bthylafh Ars Tribunus Angusticlavius
MAY 21, 2017 12:15 PM
Voyna i Mor wrote:
JPan wrote:
In the German Heer ( army ) we said that reconnaissance is overrated: If you see an aircraft shoot it down. Nobody likes the Luftwaffe anyway.


Doesn't the US have a similar policy, except that the operating principle of the US Army is broader, i.e., if you're not sure what it is, shoot it?


You can identify an unknown force by firing one shot and judging the response. If the unknowns respond with precise, regimented rifle fire, they are British. If they respond with heavy machine gun fire, they are German. If they hunker down and in fifteen minutes you are killed by artillery or an airstrike, they are American.


(I may have a grimdark sense of humor.)

Man, I wish I'd kept around my M.A.X. Chosen icon...
larryhammer: drawing of a wildhaired figure dancing, label: "La!" (wild hair)
[personal profile] larryhammer
Poetry Monday:


Voice Mail Villanelle, Dan Skwire

We're grateful that you called today
And sorry that we're occupied.
We will be with you right away.

Press one if you would like to stay,
Press two if you cannot decide.
We're grateful that you called today.

Press three to end this brief delay,
Press four if you believe we've lied.
We will be with you right away.

Press five to hear some music play,
Press six to speak with someone snide.
We're grateful that you called today.

Press seven if your hair's turned gray,
Press eight if you've already died.
We will be with you right away.

Press nine to hear recordings say
That service is our greatest pride.
We're grateful that you've called today.
We will be with you right away.


I think we can all recognize this experience.

---L.

Subject quote from "Wonder Pets! Theme Song."
osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
Caldecott Monday returns! This week we have a charming retelling of St. George and the Dragon, specifically the version of the story from Spenser’s The Faerie Queen, which involves more praying and less interventions by Father Christmas than the version that my fifth-grade class put on in my youth.

(I played St. George, “old England’s pride, a man of courage bold” - one of my lines from the play; I still remember quite a bit of it after all these years. I was phenomenal.)

But back to the book. I particularly like the intricate borders around the pages of text: illustrations of blackberries or columbines or other English flowers, interspersed with gnomes, fairies, peasants in bright clothing scything the wheat, etc.: all very much in the tradition of medieval illuminated manuscripts.

No snails fighting knights, though, which I think we can all agree is would have been a delightful addition. But perhaps there is one in there and I just missed it? I don’t have quite the attention span for perusing illustrations that I did when I was a eight-year-old; at that age, I would have very much enjoyed sitting with this book for hours looking over the illustrations, and there’s quite enough detail here to reward it.

(no subject)

2017-05-22 07:39
choco_frosh: (Default)
[personal profile] choco_frosh
Reading List:

Paper Girls
Left Hand of Darkness
Last Things, Marissa Moss
umadoshi: (Yotsuba&! at play 1 (ohsnap_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Continuing the theme of "what's a plan?" in terms of gardening, we're not venturing out to Eastern Passage next weekend after all--turns out Étoile Estates isn't able to have the scheduled second week of veggie plant sales (the owner has to work), although apparently we can order and have things delivered. Not sure we'll do that; there's only tomato variety I was specifically already interested in on their list, and I mostly wanted to go for the experience of looking around. But we'll see.

Today's plan to dig out a small flowerbed was set aside when the board emailed to take us up on our offer (us and Neighbor G, who'd been planning to take our unwanted shrub) to just dig the plant up ourselves. The landscaper they'd consulted didn't think it was worth it to try to transplant the shrub, which worked out, because G had realized that it wasn't actually a good fit for him after all.

So G and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose spent a while digging the poor unwanted thing up, which went pretty fast once we thought to truss it up like a Christmas tree (getting its branches out of the way) and our neighbor remembered he has a pickaxe to go with our pair of spades. ([dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I spent a chunk of yesterday shopping for garden supplies and equipment.) The combination of a pickaxe and not attempting to save the plant made it go very fast indeed, although then there was another hour or so of digging roots and rocks out of the hole, plus ripping dandelions out of the vicinity--thanks to Neighbor L, from our other side, who'd come outside and, when she heard me sadly mention our lack of a dandelion ripper, ducked in to lend me hers. (And now we have one too--I had to get some work done, so [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose made another shopping run to get one of those, some grass seed, and some spray-on sunscreen. I keep forgetting the latter is a thing; I hate most sunscreen, but G said he actually uses the spray-on stuff, and let me use some to protect my outer-arm tattoo. And lo, I didn't hate it.)

In our shrub's death, I finally learned its name, because its tag was still attached at the base. It was a Tor Spirea/Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor'. I do feel bad for its fate, but I really did try to at least not mind it for seven years. (Or eight. Whichever.) And honestly? As soon as it was gone, while there was still just a big gaping hole where it'd been, I already felt so much better about the space.

Or, as [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose said, "Suddenly it feels like being outside."

In honor of the occasion, I'm using Dreamwidth's image hosting for the very first time. Have a pic of the trussed spirea and one of [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose dealing with its roots: I embedded thumbnails, but I'm still cutting the pics in case you don't feel like actually seeing the poor spirea's fate. There's also a bit of explanation of how much of what's visible in the second picture is space we're allowed to work with )

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow we'll get the little flowerbed dug out so we can plant...next weekend? Or the week after? And I'd like to get the Lemon Boy tomato seedlings settled into their compostable interim pots.

But I also have a half-volume of manga due tomorrow, which until Saturday night I'd somehow thought was due Wednesday. >.> So the amount of garden work we accomplish will depend a bit on that, too.
umadoshi: (Totoro hurrying along (going_in_motion))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

Blade of the Immortal trailer. [~2 min., subtitled]

"Supernatural Is Crossing Over With Scooby Doo Next Season".

"Lin-Manuel Miranda Joins the Cast of DUCKTALES Reboot".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] erinptah, an FFA thread on what kind of fic summaries do or don't entice people.

"65 ‘Wonder Woman’ Images Highlight Amazonians, Allies, and Antagonists".

"Hugh Jackman didn’t know wolverines were real animals".

"On Captain America and the Spirit of Story". [Kiya Nicoll]


Writing/SFF

Over at [dreamwidth.org profile] ladybusiness, Ira and Anna have teamed up "to present you with two ways to skim the highlights of [The Vorkosigan Saga] in 5 books each". "This post is intended for two audiences: (1) People who have never encountered a Vorkosigan book in their life, or maybe have read one or two but don't really know the full series, so we can suggest a subset of the series that is readable by the Hugo voting deadline; and (2) Fans of the series so they can come argue with us about our picks. BOTH ARE SO WELCOME." (I'm in the former camp, so I've only skimmed the post and haven't gone into the comments.)

"What Will Sink Our Generation Ships? The Death of Wonder". [Kameron Hurley at Boing Boing]

"A Hot Steaming Sack Of Business Advice For Writers". [Chuck Wendig]


Miscellaneous

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] telophase, "New WannaCry Ransomware and How to Protect Yourself". ([dreamwidth.org profile] telophase's summary is "In short: if you're on Windows, make sure you're updated to the latest OS version. If you're on an unsupported version (XP, 2008), there's a patch you can load. Make sure your antivirus is updated.")

Signal boost: via [dreamwidth.org profile] 2017revival, I see that [dreamwidth.org profile] transandnonbinary is a newly-created community.

"The Ingenious Way TV Logos Were Made Before Computers".

"Ancestry.com takes DNA ownership rights from customers and their relatives".

ETA: [dreamwidth.org profile] juniperphoenix linked me to Ancestry.com's response: "Setting the Record Straight: Ancestry and Your DNA".

"An AI invented a bunch of new paint colors that are hilariously wrong".

"The Skeletal Structure of Japanese Horror Fiction: Digging into the Guts of Japanese Folklore". [2014]

"Japanese Finally Comes To Duolingo".

fiber monday

2017-05-21 20:00
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Status: Tidblad for MIL is nearly at midpoint. ___Sand has two completed sleeves and the right shoulder width!! Body is paused for a break near 70% to let my finger heal: half-cotton yarn and a tendency to push the working needle back through = callus, stress-burst skin, and a bit of a bruise beneath them. Oops.

Having attempted to sew exactly zero of the patterns for tops that I've eyed since two years ago, I've renewed contemplation of knitting some: not cardigans but the layer beneath, as complement to the few cotton buttondowns left from grad-school teaching, the few linen buttondowns bought since (pricier), and the usually plain T-shirts to which I still default.

Read more... )

It's fine to have more ideas than time: beats boredom.

(no subject)

2017-05-21 21:30
choco_frosh: (Default)
[personal profile] choco_frosh
Gah, right, I never did that post about the rest of my trip to Maine because...well, if I'm honest, mostly because I've been spending too much time playing a bellringing practice game in my iPhone.* Have the condensed version of most of three weekends.

The rest of a weekend in Maine )

LAST weekend: Well, there were no horseshoe crabs (too early in the season), and I didn't get in as much ringing as I'd've liked (or talk Peter into seeing the mosaics), but I got to call the bells into Jennys and Peter and I made sand Pokémon and flew a kite, so it was a pretty ok day. And Sunday my copy of Ursula Vernon's latest unexpectedly showed up in the mail, so that was a pretty ok day overall too.

And I think I'm gonna stop now, because I stayed up til midnight on Friday devouring The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and I didn't really get to catch up last night, and I've had probably more ice cream than you should eat in one sitting, and so I think it's time to keel over again.


* I guess I also owe you a post on "Bellringing and how it is awesome but also horribly addictive".
** In which I was glad to discover neither of their cats had barfed, since apparently they'd been doing that...

(no subject)

2017-05-21 20:33
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
Dear Jedao,

The next time you are annoying to write, I'm going to hurl you into the world of Warhammer 40,000, and then you'll realize I'm a nice author. I mean, the very least of the Sisters of Battle would eat you for breakfast. So behave, m'kay?

Love,
Your Yoon
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
On Solarians in Starfinder (upcoming tabletop RPG):
Solarians are mystical melee combatants who harness stars and black holes to create weapons and armor from energy, and can manipulate these balanced, fundamentally opposing forces of energy.


HOUSEHOLD REACTION: AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA SO OVERPOWERED

(household includes a gravitational astrophysicist)

ME: How are stars and black holes "fundamentally opposing forces of energy"?

HOUSEHOLD GRAVITATIONAL ASTROPHYSICIST: The statement actually makes no sense whatsoever.

ME: Just checking. How come I don't get to sling around stars and black holes?

DRAGON: Because you spent your point on Perfect Pitch, Mom.

ME: *starts to cry*

CAT: *walks across keyboard*

Bathroom regained

2017-05-21 20:48
shewhomust: (Default)
[personal profile] shewhomust
The builders have gone, and the downstairs bathroom is ours, all ours. The final stage was completed on Friday morning, when the boss came to photograph the finished job, and the cleaner came to clean up. I don't know what the point of this was, as she only cleaned the bathroom, and given the amount of dust the builders had generated, and their commendable ability to clear as they went, the bathroom was probably the cleanest room in the house. The boss took his pictures before she cleaned, so that wasn't the purpose... But there's no point arguing with builders, so we left her to it, and once she'd finished we went out for the day.

It looks very smart - too smart, in fact, to belong to us, it feels like stepping through a spacewarp into a hotel bathroom somewhere. We have both tried out the shower, and [personal profile] durham_rambler pronounces himself satisfied, which is the important thing, as he is the primary showerer. I'm a little disappointed: I think I'm still hankering after that overhead power shower, which we couldn't have without rewiring and replumbing the entire house. It's fine, and it's certainly better than it was before, and if it doesn't make me prefer a shower to a bath, that was never really on the cards.

And while grey tiles would still not be my first choice, it is nowhere near as dreary as I feared.

Malapropism du jour

2017-05-21 12:12
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
Charles Willson Peale referred to one of his son's allusive, cryptic letters as "hiraglefecks", which I immediately looked up.  Google suggested "hieroglyphics", which I'm sure is right.   I adore "hiraglefecks" as a standalone word; very satisfying to say and type. 
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