a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
other gardeners 
15 January 2017 23:41 - sketches of the day
yhlee: sleepy kitty (Cloud)

A catten reading my bullet journal with her butt!

Ink: Montblanc Corn Poppy Red.
Pen: Scriptorium Pens Master Scrivener in Conway Stewart Red Stardust.


Ink: Noodler's Brown #41.
Pen: Pelikan M200 demonstrator with Binder artist's nib.

The Midori Traveler sketchbook paper is kind of adorable.
16 January 2017 00:07 - bother
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Maxed out my limit for people in my circle on DW.
lagilman: Does Not Play Well With Stupid People (Default)
All White House press conferences are to be referred to as "Radio Moscow."
15 January 2017 15:54 - Ursula Vernon GoH Q&A
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
I'm c&p'ing this in from Twitter and cleaning it up/adding links as I go, because it takes little brain.

Read more... )
15 January 2017 13:17 - It's not uncommon
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
when I review an old classic from a series for people of a certain vintage to observe they began reading with an intermediate volume because their school only had one volume from the middle of the series. That's why my first Dune book was Dune Messiah and why my first Tripod book was The City of Gold and Lead.

Is this as prevalent now or has the advent of e-books made it easier to get entire series? I hope it is the second because I would hate for someone to start the Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones on book three....
15 January 2017 12:28 - Moana
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
I promised links at the Moana panel that just ended, so I might as well write that up first. The panel writeup will generally assume that you've read these because I'm hoping to get to a 1pm panel.

Good overview at Smithsonian.com: references the Long Pause in Polynesian exploration of the Pacific, the controversy over Maui's character design, the omission of Maui's companion goddess Hina, the various coconut-people and general coconut-related issues, and some details that were accurate and welcome.

More in the NYT about Maui's size.

The Guardian on authenticity as marketing tool (see: Vanity Fair), especially in the context of the economic effect of tourism on Hawaii.

A Twitter thread on complicated feelings from @fangirlJeanne.

Mari Ness on, among other things, the unexamined weirdness about the environmental message ("it’s a message that diminishes environmental issues down to “magic,” something largely beyond human control, and suggests that only “magic” can restore the environment").

(A kind person on ToastieSlack provided me with some of these links.)

my general thoughts on the movie )

Notes about today's panel. I will say above the cut that I do not set out to be the Designated Harsher of Squee, but that I find these questions of representation important and if I'm going to be the only one making the case, well, so be it even if it's tiring and frustrating (it is).

Usual disclaimer: it's easier for me to remember what I said because, well, I'm the one who said it; I wasn't taking notes during so I generally am not positive which panelist said what, and so I usually leave those attributions out. If you want to claim credit, please do!

on the panel )

And now I have half an hour to get some lunch and go to Ursula Vernon's GOH talk.
15 January 2017 09:09 - The new week brings new changes...
lagilman: Does Not Play Well With Stupid People (Default)
Yesterday was the first official day as Tasting Room Manager (rather than Lead) at Rocky Pond.  It was pretty much like every other shift I've ever worked, except closing took a little more time and stress.  I'm excited about it, and also thankful that I'm moving up within familiar structures, rather than starting fresh somewhere new.  Promoting from within has benefits for everyone.

New (used) car, new (promoted) job responsibilities, new (second)  book out (I did mention there's a new book out, right?)... it seems like I'm building a lot, here.  I just wish I were sleeping more/better, so I could enjoy it.

Although I suspect it's less all that, and more the oncoming COTUS*, yeah? 

*Cheeto of the United States.  Made of hot air and chemicals, and bad for everyone's health

15 January 2017 08:43 - "better things to do than survive"
omnia_mutantur: (Default)
I had an awesome birthday party yesterday, including much amazing food by Delight, many many snuggles and general merriment.  I'm starting to try to cross the streams of my friendships, Delight and husband (I totally came up with a name for him that I can't remember) have met Hands and Hips, and Abundance's Viking came to meet all four of them. (He'd met Hands and Hips in passing when he visited during Light's D&D night but hadn't conversed with them).  And there was much nerdery, the jargon-laden computer talk I'm so used to, the food nerdery which I love so much and the new-to-me music nerdery.  Everyone seemed so well matched, like I'm finally starting to develop a friend aesthetic, rather than clinging to whomever passes by.  And there was a rousing game of Embarrass Yourself with Geography (officially known as Map It), and Exploding Kittens and Joking Hazard.

I used to think, I maybe still do think, that I was a burden, and that the kindest thing I could do was to spread that burden as thinly as possible.  I want for a lot of conversation, a lot of thinking about what goes on inside our heads, a lot of learning about new things.  And I think of myself as being exceptionally difficult to handle, and so I should try to find a bunch of people who needed something from me and I would provide that thing in exchange for them handling some part of my difficultness.  (while I've mostly stricken crazy from my vocabulary as a pejorative, I still sometimes want it to be a label I claim, rather than one I talk around).  And the more people, the less the burden on any individual person, less toxin per person Something's changing, I'm enjoying this small group of people, I'm not chasing anyone.  Depth, not breadth.

(Even after googling, breadth does not seem like a word at all.   First Second Third Fourth Breadth.)

Next post I want to talk about charitable giving, kickstarter and patreon. And I want to get back to posting all the things I wrote for the memoir class.   I'm also struggling with how often I should post about books.  Every time I finish one? ten? end of month?
14 January 2017 12:27 - West of January, by Dave Duncan
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
First off: great title.

I’m going to excerpt a bit from a review that liked it more than I did because the premise is so high-concept:

I was captivated by this book. Set on a world which revolves so slowly that everyone has to move steadily West in order to escape Dusk and Night, which is a devastating ice world, and avoiding High Summer, so hot it kills everything in its path, West of January is highly original and superbly written. Not only is the world divided into Months and Days, each a particular climate steadily moving west, but the inhabitants are very segregated, each following the same patterns every cycle, never learning from the previous one (that often ends in disaster) because they do not pass their knowledge down.

Vernier is a lost colony on a planet whose rotation is almost the same speed as its revolution, so the habitable zones constantly but slowly move across the planet. So people can be born in the grasslands of Tuesday, north of September, and be three months old when they die of old age. I had a little trouble wrapping my head around this. However, Duncan obviously had it very clear in his head. There’s diagrams and everything. On that level, it’s pretty neat in an old-school, cool idea sf way.

The book starts out very strong, with the protagonist growing up in a weird, vividly depicted herdspeople society. Then he leaves home and it becomes a picaresque, with him visiting a whole bunch of societies which are wildly different from each other. I would have liked this, but there were a couple problems.

One was that the coolest part of the concept got a bit lost in the flurry of “and here’s the sea-people! And the jungle people! And the original settler people!” That’s fine, but there could have been any reason for that; I wanted more of the implications of the 200-year days.

The other was sex. So much sex. Knobil goes somewhere, and every woman in sight flings herself on him. I think Duncan was consciously imitating a classic picaresque form where this sort of thing happens, but it got so irritating. (The only reason I think this is conscious in any way rather than just “because a lot of guys write that” is that I’ve read other books by him and it’s the sort of thing he’d do. That being said, ditto, it’s probably also because a lot of guys write that.) Anyway, it got increasingly boring and ridiculous. A lot of the women were doing it because they wanted some genetic diversity rather than because he was hot, but still.

Finally, the whole book trailed out as it went along, ending in a fizzle. I was really grabbed by it when I started, but ended up putting it down for weeks at some point in the middle. Usually I read his books in one sitting (or two days, etc, depending on interruptions).

Dave Duncan writes sf and fantasy which is pulpy in tone but often driven by genuinely original concepts which are very carefully thought out and then explored in all their implications. For instance, the “A Man of his Word” series has one of the more unique magic systems I’ve encountered in fantasy – it’s word-based magic, but the specific type is one I’ve never seen before or since – and rather than just rest on those laurels, Duncan proceeds to spend a lot of the series taking the concept to unexpected places. His books have plain prose and somewhat basic characterization, which is probably why no one ever mentions him when they’re talking about writers of ideas, but he really is one. He does tend to pop up in discussions of underrated writers, so there is that.

Obviously, West of January is not one of his better books. It looks like an early work that was recently re-issued, so that might explain some things. I’m still pleased to have grabbed a bunch of his books for cheap and for Tool of Satan to have mailed me hard copies of others, and will report on them as I get to them. He’s a genuinely interesting writer and worth reading if you like his kind of thing, which at his best is quirky, surprisingly intelligent takes on pulp sf and fantasy tropes. I like that kind of thing. If you do too, I suggest The Cursed, which has a very odd/cool take on curse-or-blessing (90% curse) powers in a medieval setting; there are some mild "dude wrote this" gender issues but on the other hand the protagonist is a pretty awesome middle-aged female innkeeper. For an epic fantasy series, Magic Casement (A Man of His Word Book 1) is also interesting/quirky, as is the "King's Swords" series (more small-scale, more fighting and politicking, less magic) and-- hey, this is 99 cents today!-- The Reluctant Swordsman (The Seventh Sword Book 1). I have not read the latter but I've been recced it frequently. Interesting premise for sure.

West of January
14 January 2017 10:36 - This I believe
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Building street numbers should be large and visible. This goes double for buildings housing medical services. Note that for my purposes, "apparently completely absent, on their to-do list" is not sufficient.

(although I suppose it serves as a cognitive test of sorts)
sovay: (Cho Hakkai: intelligence)
Tonight, as part of Arisia's Dramatic Readings from the Ig Nobel Prizes, I got to read selected excerpts from Simon Rothenberg and Arthur B. Brenner's "The Number 13 as a Castration Fantasy" (Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 1955).

It is likely these fantasies refer to the primal scene; they also conceal a wish to see the phallus of the aggressive woman, represented by his mother and his wife. The fear of seeing the dead was therefore a castration fear, displaced to the number 13, which first emerged when the wish for his wife's death threatened to become conscious.

It's been a good day.
13 January 2017 18:47 - sketch of the day
yhlee: sleepy kitty (Cloud)

An ickle sketch in my Midori Traveler sketchbook section.

Ink: Noodler's Brown #41 (courtesy of [personal profile] daedala, newly arrived).
Pen: Pelikan M200 demonstrator, Binder artist's nib

My catten is not actually missing her front half; rather I draw slow (something I'm working on) and she jumped up from my computer desk and ran off before I could finish! Hahaha.
13 January 2017 16:43 - huh
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Shouldn't shelf space be reserved for the right sort of writer and not the wrong sort?

I am really curious how how they know which of two categories this author falls into. And I think the zero sum game model is essentially flawed.
13 January 2017 16:41 - Whoot!
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
I win 'mild cognitive impairment!' And I get to have an MRI!

And (the part I am very keen on) a new sleep doctor.
13 January 2017 12:23 - Cool Stuff Friday
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

Friday doesn’t believe in triskaidekaphobia.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

13 January 2017 07:33 - Son of Updatery of a Book Launch!
lagilman: (Seattle Wheel)

Every time a positive review comes in, a writer gets another feather in her wings.


The Cold Eye is a captivating read… Both of these novels are more than “weird Westerns,”
they create an entirely new Western mythos, one I hope to explore for many books to come.
SF/F Blog

The Cold Eye was pretty much everything I wanted it to be, plus some. I had high expectations going into this book, and I’m pleased to announce that Gilman surpassed every single one of them. If you haven’t started this series yet, why not? It’s one of the best things in the genre right now.   5/5 stars.
Bookworm Blues

“Laura Anne Gilman continues to forge her own version of a Western, American myth of the very early days of a West that wasn’t, but I wish it might have been.  I daresay if you are a fan of Weird Westerns, you should already be reading Laura Anne Gilman. And if you are not, the Devil’s West novels may change your mind, too.”                 -The Skiffy and Fanty Show

Tonight is the first official signing/reading, at University Bookstore!  Even if you can’t get there in person, you can order a signed copy…

Virtually, I’m ranting about a book that pissed me off, over on Tor.com (where they changed the title to be classier)

13 January 2017 10:07
omnia_mutantur: (Default)
 I've left myself a note in my gmail drafts folder.  At least, I assume it's to myself because I can't imagine to whom I'd send it.

"I never realize it's awful until afterwards"

And I wonder if was a meditation on exes or my life up to my early twenties, or alcoholism, or wanting to examine my current life to make sure that there's nothing I'll regret later, no bridges uncrossed.  So now I'm trying to come up with a journal entry that begins with that sentence. For the moment, however, I'll meta-journal about it.

12 January 2017 22:47 - photo of the day
yhlee: wax seal (Default)

My darling catten learns human skull anatomy through her...butt?! The notebook she's lying on is my bullet journal open to the two pages of notes on Lesson 1 on the front view of the human skull.

My darling catten is currently curled up in the DEAD CENTER of the bed, sleeping. Aww. =)
12 January 2017 22:14 - PRIMAL SCREAM
yhlee: Animated icon of sporkiness. (sporks (rilina))
A book advert I found on the back of the January/February 2017 Asimov's issue:

I read this out loud to my HUSBAND THE MIT PH.D PHYSICIST WHO WORKS FOR CALTECH and his reaction was ?!?!?!

Something you ought to know is that my reaction when I saw Ninefox Gambit put in the "hard sf" section was D: D: D: because THERE IS NO SCIENCE IN THE BOOK. The "but it's quantum physics" contingent especially makes me go D: D: D: because THAT'S NOT HOW QUANTUM PHYSICS WORKS. That is, QUANTUM PHYSICS != "science does whatever you feel like because handwave!!!" So anyone who reads my book expecting hard sf is right to be disappointed. In my head, Ninefox is fantasy in space the way Warhammer 40,000 is. If you try to sit here and tell me that Warhammer 40,000 is hard sf I WILL LAUGH AT YOU UNTIL YOU GO AWAY IN SHAME.

And then you get a book advert like this that...it starts bad and actually gets worse, my God. And I can't see any part of "evil physics student uses reality-bending 'quantum' powers to strip sorority girls shirtless" that I would enjoy reading even if the book didn't sound terrible.

I mean, you could pay me to read this book because I like money, but you'd have to pay me, like, enough to make up for the mental damage sustained.
sovay: (Rotwang)
1. Courtesy of Dean: Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham, "Here Comes the Judge." It's an incredible recording. I had never heard of either Markham or his most famous routine, although [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel started quoting the song the minute I mentioned the title; if someone had played it for me cold and asked me when I thought it was recorded, barring the Vietnam references I'd have guessed the early '80's at least. It has the vocal rhythms of old-school hip-hop, the percussive swagger, and it is play-on-loop catchy. It was recorded in 1968, after Sammy Davis, Jr. revived the routine for a white audience on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (Markham was later invited onto the show himself). The B-side sketch it leads into has a punch line that dates back to vaudeville, but it's so well-delivered I don't care. He performed in blackface—a black man wearing burnt cork—until 1943. America gonif?

2. [livejournal.com profile] heliopausa asked if I knew of any Allied novels or movies from World War II that acknowledged the humanity of the Japanese in the same way that The Moon Is Down (1943) acknowledged the humanity of the Germans: I couldn't think of any. Postwar films with wartime settings, yes: Sessue Hayakawa playing the honorable enemy in Three Came Home (1950) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), James Shigeta as a sympathetic American-married diplomat in Bridge to the Sun (1961), I assume-to-hope there were more and more nuanced portrayals as the years went by and Hollywood became incrementally less racist. (As of last year there is finally a movie about Chiune Sugihara, although it is ineligible for purposes of this discussion because it is a Japanese production and has yet to play somewhere I can see it.) Between 1942 and 1946, however, pretty much everything that I know came out of Hollywood was either a racist cartoon of the kind it still upsets me that Dr. Seuss ever drew or a faceless wall of the enemy in their numbers, not exactly surprising from a country that couldn't see the disjoint of liberating concentration camps while fencing its own citizens behind barbed wire.* I know there was some sympathetic reportage, but I don't know if it made it into art. Behind the Rising Sun (1943) was definitely not it. I should like to believe there was at least one humanizing novel written by an Allied author at the time, but I don't know what it is or where to look for it. Outside of the U.S.? Anyone got pointers? Or was it all just as bad as Our Enemy—The Japanese (1943)?

* I am still sad that I couldn't get to the theatrical broadcast of Allegiance when it came around in December. Tangenting off on Hollywood depictions of Japanese-Americans did turn up something interesting: Robert Pirosh's Go for Broke! (1951), which appears to celebrate the heroism of Nisei soldiers—and admit the irony of their circumstances—considerably earlier than I thought this country had gotten around to and cast real-life veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in major roles. It's in the public domain thanks to failure to renew copyright, so I may try to check it out. Hell to Eternity (1960) sounds fascinating but also as though it may have whitewashed its protagonist, so I'm still thinking it over.

3. I was just obliged to fill out a demographic form and was reminded that the definition of "White" according to the U.S. Census Bureau parenthetically specifies "Not Hispanic or Latino" and then goes on to apply to "A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa." Huh? I thought. Outside of the contingent whiteness of Ashkenazi Jews, when has anyone with roots in the Middle East ever been viewed as white in this country? So I poked at the internet and discovered the answer was 1909, when Syrian immigrant George Shishim sued for the right to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, which at that time depended on ethnographically proving his whiteness because the United States couldn't be bothered to extend its rights and privileges to its non-white residents. So that was an even more fucked-up answer than I had expected.

These are the kinds of historical facts it makes me feel stupid to learn only now, but at least I am learning them. On the brighter side, [livejournal.com profile] teenybuffalo tagged a portrait for me and now I will happily learn more about both Romaine Brooks and Gluck, neither of whom I had previously heard of. Also there is now an Estonian ferry with Tom of Finland's art all over it and that can only be a good thing for the world. Apparently that was April Fool's Day last year. I maintain it would have been great business. The painters are still real, though.
12 January 2017 18:07
yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
I don't know whether I'm more excited over my new Midori Traveler (I also got solar! system! washi! tape!) or Paul Gilreath's The Guide to MIDI Orchestration, 4th edition. =D =D =D


I can't wait until the USB MIDI keyboard controller arrives and I can play. *bounce*
reddragdiva: (geek)

you know that thing that firefox on linux does, where if you click on the scrollbar it doesn’t just take you up or down a page like every scrollbar in the past thirty-odd years, but instead moves the scrollbar slider to where you clicked?

this is a gtk+3 thing, because GNOME’s UI team are relentless desktop innovators.

workaround: add this to ~/.config/gtk-3.0/settings.ini :


then restart firefox.

this being GNOME they will doubtless tch at people evading their superlative user interface vision and break it. until then, though, gtk+3 apps will work properly once more.

HT [livejournal.com profile] psych0naut

12 January 2017 15:01 - Rogue One: The Villains
swan_tower: (Default)

As promised, here is part two of my dissection of Rogue One and how, if I were given a magic wand to reshape the story, I would have done it. Spoilers ahoy, mateys! If you missed part one (all three thousand words or so of it), you can find that here.

Read the rest of this entry  )

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

12 January 2017 17:14 - Not only was that not my cat
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
It wasn't even the usual not my cat. And the usual not my cat clearly doesn't want a new pal.
12 January 2017 15:36 - Neat Sheets
yhlee: Avatar: The Last Airbender: "fight like a girl" (A:tLA fight like a girl)
Neat Sheets: The Poetry of James Tiptree, Jr. is a chapbook from Dark Regions Press (although it also says "a Tachyon Publication"?) that I picked up during the semiannual pilgrimage to the sf/f/games bookstore Flights of Fantasy in upstate NY. I have read a reasonable amount of Tiptree's short fiction, although my tastes are a bit off the norm, I suspect. I was actively bored by "The Screwfly Solution." On the other hand, I did genuinely like "Love Is the Plan, the Plan Is Death" and found that my introduction to Tiptree's work ("Houston, Houston, Do You Read") broke my head open. My favorite remains the delightfully mordant and, it seems, less well-known "A Momentary Taste of Being."

I had not known that Tiptree wrote poetry, but then I guess a lot of us write poetry (frequently wretched) at some point in our lives so why not Tiptree as well? This does not seem to be maudlin teenage poetry; a note informs us that it can be dated to the late 1940s and early 1950s, and Tiptree was born in 1915.

There is a small amount of introductory material telling the reader a bit about Alice Sheldon, written by Karen Joy Fowler. I have a major beef with this introduction, and it's specifically at the point where Fowler talks about Alice Sheldon's "second [marriage], which was to last the rest of her life..." (ix). Way to completely erase the fact that Sheldon murdered her second husband and then committed suicide. I've read the Julie Phillips biography and it has never been entirely clear to me that said husband consented to being euthanized in this manner.

Besides that, you ask, what about the poetry? Well, the poetry is frequently witty in a caustic sort of way, sometimes in a self-conscious way, and often mordant, which is about what I would have expected from Tiptree-Sheldon. Most of it rhymes, and the rhymes are sometimes overly facile; I am instantly wary of any poem that feels the need to rhyme "dream" and "seem." But the quality of the poetry varies. I thought some of it was genuinely striking.

I bought this mainly as a gift for a friend, to whom I will be sending this next week, but I don't regret the opportunity to read it. Believe it or not, I like reading poetry, even though I don't do it as often as I used to.
12 January 2017 10:01 - Rogue One: The Heroes
swan_tower: (Default)

I wanted to make this post weeks ago, but I was in a cast and not typing much. So instead you get it now — which might be better, since at this point I imagine that most people who intended to see Rogue One in theatres have already done so. This post and its sequel will be spoileriffic, so don’t click through unless you’ve either watched the movie or don’t care if I talk about what happens.

Outside the cut, I will say that I enjoyed Rogue One . . . but it also frustrated me immensely, because I felt like it had so much excellent narrative potential that it just left on the table. In the comments on several friends’ posts, I said that it could have really punched me in the gut, but instead it just kind of socked me in the shoulder. I wound up seeing it twice, because we went again with my parents, and on the second pass Writer Brain kept niggling at things and going aw man, if only you’d . . . I know there were extensive reshoots, and I’m pretty sure I can see the fingerprints all over the film, though I can’t be sure which underdeveloped bits were shoehorned in by the revisions, and which ones are the leftover fragments of material that got cut. (The trailers offer only tantalizing clues: apparently none of the footage from the first two wound up in the actual film. You can definitely see different characterization for Jyn, but the rest is mere guesswork.) I just know there are all these loose ends sticking out throughout the film, and since story is not only my job but my favorite pastime, I can’t help but think about what I would have done to clean it up.

There will be two posts because my thoughts are extensive enough that I think they’ll go better if split up. First I’m going to talk about the good guys — what worked for me, what didn’t, and how the latter could have become the former — and then I’ll talk about the villains.

Read the rest of this entry  )

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

12 January 2017 06:30 - My Country is Trying to Kill Me.
lagilman: Does Not Play Well With Stupid People (Default)
As a freelancer, even a relatively healthy one, getting medical coverage I could afford was near-impossible, until the Freelancer's Union was able to put together a crappy-but-functional plan.  When the ACA was passed, for the first time in years I was free of the "if I have to spend any time in the hospital it will wipe me out, financially" panics.

The GOP just voted - with a single no vote from Rand Paul - to start the process to repeal the ACA.  They voted to remove the requirement that healthcare insurance cover pregnancy. They voted to remove the clause that allowed children under 26 to stay on their parents' insurance while their own careers get started.  They removed the clause that protected people with pre-existing conditions (cancer, arthritis, IBD) from being dumped or surchaged-to-death by their insurance company.

And if you think that you're going to be okay, because you have company-supplied insurance?  Guess what?  You've lost protections, too.  And your rates are going to go up, probably for fewer services.  Whatever the market can bear.  And if you're thinking your state coverage will save you?  Guess what?  That was the ACA, too.  Say goodbye to it, and pray your state is willing to pick up the burden of replacing it, when the Federal government won't.

 Because no, the GOP STILL doesn't have a functioning plan to replace the ACA, nor do they show any sign of developing one. Why should they? Half the country told them they could do whatever they wanted to us and they'd be okay with it.

Still, this is not law...yet. CALL EVERY GOP SENATOR WHO VOTED TO REPEAL and give them a piece of your mind (as politely as you can manage). And call every senator who voted to protect it, and thank/encourage them. 


12 January 2017 09:00 - Tell Me When It’s Over
ceciliatan: (darons guitar)

Mirrored from the latest entry in Daron's Guitar Chronicles.

I finally talked to Ziggy for a good stretch on the phone around lunchtime in St. Louis. It had been like seven in the morning when we’d pulled in, Flip made sure I was tucked in and passed out before he went to bed himself, but he’d apparently slept through all the drama on the bus the night before so he got up in the morning and was not there when I woke up.

I ordered room service and caught Ziggy at home.

Read the rest of this entry » )
12 January 2017 07:56 - Spraintown population me
omnia_mutantur: (Default)
(How would you punctuate the subject line?)

Yesterday, carrying Tank down the concrete steps in front of his house, I fell.  I don't know why I fell, and I actually don't know how I fell, as in what part of my body hit the ground first, etc. I managed to keep Tank from hitting the ground with anything other than his ass, he was a little shocked and cried for a moment about that, but recovered almost instantaneously.

I, however, did not.   I still managed to get him into the car, drive to the bookstore, sit on the floor for storytime and get him home and get lunch into him before his mother returned.   Then I left her house, and drove straight to the ER.   I could still walk, sort of, but it hurt in ways I was pretty sure my knee wasn't supposed to hurt, and I had already fallen from twisting the wrong way during the lunch-making process.

I managed to drive there, to hobble into the ER, and then I just started bawling.  I'm sure that I'm ascribing intent where none was actually present, but everyone seemed to be being fairly unkind and dismissive.   But eventually someone came in and manhandled my leg, and asked me where it hurt and how badly.

I'm not sure I've ever said 10.   Realistically, the worst pain I can imagine is pretty bad, and the worst pain I've ever been in could have been way worse.  But this was close.  I couldn't answer where it hurt because I could have sworn the pain extended all the way around my knee and for at least an inch outside my skin. 

So I told the doctor it was a 7 when I was lying still.  All the while crying.  He left, said I'd get some meds and xray and to yell if I needed anything.  I tried yelling a couple minutes later, having finally stopped crying enough to realize I was a mess of snot and needed tissues, but I wasn't yelling loud enough.  Eventually someone came in to take my insurance and my money and gave me tissues.  Another ten minutes later someone came by to give me some oxycodone.   Then, onto the xrays.   The xrays involved a lot of repositioning that made me start crying again. 

I get back to my bed, and there's someone in the next curtained enclosure over retching, pretty much nonstop.  I've been known to gag at the cats' gagging noises, so quickly put my headphones in and listened to Very Loud Music.  Some point after this, Light arrives and sits with me and we get the news that there's no non-soft-tissue damage, I should stay off it for the next couple days and if it still hurts next week, make an appointment with an orthopedist.  They give me some crutches, and shoo me out.

I feel like an idiot, like there should have been some way that I knew that it was not ER-worthy pain.  I feel like an idiot because this is not how I intended to spend yesterday, or today, or tomorrow.  I feel like an idiot because I shouldn't have fallen (I still somehow assume that I fall because I'm fat, that there's some one-to-one correspondence.)  For about three minutes a couple months ago, I took solace from the fact that my neurologist had informed me that I had something called an "type 1 arnold chiari malformation" and one of the side effects is potentially decreased sense of balance.  But only for three minutes, because then I remembered that I do still pass all the basic balance tests administered.

So today I'll work from home with Abundance, trying to convince myself that it's totally okay to ask someone else to get things for me, because there's no way I'm going to be able to carry a cup of tea while still on crutches.   And continually repeat to myself "it could have been worse".

sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
I go back and forth on whether I think "Tomorrow Belongs to Me" is more frightening in the original stage version of Cabaret or in Bob Fosse's 1972 film. Dramatically, I find it more upsetting when it reprises as the first-act finale at the engagement party of Frau Schneider and Herr Schultz, which until then has been so joyous and informal as to include a song with Yiddish lyrics; musically, the crashing, triumphal arrangement of the beer garden scene actually scares me, the exultant repetition, the way people surge to their feet with a fervor like anger in their faces, even if the lip-synching throws me out a little. Talking with [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel last night in the shower, I realized why the song is disturbing to me: not just because of its pastoral, romantic imagery that darkens so successfully into martial nationalism that Kander and Ebb were accused of transplanting a real-life Nazi anthem into a Broadway musical, or because we know where history is heading long before our protagonists do, or even because it's the Nazis, but because it derives its gut-punch effect in both versions from how suddenly and dangerously the tone of a group can change around a person. At the party, thinking you were safe among friends and discovering that you're not. At the beer garden, thinking you were safe among strangers and discovering that you're not. All around you, people are declaring themselves your enemy—whether they know you personally or not—and in less than three minutes it's done; you're not safe here; now you know. I likened it to watching the election results come in in November. I know now that Trump lost the popular vote by millions and squeaked through the electoral college on the technicalities of a nineteenth-century racist system, but at the time it was exactly that sudden draining disorientation: I am living in a country that is against me. Admittedly the experience had neither the clarity of hindsight nor a catchy melody, but maybe if I wait twenty years.

The internet tells me that one of Trump's reactions to the release of the dossier that is currently consuming the news as well as inspiring Chuck Tingle was to demand, "Are we living in Nazi Germany?" I actually spent a moment trying to figure out how he meant the question—which side of this historical projection did he see himself on? Was he actually claiming victimhood on the scale of the Holocaust? If his familiar complaint of "fake news" was intended to echo his supporters' cries of Lügenpresse, didn't he realize he was identifying himself with the NSDAP instead?—before I realized it was irrelevant: Trump has absorbed that a Nazi is the worst thing you can call your political enemies regardless of their actual behaviors or beliefs (and regardless of yours, too) and hurled it out into the crowd to see if he could make it stick. I feel no surprise at his continuing dearth of historical awareness, but I do hope it further disappoints his neo-Nazi supporters who were counting on him being the great white nationalist hope of their generation. They're already having a hard time organizing their hate march in Montana. Let it only get harder from here. [edit: Looks like it did.] They had enough of the past; they don't get tomorrow.
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
My poem "The Process" is now online at Mithila Review. I would love to say that it was inspired by the current political climate, but it was written the week before the election and I knew next to nothing about Franz Kafka biographically except for the famous points—Jewish, Prague, TB—and Dora Diamant. I have since read Nicholas Murray's Kafka: A Biography (2004) and Klaus Wagenbach's Kafka's Prague: A Travel Reader (trans. Shaun Whiteside, 1996) and so I know now that he hated the telephone and had nothing against typewriters, but that is not the point of this poem.

The market is a new one for me and I am delighted to have my work in the company of Cixin Liu, Martin Šust, Carlos Hernandez, Sabrina Vourvoulias, Gwendolyn Kiste, Mari Ness, Priya Sharma, and many others. The cover art by Archan Nair is also pretty great.

First published poem of 2017, no complaints.
11 January 2017 09:33 - The Day After the Release Updatery!
lagilman: (Seattle Wheel)

In case you missed it: I'm at "My Favorite Bit," talking about...well, my favorite bit from THE COLD EYE!

Also, I visited Magical Words, with some advice to "Slide on the Ice."

I updated my Patreon with an enthusiastic, if pre-coffee, rendition of "On The Occasion of a Book Birthday," and the mailing list got an Advance Update on Stuff!

This week's "Dive Into Worldbuilding" skypecast has been rescheduled for NEXT Wednesday, due to our host having laryngitis.  Everyone send Juliette good-health wishes!

And this Friday, in Seattle, I'll be reading and signing THE COLD EYE at University Bookstore, starting at 7pm sharp!

More as they come along....

and updatery on the updatery!  B&N's sf/f blog just called THE COLD EYE “a captivating read” and said that the series is “more than “weird Westerns,” [but] create an entirely new Western mythos.”

excuse me while I shamelessly give you the buy link.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

For those of you who donate blood and use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, I’ve created a team called Hellsparks.

It’s named after the Janet Kagan book. At 4′ 11″, Janet didn’t meet the weight requirements to donate, so she posted a request on her website, asking others to do so and offering a special gift to those who did.

I figured if I was going to create a blood donation team of my fellow SF/F folks, it was fitting to name it in her honor. (My thanks to Ricky Kagan, who gave his blessing to use the name.)

Consider this your official invitation to join the Hellsparks and save some lives.

Cover of HellsparkTo encourage folks to spread the word, I’ll be giving away two Kindle copies of Hellspark. (One of my favorite books of all time.)

  1. Leave a comment on this post, and voila! You’re entered.
  2. If you join Team Hellspark, mention that in the comment for a second chance to win!

I know not everyone is able to donate blood, and not everyone who does donates through the Red Cross. (Which is why I decided to give away two copies instead of just one. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel excluded!)

Thank you.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

One of Amazon's Daily Deals is on sub-$5 Magazine subscriptions. And one of those is Teen Vogue, which has somehow become the source of some of the best anti-Trump reporting out there, for $4. There are lots of other good deals (New Yorker, Bon Appétit, Wired, GQ, etc), but that's the big one. Note that for magazines that include print/digital choices, only Woman's Health includes the all-access pass (the others are print-only). The subscriptions range from a few months to a year in length.
11 January 2017 07:20 - Arisia!
Oh, hey, since it's coming up in two days, I should probably post my Arisia schedule, right?
I'm on three panels this year, because being an ADH, shockingly, takes up a huge amount of time. So when I'm not on a panel, figure I'll be in the Green Room, The Gaming Room, or Program Nexus.
As for my panels:
Friday at 8:30, (Marina 4): Archie Comics (moderating)
Saturday at 5:30 (Douglas): Curmudgeon Panel 3: Season of the Curmudgeon!
Sunday at 8:30, (Adams): The Wicked + The Divine
11 January 2017 01:15 - Finally
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
A President who understands trickle-down economics.
11 January 2017 00:49 - Recognizing faces in this alien town
sovay: (Rotwang)
Starting on Friday, I'll be at Arisia. Usually I try to post my schedule earlier, but this year is what it is.

The Alien in the Alien
Friday 7:00 PM
Steve E. Popkes (m), Dennis McCunney, Sonya Taaffe, Morgan Crooks, Corbin Covault

Many recent sci-fi books have included very alien aliens: creatures whose bodies and thought processes differ dramatically from those of humans—for instance, the Trisolarans in Liu Cixin's Three-Body trilogy and the Presger in Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy. How do authors convey this feeling of difference? What is gained and lost in the story by having aliens that are so far away from humanity?

Reading: Janssen, Silverman, Taaffe
Saturday 11:30 AM
Victoria Janssen, Hildy Silverman, Sonya Taaffe

Reading: Victoria Janssen, Hildy Silverman, and Sonya Taaffe.

In Praise of Unlikeable Characters
Saturday 1:00 PM
Gillian Daniels (m), Lorrie Kim, Maya Garcia, Sonya Taaffe, Ken Schneyer

Bring us your curmudgeons, your cantankerous jerks, your deliberately unlikeable characters of all genders without which the plot might not move so smoothly. Someone's got to do the dirty work, after all. Let's talk about our favorite unlikeable characters in genre fiction, and the purposes they serve.

Traditional Ballad Bingo
Saturday 5:30 PM
Angela Kessler (m), Zoe Madonna, Greer Gilman, Jeremy Kessler, Lynn Noel, Sonya Taaffe

A themed sing wherein attendees take turns performing traditional ballads for the assemblage. Listen carefully to mark your Ballad Bingo cards when you detect such classic tropes as drowning, pregnancy out of wedlock, or murder of a loved one. Cards will be provided. Compete for "valuable" prizes!

Songs of Rudyard Kipling
Saturday 8:30 PM
Lynn Noel (m), Benjamin Newman, Sonya Taaffe, April Grant

Do you enjoy Kipling? Rudyard Kipling wrote a wealth of poems that make excellent songs, as demonstrated by the likes of Peter Bellamy and (especially in filk and SCA circles) Leslie Fish. We'll indulge in a number of them and maybe a few parodies. If you can, bring some to share!

The 100 Year Old Barbed Wire: The Great War & SF
Sunday 1:00 PM
Sioban Krzywicki (m), Greer Gilman, Debra Doyle, Alexander Jablokov, Sonya Taaffe

We are in the midst of the centenary of World War I. The US was not hit badly by it compared to Europe, and in 2017 the centenary of US involvement (6 April 1917) is coming up. How did the war and its aftermath change society and our idea of the future. Could Brave New World or Things to Come or other early classics of speculative fiction been written without the war's impact? Why do so many alternate histories use earlier or later events as a changing point rather than this one?

Speculative Poetry Slam
Sunday 2:30 PM
A.J. Odasso (m), Konner Jebb, Merav Hoffman, Peter Maranci, Sonya Taaffe, Trisha Wooldridge, Julia Rios, MJ Cunniff

Come ready to read your Speculative Poetry and listen to the work of Spec poets from all over the genre.

Grounding Your Audience in a Sensory World
Sunday 7:00 PM
Ken Schneyer (m), Keffy R.M. Kehrli, Ruthanna Emrys, Greer Gilman, Sonya Taaffe

The five senses are appallingly underrepresented in modern fiction. Without sensory information, it's difficult to grab your audience and drag them into your protagonist's body. How do you portray senses other than sight? Can you use it to portray emotion? Where can you scrounge up alternatives for the words see, hear, feel, taste and smell, or "sixth sense" (psychic intuition)? Come learn how to describe your world in all of its glorious, sensory detail.

Another World, Another Time: Untapped Fantasy
Monday 11:30 AM
Cate Hirschbiel (m), James Hailer, Greer Gilman, Leigh Perry, Sonya Taaffe

We love our Medieval, Victorian, and Weird West fantasy, but there are a lot more times and places for magic and other worlds. Our panelists will talk about their favorite authors who went someplace different and what settings require more stories. How can we explore new settings and times while maintaining respect for the people and the cultures that reside there?

Telepathic Comfort Horses and Stranger Things
Monday 1:00 PM
Gordon Linzner (m), Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer, A.J. Odasso, Sonya Taaffe

Stranger Things made a lot of headway on nostalgia, going beyond simple reference and into the filmic and thematic styles of the 80s. Is there room for that in literary SF? Is there a place for the romantic fantasy of the late 80s, the psychedelia or the Mil SF of the 70s? Pulp and Lovecraftery get their love, certainly, but what genre styles do you miss? Who, if anyone, works with these? What can we learn or gain by revisiting the styles of yesteryear?

This schedule is huge and I feel in no way ready for a major convention in three days. Oh, well. Who else will I see there?
This page was loaded on 16 January 2017 at 10:43 GMT.