after long silence

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:50 pm
the_shoshanna: my boy kitty (Default)
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
The thing about not posting for a long time is, it makes it seem ever harder to post something again.

The thing -- well, a thing -- about the state of my native country is, it makes almost anything I could post about my day-to-day life seem picayune.

But my life is my life, and I live it day to day, and that, especially fannish aspects thereof, is what I generally write about here. So I'm going to try to do so again.

I went to VividCon, and it was great )

My lay chaplaincy had a sort of epilogue today )

Kayaking continues to be tremendous fun! )

My cat is hanging on, amazing our vet )

And we have another big trip coming up! )

thoughts (somewhat spoilery) on fannish TV: Orphan Black, Sense8, The Handmaid's Tale )

Aside from all this, I'm reading lots of light fanfic, lots of heavy stuff on Twitter (although I don't post much there either), and the occasional book. And now I'm going to wrap up this enormous post and go lie on the couch. My evening plan!

In Memoriam

Aug. 20th, 2017 05:53 pm
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx


40 Years Ago Today

Aug. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The United States of America, then an independent nation, launched Voyager 2

I wonder if any of the people involved realized it would still be going two generations later?

Read more... )

It was a camel!

Aug. 20th, 2017 01:14 pm
rachelmanija: (It was a monkey!)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
This clip from CNN is well worth listening to.

It encapsulates both the jaw-dropping awfulness and bizarreness of the Orange Supremacist era, and the extent to which the mainstream media has gotten so appalled that they're dropping their usual false equivalency. I mean the old "both sides have a point," which works when both sides DO have a point, but does not when you're talking about Nazis vs. anti-Nazis or Cheetolini vs. human beings with empathy. Also, it made me laugh.

Yesterday post-rally [personal profile] hederahelix and I were discussing this.

"It's just so surreal," she said. "Hey... Is that a camel?"

I looked over. The U-haul next to us had a giant camel painted on the side.

Below the camel, as if in explanation of why a U-haul would be decorated with a giant camel, were a few lines of Wikipedia-esque notes on camels, something like "A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back."

Culinary

Aug. 20th, 2017 08:44 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread: on Monday, Greenstein's 100% Wholewheat Loaf, made up of ordinary strong wholemeal/wholemeal spelt/einkorn flours. Tasty but a bit crumbly for some reason.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft roll recipe, 4:1 strong white/buckwheat flour, dried blueberries, maple sugar.

Today's lunch: quails, which I cooked yesterday as they were well pushing their use-by date, according to a recipe from Clarissa Dickson Wright. The Game Cookbook, only that used fruit chutney, which I did not have, so used damson jelly instead, roasted in foil at Mark 3 for 30 minutes: not bad. Served with sticky rice in coconut milk with lime leaves, buttered spinach, and asparagus healthy-grilled in olive oil and splashed with aged organic balsamic vinegar.

Have started the overnight rising version of the bread recipe in Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, which I haven't made for ages.

Scumbags

Aug. 20th, 2017 12:13 pm
voidampersand: (Default)
[personal profile] voidampersand
Skum

It's not easy to come up with appropriate derogatory epithets for the right-wing extremists who are currently polluting politics. For example, condoms are anti-disease, pro-health, anti-harassment, and LGBTQ friendly. Condoms literally protect our freedom in a real and meaningful way. Those white-supremacists possess none of the virtues of the humble, yet noble scumbag.
galacticjourney: (Default)
[personal profile] galacticjourney

By Ashley R. Pollard

Science fiction on British television used to be one of those once-in-a-blue-moon events. When it happened, what we got could often be very good. Certainly Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass series was compelling viewing, which drew in a large audience from the general population with millions tuning in each week to find out the fate of the infected astronauts.

The impact of Quatermass cannot be over stated, the name having taken root in the British public's imagination. And, now we have a sequel to A for Andromeda, which I reported on last year, to carry the torch for science fiction on British TV, which also looks like it will enter public’s lexicon. With the additional transmission of the anthology show, Out of this World, we seem to be entering a golden age of science fiction on television.

For those unfamiliar with A for Andromeda, let me do a recap. The first series, a story set in the future circa 1972, was about a group of scientists building a super computer for the military made from plans decoded from a signal sent from the Andromeda galaxy. This signal is a Trojan horse designed to take over our planet by creating an artificial human called Andromeda that the computer can control. It’s all very clever how this is revealed, and when the hero, Dr. Fleming, discovers that Andromeda is a slave of the computer he saves her by destroying the computer with an axe. Andromeda then burns the plans for the computer, and together they try to make their escape. Unfortunately, she falls into a pool and apparently dies, while Dr. Fleming is captured by Army personnel.

The Andromeda Breakthrough therefore has to square the circle of how to carry on the story without undermining the climax of the first series.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

(no subject)

Aug. 20th, 2017 12:28 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] gmh and [personal profile] ravurian!
yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
[personal profile] yhlee
A couple friends let me know that talking about composing for orchestra is, in fact, something that might be of some minor interest and also I am taking a break from working on Dragon Pearl while the Dragon borrows my laptop (which is my writing machine), so.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional composer! I did not go to conservatory. I am an interested amateur. My background is seven years of more or less classical piano, including a few years at the Houston Music Institute (relevant because they taught some theory and basic composition), a few years of viola, and years of screwing around on basically every instrument I could get my hands on, including three summers of classical guitar, mandolin, soprano recorder, pennywhistle, ocarina, and diatonic and chromatic harmonica. (Harmonicas actually get pretty complicated, more complicated than I personally can deal with--different tunings, cross-harp, slant-harp, etc. I only know the basics. [1]) This kind of jack-of-all-trades-ism is not great if you want to be a performer, where you really ought to become expert in your chosen instrument(s), but it's not awful if you want to compose.

[1] To anyone who doubts that the harmonica is a "real" classical instrument, I present to you Villa-Lobos' Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra with soloist Robert Bonfiglio [Youtube], which is the recording I used to have before the stupid fucking flood. That's a chromatic harmonica, BTW; you can tell because of the use of the chromatic slide in some of the ornaments. More information. I will FIGHT anyone who tells me the harmonica is not a REAL INSTRUMENT.

Further caveat, I am only discussing Western music. I don't know enough about non-Western traditions to tell you anything useful about them. I compose more or less neoclassically because that's what pleases my ear and I feel no need to be innovative in a technical/theoretical sense. (Schoenberg's twelve-tone system is brilliant from a technical/theoretical sense but I cannot usually stand listening to it except in the limited context of certain kinds of film/TV scoring. I wouldn't listen to it for fun.)

And for yucks, I have perfect pitch, which in almost all contexts is either useless or an active hindrance (I am a suck liar and let's just say that I avoid a cappella performances and first-year string players like the plague--there's such a thing as good a cappella, but unless you are Carnegie Hall good I don't want to risk it), but has limited applications in the realm of music, ahahaha. For most applications relative pitch is hell and away more useful. (I actually get interference between relative and perfect pitch, which sucks.)

Anyway, let's talk a little about the fundamentals of music from the standpoint of composing.

I keep telling people that composing for orchestra is not hard. Composing for orchestra well is hard. Because it's true! It's a lot of things, true, but you can break it down into components. I'll talk a little more about this below.

Music is about patterns--creating tension with different dimensions of pattern, then resolving it. In terms of pitch, you only have twelve of them repeating across various octaves to work with! But because you can combine the pitches in different ways, you can come up with different melodies. Speaking in terms of standard music notation, that's the "horizontal" dimension. And pitch is combined with patterns of rhythm--units of time. cut for length and tl;dr )

Okay, I am out of brain and I'm not sure any of this even makes sense to anyone who is not me. :] I am happy to answer questions (or, if you compose music yourself, talk shop!).

august update

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:23 pm
sophygurl: Lamb with cute face, with text "What's up?!" (Default)
[personal profile] sophygurl
I am just bad at updating regularly. Been trying to catch up here and there, so here's a lil about what's been going on for me:

* Bestest updates. Last time I posted I was still staying with her way back in June eep. Shortly after I got home from that visit, her sister was staying with her and bestest got an infection. She had to spend a few days in the hospital and they had to do surgery and set her up with a wound vac to get the infection out. It was pretty scary.

She was also told the chemo didn't do what they wanted it to do, so once she's done with radiation, she's going to have to take a chemo pill for awhile and maybe go into some clinical trials as well. It's very discouraging.

She's finally got the wound vac and all her drains out, even the stitches are out finally. And that means she's cleared to start radiation soon. She's pretty freaked about that, and about having to leave her apartment five days a week for six weeks. Wishing I could go be with her. Also feeling really drained by all of this and not feeling like I'm being that great of a friend to her right now because my own life stuff is taking over.

* Health stuff. Been having some new and worsening symptoms. Was in between my 3-monthly visits with my fibro doc and was about time for a physical with my primary care doc, so went in and chatted with her about it all. It was a variety of stuff that may or may not be anything, but I figured it was best to bring it all up just in case.

Had my first mammogram done. It triggered my pstd and with the fibro the pressure really hurt, so that was a fun few days after the fact. Came back normal, so that's good.

Also had some blood tests done and some of them showed positive signs for autoimmune stuff, so that coupled with some of my new pain symptoms had doc sending me to a rheumatologist - I'll be seeing them next month. The guess is RA, but who knows.

Primary care doc is really sensitive about my ptsd/vaginisums stuff, so she left the option up to me about having a pelvic exam and I declined for now. She also latched on to my offhand comment about wanting to get back into therapy and set me up with the psych liaison who got me set up with a new therapist! I had an intake appointment for billing and massive amounts of paperwork done, and will meet my new therapist on Weds. I'm really anxious about it, and it's got the PTSD and the OCD going in overdrive. But I know I need this. Cross fingers it's a good match for me!

* Cat stuff. Our one cat, who we think has allergies because he does have lil sneezing fits now and again, was doing a lot of sneezing and coughing so we took him in to the vet and they sent us home with some antibiotics to give him. So twice a day, roomie and I chase this cat around the apartment, tackle him with a blanket, wrap up his paws so he can't scratch the heck out of us (I have some impressive injuries from before we perfected this), and squeeze the medicine down his hatch. It's quite the adventure and we have 2 more days left of this 2 week ordeal left to go. It's definitely been working tho, which is a relief since the next step would have been sedating him to look for polyps in his nasal cavity. Hopefully this is all he needs done.

* R&R. My escapes from all the crap have included the usual suspects of The Sims and reading (still working my way through the Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb), and of course my summer addiction - Big Brother.

I've basically been vacillating between being very anxious and upset and making myself do the important things - and completely escaping and distracting myself. Those are the two modes. Except today I've managed to pull myself out and attempt some normalcy again. We'll see how long that lasts.

I have ZERO energy for politics or world events right now. I literally cannot. Just cannot. My heart is with everyone fighting the good fight, but my political actions still consist of just taking care of me and mine right now.

Tired covers it

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:28 pm
julian: Picture of Julian Street. (Default)
[personal profile] julian
In the spirit of solidarity with Charlottesville, I went off to laugh at neo-Nazis with 20,000-40,000 of my closest friends, and get labeled an anti-police agitator by our Very Own President, today.

The general idea, as transmitted in one of the orientation sessions I went to, was to show up, stand tall, and nnnnnot let ourselves get drawn into confrontations by the white supremacists, who would be trying their darndest to make this happen.

So I got decked out in my "I stand by my Muslim neighbors" t-shirt and wandered down to Roxbury Crossing, found fairly organized Socialists a-plenty, and got the best poster off them ever. Picture with a new friend from much later in the march, slight content warning for concentration camp imagery:

One cuts pictures. )

They also had lynching ones, but basically I'm squicked by blood and gore, whereas the concentration camp one might well be triggering to some, but it also had people pausing to look at it, nodding to me soberly, and moving on. (I also got several high-fives for the shirt.)

Anyway, I eventually found the actual Black Lives Matter march leaders, plus Tito Jackson (candidate for mayor) doing his best preachin', and then we got started late. (Because, it is a march and it is required.) Soon enough, I stumbled onto my brother and his wife, or more accurately he stumbled across me while admiring my poster, and had marching partners. (I was going to hook up with Dedham Unitarians, but I couldn't find them.)

Since we started late, and because 20,000 marchers move slowly, we missed the so-called "Free Speech Rally" entirely, since they got shuffled off at 1:30 or so, and I wasn't even to the Common by that point, I think.

I did encounter some AntiFa-plus-BLM activists around 3:30 or so down by Park Street T stop, who had found some of the white supremacists who (for agitation reasons) had stuck around. One of them got pizza thrown at him (which almost hit me as I ducked into the convenience store), and then another one was rather literally surrounded by people *entirely* willing to argue with him until the cows came home, so I figured that was pretty much covered and bailed. As it turns out, there was a little bit of violence after that, but not much at all.

About 25 arrests for minor things, and a white supremacist arrested for carrying a gun without a permit or something similar. There were also some people throwing rocks (and bottles filled with piss, wtf?) at the police, sigh. Overall, the police were incredibly helpful during the march, and then got somewhat violent as the day progressed, but they were only slightly more pissy than I expected. Overall, worth thanking.

Link smatterings: Scale of the so-called "Free Speech Rally", as compared to counter-protestors. Roxbury Crossing area, around when things started, some Globe photos.

bookspoils!

Aug. 19th, 2017 06:04 pm
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
[personal profile] yhlee
Returned books to library. Got these from the booksale shelves for 5 cents apiece (they were 1 cent apiece but I told the librarian to keep the 8 cents of change):

- Star Trek tie-in novel Ishmael by Barbara Hambly--I read this a long time ago and like Hambly :)
- Star Trek tie-in novel Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan \o/ I read this a few years back and also thought it was lovely! I'm really thrilled to own my own copy, in decent shape for a library discard even, although it means the library didn't want it anymore. -_-

What are some of your favorite recent libraryspoils/loanspoils/bookspoils?

ETA: Oh, and while I'm at it, I'm sad I woke up from a dream involving an animated TV series of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath. I'm several books behind in that series (at this point I might as well wait until it's all out before rereading the whole thing from the start) but would that not be awesomesauce?!

Cats Against Nazis

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:58 pm
rachelmanija: (Heroes: support WGA)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
The rally was fine, though quite small. I imagine there would have been a much bigger turnout if the Nazis hadn't cancelled. One of my neighbors was there!

I went with [personal profile] hederahelix. We are now heading for Clementine.

Here I am with my sign and feline fellows in resistance.



Sparkler needs your support!

Aug. 19th, 2017 11:08 am
laceblade: Sasuke and Ponyo; Ponyo w/light over her head, expression gleeful (Ponyo: It's a light!)
[personal profile] laceblade
It's time for Sparkler's annual kickstarter to fund their next year of comics. They have 3 days left, and they're only a little more than halfway there. They're doing great work, and they need help.
Most of our content is free to read and stream, but a paid magazine membership lets you read ahead of the free serialization, download the content, and support the creators.

Sparkler Monthly is a multimedia, digital shojo/josei magazine of original English-language fiction. Our carefully selected creators are paid advances for their work and go through a thorough editorial process. After a book or audio story is serialized in the magazine, it’s bundled with bonus material and sold as ebooks, limited paperbacks, and/or CDs in the Sparkler Shop (similar to the magazine –> tankoubon system in Japan). In addition, our paperbacks and products can be found at a number of retailers; see our Retail & Libraries page on where to buy, and how to acquire books for your business or library.

The primary audience for Sparkler Monthly is girls and women aged 15 and up, or anyone interested in the rough ballpark of Female Gaze. Our four founders and most of our staff identify as female and are committed to promoting inclusive, fem-positive, and ridiculously fun content. We welcome creators of any gender and are particularly interested in entertaining, engrossing stories that tap into the variety and diversity of fandom.

This is a link to their Kickstarter campaign. The FAQ gives great advice if the options are overwhelming.

I love their content, from scripted audio dramas to comics to light novels. I love getting paperback copies of things I've tried online, so that I can more easily share them with other people.

If you've thought about supporting Sparkler or trying it out, now is the best [and, potentially only] time to do so.

Linkspam on a Saturday morning

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:00 am
cofax7: Marion Ravenwood in a hat (IJ - Marion hat)
[personal profile] cofax7
What a week, huh? So exhausting. I swear, this regime is going to ruin my liver.

Remember that guy at Google with the memo? (Seems like months ago, doesn't it?) Well, one of the MetaFilter gang decided to do a comprehensive discussion/analysis of his arguments, complete with citations. The Truth Has Got Its Boots On, which is a lovely Pratchett reference.

Here's a resource for people confused about the Trump/Russia scandal. Amidst all the racism and Nazis, there are still questions about Trump's history with Russia.

This New Yorker article also asks some questions about Wall Street Raider Carl Icahn and his relationship with the Trump regime. Conflicts of interest? Pish.

This article looks at environmental justice from the perspective of the community rather than the regulator or government. It's both devastating and hopeful.

This article from Pro Publica gives a solid historical overview of attempts to incorporate principles of environmental justice at the federal level, and how they have failed. I do love Pro Publica: they do solid investigative journalism.

Politics can make strange bedfellows, as we know: hunters are on the front lines protecting the public lands.

This Lawfare article about private military groups hints at some legal tools that can be used against the Neo-Nazis.

The New York Review of Books has dropped the paywall on James M. McPherson's take-down of the myth of the Lost Cause.

Here's a blackly funny report of a call to a Georgia Congressman's office.

*

Alton Brown's fruitcake recipe. It looks tasty, but the volume is far too small. Why make only one fruitcake at a time?!

*

I am working on my NFE story, but argh, just realized that book club is this coming Wednesday, and I haven't read the book yet! Argh. Also it took me 4 tries to get started on the story, and then I had to do some background research and realized that I had [redacted] wrong, and also [redacted], and now I have to research [redacted]. I'm not sure if I'm going to get done in time...

*

In other news, Help!. Is anyone else using Chrome and having trouble logging into DW? I turned off HTTPS Everywhere, but that didn't make any difference. I simply cannot log in.

And now off to dog class where once again we will fail on the weave poles...
oursin: My photograph of Praire Buoy sculpture, Meadowbrook Park, Urbana, overwritten with Urgent, Phallic Look (urgent phallic)
[personal profile] oursin

- just on reading the the cover of the Guardian Saturday Review, which promised its readers a letter from Karl Ove Knausgaard to his unborn baby.

And when Tonstant Weader had finished fwowing up, she wondered how much nappy-changing KOK (fnarr, fnaar: am 13 at the back of the class) signs up for, rather than providing Deep Existential Insights?

Will concede that I am somewhat cynical about the entire genre of 'Bloke becomes father and has EPIPHANY' - in particular we may note that KOK already has two children. Also KOK has admitted that 'he has achieved huge success by sacrificing his relationships with friends and members of his family'.

And in other bloke news, maybe it's just me, but why is Rosa Bonheur 'less well-known' than other French C19th horse painters whose names ring no bell with me, Vernet and Fromentin? If someone has a massive great canvas in the NY Metropolitan Museum... I think this is a deplorable case of the reviewer not having heard of her.

And also in Dept of Unexamined Assumptions, What Internet Searches Reveal: as I am sure I have heretofore remarked, what interests people in porn, what their sexual fantasies are, doesn't necessarily map to what they like to do. So not entirely sure that Big Data on the topic is quite as revelatory as claimed here.

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