Yesterday

Jun. 24th, 2017 09:26 am
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Had one of those "feel like I didn't do anything" days yesterday but I did loads of stuff.

I think I felt like that because I did spend the morning in my pajamas wasting time on Twitter. But also, I was fielding comments on a Lib Dem Voice article introducing our new group, Lib Dem Immigrants (which I am super excited about). Unfortunately, anything about immigration attracts some trolls, even if it's as innocuous as "here's a new internal party body" (I did like that we also got a comment saying "we waste too much time on internal party shit!"). I found this set of comments dismaying for an interesting new kind of separating the wheat-from-the-chaff approach to immigration: even the people telling me they want to end freedom of movement and other such things tell me that they support me having rights, and right away, because I married a British citizen. Hm.

Anyway, I eventually made myself do a bit of tidying, sort out the room booking for Plus's AGM at Autumn Conference (which I don't know if I'll be able to go to because I can't afford accommodation, which is making me very sad), call up our soon-to-be-ex-home-insurance-company which gosh that phone call made me glad of because it was agonizing, get a Plus parcel ready to post and send it off, go to the shops to buy boring things like a light bulb, stand precariously on a too-short ladder to replace the light bulb, go see my friend Katie for a couple of hours, come back via a different shop to buy dog poo bags which we were suddenly out of, and watch Lego Batman with Andrew which we'd been trying to find time and energy for all week.

That is an okay day. I didn't do all the things I wanted to do, but I did a lot of good things.

Today I'm going to see fictive-nephew (who's almost eight already, how is that even possible) in some local am-dram production, and then Games Night has restarted so I get to see my Brighouse people twice in three days! This should be a good day too.

still present

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:28 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Still present. Staying with things. Uncle slept all day, is declining, no longer able to drink liquids. Aunt got out of the house for a few hours while we (Dad and I) were there. Cousin age 5 is a handful and a delight. We fought many monsters, took the dog for a walk, and ate gorilla food (gorilla munch brand corn pop cereal, yogurt, sliced fruit). At lodge to rest now. I am sad and not okay, but I am okay with not being okay, and I am here.
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
[personal profile] yhlee
My first introduction to Cordwainer Smith was "The Game of Rat and Dragon," which I'm guessing (alongside "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell") is his most anthologized story based on nothing more than guesswork and the fact that, for years after that story, it was the only Smith I could find. (Admittedly, this was not helped by spending high school in South Korea. [1])

"The Game of Rat and Dragon" has stuck better in my memory, but at some point in college I was delighted to discover that there were more Instrumentality stories. The one that I remembered, years later, as being particularly interesting was "The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal." Peculiarly, I remembered that it had an unusual narrative structure/format, but not anything useful about its plot. Cue yesterday when I actually reread it, having checked out the posthumous collection When the People Fell from the library, and being bemused to discover that this story was almost certainly, before I ever heard of fanfic on the internet, my introduction to mpreg.

A spoilery discussion of the story follows beneath the cut.

[1] My high school library's sf/f holdings were very eclectic. They had a couple decades' worth of Analog under Stanley Schmidt. I read every page of every issue available, and remain fond of the zine although I have not read it in over a decade. They also had old classics like John Wyndham's Re-Birth, amusing curiosities like a litcrit book on the best fantasy novels by Michael Moorcock (possibly with a co-author; I no longer remember) in which he immodestly listed his own Stormbringer, a number of old Nebula anthologies, and a copy of Harlan Ellison's (ed.) Dangerous Visions that I read two or three or four times before someone else stole it or, more charitably, checked it out and lost it. (Years later, I still think Philip José Farmer's "Riders of the Purple Wage" was insufferably boring, and Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah" makes zero sense when you are barely aware of what sex is.) They had Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, which is where I encountered them. On the other hand, the librarians were very friendly, and for a number of years, because my sister and I were the only ones who made use of the request box, we pretty much got them to buy whatever we wanted to read for the year.

Read more... )

Dear suspiciously rotund cat

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Not my cat, not my house. Please don't be pregnant.

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:40 am
yhlee: voidmoth with starry wings in a triangle (hxx emblem Nirai)
[personal profile] yhlee
Which faction of the hexarchate are you? [Solaris Books].

A quiz! I get Nirai...?!

PSA

Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:35 pm
lost_spook: (Default)
[personal profile] lost_spook
I'm still tired from yesterday, but a head's up (via a genealogy news feed I follow) in case it's of any use to other people:

Find My Past (one of the big online genealogy sites for the UK) are allowing free access to their main UK collections till 26th June. (No strings attached for this one, not even fake-orders to get it; only registering if you haven't already.)

Some more details & instructions on the site's blog: https://blog.findmypast.com/free-british-irish-records-2445715211.html


*skuttles off to collapse somewhere again*
spiralsheep: Einstein writing Time / Space OTP on a blackboard (fridgepunk Time / Space OTP)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Women in engineering and Cornish Black history: I've mentioned Black people in Kernow (Cornwall) before, such as musician and composer Joseph Emidy, and y'all know my passion for engineering, so here's a combination of both. While in Penwith I visited the excellent Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno and was lucky enough to have a guide who used to work there when it was a telecommunications engineering college for Cable and Wireless (back when the people of the UK all owned a share in that successful nationalised international business). My volunteer museum guide was Black. I only mention this because it's likely that if I didn't then most readers would assume otherwise.

Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973, was the first woman engineering student at this Cable and Wireless college.

Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973

Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, during the 1980s.

Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1980s

One more small image, and three book reviews. )

• [...]
four steps forward and three back, and yet nothing
remains the same, for the mountains are piled up
and worn down, for the rivers eat into the stone
and the fields blow away and the sea makes sand
[...]
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
I’ll never understand the pride people take in saying, “I was born and bred here” or the use of the same phrase to defend one’s perceived superiority or deservingness of housing, health care or other basic human rights.

I mean, what did you, yourself, actually do to influence where you were born or bred? Unless you were a particularly ambitious embryo, the answer is “nothing”. Sure, your parents might have made some kind of effort to select your place of birth. Maybe they strove to move to better housing in a neighbourhood with better services and schools. Maybe they’re even immigrants, like my dad, and they struggled long and hard to learn their fourth language in order to integrate into their adopted country. But you? You didn’t do anything. Why are you so proud of that? Think of the things you've accomplished in your life. Isn't it far more fitting and fulfilling to be proud of those?

And why the obsession with asserting the superiority of a single identity over the others? “I’m English first and then British.” Pro-tip: Most of the rest of the world considers both of those to be synonymous with “ex-colonialist imperialist arsehole” so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. ^.^

Here is a list of the geographically-linked identities that I consider myself able to lay claim to. I’m proud of some and not others.

  • American
  • British
  • European
  • Hawai’ian
  • Filipino
  • Olympian
  • Seattleite
  • Angeleno
  • San Diegan
  • Londoner
  • Brummie (this is a new one; still feels a little odd)


Today, I think I’m proudest of being European. I earned that identity and that passport, and I’m still very pissed off that some people want to take it away.

Today is also, weirdly, simultaneously:

  • the anniversary of Brexit, aka the Colossal Waste of Time and Money Foisted Upon Us by a Generation That Tore Down Decades of Painstakingly Won Goodwill with Our Neighbours and Won’t Live to Experience the Disastrous Consequences, Thanks a Lot, Dickheads.

    And

  • International Women in Engineering Day


So, to close this post, here is a peaceful photo of a woman doing some engineering.

Scientist at work

The Blood is the Life for 23-06-2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Definitely not standing: Jo Swinson, Jamie Stone, Layla Moran, Tom Brake, Tim Farron, Alistair Carmichael, Norman Lamb
Probably not standing: Stephen Lloyd, Wera Hobhouse, Christine Jardine
Probably standing: Ed Davey
Definitely standing: Vince Cable

You'll note that Norman Lamb has moved from probably standing to definitely not standing. He announced this with rather petulant article in the Grauniad, in which (among other things) he proclaimed the Lib Dems' second referendum policy as toxic. Now I agree, it is toxic. "First we'll negotiate brexit, then we'll set up a referendum, then we'll campaign against the deal we ourselves negotiated!" is an utterly ridiculous policy. The problem is, it was only in the sodding manifesto due to the insistence of people on the rump brexity wing of the party, of which Norman Lamb is definitely one. This was as far as the rest of the party, who just wanted "we will stop brexit" to be the manifesto position, could be dragged. Policy making by committee often comes up with soggy centrist compromises, and often that's a good thing and satisfies most people, but sometimes it's patently rubbish. This time was the latter. What I don't get is Captain Brexit blaming the rest of the party for it. Well, I do. He'd like us to embrace brexit. And that is not going to happen.

Anyway, the rest of the article sticks the boot in to members in various other ways, and alludes to, but doesn't actually acknowledge, the problems autistic people have with the idea of Norman as a leader, and frankly, just makes me glad he's not standing. At least he has the self-knowledge to know he's not right to lead the party as it currently is, even if he declares it in a rather Skinnerian way.

Principal Skinner asks a pertinent question

So the only likely runner at this point undeclared is Ed Davey. And there will be siren idiots voices whispering in his ear, saying:
Don't stand, Ed. Leadership elections are expensive, Ed. They are divisive and set party members up against each other, ed. It'd be easier all round just to crown Vince, Ed. You don't want the hassle, Ed. The party doesn't want the hassle, Ed. Lets just have a coronation, Ed.
To which I say, pish, tosh, bunkum, bollocks, and bullshit.

Yes, leadership elections are divisive, and do set members up against each other, and sometimes even cause resentments. Do you know what's even more divisive, and causes even more resentments? Not letting Lib Dems have democracy. Not letting us scrutinise each candidate and come to a decision on merit. Not having hustings at which we can put questions to candidates and examine their views and records and promises. Imposing a leader on us without us having a say. I can guarantee you that while a leadership election might be divisive, it's nowhere near as divisive as a coronation.

Now, Ed Davey told one of the BBC politics correspondents (I think Norman Smith) the other day that he would declare whether or not he was standing "on Thursday or Friday". He didn't declare yesterday. I'm hoping he declares he's standing today.

And if you'd told me last month I'd be crossing my fingers for Ed Davey to run in a leadership election, I'd have thought you insane in the membrane, crazy insane, got no brain. Just goes to show what a funny old world it is...

[hxx] [story] Squirrel-Fishing

Jun. 22nd, 2017 08:29 pm
yhlee: fox with nine tails with eyes (hxx emblem Shuos)
[personal profile] yhlee
For A.B.
Prompt: "Shuos pranks."

with apologies to the black squirrels of Stanford University campus

Jedao and Ruo had set up shop at the edge of one of the campus gardens, the one with the carp pond and the carefully maintained trees. Rumor had it that some of the carp were, in addition to being over a hundred years old, outfitted with surveillance gear. Like most Shuos cadets, Jedao and Ruo would, if questioned, laugh off the rumors while secretly believing in them wholeheartedly--at least the bit about surveillance gear. Jedao had argued that the best place to hide what they were doing was in plain sight. After all, who would be so daft as to run a prank right next to surveillance?

"Lovely day, isn't it?" Ruo said brightly.

Jedao winced. "Not so loud," he said. His head was still pounding after last night's excesses, and the sunlight wasn't helping. Why did he keep letting Ruo talk him into things? It wasn't just that Ruo was really good in bed. He had this way of making incredibly risky things sound fun. Going out drinking? In itself, not that bad. Playing a drinking game with unlabeled bottles of possibly-alcohol-possibly-something-else stolen from Security's hoard of contraband? Risky. Some of those hallucinations had been to die for, though, especially when he started seeing giant robots in the shape of geese.

Fortunately, this latest idea wasn't that risky. Probably. Besides, of the many things that the other cadets had accused Jedao of, low risk tolerance wasn't one of them.

"Not my fault you can't hold your drink," Ruo said, even more brightly.

"I'm going to get you one of these days," Jedao muttered.

Ruo's grin flashed in his dark brown face. "More like you'll lose the latest bet and--" He started describing what he'd do to Jedao in ear-burning detail.

At last one of the other first-years, puzzled by what Jedao and Ruo were doing by the carp pond with a pair of fishing poles, approached. Jedao recognized them: Meurran, who was good at fixing guns despite their terrible aim, and who had a glorious head of wildly curling hair. "Security's not going to approve of you poaching the carp," Meurran said.

"Oh, this isn't for the carp," Ruo said. He flicked his fishing pole, and the line with its enticing nut snaked out toward one of the trees.

Meurran gave Ruo a funny look. "Ruo," they said, "the fish are in the opposite direction."

"Please," Jedao said, "who cares about the fish? No one has anything to fear from the fish. That's just nonsense."

"All right," Meurran said, sounding distinctly unimpressed, "then what?"

Come on, Jedao thought, the nut is right there...

As if on cue, a black squirrel darted down from the tree, then made for the nut.

Ruo tugged the nut just out of reach.

The black squirrel looked around, then headed for the nut again.

"Oh, isn't that adorable?" Meurran said.

"Don't be fooled!" Ruo said as he guided the squirrel in a figure-eight through the grass. "Why would the commandant be so stupid as to rely on carp, which can't even leave their pond?"

Meurran glanced involuntarily at the pond, where two enormous carp were lazily circling near the surface, as if the carp, in fact, had a habit of oozing out onto the land and spying on lazy cadets. "You're saying the squirrels--?"

Ruo continued to cause the squirrel to chase after the nut. "It makes sense, doesn't it? Everyone thinks the black squirrels are the cutest. They're even featured in the recruitment literature. Damnably clever piece of social engineering if you ask me."

Meurran was starting to look persuaded in spite of themselves.

Meanwhile, as Ruo made his case, Jedao leaned back and studied the squirrel with a frown. The local population of black squirrels was mostly tame to begin with and had proven to be easy to train with the aid of treats. (Ruo had made Jedao do most of this, "because you're the farm boy.") But while Ruo and Meurran argued about squirrel population dynamics, Jedao caught a slight flash from behind the squirrel's eyes--almost like that of a camera?

He opened his mouth to interrupt.

The squirrel made an odd convulsing motion, and the light flashed again, this time directly into Jedao's eyes.

Jedao closed his mouth, and kept his thoughts to himself.
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
I have been outrageously busy at work this week and I don't have the brain to string these together into a proper narrative. My apologies. So: Have a series of happy photos from the past week or so.

20170617_171856
[Keiki with freshly dug potatoes in his fist, ready to deposit them in one of the two white bowls in front of him.]

We ate our first potato harvest tonight. Yum!

+6 )

festathons

Jun. 22nd, 2017 02:42 pm
isis: (fangirls)
[personal profile] isis
First off, signups for the 2017 Multifandom Drabble Exchange are closing tomorrow. This is a small low-pressure exchange, and it was a lot of fun last year when it was on Imzy.

Second, Night on Fic Mountain is live! My gift is Witcher fanart, a scene of Ciri getting the better of Geralt in a wrestling bout as Yennefer sips wine and looks on, amused:

Tap Out (0 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Wiedźmin | The Witcher (Video Game)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon & Geralt z Rivii | Geralt of Rivia
Characters: Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, Geralt z Rivii | Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer z Vengerbergu | Yennefer of Vengerberg
Additional Tags: he was definitely asking for it, Fanart, tag yourself i'm the one with the wine
Summary: All educators anticipate that glorious moment when the student surpasses the teacher.

The artist obviously paid attention to my general list of art likes, incorporating interesting perspective and background scenery detail, and it's just a fabulous piece overall, really, just beautiful, and you don't need to know the fandom to appreciate it as art, so go admire it!

Actually, there's a lot of nice art in this collection. I particularly like Clouds and Skie (Dragonlance, which I'm not familar with but there is a DRAGON!) and A Slothful Interlude (Master and Commander, which is a fandom I love, and there is a SLOTH!) but if you sort the collection works page by length and start at the shortest, you'll find all of them.

And there's some great fic, too. Some recs from my reading so far:

The Road To Anywhere But Here (3323 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Road to El Dorado (2000)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Chel/Miguel/Tulio
Characters: Chel (Road to El Dorado), Miguel (Road to El Dorado), Tulio (Road to El Dorado), Altivo (Road to El Dorado)
Additional Tags: Post-Canon
Summary: These shoes weren't made for walking.

Ahahaha this is hilarious. The character voices are perfection and the plot is simultaneously plausible (in-universe) and completely goofy.

War-Chants (1088 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Ancient History RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hannibal Barca, Scipio Africanus
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Eurovision Song Contest, Crack
Summary: [edited]Two frenemies talk trash over chat about the most important event of the premodern world: EUROVISION!!!

This is crack of the most delicious sort! I giggled mightily throughout, particularly at the historical references twisted into dudebro chat.

Why Darwin Discovered Evolution (1114 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jack Aubrey & Stephen Maturin
Characters: Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin
Additional Tags: London, Evolution, Moths, Night On Fic Mountain 2017, Night on Fic Mountain 2017 Treat
Summary: [edited] 1815: Napoleon surrenders, and is exiled to St Helena. The British Navy, after seventeen years of war, retires ships, crews and captains. John Barrow, Second Secretary to the Admiralty, begins a programme of exploration which will last until 1845 and will include, in 1835, Charles Darwin's five year voyage of discovery in the Beagle. // In England, Jack Aubrey languishes on the Captains’ List, and Stephen Maturin chases moths.

This is lovely. The language is so perfectly canonical, as are poor Stephen's warring impulses, between that of his calling as a naturalist and the calling of his truest friend.

City of Futures (4558 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Divine Cities Series - Robert Jackson Bennett
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Turyin Mulaghesh, Tatyana Komayd
Additional Tags: Post-City of Miracles, the effect of legacies, poorly-expressed grief, bad life choices
Summary: [edited] The most curious miracle of all was that of briefly-miraculous events centered around Ashara Komayd, former Prime Minister to Saypur. // Though, of course, there was a lot more to it than that.

I beta-read this, so I'm biased, but I love Mulaghesh, and she's at her delightfully cranky, profane, investigative best here.

fountain pens!

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:38 pm
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
[personal profile] yhlee
I did an essay for Tor.com, The Beauty of Physical Writing, on fountain pens! There's a photo of some of my fountain pens over there.

From left to right, for the curious: Waterman 52V, Webster Four-Star, Scriptorium Pens Master Scrivener in Red Stardust, Conway Stewart Churchill in Red Stardust, Aurora 75th Anniversary, Nakaya Naka-ai in aka-tamenuri, Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir with #3 adjustable nib, and Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight.

Meanwhile, I swear I am writing flash fic right now. This caffeine is taking an unholy amount of time to kick in...

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