Spectacular sunset over the lake

May. 26th, 2017 08:18 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

One of the benefits of being on a higher floor of the hotel, even if this also means a lot of rather tedious waiting for lifts. I was going to take and post a photo, but I really don't think that my present state of tiredness is a good state in which to get to grips with DW photo posting. Also, on essaying to take a photo for later presentation, realised that the grimy marks on the window would be rather obtrusive.

Quite a full day, which started with waking up rather earlier than I had hoped, but not horribly so.

Socialising has taken place. There was going to be a walk, but then it started to rain (I wouldn;t say there was no chance of a walk that day, but not at that particular time).

Also have been on one panel, which I think suffered a little from ambiguity in framing its terms but nonetheless evoked some interesting discussion.

Observations of note: in the stuffed toy and knickknackery shop just around the corner in State Street, there is a stufft swan, right at the front of the window display: also an inflatable pool version. However, I should eschew props for my reading.

Welcome to Books: FMK

May. 26th, 2017 01:08 pm
rachelmanija: (Books: old)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
[personal profile] melannen has been culling her bookshelves by playing "Fuck Marry Kill" via poll. In the interests of doing the same, and also getting back to posting more book reviews, I have decided to join her. (I am doing "fling" rather than "fuck" just because my posts get transferred to Goodreads and I don't want EVERY post of mine on there littered with fucks.)

How to play: Fling means I spend a single night of passion (or possibly passionate hatred) with the book, and write a review of it, or however much of it I managed to read. Marry means the book goes back on my shelves, to wait for me to get around to it. (That could be a very long time.) Kill means I should donate it without attempting to read it. You don't have to have read or previously heard of the books to vote on them.

Please feel free to explain your reasoning for your votes in comments. For this particular poll, I have never read anything by any of the authors (or if I did, I don't remember it) and except for Hoover and Lively, have never even heard of the authors other than that at some point I apparently thought their book sounded interesting enough to acquire.

Poll #18415 FMK: Vintage YA/children's SFF
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 24


The Spring on the Mountain, by Judy Allen. Three kids have magical, possibly Arthurian adventures on a week in the country.

View Answers

Fling
8 (42.1%)

Marry
5 (26.3%)

Kill
6 (31.6%)

The Lost Star, by H. M. Hoover. A girl who lives on another planet hears an underground cry for help (and finds chubby gray cat centaurs if the cover is accurate)

View Answers

Fling
13 (65.0%)

Marry
4 (20.0%)

Kill
3 (15.0%)

The Wild Hunt of Hagworthy, by Penelope Lively. Lucy visits her aunt in Hagworthy and is embroiled in the ancient Horn Dance and Wild Hunt.

View Answers

Fling
15 (71.4%)

Marry
1 (4.8%)

Kill
5 (23.8%)

Carabas, by Sophie Masson. Looks like a medieval setting. A shapeshifting girl gets accused of being a witch and runs off with the miller's son.

View Answers

Fling
11 (52.4%)

Marry
6 (28.6%)

Kill
4 (19.0%)

Of Two Minds, by Carol Mates and Perry Nodelman. Princess Lenora can makes what she imagines real; Prince Coren can read minds, but everyone can read his mind. (Ouch!)

View Answers

Fling
12 (60.0%)

Marry
5 (25.0%)

Kill
3 (15.0%)

Why you deserve it

May. 26th, 2017 01:24 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

I have just finished watching season 1 of Skin Wars on a friend’s recommendation. It is very very far from my usual sort of thing: it’s a reality show that’s a competition in body painting. My friend promised that it was very low on the interpersonal cattiness/drama, with lots of very skilled work and a certain amount of people learning stuff about their art, learning from each other. New art and learning? Hey, I’m there for that. And I was immediately hooked, and I will definitely watch the other two seasons, especially since my friend is a person who would have warned me if there was a lot of body-shaming weirdness in store.

One of the things that fascinates me is that the artists involved in this were often financially struggling–it’s not a fast route to fame and fortune–and they had pretty well-entrenched justifications for why they deserved success that were not always easy to dislodge by circumstances that really should have dislodged them. Examples:

I have put in the time. I have worked long hours. This is a competition with firmly set time limits, around each piece and around the competition as a whole. Each artist gets literally exactly the same amount of time. There are no examples of artists putting their feet up and being done early, and beyond that here is absolutely no way for anyone to put in more time than anyone else. Eventually this got clarified to:

I have put in the time. I spent my whole life learning this. Finally someone turned to the person who kept repeating this and said, how old are you? and determined that they were very close to the same age. And that they had both spent their whole life learning it, so…yeah. Not a distinguishing feature. I’ve seen both of these at conventions, though: I have devoted more time to science fiction than the other people at my day job! And I’ve seen a certain amount of it in various factions in the field who are convinced that they are the ones who are truly, deeply devoted–and that that kind of devotion has to be what matters. (Spoiler: it does not have to be. Sorry.)

I need it the most. My living conditions are worse than other people’s without recognition. There are indeed need-based scholarships for various types of study, and I’m very glad. But they’re usually clearly labeled, and “I like your art a lot” and “I think you need money” are not actually the same thing–and “you should like my art a lot because I need money” doesn’t actually work very well.

I need it the most. I poured my heart into this piece. “You should like my art a lot because I need validation” does not turn out to work better than “you should like my art a lot because I need money.” It is often a great idea to pour your heart into art. I recommend it. Then make more art and pour your heart into that. Also technique at the same time.

I have the most technical skills. Ever heard a pianist play Hanon? They are finger exercises. They are finger exercises, they are to make you a technically better pianist, and nobody plays them in concert because they are no fun to listen to. (Or play. Freakin’ Hanon.) Okay, okay, they have a certain hypnotic power, they can be impressive, but…at the end of the day if you are showing up and playing Hanon, nobody is buying your book, your painting, or in the most literal sense, tickets to your piano concert. (Freakin’ Hanon.)

It is apparently really, really hard to say, “Mine is good. Here is what I did well. Look at this part. I deserve this because mine is really good art. I combined the technical and the creative, this has thought and feeling and everything it’s supposed to have, and who cares whether I picked up those skills in two minutes or ten million hours, who cares whether someone else thinks that they are overall better than me and paid their dues more than me, here is the thing I made, it doesn’t come with dues, it comes with awesome.”

It is even harder to say, “I don’t know what’s missing. I did everything right. It’s just not happening for me. Can you help me see what’s going wrong in my piece?” And sometimes there are ten million answers, and sometimes there’s one answer, and sometimes there…isn’t. And sometimes the artificial contest structure of a reality show has made something happen that reality doesn’t support, it has made a thing where there is a winner and a loser where actually in a group of ten there might be three pieces that really work and four that don’t and three that meh, or ten that meh, or any other combination of numbers.

But the attachment to previous explanations of why you deserve it, the strength of that: that really got fascinating for me, and I will be riveted to see whether that continues for future seasons.

(no subject)

May. 26th, 2017 09:41 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] aedifica and [personal profile] the_rck!

Music meme: day 1 of 30

May. 26th, 2017 01:01 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait and a bunch of other people are doing a 30 day music meme, and it's really interesting to see people's choices! In some ways music isn't a big part of my life, so I might struggle with this one, and anyway I'm not going to commit to posting every day for 30 consecutive days, but I thought I'd give it a go.

The first is A song you like with a colour in the title, so I went for White winter hymnal by Fleet Foxes. I don't always love the kind of very blurry musical style that Fleet Foxes go for, but I got really fond of this song a few years back and it's one that always raises a smile when it comes on shuffle.

People are generally linking to YouTube, and I'd never actually seen the accompanying video for this one before. It's kind of a cool claymation thing, so I'm glad I searched it up.

Embedded video )

30 Day Music Meme day 12

May. 26th, 2017 09:26 am
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Default)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait
the list )

When I was 12, Everything I do (I do it for you) was number one for 16 weeks. Everyone was talking about Bryan Adams. So I listened to everything he'd released at that point, and that's why even though I was wee at the time it was released, it's going into the pre-teen slot. Imagine a lonely, depressed 12 year old in a 3 bed semi in a small town. Then I heard this, and it was like all the hope in the world wrapped up in one small Canadian.

The Best Was Yet To Come by Bryan Adams.

Just One Thing (26 May 2017)

May. 26th, 2017 08:08 am
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!

GOTG

May. 25th, 2017 10:33 pm
cofax7: Aeryn: Completely off the rails (FS - Aeryn off the Rails -- Saava)
[personal profile] cofax7
So I saw Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 tonight, and spoilers still use a Walkman )

***

In other news, I would really like to go a year or two without a family medical emergency, y'all. But with luck I'll be able to make Lance Armstrong jokes with P. for the rest of our lives...

WisCon 41: Day Zero

May. 25th, 2017 11:36 pm
owlmoose: (da - flemeth)
[personal profile] owlmoose
We have arrived! [personal profile] renay, [personal profile] justira, and I are in Madison, safe and sound, sacked out in our hotel room after a day of travel. We all flew into Chicago (me yesterday, Ira and Nay this afternoon), rented a car, and drove the two-ish hours with very little trouble. Made it into town just in time for the pre-con Guest of Honor reading at A Room of One's Own bookstore, where I got to sit next to [twitter.com profile] toughlovemuse. The two GoHs, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Amal El-Mohtar, each read a short piece and answered some questions. They are both fantastic performers with many interesting and worthwhile things to say, and I'm really excited for their speeches on Sunday, as well as hopefully seeing them around the con.

Now we are crashing early, in my case because the universe in its infinite wisdom decided to gift me with con crud BEFORE the convention. I've been under the weather with a bad sore throat since Sunday, to the point that I even changed my Wednesday flight to see the doctor before I left (but it seems to just be a stubborn virus). The main problem is talking, which is a fun thing to have trouble with at a con when you're on four panels. :/ But hopefully it will run its course soon. (So if you see me, and I dodge a hug or don't seem my usual bright and sunny self, you know why.)
umadoshi: (mermaid 02)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

"Artists are creating gorgeous mermaid art all #MerMay". [The Daily Dot]

"Rihanna and Lupita Nyong'o will costar in a buddy movie directed by Ava DuVernay for Netflix".

"Josh Boone Says THE NEW MUTANTS Is A Full-Fledged Horror Movie".

"The Origins of Anime: Watch Free Online 64 Animations That Launched the Japanese Anime Tradition". [Open Culture] (Note: I haven't delved into this yet.)


Photography

"How dogs get older: A fascinating and deeply touching photography project".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] larryhammer, "Photographer Uncovers The White Ravens Of Legend In West Coast Forest".

"Fallen Cherry Blossom Petals Fill a Lake in Japan for Naturally Beautiful Scenes From Above".


Miscellaneous

"All The Wrong People Are Asking All The Wrong Questions About Fidget Spinners". [Sarah Kurchak at The Establishment]

Via [flocked], "Angry otter pursues Scottish man". [~40 sec. video]

"A Moose Destroyed a Flowerbed Planted to Celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial". [Atlas Obscura]

"Fairy Princesses And Mermaid Queens Have Been Waiting For These Fishnet Stockings".

"Why Americans Smile So Much".

"Our Mothers as We Never Saw Them". "For me, as for many daughters, the time before my mother became a mother is a string of stories, told and retold: the time she got hit by a car and had amnesia; the time she sold her childhood Barbie to buy a ticket to Woodstock; the time she worked as a waitress at Howard Johnson’s, struggling to pay her way through her first year at Rutgers. The old photos of her are even more compelling than the stories because they’re a historical record, carrying the weight of fact, even if the truth there is slippery: the trick of an image, and so much left outside the frame. These photos serve as a visual accompaniment to the myths. Because any story about your mother is part myth, isn’t it?" There's an accompanying collection of photos on Instagram: [instagram.com profile] mothersbefore.

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] ironymaiden, "I Got Drunk With The Funeral Industry To Find Out What Happens When We Die". [Buzzfeed, 2015] "The Ideal Death Show initially started out in 2011, not as an industry shindig, but as a Six Feet Under fan convention in Bournemouth. It was run by a guy called Brian Jenner, who is a professional speechwriter and not remotely connected to the funeral industry except for this one weird thing. [...] When everyone turned up for the Friday night welcome wake, it was clear that what Jenner had accidentally organised was an industry meeting for people who worked with the dead; undertakers on a busman’s holiday, stood around a cardboard coffin in a room full of lilies.

The next year he stripped away the HBO pretext and just made it that: a bunch of people talking about death, once a year, with other people who know about death. They needed it – death can literally be a lonely business."



Via [dreamwidth.org profile] alisanne:

--"You Can Stay Overnight In A Jail Cell At This Haunted Prison In Canada". (I'll pass, thanks.)

--"10 Beautiful Photos Of Dogs Underwater" by photographer Seth Casteel.

--"I’m A Barista From Korea Who Creates Art On Coffee".

So here I am again

May. 25th, 2017 09:20 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

And this year I did manage to get a massage from the amazing massage therapist at the place on the square, it was quite entirely wonderful.

Yesterday and earlier today it was still quite cool and cloudy, but seems to have warmed up by late afternoon.

Spent a mostly quiet and lazy day before going to the A Room of One's Own Reading.

Have managed to see and have some degree of conversation with the old familiar faces.

Have registered and must now look through the schedule to see what (apart from panels I am actually on) I want to go to.

Really, no news here, pass along.

Loose-leaf Links #40

May. 26th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)
[personal profile] calissa

Australian Grapefruit, Adore Tea, sencha, green tea, Earl Grey Editing, Loose-leaf Links

Loose-leaf Links is a feature where I gather together the interesting bits and pieces on sci-fi, fantasy and romance I’ve come across and share them with you over tea. Today’s tea is Australian Grapefruit from Adore Tea. It tastes like a plain sencha at first, but finishes with a strong citrus aftertaste.

Awards News ) Community and Conventions ) On Equity ) For Writers ) For Readers )

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

Safe Haven

May. 25th, 2017 11:55 am
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

Over the past few months I worked my way through the five seasons of the TV show Haven. In its core structure, it’s basically Yet Another Procedural: each week there’s a mystery, the heroes investigate, the mystery is solved by the end of the episode. But the premise of this one is speculative — an FBI agent discovers weird things going on in a small Maine town — and spec-fic shows usually pair their procedural-ness with at least some degree of metaplot, which I find myself really craving these days. So I figured I would give it a shot.

And for the most part, the structure is indeed conventional. Weird Thing Happens. Audrey Parker (the FBI agent) and Nathan Wuornos (the local cop) investigate. The problem is inevitably being caused by the Troubles, a set of supernatural afflictions that plague many residents of Haven. Our heroes find the Troubled person responsible —

— and then they help that person.

I mean, every so often they do have to arrest somebody or it even ends in death. But overwhelmingly, the focus is on solving the Troubles, not punishing them. In many cases, the person responsible doesn’t realize they’re the source of that week’s weird thing; when they do know, they’re often terrified and unable to stop their Trouble from hurting people. These supernatural abilities trigger because of emotional stimuli, so week after week, you watch Audrey untangle the threads of someone’s psychology until she figures out that they need to accept the fact that a loved one is gone or reconcile with an estranged friend or admit the secret that’s eating away at them, and when they do, their Trouble lets go.

It is amazingly refreshing, after all the procedural shows I’ve seen that involve people with guns using those guns to solve their problems. (There’s a key moment late in the series when the entire Haven PD gets sent out to manage a big outburst of Troubles, and they literally get a speech from the police chief about how the people causing problems aren’t the enemy and need to be helped, not beaten down.) In fact, it’s so refreshing that I was willing to forgive the show’s other flaws. The scripts are often no better than okay, and for the first four seasons the characters are remarkably incurious about the metaplot: they accept that the Troubles show up every twenty-seven years, Audrey is somehow connected to them, etc, but it takes them forever to get around to asking why, much less making a serious effort to find the answers. (In the fifth season the show dives headfirst into the metaplot, and the results are less than satisfying.) Furthermore, if you’re looking for characters of color, you basically won’t find them here. Haven does a pretty poor job in general with secondary characters, often getting rid of them after one season; I can only think of two people who get added to the cast after the first episode that stick around instead of getting booted out of the plot.

But the character dynamics are pretty engaging, some of the episodes have a pretty clever premise . . . and it’s a show about helping people. About resolving problems through addressing their underlying causes. About how, if somebody has a Trouble but they’ve figured out ways to manage it without hurting anybody, you clap them on the back and move on to someone who’s having more difficulty. There’s a good-hearted quality to the show’s basic concept that kept me interested even when I could have been watching something with better dialogue but less compassion.

More compassion, please. We need it.

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

Going to Wiscon after all

May. 25th, 2017 01:27 pm
pameladean: (Default)
[personal profile] pameladean
No doubt I should have posted something earlier, but we've had memberships and a hotel room for the past several years and yet it was not actually feasible to go. But this year, if I get off the computer and finish my lunch and finish packing, Eric and I will be at Wiscon. We hope to arrive in time for the Gathering, or a good portion of it.

Pamela

Lando and Cap and me

May. 25th, 2017 12:55 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Look, I am only a casual superhero comics fan, but here’s my sideline/peripheral take:

When I was two years old, Lando Calrissian betrayed his friends to the Empire. And then he thought better of it and became a good guy again. Two years old. I don’t actually remember experiencing this story for the first time, it’s a thing that entered my brain through cultural osmosis and repetition. I am now almost thirty-nine.

Why do I bring this up?

Because “maybe someone you thought was good is actually bad! but wait, no, they’re actually good again!” is not a new story for anyone who is an adult now. We have all done this one. It is not daring and new, it is not a shocking twist, it is–in fact–kind of the default. Yes, yes, who can you trust, anyone might turn out to be blah blah whatev.

We have never experienced a Superman without a kind of kryptonite that can turn him evil. We have never had a hero without shades of gray. And I’m not suggesting that we should do a ton of that. I’m not suggesting that abandoning nuance is the way to go. I’m just suggesting that “the ground beneath your feet is shifting! who should you trust!” is yeah, yeah, yeah, pretty old hat to more than one generation in a row by now. So you really need something better than that if you’re going to try to convince readers that you have something great up your sleeve. As far as twists go, this is as twisty as “maybe they’re all dead we promise they’re not oh wait they are.” Other people have made the moral arguments already, the arguments based on character background/origins. I find them pretty compelling. I just wanted to say, also? it’s really sad when you go to shock people with things that have been standard templates for longer than they’ve been alive. It relies on one of us not paying attention, and buddy, it’s not me this time.

umadoshi: (Saiyuki nobody's saviors (oyceter))
[personal profile] umadoshi
If we ignore the fact that I'm behind where I'd like to be on the work front (meep), I've gotten a reasonable amount of adulting done in the last 24 hours or so. I have:

--been to see Lawyer Friend with [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and signed a heap of financial paperwork;

--voted in the advance polls for the provincial election (which is this coming Tuesday);

--called (CALLED, with the despicable VOICE APP) to follow up with the library branch where I returned the book last week (the library staff member who picked up was awesome);

--successfully ordered a Slasher Chicks tank top from Unicorn Empire (tomorrow is the last day to order, y'all), which I'm counting as adulting because it got stressful when there was a period of many hours when the tank top option vanished, and I really want that and not either of the t-shirts (and okay, the shop didn't respond when I asked about it on Facebook, but the tank top did eventually reappear and I still asked, which is hard for me);

--tweeted at the local community net to ask after my still-unanswered/unverified "please renew my account" email (a small thing, but again, stressful);

--done a fair bit of laundry.


Okay, that's not actually as long a list as I'd hoped, but some weeks you take what you can get. And now I'm gonna get to work.

Bibliothèque Municipale d’Epinal

May. 25th, 2017 09:03 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

On my first day at Les Imaginales, a pair of librarians came up and invited me to visit the Epinal Library. What I didn’t realize — they may have mentioned it and I just missed it — was that they were giving us a private tour of the rare books room.

Epinal Library Rare Books Room

It was amazing. One of the true highlights of my trip to France. My interpreter Lionel, an author himself, was as awestruck as I was. Especially when they brought out the first book. If I’m remembering right, this was from the 8th century.

8th century religious text

The next one wasn’t quite as old…being from the 9th century. This Gospel of Saint Mark was a youthful 1200 years old.

Gospel of St. Mark: 9th Century

The cover is metal and ivory. I’m not sure what kind of jewels those are. The circular areas on the corners were for holding relics. Here’s a glimpse of the interior:

Gospel of St. Mark: Interior

You can see the full set of photos on Flickr. (Or you may have already seen them on Facebook.) It was such a wonderful experience. My thanks to everyone at Bibliothèque Municipale d’Epinal for their time and generosity.

I’ll end with a map of Michigan from one of the books that was “only” a few centuries old. Michigan sure looked different in the old days…

Map of Michigan

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Gobsmacked!

May. 25th, 2017 11:20 am
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon

Theresa May just announced on national TV she's going to give Trump a bollocking over leaked intelligence.

That's an unprecedented level of criticism.

After the Papal slapping yesterday, when he was very pointedly given a copy of the Encyclical on Climate Change, Trump's not having the greatest  European trip.

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