No, I don't get this

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:09 pm
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)
[personal profile] oursin

Someone asking about the current location of a particular collection that was obliged to find a new home, via the FaceBook page set up at the time of the threat to its existing home a couple of years back.

The first four hits (including the relevant Wikipedia entry) if you google for 'The - -' refer to its current location.

I don't even.

ETA Also, people who post conference CFPs without giving the date of the actual conference.

The Falcon and Snap Wilson

Jul. 22nd, 2014 04:46 pm
starwolf_oakley: (Default)
[personal profile] starwolf_oakley posting in [community profile] scans_daily
CAPTAIN AMERICA #276-278 contained a three part backup story called "Snapping" about Sam Wilson and his time as "Snap" Wilson. It isn't really a Falcon story, as Sam is only the Falcon in one panel. It is also by the same writer, J.M. DeMatteis, and artist, Mike Zeck, as the main story.

Who am I? )

The Irony Patrol

Jul. 22nd, 2014 01:46 pm
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
[personal profile] onyxlynx

what I'm reading, about to read

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:45 am
19_crows: (Default)
[personal profile] 19_crows
The Fault In Our Stars, John Green.

I can't say how well this book portrays teenagers with cancer because I'm not one, but a friend whose niece did have cancer really liked it and said he got it right. It really felt like he did - the guilt that Hazel, the 17 year old narrator, feels about that pain her death is going to cause her parents; her parents' smothering and hovering; her wise-beyond-her-years cynical attitude.

I liked it; both Hazel and Augustus are utterly charming and dear (and yet feel realistic because Augustus reminds me of my godson) and it's a sweet story. I was glad it was more than that, too, with some twists and turns and suspense.

The one thing I didn't like, ironically, was Augustus' feelings for Hazel. To instantly fall into a crush and after what, three or four get-togethers, want to do a life-changing thing for her - it's certainly romantic, but for me that's not love. They don't even know each other well enough to really be in love. It was almost like Twilight though not as creepy because at least Hazel is smart and interesting in ways Bella can only dream of. But at this point in the story, Augustus doesn't even know her well enough to know how smart, etc., she is.

I think you have to know somebody for a while and see them at their worst - these two don't even have any fights, for god's sake. Maybe this is a YA convention I'm not used to. Hazel's doubts and slow realization of her feelings felt more right. So the ending wasn't the glorious climax for me that I suppose it was for other people. That's okay, I found plenty to like. But I don't think I'll bother re-reading this and a friend's son wants it, so that works out fine.

Now I'm reading 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann, and I'm really enjoying it. Been a while since I read a history book.

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

Jul. 22nd, 2014 12:51 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
img-wild-seed_172727879335

Science fiction has a long, colourful tradition of books about people with very special powers, abilities focused in specific privileged lineages through extended eugenics programs. See, for example, Doc Smith's Lensmen series, Heinlein's Howard Family stories and Larry Niven's Known Space. Generally being a participant in these programs isn't a bad thing, even though it constrains one's choice of mates somewhat, and I cannot help but feel the fact most of the authors who come to mind are white and middle or even upper class – not the groups usually subjected to such programs, upper class inbreeding aside – plays a role in how the whole affair is portrayed.

I think it is safe to say Octavia Butler, one of the very very few African American science fiction writers active in the 1970s, had an entirely different model in the back of her mind as to how the whole directed breeding program would work out in real life. Until about 1865 [1] the US had a distinct population whose activities were overtly closely monitored and closely controlled; a pattern that just leaps out at anyone who isn't a mouth-breathing libertarian or worse is that despite whatever the propaganda of the day said, the program was not being run for the benefit of its subjects. Read more... )
oursin: Frankie Howerd, probably in Up Pompeii, overwritten Don't Mock (Don't Mock)
[personal profile] oursin

Via a comment in yesterday's post by [personal profile] hunningham:
How to Read More: The Simple System I’m Using to Read 30+ Books Per Year

It is to point and mock at Little Mr Gradgrind, C21st incarnation:

Now, there are plenty of excellent articles on the web, but generally speaking, the quality of good books is better. Books typically have better writing (more tightly edited) and higher quality information (better fact-checking and more extensive research). From a learning perspective, it’s probably a better use of my time to read books than to read online content.

I might feel more confident about this if I didn't think he was using this time to read Really Useful Books of a kind that will become obsolescent very fast (the sort of thing I see all over airport bookshops).
I usually wake up, drink a glass of water, write down 3 things I’m grateful for, and read 20 pages of a book.... As of today, I’m 100 pages into my 7th book. At that pace (7 books per 10 weeks) I’ll read about 36 books in the next year. Not bad.

Here’s why I think this pattern works: 20 pages is small enough that it’s not intimidating. Most people can finish reading 20 pages within 30 minutes. And if you do it first thing in the morning, then the urgencies of the day don’t get in the way.

Finally, 20 pages seems small but adds up fast. It’s a great average speed.

If time allows, I’ll read at other times as well.... But regardless of what happens during the rest of the day, I still get my 20 pages in each morning.

While working out on his treadmill and glugging down a nutritious breakfast smoothie of kale and blueberries, no doubt.
What if you woke up an hour before you needed to each day and worked on yourself? How much better would you be at work, in your relationships, and as a person?

How much trying to keep my eyes open would I be?

We do not think that the concept that reading can be a pleasure and something one does not grind through at a 20-page a day rate (honestly, that sounds like the reading-reducing maintenance diet for the reading addict, no?) but pursues avidly in any spare moment has really crossed his horizon: '[I]nvest in yourself. Before your life turns into a whirlwind of activity, read a book that will make you better.'

I sure hope this young man does not come across one of the pieces abou the value of playfulness - such as this one encountered recently - because he'll then have to schedule in some time to be freely and spontaneously playful. Or his head might explode...

Give the guy a P G Wodehouse and see what happens.

Though, ghastly though the above may be, I am also vaguely creeped out by this: Outlaw Catalog of Cagey Optimism. No, really, I am not entirely on board with the concepts such as:

* AGGRESSIVE SENSITIVITY. Animated by a strong determination to be receptive and empathetic.

* ALIGNMENT WITH THE INFINITY OF THE MOMENT. Reveling in the liberating realization that we are all exactly where we need to be at all times, even if some of us are temporarily in the midst of trial or tribulation, and that human evolution is proceeding exactly as it should, even if we can't see the big picture of the puzzle that would clarify how all the pieces fit together perfectly.

which make me want to bop him one with a codfish on which I had tastefully calligraphed Desiderata ('Go placidly amidst this, punk').

Blog tour schedule

Jul. 22nd, 2014 06:02 am
[syndicated profile] asknicola_feed

Posted by Nicola Griffith

In honour of Hild's UK publication, I have lots of stuff—essays, interviews, reviews—going up this week on other people's blogs, starting today:
If you like anything, especially something someone else has written, do please leave them a comment.

I'll do my best to post links on Twitter and Facebook as things go up, but I might miss a few. So, just in case, here's the schedule:

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2014 07:18 am
copperbadge: (bombpetence)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Last night was the first night I spent without company in the new place. It was...strange.

I grew up relatively poor, and I'm not exactly wealthy now, but I can afford a standard of living that I haven't had in a long time, in terms of the size and quality of my home. This apartment is so nice and in such a good place and has so many cool little features that it makes me really nervous. I'm afraid that there's some hidden flaw in the place, or (realistically; it's at the upper end of my rent window) that I won't be able to afford it long term, that I'll be fired and won't be able to afford it at all (unrealistic; I'm good at my job, I haven't done anything to deserve it) or that something terrible will happen as a sort of supernatural retribution. I suspect some of this has to do with undergoing a major personal upheaval in my family when I was eleven -- going from safety to instability in more or less a heartbeat -- but some of it is brain chemistry.

It's terrible to live with mental illness sometimes, of course, but for me some of the terrible is the amount of superstition that goes into my life. If I do X or Y, I'll get result Z, at least I believe, even if X and Y AND Z are unrelated. When you live like that, if something goes wrong, even if it realistically wasn't in your control, it still feels as though it's your fault. I try to break as much of the habit as I can, but I still free-floating worry that because I feel secure and stable (and because I talk about it) something awful is about to happen to make up for it.

I spent a significant portion of yesterday afternoon reading Crowded House, one of the Top 25 New Yorker Free Articles from Longform.org. It's about a disastrous attempt by a hundred different people to sublet one apartment from a scam artist, and what they went through trying to get their money back. Then I had to stop, because I was working myself up into some kind of state.

Everything will be fine. The appliances work, the apartment is price-appropriate, and if something breaks I'm capable of fixing it (I've already fixed the showerhead). I have earned what I have, and while luck may have helped, I put in the work so that it could. I'm just going to keep telling myself that until I believe it.

Mark Reads ‘Mort’: Part 6

Jul. 22nd, 2014 12:00 pm
[syndicated profile] markreadsstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Reads

In the sixth part of Mort, Mort makes a mistake. A colossal mistake. A WORLD-ALTERING MISTAKE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Mort.

Oh, lord, how is Mort going to fix this? HOW?

The Abbot

Going through this a second time after reading it makes it clear that Mort was trying to do his best. He’s nearly late for the 88th abbot of the Holy Listeners, but he makes it there! And let me take a brief moment to acknowledge how cool the Listeners are. It’s an absurd creation, but I unironically like what the do??? I actually kind of wanted to see if Pratchett would deliver on the set-up with some hilarious joke about what it was the Creator actually said when he made the universe. That being said, it was totally worth it for that “Keep the bloody noise down!” line, too.

Anyway, I’d actually forgotten that Death had said that the second person Mort would be claiming had died multiple times. That makes the abbot the second reincarnated person on the Disc, yes? Since Billet reincarnated as an ant at the end of Equal Rites. The whole thing is a lot more confusing for Mort, and it made me realize that perhaps Death gave him three super challenging deaths to deal with, not easy ones. A witch, a reincarnating abbot, and the very princess he saw when King Olerve died. All of them are a bit out of the ordinary to someone who has been taking… well, normal mortal life. And Princess Keli in particular has a death that I think Death should have realized would trigger Mort’s sense of compassion.

Regardless, after leaving the abbot in a town nearby to await being born, he heads to his last death for the evening. (Did I understand it correctly that the abbot had been reincarnating into the same job as an abbot over and over again?) He does so, and Pratchett dooms him before he even starts:

Mort, feeling that the night had thrown everything at him and couldn’t get any worse, turned it around carefully to get a glimpse of the name.

So, did Mort recognize the name? I’m guessing he didn’t, since there was no way he could know something like that. Did he recognize the castle as Binky approached it? At what point did Mort decide that he couldn’t take this girl’s life? It had to be before Mort entered Keli’s room, given that Mort and Binky burst dramatically into the castle. And when he does, Mort brings the scythe down on the assassin set to kill Princess Keli. He takes someone else’s life to spare Keli. And lord, Pratchett wastes no time pointing out what a mess this is. Mort can’t figure what he’s safe to tell Keli because WHAT DO YOU SAY IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS? Even if he could explain everything, Mort was told by Death that you couldn’t stop something like this, but Mort did it. He altered fate, and given what we know of how Fate feels about his plans being fucked with, I don’t think it’s going to be long until this has horrible ramifications for Mort.

And there are immediate affects for him, though they mostly center around his own guilt. When he gets back home, he confirms in Princess Keli’s biography that she was supposed to die at fifteen and that her death was supposed to be a pivotal moment in the development of politics in the region. Instead of telling Death or Albert or Ysabell about what he’s done, he quietly sulks about the house. He has an awkward conversation with Albert. He hides Keli’s biography, which is incredibly foolish and pointless. He takes a temporary comfort in knowing that other biographies are still writing themselves, which he reasons means that “the universe was running smoothly.” For now, that is.

It’s when Pratchett switches point of view to Keli that we begin to understand just how ruinous Mort’s actions are. Full stop, her section here overshadows this whole thing I read for this review! It’s haunting and thrilling, y’all, and it’s also one of the most disturbing things Pratchett’s written thusfar. (Relative to me, I should state, because I always forget that I’m the one who is new to this, not most of you.) At first, I believed that Keli’s presence in a world where she was supposed to have died created only a few weird inconsistencies. People in the kingdom woke up believing that she had died, only to suddenly realize that they didn’t know why they were behaving as they were. But for Keli herself? It’s a billion times worse. People do not see her. It reminded me of the phenomenon that Death described that allowed him, Binky, and Mort to move about in the mortal world without being detected. People look at Keli, but because she was supposed to have died, their brains tell them that it is illogical that she is standing or sitting before them. Her experience at lunch IS NOT FUNNY AT ALL. It’s nightmarish!!!

And it only gets worse. She tries to have a conversation with her maid, and it’s about as disastrous as you would expect. The maid’s attention drifts constantly, and then she has to fight to accept the reality of Keli’s existence despite that her mind is telling her otherwise. Because she has no other rational explanation for all of this, she latches on to the one thing that might help her sort this mess out: magic. I mean, it’s not like Mort gave her a guide to deal with her fate-defying life, you know? It’s not like he knew what his actions would do to her life! Which is the point. Mort had the best of intentions in saving her life, but guess what? HE’S DEFINITELY MADE IT WORSE THAN IT WAS.

So, given that all Keli has to go on is “magic” and…. nothing. Nothing else. She visits a familiar face: CUTWELL. It’s time for MORE WIZARDRY. And I have no doubt that Cutwell won’t be able to help at all.

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Mark Links Stuff

- If you would like to support this website and keep Mark Does Stuff running, I’ve put up a detailed post explaining how you can!
- Please check out the MarkDoesStuff.com. All Mark Watches videos for past shows/season are now archived there!
- My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often.
- I will be at quite a few conventions and will be hosting numerous events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe in 2014. Please check my Tour Dates/Appearances page often to see if I’m coming to your city!
- Inspired by last year’s impromptu park event in London, I am taking Mark in the Park on the road! You can see all the currently-planned dates and pitch your own city here.

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:00 am
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
first thing i'm doing when the bandages come off today: scratching everything

second thing: putting my wrist back in place (it's been partially out for like 2 days)

third thing: washing my hands, omg, hibiclens wipes do not fucking cut it omg.

Unnatural act

Jul. 22nd, 2014 07:39 am
supergee: (alchemy)
[personal profile] supergee
Birth control is one of the best parts of human exceptionalism. We can use our unique abilities in language and science to ensure that our females don't keep dropping babies till they drop dead.

They are all connected

Jul. 22nd, 2014 06:42 am
supergee: (eye-pyramid)
[personal profile] supergee
Wikipedia links to the page on Robert Anton Wilson.

Thanx to RAW Illumination.

Movies get it wrong again

Jul. 22nd, 2014 06:35 am
supergee: (bs)
[personal profile] supergee
There's going to be a flick about how the friendship between J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis was "poisoned by jealousy, paranoia, and creative and religious differences." [livejournal.com profile] kalimac knows better.

Thanx to Tor.com.

A much-abbreviated list of woe

Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:57 am
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Lost a nice long draft entry about today's shenanigans to a bluescreen. Woe.

Weekend: laundry.
In the service of laundry, ran into a neighbor in the laundry room, chatted. The "doing fireworks" line came up.

Purple was more quiet than usual at lunch, but there was still hilarity. I will sometimes say "come over here so I can hit you" even when I'm sitting right within range, but don't feel like even symbolically punching him. He teased me about it, but very quietly. (I was glad I was sitting next to him rather than across or kitty-corner as is often the case, because he was that quiet, and it's generally pretty loud.) Eventually it came out that he was in a significant amount of pain from a known source. Later there were sheepish fistbumps of solidarity.

Friday marked the launch of the new helpdesk software. One of the things that disappeared in the bluescreen was an unsaved list of mild grievances I have filed against the new software.

Purple: do you ever like new software though?
Azz: ... I, uh. The new Kipper/Llama?
Purple: That doesn't count. that was an update.

Manager: They're getting a lot of people to buy it, somehow! Like one of the guys from [2nd Thursday].
Azz: *squinches eyes, searches* Oh! [firstname lastname, company]
Manager: One of these days your head is going to explode from all the pointless trivia.
Azz: *concedes the point*

I think the two worst are that you don't get an email receipt of your ticket until it's triaged, and that you can't link it to your buddy unless you add them to the ticket. Mr. Zune is regretful, as reading my tickets is a minor source of entertainment.

Purple is expected to be working from home tomorrow afternoon, and then working from home another day due to internet techs paying a visit or some such. It will be more quiet than usual, I suppose!

My manager nearly gave me a heart attack when she said "Friday is my last day," and then paused before continuing "before my vacation." She had advice on the things that get filtered into side boxes; my suggestion that she set a filter to override if the subject contained "READ READ READ" resulted in uproarious and possibly mutinous laughter.

The dude came to test the noise levels in our wing just as the jelly doughnut-based hilarity reached peak. He'll get a quote on insulating the walls against the noise.

Catching up on Arts & Letters Daily

Jul. 22nd, 2014 05:45 am
supergee: (thinking)
[personal profile] supergee
Bertrand Russell didn't quite get it right.

"tavern-botherer, whoremaster and libertine": I'm afraid I will always imagine the Earl of Rochester's name in Jack Benny's voice

A philosophers' catfight

Evangelical atheists

Slightly belated anniversary

Jul. 22nd, 2014 08:43 am
oursin: Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing in his new coat (Brush the wandering hedgehog dancing)
[personal profile] oursin

For some reason I tend to think it was 21st, and it was 20th, July when I first got onto LJ, 11 years ago (and yesterday got eaten by a migraine).

Both 'time flies when you're having fun' and 'that seems like a very long time', and certainly there has been a lot of water under many bridges since then.

And so many things that would not have happened if I hadn't.

Hands round glasses of whatever beverage seems suitable and seasonal to you all and raises one myself.

Poem: "Friendship Is Important"

Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:12 am
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is kind of an elegy, thus posted free. It fills the "coma" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )

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