Not posting

Dec. 4th, 2016 08:35 pm
paranoidangel: PA (PA)
[personal profile] paranoidangel

I've been putting off posting because I've been feeling guilty for not having really done anything. My productive writing October turned into not really writing November.

The story written for me for Public Call went live:
This Definitely Isn't Croydon (1196 words) by ginger_timelady
Fandom: Doctor Who & Related Fandoms
Characters: Sarah Jane Smith, Harry Sullivan
Summary: The Doctor has left Sarah Jane on Earth, and it isn't in Croydon. Yet somehow, it's where she needs to be.

I got through season 1 of The West Wing. And then took ages before I started season 2 and felt guilty for leaving Josh dying on the pavement for that long.

This weekend I went to the Albert Hall to see the tennis. The trains were horribly busy, which I seem to remember hating last year too. So the journey was horrible, but the tennis was fun. There was one particularly hilarious point with the exhibition doubles where all four players ended up on the same side of the net.

Hawkeye equivalent was everyone in the crowd holding up a sign saying In or Out and the umpire deciding which there was more of. Santoro was a bit miffed that the crowd were on Rusedski's side. They were even more on Bahrami's side, who successfully challenged a ball that was a long way out. He hit two balls up so high they didn't come back.

Mirrored from my blog.

spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Fossils on Ynys Echni, aka Flat Holm island, the southern point of Wales in the Bristol Channel: (1) trace fossils or geology, I dunno, (2) fossilised ripples, (3) a ancient member of the evil gastropod conspiracy from the dawn of time!!1!!

1 Trace fossils or geology, Flat Holm beach, 10-16

- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: if we're pretending this is based on a pre-existing religious story (did C.S. Lewis explicitly endorse this reading anywhere?) then it's closer to a perversion of the story of lion-powered, underworld-visiting, Inanna/Ishtar as Aslan with her sister Ereshkigal miscast as Jadis than it is to Jesus versus the Devil, surely? Also, if Lewis had intended a specifically Christian allegory then he presumably wouldn't have given the baddie Jadis a name so close to Jesus? I vaguely tried googling to find if anyone else had suggested this but the results weren't promising so YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST (or probably not). ALSO does the propaganda shovelled out by well-known fraudster Donald Trump's "deplorable" supporters count as "Deplorable Words" that will end all life except theirs? ;-)

2 Fossil sea bed ripples, Flat Holm beach, 10-16

- Reading, books 2016, 214

191. Goldie Vance, vol.1, by Hope Larson, Brittney Williams, and Sarah Stern, 2016, is a girls' own graphic novel featuring 16 year old girl investigator Marigold "Goldie" Vance, who works as a parking valet at the Florida resort hotel managed by her father. This book contains a completed mystery story with several subplots, all of which work, and introduces a whole cast of fully fleshed-out characters. It's set in about the early 1960s but this is a fictional Golden Age past as seen through a mildly genre-skewed lens of girl investigator meets detective/spy/science fiction/romance. The primary romance is lesbian, the protagonist is Black (mixed race as her mother is a mermaid white, although she lives with her Dad who is Black), the first white character is introduced on page seven, and although the art is classicly toony people's body shapes are more realistic than not. Brittney Williams' art is perfect on every page and I was sold on this comic because the kid's facial expressions in panels 3-5 made me laugh even before the scene was set and the characters were introduced (also reminded me of Giles and other classic comic strips). Sarah Stern's colouring is good too with many pages featuring people with widely varying but realistic skin-shades. (5/5 and 5 preview pages at The Mary Sue)

• On a choice of leisure destination, lol: "Lime Street? Why not! We always see someone we know." LOL, yes. [/in-joke]

3 Fossil ammonites, Flat Holm beach, 10-16

(no subject)

Dec. 3rd, 2016 11:02 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
The site slowdown tonight (Saturday night) is due to database load -- Saturday nights are one of our busiest times and we're still going to need to do some performance tweaks to our new setup over the next few days as we run into load issues. (Some problems only show up once all y'all start banging on the site!) We've made a few changes now that will improve things for some people, and will do a more permanent fix later on tonight or tomorrow morning once the traffic dies down, since doing it now would just increase database load.

Site performance may continue to be rocky on and off for the next few days until we get everything tuned the way it needs to be tuned -- thank you for your patience!

Saturday linkdump

Dec. 3rd, 2016 05:20 pm
snickfic: (Default)
[personal profile] snickfic
* Trump syllabus - extensive reading list for context on Trump-related issues (via [syndicated profile] stop_trump_feed)

* "It's unprecedented in our history": Trump's election inspired millions in nonprofit donations - sometimes just seeing numbers is really validating

* All Resistance is Local: A Plan of Progressive Action for the Trump Years - this has fascinating ideas that I would like to explore more. I wish there were a reading list attached.

* Finally, another rec for #ACALLADAY, which continues to be a fantastic mix of news, calls to action, and recommended reading.

Reading Saturday

Dec. 3rd, 2016 10:11 pm
dhampyresa: (Default)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
READING

What did you finish reading

2015

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Asgard, by Rick Riordan: It's been ages since I read this, given that I read it when it came out, way back in October 2015. Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot. Sam was my favourite and I remember being pretty down with the Loki characterisation. (And now I can go buy the sequel.)

The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan: I read this in early 2015! I am so bad at this reading Wednesday thing lately, wow. (But now I've officially talked about everything I readin 2015. Woohoo!) I also enjoyed this, but the worldbuilding didn't work quite as well for me here as it did in the other series(es) of Riordan's I've read. Also, I did not expect as much Isis/Seth shipping fodder as I got (it's my crackship of Egyptian mythos).


Tbh my fellings about both of the above are that they're pretty much exactly what one would expect of "Rick Riordan Does Norse Myths" and "Rick Riordan Does Egyptian Myths" respectively, so for people who like that sort of thing, it is the sort of thing that they like. /is a person who likes that sort of thing, is a case in point


2016

Everything below the cut is stuff I read at various points this year and didn't talk about already. I'm going to try my best to get through the whole list before the end of the year, but if you want to hear about anything in priority, don't hesitate to ask. With the exception of The Grass King's Concubine, they're all comics.

List )


What are you reading now

Have made no progress on:
Contes et récits de l'histoire de Carthage by Jean Defrasne
Paris fais nous peur: 100 lieux du crime, de l'étrange et de l'irrationnel, by Claudine Hourcadette et Marc Lemonier
Warhorses by Yusef Komunyakaa
La Controverse de Valladolid by Jean-Claude Carrière

However! I have been re-reading Les Quatre de Baker Street in preparation of buying volume 7 soon (thoughts forthcoming) and I have missed these kids (+ cat) so much! There are so many great moments, but I think my favourite(s) is Charlie being the one to see through Holmes' disguise(s). At least in the first 3, which is as far as I've gotten this re-read so far. Volume 5 has my favourite panel, in which Billy and Charlie as scrambling out the window in a desperate move and run into Tom, who is just casually entering through the window. AS YOU DO.


Sophonisbe, by Pierre Corneille: CORNEILLE WROTE A PLAY ON THE SECOND PUNIC WAR AND NOBODY TOLD ME?! Anyway, I listened to the production on the France Culture website and daaaaaaaaaaamn that is one hella good play. In places I had to refer to the text on Wikisource, because I'm not great at voices. (All translations below by me.)

The play follows the broad lines of history. Before the play, Sophonisba (daughter of a General of Carthage) was going to marry Massinissa (Numidian king) and they were in love with each other. Unfortunately, Massinissa allied himself with the Romans, which lead Sophonisba to follow her head over her heart and marry Syphax, a Numidian king allied with Carthage, instead. The amount of choice she had in making this decision is something she doesn't always think of as the same. Within the play Sophonisba encourages Syphax to fight Laelius' army, allied with MAssinissa. Syphax loses, Massinissa and Sophonisba sort-of maybe get married and things degenerate.

I guess you could say it's a play about how far people are willing to go/what they're ready to sacrifice for love, power or pride.

This play gave me an even better appreciation of Sophonisbe and quite frankly everybody in it is a flawed and complex human being, but her most of all. *adopts characterisation wholesale*

I was surprisingly fond of Laelius. He starts off a lot harsher than I usually think of him, but then it becomes obvious that he's trying to be 'bad cop' (to Scipio's presumed 'good cop') and at one point he stops that and starts trying to make everyone happy, or failing that, making sure they stay alive.

Neither Hannibal nor Scipio appear in the play, but their presence is felt. Scipio's especially.

I liked that there seemed to be a fundamental cultural misunderstanding between the Romans and the Carthaginians/Numidians. The latter take it as read that Syphax' capture makes his marriage to Sophonisba null and void while the Romans are like "Married's married, what the hell?".

(Also, I ended up shipping Laelius/Massinissa and Massinissa/Scipio -- Sophonisba literally tells him "Vous aimez Lélius, vous aimez Scipion" / "You love Laelius, you love Scipio" OKAY -- and Scipio/Sophonisba -- idk, there's this whole thing about getting Scipio to marry Sophonisba himself to keep her safe and what if.)

The entire thing's in verse and there are more rhymes with Carthage than I expected! My favourite is "suffrage". But I also really love "En un mot, j’ai reçu du ciel pour mon partage / L’aversion de Rome et l’amour de Carthage." ("In one word I have received as my lot from above / From Rome dilike and from Carthage love") because oh, Sophonisba.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of SICK BURNS in this play. Seriously, it is fucking savage by moments. At the end of Act 1, for example, Sophonisba has this to say to Syphax: "Je vous répondrais bien qu’après votre trépas / Ce que je deviendrai ne vous regarde pas" ("I would tell you that after your demise / What happens to me is for you to surmise"). Damn girl, find you some chill.

The line that's been stuck in my head since I listened to the play is from Laelius (to Massinissa), though. "Ce n’est qu’à leurs pareils à suivre leurs exemples ; / Et vous ferez comme eux quand vous aurez des temples". Laelius is referring to the gods with "leurs" so it translate more or less to "Only their equals can follow the gods' examples / You might do the same if you had temples". (NOBODY HAS ANY CHILL.)


I also listened to Neil Gaiman's How the Marquis Got His Coat Back, a short-ish Neverwhere sequel. It was okay. The plot twists/reveals could be seen from space, though.


I also listened to a bunch of podcasts but idk if these fit here or in the Watcing Monday posts or somewhere else or what.


What are you reading next

To-read list )


spiralsheep: Sheep wearing an eyepatch (spiralsheep Ram Raider mpfc)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Disability rights, UK, reminder: if you receive disability benefits from the UK government (e.g. the DWP) then from 29 Nov 2016, i.e. last week, you will probably be safer from snooping by using a VPN connection for ALL your internet browsing: at home or via a mobile device. Also remember that no library internet connection has any security from snooping by the DWP &c. Using a VPN doesn't protect you from being specifically targetted for surveillance if you're under suspicion of criminal activity, obv, but it's currently the first line of defence against casual opportunistic snooping being applied to every disability benefits claimant. People who don't use VPNs will be at the top of the list to be snooped first because they're easier targets. This is even more important for disability activists who might already have come to the attention of the DWP and could be prioritised for snooping. Imagine being subjected to losing your benefits indefinitely until a tribunal appeal at which your reading of [example1: sports websites] or [example2: travel websites] is held up as evidence against you, especially because the evidence is currently limited to the name of the website only, and you would need to immediately justify your participation in convincing evidential detail. This isn't some vague dystopian future. This applies NOW. Don't risk being a test case.

- The frost here last week was thick and white enough at midday to look like snow for two days running!

- Reading, books 2016, 211

189. The Faithful Servants, by Margery Sharp, 1975, is a novel, or suite of interconnected short stories, beginning in 1860 and continuing through to the early 1970s. It isn't Ms Sharp's best novel but it's a wide-ranging look at the subject of women in household service outside the context of work, which is at least as interesting for its perspectives on social history as for the characters and their stories beginning with a brief mention of Victorian lesbians (which is the best way to begin, obv). The end brought sentimental leftist tears to my eyes. (3.5/5)

• Although the meaning was clear from context I had to look up "defalcate", which means embezzle.
• pg 65 & 71 & 77 & 78 A Black sex-worker popular with upper class clients in pre-First World War London (and again I wonder when the incorrect meme claiming there were no Black people in England began and spread despite the influence of popular bestsellers relating more realistic histories).
• Am I allowed to count Hugh Wycombe as a joke name? /High Wycombe
• pg 132-146 three mixed race children, including 13 year old Myrna (and creepy white people who want to exploit her sexually).
• pg 165 Casual mention of a German Jewish refugee.
• pg 187 In praise of the Beveridge Plan, i.e. National Health Service and Social Security, aka the "Welfare State".
• pg 194 Mention of abortion on the National Health.
• pg 202 Miss Alice Pettigrew, lady's maid, receives charity (which might be a comment on another well-known novel because that's part of Ms Sharp's observational style).

Imprudence, by Gail Carriger (1/5) )

D&D

Dec. 3rd, 2016 03:30 am
settiai: (D&D -- settiai)
[personal profile] settiai
Well, that was interesting. (A lot of fun! But, well, interesting. In a "does that count as a tpk or not?" kind of way.)

Our DM has lost her voice, so we were going to cancel our Friday D&D game at the last minute. One of the other players (our rogue) volunteered to throw together a oneshot, though, less than two hours before the normal start time. We all readily agreed to that idea and went to come up with new characters. Well, mostly. More on that in a minute.

I stuck with playing a cleric, since I didn't want to have to learn a completely new class for a oneshot (and, while I like playing a rogue on Tuesdays, tonight's game was with Level 2 characters and rogues... aren't that great at that level). Instead of one of the usual races, though, I went with a tabaxi now that they're a playable 5e race. And I went with Trickery Domain instead of Knowledge Domain, which was actually a hell of a lot of fun.

As I said before, our halfling rogue was the DM. Our gnome barbarian played a dragonborn warlock for this game (specifically "Augustus Hailfire from Draconia", a blue dragonborn - and those of you who watch Critical Role would probably recognize the voice and mannerisms :-P). Our elf wizard was a dwarf paladin. And our half-elf bard... well, he was actually the exact same half-elf bard that he always plays, just as a 9-year-old rather than a 20something. No, really.

To give you an idea as to how the game went, let me post a few tweets that I made last night:
The cleric's dead, two people have jumped down a hole, and the paladin's holding a giant spider by a fang. This D&D oneshot is going well.

The paladin has now managed to yank the fang off of the spider and is using it as an improvised dagger. Or, at least, he's trying.

And now the paladin is riding on top of the spider's body, Dr. Strangelove-style, as they fall towards a giant underground lake. As you do.

The cleric's dead, the warlock's unconscious, the paladin's at 1HP, the random myconid we saved is at 1HP, and the bard's almost drowning.

They're trying to decide which NPC to follow: the dwarf who wants to go to the surface or the myconid that wants to go deeper underground.

Apparently they're following the myconid, with the unconscious dragonborn being dragged behind them because nobody can heal him.

So... the cleric (who died first) was the only character that didn't let the myconid into her head.

All of the others trusted it. And the oneshot ended with the surviving characters being brainwashed into becoming part of the hivemind.

So, yes, the game clearly went well. :-P

(Seriously, though, it was a lot of fun! And very, very, very impressive for something that was thrown together in less than an hour.)
umadoshi: (Ahiru determined (fritters))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

"The Doubleclicks Release 2 Amazing STEVEN UNIVERSE Covers". [I haven't investigated this, since I still haven't seen the show.]

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] st_aurafina, "The Cast Of Criminal Minds Like You've Never Seen Before". [18 photos, slideshow]

[dreamwidth.org profile] seasonofkink is running a Holiday Season of Kink again, in which you create a fanwork using at least three kinks from their list, with a February 14 deadline.

[dreamwidth.org profile] fandom_stocking's sign-up post is open!

[dreamwidth.org profile] genprompt_bingo is open for sign-ups.

"Not Without You - A Stucky Anthology" is "a printed anthology of over 300 pages of artwork, comics, and illustrated stories from over 50 contributors celebrating the relationship between Steve Rogers & Bucky Barnes", and its Kickstarter will be launching January 1.

"Hugh Jackman, Fox 2000 Team for YA Best-Seller 'Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian'".

"Women of Harry Potter: Evil in Authority". [Tor.com]


Social Justice

"8 ‘Helpful’ Things That Don’t Really Help People With Disabilities".

"Opportunities for White People in the Fight for Racial Justice: Moving from Actor → Ally → Accomplice". [Google Docs spreadsheet]

"The Year in Hyphenates". "It wasn’t until my early twenties that I realized I’d failed at whiteness. And because I’d spent my childhood working so hard at it, I had failed at Asianness, too."

A pair of posts by Anthony J. Williams ([twitter.com profile] anthoknees): "depression feels like decay in real time" and "eating is about more than survival" [tw for discussions of food, depression, and suicide]


Miscellaneous

"Can Broken Be Whole?" "These conversations, written over the month of September 2016, are an act of co-creation and inspiration—a tapestry of moments woven together to illustrate how love operates in difficult, complex, and invigorating ways in our lives. Through writing to each other we co-conspire to reveal the truths that exist within our experiences: to dismantle ableism. As we support each other to find and share our stories in an inherently ableist society we recognize that this act, in itself, is an act of love."

"The Life-Changing Magic of Mushrooms: A single dose of magic mushrooms can make people with severe anxiety and depression better for months, according to a landmark pair of new studies". (The headline doesn't indicate this, but the studies were specifically conducted with cancer patients.)

"Boston's Christmas Tree Tradition Rooted In A Canadian Thank You". [NPR] (And by "Canadian", they very specifically mean "Nova Scotian", as the tree is sent as thanks for assistance after the Halifax Explosion.)

"Reuters built an algorithm to flag and verify breaking news on Twitter".

"40 Ways To Celebrate Rocky's 40th Anniversary". [Sarah Kurchak at the Fightland Blog]

"Dragons Protecting Baubles Like Their Own Eggs Is What Your Christmas Tree Needs This Year". (The ornaments are fantastic and obviously--since I'm linking--I think you should look, but note that the Etsy store that sells them is currently sold out. There's some really neat jewelry available, though.)

"Revenge", a poem from [tumblr.com profile] ecc-poetry, has been making the rounds (deservedly so), and I'm amused that when I saved it to Pinboard, Pinboard immediately suggested both "poetry" and "politics" as tags--which are exactly correct, but Pinboard tends to be pretty hit and miss about tag suggestions for me.

films

Dec. 2nd, 2016 10:44 pm
aralias: (shelves in the closet!)
[personal profile] aralias
in my new life in croydon, which of the following is true?

a) the cinema is less than 5 minutes walk away
b) we actually have a television
c) we have apple tv
d) all of the above

answer - d) all of the above! truly a great time to be alive... if you like watching things. i used to think apple tv was probably a bit of a waste of money, and perhaps it is, but it was a gift to erin's sister from someone else, so pretty near free to me. the fact that it easily mirrors either your iphone or your macbook (assuming, of course, that by the time you buy apple tv you are that sort of terrible yuppie)(i didn't buy apple tv, but the rest is true), is a major selling point in itself. anything you can watch or play on the computer is now playable bigger and louder - as someone who has primarily streamed stuff on a laptop until now... often barely able to hear what's being said... this is vv good.

here are some movies that i watched recently using these modern conveniences. i have seen others in the past month (finding dory, trainwreck, the last holiday, the second half of 'straight outta compton', etc), but assume i have nothing to say about them.

fantastic beasts and where to find them
it's harry potter! but it's not...

the highs of 2016's HP play are greater than the highs of 2016's film, unfortunately, although the film does have fewer lows. it's just a bit bland. although it's not actually an adaptation of the book 'fantastic beasts', bizarrely it does sort of feel that way, with most of the run-time dedicated to wacky animals doing weird things while eddie redmayne (entertainingly unable to make eye-contact, and rather attractive too) runs after them. it's as though someone asked 'how do you make a film out of a textbook?'

character wise it's a bit slight generally - redmayne creates his character fairly well by being awkward, and of course - by being british amongst a lot of americans (and colin farrell pretending to be an american). queenie is quite fun, and everyone else is sort of a non-entity.

which means the film has neither strong plot, nor strong characters. bit of a disappointment, really, though overall it's pleasant, if forgettable.

spoilers )

bridge of spies
i really like mark rylance, and i watched this largely because he was in it and everyone said he was very good in this oscar-winning role. in fact - he's been better. he pretty much just plays it diffident and northern. i guess americans don't know what this is like. fortunately, the movie is actually about tom hanks - who is a lawyer who gets co-opted into first defending a soviet spy (rylance) and then negotitating with soviets/germans for the release of a UK prisoner. he starts off mean and quickly undergoes a redemption that sees him struggling against adversity to rescue additional prisoners, and trying to look after rylance. this is my jam! spielberg knows how i like it. unlikely hero saves lots of people he has no business to save, and/or people saying 'if you want X, you have to go through me'. these are bullet-proof kinks.

so, i enjoyed this movie.

the BFG
this also had mark rylance in it, obviously, and that was also why i watched this movie. again - diffident and northern, but a more interesting version of it - and it's very important that he's very likeable in this role, which he is. big sad eyes. this movie's casting genius (apart from finding a child who can act) though is penelope wilton (harriet jones, prime minister) as the queen. i love penelope wilton, and i wasn't aware she was in it, although i obviously know the story of the BFG and i was trying to work out as the movie closed in on the queen section which older british actress it would be. and it was penelope wilton! apart from her being generally awesome, this is a great bit of casting because you truly do believe that she would do what was right, and tackle the terrible children-eating giants to save the country, ordering generals to drink frobscottle, and adopting a young orphan. she is very kind, and also very badass. vv good.

also - the stuff with sophie and the BFG taking their leave of each other is very moving (because spielberg - he knows. he knows how to make you feel things).

i enjoyed this movie too.

in bruges
a movie that has been on my 'to watch' list for a while, on account of it being funny and also dark. erin described the 10 minutes that she watched before going to sleep (it was that good, huh?) as making her uncomfortable in the same way that 'kiss kiss bang bang' makes her uncomfortable. i LOVE 'kiss kiss bang bang', it is literally one of my favourite films of all time. 'in bruges' isn't as good, or doesn't work as well for me perhaps, let's say, because it isn't sure whether it's a drama or a comedy (whereas KKBB knows its a comedy) and because it's a bit afraid of being likeable, whereas KKBB has an apologetically happy ending because it likes the characters and wants them to be happy 'in bruges' ... doesn't. any of it.

what it does have is the concept of gangsters really liking medieval architecture (or not in farrel's case), which is endlessly amusing to me, and saying really awkward things to peter dinkledge. really enjoyed all three of the central performances (farrell, gleeson, and fiennes - all three in harry potter movies now), and i also really enjoyed the whole build up to the ending. everything came together really nicely, and i like that sort of planning.

i also like the kind of dialogue that sounds like really it's from a play - and obviously loads of people have rightly identified that this is what this sounds like. PLUS... bruges looks really pretty. i WOULD like to visit it.

overall - definitely recommend this movie too. although i recommend KKBB more.

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