This and That

Oct. 18th, 2017 08:12 pm
nightdog_barks: Illustration of a young girl wearing a cat mask bandit-style (Mask Girl)
[personal profile] nightdog_barks
My paperback edition of Stephen King's It is 1,153 pages long. I am on page 541. So it's taking a while. :D

We have been watching the baseball playoffs. We were pulling for the Cleveland Indians because Mister Nightdog_barks grew up in northeastern Ohio, but ... oh well. Now we're not really wedded to any one team. I mean, I suppose we should be rooting for the Houston Astros, because Texas, and Mister N wants them to win, but that may just be because they are playing the Hated Yankees and the enemy of one's enemy is one's friend. As they say.
hamsterwoman: (Default)
[personal profile] hamsterwoman
45. Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows -- so I've been vaguely aware of this book and sort of avoiding it, until [personal profile] isis/[livejournal.com profile] isiscolo started reading them, and I found myself intrigued by the description of a layering of backstories and caper plot, gritty and complex characters, and a writing style with a lot of tagless dialogue, sparse on adverbs and adjectives but still strong on flavor. All of this sounded fairly Vlad Taltos-y to me, so waiting for Vallista to drop seemed like the perfect time to try it. Ultimately, it ended up reminding me more of a different book (more on which below), but I ended up enjoying it anyway -- and it was gripping enough in the reading that I missed my return commute stop once, and nearly missed it a few more times, and then lay in bed until I finished the book, which doesn't happen to me very often. (Damn cliffhangerish ending, though!)

I've been aware of Bardugo's Grisha trilogy books for a while, and assiduously avoiding them since I checked out some very basic Goodreads reviews and discovered the fake-Russian was going to be AWFUL for me (pro tip: If you're going to play with Russian last names, the -ov ending is masculine, and the -ova ending is feminine. "Alina Starkov" and especially "Aleksander Morozova" (or "Ilya Morozova") is INCREDIBLY grating, and also REALLY EASY to avoid with a quick beta check. I mean, seriously, Russian speakers are not extinct and do use the internet -- imagine! And don't pick names randomly off the census lists, maybe? At least not in gendered languages. Like, maybe there's even an in-universe reason for this? but I'm never going to read it, because you've lost me at the blurb.) BUT ANYWAY, once I was reassured that Six of Crows (which is a kickass title btw) was set not in !Russia but in !Amsterdam, I felt much more confident giving it a shot. There is a major !Russian character in this book, and some more minor ones, but fortunately she had a decently plausible name, and was also a pretty great character, although not noticeably Russian in any ways that were discernible to me (the way, say, Varvara Sidorovna in RoL is). There is still some fake-Russian mumbo-jumbo built into the fabric of the worldbuilding, but I could mostly ignore that. More, with spoilers )

44. Steven Brust, Tiassa (reread) -- part of my semi-accidental reread to lead up to the Vallista release. I ended up liking the first part (early Vlad), which was my favorite the first time around, less, and the ambigious-POV part 2 more, and still rather ground to a halt on the Paarfi section. I keep forgetting how little I actually enjoy reading Paarfi-prose, because I do enjoy a lot of the things that happen in the Paarfi books, but, gah, it was such a relief to go back to Vlad narration in the epilogue. Also, when I first heard about it, I didn't subscribe to the theory that spoilers )

46. Steven Brust, Vallista -- par for the course, I finished it in less than 24 hours (and what am I going to do now, until Taslmoth comes out?) Once I learned that Vallista was going to be a gothic, that both felt very fitting (duh, of course the Vallista book would have a building-as-character at its center!) and also made me apprehensive, because I just don't care for gothics as such. I needn't have worried, because it's Vlad, and it was both very gothicy and not overwrought in the way that turns me off actual gothics. I liked it! And it's a really clever book, thematically, and there are probably also construction bits I'll notice on rereads. It didn't leave me wanting to know what happens next (because what happens next is Hawk), and it didn't leave me wanting more of the same, which also happens a lot with Vlad books for me. It just felt... complete, which also seems fitting for the Vallista book. But I keep thinking about it and coming to new realizations as I do, which is really neat. I want to write my initial impressions down before I go looking to see what mailing list or chat people are saying (assuming anyone is saying anything anywhere :P), but I'm sure bits of this one will be dropping into place for me for a long time. SPOILERS from here! )

And a Vlad link: SKZB on Vlad reading order. The interesting thing to me is the idea that, once complete, reading in Cycle order will be another possibility. Presumably starting with Dragon (after Taltos) rather than Phoenix, but it would go Dragon, [Lyorn], Tiassa, Hawk, Dzur, Issola, [Tsalmoth], Vallista, Jhereg, Iorich, [Chreotha], Yendi, Orca, Teckla, Jhegaala, Athyra, Phoenix. This is an interesting idea. I can see how some successions would work -- Tiassa-Hawk is publication order, Hawk-Dzur could be fun, Vallista-Jhereg is a bit backwards but both have the reincarnation thing, Jhereg-Iorich is a very nice order, Yendi-Orca I can see, and Teckla-Jhegaala-Athyra makes for a super-depressing triad but actually make a fair bit of sense. The only thing I can't really wrap my brain around is reading Dzur and THEN Issola.

*

And two fic recs from Crossovering:

- Winterfell Tales (Vorkosigan Saga/Game of Thrones crossover, 2.6k, T), Miles and Ekaterin find themselves in Westeros and meet Sansa and Tyrion. This is a crossover I've wanted to see for ages, and it was a lovely take on it.

- The Start of a Long Summer (AtLA/Narnia, 1.7k, gen), a young Azula steps through the wardrobe. And this is a crossover I had no idea I wanted to see, but marvelously done!

Thank You!

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:43 pm
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Claudia' written beneath the OTW Logo (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, October 12-18, 2017

However you took part in #otwdonate, thank you for getting us started on our next 10 years! We've got some numbers for you about how this membership drive turned out: https://goo.gl/SMZamk

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Fests and Cons

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:40 pm
argentum_ls: (Default)
[personal profile] argentum_ls
I’ve decided to sit out Yuletide this year unless a compelling pinch hit comes up. The excitement just wasn’t there.

The same is not true for Shortcuts. I signed up for that, and now have a wonderful assignment in hand!

Meanwhile, I’m counting down to the Highlander Worldwide convention this weekend. To make things even better, a surprise, retroactive raise at my second job meant I could afford to take Stan Kirsch’s Masterclass.

What are you up to?

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:40 pm
skygiants: (wife of bath)
[personal profile] skygiants
I didn't deliberately read up on seventeenth-century English history history in preparation for A Skinful of Shadows; it was just a fortunate coincidence that I'd just finished Aphra Behn: A Secret Life right beforehand (thanks to [personal profile] saramily, who came into possession of the book and shoved it into my hands.)

The thing about the English Civil War and everything that surrounds it is that it's remarkably difficult to pick a team, from the modern perspective. On the one side, you've got Puritans and repressive morality and NO PLAYS OR GOOD TIMES FOR ANYONE, but also democracy and egalitarianism and a rejection of the divine right of kings and the aristocracy! On the other side, you've got GLORY IN THE DIVINELY ORDAINED KING AND THE PERFECTION OF THE ESTABLISHED SOCIAL ORDER, but also people can have a good time every once in a while and make sex jokes if they feel like it.

Anyway, one fact that seems pretty certain about Aphra Behn is that she grew up during the Interregnum and wrote during the Restoration, and was very much on Team Divine Kings Are Great. Would Puritans let a woman write saucy plays for the stage? NO SIRREE, NOT AT ALL, three cheers for the monarchy and the dissolute aristocracy!

There aren't all that many facts that are certain about Aphra Behn, especially her early years -- the first several chapters of this book involve a lot of posed hypotheticals about who she might have been, how she might have got her start, and who might have recruited her into the spying business. It does seem fairly certain she was a spy: code name Astrea, Agent 160. (Me, to [personal profile] aamcnamara, after seeing Or last month: "I don't know that I buy all that Agent 160 business, there's no way that was something they did in the 1660s!" I apologize for doubting you, Liz Duffy Adams.)

Admittedly she was the kind of spy who spent most of her spy mission stuck in a hotel in Antwerp writing irritated letters back to King Charles' intelligence bureaucracy, explaining that she would happily continue with her spying mission and do all the things they wished her to do if only they would send her enough money to PAY HER DANG HOTEL BILL. (They did not.)

Besides her unpaid expense reports, most of what is known about Aphra Behn comes from her context and her publications, and the things she wrote in them -- only some of which can absolutely definitively be traced to her at all; several of her short stories and novellas are disputed, including one of the ones I found most interesting, "Love-Letters Between A Nobleman And His Sister." This early three-volume novel is extremely thinly-veiled RPF about a wildly trashy historical trial involving King Charles' illegitimate son, his best friend, the best friend's wife, and the best friend's sister-in-law. All of these people then went on to be involved in a major rebellion, which the second and third volume of "Love-Letters" cheerfully fictionalizes basically as it was happening, in the real world.

One of the first English novels ever written by a woman [if it was indeed written by Aphra Behn], and arguably the first novel written EVER, and it's basically one of Chuck Tingle's political satires. This is kind of amazing to me.

OK, but back to things we think we're fairly sure we do know about Aphra Behn! She wrote a lot about herself talking, and about men judging her for how much she talked; she wrote a lot of things that were extremely homoerotic; she also wrote a lot about impotence; she was often short on money; she cheerfully stole other people's plots, then got mad when people accused her of stealing other people's plots; she rarely wrote anything that was traditionally romantic, and most of her work seems to have an extremely wicked bite to it. She did not read Latin, which did not stop her from contributing to volumes of translations of things from Latin. She was almost certainly not a member of the nobility, but she believed in divine right, and divine order, and divine King Charles, even though it seems likely from her writing that she did not believe personally in religion, or God, and the King probably never did pay her bills. An extremely interesting and contradictory person, living in an interesting and contradictory time.

And now I think I need to go find a good biography of Nell Gwyn - she's barely relevant to this biography (Aphra Behn dedicated a play to her, but there's no other information available about their relationship) and yet Janet Todd cannot resist throwing in a couple of her favorite historical Nell Gwyn one-liners and they're all SO GOOD.
blackruzsa: (Default)
[personal profile] blackruzsa posting in [community profile] scans_daily
 I haven't posted to this community in forever, and since forever I've been working on my own comics and such, which I wanna share here.


How does this work again? )

Things

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:31 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
It seems like it's been ages that I've posted anything substantial and non-FMK here (which I knew was a risk; I have enough social media XP (extroversion points) to keep up with approx. 1 DW post a week, that is well-established). So here is a 5 things to break the monotony:

1. Pokemon Go will not let me install the latest update (It gives an error message that says "we hates your phone, precious" [paraphrase] and then won't install.) So instead I have been playing Magikarp Jump, which the app store always tries to tell me pokego players will enjoy. So far:

This is my fish. There are many like it, but this one is mine. )


2. Also I finally won the last boss level in Alphabear, so until I got my fish game, I was totally at loose ends for mindless phone games, and started looking for ports of the ones I played as a kid. HOW IS AN ANDROID PORT OF GODDAMP CATERPILLAR 11 megabytes? I coded that from scratch on my TI83 when I was a kid! In, like, about 100 lines of code! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

(I also coded a text adventure with a gender-ambiguous protagonist on that calculator, actually...)


3. I finished cleaning my bathroom yesterday! It only took me about two weeks! It is so nice to go in there and have it be clean! clean ALL the things )


4. So last November I kind of went into power-save mode for awhile, quit using Habitica and also quit a bunch of the things I had been doing on a regular basis (tag wrangling, practicing piano, working on Spanish and Icelandic, writing on a regular basis, using Tumblr...) But my sister got me back onto using Habitica again, and now that all the cat-related tasks are gone (and I trimmed some other stuff) it's a much more reasonable list of dailies.

I had forgotten how very motivating it is to get to tick the thingy. Now I am debating whether to use my Orb of Rebirth and start over or not (And whether to try to get together an active party with more than just me and my sister and a bunch of inactive accounts.)

And I'm trying to get back to doing some of the other things I stopped, too. I gave Tag Wrangling an un-hiatus notice, so I'm committed to trying to be less fail at that, and I pulled out a piano book for the first time in months (I found a copy of the very first one I learned out of, The Joy Of First-Year Piano, to warm me back up) Og ég er að læra íslensku aftur. Þótt jurtabókin er erfitt. Það er of mikið um illt kaffi í bókinni. Y yo hablé español a una clienta hoy! Un poco español, pero un poco es más que nada.

The only thing I gave up that I haven't missed at all is Tumblr. *shrug emoji* (even that's not true, I have a secret backup tumblr to which are added a couple people who post mostly personal stuff and also a bunch of nature and solarpunk and library special collections photos, and no politics or fandom, and it's still fine.)

5. One of the things on my habitica dailies is to post an AO3 comment once a day. Another one is to do something with politics once a week. I got my wires crossed in there somewhere and realized that if I don't feel up to actually engaging with politics I can just send one of my (excellent) congresspeople an email that literally just says, "Hi staffer who reads these, you are fighting the good fight, keep holding the line, thank you", just like when I want to leave an AO3 comment but don't know what to say, and it STILL COUNTS.

Also, people are trying to get public outcry going toward Congress passing the nonpartisan bill Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) which would make it so the US President could not launch a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war. TBH I can't think of ANY reason why that should ever have been possible, but ESPECIALLY now. So write your congresspeople or spread the word to #PULL THE FOOTBALL

/me crosses off "do politics" for this week

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:24 pm
dark_phoenix54: (books cats)
[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (From the Casebooks of Jesperson & Lane), by Lisa Tuttle. Hydra, 2017

The adventure starts when someone bangs relentlessly on the front door at the combined office and living quarters of detectives Jesperson and Lane in the small hours of the morning. When admitted, he is sweating and disheveled. He points to Lane and says “Witch!” and drops dead.

Neither of them know the man, so a quick search of his pockets is made. An address book is found and Lane hastily copies it before the police can arrive. This enables them to locate his brother, who hires them to find out how Charles Manning died. The coroner says it was a heart attack, but Manning was in perfect health. So off they go to Aylmerton, where he had spent much time, to check things out. There they find quite a set of characters: the Reverend Ringer, a foe of superstition, and his wife, who wants the world to adhere to her wishes. A trio of sister living alone who have the reputation for being witches. Felix Ott, a fan of historic English folklore, was an associate of Mannings in their studies of the supernatural. There is a cunning man, who supplies men with Victorian Viagra. Even the landscape has a personality- the Shrieking Pits, prehistoric holes in the ground, are alleged to be haunted. Then a baby disappears.

Numerous plot strands and false leads make for entertaining reading, and an atmosphere of menace pervades the story. But Jesperson (male) uses Lane (female) as someone to glean information for him but doesn’t bother to tell her what he’s learned in return. He treats her somewhat as a useful servant. He also seems a bit full of himself. The use of a mixed gender team works well in the setting, though- while Lane cannot participate in certain goings on because of her sex, her femaleness allows her entrée into situations that Jesperson cannot enter: befriending the women who live in the Vicarage and spending time with the three possible witch sisters. The author has a good grasp of life in the Victorian era. Four stars out of five.

a day of less argh :)

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:47 pm
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
[personal profile] edenfalling
I triumphed over the never-ending stack of leases, after which it was a slow-ish day. I showed two apartments and I think some of the people who went on the tour will come in tomorrow to rent an apartment, so that's nice.

I also got a raise! Only a small one, but even so. And what's nicer is that it's retroactive to June 1 (because our owner is an organized human being, really, I swear...) so I have a paper check I get to cash tomorrow. Yay unexpected extra money!

In news from my other job, today I finished one of my two tax update courses, and have registered for three live in-person continuing education classes, one of which is tomorrow night. The other two are next week, and I need to ask Miss Cactus whether she's willing to swap my Tuesday shift for her shift on either Monday or Friday, since the courses all start at 6pm and I work until 7pm on Tuesdays. (Failing that, I will ask Mom Boss if I can leave early that day.)

Continuing education requirements for tax preparers are 18 credit hours per year, allocated as follows: 13 federal tax law, 2 ethics, and 3 tax updates. You can, of course, take more than the minimum. I have currently finished 2 credits of tax law and 2 credits of tax updates. The three live courses will knock off another 9 credits of tax law, I have the second 2 credit tax update course ready to do whenever (probably Friday or Saturday), and the ethics and another 2 credits of tax law won't be too hard to knock off.

Then, of course, there are the New York state requirements, but I will deal with those in November. :)

[ SECRET POST #3941 ]

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:39 pm
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[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3941 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 18 secrets from Secret Submission Post #564.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 06:30 pm
fadeaccompli: (risky)
[personal profile] fadeaccompli
The last time I posted here, it was about heading back to Minneapolis.

You may gather from the long silence that the semester has been damn near crushing with the workload. I'm tired all the time, and stressed quite a lot. Greek is very hard, Latin is challenging but mostly just a lot to do, the comp lit class has difficult reading (which is at least in English), and teaching Latin...

...well, I actually love teaching Latin. But needing to be chipper and focused and performing in front of the class at 8am five days a week, then grading and handling emails each of those five days as well, plus meetings with my supervisor and so forth, does rather add to the workload.

I'm not getting nearly as much writing done as I'd like. By a long shot.

Very tired.

In other news... Um. I dunno. I read various good books, mostly in snippets every morning on the bus (woo, ebooks on phone): The Stone in the Skull, Provenance, The Nightmare Stacks, An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, Ruin of Angels, probably a few others I've been forgetting. Continuing to enjoy Squirrel Girl. Really got into The Good Place. Went to a great picnic at Hidden Falls Park. (The falls were indeed hidden, but not well enough to keep me away.) Got to see Rob again for a week. Walked the dog many times. Bought some new (used) shoes. Learned to gel my hair in place against the difficulties of bike-riding, speaking of which, started using the bikeshare program here. Stocked a shelf at the office with pudding cups and apples and trail mix for all the nights I've been staying until 7 to get things done. Had a lot of fun conversations about grocery stores and high school graduation rituals and dogs with my Norwegian law school flatmate.

Very tired.

Gosh, I'm so very tired.

I should stop typing this and stagger home to eat something slow-cooked, and walk the dog, and then translate Latin until it's time for sleep.

that's your job, lady!

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:07 pm
dragonyphoenix: (Evil!Binky)
[personal profile] dragonyphoenix
So a smoke detector in our apartment building has been chirping since at least 4:18 Tuesday morning. Simone, my landlady, asked Jeep, who works as a contractor, to replace the batteries. Drunk, he drove out to buy batteries and then told us he'd replaced them. When I said I could still hear one chirping, he said he'd hunt it down.

Still chirping this morning. So I asked Simone to come over today and make sure it had been taken care of. I come home from work and it's still chirping. Now she wants me to hunt it down to show Jeep which one is chirping because contractor boy - who is unreliable when helping out in our apartment building - can't figure it out. THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I ASKED HER TO COME OVER TODAY!!!

Grrrr

Wednesday Reading Meme

Oct. 18th, 2017 06:30 pm
osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
What I've Just Finished Reading

My Kindle has for some reason stopped reading books from Netgalley - it freezes up and refuses to work when I try to open them; I'm not sure if I should contact Kindle support or Netgalley about this - so I've finally gotten around to a couple of ancient books that I downloaded from Amazon ages ago, both of which I found because Annie Fellows Johnston (author of the Little Colonel books) thoughtfully listed members of her writers group in her autobiography. I looked them up on Amazon and snagged a passel of free books and have at last been gorging myself.

The title of Alice Hegan Rice's Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage led me to suspect something of the nursery rhyme or the fairy tale variety, although in fact it's about a family living in urban poverty and coping with it through a sort of proto-Pollyannaism: always look on the bright side of things! I found it a bit treacly, even by the standards of early twentieth century novels, which do tend to be tooth-rottingly sweet.

Sweet also is Evaleen Stein's Gabriel and the Hour Book, which is about a boy in medieval France who becomes the color-grinder for a monk who is illuminating a beautiful hour book for the soon-to-be queen of France. I quite enjoyed this one, though: I loved the details about how all the different colors were made, and the descriptions of the beautiful designs in the Hour Book, and all the beautiful parts about the flowers and the countryside.

Also, at the beginning the monk is chained to his desk for disciplinary purposes. Naturally I found that quite appealing.

What I'm Reading Now

Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel, which I have been meaning to read for OVER A DECADE, ever since I went on a college visit and we stayed at an inn that had its own in-house library (clearly an amenity more hotels should offer!) which had a copy, and I foolishly failed to stay up the whole night reading and got some sleep instead.

WELL. The day before yesterday I found a copy in a Little Free Library (there is nothing more glorious than finding a book you have long yearned to read in a Little Free Library) and I have been making up for lost time. It is EXQUISITELY GOTHIC, it is honestly amazing what a sense of suspense du Maurier has built up around what amounts to a few slips of papers - letters, admittedly, which suggest that all is not well... and prey on the hero's mind, even as he falls in thrall to his beautiful, charming cousin Rachel.

It occurs to me (for fellow Rebecca fans) that there is something of Rebecca in Rachel - if we had ever met Rebecca in the book, rather than hearing about her at secondhand: the beautiful dark-haired woman who charms everyone she meets, so that only those closest to her may become aware of her destructive force. If indeed destructive force she has, and her first husband's accusations against her were not merely the paranoid ramblings of a man tormented by a brain tumor.

It's the uncertainty - the delirious uncertainty that makes it all so deliciously gothic. And, of course, the marvelous house, not quite as broodingly insistent as Manderley, but real and present in the narrative all the same. God, I love books about houses.

What I Plan to Read Next

The Three Musketeers 2017 shall shortly commence! [personal profile] evelyn_b, when would you like to start?

Quick Check-In

Oct. 18th, 2017 10:29 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Hello fellow humans! I am not dead. I am slowly making my way down the length of California toward my high school reunion.

Life is good. I hope also that your life is good.

Tell the class about your day in the comments.

Yours,

JS


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