(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:38 am
onlysmallwings: a person holding a sign reading "Free Hug <3" (Default)
[personal profile] onlysmallwings
It looks like I will be in Pennsylvania in November! I get to see my people! I might get to go to Pax Unplugged! His mom picked up their tickets to Texas for the wedding over Labor Day weekend and he told me that they could use miles to get me up there for a visit! Or not. Feces approaching fan blades.

Pathfinder Society was fun right up until the last battle, which was A Slog. Our gunslinger failed to keep track of his shots and had no ammunition on his character sheet, so it was ruled that he was out of bullets. Which is really bad for a first-level gunslinger who has minimal armor. But we made it through with no actual death, just a bit of unconsciousness.

And that took so long, I had to bolt immediately after the game to see Austin friends and their small children. So I did thank S, the guy who painted my paladin, but didn't stick around to chat like I usually do. She looks so good! I can't paint my nails, I'm not good at fine detail work that requires steady hands, and S did such a great job.

A star is aligning.

Aug. 20th, 2017 09:38 pm
pinesandmaples: A donut, floating above a football stadium with the text "It's like bringing a donut to a football stadium." (stupid you: donut)
[personal profile] pinesandmaples
Next time you are living in the time of a major astronomical event, I highly recommend playing a game of "Is this sense of doom just my life getting f'ed or the coming astronomical event?"

It's thrilling.

Which is to say, I literally have one chance (or maybe two?) to get my school expenses in order. In the spring, I didn't quite...get the grades I needed to maintain things like my financial aid. This is, in part, because I worked 8 million hours and was exhausted all the time. I also did a Mardi Gras thing that was amazing but demanding. My summer class didn't get me back on track because I made a wee mistake.

(There was an assignment. I thought it was submitted, but the wifi glitched. Since I was working a conference for 1200 people, I didn't check to make sure things went through. That little assignment was worth 15% of my grade so the highest I could make on the class was 85%...which is a B. I probably would have received a 99% on the class, had my assignment actually gone through. My outside chance of getting things fixed lies with begging my professor to change the grade based on my sob story.)

My inside chance is submitting an appeal that explains why my grades were so bad. It's not exactly a great chance, but I'm hoping that I will be approved to at least get federal loans this semester. That would help me pay my tuition and pay off what the summer cost me.

But that sense of doom? It's growing stronger. Yippee. I guess we'll see what tomorrow holds.
roadrunnertwice: Rebecca on treadmill. (Text: "She's a ROCKET SCIENTIST from the SOUTH POLE with FIFTY EXES?") (BitterGirl.Rebecca - Rocket scientist)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice

Gigi D.G. — Lady of the Shard (comics)

Aug 9

Readable online.

The stark and glitchy aliased look on this comic scratches some very particular itch for me. Especially the intense use of red, once that shows up.

Anyway, this is a simple story executed well, and you can read the whole thing in an evening or two.

Kristen Gudsnuk — Henchgirl (comics)

Aug 10

This is notably better than the average cape spoof, but I'm hard pressed to explain exactly how. It's some combination of the delicious art and the out-of-control tonal shifts, neither of which would do the job independently.

It also hits some #relatable Millenial territory, where it's like... fuck you we're not just lazy shitheels, but ALSO, UNRELATEDLY, being a lazy shitheel sounds kind of great sometimes.

Tobias S. Buckell — Hurricane Fever

Aug 11?

I don't think I can really... recommend this silly and formulaic spy thriller — in fact, I think it's less interesting and rewarding than Arctic Rising, which I was already a li'l lukewarm on.

But you know, sometimes I need something silly and formulaic. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Generation Ships & morality

Aug. 20th, 2017 02:43 pm
juliet: (waveform tree)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.

I went to a panel at Worldcon on the morality of generation ships, and have been thinking about it since.

(I’m also going to take this opportunity to recommend this Jo Walton story set on a generation ship, which is great and has something to say about choice and decisions.)

So, the question under discussion at the panel was: is it morally acceptable to board a generation ship (i.e. a ship that people will live on for multiple generations on their way to another planet), given that you are not just making a decision for yourself, but for your future children, grandchildren, etc etc. The two main categories of moral problem that the panel identified were:

  • the risk of the voyage itself;
  • the lack of choice for every generation after the one that gets on the ship in the first place.

The ‘risk’ issue seems reasonably strong. It’s very unlikely that anyone would have a really clear idea of what the planet was like that they were going to. If you’re using a generation ship at all, then you probably don’t have any other form of fast travel, so any information that exists about the planet will be scanty, very out of date, or most likely both. (See Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, which is also great.) So it’s not at all a reliable bet that your descendants will truly be able to settle where they’re headed to, even if it looks good from here.

There are also the risks of the voyage itself, including but not limited to radiation issues, the possibility of running into something else, and the likelihood that the ship will genuinely be able to maintain a workable ecological system. We don’t have good on-Earth comparisons for small closed systems; what experiments have been conducted have been very short-term and not terribly promising. What about the social dynamics? What are the risks of, say, a totalitarian system arising? If the risks on Earth are very high, or humans on Earth are facing imminent disaster, then this might be an acceptable trade-off, but how high is ‘very high’ and how disastrous does a disaster have to be? Does it need to be Earth-wide? If your current home is, for example, sinking under rising waters, and you know that any alternative will mean becoming a refugee in poor circumstances — how much risk is ‘reasonable’ to accept then?

Which brings us on to the issue of ‘choice’. One could argue that a kid living in a refugee camp without enough food or warm clothes has, notionally, some future ‘choice’ or ‘opportunity’ to escape that. A child on a generation ship is stuck there.

But why is “can’t leave generation ship” morally different from “can’t leave Earth”? Which is of course a situation into which all children are currently born and which we do not consider morally problematic. And how realistic is the ‘choice’ that the average Earth-born child has? This was where I thought that the Worldcon panel fell down a bit. They threw the word “choice” around a lot but didn’t at all interrogate what realistic “choice” is available to which children in which situation on Earth. There are many kids born without very many realistic ‘choices’; children who are unlikely to go more than a few miles beyond where they were born, children whose projected lifespan is short, children whose lives are likely to be very difficult. How different is that, in reality, from a generation ship? In fact, if the generation ship does work, it might be a better life than on Earth: guaranteed food, shelter, and useful work (making the ship run).

The panel talked about limiting the choices of children born on the moon, because they might not be able to go back and live on Earth — but why is Earth necessarily better than the moon, or Mars, or the asteroid belt? Why isn’t it immoral of us to have children who are stuck down here in the gravity well?

More generally: we’re constantly making choices for our children, and through them for generations beyond; we’re constantly giving them some chances and removing other options, every decision we make. Is that immoral? It’s not avoidable, however much privilege you have, although most certainly more privilege generally means more options.

Would I get on a generation ship? Well. Not without a really good perusal of the specs. But I’m not convinced that it’s immoral to do so.

(no subject)

Aug. 20th, 2017 08:19 pm
copracat: Karen Gillan as Jean Shrimpton knitting (Jean knitting)
[personal profile] copracat
I may be a bit sweary behind the cut.

Teen Wolf 06x13 )

Just saying.

Adverbially again

Aug. 20th, 2017 12:45 am
jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
[personal profile] jbanana
  • "The river may be too wild" he said rapidly
  • "I think I'll put these fruit in my gin" he said slowly
  • "Birds with forked tails!" he said swiftly

Boxes on a shelf

Aug. 19th, 2017 02:29 pm
grrltastic: (Default)
[personal profile] grrltastic
 I've listened to the new Kesha album like half a dozen times since it came out last week, and it is giving me Feelings. Unsurprisingly, I may have some residual Stuff™ from previous relationships that I haven't actually sorted out yet. 
sporky_rat: Jars of orange fruit, backlit (food)
[personal profile] sporky_rat

It has been a week. It's been a busy week, but a week none-the-less.

We have Nico this weekend because Jenna's gone to Florida to go get her dude and drive with him back so they can get Nico registered for school. School started a week and a half ago, but he couldn't be registered because the school district can't accept the notarized paper stating that Jenna lives in the house that doesn't have her name on it.

Weird, I know, the utility folks accepted it.

My meds have given me back my ability to eat. It's distressing because it's hard to feed yourself with a minimum of effort. I see a lot of oatmeal in my future. (It's easy to cook. It's easy to eat, especially if I put a glug of maple syrup in it.)

I did cookie balls so they can baked off at will and did up the five ingredient biscuits from Budget Bytes that require heavy cream instead of butter. They usually work pretty well. I like them. They're tasty and easy.

I have grapes, kiwi, a cantaloupe of some sort (it's got a fancy name), we'll have corn on the cob tonight and I need to figure out something for these beets.

Worldcon Recs

Aug. 17th, 2017 02:28 pm
juliet: (waveform tree)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Juliet Kemp.

Here is a list of the recs I picked up from various panels I attended at Worldcon. (These are likely not complete, but they’re the ones that I wrote down.)

In Defense of the Unlikeable Heroine:

  • We Who Are About To – Joanna Russ

Non-Binary Representation In Fiction:

  • Transcendent: The Year’s Best Transgender Speculative Fiction – ed K M Szpara (anthology)

  • The Black Tides of Heaven / The Red Threads of Fortune – JY Yang (forthcoming in Sept)

  • Provenance – Ann Leckie (forthcoming, but read some on her website)

  • Jacob’s Ladder – Elizabeth Bear

  • River of Teeth – Sarah Gailey

  • Pantomime – Laura Lam

  • Killing Gravity – Corey J White

  • Interactive fiction Craft phone games (Choice of Deathless/City’s Thirst) – Max Gladstone (you can play an nb character)

  • “Masculinity is an Anxiety Disorder” (essay) – David J Schwartz

  • Rose Lemberg

  • Foz Meadows

  • A Merc Rustad

Beyond the Dystopia

(This one should be complete as I moderated the panel and made a point of writing them down to tweet afterwards.)

  • Two Faces of Tomorrow – James P Hogan

  • Culture series – Iain M Banks

  • Dragonlance

  • Too Like the Lightning and Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer

  • The Postman – David Brin

  • A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed And Common Orbit – Becky Chambers

  • Hospital Station – James White

  • Malhutan Chronicles – Tom D Wright (panelist)

  • Orbital Cloud – Taiyo Fuji (panelist)

  • The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison

Older Women in Genre Fiction:

  • All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye – Christopher Brookmyre

  • Blood Songs series – Anthony Ryan

  • Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon

  • Barbara Hambly

Also, Catherine Lundoff keeps a bibliography of books with older women protagonists.

Colonialism and the Space Opera:

  • Praxis – John Williams

Moving Beyond Orientalism in SFF:

  • Black Wolves – Kate Elliot

  • Vixen and The Waves – Hoa Pham

  • Isabelle Yap

  • Ken Liu

  • Stephanie Lai

  • Zen Cho

(Plus one from Nine Worlds in which the MC has Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline – Mishell Baker)

Last one, last step

Aug. 16th, 2017 10:26 pm
pinesandmaples: A silver necklace in the shape of a Louisiana with a heart cutout. (New Orleans: heart)
[personal profile] pinesandmaples
Highlights of my day include:
  • leaving my lover in Atlanta while I am back in New Orleans for the summer.
  • having two of my knives stolen from my knife roll while it was checked baggage. (I fucking know, right?!)
  • saving myself some serious cash by switching from one insurance agency to another for my renters insurance.
  • figuring out how to get my fall grad school experience together after a really weird summer of...well, that deserves to be unpacked. But not now.

    But I'm home. My house isn't a disaster. My housemate is in good spirits and is not the Bro. I didn't spontaneously move to Atlanta. Everything will be okay. My Christmas tree might even recover from being unwatered for far too long.

    It's not all disaster and pain. Just some head-scratching weirdness.
  • broken :-( And eclipse! :-)

    Aug. 16th, 2017 06:38 pm
    ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
    [personal profile] ilanarama
    In case you're wondering why I haven't been posting, it's because I'm not doing anything worthy of posting about. Yeah, I had great plans after the Kendall Mountain Run, but maybe I shouldn't have posted, at the end of my race report:
    Now, my legs hurt like you wouldn't believe, though I don't think I actually injured anything, just overused the muscles of my quads and glutes. Hopefully everything will feel good by next Saturday, when we head out into the wilderness for a week of backpacking. Then it will be time to turn my exercise attention to mountain biking in preparation for the Telluride-to-Moab ride in September. But I'll still be running 3-4 days a week, including attending the club track workouts, and hopefully by the time October comes around, I'll be ready to run a decent half marathon, and maybe even sign up for a late fall/early winter marathon.
    Because in fact I did injure something. Gory details. )

    Anyway, that's why I've been boring lately. :-( But in happier news, we'll be driving our camper van to Wyoming to see the eclipse, heading out this weekend! Originally we were going to combine it with some mtb'ing, but obviously if we do any, I'm just going to ride around on a dirt road as I'm not yet ready to switch to the real bike. This will be my second total eclipse, as I saw the March 1970 eclipse with my family:

    March 1970 eclipse March 1970 eclipse

    Er, I'm the six-year-old moppet wrapped in a blanket. The reason all the telescopes are there is that my father worked for NASA Goddard, and so this was a group of his co-workers and their families, who had all driven to just over the VA-NC line to get to totality.

    Agent Carter is back up!

    Aug. 16th, 2017 12:36 pm
    sporky_rat: Nyota Uhura in TOS Mirror Universe uniform (star trek)
    [personal profile] sporky_rat
    However, I don't remember how to start IRC on the commandline for Ubuntu (I do remember my password but not the instructions).

    Also, um. How does one go about updating Ubuntu? I'm not quite sure which edition I'm on but it's definitely a few years old. (When did I take Microbiology? At least that long ago.)

    Back to school on Thursday

    Aug. 15th, 2017 07:22 pm
    pinesandmaples: Cartoon cupcake with chocolate frosting and many hearts.  (us: sweet gifts)
    [personal profile] pinesandmaples

    I am, by some magical fluke and a few mystical moonlit nights, the apple of this lady's eye. We've spent the summer just...together. All of July, most of August, a hint of June. Nearly 2 months of going from a time-zone away to being across the room from each other most of the day. She's lovely and smitten. Today, because I felt pretty crummy, we spent a few hours sitting in the sun on the Chattahoochee River. Our last day of summer. Back to replying to emails and updating the blog and keeping up with my life instead of just being an unreachable, low-key mess. Back to...not being with her.

    A little motivation for The Intern, who just f'ing loves nature, you know? Also, my view for the afternoon. What a treat!


    Aug. 15th, 2017 03:24 pm
    jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
    [personal profile] jbanana
    I remember enjoying making these up as a child, so I tried a few new ones.
    • "We're going to have to dispose of the body" he said gravely.
    • "What's for pudding?" he asked sweetly.
    • "I've cut my nails too short" he said quickly.
    The canonical example handed down by the ancients is:
    "Get to the back of the boat" he said sternly.
    Edit: "Get to the back of the boat" he said afterwards
    vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
    [personal profile] vass

    Read Megan Whalen Turner's Thick as Thieves, the fifth book in the Queen's Thief series, about Kamet (Nahuseresh's secretary.) I enjoyed this a lot. She does some very cool things with past canon -- I did not see (spoiler) coming, and was delighted. I loved the ending.

    spoilers )

    Reread/skimmed through most of King of Attolia after finishing Thick as Thieves, to remind myself how much I love Eugenides/Attolia as a pairing. They're so complicated and intense, and their love makes the trauma worthwhile but doesn't make it not exist.

    Read Omar Sakr's These Wild Houses. Poetry book by a bisexual Arab Australian poet from Western Sydney. It has a very strong sense of place -- I'm not from Sydney, but Melbourne's West is like that too. Tender poems about his family and the good and the bad there. Wry poems about what he expects his audience to assume about him from his demographic notes. Lyrical poems about landscapes and interiors, the launderettes and mosques and living rooms he knows. I particularly liked 'Call Off Duty', about coming out to his brother.

    Started Max Gladstone's Four Roads Cross. That moment, very early on, when I went "IS HE DOING THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE CRISIS? HE IS, ISN'T HE. fuck" I love this world. It's common in fantasy and SF to make a point of how the zombies and vampires etc are NOT metaphorical, because otherwise the non-genre readers will assume they are and try to find what their exact Real World Analogues the vampires etc Represent, as they were taught to do in eighth grade literature because if the supernatural entities weren't here to teach an Important Moral Lesson about our world then that would be Escapism, which is Bad and Unhealthy. And I understand that impulse, and I do like reading about vampires that are actually vampires, but I do also love that Gladstone's not afraid to get very allegorical indeed.


    Dumbing of Age: I am so with Carla on this. Yeah, enemies-to-lovers worked for Ruth and Billie, but that doesn't mean Carla should put up with Mary's bullshit. They're totally incompatible. If they were X-Men supervillains, Carla would be Arcade and Mary would be Senator Robert Kelly... okay, that metaphor might not be very helpful, but my point is, even their flaws aren't compatible. (Since then, Carla/Mary got jossed, to Carla's great relief. Also Mary used Revelation 3:16 on Joyce -- that's gotta sting, since it's probably something past-Joyce would have believed about now-Joyce.)

    (Side note: I had to wiki-dive to find the names of the supervillains I was thinking of. Along the way, I learned that the villain Jay and Miles were talking about in the X-Plain The X-Men episodes I've been listening to before falling asleep, whom I thought was named Nastier, is actually spelled N'astirh. And to think that people tease J.R. Ward for having characters named Vishous and Tohrture!)

    Questionable Content: Winslow's body-shopping is making me so happy and also so envious. I want a robot body!

    TV and Movies

    Watched the first episode of Cleverman season 2. The season 1 finale left them with a problem in terms of where to go from there. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate what a plausible Australian dystopia this Australian dystopia is? The white Australian dudebros who get stuck into Waruu (who, btw, does not appear to have learned anything at all from the previous season) are drawn entirely from life, as is the detention centre, the politicians, and the news people.


    Listened to clipping.'s midcity, the second album of theirs I've listened to. It hurts a lot worse than Splendor & Misery, and not just in the sense that they're deliberately making the noise really painful sometimes. (Sometimes having sensory integration stuff is helpful with an album like this. I know how to listen to painful sounds, and how to like sounds that aren't traditionally musical or beautiful.) For example, there's a track where they replace the swear words with more and more censor bleeps until the bleeps are just one steady piercing tone.

    Not a good one to listen to in the car (I have a bad habit of classing albums I listen to along the good for car/not good for car binary.) ...I typed that, and then heard Daveed Diggs rap, in a tone of deeply amused incredulity, "They say they want that raw shit, that raw shit / That turn that beat up in your car shit, your car shit [...] They say they miss them old school gangstas..." And yeah, that might be this album's thesis statement. This album gives gangster rap a long, hard stare. If I were gangster rap, I would look away first. (I am not gangster rap. But then, neither is gangster rap.)

    Listened to Ghoul's Dungeon Bastards. Thrash metal. This, by contrast, is good car music. Or if the site you go to for housekeeping advice instructs you to "put on some peppy music" and you don't do peppy but do need something energetic to clean to, this might be your go to album for that. I could say something about how this album expresses themes of nuclear anxiety and rebellion squarely placing the songwriters in Generation X, but I couldn't do so with a straight face.

    Listened to clipping.'s CLPPNG. cut for length )


    Played Dream Daddy, the queer dad dating sim. Access note: you know that effect some visual novels have where the screen suddenly shakes back and forth? It overuses that really badly. I had a headache by the end of it (it's less bad, but still not absent, if you choose the lowest graphics option.) Apart from that I liked it. My first playthrough, I was a good dad to my daughter Amanda, and she got the happy ending. I tried to romance Mat the barista-musician, but he wanted to just be friends, probably because I was so bad at the piano minigame. (Later I found out that you're meant to sing into the microphone. The what? I don't have a microphone.) Second play-through, I romanced Damian Bloodmarch, goth dad and closet animal shelter volunteer.

    There was wank on Tumblr because of this game, and yeah, I am calling this fandom wank not Discourse because no, fuck you, not even. So... like a lot of visual novels, notably Hatoful Boyfriend, Dream Daddy has a goes-to-eleven ridiculous dark route. Or had -- it's not playable. It was gonna be a Halloween special or something. But some players found it anyway and got very angry because it's problematic or homophobic or something for one queer character out of seven to turn out to be evil. Or something. I read the script for the unplayable bad route, and I liked it. It's fun, it's entirely genre-compliant, and omfg if that's too dark for you, please never play Hatoful Boyfriend.

    Finished all the Hexcells Infinite achievements.

    Started playing Super Star Path, which is an arcade game where you're a rocket pilot who shoots aliens (with the goal of re-stealing the technology we stole from the aliens, which the aliens have taken back.) The boss fights are very danmaku/bullet hell, and the missions before the boss fights are a maze that can be rendered unsolvable very, very easily. I'm dying a lot.

    [community profile] hexarchate_rpg is going to some interesting places. One of us has just made first contact with the sentient enslaved alien powering our ship. Another character's just discovered yet another character's real identity, although she doesn't know what she knows yet. Most of the rest (including my character) are making polite conversation with a scientist and a diplomat who may or may not be trying to entrap us into confessing to heresy. I'm holding a tray and asking the scientist about his research. It's a heavy enough tray that my definitely not-a-fighter character hopes to use it as a shield if things go badly enough.


    Tried out a recipe for homemade laundry powder I found on Tumblr. (Recipe is here, but all you need to know: grate a bar of plain soap, combine with one cup of 'lectric soda (sodium carbonate, aka washing soda, aka soda ash) and one cup of borax. Add some essential oil if you really want. Use 1-2 tbsp per wash.)

    It worked fine. The only part that didn't go as usual was that when I changed into my freshly laundered pyjamas, opened the closet, and threw the day's clothes into the laundry hamper in there, the thud of the clothes was followed by a sudden meow from inside the hamper. The closet door had been ajar, but so close to closed I wouldn't have thought anyone could get in there.

    Got around to installing Audacity and recreating a ringtone/alert sound I had back when I had an iPhone (iOS uses m4r for ringtones. Android uses mp3 and doesn't know what an m4r is.) It's the first couple of bars of the Indigo Girls' 'Galileo', that little marimba (xylophone?) riff. Neatly trimmed so it repeats properly. I like it, and I like that it's so possible.


    Beatrice's x-treme grooming continues: Dorian's temples are completely bald. I should have called her Barbara.

    just a passing through to say

    Aug. 11th, 2017 01:03 pm
    sporky_rat: The Roman Orator from Rome. Text: listen the hell up! (listen to me!)
    [personal profile] sporky_rat
    My love for Ke$ha will probably not fail me.
    vlion: cut of the flammarion woodcut, colored (Default)
    [personal profile] vlion
    Looking for jobs in EU West Europe now. Not aggressively, but seriously. Focusing on Germany and France. Others I know less about, but am interested in.

    I can execute in a senior software engineer position or a early-stage lead SW engineer; interested in doing the management gig too. Dev skills are backend, devops/sre, embedded. Linux very strongly preferred; preferred technology stack would be statically typed.

    I typically multitask with a wide variety of ongoing projects. Soft skills including gathering ad-hoc cross-functional teams with an intense focus on total user experience and delivering quality within conflicting multistakeholder environments.

    Master's in CS. 20 years of coding, over 13 years getting paid for it (academia, industry).

    Companies of interest would be stable and profitable; government or academia would be more than acceptable as well.

    Native English speaker, two years college German, self-teaching French.

    US citizen, no convictions, need visas for self, spouse (also no convictions, has grad degree), young child.

    Contracts no shorter than 2 years are fine. Estimated preferred duration of stay somewhere in the 3-7 year term.

    Family weirdness

    Aug. 9th, 2017 03:34 pm
    jbanana: Badly drawn banana (Default)
    [personal profile] jbanana
    Sometimes I have lunch with my father, but today there were three of us because EC has a job so we met near where he's working. It's a very strange feeling. Last night I was looking at some old photos. I looked so young when he was born. Now there's an old bloke in the mirror.


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