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[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Moonbreaker.

A novella by Heather Rose Jones, Three Nights at the Opera (2014), prequel to Daughter of Mystery.

There was indeed a new Catherine Fox, Realms of Glory, delivered to my Kobo well in time to beguile my journeyings. Very good.

Alex Hall, Glitterland (2013): m/m contemporary romance, which was an absolute page-turner and I will even give it a degree of pass on the phonetic rendering of Estuarine speech, on the grounds that this might be down to the first-person narrator's attempt to depict Difference.

Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky (2016): I had a bit of a problem with the rather gender-stereotypical allocation of science vs magic, and also with the way that both of them, in particular Patricia, are shown as coming to their powers as a result of familial dysfunction and school bullying (are US high schools really quite so generally toxic as literature would have me believe?), which is not that dissimilar in its rather Spartan overtones to the ethos of the military school to which Laurence is briefly sent. But I read on.

Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Djinni (2013) - there were parts where I thought this was a bit slow, and possibly about showing off the author's research, but then it all came together with all the threads meshing at the end.

On the go

The end is almost in sight with Prince of Tricksters. Also continuing with Rejected Essays and Buried Thoughts, as and when.

Up next

Well, I have lately had delivered to my Kobo Kate Elliott's Buried Heart (2017), conclusion (?) to the Court of Fives series. But I've also, finally, received Monica Ferris's cozy mystery, Knit Your Own Murder (2016), at last a) out in paperback and b) actually in the mailer received from the seller.

It's my birthday...

Jul. 26th, 2017 01:40 pm
el_staplador: Actress Mary Anne Keeley in a breeches role (breeches)
[personal profile] el_staplador
... and I'll write finally get around to finishing and posting ridiculously self-indulgent fic if I want to.

Un fior che nasce e muore: two studies in Hanahaki disease (4421 words) by El Staplador
Chapters: 2/2
Fandom: La Traviata - Verdi/Piave, Zenda Novels - Anthony Hope, The Opera Companion - George W. Martin
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Violetta Valery/Alfredo Germont, Flora Bervoix/Violetta Valery (unrequited), Flavia/Rudolf Rassendyll, Rudolf Rassendyll/Rupert of Hentzau, Duke Michael/Flavia (unrequited)
Characters: Violetta Valery, Alfredo Germont, Giorgio Germont, Flora Bervoix, Michael Duke of Strelsau, Flavia (Zenda), Rudolf Rassendyll, Rudolf V of Ruritania, Colonel Sapt, Rupert of Hentzau
Additional Tags: opera - Freeform, Hanahaki Disease, Alternate Universe - No Homophobia, tuberculosis, Meta masquerading as fic
Series: Part 3 of Opera Over The Rainbow
Summary:

Opera has always presented a more overt demand for suspension of disbelief than most other dramatic forms, and never more so than with its ongoing fascination with plots based on hanahaki disease. The middle of the nineteenth century saw the emergence of this tidy, sentimental metaphor for tuberculosis – a gory, unpleasant and all too real ailment – and it has lingered ever since. Blood was replaced with roses, hacking coughs with immaculate arias, lingering deaths with graceful swoons.

Chapter 1: Violetta, o, la traviata (Giuseppe Verdi and F. M. Piave)
Chapter 2: Michael of Strelsau (Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan and Julian Sturgis)



I have also: been swimming in cold water; had my heart gently broken by the latest Madame C- C- instalment. We're going out for dinner later. It's a quiet birthday, but a good one so far.

More about the World Cup final

Jul. 26th, 2017 01:05 pm
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[personal profile] hollymath
[personal profile] miss_s_b shared this article yesterday and there's a lot in it I agree with.
So how come this win the game-changer, given this is actually the fourth time England have won the World Cup? I think for starters you have to look at the build-up towards the final. Sky Sports, in partnership with the ICC, provided full coverage of the tournament for the first time. By giving the games that platform it lent the series momentum and the opportunity for people to watch women’s sports who otherwise might not have. By promoting it in the same level as the men’s, it gave the impression that this is something sports fans should be watching.
This reminded me of one point in the afternoon where I heard Jennie's dad address whichever England batters were currently on the field with something like "come on, play as well as you did the last time I saw you two" and I asked him what he'd seen them in. "Oh, I don't remember, I've watched dozens of matches the past few weeks." Made me smile. This is what you want by the time you get to the World Cup final, some familiarity with the players and teams.

Of course it's a mixed blessing, with Andy also calling Sky" the greatest reducer of sporting audiences in the world." I was frustrated that as a TV-less, Sky-less person it wasn't easy to follow the games on the radio. One of my friends told me how Sri Lanka had done before we went to see them (the game where Athapaththu got 178 against Australia) but I would otherwise have to be a more internet/app-based follower of cricket to know these things, which I think is a shame. I wonder if we'll hear men's World Cup games that don't involve England on the radio in two years; I honestly don't know if this is something specific to the women's game or not. Still I'm glad the tournament got the attention it did, even if it had to be from Sky.
I heard one person exclaim “but the tickets were all bought by women”, as if that undermined the event?

In reality, 50% of ticket buyers were female. 50%. A gender diverse audience.
I first noticed this when I needed to pee. I don't think I'd ever had to wait in line at a cricket match before! Indeed one time, I think it was at Headingley but it might've been Old Trafford, when I asked a staff member where the loos were he could only direct me to the men's when the women's were off in another direction, indicating how rarely he was asked this question perhaps. This time, one woman sitting in our row came back late from the interval between innings, apologizing as she made us stand up, but defensively saying "Forty-five minute queue for the loos!" It wasn't that bad for me, but it was the first time I'd noticed how many women were really there.

I didn't hear any comments like "all the tickets were bought by women," thankfully but I do think this is interesting. There's that Geena Davis Institute statistic about a group of 17% women, men think is gender balanced and if it's 33% women, men think there are more women in the room than men.
with 31% of ticket buyers being under 16, and many more of the crowd full of children, it felt incredibly special to see girls and boys dressed in their team’s colours watching women ignite a packed-out stadium. For them, it will now be something they have grown up with, and will become normal to them, and that is something that excites them beyond belief. They will have female role models to look up to and inspire them. And how did they finish their day? Walking out with a bat and ball provided to them, ensuing that they have equipment to play with and as a souvenir to remember this day.
It was really great seeing how very many bats and balls I saw people carrying as we walked out and then waited at the tube station.

And I'm so glad they were given bats and balls, rather than anything else. When I was a kid I went to the Twins game where Kent Hrbek's number was retired, and all the kids were given replica jerseys. I adored him and I was so excited about this, but my mom put jersey away so it'd stay nice, never let me wear it and of course soon I'd have outgrown it anyway and the chance to really enjoy it was gone. It's probably still in a box at my parents' house somewhere, but I haven't seen it since the day I got it. Maybe some similarly well-meaning parents will squirrel away these too, but I'm really glad the kids have been given something so obviously useful and intended to be used. They have stuff they can actually play cricket with, and for people who love the game there's nothing better to guarantee a good future for it.

I am really envious of those kids, growing up thinking it's normal to watch women play cricket.
what also excited me was the members and groups of guys turning up to watch the cricket and enjoy the day, just like they would do any other game. There was no difference. No undermining the game, no undeserving criticism of the players, and it was beyond refreshing.
I noticed this too. I found myself bracing, early on, for some kind of sexism or misogyny in their comments, but I didn't hear a peep. I mean, I'm not saying they didn't happen anywhere in the ground, but I didn't expect any of us to be free of hearing them and I at least was.

Interesting Links for 26-07-2017

Jul. 26th, 2017 12:00 pm
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[personal profile] andrewducker

The Blood is the Life for 26-07-2017

Jul. 26th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

(no subject)

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:59 am
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[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] el_staplador and [personal profile] mrissa!
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[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

The final volume of the AMacD commonplace books ends abruptly halfway through. Between two pages are inserted a large number of loose cuttings from assorted periodicals, reporting the death of Gervase Reveley, Viscount Raxdell, in a street accident which only his own skills as a whip prevented from being a far worse disaster, but leading to his being thrown clear of his own curricle and fatally injured. There are also a number of obituary notices. On the following page is written three times I must be philosophical with a heavy line drawn underneath.

Alexander MacDonald, MA, locks the volume away with the others in the secure press, and looks down at his hand. The effects of grief upon the physical body are surely a topic suited to the philosopher, he murmurs as he observes its faint persistent trembling.

But, he thinks, no-one will imagine it to be anything but the natural effects of his efforts over these past few days: no-one will suppose that the signs of lack of sleep upon his face due to anything but the business of organising the funeral, arranging for the succession of the new viscount, writing or causing to be written the vast number of letters that have been necessary, and having all in order for this present morning’s reading of the will.

At least he had been there to the last: it had been considered not in the least remarkable that Gervase desired to communicate last wishes to his dedicated secretary, when they brought in his broken body.

He bites his lip. The new viscount, a fellow of nearly Gervase’s own years that had never expected to inherit, any anticipations in the matter falling upon his son, shows considerable signs of wanting him to stay and steer an obscure country squire through the new paths he suddenly finds himself set upon. But to stay at Raxdell House, when there is no Gervase –

But first, the reading of the will. The servants were well instructed beforehand, but he should be there with His new Lordship to greet the lawyers as they arrive.

The relatives and the household have assembled. Jerome, Seraphine and Roberts all sit together. Old Fosticue – demonstrating respect for the ancient association of the firm with the Reveley family, it is Old Fosticue comes creaking about this ceremony – picks up the document.

There is a little – not quite a gasp, more the sounds of breaths being drawn in among the assembled company – and Old Fosticue looks up as the drawing-room door can be heard opening. A late-comer to the reading? He cannot think of anyone who should be there and isn’t - mayhap some family black sheep in hopes of some small legacy –

A rustle of silk. He turns to look.

Still able to glide like a swan into a room, though in this instance, a black swan, Clorinda, Dowager Marchioness of Bexbury, advances down the rows of chairs, clad in the deepest of mourning, and, gracefully resisting any efforts to direct her anywhere else, comes to sit beside him.

How could he have not known she would come? One must play the comedy out to the last act and the final bow, she has said in respect of so many stratagems and contrivances over the years. Of course she would be here. Under concealment of the full skirt, she takes and squeezes his hand.

A deal of the property is entailed but there was still a considerable amount entirely within Gervase’s disposal. In the will he has carefully detailed numerous minor bequests to various members of the household, distant relatives, and friends. Jerome is well-provided for, as he should be. His dear friend, the Dowager Marchioness of Bexbury, comes in for several pieces of his mother’s jewellery, a valuable snuff-box, and a painting by Raoul de Clérault: doubtless everyone will speculate that Gervase made some settlement upon her years ago, and guess that these are merely sentimental tokens of his esteem. And after all, she is known a well-left widow with no need to hang out for legacies

And to my devoted secretary, who has served me so well and so faithfully - of course, he had expected some remembrance –

- but not that it would be what could only be described as a generous independence, along with something about enabling him to devote his abilities to philosophy -

- at which he finds himself feeling quite the reverse of philosophical, but Clorinda grips his hand again and he does not faint or fall into a fit of weeping.

Afterwards, His new Lordship says all that is proper, but looks as though he is about to lead to the possibility of Sandy's remaining; but a weight leans upon his arm, a voice says in die-away tones, o, Mr MacDonald, I feel quite overset - no-one can apply a dainty handkerchief to her eyes as Clorinda can – might you see is my smelling-bottle in my reticule, sure I thought I had put it in – o, Your Lordship, I am indeed sorry to break in upon your conversation, but I find myself so exceeding faint I would prevail upon Mr MacDonald's kindness to escort me home.

Clorinda’s hair under the cap may be silver-gilt rather than golden these days, she is no longer a young woman, but she still has only to enter a room to draw a bevy of men, old and young, to her side. The new viscount swallows and says, indeed, he would not wish to detain Lady Bexbury here –

O, thank you, breathes Clorinda, and they leave the room quite as if he is rescuing her from the press rather than the reverse.

Once they are in her carriage, and driving away, she says, really! solicit you at such a time to remain about Raxdell House! shocking ton.

But -, he begins.

O, but me no buts, Sandy dear. Are there not young men among your connexion would jump at such a place? You need only say to Lord Raxdell that you have become so entire used to Milord’s particular ways that you confide you would find it hard, at your time of life, to have to change to suit his, but that you will ever be entire at his disposal and that of any secretary he appoints to give advice.

It is entirely true, utterly sensible, quite proper: and something that he had not even managed to begin to think in his frozen state.

My dear, she says, I confide that these past days you have barely slept, have been about all matter of arrangements and perform’d them all exceeding well, and 'tis entirely that consideration should prevent Lord Raxdell from approaching you until you have had time to think of what you will do now. In particular as you do not need to be hanging out for preference.

No… he says, wondering if having something to put his hand to would at least be a distraction, keep him from thinking, from remembering –

They arrive at Clorinda’s pretty house, where they have hatched so many plots and sounded so many mysteries. Hector makes exceeding civil condolences to him, and shows them into the pretty parlour. He goes sit in his accustomed chair.

Vaguely, he hears Clorinda give some instructions to Hector, then turn and say, and Hector, when you have spoke to Euphemia, send up someone with more coals to stir up the fire.

He thinks it might be one of Hector and Euphemia’s offspring that comes lay more coals and stir up the fire into a fine blaze.

Why, dearest C-, do we need a great fire? (For the weather has of a sudden become a deal milder than that cold snap, with ice upon the ground that contributed to the accident.)

Because, dear Sandy, you are shivering.

So he is.

Quite shortly afterwards comes Euphemia herself with a mug in her hand. He had been expecting coffee, has not coffee ever been almost immediately served whenever he comes here?

'Tis a posset, says Clorinda, a most sustaining thing. I daresay you have not eat a thing these several days. You cannot live upon coffee.

He wrinkles his nose but indeed, he cannot remember eating anything, though surely Seraphine must have been leaving food for him.

A little while later comes some excellent soup.

And then he remembers nothing more except for some faint remembrance of being conveyed upstairs by Hector.

tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/59: An Unnatural Vice -- K J Charles
Conscience makes flats of us all, Justin thought. How lucky I don’t have one. [loc. 1231]


Nathaniel Roy is an investigative journalist, the atheist son of an archbishop, and desperately lonely despite the good friends who've stood by him through love and loss. Justin Lazarus is the Seer of London, one of the most successful (and most expensive) spiritualists in the city, and determined that he'll never again be obligated to anybody. not spoilery )

Told Eva about the magazine.

Jul. 26th, 2017 02:16 am
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[personal profile] conuly
"You should've gotten a subscription to Cricket."

"We already get a subscription to Cricket."

"So? N doesn't."

"N practically lives here. She doesn't need her own subscription."

"Don't you want her to read more!?"

(Okay, she didn't say that last line, but she thought it VERY LOUDLY.)
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I happened to be standing next to a pair of adolescents. First the girl remarked that she couldn't believe she'd lived on the Island 16 years and never taken the Ferry (I couldn't believe it either!) and then her friend, clearly trying to impress her with his experience, found himself in a loop, repeating "It can take them a long time to get off" at least three times. (It CAN take them a long time to get off the boat! There's always somebody who thinks the announcement to disembark wasn't actually directed at them). But I don't think she noticed, so that's all right :)

I hope they had fun! The boat is really the most affordable date in town, and certainly fun if you don't take it every day.

***************


10 Relics From the Horse-Powered City Hiding in Plain Sight

The Man Who Blew The Door Off The Microbial World

The Rivers of the U.S., Collected Into a Nifty Subway Map

Spiral arms allow school children to weigh black holes

The entrepreneur who asked Stephen King for a blurb and got a book instead

Scientists Reverse Brain Damage in Drowned U.S Toddler Eden Carlson

Heinz Develops ‘Chicago Dog Sauce’ for the City That Won’t Put Ketchup on Its Hot Dogs (LOL)

The Clay Models Used to Analyze Entrails in the Ancient World

10 Ridiculous Feats of Literature (The story about Hemingway's short story is silly. I guess we're supposed to think the baby died, but c'mon, it's a baby. They outgrow clothes all the time, especially shoes. If the parents had been saving that pair for a special occasion, that occasion never came, is all. And "baby outgrew clothes" isn't a story, it's a piece of advice - don't save the dress up clothes for dressy occasions!)

Not in This Day and Age? On “Feisty, Cheeky, and Rebellious” Women in History

Utah home-birth rate is double the US average, report says

Why Hospitals Started Displaying Newborn Babies Through Windows

Curiosity is underemphasized in the classroom, but research shows that it is one of the strongest markers of academic success.

Child living with HIV maintains remission without drugs since 2008

Magic Can Be Normal

Where Are All the Black Boys in Middle Grade Fiction? A 2017 Assessment and Comparison

Is It A Good Idea To Pay Villagers Not To Chop Down Trees?

Can Tennis Offer a Means of Social Mobility in India?

Why Canada Is Able to Do Things Better

12 Ways Airports Are Secretly Manipulating You ("Last year, the TSA announced it would give $15,000 to the person who comes up with the best idea for speeding up security." I have an idea - quit with the pointless security theater, and let us keep our shoes on! I'll be collecting my $15k now, please. Kindly send it in the form of $2 bills, thanks.)

The Un-Pretty History Of Georgia's Iconic Peach

What's the Matter With Little Free Food Pantries?

Beijing’s Balkan backdoor

South Park raised a generation of trolls

The Commodification of Orthodox Judaism

Which Anonymous Sources Are Worth Paying Attention To?

Rape Choreography Makes Films Safer, But Still Takes a Toll on Cast and Crew

The Good Guy with a Gun Theory, Debunked

The new astrology

Senate advances on healthcare, with dramatic return by McCain (Fuck you, McCain, you and the rest of them.)

Why an Effort to Thwart Some Boycotts of Israel Fails the Free-Speech Test

The Pentagon’s handling of munitions and their waste has poisoned millions of acres, and left Americans to guess at the threat to their health.

FMK #18: Writers of Color

Jul. 25th, 2017 07:11 pm
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[personal profile] melannen
Last week's F win was a tie between The Dragon and the George and Goblin Quest. I am waffling over which one to pick. Goblin Quest had discussion in the comments, but on the other hand, reading it would break my unbroken streak of not having read any of the many Hines novels I own.

K winner was the Callahan. I am going to keep Callahan's Crosstime Saloon but this may be the nudge I needed to just drop the rest.


Anyway, this week's FMK theme is SF by Anglophone Writers of Color. We will pretend the reason it was tough to get a set of ten together for this is that when I get one of these it doesn't linger as long on the to-read pile. (Actually, it was tougher than I expected because finding out race for a lot of SF writers - especially older and more obscure ones - is not simple. There does not seem to be an easily accessible and accurate masterlist of SF Writers of Color out there. And at some point, for some of then, I found myself thinking that if they aren't interested in making their ancestry part of their public bio, I need to not be looking this hard. I never did figure out if Philip Jose Farmer is actually in any way Hispanic.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll: Butler, Delany, Hamilton, Hurston, Martinez, Mosley, Reynolds, Takei, White, Wilson )

FMK: Discount Armageddon

Jul. 25th, 2017 07:25 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Poll post coming soon! But first, I have finished Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire!

It was fun! I enjoyed it! The characters were great! Much like the other McGuire I have read, I felt like the more I thought about it, the less there there was there! (I can't think of a single piece of internal evidence other than Verity's word that it took place in Manhattan instead of, like, Columbus, Ohio. The Price-vs.-Covenant thing really doesn't work with the logistics that are set up in the book. Verity's main character note is that ballroom dance is the most important thing to her, she tells us this at least every fifth page, and yet at no point does she ballroom dance, even as practice. Etc.)

And I did really like the variety of cryptids and the cryptid community, but the "cryptozoologist" thing still bothers me, in that a cryptozoologist is a very specific thing situated in a very specific time and culture - it is not something like "witch" that has enough meanings with enough history you can basically go with whatever - and I would really really love to read an urban fantasy about cryptozoologists - and Verity Price is really really not one. (I mean, you could make a cool backstory about how the Prices and allies adopted the terminology ironically in the 60s to further distinguish themselves from the Covenant - or that Sanderson got himself in WAY over his head with a Price girl at some point and came out very confused, which is a fanfic I would definitely read - but she does not seem to be doing that.)

But! It is a urban fantasy in which ALL OF THE SEX IS UNAMBIGUOUSLY AND EXPLICITLY CONSENSUAL, and I didn't even know that was a thing that existed, so I will forgive it A LOT for being that. (I would also enjoy the fanfic about how Price family sex education includes a unit about how part of their mission is to introduce the urban fantasy community to the idea of "affirmative consent" which it had previously lacked entirely.)

I have Down Among The Sticks and Bones on its way from the library, but I have learned it is NOT about the Skeleton Girl (with that title how is it not about the Skeleton Girl?) so I find I am not that excited about it coming.
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[personal profile] hollymath
We got Christmas plane tickets yesterday. Less than a grand, which is a lot less than we'd been fearing. But not much less than a grand, so still involves juggling money around and me being so stressed I not only make Andrew sort it out, I don't even want him to give me options or ask me questions unless it's absolutely necessary. It was a vague relief that it wasn't any more expensive than it needs to be.

I still haven't heard back one way or another about the job I interviewed for last Thursday. I told myself I'd email them today to ask but then didn't because just the thought of doing so made my also in prickly and my stomach clench. My anxiety is still on a hair trigger right now. They can tell me later why I didn't get the job, if they want, but I don't expect to get much useful feedback from these kinds of things so I won't mind if they don't.

Todsy I idly tweeted that I follow so many linguists that I'm starting to be jealous I'm not one. Andrew took this and ran with it, researching what kind of student loans/grants I could get and whether local universities have linguistics courses on clearing. He's even set me up a UCAS account, bless him. It's always bugged me that I never finished my degree, and that I was doing the wrong degree, and at the wrong time. But none of that has ever made me feel like I can do anything about it before, so I don't know what's feeling so different now. A little part of me is really loving the possibility, though.

Cycling Diary: Day 138

Jul. 25th, 2017 10:00 pm
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[personal profile] purplecthulhu
Time in: 48 mins (34 cycling). Time back: 48:30 mins (36 cycling). 722 calories.

Still not up to full stamina yet, but I was pleased that a week of drinking beer in Bavaria hadn't set me back.

The junction heading north into Hyde Park from Exhibition Road continues to be a mystery. It is completely unclear to me how it is meant to work for cyclists. Are we meant to cut across traffic to reach the cycle lane, or gum up the pedestrian crossing, awaiting the crossing to go green so we can cross halted traffic and reach the cycle lane?

Well, I wasn't expecting that!

Jul. 25th, 2017 04:49 pm
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[personal profile] conuly
I just won a free one-year subscription to a magazine put out by Cricket! We already get Cricket, so I went with Muse. Fingers crossed that the girls like it.

The Geneva Trap

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:15 pm
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[personal profile] qatsi
Book Review: The Geneva Trap, by Stella Rimington
Rounding up a backlog of reviews, I found this in the Mortimer station book swap - I was curious about the author, without any great expectations. As such it's been on my "to read" pile for a while, and I got through it in two or three days, aided by some time waiting for the Proms. This is several novels in to the series of the character Liz Carlyle, and concerns a Russian diplomat in Geneva who has information that a "Third Country" has infiltrated a top-secret US/UK encryption programme. The book is somewhere between the cerebral world of John Le Carré (with political machinations between MI5, MI6, and various international counterparts) and an action thriller (rapidly jumping between London, Geneva, Marseilles and elsewhere), which may go some way to explaining the variety of opinions I've seen on Goodreads in not entirely satisfying either of those positions. Some technical details bothered me: the lack of technical understanding among some of the managerial characters combined with their complacency is caricature, but sadly plausible. Call me old-fashioned, but if you require separation of two computer networks and you're serious about security, then you will have two physically separate networks; having only a logical separation and sharing the hardware is, well, asking for trouble. Weaving Carlyle's domestic life as a parallel strand worked quite well and gave some extra dimensions to the story. On the whole, I enjoyed it, although I'm not sure I would actively seek out other books in the series.

Reading: The Star of the Sea

Jul. 25th, 2017 06:27 pm
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[personal profile] white_hart
The Star of the Sea is Una McCormack's sequel to The Baba Yaga (which I read last autumn). Both novels are set in a universe originally created by Eric Brown, though I haven't read Brown's books in the series, and take place in a far-future universe where both humanity and their traditional enemies the Vetch are threatened by the mysterious and massively deadly Weird. In this book, following the events of The Baba Yaga, the human Expansion mounts an expedition to Stella Maris, where humans, Vetch and Weird had been living in harmony, ostensibly to study the Weird but perhaps with more sinister motives. At the same time, Yale, one of the residents of Stella Maris, agrees to transport a mysterious human girl and a Vetch boy back to the Expansion for purposes that, at least initially, aren't clear to any of them, while information analyst Maxine Lee, working in the Expansion's capital, starts to suspect that some of the conspiracy theories she's meant to be monitoring may have more truth than she has been led to believe.

Like the first book, it's a plotty, compelling sf thriller with a strong cast of mostly-female characters. Also like the first book, this isn't a utopian Star Trek-type space opera; it's an examination of what it means to live in a society that's far more authoritarian than any of its citizens would care to admit, and of how an authoritarian regime can exploit the small (and not so small) differences between people to bring discord and division to a previously-harmonious society; and if I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I enjoyed The Baba Yaga, I think it's simply that the world I live in has shifted between last September, when I read that, and now, and I found it so dark that in places it was quite difficult to read, knowing what's going on in the world around me.

triffid of the day

Jul. 25th, 2017 06:45 pm
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[personal profile] lamentables
Triffid #oftheday

Walking is almost back to a normal pace now - so much so that the f*tb*t recognises it as exercise - but I'm still not walking more than 2km at a time. I've now spent too much time not-walking or hobbling, so that walking feels like hard work and not fun. This makes me grumpy, but I am trying to focus on the longer term instead of on immediate gratification. Not-walking has also had a impact on my mental health: I'm twitchy and prey to small-hour brain weasels at the moment. *resolve face*

abrinsky had his stitches removed today and his face is looking much more the way it should do. Without the stitches there, he braved a wet shave (though not of the wound itself) and this also makes him look more himself. The nurse confirmed he's healing well, which is good to hear.
oursin: Photograph of Rebecca West as a young woman, overwritten with  'I am Dame Rebecca's BITCH' (Rebecca's bitch)
[personal profile] oursin

I noticed - flitting past me on Twitter the other day - somebody eyerolling at, if not codfishing, some bloke's plaint that watching Dunkirk had made him realise that The Modern Man does not have these Manly Challenges To Rise To -

And being a historian, I thought that, actually, there have been long generations, at least in my country, where most men were not being called upon to take arms and fight, and the general attitude to the soldiery was summed up by Kipling in Tommy.

And that thing about Challenges to Rise To always tends to be seen in a context which leads to e.g. the Battle of the Somme, rather than to being a despised Conscientious Objector, a decision which history may read entirely differently -

Which possibly links on to that thing I also saw flit past me on Twitter apropos of alt-history narratives which allow the viewer to believe that they would be The Resistance, which reminded me of that nasty piece of work Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger going 'where are the good brave causes?', and really, one can think of a few relevant to the 1950s, not to mention, we do not, ourselves, envisage J Porter going off to Spain in the 30s.

And the whole notion of Heroic Actions and somehow, not here, not now.

And I thought, did not my beloved Dame Rebecca say somewhat to this point in Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, and while this has the rhetorical universalisation and generalisation to which she was (alas) prone, it does seem relevant to this notion of some kind of masculine Rite de Passage:

All men believe that some day they will do something supremely disagreeable, and that afterwards life will move on so exalted a plane that all considerations of the agreeable and disagreeable will prove petty and superfluous.

As opposed to, persistently beavering away at the moderately disagreeable in the hopes that it might become a little more agreeable.

the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Dear readers, I have recently completed what I suppose, length-wise, amounts to a novella, i.e. long enough that I will be posting it in instalments.

It is set some 20+ years after Clorinda renounced writing her memoirs.

Content warnings: some character deaths, atypical behaviour while in the throes of bereavement, startling and unexpected revelations.

But some answers to questions about 'what happened to - ?'.

First episode coming shortly.

NIF: eps 15-16 Lanterns and Swords

Jul. 25th, 2017 08:57 am
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
[personal profile] sartorias
These are transitional scenes in that they flash to the past but are building toward a coming confrontation. But on repeated viewings, we can see deep groundwork being laid for even bigger stakes.

And oh, the emotional moments are riveting.
Read more... )
spiralsheep: Sheep wearing an eyepatch (spiralsheep Ram Raider mpfc)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Mr Tummyness goes for a walk.

Mr Tummyness the Faun stumped by a wish tree

postable  Mr Tummyness the Faun with the skeletal petals of winter

- BBC News online feed pull quote, lol: "A 12ft-long python found on the Norfolk Broads has still not been found." Perhaps it's not a python but a news ouroboros? ;-)

- Small political victories making me happy right left now:

1. In the UK the inquest into the death of Sarah Reed #sayhername found that her death in custody was preventable and the result of systemic racism and disablism. The inquest explicitly stated that Sarah Reed should NOT have been in prison, in addition to listing many forms of abusive maltreatment Sarah Reed was subjected to including the deliberate withholding of medication by prison staff. It doesn't give Sarah Reed her life back but this accurate and comprehensive inquest will help her family, especially her mother, and might even ripple outwards to help every Black disabled woman currently being abused by systemic racism and disablism (including by disabled white racists who volubly deny racism exists, and play at respectability politics, while inflicting their racism and the deadly results on Black disabled people).

2. In Poland justice activist Zofia Romaszewska, and mass street protests by ordinary Polish people, persuaded President Andrzej Duda to veto an attempt by the (democratically elected) fascist government of Poland to take control of the judiciary. The EU also protested and threatened sanctions, which is important because that might slow the power grab by fascists in Hungary and the further spread of overt fascism in Europe (which still has too much power and influence over the rest of the world).

3. All those gifs of Sean Spicer stealing a mini-fridge from the White House were 'king lolarious and, no, it's not a *distraction* because people can have fun while simultaneously caring about the srs bznz of resisting fascism.

Interesting Links for 25-07-2017

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] bitesizedreading
How did your weekend reading go? If you planned on anything specifically, did you read it?

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:27 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] adair and [personal profile] owlfish!

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:06 am
slemslempike: (Default)
[personal profile] slemslempike
If you search on Idealist for jobs with the keyword "gender", the first two that come up are for the International Potato Centre and the African Cashew Alliance. They actually sound really interesting jobs, but not quite what I want to do. Herewith a very witty comment I made to a friend who wondered if potatoes have gender: "the ones with lashes are female". (Because potatoes have eyes DO YOU SEEEEEE?)

Have any of you ever bought anything from duty free on an airplane? I suppose if I actually wore perfume or had expensive tastes in alcohol or hideous taste in jewellery I might, but as it is I quite fancy a go on one of the children's toy planes and the rest seems an utter waste of magazine space.

If any of you like to buy non-Kindle e-books, and haven't already got a Kobo account, would you let me invite you to it? You get a free £3 credit when you sign up (for use on books over £3), and if you decide to use that, then I get some money too. It would keep me in Angela Thirkell books, which is what I am currently going through. I've run out of the non-terrible ones at faded page so need to expend actual money for the rest.

Long Ride in a Slow Machine

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:29 pm
qatsi: (bach)
[personal profile] qatsi
Book Review: Hallelujah Junction - Composing an American Life, by John Adams
I picked this up a while ago in a work book sale, but it sat on the shelves waiting for the right moment. I decided, with Adams' music featuring in the First Night of the Proms, that it was now time.

It makes for an interesting read. Adams traces his roots back to the dance hall Winnipesaukee Gardens, in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, where his maternal grandparents had a troubled relationship; his parents ended up in modest circumstances and his childhood was comfortable but basic. From an early age he was interested in music and played the clarinet, showing enough talent to take lessons and eventually play orchestral parts. He also liked the idea of conducting in particular. Conventional classical music training in the eastern US in the mid twentieth-century was focused very much on twelve-tone serialism, which did not much appeal to Adams, who was steeped in jazz and interested in rock and roll as much as classical music. Despite offers of further tuition, he eventually decided to spread his wings (or at least, a rickety Volkswagen camper-van) and head west.

Through the seventies Adams made a career mostly as a conductor and concert organiser; a few of his own works, such as Shaker Loops and Harmonium started to make his reputation. He goes on to describe the collaboration with Peter Sellars and Alice Goodman that led to Nixon in China, which became one of his most successful works, and The Death of Klinghoffer, which has always been one of his most controversial. Later chapters in the book go into some depth, creatively and bureaucratically, as well as musically, on several works; Adams also ponders the creative process in general. He has an easy writing style, and acknowledges problematic works as well as success. The foreword to this edition notes the 2012 performance at the Proms of Nixon in China as one of his career highlights; I'm glad he thinks that, because, having been there myself, I agree.

potluck yoga

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:35 pm
lamentables: (Default)
[personal profile] lamentables
It was the last yoga session of the term today, which necessitated some cooking over the weekend, ready for our traditional potluck lunch.

I think I've previously mentioned the occasional benefit of being the last drop for the vegbox man - the week of 18 avocados? (Some weeks there are items missing from my box, so it's not all good news.) This week there was a bonus net of lemons in my box, so I was inspired to make lemon polenta cake. But to make life easier I made small individual cakes in bun cases.

Lemon polenta cakes #oftheday #whenlifegivesyou🍋🍋

They are delicious and, I reckon, better than a single large cake. I had to grind my own almond flour (also contains hazelnuts, because not quite enough almonds) and I think that really enhanced the cakes, making the texture more uneven and interesting.

the recipe )

And as a savoury, I baked some individual 'frittatas'. Or maybe they were pastry-less quiches. It all depends on how you look at things. Either way, they were very tasty and I shall be making them again for my lunches.

Mini frittata #oftheday #omnomnom

They contain roast veg, feta, finely sliced onions, and egg whisked with a little milk. I seasoned only with salt and pepper, but the roast veg has such an intense flavour that this was the right choice. The bonus is that the veg was a bit tired and limp, so I was using it up before it had to be thrown away. And there's a bit more roast veg in a box in the fridge as a handy ingredient for I don't yet know what.
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Harriet)
[personal profile] nineveh_uk
It was in the year 2509 of the Third Age, in the region of ----shire, that the party of Lady Celebrían, making a long overdue visit to her parents, was waylaid by orcs.

It was not fear of such an encounter that was responsible for the delay in paying this most natural duty. Orcs had not been known in the neighbourhood for many years, and had their return to the region been known the party would have elected to travel by the Pass of Rohan, no matter the greater distance. Rather the lady's children had reached the difficult age of the late second millenium when an elf is most in need of guidance from a mother. The presence in Rivendell of their distant cousins the Dunedain had made this guidance particularly essential. None knew more than the daughter of the Lady Galadriel the importance of harmonious relations between kin, and Celebrían had sincerely welcomed the many greats grandchildren of her brother-in-law to her home. But there were limits to how close a connection should be considered, and no count of generations could undo the fact that the children of Elrond and the Line of Elendil were first cousins. It would not do.

So, anyway, excursion to Darmstadt

Jul. 24th, 2017 05:04 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

This involved a certain amount of faff and hassle about making sure we were buying the right kind of ticket for the train which would also give us free rides on public transport, ascertaining which platform the train in the right direction left from, etc etc. And then when we arrived a) finding the right stop for the tram b) missing the stop we wanted and being carried on to a point we didn't want.

Except it turned out to be right around the corner from Hundertwasser's Waldspirale apartment block, which was on the list of things to see.

After which we wandered down in the direction of the Schloss (which can only be seen by way of guided tours, we passed) and had what was a rather more leisurely lunch than we had intended at the Altes Rathaus before going to the Hessische Landesmuseum, based on the collections of the Grand Dukes, which has some nice stuff.

We then went out to Mathildenhöhe, which was where the artists of the Jugendstil Art Nouveau movement hung out. This includes a Russian Orthodox Church (not particularly Art Nouveau) and the Hochzeitsturm, Marriage Tower, which looks as if it might be the HQ of one of those somewhat spooky early C20th New Agey cults that crop up in mysteries of the period, and a rather small museum (but I think part of it was closed) of furniture and objects created by the artists of the colony.

And then back to Frankfurt, whence we flew home today.

***

And in other news, spotted this in today's Guardian: the strange world of book thefts:

“We caught a gent last Christmas with £400-worth of stolen books in his trousers and elsewhere.... As we showed him the door he told us: ‘I hope you’ll consider this in the Žižekian spirit, as a radical reappropriation of knowledge.’”
As an anarchist friend of a friend remarked when his car was nicked, 'Property is theft: but so is theft theft'.

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 04:24 pm
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
[personal profile] tree_and_leaf
It is an understatement to say that I don't like Theresa May in the least, and think she is doing the country a lot of harm - and yet, I still find Tim Lott more annoying.

well, that's interesting!

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:38 am
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
[personal profile] tempestsarekind
A nice email to receive from Shakespeare's Globe this morning:

We are thrilled to announce that Michelle Terry will be Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe from April 2018.

An Olivier Award-winning actor and writer, Michelle is well-known to the Globe’s stage, having starred as Rosalind in As You Like It (2015), as Titania/Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013) and as the Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost (2007). She also directed Richard III, King John and As You Like It for The Complete Walk (2016), a series of short films created as part of the Globe’s celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

http://blog.shakespearesglobe.com/post/163360048328/michelle-terry-is-the-new-artistic-director-of


I absolutely loved her as the Princess, and was really disappointed that the Globe didn't film her AYLI, because I really wanted to see her as Rosalind. She was also great as Rosaline in LLL at the RSC, and a lovely Helena in the National Theatre's All's Well, although I had some quibbles with the production. (I loved the idea of the fairy-tale concept, but felt that the fairy-tale aspects were mostly a gloss on the top - a red cloak here, a wolf shadow there - rather than worked fully into the deep structures of the production. Don't ask me how one would do such a thing, though.) I suppose she hasn't done much directing (had Mark Rylance done any, before he was artistic director? I genuinely haven't any idea), but unlike some artistic directors, she does seem to enjoy Shakespeare, so that's a plus… and she's clearly familiar with the space, which can only help.

…Also, being me, this bit at the very bottom made me smile: "The panel formed to recruit the Artistic Director Designate comprised: Neil Constable, Louise Jury, Claire van Kampen, Philip Kirkpatrick, Jamie Parker, Emma Stenning and Jenny Topper." :)

Interesting Links for 24-07-2017

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

In which there is the June Book, 1976

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:49 am
spiralsheep: Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society (Sewing Circle Terrorist Society)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
60. June Book, 1976, annual, comic, girls own. (3/5)

• 2-8 & 25-31 Mam'selle X and Operation Danger comic: sabotage and steam engines in occupied France.

• 9-11 Strangest Stories Ever Told (aka The Storyteller &c.) comic: our heroine befriends a tree that is subsequently involved in a fatal accident, made into a sledge, before the sentient and now also mobile tree saves the girl's life, "It's made from Philippa, darling, that's why! Daddy was very clever and sawed strips of wood off her to make it." Randomly set in Canada. SO EXOTIC!

• 12-15 Lucky's Living Doll comic: there are two episodes of this long-running comedy in this annual. Tina, the "living doll", looks after a mum and her baby after they miss the last bus and decide to stay the night in the mysterious invisible stranger's house instead of walking and/or hitching which would be much safer in the real world!

• 16 Just Joking comic: a page of single panel cartoons. I'm planning to post this image whenever anyone mentions "white feminism" from now on. :-D

Is this an uninhabited island? From the June Book annual 1976

Contents and two more scans. )

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 03:10 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
New type of soft, growing robot created

On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen

The 19th-Century Lithuanians Who Smuggled Books to Save Their Language

When Young Chinese Ask, ‘What’s Your Sign?’ They Don’t Mean Dragon or Rat

How Checkers Was Solved

'Super Producer' Donates Gallons of Her Breast Milk to Feed Other People's Kids

Balls Out: The Weird Story of the Great Truck Nuts War

The Lonely Lives of Dolphin Lice

Lemon juice has long come in containers shaped like lemons.

When Girls Studied Planets and the Skies Had No Limits

A Search for the Flavor of a Beloved Childhood Medicine

North Dakota’s Norway Prison Experiment

What's It Really Like To Work In A Prison Goat Milk Farm? We Asked Inmates (The issue isn't the work, it's the pay. Pay them actual minimum wage. If you don't want them to use that money, require them to save most of it for when they are released. Even if you don't want to pay them, it seems obvious that not doing so drives down everybody else's wages.)

Cooling the tube – Engineering heat out of the Underground

The Kitten Rental Program is Saving Lives (It's all in the marketing ♥)

When New York City Rioted Over Hamlet Being Too British

Sean Spicer stole a mini-fridge from White House staffers (One can only hope they are now able to reclaim it.)

In South Sudan, a child soldier long thought dead comes back

Schumer, Gillibrand Co-Sponsor Senate Bill That Would Make Boycotting Israel A Felony (Oh, ffs. You can have a perfectly rational reason for criticizing specific policies taken by the Israeli government without hating or even disliking: Jews, Israelis, and/or the modern nation-state of Israel. And I voted for these people! Oh, uh... don't read the comments. Sheesh.)

Israel's struggle to integrate ultra-Orthodox and Arabs raises economic fears

Disabled and disdained: In rural America, some towns are divided between those who work and those who don’t

For Ethiopia’s Underemployed Youth, Life Can Center on a Leaf

How smugglers use trucks with sometimes deadly results

Protecting our children from climate change might take more than just cutting emissions

Doctor Who Christmas trailer

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:16 am
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
[personal profile] magister has just watched the new Doctor Who trailer next to me, and then I go look at my DW reading page and about three different people have shared it there too. Ha, I know good people here.

I was actually talking with James about this yesterday, I said I was mad it has Bill and this First Doctor-playing guy who's name I can't remember, and it has Capaldi, and maybe Missy? And this is great because I'd watch them all the time, but a shame because I feel like what's the point of the rengeration episode we just had, which didn't even have a regeneration in it? We could've had a lovely normal story instead of having to have two whole episodes full of doom about the Doctor dying.

It's been a generally pretty doomy season anyway, something I complained about all the way back in "Oxygen." Maybe I'm a big wuss (okay, I am a big wuss) but I do not want bleak right now. I don't want to watch people getting treated worse than they deserve or dealing with circumstances beyond their control. If I wanted that I could read the news or talk to a lot of my friends or indeed think about most of my goddam life.

I'm mad about what happened to Missy and Bill, and I hope though I'm not holding my breath that the Christmas episode will go some way to fixing that.

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:42 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] heyokish!

I have always been a picker

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:09 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I used to pick at my scabs until they bled, and then pick at them again once they healed up. I used to pick at peeling paint - I've mostly stopped that habit. But what I really like to do, really really, is get the peeling bark on trees that exfoliate like that. I've been known to cross the street and then stop for five minutes at a time to get at the London Plane trees on my block.

If I think about it much, when I think about it, I generally would attribute this sort of thing to being autistic. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of people who aren't autistic who do this too, but probably not many who go out of their way to do it for fun. I could be wrong here, of course.

Which is where this gets interesting. I went out to bring my mother her coffee, and before I went in I spent a few minutes with our crape myrtle. And my mother said I was just like her mother.

My mother has a very complicated relationship with me and autism. On the one hand, she swears she knew when I was a small infant. On the other hand, she is eager to downplay any signs of autism that I might ever bring up - especially if they're traits shared with anybody in the family other than her father, who really was undeniably autistic. Either she denies that the traits exist, or she denies that they're quite strong, or she denies that they have anything to do with autism whatsoever. (There are some things she can't do this to, like the topographical agnosia, but otherwise she gives it the good ol' college try!)

So for her to criticize what I'm pretty sure is an autistic trait, and attribute it to her mother instead of her father - well, I could've used this as a segue into my ongoing attempts to speak with her on the subject of the broader autistic phenotype, assortative mating, and our family. But given recent events, I decided instead to talk about exfoliating bark and how I'm sure the reduction of dead bark will decrease the risk of a forest fire in our backyard.
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
[personal profile] sartorias
The next three episodes are a minor arc: the first two end mid-conversation. This is the arc that got me obsessed with the show—not only was the emotional dimension compelling, but I was catching Mei Changsu in the act of greatness, showing us how he does it. And the conversations about the past, about political expediency and loyalty and so forth resonated to the backs of my eyeballs, all the more considering the daily news here, focused on politicians from whom absolutely nothing can be believed or trusted, whatsoever. Nothing. It’s such a horrible, helpless feeling as we watch the limits of democracy tested, that watching a show in which people with good intentions slowly gain agency to the benefit of the innocent pretty much took over my life for the duration.

And it helps that the actors are all so gorgeous, the clothes jaw-droppingly beautiful, the sets all places I would dearly love to live in myself.

Anyway, Marquis Xie is shaping up for a major power play, thinking that he is maneuvering behind the scenes while his targets fumble in the light of day. But as yet he doesn’t know that he is quietly being outpaced, step by step . . .
Read more... )

I have rehomed the kittens

Jul. 23rd, 2017 07:29 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
It was a little abrupt, but with all this that's going on I simply couldn't wait any longer. I'm just happy I didn't have to leave them at a shelter. I really think individual care is best for them right now - and that was what they weren't getting from me recently. (Also, boy, those kittens ate a lot, and produced a lot of poop as well! Two small kittens, and they were going through three or four cans of cat food today! The larger size, too, not the mini size.)

They went to a vet before going to their new foster home, and according to the update I got they are in comparatively great health - no FIV, no feline leukemia, and mostly recovered from earlier infection. Unfortunately, the one eye will not improve much from how it is now (there seems to have been some trauma, not just an infection), but the vet said it shouldn't affect her too much either. That's all we can hope for, and not that surprising.

The state of Augmented Reality

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:27 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Five years ago I had a disagreement with a friend over whether this article was being overly pessimistic about augmented reality and whether we'd have "hard" AR soon.

Five years later, and this is the state of the art:


Which is, I totally admit, a very neat tech demo. But it's not "there" yet. The FOV is too small, and you can see the real world through it. Although, to be fair, most of the time the real world isn't _that_ distracting, you're definitely not going to be able to "see Victorian gas lamps in place of normal lights" or "have a real Coke can that you want to turn into an AR Pepsi can by drawing a Pepsi logo over the Coke logo".

Ah well, I'll make a note to come back in five years time and see where we are then!

No culinary activity, obvs

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:50 pm
oursin: The Accomplisht Ladies' Delight  frontispiece with a red cross through it (No cooking)
[personal profile] oursin

Today, in spite of various travel muddles and confusions, we went to Darmstadt. However, possibly more detail when I am less tired and it's not so late in a long day.

Belated Memery

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:48 pm
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
The Kindly Ones for [personal profile] carbonel

Story here

This is an ambitious story. Its theme, basically, is "Snobbery with Violence." It's set in the place where I learned to sail, and I wanted it to have a ferocious sense of place; I'm not sure how successful that was.

Read more... )
white_hart: (Default)
[personal profile] white_hart
Europe at Midnight is the second in Dave Hutchinson's Fractured Europe series; although it isn't quite a sequel to Europe in Autumn and could reasonably easily be read as a standalone novel, reading Europe in Autumn first fills in some of the background, and reading Europe at Midnight first would take away the impact of one of the major plot twists in Europe in Autumn.

Like Europe in Autumn, Europe at Midnight is basically a Le Carre-esque spy thriller which replaces the Cold War with the complicated politics of a fragmented near-future Europe. Its events take place on the same timeline as those of Europe in Autumn, with limited points of intersection. It's clever and plotty and interesting and I enjoyed it a great deal. I did, however, have one reservation, which was that I counted no fewer than three separate incidents where female characters who were important to the two male protagonists died violently in order to advance the men's plots (and a fourth where a woman was only seriously injured). It's true that the novel belongs to the gritty spy thriller genre and that comes with a lot of violence, death and general unpleasantness, and it gets points for having a reasonably wide range of female characters who are as likely to be dishing out the violence and general unpleasantness as on the receiving end of it, but by the third death I couldn't help feeling that this was starting to feel a bit like a pattern, especially as none of the deaths of men had the same emotional resonance for the two protagonists.

***

Rivers of London: Black Mould is the third Rivers of London graphic novel. I pre-ordered this in February when the release date was, I think, May; it was eventually released this week. Like the first two, it's a short standalone casefic which doesn't add to the wider arc of the series; fairly slight, but it was nice to see more of DC Guleed in particular, and it was entertaining enough.

The Great Wave

Jul. 23rd, 2017 04:30 pm
qatsi: (sewell)
[personal profile] qatsi
We'd known the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum would be popular and we'd booked in advance; just as well, as advance tickets have now sold out, and day tickets had also sold out when we arrived. There were long queues for the museum as a whole now that the bag search has become ubiquitous - having a pre-booked ticket allows you to fast-track through some elements of this, but it's still hassle. Sadly it's an arms race of security theatre - if one place does it, they all have to do it for fear of being left behind, a softer target. It's job creation all right, but I rather doubt these are quality jobs.

We had allowed plenty of time and wandered through the free, smaller exhibitions of British Watercolours, which was a mixed bag but had some interesting pieces by Paul Nash, his brother John Nash, Ravilious and others, and Pacific North America, marking the 150th anniversary of the foundation of Canada in a possibly rather awkward way, but at least acknowledging the indigenous culture.

The Hokusai exhibition itself was very busy, essentially a slow-moving queue from end to end, which didn't make for the best experience, but it was worth it to see the range of works, starting with the summoning of a dragon, proceeding through many views of Mount Fuji (including the Great Wave itself), but also flower and bird paintings, a few portraits, and two unusual aerial views of Japan and China. It was interesting to compare with Hiroshige's slightly later paintings of Mount Fuji; on the whole, Hokusai was more monochromatic, frequently using (the then novel) Prussian Blue for his main colour scheme. At the end of the exhibition there are also one or two works by his daughter; sometimes these were passed off as by Hokusia himself in order to increase their value.

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