August 17th, 2017
lilysea: Serious (Default)

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My stepfather’s grandson’s wedding is black-tie optional, and my stepfather’s children are renting him a tux. My mom, who is 90, thought she would wear a nice pants outfit with a dressy jacket, and is resistant to buying something new. She has been through a lot this year (treatment for lymphoma, cancer surgery, and she recently fell and broke her pelvis, so she is in a lot of pain).

I and my three sisters (my mom’s only children) live on the opposite coast, but we are now being pressured by the mother of the groom (my stepfather’s daughter) and my stepfather to see that she is outfitted appropriately -- not just for the wedding, but also for the rehearsal dinner (cocktail attire) and the wedding breakfast to be held the day after the wedding.

They have also expressed concerns about the shoes my mother prefers (very safe, comfortable, but not at all dressy). My sister even heard my stepfather tell her that if she doesn’t get something new to wear, she can stay home and not attend the wedding or other events.

My mother doesn’t stand up for herself, unfortunately. Two of us will be traveling to see her soon, and plan to take her shopping. My sister is even purchasing a few things for my mom that she will bring with her, in the hopes that maybe something will fit and work for this event.

Personally, I think it is extremely superficial of them to dictate what she wears (especially since the wedding is six months from now!). If it were me, I would just be thrilled they are both well enough to attend, regardless of how they are dressed.

Is my mother wrong to resist the request to buy something more formal? Or should the step-family back off?

GENTLE READER: What happened to the “optional” part?

While Miss Manners always advocates dressing properly for the occasion -- and generally abhors “optional,” as it just invites chaos -- the particulars of your mother’s dress seem to be unduly fixated upon here. There is certainly a lot of undue angst being put into this poor woman’s wardrobe that seemingly requires three separate outfits and uncomfortable, possibly dangerous, shoes.

If your mother can reasonably be jollied into the shopping expedition or accepts one of your sister’s choices for one new outfit, fine. But if not, please talk to your stepfather about “backing off.” Surely this cannot really be worth all of this fuss.

August 16th, 2017
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
posted by [personal profile] jimhines at 05:05pm on 16/08/2017

I was testing the solar filter for the camera, in preparation for Monday’s eclipse. We won’t be seeing the total eclipse, but I’m hoping to get some good shots of the partial.

As I was processing the results, I realized I’d captured sunspots!  (Those dark spots in the upper left.)

Sun with sunspots

Click to embiggen.

For those who wonder about such things, this was taken on the 100-400mm lens, fully zoomed to 400mm. ISO 640, f/10, with a 1/3200 shutter speed. I had to set everything manually, because the camera overexposed the shot if left to its own devices.

I think next time I’ll try to reduce the ISO down to about 100 and see if that gets rid of the minor graininess.

Processing involved cropping the shot, noise reduction, and an orange overlay.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

spiralsheep: Death to the fascist oppressors (present company excepted) (chronographia Death Fascist Oppressors)
"When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time." - Maya Angelou

Yesterday infamous fraudster and US white suPresident Donald Trump retweeted a message calling himself a fascist. Later in the day at an on-the-record press conference he referred to white supremacists as "us" ("Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at us – excuse me." ETA: now being claimed as an indistinct word despite all the initial reports and transcripts in which he is recorded as saying "us". My points in this post still stand, alas). The white supremacist who killed Heather Heyer by driving his car into her at speed on a crowded street was dressed as Donald Trump. His mother claims she believed he was attending a pro-Trump event. The white supremacist who killed Heather Heyer told the world he is a Trump supporter in words, dress, and deeds. We now know that white suPresident Donald Trump has publicly specifically supported the Trump Youth fascists in Charlottesville in addition to the many white supremacist policies his administration has already enforced. Apart from the murder of Heather Heyer and injuries caused to 19 other people (including another woman with a broken skull), the next most serious set of injuries resulted from about half a dozen white supremacists assaulting Deandre Harris (eight staples in his split head and a broken wrist) and again at least one of those men was dressed as Trump Youth while attacking alongside men self-identifying as Nazis and literally wearing Nazi insignia.




"Mr. Trump probably has trouble condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis because he hired people with those affiliations to work for him. His chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has been accused of anti-Semitism, famed for running the racist website Breitbart. Other prominent staffers include Seb Gorka, whose family has ties to a Nazi group in Hungary, and Stephen Miller who worked with white supremacist Richard Spencer at Duke University. Mr. Trump’s Attorney-General, Jeff Sessions, is one of the most reviled civil rights antagonists in modern American history, denounced over three decades ago by Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

For six months, this team has translated their long-standing racist rhetoric into policy: banning Muslims from travel and immigration, targeting voter rights through a 'voter fraud' commission based entirely on a xenophobic myth, refusing to mention Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day, renaming the 'Countering Violent Extremism' program 'Countering Radical Islamic Extremism' and proclaiming that white supremacist terrorist groups would no longer be targeted by the government, cutting funding for groups that help white supremacists leave the fold – and that’s to name but a few initiatives." - Sarah Kendzior

(Source: Globe and Mail article August 13 2017, i.e. after Heather Heyer's murder but before yesterday's press conference.)




If we fail to learn from history we are condemned to repeat it. Fascists attempting to seize power invariably deputise fascist militias. The only successful armed coup in USian history involved white supremacist militias.

"How The Only Coup D'Etat In U.S. History Unfolded

Think of a coup d'etat and images of a far-flung banana republic* likely come to mind. So it might come as a surprise that it happened here in the United States - just once, in 1898.

A mob of white supremacists armed with rifles and pistols marched on City Hall in Wilmington, N.C., on Nov. 10 and overthrew the elected local government, forcing both black and white officials to resign and running many out of town. The coup was the culmination of a race riot in which whites torched the offices of a black newspaper and killed a number of black residents. No one is sure how many African-Americans died that day, but some estimates say as many as 90 were killed.

Especially chilling was the fact that the insurgency had been carefully planned - a conspiracy by powerful white Democrats.

Southern Democrats lost their grip on power in North Carolina in 1894 and plotted to wrest control from the biracial Republican Party in 1898 elections. They campaigned on a platform of white supremacy and protecting their women from black men.

As the Nov. 8, 1898, vote approached, whites in Wilmington mobilized. They held supremacist rallies and parades and organized militias of 'Red Shirts' to intimidate blacks from voting. The statewide election restored Democrats to power, and two days later, the white supremacists descended on Wilmington's City Hall.

Their leader, Col. Alfred Moore Waddell, had publicly threatened in a pre-election speech to 'choke the current of the Cape Fear River' with black bodies, according to a 2006 report chronicling the events by the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission. After the coup, Waddell was elected mayor of Wilmington."

* spiralsheep's note: please remember that "banana republic" = fascist dictatorships historically sponsored wholly by the US.

(Source: NPR, August 17, 2008, but I've cut the paragraphs specifically about their radio programme.)




P.S. Yes, the some of the most celebrated founding fathers of the US, including George Washington, were slave owners and personally committed genocide against Native Americans. Acknowledging reality-based history is necessary to prevent fascist propaganda from taking root in culture. Live with it.
Mood:: An I told you so I didn't want
location: My thoughts are with anyone on or near the Korean Peninsula
peartreealley: (travel)
For months, we'd been hoping to get up to the Peak District, and the plan kept getting pushed and pulled due to various outside influences--but once G had freedom, we decided to go for it. We planned to go for three or four days and stay with friends to maximize our countryside exposure (we've been itching to escape the city for weeks), but then had to cut it down to two days, in part because it's August and the height of the holiday season, and the time when our friends were available, both our cat sitter and back-up cat sitter were unavailable for any stretch of that long weekend.



Anyway, the Peak District! Since moving to the UK, most of my hiking has been flat, or at best, gently rolling. The Dark Peak isn't mountainous by Pacific Northwest standards, but my legs definitely got a workout. We began in Edale/Hope Valley, and then climbed our way out, up Jacob's Ladder, and to the plateau moor of Kinder Scout.

Jacob's Ladder

Once we reached the moors, navigation got confusing and the terrain became treacherous, climbing in and out of little ravines, getting trapped by boggy, sticky peat, and other adventures.



Our friend, C, turned his ankle on the moor. We limped on. Eventually, we made it to the edge of the plateau, and back down into Edale via a path that was not the one we had intended (this was basically true from the moment we hit the moor). G and I left C to rest his ankle and self-medicate in a pub while we continued on the remaining trek to get the car and pick him up.

All in all, we did something like 12-ish miles (of a planned 8-9 miles) through conditions much more difficult and dangerous than the ones we've encountered on the Ridgeway (and I was not shattered the next day), so I'm feeling pretty proud of myself--although I'm itching to get back on the Ridgeway. And, actually, the Peaks. It was just as magical as everyone told me it would be. I'm already looking at property pr0n in reach of the Peaks just in case....

Because just before our trip, a company in Liverpool contacted G for an in-person interview. He was like, "uh, can you do Tuesday because I'll already be in town." So with the cat situation as it was and a looming deadline on PS1, I took the train home on Monday (discount last minute First Class seat, FTW), while G stayed in Liverpool with our generous friends until he'd completed his interview.
Mood:: 'accomplished' accomplished
August 15th, 2017
rivendellrose: (Not Alone)
posted by [personal profile] rivendellrose at 08:42pm on 15/08/2017 under , ,
The world is a mess, my country is currently being driven 110 MPH the wrong direction down the freeway by a drunk toddler with a bad spray-on tan, and, oh, I'm pretty sure I'm about to get my period. Which means that I'm still not pregnant. Oh, and I get to spend a week in the middle of nowhere with my in-laws at the end of this month, assuming we all live that long!

Which we had damned well better, because at this point one of the main things getting me through all this is writing ridiculously AU OC fanfic for Star Trek: Discovery, and if I don't get to at least see the fucking pilot before this trash fire of a global situation goes critical, I am going to raise motherfucking hell in the afterlife.

All of that said, work is going pretty well for the most part, my cats are still cute, and The Boy and I are generally doing well. And I've been enjoying writing the afore-mentioned ridiculously AU OC fanfic for Discovery. Also, I'm giving some tours this weekend. So, hey, good things.
Mood:: 'meh' meh
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dragovianknight at 09:48am on 15/08/2017
I have fallen under the Indie Slush Pile, and I can't get up.

Rec me!

What I am looking for:

1) Not tradpub (Edit: This one and #4 are the only non-negotiable ones, see my reasons in comments; #2 can extend to SF or any similar genre, but I don't read many mysteries or much contemporary)
2) Fantasy - sword and sorcery or some other action sub-genre preferred over politics
3) Prefer a female main character
4) Competent writing, for the love of all the gods

I am honestly starting to think it's not possible to have a well-developed independently published story. Please show me I'm wrong.
August 14th, 2017
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
posted by [personal profile] dragovianknight at 06:33pm on 14/08/2017
There are the books where chapter 1 feels like the DM is setting up the campaign world for you. *sigh*

Is the current trend in YA really the "I am incompetent at everything and also clueless about my surroundings" character? Or is this just people trying to ape Harry Potter without going the necessary step of putting their MC in a world they genuinely have no way of knowing anything about?
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
And therefore, I am always annoyed when I pick up an indie book that looks good, has an interesting premise, and then turns out to be shallow, half-developed, and powered entirely by the idiot ball.

This applies to YA just as much as books allegedly aimed at adults. Thus was I really fucking disappointed in A Quest of Heroes (Amazon link), which I am pretty sure I picked up because it was a) free and b) the title seems like a perfectly good phrase for a group of adventurers, amirite? A quest of heroes, a murder of crows, a pack of wolves...

Sadly, the book was not nearly so clever as that, and the worldbuilding was tissue thin. And I don't want to say the main character is dumb as a box of hammers, but his awareness of the world around him extends for about six inches. This might be accurate for a fourteen year old, but it makes for a damn boring MC.

Most importantly, the ways the book is bad are very much self-absorbed Mary Sue-fic bad. Not because the MC is practically perfect in every way, but because the world shapes itself around him. You can tell the villains because they Instahate Our Hero Thor (don't name your hero Thor, people, unless your hero is Thor). The designated Good People equally Instalove him. He is deeply confused why he is hated! And why he is liked! In fact, Thor spends a great deal of the book clueless, conveniently has magic powers as the plot demands (but the Mysterious Magic Man won't explain jack shit, he just shows up to make Mysterious Pronouncements), receives the gift of a magic falcon maybe-familiar from the King roughly five minutes after showing up at the capitol, finds a probably-magic white leopard on a hunt, etc etc.
In which I complain at length. )
In short, Thor doesn't earn things so much as he bumbles his way into being in the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, and then managing to blow it all through sheer lack of sense. The people who oppose him oppose him for no good reason. The Evil Gay Trope offends me less than the sheer lack of sense or intelligence demonstrated by LITERALLY EVERYONE. Declaring your book YA - and I question that, given the whole "getting Thor drunk and buying him a whore" part - doesn't absolve you from basic logic and sensible character development.

The book ended on a cliffhanger, but frankly, I choose to believe the end of book 1 is the end of Thor's story. I'm certainly not going to pay money for the rest.
Mood:: 'cranky' cranky
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
posted by [personal profile] jimhines at 09:30am on 14/08/2017 under

Some of you might remember me talking about a 15,000-word novelette I was working on between wrapping up Terminal Alliance and starting on Terminal Uprising.

That novelette is called “Imprinted,” and it’s the next Magic ex Libris story.

It’s about Jeneta Aboderin, and it’s set roughly eight months after the events of Revisionary.

I haven’t set a publication date yet. There’s a bit of work left to get everything ready, and with Terminal Alliance coming out in November, I’m guessing it will be available in January or February.

I also haven’t set a price. $2.99 would be ideal, because that’s where ebook royalty rates jump from 35% to 70%. What do you think? Does $2.99 seem fair for a 15,000-word story, or should I bump it down to $1.99 and take the royalties hit?

Finally, as long as you’re here, what do you think of the not-quite-finalized cover?

Imprinted Cover: Draft

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

spiralsheep: A raven (spiralsheep Raven Logo)
- I haven't posted any music for too long so as I dug this link out for al_zorra: A Place Called England, by Maggie Holland (video and transcribed lyrics). Ms Holland is also well known as the writer of A Proper Sort of Gardener. And here's gratuitous C16th choral music sung by Stile Antico (18mins youtube) who I've seen live and would like to see in concert again.

- I've been having delicious Strawberry Switchblade flashbacks (3min, utu, iconic). I couldn't decide which cap I preferred and t'interwebz seems to like both equally on flickr. The arty bollocks generator says: "My work explores the relationship between Jungian archetypes and urban spaces."

N-Pop Girl in hydrangea flowers . N-Pop Girl in metaphorical clover

- Reading, books 2017: 79

77. Zoology, by Gillian Clarke, 2017, poetry. Includes a whole and wholly wonderful poem cycle mostly about sheep! Ms Clarke is 80 years old but when she writes about what she knows then her voice is as fresh on the page as an alphabet of dew on the morning hills. My favourite poem was the short Alchemy, and there are five other extracts below because I couldn't choose fewer. (4/5, goodreads = 0ratings/0reviews)

• and still I see words on the radio as birds
or fish homing to settle in the hush
of long waves on a beach in Pembrokeshire,
a staircase in the sea, or in the air,
space humming with murmurations of words.

• chorus and choir of ewe and lamb:
Song of the mountains, a drumming
in the air, on the track.

cân o'r mynyddoedd, sŵn drwmio,
yn yr awyr, ar y trac

Four more brief quotes. )
August 13th, 2017
amazon_syren: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] amazon_syren at 03:44pm on 13/08/2017 under , ,
So I have the enviable problem of needing to use up last year's frozen fruits and veggies in order to make space for this year's frozen fruits and veggies.
Oh, darn.

Which means I'm finally (finally) getting around to making preserves out of 2 bags of wild-harvested choke cherries + a pint of farmers' market "please just take it away, so we don't have to bring it home" black currants that were definitely past their best, but not by much.

What this amounts to is:

1L jar of chokecherry purree with onions and whole cranberries and some left-over plum jelly. I need to add [1/2 C vinegar, 1/2 C granulated sugar, a diced apple, some dried fruit - like a couple of well-chopped prunes or something (more likely dried cherries, since that's what I have) - and maybe another diced onion] to this in order to turn it into 4-5 cups of choke cherry relish.
+
750mL mix of black currant purree (about 1C) and chokecherry purree (the rest of the jar) to be mixed with 6 eggs, 3C sugar, and... a quantity of butter that I should really double-check before I start this business... in order to get about 3C of vividly purple fruit curd (this stuff is delicious with both choke cherries AND black currants, as well as with cranberries, so... It'll be good!)
+
1L jar of choke-cherry purree, black currant PULP, raw frozen berries (grocery-store cranberries given me by a friend, a grocery-store mix of blueberries, blackberries & raspberries + neighbourhood seriveberries and neighbourhood (alley, not back-yard - not this year, anyway) raspberries)

That last one is currently on the stove with the addition of: a glug of (fake) vanilla, a somewhat larger glug of vodka, a dusting of ground cloves, a pinch of salt, 4C granulated sugar, and a splish of pomegranate-flavoured balsamic vinegar--> Making it this year's version of Goblin Fruit Jam.


I'm... I've got a couple of hours of work I need to do for a friend. If said friend is coming over to catch up tonight, I will be holding off on the fruit curd and the relish-type-thing for later this week BUT I need to get to it sooner, rather than later, because I don't want it to go bad now that it's thawed out. :-\


In other preserving news:
Diced, blanched, and froze a bunch of zucchini (About 3.5 whole zukes - enough to make 6C frozen diced veggies, at any rate). I've got five left in the fridge, and being able to put up another 3.5 of them this week would not be a terrible thing.
If the Herb and Spice still has butternut squash on super-reduced-to-sell discount, I may pick up a couple of those and do the same to them. We shall see.

Also: I keep the diced stems of chard, kale, mustard greens, and similar in a bag in the freezer and chuck them into stews and braises as needed. And I decided to ferment the entire bag today and see what kind of a Weird Veggie Pickle I could make in the fermentation crock my friend gave me.
Ingredients (more or less) are:
Diced leafy-greens stems
1 red onion, finely sliced into ribbons
A bunch of fresh sage, sliced into ribbons
Whole coriander (cilantro) seeds (some dry, some still green - all from the garden)
Whole mustard seeds
LOTS of pickling salt
Dusting of ground nutmeg
3 bay leaves (for tanins - may shuffle off and see if I can't add a wodge of grape leaves - also in ribbons - to this mixture for the same reason plus the handy addition of Moar Greens)
2 whole cloves of garlic, pierced a few times with a sharp knife
5 frozen bird chilies

I'm hoping it will be delicious and also slightly less watery than the spring Wild Greens ferment I did a few months back. We Shall See.
amazon_syren: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] amazon_syren at 03:44pm on 13/08/2017
So I have the enviable problem of needing to use up last year's frozen fruits and veggies in order to make space for this year's frozen fruits and veggies.
Oh, darn.

Which means I'm finally (finally) getting around to making preserves out of 2 bags of wild-harvested choke cherries + a pint of farmers' market "please just take it away, so we don't have to bring it home" black currants that were definitely past their best, but not by much.

What this amounts to is:

1L jar of chokecherry purree with onions and whole cranberries and some left-over plum jelly. I need to add [1/2 C vinegar, 1/2 C granulated sugar, a diced apple, some dried fruit - like a couple of well-chopped prunes or something (more likely dried cherries, since that's what I have) - and maybe another diced onion] to this in order to turn it into 4-5 cups of choke cherry relish.
+
750mL mix of black currant purree (about 1C) and chokecherry purree (the rest of the jar) to be mixed with 6 eggs, 3C sugar, and... a quantity of butter that I should really double-check before I start this business... in order to get about 3C of vividly purple fruit curd (this stuff is delicious with both choke cherries AND black currants, as well as with cranberries, so... It'll be good!)
+
1L jar of choke-cherry purree, black currant PULP, raw frozen berries (grocery-store cranberries given me by a friend, a grocery-store mix of blueberries, blackberries & raspberries + neighbourhood seriveberries and neighbourhood (alley, not back-yard - not this year, anyway) raspberries)

That last one is currently on the stove with the addition of: a glug of (fake) vanilla, a somewhat larger glug of vodka, a dusting of ground cloves, a pinch of salt, 4C granulated sugar, and a splish of pomegranate-flavoured balsamic vinegar--> Making it this year's version of Goblin Fruit Jam.


I'm... I've got a couple of hours of work I need to do for a friend. If said friend is coming over to catch up tonight, I will be holding off on the fruit curd and the relish-type-thing for later this week BUT I need to get to it sooner, rather than later, because I don't want it to go bad now that it's thawed out. :-\


In other preserving news:
Diced, blanched, and froze a bunch of zucchini (About 3.5 whole zukes - enough to make 6C frozen diced veggies, at any rate). I've got five left in the fridge, and being able to put up another 3.5 of them this week would not be a terrible thing.
If the Herb and Spice still has butternut squash on super-reduced-to-sell discount, I may pick up a couple of those and do the same to them. We shall see.

Also: I keep the diced stems of chard, kale, mustard greens, and similar in a bag in the freezer and chuck them into stews and braises as needed. And I decided to ferment the entire bag today and see what kind of a Weird Veggie Pickle I could make in the fermentation crock my friend gave me.
Ingredients (more or less) are:
Diced leafy-greens stems
August 12th, 2017
spiralsheep: Sheep wearing an eyepatch (spiralsheep Ram Raider mpfc)
I walk, for leisure, in the countryside more often than urban areas but I don't often post photos because my favourite areas all tend to look similar: green, rocky, and damp. Now I need to sort out my autumn holidays for this year.... /rich people's problems

The day I walked the Monsal Trail, through limestone dales along a disused railway trackbed with many tunnels and bridges, was extremely wet even by local standards (as I was told by a local walking group I passed who had decided they were "mad" to be out and should've left it to the tourists like me, lol). One of the ever helpful Transpeak bus drivers let me off near the top of Chee Dale, from where I could hear the warning siren and blasting at Topley Pike Quarry, and I walked down until I met the end of the Monsal Trail to walk back to Bakewell (from where some of you received postcards). On my way I listened to the wind-up clockwork/electric audio trail, and saw pro-EU graffiti.

Chee Dale.

1 Chee Dale, Monsal Trail, Derbyshire 10-16

Seven more small images. )
August 11th, 2017
cypher: (gods and monsters <3)
posted by [personal profile] cypher at 10:22am on 11/08/2017 under
I figured out what I really wanted for [community profile] femslashex about two hours after nominations closed, which is "all the SMT4 pairings." Isabeau/Kaga already exists, but also Kaga/Yuriko, Isabeau/Yuriko, Gabby/Yuriko, Hikaru/Yuriko, Hikaru/Isabeau, and basically any and every 3+ combo possible there. The things that would make this most incredibly super awesome are spoilers but my soul is crying.

Ah well. It's a small enough fandom that it wouldn't be likely I'd get a match on it anyway.

I did at least get a start on my [community profile] iddyiddybangbang fic, which is going to scratch some of that itch. I meant for it to be mostly Isabeau/Kaga with a side of Yuriko, but I'm not sure why I thought I could get away with Yuriko being anything but a galvanizing central character. I mean, she's the leader of a feminist chaos cult! Isabeau is so ready for this life-changing experience.

I'm a little afraid the story is going to come out too "babby's first feminist awakening" but fuck the police, I am writing the story my id wants for this character. And between her quietly exasperated state of "why are men like this" for so much of the early game and the fact that she builds a battle party of Pallas Athena, Jeanne d'Arc, and Valkyrie when given the chance, I kinda think Isabeau could use more unapologetic fearless lesbians in her life.
Mood:: needs more smt lady icons
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
posted by [personal profile] jimhines at 10:42am on 11/08/2017 under

Friday thinks this next scene needs more elephants.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

spiralsheep: Death to the fascist oppressors (present company excepted) (chronographia Death Fascist Oppressors)
- I couldn't find this pugilistic Adam Bede dust jacket on t'interwebz so I decided to kill two Arthur Donnithornes with one stone and attempt to naart it with reflections, which didn't satisfactorily work but at least the cover image is clear. The arty bollocks generator says: "What starts out as yearning soon becomes corroded into a dialectic of greed, leaving only a sense of decadence and the chance of a new reality."

Adam Bede punching Arthur Donnithorne on the dustjacket of a Collins Pocket Classic edition

- Reading, books 2017: 79

Two Jenny Colgan novels, a 2/5 and a reluctant 1/5 I wanted to like. )
peartreealley: (journal)
I've been having a dawning reality check the last couple of weeks, which finally crested over the horizon yesterday. I did the FateNet series (five novellas, total of 190k words) in 14-15 months from planning to publishing the last installment.

And I've been flogging myself with the Persephone Station series (three novels, estimated total of 180k) feeling like a total slacker because I'm not meeting my goals, with the delusion that I should be able to have it all out in... six months?

I mean, I understand somewhat where that delusion came from. It's only three books, my brain said. And you've gotten through some of the learning faff from the last series! But I didn't seem to taking into account that those three books were twice as long as the ones that came before them and so they might take... twice as long? I'm not actually sure if that's a straight multiple or if it's longer (more narrative complexities) or shorter (less shifting between activities). Twice as long is at least a somewhat realistic estimate that I can adjust from.

So I was talking to G the Project Manager about this yesterday, and he said, "While I do believe you can increase efficiency from the last series you did, perhaps you should consider a 10-20% increase in efficiency? Not... 60-70%?"

A long story short, I'm now aiming for twelve months from planning to final installment publication. (For my editors reading, don't worry--I still plan on having the first book to you in the timeframes agreed on. I'm just not also planning on having the first drafts of the second and third books also done by October.) If you're wondering, I'm counting twelve months from June to June. I technically started PS in April for a couple of weeks, but then shelved it until July to finish off FN, so I think that splits the difference.

Well, you learn. Eventually.

And twelve months is a lot friendlier for being derailed by relocation than six months.

***

G has three job interviews next week, only one of which is in London. I'm making peace with potentially relocating this autumn.
Mood:: 'hopeful' hopeful
location: Peartree Alley
August 10th, 2017
spiralsheep: Einstein writing Time / Space OTP on a blackboard (fridgepunk Time / Space OTP)
- Memory and reality: even at this distance I still don't have a clear understanding of which aspects of my childhood were productive for me and which were destructive. "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy has stockholm syndrome in its own way." But that's also true of the limited social circles most children are trapped inside. And, of course, it's entirely possible and perhaps even usual to be un/happy simultaneously. And productive/destructive is a complex set of overlapping cycles.

- Three Things meme:
1. I've read some excellent books this year, including a heartening number published in 2017! Yay, reading! (I feel trepidation claiming this because it feels as if drawing attention to it might make me feel worse when my ability to read evaporates again, gah.)
2. COFFEE! I have enough time and energy in my life now, today, to allow myself to feel confused, and contemplate the idea that lowered expectations of life are probably an attitude I should adopt, because I have reached an age where feeling peaceful does me more good than most other experiences (not that I'm giving up on aiming for occasional highlights, obv).
3. [community profile] naarmamo is making me happy, and not only the encouragement to make small regular creative works but also the people who have made and are making the community between us. ♥

- Wake up and watch the coffee: I stirred my coffee and filmed the reflections. This is a still from the film (sorry it's blurry but I've never made a film before). I wish I knew more about the fluid dynamics of coffee! [/mumble ? vortices ? mumble] Why stirred coffee is and isn't like solar wind, apparently. :-D

Coffee cup experiment, 08-17

The arty bollocks generator says: "As spatial phenomena become frozen through emergent personal practice, the viewer is left with a hymn to our existence."
Mood:: Science!
August 9th, 2017
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
posted by [personal profile] jimhines at 10:56am on 09/08/2017 under

ETA: Dragon Con has reconsidered.

“[O]ver the last couple of days, we got an earful from our fans and others. The issue also caused a second author to ask us to remove her book from the ballot as well. We’ve reconsidered and changed our mind.”

ETA2: John Scalzi has also reconsidered, and will now remain on the ballot.

###

The Dragon Awards were created last year to recognize the best SF/F books, comics, games, TV, and films of the year. Nomination and voting are open to anyone and everyone, and the awards are presented at Dragon Con.

The ballot this year appears to be a mix of genuinely popular work and works where individual authors or groups campaigned hard to get nominated. File 770 published an analysis looking at Goodreads, Library Thing, and Amazon review numbers of the different nominees. I trust folks can draw their own conclusions.

On August 4, finalist Alison Littlewood posted that she was withdrawing her book from consideration. She notes:

“While this would normally be a great pleasure, it has also been brought to my notice that my book has been selected by a voting bloc who are attempting, for reasons of their own, to influence the awards outcome. Essentially, the same group who set out to fix the Hugo Awards are now encouraging their supporters to follow their voting choices in the Dragon Awards.”

Two days ago, finalist John Scalzi also withdrew his book from the award, saying in part:

“The reason is simple: Some other finalists are trying to use the book and me as a prop, to advance a manufactured ‘us vs. them’ vote-pumping narrative based on ideology or whatever. And I just… can’t. I don’t have the interest and I’m on a deadline, and this bullshit is even more stale and stupid now than it was the several other times it was attempted recently, with regard to genre awards.”

Rather, Littlewood and Scalzi tried to withdraw from the award. But according to a follow-up post from Littlewood, Pat Henry of the Dragon Awards is “declining” these requests. Both Scalzi and Littlewood’s books still appear on the ballot.

Henry’s statement, as posted on Littlewood’s blog, claims:

“We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting and we go through a number of steps to avoid ballot stuffing or other vote rigging behaviors.  While we didn’t start the Dragon Awards to foil these two groups, we believe that as we add voters, they will become irrelevant in the our awards.”

Note the false equivalence of rabid puppies, a self-proclaimed group created by Theodore Beale, with “justice warriors,” generally used as an insult against people speaking up for greater representation and inclusion. The rabid puppy slate was posted on Beale’s blog back in June. I’m curious where the equivalent “justice warrior” slate supposedly appeared…

Henry might be right that, when and if the awards add enough voters, slates might become irrelevant. Or they might not. But in either case, that hypothetical future doesn’t change the fact that right now, the awards are a mess, some of the campaigning is ugly, nasty, and hateful, and some authors don’t want to be dragged into that cesspool.

I hope Pat Henry and Dragon Con will reconsider their decision.

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)

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