reading wednesday

Jul. 26th, 2017 07:59 pm
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[personal profile] boxofdelights
• What are you reading?

Chimera, by John Barth. Last read in college, when I was studying computer science, and everything Barth said about alphabets and stories seemed to be a direct reflection of something Turing discovered about numbers and computing machines. "The key to the treasure is the treasure."

• What did you recently finish reading?

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. I had been putting this off, because my non-SF-reading friends were saying it was really good but my SF-reading friends were finding it disappointing, which usually means I'll find it disappointing. Turns out it's really good!

• What do you think you’ll read next?

Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson, for Tawanda book group.

Wednesday Reading

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:27 am
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[personal profile] oracne
I did a fair amount of reading over the weekend, and early this week.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott was too nerve-wracking and painful for me to read right now; I finished it, but the sequels will definitely have to wait. The race and class issues were very well-depicted, I thought, and the suspense was excellent. I am just too stressed about the world to handle this sort of thing in fiction right now.

The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch was, alas, much shorter than I had hoped. Abigail was so great! I want all the Abigail stories!!!

I was happily surprised that Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb, 43rd in the series, was much better than several of the previous volumes. There were a lot of twists and barriers to solving the mystery, capturing the perpetrators, and bringing them to justice, and remarkably little checking in with the huge recurring cast, which can become tedious. I read this partly because mysteries are comforting (justice wins!) and partly for purposes of analysis. I need to write down notes on its structure and character types and things like that.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:47 am
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] el_staplador !  A day of beauty and joy!
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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.

demurral

Jul. 25th, 2017 10:39 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
Gil McNeil, The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club (2009), orig. pub. as Divas Don't Knit in UK (2007): I pulled it off a library shelf without breaking stride, while following Reason to the checkout machine. It's light yet unexpectedly sincere-sounding given its rather typed cast. It begins right after Jo's husband, Nick, has declared his intent to leave her for a younger woman, then crashed his car into a tree and died accidentally. Go! Mrs. Go, in a next-door subgenre if not the same one, makes the protag's change in circumstance the centerpiece of her journey; this novel moves mid-thirties Jo and her two young sons immediately from London to seaside Kent, where she turns her life experience as a tv producer towards running her grandmother's yarn shop. (The narrative knows its knitting and its knit-shop vagaries.) It's hard work to float that light tone all the way through 400odd pages of "nothing" while setting up the narrator's view on single parenthood, which is quite practical, and while establishing a neighborhood's worth of characters and interactions at school, and while not becoming a completely vapid, precious froth. At the same time, it's so light that I slid through it during digestive flare #1 in May, at a time when I couldn't even read fic---so I kept going )
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[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.

Music I Dislike

Jul. 25th, 2017 08:59 am
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[personal profile] oracne
I was thinking this morning about the very few music groups I don't like, and why I don't like them. This was prompted by a song coming on the radio and me turning it off.

1. Steely Dan. I know, I know, Bard College. But the main singer's voice irritates the crap out of me. It's so...whiny. It feels like it is scraping every nerve. The twangy stuff in the background exacerbates the effect.

2. Elvis Costello. His voice is so-so to me, but also, an ex-boyfriend loved his stuff.

3. Florence and the Machine. I should like this band, but all their songs sound too similar to me, and there's not enough change within the songs, either with the style or within the singer's voice. Maybe if it was more Metal? Because I am okay with the repetitive nature of a lot of Metal, and Industrial. Regardless, the singer's voice always sounds a bit strained to me as well, so I guess there's subconscious discomfort with that.

4. Frank Sinatra. I have never liked his voice. I have no idea why. He gives me the creeps like knowing some man is following you down a dark street.

5. Kenny G. No, no, no. *cries*

What about ya'll?

Drivin'

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:41 pm
onyxlynx: Blue bkgrd, large red 7th, words "decade of fabulous." (As in "I'm in my 7th decade of fabulousn)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 This morning's ghastly realization:  I am old enough to sort of remember pre-Interstate car travel.  (I bored an Irish-Canadian of approximately my own age talking about the journey between Buffalo and Niagara Falls [he escaped just before I started explaining about the ancient off-ramp just off the bridge to Grand Island northbound, which used to describe a tight circle, which was still visible though overgrown thirty years ago.  Having checked Apple Maps, there seem to be extra roads there now.  Ah, well.  The Thruway was built/extended in the late '50s.  Wow.].  It was a tedious trip.)

I get to chuckle at the irony that during rush hours, the highway is slower than city streets with the lights.  (Yes, destruction of neighborhoods, Robert Moses, Justin Herman, but divided highways were not really intended to be in cities; they were intended to bypass cities.)

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:02 am
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] beckyzoole !  May today be as un-Mondayish as possible!

I had a weekend!

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:32 am
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[personal profile] oracne
Saturday was very hot and humid. I did laundry, stumbled home, then stumbled out again to run errands. I ran into a friend (Tom Purdom) in front of a coffee shop so we went inside and got iced drinks and talked about Dunkirk as one does, since we were both planning to see the movie.

I got cash and bought subway tokens and sweated a lot.

Then I met up with C. in late afternoon for the movie Dunkirk, which we saw in IMAX, bass and the sounds of explosions booming from under out seats. I ate popcorn for lunch while watching people get blown up and drown and burn but also get rescued. Sometimes all of the above, in different orders.

This movie was what I call a Spectacle. I liked it best when it was all stark visuals and no dialogue (the dialogue was minimal). The splendid British actors did a great deal with their faces and posture; Tom Hardy as a Spitfire pilot acted almost entirely with his eyes, as the rest of his face was covered in helmet. (Jack Lowden, playing another pilot, was out of his cockpit for more screntime.) The movie was documentary-style, where you don't know the characters' backstory or hopes or dreams (with one exception); you're in the moment throughout, and the moment keeps jumping around, and you can't always keep track of the sequence. I feel I had an experience worth having.

After, being much luckier than those poor people trapped at Dunkirk, we had dinner at a great new tapas place in South Philly called Barcelona. Cue Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballe!

some things

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:13 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
* I was reminded of Happy Together, last mentioned here two years ago, when Reason requested a Song So-hee clip from YouTube as bedtime music and YouTube's sidebar suggested the HT episode on which she'd appeared in 2014. (Reason is fascinated by a young entertainer; I ...want Song So-hee to continue maturing so that her voice sounds less shrill.) They seated her in the prestige spot, but she's youngest of the five guests on that ep and she knew it; she has restrained manners.

Anyway (I didn't watch the whole thing), then the sidebar suggested the 2014 HT featuring Jackie Chan, Narsha, and [Choi] Siwon. omg. (KBS is kind: HT ?always has English subtitles.) Chan speaks a bit of Korean, and the dour co-host speaks some Mandarin, so they patched the opener into a hilarious moment in which Chan (by far the eldest person present) says that he'd rather call the lead host "oppa" instead of "hyeong" because it's easier to say. In general, oppa is what a girl or woman might call a slightly older male person whom she considers close, or the term she'd use for an actual older brother; hyeong is what a boy or man would use for an older male person, similarly, except not so similar, is it, when most young women with boyfriends call the bf "oppa" too. And then Chan addresses the co-host as eonni (older sister if you're a female speaker). :P As the host remarks near the four-minute mark, everyone's wearing headsets so that offstage translators can supply the guests and hosts with translations as needed, heh. Those translators must be amazing---there's hardly a lag, and the manner of delivery (it's "live" comedy) suggests that they don't cut much during post-production.

Notably, the host calls Chan "seonsaengnim," teacher, which is as it ought to be. One reason that Korea likes Yu Jae Seok---"the nation's MC"---is that he's funny, he pokes at things, yet (at least on this show) he holds a line.

Also, Jackie Chan loves the environment, and he tries to make his staff respect it as well.

And then I stopped watching because sleep matters more, but on another day...

* ...I picked up the "I am from America" HT special (2015) with five guests, three younger and two older. I happen to have seen two (one from each subgroup) in kdramas: Stephanie Lee in Second Last Love and Yi Hyeon U in Dal Ja's Spring. The humor's more predictable because I'm more familiar with the crossings, but I still laughed. Must remember to dip into HT every so often for ear-practice.

transformation

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:46 am
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[personal profile] kore
via [personal profile] laurashapiro -- the third vid is by [personal profile] kuwdora:






"The Power (Sense8)"


Bonus (the original vocal sampled on the song ((at 3:00 in)) before Laurie Penny rerecorded it):

jesse_the_k: harbor seal's head with caption "seal of approval" (Approval)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k posting in [community profile] metaquotes
Zombie cheerleader says: "Rah rah rust!"

Zombie High motto is: "If we can't win using our brains then we'll use your brains!" ;-)


Context is a Lego cheerleader in a graveyard, among other topics

In Memoriam

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:04 pm

SHREW

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:36 pm
rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
Yesterday I got to see a tiny shrew very close-up and it was very exciting.

So I was sitting on a muddy path in a wooded area because of reasons (ok, exhausted after climbing) when I saw movement and a tiny thing scurrying past me. I figured that glimpse was all I'd see, but I turned round to see where it'd gone and it was on the path on the other side of me, and with great caution so as not to startle it I managed to dig my phone out of my coat pocket:

longshot in which a tiny shrew may be visible among rocks and moss

(There's nothing to give a sense of scale, but the shrew is a few centimetres long. It makes mice look big.)

THEN --

Cut for blurry close-ups and blurry worm death )

the sequel

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:24 pm
kore: (Prozac nation)
[personal profile] kore
DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOUR THERAPY WORKBOOK: //arrives

MOI: //stares at it with mixture of fear, wariness and resistance

//eyes copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn instead

In my shoes, a walking sleep

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:55 pm
kore: (Brain fail)
[personal profile] kore
My memory has been even more blitzed since the news of Bennington's suicide (sorry, everyone I was commenting with) so today, I apparently double-dosed every single med I take. There are quite a few. (Two antidepressants, one mood stabilizer, two acid reducers, baby aspirin, an NSAID, blah, fucking blah....)

A WINNER IS ME.

I guess in a couple of hours, I'll be hypomanic/super-stable, all chronic pain will be totally gone and my sinuses will be extra SUPER clean! XDDDDDDD

(if brains are so fucking important you'd think they'd work right)

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Jul. 21st, 2017 03:09 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] gerisullivan !  Magnificent day to you!

Blech Summer.

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:37 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
We are having a run of very hot, very high-humidity days like Philly does get, but usually they don't last more than a few days. It's been a bit more than that this summer. Do Not Want.

I want autumn and wearing layers and pulling out things made of wool.

Speaking of wool, I am wearing new sneakers made of wool today, for which I paid full price and I don't care because my poor arthritic foot bones are loving them so very much. The tops are soft! The insides are soft! There appears to be adequate support! They are from Allbirds and I never want to take them off. For the most part, they are not too hot, though I haven't tried them standing in the high humidity all day yet.

I am tempted to buy a pair of the loungers as well, for dayjob wear. (I snuck the sneakers in today because it's Friday and also hardly anyone is here.)
kore: (Orpheus & Eurydice)
[personal profile] kore
MOI: Hey I feel less soul-crushingly depressed, let's see if I can make it from the bed to the sofa.

INTERNET: GUESS WHAT ANOTHER ADDICTED ARTIST WITH A MOOD DISORDER IN YOUR GENERATION DIED, WANNA GUESS HOW, GO ON, JUST GUESS

MOI: //would set shit on fire if not glued to couch


Everybody's sharing that "Hunger Strike" duet but I can't fucking listen to that right now, although they both look so joyful, it just breaks my heart. Been listening to this on repeat instead.



One promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
And dare to rise once more



and this one made me feel a little less crap.

In Memoriam

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:42 am
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Jordin Kare.  [personal profile] calimac  posted a wonderful remembrance.  I only met him a few times.  My heart goes out to Mary Kay.  ETA:  [personal profile] wild_irises remembers his smile.

Good Story. Dodge the Extras

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:27 am
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Jolene Nicole Jones.  WARNING:  DO NOT CLICK FOR THE "INCREDIBLE BODY TRANSFORMATIONS" which are weight-loss pictures, and HALT THE VIDEO halfway down the page.  (Or visit her Facebook site.  I don't do Facebook.)

Some is Better Than None

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:01 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
My schedule, during the workday and during the evenings, is pretty busy this week, but I did go to the gym last night. I did alternating sets of push-ups and squats, some tricep and upper body stuff, a tiny bit of "bicycle" leg works and a great deal of stretching.

I've been very lazy (also injured) this summer, and I could really feel it as I exercised. But as usual, the first set of push-ups was the worst, and they were less painful after that. I even did one set with my hands close together, which is the hardest for me. My wrists are no worse than usual this morning. My fingers are pretty swollen and not very bendy this morning. The high humidity today might be contributing.

Today is the staff luncheon, and then my group is leaving to do a team-building thing. Tonight, dinner at Kabobeesh. I don't think I will get much done.

Wood Pidgeon, York

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:43 am
highlyeccentric: A seagull lifting into flight, skimming the cascade (Castle Hill, Nice) (Seagull)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric posting in [community profile] common_nature
I get the impression these are perfectly normal birds in the UK, but they're quite a novelty to me. Those fancy collars! There were three in the yard of the pub we stayed in, but they wouldn't sit still to be photographed. Here's one from the walk into town:

Tawny owl

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:50 am
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[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Short-eared owl
[Grainy photo of a short-eared tawny owl sitting on a lawn]

I know this isn't the greatest photo of all time. In my defense, I did take it from behind a dusty windowpane in an upstairs bedroom where I was crouched breathlessly lest I frighten it off.

There've long been barn owls living at my partner's parents' home in rural Norfolk, but I'd never seen any other type of owl there. I was surprised, therefore, to see this tawny owl (h/t to [personal profile] shapinglight for corrected identification) sitting on their lawn at dusk a couple of weeks ago. I worked out that it was watching a group of four partridges who were pecking through the pebbles in the drive, closer to the house. They seemed a rather optimistic target, given that the owl wasn't much bigger than they were.

The owl flew off and returned to the lawn several times whilst I watched, but never made a move on the partridges, who eventually moved onto the roof of the house and over to the other side.

They're All Over Planet Blue

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:51 am
frith: Light pink cartoon pony with dark pink mane (FIM Pinkie sly)
[personal profile] frith
The poneighs, that is. They're on your piano, reading your books.

Grainbee2017

In this town, bereft of any eye-catching architecture or sculpture, there is this one piano in front of the library. Outside, studded with books. Inspired! Take a picture! Pianos outdoors is a thing.

It's the Ponies Around the World event time again. I was going to take a few ponies to work, to pose with a dinosaur, but, I was le tired. Just as well, llama guy popped up just after lunch with 23 bales of hay. Hay yes! I packed my loft to the rafters. Then I went to town.

So there you have it, there are still My Little Pony fans in Canterda and at least one in Grainbee, Kickbuck. Notice, we speak Fancy in Kickbuck. Oh la la! C'est magnifique!

liseuse will lasso the wild novella

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:30 pm
lilysea: Mischievous (Mischievous)
[personal profile] lilysea posting in [community profile] metaquotes
I think my bookshelves mostly convey the message "you need more shelves" and "apparently will read anything that stays still long enough."

Context
is "is this a case for - the ponceyness police?"




full_metal_ox: (Default)
[personal profile] full_metal_ox posting in [community profile] metaquotes
[personal profile] owlbrigade1 cites this case in point:

Gotham police are at a loss to explain a sudden rise in animal themed costumed weirdos? Surely the explanation is the same as it is for the long standing animal themed weirdos? It is Gotham, it is what they do. People in animal costumes wreaking havoc is practically a city tradition.

Context, to no one's surprise, involves Harley Quinn.

impostors

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:37 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
"Impostors" are what the cookbook I pulled the recipe out of called them. I guess it's because they look like chocolate bars until you cut into the pan and discover the peanut buttery deliciousness underneath. I started making them in high school, when I needed a dessert to take to forensics potlucks and such. I've not made them in ages, though.

Last week I was going through the recipe box taking photos of the ones I wanted to save, and the impostors recipe was one of those. I transcribed it from the photo on the plane out here. And then in the grocery store I saw the boxes of Baker's chocolate and remembered that Erin, who doesn't normally like sweet things, likes Reeses's cups, and said "Hey, I could make impostors!"

The nice thing about this recipe is that it is basically impossible to screw up sugar, butter, and peanut butter. It's possible to ruin the chocolate, either by scorching it or apparently by allowing even a single drop of water to come in contact with it, but taking it slowly reduces the likelihood of that as well.

recipe )

Wednesday Reading

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:40 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I read two books in the last week!

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee is more straightforwardly comprehensible than Ninefox Gambit, but still had lots of wonderfully weird worldbuilding and characters with complex motivations. Plus, there were a couple of moments where I said, "Whoa. Wow," which I will not spoil here. Two books in, I still think this is one of the most creative science fiction worlds I've read in a long while.

I finished Raven Stratagem on Monday, my recovery day from Readercon, and then dove into The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss, which I finished last night, and which is about monsters and about women, and how they can be the same thing. I think if you like Karen Joy Fowler's work, you might like this, and also if you love meta and revisionist tales and/or things set in Victorian England and relating to the stories of the nineteenth century. Goss works with female creations of fictional scientists (or hypothetical female creations/daughters) from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, The Island of Dr. Moreau, and "Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne (which I have not read). Also, Holmes and Watson are in it, because of course they are. But overall, this is a meta novel, periodically festooned with commentary from the female characters about themselves, their stories, how their stories are told, and the idea of what a novel should be and how it should be written. And besides all that, it was fun. Highly recommended, because I think a lot of my Dreamwidth friends would like this, and I would love to hear what you think about it even if you don't like it.

sippin' cuervo with no chaser

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:52 pm
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[personal profile] thistleingrey
Yoon Ha Lee, Ninefox Gambit (2016): usually I have trouble finding a title for a book post. This time, three came to mind: the one I've used, "the tactics of mistake," and "experimental procedures." Anyway. Kel Cheris begins as captain of a unit that gains strength and combat benefits from keeping rigorously in formation. After she attempts to solve a losing scenario creatively---and heretically---she's disgraced, but a bit more creative thinking makes her abruptly into a brevet general, the host-body to a dead mass murderer, Shuos Jedao. (Consider that many heads of units in wartime are mass murderers; though it isn't glorified here, it is ...quite present.) Kel command wants Cheris to subdue a heretical outbreak and retake the Fortress of Scattered Needles. Sort of. Well, the hexarchate, of which the Kel are one-sixth, doesn't like heretics because it messes with their calendar, but everyone (except Cheris, at first) is playing an extremely long game. Pass the metaphorical popcorn.
a bit more--not destructively spoilery (I think one cannot discuss this book at all without being *slightly* spoilery) )

As for this subject line, you know, don't you?

If you'd prefer an actualfax review to my untidy noodlings, try James Nicoll's, and if you don't mind implied spoilers for how Gambit wraps, here's his review of book two.

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:38 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] kinetikatrue !  May you have had a really nifty day!

Pigeon!

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:16 pm
rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
I had to check the comm profile to try to decide if this was legit, as this was clearly not a wild pigeon; it was obviously someone's sleek, well-fed and well-cared-for homing/racing pigeon.

However, it was definitely "unsupervised", as it was hanging out at a gritstone crag eating bilberries and watching the climbers.

It wouldn't quite let people touch it, but was otherwise very comfortable with humans and happy to let you get very close.

I took a lot of photos of it trying to get a shot of the tags on its legs, as I was worried it was someone's beloved pet and lost. But when I got home, I found out that the "report a found pigeon" websites (they exist, naturally) say in rather weary tones not to even bother unless the pigeon's been around for at least 48 hours; apparently they like to take pit stops.

Pigeon with beautiful iridescent neck

Cut for more pigeon )

Readercon 2017 Report

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:20 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I saw many, many people at Readercon, none of them for long enough, but still managed to use up my extrovert energy supply for several years. Goodbye is the hardest part.

My panels went well from my pov, and I had a few people (not people I already knew) tell me they enjoyed them, so that seems good! Next time, I think I will skip anything at 8:00 pm, though, because I have no brain left by then.

When I was home and not working yesterday, I did laundry then spent the rest of the day napping and reading in blessed seclusion.

[personal profile] yhlee gave me a test tube with a Dalek seal on top which makes me very, very happy. I am going to use it as a container for my tiny glow-in-the-dark 3D-printed Daleks and make little squeeing noises at it.

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 04:05 pm
kore: (Prozac nation)
[personal profile] kore
MOI: Life is a confusing huge chaotic system, the internet is undermining everyone's attention span and especially mine, global politics is a horrible Roman circus, global warming will kill us all, I can't think coherently in sentences anymore

T: ....did you remember to take your sertraline and oxcarbazepine before 3 PM?

MOI: -- MOTHERFUCKEDY


(I should really take one of each in the morning and again in the late afternoon, but LOL I can barely remember to take ALL my pills once a day in a huge bolus, good fucking luck to my continued existence if my body ever depends on taking different medication at different times during the same day)
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[personal profile] carbonel
Lydy was kind enough to bring back some medium oatmeal from England. I've tried Andy Leighton's parkin recipe with other forms, and none was ideal. (The steel-cut oats were a particularly interesting failure; they never softened, so I ended up with something crunchy and more candy-like.) Unfortunately, if there's a place to get medium oats locally, I haven't found it.

Anyway, I had a kilogram of medium oats, so I made parkin according to Andy's recipe. It's unlike most in that it doesn't call for flour, only oatmeal. I don't know what Andy would say about the results, but I was very happy with it, and gave some to Lydy, who also approved.

But the recipe (as originally posted at my request in rec.art.sf.fandom, IIRC) has a note at the end: "This version keeps very well, and is very nice after a couple of weeks wrapped in greaseproof paper (don't keep it in a tin or plastic container it dries out)."

Why should greaseproof paper (which I assume is equivalent to waxed paper) be more desirable than an airtight container? Is the high sugar content supposed to cause it to suck out moisture from the air?

This batch is just over a week old, and I haven't seen a noticeable change after storing it in a tin. If I make another batch, I'm tempted to experiment by leaving some open to the air, some wrapped in waxed paper, and some in the tin as usual. Assuming it lasts that long, of course. This recipe makes parkin with the approximate density of very tasty neutronium (so I cut it into small pieces), but it's very moreish.

I'll add the recipe below, just in case anyone is curious. I don't own a 7x10 pan (I think I converted all the units from the original when I put it in my recipe file), so I use a 9x9 one -- and that overflowed a bit. I might try a 9x13 one next time, and cook it for a shorter time.

(By the way -- back to that common language thing -- I was always curious why black treacle was an optional ingredient if it was treacle parkin. Then I saw an episode of Great British Bake Off where the technical challenge was treacle tart, and it called for golden syrup. Apparently golden syrup is considered light treacle in the UK, and molasses is black treacle.)

Andy Leighton's Treacle Parkin

16 oz Golden Syrup
8 oz Butter
24 oz Medium Oatmeal
8 oz Brown Sugar
2 tsp Ginger (if you like lots of ginger add another tsp)

Warm the Golden Syrup and butter until just melted and then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Grease a medium tin (about 7" by 10"), and throw the lot in a low oven (gas mark 2, 300F) for 2 hours. It is done when it springs back when touched, although don't be worried if it is a bit underdone and gooey in the middle.

Note: the above recipe is more or less how I (Andy Leighton) make Parkin, although sometimes I use less sugar and a bit more oatmeal -- I just throw approximate measures in and go from appearance. You can use half golden syrup and half black treacle if you want a more treacley taste. This version keeps very well, and is very nice after a couple of weeks wrapped in greasproof paper (don't keep it in a tin or plastic container it dries out).

Insect Season

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:43 am
redsixwing: Two water lily leaves with smaller plants between (stems)
[personal profile] redsixwing posting in [community profile] common_nature
Cattails and water skippers in a local ditch.

skippers and cattails

A very vivid ladybug on a maple tree.

ladybug on maple

Great crested grebe

Jul. 17th, 2017 04:18 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Urban great crested grebe nest
[Macro image of a great crested grebe sitting on its nest.]

I spotted this great crested grebe brooding on its nest in the canal at Westerdok in Amsterdam. I thought its nest was a remarkable construction: the usual twigs, but also bits of plastic rubbish, and finishing touches of hollyhock. I was also impressed by the two female mallard duck bodyguards who immediately rushed over when I started taking photos. They didn't quack, but eyed me up silently as they circled the nest at a careful distance.

We were staying on a barge nearby for three nights and I checked on the grebe morning and evening. I don't believe it stirred from the nest in that time, so hopefully soon there will be some freshly hatched urban grebes learning to navigate the Dutch canal system!

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:41 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] snippy !  Have a pleasant and wonderful day!

In Memoriam

Jul. 16th, 2017 08:03 pm
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
All New York Times obits

fiber monday

Jul. 16th, 2017 08:04 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Though I don't remember which day, I taught myself from books to knit about ten years ago this month (and to crochet ~21 years ago likewise). yay.

The ghost shawl has been bound off and washed, and its upper edge has been reinforced. Reason adores its colors and shape, whereas I feel awkward however I drape it, but it seems a bit too nice for her current age. Pondering. In any case, its shape---a triangle so wide and springy that one could block the upper edge as a curve or V---is instructive when tied onto me or Reason: if I ever knit Shore Hap, as I mean to, I'll need to enlarge it. Shore Hap's span is given as 125 cm = 50 in; the ghost as knitted is ~6'6 = nearly 2 m across. Even so, my sticklike and short torso can barely tie on the ghost shawl in the Shore Hap photo's manner. Inconvenient shoulders, again---but I'm learning. (Someone with my shoulder circumference "ought" to be much taller for something the ghost shawl's shape/size.)

Viajante's yarn ball is too large for my business trip. Heh. It's the size of a small adult head---1600 m = 400 g at fingering weight. When I have a 32L-capacity daypack (a bit under 2000 in3), I don't want to choose between yarn and some me-compatible snacks. Instead, the current office project will travel (Rendezvous), since it's in the first of its slated two 100g skeins. Its complexity is restrained by my having placed a marker every other motif-repetition; at least it's motif-driven, not two long segments of lace to either side of a center stitch. Those are my two projects on wooden circular needles---that's the other consideration, of course, wood needles short enough to pass muster as non-weaponry. Who knows whether Rendezvous will be large enough for the shoulders of doom, frankly, but I chose the largest size for which I have yarn....

The cardigans are on hold due to summer heat, though I ought to start my mother's soon regardless. Lena is about 15 cm high---round and round we go.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
Hannover wurst appears to be what happens is when you have the question of whether to have sausage or bacon with your breakfast, and you make the obvious-in-retrospect choice of "Both! At the same time!" and make sausage in part out of bacon.

Context, needless to say, is delicious.

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Jul. 13th, 2017 12:29 pm
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] wcg !  A day of bubbly happiness!

huh, a meme

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:12 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
from a locked post

Read more... )

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