People are nice

Sep. 2nd, 2014 04:18 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
So, the vet didn't get back to me about worming the ducks yesterday. I've just called again, and got a different receptionist who keeps ducks herself, and talked me through the whole thing without bothering to find a vet!

"We can order a tub of Flubenvet in for you, and measure a tiny bit out" she said. When I expressed concern about the practice being left with a big tub of the stuff that they couldn't use, she said "I'll tell you what, let me have a look at home tonight and see if I've got some. I'll call you back tomorrow."

See subject line.

LJ is down

Sep. 2nd, 2014 03:38 pm
arkady: Luca Giacomelli Ferranini as Mercutio in "Romeo e Giulietta - Ama e cambia il mondo", the Italian production of Gérard P (Default)
[personal profile] arkady
LiveJournal is down at the moment. Once, that would have occasioned a mass outbreak of panic with people having LJ withdrawal. Now? Maybe there'll be a shrug of the shoulders - if that - before people go back to FB or Twitter or Tumblr or some other attention-occupier. LJ down? No big deal, not as though anyone still uses it anyway, right?

I miss the heydays of LJ. These days, you'd be lucky if anyone knows what you're talking about when you mention LJ, whereas once when you met someone new the first thing you'd ask was their LJ handle so you could friend them. Whole social lives were organised through LJ. About 90% of my friends were first encountered there. And though some of us tried making the leap to DW, we still set up crossposting with LJ - and even now, I get comments on my crossposts to LJ - very rarely the original DW post.

I miss knowing what was going on in people's lives. The discussions. The feeling of privacy yet sharing on your own terms. FB is a poor substitute, but everyone's there now, LJ forgotten and gone the same way as MySpace and Bebo. People talk from time to time about coming back to LJ; some even reappear for a little while with good intentions before letting it drift. I know I'm as guilty as any, though I've been making a real effort to post more often - and even when I wasn't posting, I was still reading on a daily basis,

I don't think people will come back to LJ. There were a few golden years, and nostalgia makes us long for golden days to return - but sadly it wouldn't be the same.

"I wish it would go back"

Sep. 2nd, 2014 04:43 am
rosefox: Spock's pointy ear. (ear)
[personal profile] rosefox
It's been 16 weeks since the injection.

Saturday and Sunday I had a weird sort of sensation that felt like static in my head, which may or may not be related to the ear stuff. I was also massively underslept and think that's more likely to be the culprit. But I note it here just in case.

Yesterday and today, my right ear hearing has been occluded slightly; I blamed the storm system that's been squatting over the region giving us all pressure headaches. Today I had a three-hour bout of vertigo, from about 18:45 to about 21:30, mild enough that I had to keep checking to make sure it was still going on but definitely vertigo. Symptoms )

I took two taurine and had substantial food, and it cleared up pretty quickly after that, but I'm quite certain it was neither anxiety nor hunger-dizziness; it was vertigo, and I didn't miss it at all.

I really hope it's just the atmospheric pressure and will go away when the weather breaks. If I need to get an injection in my ear every four months I will be Very Put Out.

"Bait and switch"

Sep. 2nd, 2014 12:03 am
rosefox: A sci-fi landscape and the words "DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC". (uppity)
[personal profile] rosefox
Three comics crossed my browser in sufficiently short order that I sat up and took notice. (In all cases, click the image to view the original.)


Transcript )

"You think I'm transphobic... but all I really care about is accurate costuming!"


Transcript )

"You think I'm transphobic... but all I really care about is fashion!"


Transcript )

"You think I'm transphobic... but I'm just mad about you lying to me!"

The punchline in all three cases is that the cisgender authority figure could be an asshole, but is choosing not to be... and they want to make sure the person with no power--the child or employee, the trans* or GNC person--is aware that it's a choice. It's a statement of power. I could make your life miserable, but I won't! Ha ha!

And I want to focus especially on the reaction shots, first distress:



And then elation:



These people are so upset at what sounds like scorn, and then so grateful for what turns out to be (or look like) respect and acceptance, that they don't even notice the way "respect and acceptance" have been recast as gifts rather than as simply what they deserve for being human. The children are particularly vulnerable to this, because few things are more devastating to a child than the threat of a parent's love being withheld. The relief on Sarah's face is heartbreaking.

If respect and acceptance are gifts, rather than a person's birthright, they can be taken back, or bargained for. That makes for a very unpleasant dynamic when it's combined with the dependence of a parent/child or employer/employee relationship. And the emotional weight of that combination is what the creators of these comics are drawing on when they write these jokes.

When the power differential is removed, friends can come out to friends and have it be no big deal:


Transcript )


Transcript )

No tears or glowing relief there--just a brief awkward moment of "So what do we talk about now?".

Or they can talk and argue and say foolish things and learn from each other as equals, as in the Irma/Irving arc from The Princess, which is too long to quote here but is really excellent.

But add the element of power and you get gripping emotional tension. And comics creators are choosing over and over to use that tension to fuel a joke, without really thinking about what it feels like when someone who has a lot of power over you, someone you respect very much and possibly even love, has just said something that sounds a lot like a condemnation of your identity and/or self-expression. That moment is devastating, and no table-turning additional context can redeem the thoughtless cruelty of an authority figure saying something like "Take that off immediately before the neighbors see you!" or "No one will take you seriously" to a person who is in a tremendously vulnerable place.

I will give some leeway to the creator of The Princess, because so much of the comic is about Wendy and Sarah's relationship, and Wendy slowly coming to terms with Sarah being trans. The very first strip was Wendy yelling at Sarah to stop wearing a dress. The comic up there, where she says she's going to donate Sarah's boy clothes, is strip #500. So their relationship is a lot more than a one-off joke, and full credit for that! That said, the ellipsis between panels 3 and 4 is massively unfair to both Sarah and the reader, and so is Wendy's angry tone. Sarah has no happier expectations of "Go straight up to your room and open your closet--" than James/Batgirl has of "Take that off immediately before the neighbors see you!". Her face in panel 3 makes that clear.

As a bonus, in the first two comics we get cis people being experts on how to be trans*/GNC correctly. "You don't want to be wearing the clothes you're wearing! You want to be wearing these other clothes that follow the rules. Poor clueless person who doesn't know how to gender. Since I am fortunate enough to have a lifetime's experience in being exactly one gender, I will help you to learn gendering, for you are like a newborn lamb tottering about on wobbly gender-legs." I'm the first to acknowledge that cis men have provided me with a tremendous amount of useful advice on menswear and I'm very grateful for it, but you know, if someone's first reaction to seeing me in a men's suit was to tell me that it was out of date and also my haircut sucked, I would find that really goddamn rude. So even the "respect and acceptance" isn't, really. What if the employee's tie was his grandfather's and it means a lot to him to wear it? What if Batgirl hates wearing yellow and enjoys walking around in impractical shoes? Why does being accepted mean being pressed to conform to particular dictates of fashion?

Well, because this culture sucks and its notions of gender are inescapably about conforming to gender norms. But perpetuation of that is not acceptance. Especially when it comes to GNC folks, and to people who are just starting down a new path of gender expression and have to maintain two separate wardrobes and are low-level employees who can't afford a lot of new clothes, and to people who have their own fashion sense, and to people--both children and adults, but especially children--who need room to play around and experiment and explore and figure out what they like. That newborn lamb needs to totter about on its own for its legs to get stronger so that it can leap off to wherever it pleases.

Accepting someone as e.g. male doesn't mean crushing them into a tidy little packet of 100% Grade A Extruded Maleness. It means saying "Oh hey, nice haircut, and I like that tie" the way you'd say it to anyone else who cut their hair and wore a tie. It means treating them like an individual person who gets to make individual choices.

I'm not criticizing people for laughing at these strips. I laughed at the Batgirl one, which was the first of the three that I saw. It's very easy to fall into the cultural pattern of thinking this sort of thing is funny, of sharing the trans*/GNC character's relief at not being stepped on like a bug and turning that relief into laughter even as the "respect" comes in the form of a backhanded insult compounded by social pressure that makes it nearly impossible to decline what crumbs are offered. (If the employee really liked his tie and didn't want to change it, do you think he felt free to say so to his very vehement boss? I don't.) But in actual real life, it's not funny. In actual real life, it hurts a lot. In actual real life, it's incredibly unpleasant to have people act like the only two ways to treat you are to either reject you or force you to conform. And the repetition of it really got to me.

I know pain is the root of a lot of comedy. But when this particular pain is made into a punchline over and over again, I have to ask why, and to challenge creators to do better.
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
[personal profile] tajasel

Ze Frank - Why Trust Is Worth It
Words by Ze Frank, emphasis my own.
We talk about trust as something you build. As if it's a structure or a thing. But in that building there seems to be something about letting go. And what it affords us is a luxury that allows us to stop thinking, to stop worrying that someone won't catch us if we fall, to stop constantly scanning for inconsistencies, to stop wondering how people act when they're not in our presence. It allows us to relax a part of our minds so that we can focus on what's in front of us.

And that's why it's such a tragedy when it's broken.

A betrayal can make you think about all the other betrayals that are waiting for you, and things that you haven't thought of, and people you rely on. And you can feel yourself tightening up, bracing. And in the worst cases, you might resolve to trust no one.

But, that doesn't really work. Trust is your relationship to the unknown. What you can't control, and you can't control everything. And it's not all or none. It's a slow and steady practice of learning about the capacity of the world. And it's worth it, to keep trying, and it's not easy.

[…]

I almost imagine trust as these invisible hands that we stretch out into the world, looking for someone to hold on to, as we walk into the unknown future. […]

So who do you trust, and how can you grow it?


Well, that was a punch in the feels.
"You might resolve trust no one."

Yeah, and someone on the internet says that that doesn't really work, except what if it does? What if that's how some people have to stay safe?

We can't choose who we love, and we can't choose who falls in love with us. People tell me they're different, that they won't smash my heart into pieces like the last person, or the person before that. What if I'm tired of hearing promises, promises held with as little regard as my emotions? What if I don't want to trust anyone with my heart anymore? What if I've grown weary of seeing how people treat each other in this world, and I don't believe that trust offers the payback people say it does?

I just told a friend who's experiencing some similar thoughts that he's not alone, that he has friends who care, and that that's the important thing. That one day maybe he'll be happy with someone, maybe I will be too. That the two of us will probably never find happiness together, but I'm OK with that, as long as we're still friends as long as it feels right for us to be that way.

I said that there's no point in pining for relationships that have gone wrong, that instead we should try to learn from break-ups and bad relationships, and know that we won't always find the answers we're looking for, but unless we stop staring bleakly into the past, berating ourselves for being terrible people and unloveable monsters… unless we stop focusing on past failures, we won't ever find happiness, in ourselves or others.

I told him that he shouldn't beat himself up for loving people who didn't love him back, or for not loving those who loved him. That we can't choose who we love, and we can't choose who'll reciprocate.

I told him that all we can do is to look forwards and be the best people we can be. That if we focus on being as happy as we can within ourselves, then one day, people might come along and tell us they love us, and we might want to love them back. That if love doesn't follow the happiness, then it doesn't matter, because we will be happy in ourselves.

I pointed out that some people die alone, that I probably will, and I may never be OK with that, but I can at least try and be happy with who I am, and what I have, even if it's not everything I'd choose, if I had the choice.

Deep down, I believe everything I said just now, or I wouldn't have said a word of it. But who for?

I know that I'm happier recently than I've been for the best part of this year, and yet, there are these thoughts niggling at the back of my mind. What happens when my body gets old, and I have to slow down? Will there be anyone there to look back on years of adventures with, or will I sit alone, flicking through online photo albums at photos of people who have been and gone? What happens if I never again hear the words "I love you" from someone who I want to repeat them back to, from someone I want to grow old and decrepit with?

I get reminded that other people are worse off than me. I have no doubt about that, and I'm grateful for what I do have. But this world, our society, it isn't set up for people to be alone. We're supposed to trust, to be trusted. To fall in love, to be loved.

I get told that I'm still young, that I've got time, and maybe that's true, but by now, I'm far more used to saying "I love you" and hearing an affirmation that later turns out to be false: maybe they never meant it, maybe they did but realised they were wrong. It doesn't matter, because what it comes down to is that they never loved me, never could, never will.

They love other people, often people I know, but I was not loveable enough for them, I am not loveable enough now, and I may never be loveable enough anytime in the future. The only way I can find out if I can be loved is to trust… but what if that has already hurt me too much? What if I can't? What if trust is too tied up in heartbreak already?

Maybe trust is worth it… for other people.

Gentle Readers: like an apple tree

Sep. 2nd, 2014 12:01 am
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Gentle Readers
a newsletter made for sharing
volume 2, number 1
1st September 2014: like an apple tree
What I’ve been up to

I've been up to surprisingly little in the last few days. I'm trying to be peaceful and spend time reading and taking things in, instead of always being on the go and trying to make things, otherwise I'll wear myself out. That may be crashingly obvious, but I've managed to avoid noticing it for years.

A poem of mine

TRANSPLANTED (T120)

Let an apple tree be planted
close beside a ditch of mud,
let its roots be parched and aching,
ever waiting for the flood;
so its small and bitter apples
overhang the streambed dry,
cursed to live and never flourish,
painful grow, and painful die.

Yet, this tree shall be transplanted
to a meadow by a stream;
clouds shall shower down their mercies,
sunlight throw its kindest beam;
roots recall the feel of fullness,
by the river, in the rain,
branches shall be pruned and ready,
hope and apples grow again.

A picture

http://gentlereaders.uk/pics/happy-birthday-eve
Adam: "Happy birthday, Eve!"
Eve: "It's today, not tomorrow."

Something wonderful

Mitochondria are tiny living things, rather like bacteria. They live inside the cells of almost all animals, plants, and fungi, where their job is to process glucose in order to provide a source of power for the rest of the cell. Without their help, we wouldn't be here.

http://gentlereaders.uk/pics/mitochondria
Two cheerful little mitochondria from a lung cell. Each is about 0.00025 millimetres across.
Photo by Louisa Howard, public domain.

What fascinates me particularly about mitochondria is that they have their own DNA, which is not at all like human DNA and much more like the DNA of bacteria. They're essentially a different creature. And because you inherit all your mitochondria only from your mother, mitochondrial DNA is very useful in tracing your ancestry.

http://gentlereaders.uk/pics/mito-inherit
So how did we come to have these creatures living inside our cells? The most commonly-accepted explanation is that two billion years ago, when complex cells were just starting out, the mitochondria discovered that the cells were a good place to live inside, with lots of glucose to feed on. It was just as useful for the cell, which needed the glucose processed. Symbiosis! The mitochondria hitched a lift, and they've been with us ever since. So even when you think you're alone, remember you're also a sort of walking mitochondrial city.

Something from someone else

A BIRTHDAY
by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

Colophon

Gentle Readers is published on Mondays and Thursdays, and I want you to share it. The archives are at http://gentlereaders.uk/ , and so is a form to get on the mailing list. If you have anything to say or reply, or you want to be added or removed from the mailing list, I’m at thomas@thurman.org.uk and I’d love to hear from you. The newsletter is reader-supported; please pledge something if you can afford to, and please don't if you can't. Love and peace to you all.
 
 

And now we wait

Sep. 1st, 2014 03:16 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
The sloes have been en-ginned:


(I particularly like the two that can't decide whether to sink or float, and so are just... hovering....)

So now we just need to wait a few months.

(And, yes, we could have done with that extra bottle of gin that I forgot to ask Mike to get: there's half a kilo left in the freezer. Suggestions welcome, as long as they don't involve de-stoning the buggers.)

Whilst walking the pooch, I listened to last week's TKC and learnt that they're in Canterbury this week: must see if we can go. I'm just amazed I'm sufficiently caught up on my podcasts that I found out in advance!

Currently waiting for the vet to call me back about worming the ducks. I suspect that the delay is because he's realised that there isn't a licenced duck wormer in the UK, and he's trying to decide if it's ok to tell me to use chicken wormer (which is what everyone who worms does: the internet is pretty much equally split between "essential" and "no point". Then again, the internet is also pretty much split between saying that if you want year-round eggs then you need to get chickens (because ducks stop laying in winter) and that you need to get ducks (because chickens stop laying)...).
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Late Friday afternoon received informal notice that the company would receive ISO 9001 recertification which is obviously good news both for the organisation and for myself as the coordinator of the QA system. Quality Assurance is one of those areas which is really quite essential for organisations to succeed even if they don't apply for formal certification, as it encourages consistency, transparency, multiscoped improvement, and customer focus - as numerous studies illustrate. The two-day audit really had plenty of good things to say about our practises and our use of controlled documents, revision control, and pretty clear objectives. Adopting other certification standards (e.g., information security) is also of interest.

Afterwards attended the Lawrence Krauss dinner at the University of Melbourne, hosted by the Skeptics Society. Krauss spoke mainly on the recent discovery of gravity waves very shortly after the beginning of the universe singularity in a phase-state-like transition from supersymmetry, and then had a little rant about religion in education systems. Well located for the discussion (right next to the lectern), I asked about the temporal effects of spatial contractions from such waves, and the role of religious atheists and a secular approach to religion as a counter to theological dogmatism. Also present at the dinner was Cindy L., whom I hadn't seen for at least a dozen years. We took the opportunity the dinner to have a couple of drinks and catch up; she's spent the better part of the past decade or so in a hedonistic global exploration. Nice work if you can get it ("and you can get it, if you try").

On the following day [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya made the journey to the 'burbs to visit [livejournal.com profile] hathhalla and [livejournal.com profile] ser_pounce for another round of our cheesequest. This was a particularly special event because (Venezuelan Beaver Cheese excepted) we have completed all the cheeses of the skit - the final cheese was smoked Austrian, which involved me finding some imported (frozen!) limburger and smoking the cheese with hickory. We also played Runebound, a moderately good boargame although the exclusive portrayal of semi-naked female characters could make a special issue of gomakemeasandwich.

After cheesequest made our way to [livejournal.com profile] usekh's fourtieth birthday party at the very pleasant and tres gothique Back Bar in Windsor. Despite continuing issues with ".xxx" as it was once cryptically named (not it's not a MS-DOS program or a top-level-domain), the evening's namesake seemed to be in excellent spirits as one would being surrounded by so many good and close friends. It was rather like an local aging goths gathering in surroundings were one could actually engage in conversation; there were many people whom I hadn't seen for quite a while and alas, fewer still that I had the chance to have a long yarn with. Thanks are especially due to [livejournal.com profile] txxxpxx for organising group gifts which I'm sure will be thoroughly appreciated.

[ bookmonth ] 2014-08

Sep. 1st, 2014 01:36 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Book list )

Second third of the year completed. Linear extrapolation to year's end
says "151 books" (well, 151.5, but I'm in a truncating mode
today). We'll see how that pans out, in about 4 months.

Not necessarily lots of travel this month, but lots of time in
hotel rooms, what with WorldCon and EuroCon on consecutive
weekends. That seems to be good, for driving the book count up. Also a
relatively re-read-heavy month (one new book completed), this probably
helps driving the pace up.

"A little butterball"

Sep. 1st, 2014 03:43 am
rosefox: A severed head saying "Thanks.. I needed that". (relief)
[personal profile] rosefox
I just weighed Sam and she's up to 11.2 pounds! Hooray! That's actually slightly more than she weighed at her last annual checkup (10.9 pounds). I'm so relieved that the weight loss was caused by an environmental/social thing that we could correct, and wasn't a sign of a dire health issue. When we feed her high-protein kibble in a place where she doesn't feel she has to compete with the other cats, she happily chows down. It's splendid to see her in such good appetite and back to her normal healthy size.

For weight maintenance, the kibble bag suggests feeding her 1/4 cup twice a day. I might give just a little more than that, since Alex sometimes sneaks in and gets a bit of it, but that should be enough to keep her happy.

Weighing her means weighing myself--she doesn't stay on the scale when I put her there, of course, so I weigh myself alone and then holding her and do the appropriate subtraction--but so far that hasn't bothered me. I just have to be careful to only do it once a month. Otherwise I start thinking about my body shape in numerical terms, which I really don't like doing.

In cat drama news, Alex has taken to chasing Sam out of her litter box when he sees her using it. This is Very Not Okay. He also chases her around at night if they end up in the living room at the same time. If I leave my door open at night he sings the "I killed it! Look, look!" song just outside until I wake up and stagger out to see whether he's killed a bug or a cat toy, and sometimes he skitters in and paws under my closet door at imaginary critters. We took him off the Prozac because he seemed to be doing well and getting along fairly well with the other cats, and I'd rather not put him back on it just because he's a rambunctious young cat full of energy, but Sam is nearly ten years old and was never really interested in playing the way Alex wants to play, and I need to be able to sleep through the night.

I tried keeping her in my room last night, and shutting Alex out. That worked okay, since she has food and water here and would be happy to snuggle me until the end of days, but she woke me after about seven hours to ask to be let out to use the box. Tonight I moved her box into my room (to the spot where she peed when she had the UTI) and hopefully she'll make use of it in a fairly quiet way that doesn't require waking me.

Poor Alex. When he saw me today after being shut out all night, he was SO loving and purring and nuzzling and love-biting. I hate locking him out. :( But he can handle it better than Sam can, by which I mean he doesn't howl at my door when he's separated from me for a few minutes, and I'll make sure to give him lots of love and access to my windowsill during the day.

(no subject)

Sep. 1st, 2014 05:24 am
ruthi: a photograph of a dormouse eating a berry (Default)
[personal profile] ruthi
Re-found a website that keeps track of removals and additions to Netflix UK [twitter.com profile] NewOnNetflixUK .

So today I watched 4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days, because I'd been meaning to get around to it for ages. Read more... )

So I liked it and because of its subject matter it's also horrible.

I went to see Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan talk at Waterstones, and there was the last book in the Lynburn trilogy ,which comes out in September, but I got it early because they had it for sale there. I went and grabbed it and the women who'd told me it was available then and there said I could stroke it, but I wanted to read it instead. As well.

SRB and MJ talked and answered questions from the audience and provided anecdotes, some of which may have been connected to some books. Also there was mention of 50 Shades of Grey, Dinosaur Erotica, Wombat/Panda, I Ship It by Not Literally Productions, ( a filk of 'I Love It' by Icona Pop) , a creepy neighbour, and also, Cover Flip... at which point MJ said 'Publishers are not in thrall to Big Sparkle'.

I showed SRB pictures of what Elliot of her 'The Turn of the Story' looks like in my head -- Yirmi Kaplan.

So now I've just finished Unmade, the last book in the Lynburn trilogy, and I want to talk about it and I want to not spoil it yet because it's not widely available yet.

Also: spoilers are bad and evil.

(SRB gave me a spoiler for 'Unmade' at a previous event, and so I was anticipating a certain thing that happened, but it still happened in the book and even though I was sort of prepared it still made me very cry.)

LonCon3

Aug. 31st, 2014 09:52 pm
juliet: (Default)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

A fortnight ago I went to LonCon3 – not just my first Worldcon, but my first SFF con of any sort. Given that they were holding it about 20 min tube/DLR ride from me, in ExCel, it would have seemed churlish to skip it. 

There were a lot of panels. A LOT of panels. And I went to quite a few of them. I found myself ducking out of this one 15 min early so I could have a quick break / snack before dashing back for the next slot. It reminded me of when I first went to music festivals (20-odd years ago now) where I would pore over the programme planning how if I left *this* then and dashed over here I could catch half an hr of *that* on the way to *the other*… Another time I might endeavour to take it a little easier and give myself more time for everything else. (I entirely missed the Art Show, for example.)

Having said that, I enjoyed nearly everything I went to, and could happily go back and start over with a whole different set of things. (I missed most of the science track, for example). I have many pages of notes I am not about to type out, but a couple of panels particularly stuck in my mind afterwards (ie came to mind without checking said notes while writing this).
– Race and British SF: a really interesting discussion about who is writing what, where, and why, which left me with a much longer to-read list. 
– Ideology vs Politics in SF: the premise was that ideology (noble ideas) shows up in SF more often than politics (the grubby business of hammering out solutions), probably because the former is in general more interesting to write/read. Lots of discussion about the value of both about writers who do tackle politics, and about the radicalism of imagining a political alternative. 

There was also one talk (on worldbuilding) I left after getting too annoyed by the panelist who invariably referred to a hypothetical character as “he”. A shame as there was good stuff from the other panelists, but it was just too irritating. I cheered myself by getting some dal for a late lunch. 

I saw “kaffeeklatsch” repeatedly on the programme with no explanation, then when I established what it was, was too shy to sign up. Then I found myself sitting next to Stephanie Saulter (author of the excellent novels Gemsigns and Binary, about which I was most enthusiastic at her) at another panel. She mentioned her kaffeeklatsch, which gave me the courage to sign up. I’m glad I did – it was a lovely hour, and I also got to meet and chat to Anne Charnock (whose novel A Calculated Life I have since read and enjoyed), Cindy of Draumr Kopa review blog, and someone from Birmingham SF group whose name now escapes me (oops). Buoyed by this I also went to Teresa and Patrick Neilsen Hayden’s one, which was interesting if less chatty. 

Despite my extensive panel attendance, I also managed to do a bit of socialising with people I didn’t know at all, and thus award myself a Big Gold Social Person Star. (I had a drink with a couple of folk I did know, too, but that is less challenging because I already know that they’re nice.) The fan village in many ways was great from a social point of view – lots of opportunity for mingling – but it was also very noisy (and echoey, being as how this was ExCel and therefore it was inside a big concrete box) which made life harder. I left one thing because I just couldn’t hear anyone, which did nothing for my intermittent social anxiety. 

Sunday I missed most of everything that didn’t involve hanging around in the fan village, as Leon came along for the day. He was delighted with his badge and First Worldcon ribbon and very enthusiastic about running round the ‘village green’ with a hula hoop. He is, however, still not panel-compatible. I went home with him and D at dinner time rather than staying for the Hugos. I was a little sorry, but following it on Twitter over pizza and a glass of wine at home was still pretty exciting, and also involved pizza. A very pleasing set of results. 

(Given how Sunday panned out and that I would have had L with me on Monday too, I somewhat reluctantly stayed home on Monday and missed the final day, bah.)

Brilliant weekend, if exhausting. I would go again like a shot if it ever comes back to Europe. And after over 20 years of being a fan of sorts but never going to a con, I am now signed up for both Eastercon and 9 Worlds next year and greatly looking forward to both. 

Which was mildly terrifying

Aug. 31st, 2014 09:27 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
I was just in the kitchen, bottling some apple juice, when a frankly suspicious-looking chap knocked on the window and waved a strip of paper at me. I had the sense to open the kitchen window, rather than going to the door, but it turned out that he was bringing a take-away for the Hairdresser, so I was able to send him on his way....

I did make sure that Jo was with me when, a few minutes later, I took the remains of the apples out to the compost, Just In Case.

(He did in fact have a carrier bag and a bottle of wine in his hand, so I'm sure he was legit. Just a bit scary to see a face appear out of the garden darkness!)

(Another kilo of blackberries, today, which have been made into crumble filling with some of the apples and (mostly - nom - gone into the freezer for when Mike's family visits. Also another half kilo of sloes, and damn: I forgot to get Mike to put another bottle of gin on the Tesco order, too late now.)
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is the sequel to The Quantum Thief and starts pretty much where the previous book in the series ended. We're following either de Flambeur, Mieli or a new character, Tawaddud. I am not entirely sure what happens, in detail, which is not surprising. I recall Quantum Thief left me in about the same state.

I'll probably reread this before going on to the third book in the series, but I am definitely interested in seeing what else Rajaniemi end up having published.

(no subject)

Aug. 31st, 2014 02:21 pm
arkady: Luca Giacomelli Ferranini as Mercutio in "Romeo e Giulietta - Ama e cambia il mondo", the Italian production of Gérard P (Default)
[personal profile] arkady
Well this is a new one on me for Nigerian spammers: adding events to Google Calendar. On this occasion an event was added to David's calendar (which I'm subscribed to, just as he's subscribed to mine) and he was added as a guest along with 39 other people. He was able to delete it but this is an inventive way to get around spam filters, I must say. Anyone else been on the receiving end of this? (David's posting about it to G+.)

Screenshot under cut. )

Sunday

Aug. 31st, 2014 04:50 pm
ideological_cuddle: (Default)
[personal profile] ideological_cuddle
The second Capaldi Doctor Who episode, quite good, rather better than a lot of the reboot episodes. Love that he's not a manic capering clown so far.

~~~

Also watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Had been meaning to watch it for ages but the copy I have was a dud. But it's on Netflix, and I felt up to tackling two and a half hours of subtitles. Excellent movie. You think the first guy is a sick puppy, and then you meet the real villain...

Really liked that where there was sex (or rape, for that matter, people are not nice to Lisbeth) it was fairly matter-of-fact, not trying to be titillating or particularly "male gaze"-ey in the way these things tend to be in English-language films.