(no subject)

Jul. 26th, 2016 10:38 pm
ludy: a painting i did looking in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] ludy
Happy Birthday to the Lovely [personal profile] softfruit.

I'm having a week that involves spending a lot of time on trains - which is particularly wearing these days. It was actually kind of better last week when trains were messed about by a giant hole opening up under track in South London - the delays and cancellations and chaos is much easier to cope with when it's for an obvious reasonable reason!
I'm loving the sunshine but it unfortunately comes with a side order of extra-hayfever. And i've had an annoying feverish cold so i've been a bit floompy and uninvolved with things.
But i'm looking forward to m own birthday and then BiCon.
How are you all doing?
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Fourth of Duane's Young Wizards series. I guess I could talk about what the dilemma is, but I feel that is part of the thing that makes the book what it is, the experience of exploring the title.

Anyway, there's at least one dilemma, possibly more, answered in one or more ways. There's heavy stuff and I would not say that it is clear that the book has a happy ending, even if it's not quite as sad as it could possibly have been.

All in all, eminently readable, even if I would not file it under "happy, shiny, innocent fun".

Memorial Service, A Social Weekend

Jul. 26th, 2016 09:29 pm
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Today was Anne Kays' Memorial Service at the Unitarian Church. The opening hymn was Paul Robeson's Hymn to Nations. I followed with a selection from a John Chadwick poem for the opening words, then four eulogies by family members and friends (providing superb recollections of Anne's life and contributions), a musical Interlude (Judy Small "A Heroine of Mine"), a historical and religious reference to Anne Askew, a reading from "The Inquirer" by Florence W., and finally closing words from Sean O'Casey's, Sunset and Evening Star, and for closing music Nana Mouskouri's "Amazing Grace". I must confess I felt more uncertain conducting this service than any other, with a sense of deeply wanting it to be just right, due to both the honour of being selected to give the service by Anne and a desire to give respect to her memory. Members of the family seemed to think it went well, so I can feel satisfied with that.

The days preceding were a mixture of various social occasions. Last night was a night at the Astor Cinema to see a couple of classic B-grade Christopher Lee films; The Wicker Man and Dracula Prince of Darkness. Sunday's gaming session was Eclipse Phase where the PCs had the first real experience of an extrasolar planet and an experience not unlike the first half of the movie Aliens. Continuing to work backwards, Saturday night was a big dinner at Vicky's Restaurant with [livejournal.com profile] log_reloaded in celebration of her completing her Diploma of Accounting.

(no subject)

Jul. 26th, 2016 10:13 am
naath: (Default)
[personal profile] naath
Liv found a meme, it's been ages since I perpetrated this kind of meme...

meme )

"It's one of those lazy days"

Jul. 26th, 2016 05:00 am
rosefox: Me looking out a window, pensive. (relaxed)
[personal profile] rosefox
I'm on vacation! For two whole weeks! I hardly know what to do with myself. But here is a list of things that I would like to at least think about doing:

* sleep
* do some writing, or at least continue working in my writing journal
* spend time with friends
* phonebank for Hillary Clinton because when Michelle Obama says to get to work, I get to work
* take Kit to visit my mother and J's relatives
* maybe start a Patreon-based advice column for writers, if that seems like a thing anyone would be interested in
* read
* meditate
* sleep

Despite the prominence of sleep on this list, it is difficult to keep my sleep schedule intact when I'm not working. I mean, it's hard enough when I am working and even harder when I'm not. But I'm going to do my best. Yesterday I stayed up until 7:30 in the morning, which was a bit excessive, but I think I can drag myself back from that an hour or two at a time.

I wish the weather were at all conducive to going outside and walking around. I just renewed my membership at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens but I can't enjoy it in this oppressive heat, and today's storm was so fierce that even I didn't want to be out in it (though it was lovely to watch from indoors). Maybe next week it will be cool enough for me to take a couple of long walks.

Now that I have Zipcar membership again, it's very tempting to drive somewhere upstate or out on Long Island where there're lots of trees and it's cooler and the air has more oxygen. But if I do something like that I think I'll probably take the train; it's easier on my arms and more eco-friendly even if I do always rent a Prius. I just really like driving. And I'm much more comfortable with it now that I've done the drive back from Readercon. I drove out to New Jersey this past weekend to visit J's grandmother and it was amazingly easy. Anything less than six hours of evening/night driving with the baby in the back of the car feels like a piece of cake.
the_siobhan: (limp)
[personal profile] the_siobhan
So I now have an answer as to whether or not I can write an entire book in a month. That answer is "no".

I am exactly at the halfway point of where I should be, however, which means I am well on track for getting an entire book written in two months if I can keep going at this rate. That won't be in August, because my family is coming to visit, so I figure I'll be taking a break and getting back to it in September. Which means I will be finished writing my 50,000 words probably early October.

They will be terrible, terrible, not very good words, but they will be written down and therefore I will have my story.

I suspect the process of turning it into a story worth actually reading is going to take a lot longer.


I finally pulled the plug on FB. This time of year I'm already hanging onto the fringes of what's left of my mental health with the tips of my fingernails and having people tag me on stuff that makes me cry was sending me right over the edge.

Yeah, I'm an emotional cripple and I'm not afraid to admit it.

So anyway, you can't reach me through FB anymore. It's email or LJ. You can send a FB message through one of the partners, but they aren't super reliable about passing them on. (By which I mean they will usually tell me stuff, but they aren't prompt about it and if it's an event that's taking place I usually find out about it the day it's happening. And if I already have my pants off, good luck with getting me to put them back on.)


I haven't touched the German since Axe & I visited there... two years ago? I think. Anyway at some random moment last week I decided to reinstall the Duolingo app and I've been plugging away at it again.

Learning languages is supposed to be good for encouraging new neural pathways and depression causes definite cognitive damage, so whether or not I'm ever successful in learning anything I figure it's a good hobby to have.

I have to say I'm often surprised at the words they choose to include. I'm doing the section on animal names right now and a lot of time I end up wondering why they devote so much time to including words I'll probably never use. I mean, once I have insect, do I really need fly, beetle and bee? Why include duck, chicken and hawk once I know the word for bird?

I suspect that one of the reason I lost interest in it last time is because it felt like there was too much filler.


Axel has gone full-on vegan. Did I mention that? Like one day it's all pig roasts and yummy yummy beef machines; the next day there is tempeh and almond milk in my fridge.

I find it hilarious only because it's so typical of the man to go from 0 to 60 overnight like that.

Anyway I'm fully supportive of the idea of eating less meat. The transition period just tends to be a little bumpy - I've noticed most new vegetarians go through a period where they cook exactly the same way, but just use tofu in place of the meat. And I'm just not that big a fan of tofu.

But hey, he's still doing all the cooking so I am not about to complain. And the tofu vindaloo he made in the crock-pot was really very good.


I am so boring right now. No money to do anything and it's too hot to go outside.

Other things

Jul. 25th, 2016 05:17 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
My parents came to visit, but they've gone away again now. While they were here, we had the hay delivery, so that's all sorted for the winter now. They left on the day of quilt club, so the nautical quilt didn't get shown and told.

There was a wren in the kitchen the other day. Somewhat surprising, but I managed to catch it in a shawl and it flew away when I took it outside. Also a cricket sitting smack in the middle of our duvet.

Magrat The Duck was lame one day. Worryingly, the traditional treatment of Frantic Chase Around The Garden Then Being Cornered And Picked Up didn't provide the usual 100% cure, but she was fine the following day. ("I heard a tremendous amount of quacking this morning," said my mother, "and when I looked the white duck was standing on top of one of the brown ones in the pond, giving her a tremendous ducking!" No, mother, you have the wrong consonant there....) She's also been doing her Houdini tricks again. Several days of setting up the stop-motion camera in various places failed to catch her in the act, but then (when we'd narrowed it down to one corner of the garden) Mike spotted the hole under the fence that she's been using. It's now blocked with a log, which should be enough provided that the hole isn't part of an active badger run.

The hollyhocks and gladioli are just starting to flower, and looking very pretty (other than the one that the horses can reach, which looks rather sad). TWWOTV asked what the hollyhocks were, and explained that until the flowers started to come out she'd been worried that they were giant hogweed. Because, obviously, we wouldn't notice eight foot dangerous high weeds in our front garden.

Jodie is doing really well, and looks much less silly now that the hair is growing back: it's still short, but at least she's the right colour now! She's walking for about ten minutes, three times a day, and will probably be coming off the painkillers and starting hydrotherapy in the coming week (I don't know for sure, because the vet hasn't returned my call from Saturday, grr). As far as she's concerned, she's completely better, which means that she wants to go chasing bunnies and thinks nothing of spinning 360 degrees while simultaneously jumping up in the air when we get back from leaving her alone for ten minutes. We may have to start crating her when we go to take the boys up the hill (although the surgeon said that she could start doing that towards the end of this week, thankfully).

The boys are fat and lazy, and have done very little work in the last week or so: it's been too hot and too full of flies. The horseflies, at least, seem to be stopping for the year. I've only had two bites in the last four days!

Quilt Club

Jul. 25th, 2016 04:28 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
Yesterday, I went to quilt class and (mostly: I did a bit of finishing this afternoon) made these:

It was an interesting class but (unfortunately for me) the first half of it was her teaching people the technique -- foundation paper piecing -- that I use all the time for doing things like animals and birds, so not very informative for me. (Except in the "wow, I'd never have imagined you could make the process seem so tediously rote" sense: the method she was using worked for this specific project but wouldn't help if any of the attendees then tried to apply it to a different design.) The second half was much more useful, though, and at least completely ignoring her instructions in the morning meant I had plenty of time to get stuff done.

It was also incredibly Buy My Stuff: you absolutely must have a special ruler, only £6, to use when you trim the excess fabric (er, or just eyeball it. Or use a normal ruler); you absolutely must have this particular brand of spray starch, only £5, to use when you're ironing your seams (y'know, the ones I did this afternoon worked just fine without it...); you absolutely must have this special glue, only £5, to use when you're sewing the bits together (ok, I did buy that one, although I am trying to figure out how to do without it!); you absolutely must have an open-toed sewing machine foot, only £20 (she really banged on about that one to me: she used my machine a couple of times to demo things, and there was much sighing and 'I think you'd find it much easier' and 'gosh, I can't see a thing I'm doing!'. Maybe I just have much better eyes than she does); you absolutely must have this type of needle, only £6 for five, the other kind are terrible (she'd said this the day before; I have a part-used box of 100 of the 'terrible' kind, I'll *consider* switching when I finish it); and on and on. It was a £20 class, and I would guess that half the women there spent twice that amount on buying stuff from her. I know she has to make a living, and I dare say that *she* finds it useful to use those things, but don't try and insist that they're vital when they clearly aren't!

The day before at quilt club, the same woman gave a talk about needles and threads, which was absolutely fascinating and taught me vast numbers of things that would be very tedious to recount here, but did finally explain to me why my new sewing machine (which has a horizontal thread reel holder, as most do these days) came with a little removable plastic stick to make a temporary vertical one (like they ones I learnt to sew on had), and when I should use it.

The quilt club newsletter mentioned, in passing, that a quarter of the members are now people who've joined in their own right, rather than as part of a smaller local club. It wasn't explicitly stated that this is a cause for concern, but it is on two levels: the local clubs aren't getting the few younger members who come in, and (perhaps more significantly) it makes the tea-and-tidying rota unfair: the local clubs take it in turns, so there are a quarter of the (generally more able to do so) members who never help out. When I Take Over Quilt Club, Which I Am Not Going To Do, I will fix these problems relatively simply: 1) put them on the rota (this will require some wrangling to make sure enough people will be there but is doable: they've been talking about it for a while, just not actually done it) and 2) actually tell them about the local clubs (they are occasionally mentioned in the newsletter, but only in the sense of "Twee Name Club last month donated ten quilts to a hospice"; there is a list of them on the website, but it is literally a series of twee names followed by a landline number you can call for each of them: no indication of where they are located other than dialling code (some of the twee names are geographically based, many are not), no indication of when they meet and what they do, no email address...). I'd vaguely like to join one, but not enough to phone random people and ask them where they live!

I shall stop ranting now.

On history

Jul. 24th, 2016 07:11 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly posting in [community profile] metaquotes
The crusader equivalent of 'are we there yet' was to realise they were somewhere foreign and start killing people a bit.
Even if they were not in fact on the same continent as there, yet.

From [personal profile] beccaelizabeth here.

How you think things are

Jul. 23rd, 2016 12:02 pm
tetsab: (morning)
[personal profile] tetsab
So this is what the weather from Environment Canada said 2 hours before I left work to bike home:


I'd switched it over to Fahrenheit to confirm that I wasn't crazy when I told that women from Florida that it can get up to the mid-90s in the summer here (because boy did she ever look at me like I was crazy, causing this little niggling twinge of doubt that I'd carried since) before we were about to go on a boat ride around some glacier chunks in Iceland.

Speaking of Iceland, the pictures are up from that here, for anyone interested.

I spent last weekend and a bit hiking on Manitoulin Island (something I've wanted to do for about 5 years). Maybe the next time I update I'll have the pictures for that. I should really try to go to Newfoundland next to make this an island travel hat-trick but the way things are going it will probably either be another visit to Giant Tea Cup girl who is now in NY (well, that still works a bit for the island theme) or to the Saskatchewan desert and beyond.

I like how I can use the bottom bit of this post to compare what I'd hoped for with how things are going travelwise. :)

Impending Funerals, Courses, Gaming

Jul. 23rd, 2016 03:25 pm
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Anne Kay, whom I had known for many years through the Unitarian Church, died last Tuesday having turned 93 that day. An independent thinker, a genuine Unitarian, and a person with a subtle sense of humour, she had been well for a number of months, so I can say it was a surprise. What was surprising was her express wish that I conduct the funeral service for her; which will be held this upcoming Tuesday 26th of July at 2pm at the Unitarian Church. I can presume that work is going to give me the afternoon off.

Ran another Introduction to High Performance Computing session on Wednesday which was well received. Actually, I must confess something, which has me a little confused if pleasantly so - is it normal these days for people to be applauded after giving workshops and lectures? I understand it as the norm in a speech and such like, but over the past two years almost every training class I've given has ended in applause. I'm certainly not objecting, but I do wonder if there's been a recent cultural shift that I am unaware of.

Two gaming sessions this week, on Thursday and Friday nights respectively. Thursday night was a session of Laundry with implications that supernatural activity is reaching a critical level and the agency is preparing to become the emergency government, "just in case". Friday night went to Gatekeeper Games for their "dice and drinks" evening, where Karl B., was running a playtest of the upcoming John Carter RPG, which seems to fit well with the genre so far. Next issue of RPG Review is going well, with just over half the page count filled.

(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2016 08:53 pm
rbarclay: (Default)
[personal profile] rbarclay
Y'know, the more I read about Donald Trumps campaign, the more I think that Frank Stronach must feel like a real, utter idiot now. Because that's how you do it, when you want to get elected on nothing more than waving money around and acting like a fool.
(This might only make sense when you followed .at politics in the last years.)

It's like the old joke when Satan goes to his lawyers, slams MSs EULA on the table and just says "learn, guys".

"No place to hide, nowhere to go"

Jul. 22nd, 2016 12:22 pm
rosefox: A sci-fi landscape and the words "DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC". (patriotism-dissent)
[personal profile] rosefox
Trump made a scary speech last night. Today Max Gladstone had some passionate thoughts on not being immobilized by that fear.

This is really, really important. It's JULY. Stop acting like Trump's already won!

I understand being scared. Take a day and feel the fear. Then let it power you into positive action.

Last night a friend asked what I thought they should be doing to prepare for helping people if Trump wins, which I guess meant "should we furnish our attic for the next Anne Frank" or something. I told them that I have the energy to either phonebank for Clinton or become a President Trump prepper, but not both. So I'm going to phonebank for Clinton.

(Is she perfect? No, obviously not. But she's not a dangerous fascist, and Trump is, so Clinton's got my vote and my activism. That seems pretty straightforward to me.)

Also, I refuse to treat fascism as the tipping point for helping those in need. Help the people who are in need now, and who will be that much worse off under a Trump presidency. The institutional equivalent of your furnished attic is your local shelter; perhaps you could give them some time or money. Or donate to the Ali Forney Center; while Trump makes grotesque claims about loving abstract theoretical LGBTQ people, the Ali Forney Center is helping real actual queer kids who've been kicked out by their families. Or fight felony disenfranchisement, which horribly skews the demographics of who can vote. Or support organizations helping Syrian refugees to counter Trump calling them all future terrorists, or tear down his wall before he can put it up by supporting organizations for just and humane border practices on the U.S.-Mexico border. He has so many odious policies and positions that there are a hundred different ways you can push back against them, so pick one that calls to you.

And phonebank for Clinton*--you can do it right now from your home, so throw a phonebanking party or make five quick calls before work every day or whatever suits you--or volunteer locally. Give money and/or time to the Democrats or MoveOn or Avaaz or your preferred organization. As Max says, don't let the fuckers think they already own tomorrow.


and we have four months to win this. That is not a lot of time, but it's enough time as long as we don't pause too long to wallow in despair.

Don't furnish your attic toward an inevitable fascist tomorrow. Fight NOW so that no one needs to hide in an attic ever again.

P.S. Lots of people have been dropped from voter rolls. Check your registration right now. Re-register if you need to. And then register your friends and neighbors and relatives. And then help them get to the polls, or make their postal votes. And bring your kids to the polls with you so they can see democracy in action and learn that when they're old enough voting will be important for them to do. We need all hands on deck, now and in the future--the future that we get to shape.

* You may need to disable ad blockers to get the Clinton phonebank page to work.

Feel free to share the link to this post as widely as you like.
tamaranth: (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/39: The Good, The Bad and The Furry: Life with the World's Most Melancholy Cat and Other Whiskery Friends -- Tom Cox
Nobody ever asked the question ‘Who Let the Cats Out?’ in a pop song because the answer is obvious: it was the same person who let them in again two minutes later, and out again two minutes after that. Doors are a classic example of that ‘I hate this – it’s fucking great!’ mantra that seems to be part of the permanent internal monologue of all cats. [loc. 1350]

Occasionally very moving, frequently very funny, and capable of bestowing a warming sense of schadenfreude on any reader who lives in a household where cats do not outnumber humans. Also, several instances of 'thank god it's not just me / my cat'.

What can one say about a book of cat observations, interspersed with anecdotes about the author's (delightful) parents? Reminds me of the best fan writing. This is a compliment.
[personal profile] alexbayleaf

Originally published at Spinster's Bayley. You can comment here or there.

Here is a guide to the care and feeding of a sourdough starter, in the form of a downloadable booklet.  It contains most of the advice I’ve been sharing with people for the past few years, whenever I give them some of my starter.

This sourdough guide contains:

  • How to store your starter
  • How to feed your starter
  • An easy method to make a basic loaf of bread
  • Scheduling/timing for making bread in winter and summer
  • Tips for better sourdough bread
  • Adding flavour
  • Out of bread? Can’t wait two days for a loaf?
  • Health and wellbeing of your starter

Download the sourdough guide:

Like what you see here?  Subscribe to my Tinyletter newsletter for other recipes, tips, and thoughts on resilient living.

Some examples of my sourdough

Fresh baked sourdough bread
Pumpkin and rosemary sourdough bread
Baguette style loaf

No-knead style loaf baked in cast iron
Crostini with garden tomatoes and ricotta
Dough rising

A dryish starter
Sourdough veggie fritters
Sourdough pancakes with caramelised apple

Long rolls replace crackers in my house
Sourdough foccacia with leek and olives
Walnut and rosemary bread

[Films] Supernova (2000)

Jul. 21st, 2016 09:32 pm
dancefloorlandmine: (Constantine)
[personal profile] dancefloorlandmine
The six-person crew of a long-tour medical/rescue ship receive a distress signal from a distant mining operation. So, responding to such things being their raison-d'etre, they respond. Needless to say, in the interest of drama, it doesn't go entirely smoothly. (For more details, watch the film.)

For a ship with a crew of six, they did pretty well on the high-Charisma-rolls bell curve - James Spader, Angela Bassett, Lou Diamond Philips, and Robin Tunney are all aboard ...

And the ship itself, Nightingale 229, is an interesting design - it appears logically modular, with a spinning section in the middle, presumably to provide artificial gravity, but the non-spinning bridge does not appear to be in zero-gravity. The shuttle, meanwhile, has an odd steampunk look to it. And I did find myself wishing that they'd just turn some proper white lights on, rather than relying on LED blue for the bulk of the interior lighting - surely, on a medical vessel, that would make finding a vein a challenge ...

Overall, a pretty good SF horror (not as horrific as Event Horizon, but few are ...) with a small crew facing a greater-than-expected challenge.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Third and so far final volume in the Drake Maijstral series. Drake is holidaying on Earth and most decidedly not partaking in any crime capers, because vacation. As he's strolling through the Louvre, a painting is stolen and investigation ensues.

He leaves his current host, visiting Joseph Bob, the Prince of Tejas (and his brother Will, the Bubber (the "r" is silent)), where hopefully no crimes will happen...

Drake's hopes may possibly be less than intact, as the book proceeds.

Still an excellent read.
tamaranth: (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2016/38: The Outcast Dead -- Elly Griffiths
... bodies and treasure are often found buried in marshes, to mark that boundary. Was Liz stuck in her own liminal zone, dazed from sadness and lack of sleep, unable to distinguish between dreams and reality? [loc. 1405]

non-spoilery )
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

Second of three books in the Drake Maijstral trilogy.

We're at Silverside station, a newly-opened luxury resort, owned by Baron Silverside. It's located near a star being consumed by a black hole (I think, maybe a highly dense dwarf star or something).

Baron Silverside is obsessed with security and the safety of his highly prolific guests. With both Maijstral and Fu George in attendance, things are obviously a bit tense (Geoff Fu George is the #1 Allowed Burglar in the galaxy).

There's an assortment of other people available, like Roberta Altuinn, Duchess of Benn. She's young and will do her official debut as host of the masquerade ball, during the grand opening of the station. She's also an accomplished amateur null-G runner.

Naturally, things get horrendously complicated, really really fast.

I think this was actually the first Maijstral book I read, so clearly it works. I would, however, recommend reading the series in order, since I think it's more delightful that way.