rydra_wong: Lee Miller photo showing two women wearing metal fire masks in England during WWII. (Default)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Millions of mysterious 'sea pickles' swamp US west coast

“One of the things we are figuring out is have these guys been off the coast and we haven’t seen them? Are they moving inshore for a different reason?” said Sorensen.

YES AND I THINK WE KNOW WHAT THAT IS. Let me know when they reach Washington.

They're known as the "unicorn of the sea", apparently, so should clearly be claimed as a symbolic animal by you (glowing) asexual people out there.

yes I know it's not the same kind of asexual okay

Gay It Forward, part 2

June 21st, 2017 10:55 pm
typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
The original Stonewall protest was a riot. Some people want us to forget that. They want us to be polite, not to make waves, and not to upset or scare “ordinary” people. But make no mistake: the only reason we queer people have any legals rights now is because we refused to be quiet, we refused to be invisible, we refused to go quietly...

(This post about the first Pride, about people who don't conform, and other things is at FontFolly.Net.)

Happy Summer Solstice!

June 21st, 2017 08:02 pm
reynardine: (festive)
[personal profile] reynardine
A happy Summer Solstice to all who celebrate!

A quiet day today. Ran some errands with Bob, paid some bills, answered a few heraldry questions. I'm getting better at blazoning, but there's a lot to learn. The Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium is this weekend--some people in Calontir got together and chartered a minivan to go (the meeting is in Knoxville, TN) but there was just no way I could justify the expense, not with a bunch of medical bills waiting.

That's the tough part--all the bills are still running through the two insurance companies. I still have no idea what I owe! Medicare is understaffed and takes forever to process claims, and then sometimes they'll refuse to pay on something, but insist that I should not have to pay since the primary insurance covered what they consider fair (the two insurances pay doctors at different rates). I of course do not want to suggest to the medical billers that maybe I owe something if the government insists that I do not. It's confusing!

And it's scary to see what the hospital/doctors originally charge vs what the insurance company will agree to pay. I think the doctors push up their charges so the insurance will pay more. I would feel bad about it, but we pay through the nose every month for insurance and have done for years. Now we are older and need it, and they are unhappy about that.

Saw some darling tortie kittens today. Bob said if we didn't already have two cats (that don't get along), he would have adopted the kittens and the mother cat as well. But we do have our two little brats, so that is that.

Gay it forward

June 21st, 2017 01:38 pm
typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
The Department of Justice estimates that about 1.7 million teen-agers are homeless in America at any time. Of those, about 40% identify as queer (that’s 680,000 kids). According to research by the True Colors Fund and similar groups, the single biggest cause of those queer teens being homeless is family rejection because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But note that the next most common reasons are abusive homophobia or transphobia in their school, church, or community, even when their parents don’t go to the extreme of kicking them out.

Growing up in Southern Baptist churches in mostly redneck communities, I knew from a very early age that I didn’t belong...

(The rest of this post about queer history and very real current problems for a lot of queer children, and what we can do about some of it, is at FontFolly.Net.)

CORRECT ACTION

June 21st, 2017 08:18 pm
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Grenfell Tower families to be rehoused in flats at luxury complex

This doesn't cover all the displaced families. And the flats are part of the "affordable" quota developers are frequently required to build along with the luxury flats, with the usual segregation (not being allowed access to the swimming pool etc. -- in quite a few instances, developers have created buildings where the people in the "affordable" flats have a separate entrance to the building ...), so it's a lot less "luxury" than the headline implies.

And they're being bought by the Corporation of London (as opposed to paid for out of RBKC's £274 million reserves?).

Still, it's a start.

It seems a heavy choice to make

June 21st, 2017 10:53 am
musesfool: text icon: O swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon (swear not by the moon)
[personal profile] musesfool
In the ever-exciting news of the long slow process of co-op buying, late yesterday afternoon, I received a revised version of the appraisal - the one I got on Saturday had one number on the cover page and then another within the body of the document, and when I pointed that out to the lawyer, and he was like, "They're gonna go with the number in the document." Which was the lower number. But as of yesterday, the apartment is apparently worth the number on the cover page, which is $5000 more than the other. It's still $10K lower than the asking price, but it's proof that appraisers are human and make mistakes, so. We'll see what happens. I'm also still waiting to be contacted to set up the board interview. Sigh. I did find my black dress, though, so I'll be able to wear that when the time comes.

*

Last night, I made formulation #2 of anti-itch lotion and it doesn't have salt in it but it does have baking soda, so the unfortunately slightly gritty feel continues and also it didn't work (not to mention being an unappealing-for-a-skincare-product gray in color), so I think I'm just going to stick to more tried and true methods going forward.

*

Wednesday! Books!

What I've just finished
The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan. I enjoyed this - the action is a lot of fun and Leo got more to do - but oy, Apollo as narrator is annoying.

What I'm reading now
Despite an endless TBR pile, how could I resist Joan Aiken's The Five-Minute Marriage after reading amazing reviews by [personal profile] rachelmanija (here) and [personal profile] skygiants (here)?

I have especially fond memories of both The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Black Hearts in Battersea, though I haven't read either since I was a kid (I probably should reread at some point, and I did not know there were like five other books in that series), plus it's about a fake but real marriage set in the Regency era, so it was like five of my bulletproof narrative kinks in one book.

And boy does it deliver. Not so much on the actual romance, but with the hilarity and the fake marriage that turns out to be legitimate (in the sense of they are actually legally married rather than it being a fraudulent ceremony as they expected) and will likely turn into a real (as in they actually care about each other and stay married) marriage by the end of the book, grand romance notwithstanding, as well as the apparent alpha asshole hero who turns out to just be really stressed about babysitting his sister's TEN kids.

Anyway! I am enjoying it a lot and if that sounds like your cup of tea, you probably will too!

What I'm reading next
I do not know! However, I did want to give a heads up to anyone who doesn't know that Frances Hardinge has a new book coming out in the fall: A Skinful of Shadows. I am excite! And maybe I will read The Lie Tree next. I was saving it because it's the only Hardinge I haven't read yet, but if there's a new book on the horizon, I don't have to hoard it anymore. *g*

*
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I was reading this one at the same time as I was reading Sorting The Beef From The Bull, which was like a natural sciences one-two punch; I would read Sorting while commuting, and Remarkable Creatures in bed at night. 

Remarkable Creatures is the fictionalized story of two real-life people, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, who were fossil hunters in Lyme Regis in England back when we were just starting to like, figure dinosaurs out. It follows their relationship, and their struggles to be seen as legitimate contributors to the scientific record, for several years.

I didn’t actually know the account was based in real life until after I’d finished reading, which did ameliorate some of my disappointment with the book, because it’s hard to make a climactic narrative out of peoples’ real lives – reality just doesn’t flow as smoothly as fiction. But I won’t lie: I am still pretty disappointed that Elizabeth and Mary didn’t end up together. I thought that was totally where we were heading.

Mind you, the story of their friendship is compelling, and Chevalier did find a way to create rising action within the story, even though as she put it in the afterword, Mary Anning basically did the same thing every day for years, in terms of hunting fossils. 

As an account of fossil hunting, of the religious wrestling that people had to do with the concept of extinction, and of the way women were treated in the era, it’s a really great book. And it’s also a fast read, which I’ve come to expect from Chevalier. And honestly, this is the first book of hers I’ve read where the female leads don’t get married, though this is in part because the real-life Mary and Elizabeth didn’t either. 

But it still feels like Chevalier’s books are always about women settling. It’s the same problem – I know that’s what women have had to do, and I’m sure she does it intentionally at least in part to remind us of that fact. I just want more for these heroines. 

But if you’re interested in paleontology, Do Recommend, it’s a good book. Less frustrating than The Last Runaway, certainly, and the characters feel more compelling, more three-dimensional, than some of those in Girl With A Pearl Earring. 

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reynardine: (sleepy)
[personal profile] reynardine
Barely-there kind of day. I did some financial things and a little laundry. Migraine had me knocked out for several hours. It's better now that the sun has gone down. Kansas is too damn sunny, even in our dark little cave of a house.

Bob defrosted and cleaned-out the chest freezer. I'm trying to put together a grocery list so he can go to Costco (and maybe HyVee) tomorrow. The larder is just about bare. If I'm up to driving, maybe I'll send him over to Costco and I'll tackle HyVee?

We finished watching The Handmaid's Tale. Very chilling, and has given me nightmares. The book was a hard-enough read, but seeing it unfold on film (and very skillfully directed) makes it worse. In a world where women are only judged on their mothering or housekeeping skills, I would have no place whatsoever. It also made me painfully aware of how dependent I am on my husband and to a lesser extent, my father, even now, even at my age.

Today is World Refugee Day, and every time I see an article about refugees, it reminds me that no matter what problems I may be having, there are people out there who have lost everything through no fault of their own. People who just happened to live in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could happen anywhere, even here. Hell, it did happen here--remember Hurricane Katrina? For a while there in Dubuque, the rental houses down the street from us were filled with families from NOLA. (They didn't stay long--Iowa's winters were too mean, I think.)

The size of this crisis is hard to imagine, and I'm not sure what the best answer is. I majored in Middle-Eastern History, and it's true that part of the world has been unstable for centuries, with populations moving back and forth, although rarely at this scale.

Politically, it is a very difficult issue, and I don't expect my friends to agree on the best solutions to this problem. Wars, disease, and natural disasters seem to be a constant in this world of ours. But there are organizations like Doctors Without Borders who are out there helping people who have lost everything. Perhaps today would be a good day to donate to one of them?

Advice on Love

June 20th, 2017 10:05 pm
pandabuddha: Red & Green | Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver (OriginalShipping)
[personal profile] pandabuddha
Title: Advice on Love
Genre: Romance
Rating: K+
Warnings: None, unless you consider slash and femslash as a warning. :'D
Notes: 912 words. Mild post-game spoilers involving Lillie. I like calling Moon "Selene" since Moon seems weird to me???? (Yet I don't mind Green or Red as names lol)
Summary: Green gives Selene advice on love. For a friend.

Disclaimer: I don’t own Pokemon. That would be Nintendo!

(AO3)(Tumblr)

Green had to fight the smug look from showing on this face. He looked away from his Machamp, who was trying to teach his guest’s confused Samurott some sort of move, to focus on the young Champion of Alola (Selene, right? He’s starting to think Gramps is rubbing off on him when it comes to names) in front of him. It’s not every day that someone asks him for advice--most people are prone to asking Red, which leaves the ex-hermit smug for hours around Green--so he’s definitely going to brag about this later. For now though, he’s going to give the Alola Champion his undivided attention. )

Dreaming of a Swedish Midsummer

June 20th, 2017 09:30 pm
naye: a photo of the view of ocean and sky through a window at dawn (dawn)
[personal profile] naye
Midsummer. A wonderful time in Sweden, when the nights are short and light and the days are long and balmy and you can go for twilit midnight walks or just wait a couple of hours for a 3.30am sunrise around where I used to live.

Of course here in the UK seasons seem to matter slightly less - or maybe I'm just less attuned to the local signifiers? (Strawberries and cream I get! And music festivals.) There's definitively no Midsummer holidays and long slow summer where most people take weeks (or months) off and many businesses wind down to run on a skeleton crew.

Speaking of Sweden: I just submitted my first Swedish job application since leaving the country in 2012! We still don't know when/if we will get a visa for Skuld, but it's been almost a year since we applied, and it's time to start actually planning for the big move there. Which includes trying to maybe have a job lined up. (Having a job lined up would also possibly help us appeal any denial of visa based on me not living & working in Sweden as I'm currently living & working with my non-Swedish spouse...) I've got my eye on another position, but see above re: skeleton crew and businesses winding down for the summer. Due to all that, their application deadline is August 1st, so I'm not in any hurry.

But yeah, with a bit of luck we can celebrate next Midsummer the way it was supposed to be done: by enjoying the company of family and friends and all the beauties nature has to offer at this the brightest time of year.


Like a Midsummer's Night

you oughta keep me concealed

June 20th, 2017 02:04 pm
musesfool: girl with umbrella (rainy days and mondays)
[personal profile] musesfool
I spoke with my lawyer yesterday afternoon and he said that the appraisal coming in low shouldn't affect the loan because I'm putting 50% down, but that it can affect how much I have to pay, and he's going to ask the seller's lawyer what they're willing to do regarding bringing the price down a little to align with the appraisal (or explain why the appraisal is wrong). We agreed that I would still pay the full asking price if necessary, but he's going to see what he can get since this happened. We'll see!

*

Last night, I met up with [personal profile] chicklet_girl, who is visiting NYC, and we had steak dinner and fannish conversation and it was lovely. I managed to mostly avoid getting soaked too, right up until I was half a block from the restaurant, at which point the skies opened and I got drenched from the knees on down (I was wearing a dress so it didn't bother me that much). And then later, as we left the restaurant, the sky was a weird yellow color as the storms had moved east. I didn't see any rainbows, but I've heard from various people that they were all over.

*

So I made some anti-itch lotion, but I don't find it particularly effective, and also it has salt in it, which makes it gritty, which is not a sensation I want in something that's not meant to be an exfoliant. I mean, maybe if I mixed it up with a mixer it wouldn't feel that way, and but I'm not ready to commit my handmixer to non-food-related items. And since it doesn't really work any better than any of the other million different things I've tried (and it works significantly less well than a few of those methods), I can't see using it again. I do have a couple other formulations to try out, none of which contain salt, so that at least shouldn't be a problem.

The bug repellent lotion bar seems to work, or at least I haven't gotten any new bites since I started using it. I guess we'll see how that goes. it's a good thing I don't mind the scent of citronella.

*

Oh, my heart (again)

June 20th, 2017 05:28 pm
rydra_wong: the illuminated Sarajevo haggadah (sarajevo haggadah)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Hundreds of Londoners showed up yesterday evening to hand roses to worshippers at the Finsbury Park mosque as they went in to pray:

https://www.facebook.com/jocoxmoreincommon/videos/408448636222639/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-40343485
typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
So the so-called National Organization for Marriage hosted an event in Washington, DC that was supposed to be a March for Marriage (as a protest against Marriage Equality), and the attendance was even worse than last year: March For Marriage Draws Tens, But Promises Ultimate Victory...

(The rest of this post is at FontFolly.Net.)
newredshoes: Art by <user name="kellyvivanco" site="tumblr.com"> (<3 | girl with her hair in knots)
[personal profile] newredshoes
Do you ever re-read something you wrote ages ago and just -- want it back? want to be doing more? I mean, obviously I feel this a lot, but today I saw that the [livejournal.com profile] thisengland Shakespeare Histories Ficathon is starting up soon for its 10th year, and then I became overwhelmed with Percys feelings, and then I reread my sole contribution to the challenge, "A Mouth-Filling Oath," which takes place on the docks of 1950s London and everyone (but Hal, of course) is working class. I so love that narrative voice I found, even if I'm fairly certain it bears no resemblance to any English spoken every day. Strong narrative voices make writing so much easier, incredibly so, and I want to seize or discover one for other projects, but I never really set aside the time to try, which frustrates me about myself. There also seems to be a popular idea going around now that you shouldn't talk about your projects or you'll just talk them to death, and I get that, but it seems at odds with having a writing community, in some ways?

So yeah, that's a thing I've got to push myself on more. (Meanwhile, I'm going to not spend my time rolling around in old [personal profile] valiantrebel logs. Not for long, anyway.) The notes came back from my WW/WWI story and THEY ARE GOOD AND VERY MINIMAL, WHAT, so I need to get those turned around and also work on my second story and also work on a third and fourth story for the month. There's been this gigantic weird storm this afternoon, and right now the sunset is doing weird things with the light, but I see a full rainbow outside my window with gray clouds and peach light lighting up all the windows and bricks. The storm is also probably responsible for the hard nap I took earlier, with, again, extremely vivid dreams (partly about being some kind of shapeshifter with the ability to stop something VERY BAD from happening, but being kept from it somehow; partly about being back in Athens with both parents at a huge gala event for us, and I was being given snakes and I was delighted). I rewatched the S1 finale of The Magicians, which I hadn't seen in quite some time, and I had forgotten many things, chief among them how fucking hot Eliot Waugh's everything is. Goddammit, Hale Appleman, tall, beaky, elegant Jews who can do a courtly bow past their own knees is MY SEXUALITY, APPARENTLY. I just spent like 20 minutes trying to find a GIF on Tumblr and now I'm like, this shit is not going to get me back on Tumblr. Okay. Anyway. Phew. Hello.

ETA WAIT, I FOUND THE MOMENT.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I don’t know why it surprises me, my summers are always bananas, but July looks especially bonkers this year. Of the 20 possible workdays in July, I’m out for conferences, vacation, or workshops for a full half of them. I’m properly working only ten days in the entire month of July. 

I mean, I’m not unhappy about it. And thank god for a great paid leave package. I’m going to be traveling to cool places and doing neat things. It’s just kind of surreal. Like how last year I was only in the office for one week in all of June. 

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Syrup on the Brain

June 19th, 2017 02:06 pm
reynardine: (yume_kawaii)
[personal profile] reynardine
More seroquel haze. I had to up the dosage and that makes me so sleepy. I just drift through daily tasks. Someone else's hands are moving. I just watch, slightly puzzled. It's the oddest sensation.

I can feel the medicine working on me--it's like syrup being poured on your brain--but I can also feel the mania scrabbling against it like a rat in a trap. My brain DOESN'T WANT to slow down. No, it says, let me be free, there is so much I need to do, so much, ALL THE THINGS...!

It's the best feeling in the world, and the worst, because I know what happens if this whirlwind is left to run its course.

I'm tired of picking up the pieces after I run wild. Hence the seroquel, and the dark hallways where I linger so the sunlight won't kick off another migraine, and isolation so I won't disturb other people as I try to get my balance back.
musesfool: Wonder Woman giving you the side-eye (wtf?)
[personal profile] musesfool
So apparently there are some comics fans who are trying to impose comics canon on Wonder Woman movieverse fans (as seen on Tumblr), and having been there oh so many years ago in the position of a movieverse-only fan, if you are tempted to say, "but in the comics...", my advice is, to quote Captain America: "son, just don't."

The movies are not the comics! They were not the same in 2000 with the first X-Men movie. They were not the same with Iron Man or Captain America or Age of Ultron or Civil War. They are not the same with Wonder Woman (I can't speak to the other DCU movies I haven't seen, but Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel was sure as shit not the Jonathan Kent from the comics, in the worst way possible).

There's a back button/exit button on every screen. Learn to use it if you can't handle the idea of multiple versions of canon that are not the same*. (Though how any (superhero) comics fan can possibly cling to some notion of strict canonicity is beyond my understanding - it was in 2000 and it remains even more so now that I've actually read superhero comics! - because even within the published comics there are multiple universes, alternate realities, reboots and rebirths, and even the published writers/artists pick and choose from that broad swath of material. And that's before even getting into TV/film/video game/animated adaptations! So don't even. I mean, you're not going to bitch at the people who write Ezra Miller movie Flash for not writing Grant Gustin TV Flash, are you? Then stfu.)

*I can see being annoyed when movie characterization etc. invades the comics tag on AO3 (or v.v.), but that's just an inevitable side effect of people trying to grab the widest possible reading audience.

This makes me just as angry now as it did seventeen(!!!) years ago. I thought maybe the MCU blowing up to be a huge and non-comics-corresponding fandom would put a stop to it, but I guess not.

***

American Gods: A Prayer for Mad Sweeney and Come to Jesus
spoilers )

I imagine this show will play better once you can view it all at once, because it is glacially slow in parts, and not particularly emotionally evocative, but beautifully rendered.

***

I posted a story yesterday! Woo, the streak is intact!

You Can't Front on That (on AO3)
Star Wars; Darth Vader, Obi-Wan, Luke; AU; g; 3,960 words
When he hears Kenobi's voice again months after killing him, Vader wonders if perhaps he's begun to go mad.

[personal profile] silveronthetree and I have talked more than once about all the stories where Luke and Vader meet up and have adventures together, or Vader turns from the dark side earlier than in canon, and yet how those stories almost never have Force ghost!Obi-Wan turn up to commentate (or at least harass Vader for his terrible life choices most specifically regarding his children), and how much we wanted that. And we were tossing around the things they would talk about, and so this story happened. I definitely enjoyed writing it, and I'm glad people are enjoying reading it. <3

And now work has interrupted repeatedly, so I'm going to hit post. Sigh.

***
copperbadge: (literate men need books)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Taking a little break from Tracy Chevalier (we’ll be back to her soon)...

So, [tumblr.com profile] terrie01 recommended this book to me during a discussion on food fraud, and it’s been a really...interesting experience. On the one hand it’s a very informative book, packed full of detail and data, but on the other oh man is it dry. I didn’t realize what a struggle it was to get through until I started reading Extra Virginity this morning, which is about the same general topic (focused on olive oil) but is much more engagingly written.

Sorting the Beef From The Bull focuses on food fraud from a legislative and economic angle; I can imagine for people working in the industry it’s a little more accessible, and I don’t think it’s a badly written book. It’s just jammed with a combination of dense law and complex biochemistry, when what I (a non-lawyer, non-scientist) wanted was like...war stories about food fraud.

text )

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