May. 24th, 2017 05:09 pm
kass: lilacs, "zen fen" (zen lilac)
[personal profile] kass
1. Lilacs are still blooming all over town.

2. Last night I tried a new (to me) recipe for rhubarb poached in red wine (eaten over vanilla ice cream) and it is delicious.

3. Today has been a better day than yesterday was. That's a low bar, but I'll take it.

4. The sun is shining. I'm home from work. I'm sitting on my mirpesset with a seltzer, enjoying the flowers. (Including the pot of pink begonias that someone gave me last week; secret message to [personal profile] batdina: I am thinking of them as scarlet begonias and that is making me smile.)

5. There is rosé vinho verde in my fridge (vinho rosa?) and later I intend to have some.

How are y'all?

I got a headful of drought

May. 24th, 2017 01:37 pm
gwyn: (ordinary day _silent_rage_)
[personal profile] gwyn
I keep falling down on my promise to post more. Everything happens so much.

The BPPV/head situation is continuing, long after most of the attacks have usually gone away. I'd been doing the exercises but they made only surface improvements this time: I can walk upright and drive pretty easily, but looking up or down, or turning my head at an angle in any kind of recline/looking up will make me wobbly for quite a while. It's made daily chores such…chores--the house was so gross so I finally had to vacuum and that was a study in Tilt-a-Whirl terror, and cleaning stuff like the sink or tub is a challenge I don't want to accept. I was in the store the other day and had to bend down to get something off a low shelf and then got treated to someone who thought I was drunk in public. I liked the idea a friend has: wearing a sign that says "not drunk, just wobbly." Anyway, much as I don't want to go in, I might have to get pro help this time.

I've been working away on my Cap Reverse Big Bang fic, it's up to 22,000 words now. No one said they're good words, but there's a lot of them. The artist is squeeful about Bucky's kitten rescue in it, so she might draw a second piece about that. Since the art is basically Steve and Bucky fucking, the sex scene was obligatory, and I don't know why but that made writing it about 10,000 times harder. I've made two editing passes--honestly, the first one wasn't even so much of an editing pass as a complete rewrite, almost nothing stayed untouched--and I hope I can make another, because it's such crap that it really needs more work. It's very plotty (I think the artist was unhappy at first because I was getting plot all over her "I just want a fluffy reunion sex scene") and I'm trying to make sense of Civil War as a canon-divergence AU, so it's very complicated and I keep finding plot holes and logic flaws that I have to correct--wait, no, if they do that, then they can't do this.

This is complicated by the fact that I have a book edit that came in late but they're not changing the deadline (yes, this is typical), and the fact that I'm my usual mentally ill self and am pre-emptively depressed about posting the fic. I'm kind of right in the middle of the posting schedule, and I'm seeing all these stories with hundreds of notes but a couple with only a few, and I know damn well that'll be mine, too, and it makes me feel…really bleh. There will probably be a lot of fic fatigue by then, and my SBB fic last year pretty much bombed, so it kind of feels like that, even with the well-run tumblr reblogging postings and giving the visibility we didn't have in the SBB. I try to get the brain weasels that eat me up about this off the hamster wheel that says "nobody cares" but they steadfastly refuse to move.

But I have to post, so I will. And just try to make it the best it can be, even if only my pals will read it. And I need to really get back to working on Celluloid Hero, which I had to put on hold, because I know there is a handful of people who are reading that one. Plus there's the Vividcon premieres vid. I've never vidded Star Wars before so this will be really interesting. I'm really looking forward to reading some of the CapRBB stories, though, once I finish with mine, though one of the ones I'm most looking forward to is coming at the end, [personal profile] sineala's 616 Bucky Barnes and Marvel Noir Tony Stark together. ::waves tentacle pom-poms in your general direction::

Anyway, that's what's new with me--weirdness and just being a dithering idiot and emotional basket case. How's by you?


May. 24th, 2017 07:33 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
I don't have a New Book Wednesday yet, but here's some good stuff that happened:

* We got a new mattress! Our old mattress was sagging on each side and had a hump in the middle and was getting increasingly painful. The new one was delivered yesterday and so far, so good. At the store we looked at a fancy one that sucked the heat out of your body while you were sleeping, but it was more than twice what ours cost and I did wonder how comfortable it would be in the winter.

* The paperback edition of The Murderbot Diaries is back in stock at Barnes & Noble, Powells, Indigo, BooksaMillion, Book Depository, and Amazon US, if you were still looking for a copy.

* I cleared out our guestroom closet and my office and got rid of a lot of random crap.

* I've been trying to get Murderbot 4 started and for about two weeks and finally got the first scene written. It and Murderbot 3 are not sold yet, so keep your fingers crossed.

* I got a Raksura Patreon story started and about halfway finished.

* When we were at Comicpalooza, we walked past the end of the row where one of the big Star Wars cosplaying groups had their booth, and they had a full-size backdrop of a Death Star corridor for people to take pictures in front of. One of the people in a stormtrooper costume was standing in front of it, and as we slowed down to look at backdrop, and the stormtrooper did the voice-synthesizer "Move along, move along" bit. It was pretty hilarious.

* We also saw a full-size Taun-taun with rider costume.

The Secret Meh-story

May. 22nd, 2017 01:35 pm
dorinda: Cary Grant, in "Bringing Up Baby," clutches his head beneath the letters "OMG WTF". (WTF_CaryGrant)
[personal profile] dorinda
Hoh man. Serious insomnia last night, my standard sleep hygiene routines fell down around my ears, so I'm at work on about 3 hours sleep. Kind of floating around behind my face like a gurbly balloon.

On the bright side, nice things going on at work, the powers that be actually ponying up money for something we really really needed, yay. But will I be glad to get home and eat a cracker and go to bed before sunset.

My current library audiobook is really fretting me. It's Donna Tartt's The Secret History, and I had heard about it eeeverywhere. Highly spoken of. And a good long book, so I was excited to jump in.

But now I'm just about halfway through, and am considering just stopping and returning the dang thing. It's a constant low-level irritation.

A major reason, unfortunately, is the reading. It's read by Donna Tartt herself, and there are few writers who I think should be audiobook readers. No shame, it's just...audiobook narration is a specific and underestimated skillset, and I vastly prefer to hear a professional do it. Just because you wrote the book doesn't mean you'll be good at reading it aloud.

She has a very low vocal energy, dipping into long croaky vocal fry a lot at the ends of sentences, because she doesn't know how to speak softly but also firmly/powerfully at the same time. A professional knows how to support their voice even when they're speaking right up against a microphone. For the same reasons, her voice scarcely changes timbre, staying in a repetitive, cyclical, muttery range, again because she doesn't have the skill at speaking quietly, on a mike, yet varying in tone and timbre and energy.

And to cap all that off, for some godforsaken reason she gives the character Bunny a distinctive "voice", high and very nasal and singsong, like she's doing some kind of puppet show. AUGH! No one else gets something like that. A professional audiobook reader--a good one, anyway--doesn't "do voices" like that. But here I have to listen to Bunny nasally-squeaking away right and left.

So it just rasps on my ears. It's likely that had I read the book in print, it wouldn't have felt like such a hard, irritating row to hoe--her reading has heaped a lot of difficulty onto the text that has taken extra work for me to disregard.

However--I can't guarantee I would like it, even if it had a good reader. Not just because all the characters are tedious to spend time with in a lit'ry-fiction/anachronistic/wealthy-spoiled-boring way, though that's sure the case. Nor that she seems to have given them banana levels of smoking habits mainly so she has actions to describe to break up big long speeches. Characters are forever lighting another cigarette or pouring another whisky (they all smoke and drink like thirty year olds in 1958, though they're supposed to be 20 year olds in the 1980s...I mean, I think even snotty old-rich Vermont college kids in the 80s drank dumb college booze like everyone else.).

That's kind of petty, I know. Worse I think is what feels to me like a complete overdetermination of Bunny Corcoran )

Granted, I'm only halfway through--maybe the second half of the book addresses this weird approach it seems to have committed to. But because the listening experience is not very pleasant, I'm not sure if I can stick it out.

Anyone who's read it, I'd be more than happy to hear your advice!
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: on May 22, 2017 at 09:42AM

Tags:not a reblog, money, finance, retirement, DWCrosspost

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: on May 20, 2017 at 11:20PM

Tags:not a reblog, activism, politics, PDWCrosspost2

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: on May 20, 2017 at 03:55PM

Tags:not a reblog, activism, PDWCrosspost2

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)

My outgoing post today.

May. 20th, 2017 02:07 am
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: on May 19, 2017 at 06:06PM

Tags:not a reblog, activism, star trek, PDWCrosspost2

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)

New Book Wednesday on Thursday

May. 18th, 2017 07:39 am
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
Book Recs

(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)

* Story: Ravana's Children by Ian Muneshwar

* Preorder: Jade City by Fonda Lee
When a powerful new drug emerges that lets anyone -- even foreigners -- wield jade, the simmering tension between the Kauls and the rival Ayt family erupts into open violence. The outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones -- from their grandest patriarch to the lowliest motorcycle runner on the streets -- and of Kekon itself.

* Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn, illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag
It is eight years after Colleen Cavanaugh's home world was invaded by the Derichets, a tyrannical alien race bent on exploiting the planet's mineral resources. Most of her family died in the war, and she now lives alone in the city. Aside from her acquaintances at the factory where she toils for the Derichets, Colleen makes a single friend in Jann, a member of the violent group of rebels known as the Chromatti. One day Colleen receives shocking news: her niece Lucy is alive and in need of her help. Together, Colleen, Jann, and Lucy create their own tenuous family.

* Preorder: The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
or as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction. Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

* Substrate Phantoms by Jessica Reisman
Jhinsei and his operations team crawl throughout the station, one of many close-knit working groups that keep Termagenti operational. After an unexplained and deadly mishap takes his team from him, Jhinsei finds himself—for lack of a better word—haunted by his dead teammates. In fact, they may not be alone in taking up residence in his brain. He may have picked up a ghost—an alien intelligence that is using him to flee its dying ship. As Jhinsei struggles to understand what is happening to his sanity, inquisitive and dangerous members of the station’s managing oligarchy begin to take an increasingly focused interest in him.

* The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
As the daughter of a time traveler, Nix has spent sixteen years sweeping across the globe and through the centuries aboard her father’s ship. Modern-day New York City, nineteenth-century Hawaii, other lands seen only in myth and legend—Nix has been to them all. But when her father gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end.

Other Stuff

My cold was better enough that we were able to go out last night and visit one of our friends in the hospital (we have a lot of friends in the hospital right now). He was doing really well for someone whose arm was broken in three places.

Murderbot still seems to be doing well (knock on wood) and I hope the second printing arrives soon. There's also going to be an audiobook (I don't have any other details yet).

Some reviews:

- LadyBusiness

- Pretty Terrible

- Amazon Book Review: The Best SF & F of May: 6 Top Picks

- The Qwillery


May. 17th, 2017 08:28 pm
kass: lilacs, "zen fen" (zen lilac)
[personal profile] kass
I am one of those odd ducks who thinks of alcohol seasonally. Which is to say: while these days I drink white wine year-round (because I've found that it doesn't give me headaches the way red sometimes does), I don't drink gin in the wintertime. I don't think of gin in the wintertime.

If I drink any hard alcohol in winter, it's a snifter of calvados, my favorite apple brandy. I want something that my hand can warm, that warms me going down. But when the weather gets nice again (and I am betraying my biases: I have learned to enjoy fall and winter, but what I truly love is exposing skin: wearing sandals, and sleeveless shirts, and showing as much leg as I can respectably manage, because I love the feeling of sunshine on my body) I start craving a G&T at the end of a long day.

And good God, has today been a long day.

And I bought a bottle of Hendrick's the other day, but it was still in the 40s a few days ago. Today it was in the 80s. Now the sun has gone down, but the sky is still bright, and the birds are singing their twilight songs, and I am sitting on my mirpesset barefoot listening to the sounds of evening, and I have a gin and tonic in hand. And it is really, really good.

Shehecheyanu, v'kiyimanu, v'higianu lazman hazeh -- I'm thankful to the One Who kept me alive and sustained me and enabled me to live through another winter until it was gin-and-tonic time again.

So, I've been busy.

May. 17th, 2017 04:34 pm
the_shoshanna: giant wave, tiny person. (wave)
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
Last month, Geoff and I, and his mother, went down to Massachusetts for my mother's husband's ninetieth birthday party. He's had a pretty amazing life -- born in Hungary, survived in hiding from the Nazis as a child, moved to Israel, England, and then the US; his first wife died young and then he and my mother were married a little over twenty years ago. Among many other accomplishments, he's the guy who invented the blue stripe on your toothbrush bristles that tells you when it's time to replace it.

(Apparently the toothbrush in fact works just as well when it reaches that point as it ever did. The company for which he did the research didn't publicize that result.)

So he had this wonderful party, with friends and relatives and colleagues arriving from all over the world. Among the speeches was a tribute to him from his grandchildren in the form of a quiz show: which one of the following six languages does he not speak? Which one of the following four continents has he not lived on? Which one of the following five things did he not invent? and so on. It was great.

However, in the wake of the party his health, which had been frail for a while and slowly going downhill, began to go downhill more quickly. He'd been in an assisted living/nursing care facility for a couple of years, although he was very socially active and his mind was sharp as ever. By late last week my mother was living in his room there, (not) sleeping in a chair, and essentially standing a deathwatch. He finally passed away late Sunday night, with her by his side. As these things go, it was a good death; as his son said, his passing is sad but not tragic.

He and I weren't close, but of course I need to be here for my mother. Geoff and I weren't able to leave Montreal until Tuesday morning, though, and unfortunately that meant we missed the funeral; it was held on Tuesday morning, so that there would be time for three days of shiva before Shabbat. We arrived about 3:30 yesterday, and it looks like we'll be here for all three shivas, and go home Friday morning. (We also couldn't get our windshield wipers repaired in time -- it's not the removable/replaceable blade assembly that broke, but the arm that's attached to the motor, part of the actual car -- so we're driving a brand new rental car. Wow, cars have gotten shinier and smarter since we bought ours nine years ago. I really like the blind spot alert system.)

My mother is fairly shattered but all right, if you see what I mean? She's napping now, which is how I have time to write this; of course I've been staying by her side for whatever talking or not talking she wants to do.

We have to go home on Friday -- and if my mom were in shape for it, I'd like to go home Thursday, but I don't think she is -- because I'm doing a wedding on Saturday, and co-leading service on Sunday (which means actually writing a number of texts to deliver myself, as well as coordinating with the guest preacher on the rest of the service and doing logistical support). Then I'm doing another wedding the following Friday, and a child dedication on that Saturday that I haven't written yet because the family only confirmed details today. And I received an editing job two days ago that I'm supposed to be working on, but I told the press there'd been a death in the family and they assured me that the deadline can stretch, thank goodness. And did I mention that I need to write the child dedication primarily in French?

Fortunately, I did almost all the prep for the weddings in advance. I was writing texts for Sunday's service in the car on the way down (as well as dealing with other church business coming in by email), but I've got them in acceptable shape. And I have half an hour still, before we need to leave for shiva, in which I can read through the family's wishes for the child dedication and respond to their messages. I did do some prep work already for it, but it's going to be a mad press next week; I have to finish writing it in time for the family to review and approve it, of course.

Oh, and I'm teaching an all-day workshop the weekend after that, which I still have to finish writing and prep materials for.

And, flatteringly but time-consumingly, I've gotten two offers of editing jobs in the past few days, but my most regular client already inquired about the possibility of booking my time in advance even before he knows what project he'll be sending me; he basically wants to have me on retainer. So I need to check with him about when he wants that, and on what terms, before talking scheduling with these other folks!

I'm not sure I'll have any time for, you know, cooking and exercising and socializing and all those other little details in the next three weeks...but I'm going to be so pleased with myself when I can look back and say I did it all!

And I am glad to be here for my mother. She and I have had a sometimes difficult relationship over the years, so it's actually a pleasure to notice that I want to be a support for her, and that I can.
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: on May 17, 2017 at 07:46AM

Tags:activism, PDWCrosspost2, postcards for democracy

Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)


May. 16th, 2017 08:30 pm
kass: Tardis. Something old, something new... (tardis)
[personal profile] kass
Okay, Peter Capaldi, as the Doctor, intoning "Space... the final frontier"? Made my day.

Apocalypse mini bingo card

May. 16th, 2017 01:34 pm
pearwaldorf: rey from tfa (Default)
[personal profile] pearwaldorf
Mass insanity/delusionUnderground forces unleashedSentient hostile planet
Genetic experimentationWILD CARDAlien attack
Mega-tsunamis/tidal wavesDystopia without endMass migration

It is my fervent hope this kickstarts some work this year. It's been real bad and real hard to focus and write.

(Want your own? Go to [community profile] tic_tac_woe and request one)

Book Bundle

May. 16th, 2017 02:25 pm
marthawells: (Default)
[personal profile] marthawells
I have a massive post-con cold, but remembered I needed to post about this:

There's a Humble Book Bundle to support the Nebula Awards, and The Cloud Roads is part of it. Basically, you can pay anything over a $1.00 and get a large amount of DRM-free ebooks, and have part of your payment go to charity. As of today (May 16 2017) there are seven more days to buy the bundle.
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: on May 15, 2017 at 09:35AM

Tags:activism, PDWCrosspost2

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