Culture Consumed Tuesday

Jul. 25th, 2017 10:50 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Books

Read Ann Leckie's Provenance (in ARC. It's coming out on the 26th of September.) Spider mech, spider mech, does whatever a spider mech does. (Disconcert people, mainly.) This is in the same universe as the Radch trilogy, but in a different region and with different characters, voice, and tone. I have some friends who couldn't get into Ancillary Justice, wanted to like it but found it too hard going, and I would be curious if this one worked better as an entry point for them.

Leckie's repeatedly cited Cherryh as an influence, and if you think of the universe the Ancillary books are set in as like Cherryh's Alliance/Union universe, a big canvas covering a lot of territory in time as well as space, then this book in relation to its universe is a bit like a railway junction. It opens some new routes, introduces some new important players, but the most important universe-scale historical events (as opposed to system-scale or planet-scale or individuals) are offstage.

To say more about voice and tone: the Radch books are in first person, and that person is Breq, who is... Breq. Over two thousand years old, and even if you consider the destruction of Justice of Toren as a kind of rebirth, by the point we meet her she's a hypercompetent badass who's been surviving on her own in her single body for nineteen years. Also she's not a human, so there's that.

Ingray isn't Breq. She's very much human (and has an entirely reasonable terror of AIs,) a lot younger (I don't think her exact age is stated, but early twenties would be my guess,) and infinitely less sure of herself. She's also spent her entire life to date having her head messed with by her shitty family. My first two impressions, right from the first three chapters of this book, were: one, you can really tell the author was spending a lot of time in airports when she wrote this; and two, Ingray has the sort of family life where the closer your geographic proximity to your relatives, the more difficulty you have with being a decent person. The rest of this book bore this out (I mean the family, although there were definitely more airport-equivalent scenes too.)

If you're one of the people who disliked Breq because she was "too perfect" (I disagree with you about her being perfect, but) you might find Ingray and her smaller scale problems (compared to entire empires and species) more relatable.

If the Radch trilogy is about personhood and the fight to be recognised as a person when you don't fit a society's definition of who counts as a person, then Provenance about growing into oneself not as a person (that was never in question for Ingray) but as an adult (a coming of age that, by contrast, Breq never had the luxury of needing.) And if the Radch trilogy is about resisting societal/systemic forces, Provenance is about resisting social, personal pressures (family and peers.)

Finished Aliette de Bodard's The House of Binding Thorns. And after this and Provenance I'd like a short break from books about difficult family situations, please! I liked this better than The House of Shattered Wings, but the tone was still bleaker than I usually go for. Characters I particularly liked: Madeleine, back from the previous book; Thuan the dragon prince, and Berith and Francoise the Fallen/human couple trying to manage outside the Houses. Grandmother Olympe, the elder of the community where Berith and Francoise live, was also pretty great. And I warmed more to Asmodeus than I did in the first book.

Unfortunately, I think I'm the wrong audience for this. The things The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns do well (decayed elegance, gothicism, Paris, fallen angels), they do really well, but they're not things I particularly love (I don't dislike them, they're just not my catnip.) So, like, I can't actually rave about these books, but I do want to wave them really hard at people who do love those things.

Comics

Some zines I ordered from Rooster Tails's Etsy store showed up, and he kind of threw in a bunch of queer fanart glossy note cards (maybe to make up for a delay, idk, I'm not complaining!) and they're so beautiful and I didn't know I needed a picture of Daria holding Jane's hand and saying "I hate you the least," or adorably cartoony Finn smooching Poe, or cartoony Gabrielle climbing Xena like a tree, but I definitely did need those things. Now I'm trying to decide whether to keep or send to people.

The zines are #my gender is..., three tiny A6 cardbound volumes made in response to answers people gave the author when he asked people to fill in the blank.

Mainlined 17776, which is web based multimedia rather than comics, but I'm putting it in this category because what everyone's comparing it to is Homestuck. It's about satellites watching football in an unimaginably future, but also post-scarcity/post-singularity anxiety and Millennialism (as in epochs, as well as as in snake people) and play as the ultimate point of human existance, and it's funny and elegiac and cool and reminds me of David Foster Wallace in some ways.

That said, it is worth talking about who's at the centre of this narrative. No, not robots. No, not humans. Americans. White, suburban, minivan-driving, 80s-and-90s-born Americans. So conflated with the essential nature of humanity that they don't even notice they're doing it. Even the probes are two American probes and one European (but not Russian) one. I mean, Mangalyan does exist, you know? And so does Chang'e 2 and Kirari. And Libertad I and Fajr and... I mean, not all of those are still in space, or left Earth's orbit, but they could. Not to mention that it's science fiction and at the present date JUICE is still in development, why not a future Ghanaian or Iranian satellite mission? Which is not even my point, my point is that the regressive fantasy that the humans fall back into when faced with the crushing boredom of their eternal lives is... the 1960s and 1970s but without the race riots or Stonewall or Watergate.

It's still a good story/multimedia work/thing, and I still enjoyed it. I just... that particular nostalgic fantasy makes me very tired sometimes. And no, not tired in a way that makes me want to give up on the weary work of human endeavour/struggle/progress to take refuge in looking back down at the things that are really important to us/humanity, i.e. a sport which people in my country don't play.

TV and Movies

Watched the first episode of Black Sails. Was unimpressed. I hear it gets better, though. Flint's fury at the stolen log page reminded me of this.

Music

Gave my sister the Hamilton soundtrack for Christmas last year or her birthday this year (I forget which -- my gift-giving punctuality standards are seriously slipping at the moment.) Success: she's hooked. Very hooked.

Games

Third week of [community profile] hexarchate_rpg. So far haven't panicked and run away yet (me, not my character) so that's good.

Still playing Binding of Isaac. In one especially good run, I met Isaac's mother for the first time, and defeated her! Which meant that, next time I got to that level, defeating her led to having to climb into her womb and fight more monsters there. Which... is definitely a narrative choice a person could make.

Started playing Hexcells, a puzzle game; not to be confused with Hexels, a different puzzle game. The latter is like 2048 but in three directions not two; the former is kind of like a griddler/nonogram, but in three directions and its own specific language of clues. Played all the way through Hexcells, then started Hexcells Plus. Got the Perfectionist achievement for the original Hexcells. Then Hexcells Plus. Then started Hexcells Infinite, and am at 90% of that.

The problem with me and Hexcells is not the logic. I'm not super great at the logic, but with time and effort and occasional appeals to online walkthroughs I can succeed (usually by speaking the chain of logic out loud over and over because I can't hold the branches in my head long enough otherwise.) The problem is that that one of the achievements is to do all the games with zero (or only one) mistakes, and the way my brain works (or the way my working memory doesn't work) it's very easy for me to make one stupid error too many and ruin an hour of work. Which is really frustrating and upsetting. At least Hexcells Infinite lets you save your progress. The first two games didn't, so if you need a break before finishing the level, you have to leave the app open.

Garden

The compost bin is full. That took about three months to fill a 220L bin. I had to look up what one does once the bin's full. Leave it to cure for a month or so while starting a new bin, apparently. Or alternatively, lift the bin off the compost (it doesn't have a bottom) and set it down next to the compost, shovel whatever still looks like vegetable peelings and cat litter back into the bin, and use whatever just looks like soil to grow things. (But not herbs and vegetables, because this is cat litter compost, so it's contaminated with toxoplasmosis. This compost can nourish pretty flowers and Native Plants To Encourage Local Species.)

Food

Baked scones. Also tried out a couple of recipes from my long backlog of bookmarked Recipes To Try Someday:

- Jack Monroe's Queen of Hearts jam tarts recipe. Not too bad given how seldom I make pastry. If you have fifty grams of butter and a scant cup of plain flour and some jam, this is an okay thing to do with those ingredients, but the scones were better.

- AoM Bratwurst Sandwich. This contains one thing I eat normally (mustard), one thing I've had decades ago but haven't cooked with (bratwurst), and two things I hadn't had before (sauerkraut, pumpernickel.) The bratwurst and mustard and sauerkraut were good. The pumpernickel... yeah, no, next time I make this I'll just use a dark rye.

I could have adapted to the flavour, but its lack of structural integrity meant that according to the Earl of Sandwich litmus test this is not even a sandwich. (i.e. "I pretend I am the original Earl of Sandwich. I have asked for non-bread foods to be brought to me inside bread, that I might more easily consume them one-handed while gambling. This does not enable my wretched regency habits. This is not what I asked for. I do not deign to grace it with the name of my house.")

This would fall apart in his hand, scattering boiled rye grains all over his elaborate necktie and playing cards.

Admittedly, the degree of difficulty was higher for me since I had to eat it one-handed while fending off a very interested black and white cat with the other hand.

Other

Broke my daily meditation streak at 219 days. Very pissed off about it, in a not zen at all way. The last time this happened it was at 149 days. Forming habits is hard for me. (This is not a request for reassurance or advice. Especially not advice.) Took four days off meditating out of pique.

Cats

Have been fighting a lot these last few days. At first I thought Beatrice was the main instigator, but last night while she was aggressively licking Dorian, I saw him nip her.

He hasn't learned to lift the toilet lid yet, but it's hard for me to remember to leave it down since my already established habit was to close the door but leave the lid up.

A World of Fantasy

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:14 pm
frith: Light pink cartoon pony with dark pink mane (FIM Pinkie excited)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
a_world_of_fantasy_by_wilvarin_liadon
Source: http://wilvarin-liadon.deviantart.com/art/A-world-of-fantasy-694355941

Fandom awake! I don't know what you're here for, but for me it's the art! And the ponies, ponies and art, and the whole triumph over adversity thing, but art keeps me going. So, ahoy, art event ahead and only five days from now!

Every year, since 2011, Equestria Daily has had this 30 day art challenge. Ponies plus art equals win! I suck at drawing and if I ever want to not suck, I have to draw, but I'm a bad hamster, I only spin that wheel if there's a deadline. So every year I do the art challenge. This year it starts on July 29th. The submission form for your oeuvres d'art will be here. It's the same dance as with the Ponies Around the World photo thing. You can do your art in any medium you want, including 3D. So, Plasticine, mashed potatoes, macrame, Source Film Maker, all good. Visual puns are a plus. Not acceptable: using a pony generator tool, like the General Zoi Pony Creator. Once submitted, your work automatically appears in this gallery here. Neither of those links work today but they will by July 29th.

Five days! These things always start with the warm-up challenge: 'Draw a Pony Standing'. 2B pencil or not 2B pencil, that is the question.

You know, I have yet to see anyone submit a stick-figure pony made with real sticks, and there have been several stick figure ponies.

DEW: A little bit bunny

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:56 pm
fanspired: (Default)
[personal profile] fanspired posting in [community profile] spn_bigpretzel
Genre: General
Rating: G
Characters: Dean, Sam
Spoilers/Warning: None
Word Count: 116
Disclaimer: I write for love only. Characters belong to Kripke/CW
A/N: written for the DEW challenge, Sam + news/newsflash/news reader, and the SPN100 prompt, cross.



“. . . third bizarre death at Hefner’s Playboy Mansion . . .”

Sam paused his research to absorb the latest details from CNN.

“Anything?” Dean asked.

“Yes, the victims all connect to a model who died in the seventies. Could be a spirit. But how would we get in there?”

“You could pass as a model.”

Sam sighed, mildly aggravated, but Dean needed to work harder.

“You’d look real sexy in a bikini.”

Dean.”

“With floppy ears, and the tail, you’d be smokin’!”

Sam’s annoyance mounted, seeing where this was going. “Don’t!” he warned.

“Then you’d be – ”

“Don’t say it.”

“You know you want me to.”

No!”

Dean grinned triumphantly. “A hot, cross bunny!”


.

Cats update

Jul. 23rd, 2017 03:33 am
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
[personal profile] vass
He's being a terrible Dory again. (Sung to the tune of 'I'm telling a terrible story' from The Pirates of Penzance.) This time his evidence exculpatory is that I won't let him use the indoor swimming pool. (No, not the sink. And I don't have a bathtub.)

So he learned to turn the lever sort of door handles and also swing on them in such a way that he can open an outward opening door from the outside. I am pondering technological solutions. I hear there's a form of child lock that works on cats. Until then I'm leaving the lid down and putting a barrier in front of the door, but I expect that won't hold him for long.

They're All Over Planet Blue

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

Grainbee2017

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

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

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

Po-neighs a Round the Whorled

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:38 am
frith: Bust of white pegacorn with flowing multi-colour mane and closed eyes (FIM Celestia stamp)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
jewel_in_the_sky_ponies_around_the_world_by_fluttershyhiker
Source: Jewel in the Sky by ElementalFX AKA Fluttershyhiker.

What time is it? Ponies Around the World time. Adventr!

It's easy. Take picture of pony toy/drawing/shirt/whatever near something recognizable in your neighbourhood. (♪ ♫ A landmark is something in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neigh-bor-hood. Would. You be. My neighbor? ♫ ♬ ♩) Upload to a working online gallery (not Photobucket, ha ha ha ha, ha. humph). Snag the URL to a copy of your picture that is less than 2,000 pixels wide or high. If that's complicated, just resize it to less than 2,000 pixels on the longest side on your computer before uploading it to a gallery. Now go here and fill in the fields.

lyra_at_big_ben_london_by_cabraloca
Source: Lyra at Big Ben, London by Cabraloca.

First field: link to your image on the web, the URL has gotta end in .jpg, .png or .gif or it's no good.
Next field: link to the blog where you get all chatty about your picture. I just link to the gallery where my pictures are. I think you can leave this blank.
Next: Give your picture a name.
Next: "your name". Ha ha ha. Use an online name or make something up.
Email: Make something up but put an @ in it. I use Flickr.com as a domain. Works every time.
Next: Gallery. Right. I link to my Dreamwidth blog. Why not? I think you can leave this blank too.
Next: La description. Be descriptive. Tell us about the context or something. You gots a 1,000 character limit. It's better than Twitter.
And then, dance the Captcha-cha-cha, press submit, et voilà. Enfin terminé. Unless you want to do it again for four more pictures. You totally could. You have 24 hours left. Go go go!

Draw_Me_Like_One_Of_Your_French_Girls_by_adlynh
Source: Draw me like one of your french girls by Adlynh

All the pictures end up here. I know this because I'm older than dirt and I've seen stuff. Go take a look!
Look, I did it! What do I win? )

Spoonie-Extrovert Life

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:22 pm
chrysilla: HUGS! (HUGS!)
[personal profile] chrysilla
Recently, ran my CtD/KND tabletop game for the first time in month, yay! Read more... ) And Sunday I didn't crash out at all! I was a bit brain-scattered and foggy as per usual, but I got chores done and started a couple new embroidery projects, w00t. Last time I ran game was February (I think?) and the day after was a terrible crash (I blame EBV). Another sign that things might be turning around :-)


Overall, energy levels have been very unpredictable. Health Stuff )

The ongoing, overall plan for summer is that if I can't do the creative work I really want (outside of embroidery on the circ desk in the summmer-slow library), I'm going to try and get out more and socialize, b/c that's how Extroverts recharge their spoons. Also, having a pile of recent memories where I'm out with friends having fun would be nice to help stave off darker moments of moping. A new deity has recently popped up in my life that seem to want to help with that, and she's there in a guardian aspect as well, so I think this will come together. If this all helps me pop back into writing sooner, great, but otherwise I need to be OK with waiting for fall.

Tho there's not really a lot of specific social events going on this week, which is a bummer. And I'm a bit strapped for cash again (still working on taming my grocery spending, wth). Wish I hadn't been too sick/recovering to go out last week, tho saving my spoons for game was definitely the best idea. There's a few things I could go see in a pinch, like improv or a movie or blues dancing, tho cash flow is still an issue. I may just stay in and watch tv while working on costume-alterations/fixes for the upcoming cons. Would also like to attempt the Stitch puppet this week/end. Eeek. I has worries.

Then this weekend the 'rents are coming in for brunch sometime, and there's some "nerdswap" events I'm curious about, but I don't really want more stuff. Tho you never know, I might find items I can shellack and put in the garden, etc. I'll see what random items I have that I haven't purged yet, mebbe go thru my bookshelf.

Might bug my local friend to borrow his GoT dvds, b/c I think its just time to finally watch that. Still worried about wanting to make all-teh-costumes, but what I'm *hoping* is that there will be costumes that help with stash busting. And at this point I think my willpower (or disgust) is strong enough that any temptations outside of the stash can be pinned until next year.

I also started watching two new-to-me shows the other week (gasp) which is actually a big deal for me. Supernatural and Black Sails. There is a level of fatigue where you're too tired to watch new TV shows, so def another good sign. This is what I point to when ppl say "maybe you're just getting old-tired" b/c being unable to watch tv or read a book is definitely not just "getting old" :-P

<3 Chrysilla

PS, going to try and post more in my Dreamwidth. B/c some meanderings are just too long for fb, y'know? Which is how this got here in the first place.

DEW: Reverie

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:47 pm
fanspired: (Happy Sam & Dean)
[personal profile] fanspired posting in [community profile] spn_bigpretzel
Genre: General
Rating: G
Characters: Impala
Spoilers/Warning: None
Word Count: 138
Disclaimer: I write for love only. Characters belong to Kripke/CW
A/N: written for the DEW challenge, Impala + dreams, and the SPN100 prompt, marble.




I get bored in the bunker. Though I’m safe here from theft and rust, I was happier when I was free to feel wind and rain, see life around me, always changing. Here nothing changes; nothing new to see. I dream of the highway, traveling the country again.

Sometimes I dream of other countries. Dean hates to fly and he’d never trust me to a storage hold, but how good it would be to drive the unfettered German autobahn, or the spaghetti asphalt of the Italian Alps. They call it the old world. They say Europe has churches a thousand years old. How strange! They talk of great art, and sculpted statues so fine they seem alive.

Still, statues are only hard, cold marble. I have my boys – here they come – walking, breathing art in warm, living flesh.

.

Derpy's Cloud Mail

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:52 pm
frith: Grey pegasus with yellow mane on black cloud (FIM Derpy cloud)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot
derpy_s_cloud_mail_by_mysticalpha
Source: http://mysticalpha.deviantart.com/art/Derpy-s-Cloud-Mail-570946443

I'm still trying to get through this Harl-Equine romance novel. The Life and Times of a Winning Pony by Chengar Qordath. I keep finding things I'd rather do, like take another nap. After 400 pages it's still focused on the angst of being so incredibly good at "banging" that three mares are bickering over who gets exclusive rights to sexy Cloudkicker. She's the narrator and mane character and I have no sympathy for her. She's the expert on everything who lectures you constantly from the pinnacle of her vast experience. Sex between mares is "banging" and apparently very physical. At no point do I get the impression that Cloudkicker is female. I see her as a know-it-all white male telling all the boys what it's like to get laid by all the chicks while keeping it all so vague that the author teaches you absolutely nothing. A lot like sex ed in school. The book is one drawn out morality play on the downside of being a swinger.

Things that continue to annoy me: male voice, getting lectured, zero sexual mechanics, Mary Sue levels of adoration and erotic attraction, the military as the pinnacle of proper pony society and the blinding clarity of the message that one-night stands are fun but empty -- for a wholesome, good, fulfilling life, get hitched. I still have four hundred more pages to find out if it ends the way I expect it to, in a menage a quatre with a banging orgy every night. Four mares, banging what? Heads? We'll never know.

Do Potterheads write equally clueless Snarry fics? No, I don't want to read any Snarry porn. I'm only reading this book because I bought it and it's MLP.

Busy day!

Jul. 13th, 2017 12:20 am
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Morning: feeding cat, finishing car registration.
Lunch: driving to Kirkland.
Afternoon: orientation for temp stuff.
Dinner: driving back, locating closed toe shoes and black pants.
Evening: catching up with Purple, sharing leftovers and various video content with partner.
Night: curled up happily.

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poedaughter7: Battle Angel with hand. (Default)
poedaughter7

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