hello

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 22:52
[personal profile] tarobun posting in [community profile] addme

NAME: tarobun
AGE: Twenty-three (ee-ee-ee-ee, in the tune of Taylor Swift's "Twenty-two").
ABOUT ME: Software developer in the Silicon Valley, who is surprised and happy at her occupation but struggles with managing the normal day-to-day of adult life. I live with my mom and sister in a Chinatown basement and used to play Neopets a lot as a kid.
ADJECTIVES: dysfunctional, verbose, ruminative, reserved/introverted, stoic. Wow, wish I could think of some more positive ones!
INTERESTS & HOBBIES: Ice skating, reading sci-fi/fantasy, anime/manga (particularly josei manga), arts + crafts (crochet, watercolor paints), roller skating, visual novels, watching Let's Play videos, old jrpgs and indie games, Neopets dailies
I don't actually engage in most of my hobbies that often these days, aside from ice skating and possibly rollerskating. :( What can I say, I'm not such a motivated person... Lately, I've been watching some tv shows: GoT, Insecure, Bojack Horseman, and Rick and Morty.
LOOKING FOR: Random musings, journals whose authors have similar interests
WHAT I'LL JOURNAL ABOUT:
  • Long, ruminative posts which may exhibit anxiety or depression but hopefully some that just talk about what's been going on in my life.
  • References to coding, software engineering, and the Silicon Valley because it's a part of my life.
  • Some short, mundane updates about my current status.
  • Dating, whenever that happens.*
  • Maybe some posts discussing media or literature I've been consuming (books, anime, manga, tv shows, movies).
  • I might write about politics or culture if there's something I need to debrief about.**

POSTING FREQUENCY: Probably not that frequent -- I find it hard to manage my time and therefore find it hard to find time to write lengthy, unwieldy posts. But when they come, they might be long to make up for it! ;)
CONFESSION: I've never gotten a tattoo and don't have any piercings***, BUT I secretly want to get a cartilage piercing and double lobe piercing. You know, so I can connect a chain from my helix to my lobe**** :D and just put some studs in my lobe in the other ear.
I'd also love to get a tattoo, only I can't think of any image of enough significance or appeal to me that I'd want to put it on my body. :( And I don't want to just have a random tattoo for the sake of having a tattoo.
It's a confession because I have a very straight-laced appearance to-date, by the way.
OTHER: If you can't tell, I'm a fan of footnotes.

* I don't go on dates often.
** I'm a feminist and believe in social justice (natural consequence of attending a small liberal-artsy women's college).
*** The standard lobe piercings I got at 8 healed up after I left them alone when they got infected.
**** But I won't actually do this because I hear cartilage is a pain to pierce due to slow healing, and I hate fuss.

Links:
Me right now, at 23 - second post, example of rambling you can expect
For more examples, just read my latest posts.. I haven't made them private (so far) :D

the day the spider ate the sun

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 23:19
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

I was in Oregon, in the totality zone, for the eclipse; this is more or less my trip report, written as fiction in the Fear of Spiders/Overwatch universe. The eclipse really was indescribable - you have to be there - but this is my best attempt to relate what I saw and how I felt.

All the locations are real world locations, accurately described, and specifically relate how I got down to Shiniko, Oregon for the totality, and back, after crossing the Oregon border from the north. All of Venom's and Widowmaker's lines are basically my commentary while being the one driving... inappropriately quickly... with my road trip crew down a surprisingly empty Highway 216.

[AO3 link]


"I loved it," said the Widowmaker, her voice fluid, "when the spider ate the sun. Slowly dimming light, then sunset all around, in all directions, and then - gone, but for the corona. Exquisite."

"That was wizard!" agreed Venom, speeding along Highway 216 west from Highway 97 to Highway 197 in the Oregon high desert. "The sky went violet! Blue, dark, rich, with extra violet, somehow. The pictures always made it look black, but it wasn't! So intense!"

"I think that was partly ultraviolet, from the corona," suggested the elder assassin, as the old-style automobile - a Spider, appropriately enough - barrelled down the road into the canyon, chasing the water. The speed limit sign said 55kph. She hit it at 120. "The light had such intoxicating depth."

"Felt like time just stopped! And I know from time." She giggled at little at herself, and shook her head. "Pictures just can't tell the story, can they?" said Lena.

"Not at all. One cannot even describe it, one must experience it. The changes in the air, the blue and violet glow, the heat vanishing with the sun..."

"And then, and then, the last bit of the sun goes out, and you look past the glasses, and - wow! The sun is, like, whole different star! And the sky is a different sky! It was like - it was like bein' in space, like being on a whole 'nother world!"

"The black hole sun, the streaming flares of fusing hydrogen writhing in the sky, the glowing colours - I never imagined the colours would be so intense." She sighed, wistfully. "I do not think my cameras captured the violet, only the blue."

The tires screeched at the first downhill hairpin turn. The road carried with it no forgiveness, no margin - cliff wall to one side, sheer drop to the other. A few guardrails buffered against the worst of the turns, or, at least, the first couple, and then not the next, and not the one after that. The Spider held the road, if barely, as the Talon assassins drifted in their vehicle, across the road, into the opposite-direction lane.

"I remind you," said Amélie, "despite having applied to the Commonwealth, this country is still right-hand driving."

"Yeh, yeh. Curve speed signs are for wankers."

Widowmaker smirked. "That one, if anything, seemed overly permissive."

The junior assassin slowed the vehicle, but not much, and sped it back up at every opportunity. "Nobody's usin' the other lane, I might as well."

It was true. Even with the tens of thousands of tourists flooding back from the zone of totality, Highway 216 sat empty of traffic, out in the high grassy desert, barreling down towards the Deschutes River, splashing and rushing at the very bottom.

"Even so," said the spider, "this road does not seem very forgiving."

Venom chuckled, and hit the accelerator again. "Feeling nervous, love?"

"Feeling impressed that the Cascadians do not seem to care about guard rails, perhaps." The car's right mirror - still just within its lane - came within a few centimetres of the cliff wall. "Or margins for error." She looked out over the cliff the road hugged. "This countryside - it is almost painfully beautiful."

Off to the left, a series of canyons, or one long, split canyon, almost cartoonish in perfection, stepped down towards the water, a mix of steep rocky slopes and bare basalt column cliffs, volcanic, spotted with the occasional first-coloniser plants, mostly gold, some auburn, some ash, and, almost inexplicably, splashes of dark, vivid green, the green becoming dominant the further down towards the river, but really, anywhere water might run or pool or even be slowed down, even a bit, for the thirsty plants to grab it up.

"Whole bleedin' country's a bunch of picture postcards, innit?"

"Truly."

"Glad they had the sense not to muss up the view with fences." Venom floored the antique Sypder into the next hairpin curve, not quite fishtailing, not quite sliding away and to oblivion. "I can't believe we're the only ones on this road. Look at what they're missing!"

"It's not the eclipse, but it is fascinating. Perhaps the tourists are afraid of the heights," said the spider.

"You mean, it's just us 'cause they're too scared?"

"And therefore, do not deserve to see this."

"Fair cop," said the younger assassin. "Woah!" she said, surprised by the severity of yet another hairpin. "That was a tight one!"

"Be careful, we cannot crash this vehicle here - we might start a fire."

"Blimey, that'd be a right cock-up," the junior assassin replied in all sincerity. "They have fires all summer already, don't they?"

"It seems so," the senior assassin said, gesturing back towards a burnt out patch they'd driven by, some 30km before.

"Well, good thing we've got that car park all lined up."

"Indeed. Just be sure not to hit the river. Fish and gasoline do not mix."

"Easy peasy. Reach 'round, pull the body forward, will ya?"

"Certainly."

She pulled the middle-aged man forward, from the - well, it wasn't really the boot, not one worthy of the name, not in an F430 - and propped him up against the centre console, between their individual seats.

The Ferrari flew over the first river bridge, as Venom let the engine really open up. "May as well go out in a blaze of glory, y'big ugly monster," she said, made the final turn at a desperately dangerous 220kph. "Good handling, I'll give you that. Right! Whenever you're ready, love..."

"Grab hold, cherie, and ready your grapple," the Widowmaker said, grabbing her lover and launching the two of them out of the automobile. Venom kicked the wheel hard to the right, and the Spider flipped over, briefly flying, then bouncing down the road, hitting once, twice, a third time, and skidding into a gravel parking lot before bursting into flame. Widowmaker's chain retracted, pulling the two Talon agents high into the air, and just short of apogee, Venom launched her chain, and up they went again, a second arc, and again, at apogee, Widowmaker's grapple made the top of the butte, where their ship sat, concealed, and waiting.

From atop their high vantage point, they could see the local wardens rushing forward with emergency fire suppression, the wreckage of the convertible already burning itself out, the body of Roger Müller - well-known multi-millionaire playboy and less-well-known deep financier of ultra-nationalist media and neofascist politicians - already well-crisped. His remains would show a blood alcohol content well above 0.17, over twice the legal limit, but entirely in character.

"And that's why y'don't drive pissed." Venom said to her partner, cheerfully.

"That was magnificent."

"Such a shame when people overindulge, innit, love?"

Widowmaker spun on her lover, pulling her abruptly, roughly, against her own body, eyes wide and open. "Yes. Let's balance it by overindulging ourselves."

Venom shuddered with quick arousal. "Fast cars and fast kills? I like the way you think, sweet. But let's move the..."

"Now."

"So now I'm the sensible unf " - she said, as Widowmaker bit into her neck - "...we can't stay here, love. Somewhere else. The way we went south. Nobody's on that road, either."

"Fine. Bakeoven, then. How quickly can you fly us back?"

"You just saw how quick I got us here in an antique, didn't ya?"

"Point made. Go."

LoT ablism

2017-Aug-23, Wednesday 04:46
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
You know what bugs me?
... it's nearly five in the morning and I haven't slept, many things bug me...

but I was watching Legends of tomorrow
the episode in season one in the asylum
in the 1950s
and they explicitly say it's a bad era to be black, or queer, or a woman
but they don't say word one about mental health.

Read more... )




Now the sky is making interesting loud noises.

So, sleep maybe for later.

Eh, internet forever.

(no subject)

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 21:32
meganbmoore: (when princesses grow fangs)
[personal profile] meganbmoore posting in [community profile] fandom_icons
 57 x Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny
42 x Painted Skin: The Resurrection
63 x Memories of the Sword


@ my DW

Instagram: August 22, 2017 at 06:44PM

2017-Aug-23, Wednesday 01:44
momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)
[personal profile] momijizukamori
Sharak is just about ready for Dragon*Con! Forgive my appalling calligraphy skills. #saiyuki #sharaksanzo #cosplay

journaling in august

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 18:26
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Good things today, yesterday, this past weekend:

Basically the whole camping trip. Though not the getting ready for it, which was a Thing.

Especially the ocean. Ocean!!!

The gift of time, and listening, and care.

...

Solar eclipse!!! Eclipse glasses in the mail, not a day too late. Early grumpy wake-up. Dawn while driving dark winding roads; morning by a wild river. Stopping at a camp store on a highway deep in the woods. Rambling around, looking at the sun through trees, judging angles. A book, a fern meadow, a cup of hot coffee, a path by a pond, a return just in time. Unexpected friends with a telescope!

An orange bitten circle, crescent, sliver, shrinking.

Ripples of auroral light along the road. Dusk over the pine trees, and a planet shining in twilight blue. A blazing ring around the dark circle, and light expanding to impossible brightness. The sun revealed again.

Seeing friends; visiting their farm; horses, chickens, dogs, alpacas!!!

A tuft of alpaca wool. A handful of blackberries. Cold water given in hospitality.

...

Getting some chores done. Fine sandpaper, good work gloves, and other tools. Cookies.

A favorite sweater.

Uncertainty. It may be uncomfortable, but it is a gift.

(I'm going Out East to a funeral, with S, and when I come back it'll be the new school year at work, and there's so much I was going to get done that I haven't, and so many experiences I've had that I would not have traded away. I'm not feeling ready, but I'm not totally lost either, I think...I have some hope, and some foundations to build on, and some goals, and some good reassuring things; what I don't have is clarity. I guess I'll muddle on ahead.)

...

And oh, the light...
[syndicated profile] book_view_cafe_feed

Posted by Deborah J. Ross

Nevertheless, She Persisted, ed. Mindy KlaskyBack in the 1990s, when themed anthologies were all the rage, I heard about one that was right up my alley and open to submission: Ancient Enchantresses, to be edited by Kathleen M. Massie-Ferch and Martin H. Greenberg for DAW. The editors wanted historical fantasy featuring strong women characters and magic, as is clear from the title. As I cast about for a subject, I found myself more and more – excuse the pun – disenchanted with Western European historical characters. It seemed to me that the women of interest had been portrayed more than frequently enough, and I had little interest in Celtic mythology. When I lamented my lack of inspiration to a friend – not a fantasy writer, but the director of a pre-school at a Jewish community center – she suggested I take a look at Written Out of History: Our Jewish Foremothers, by Sondra Henry and Emily Taitz (3rd ed, Biblio Press, 1988). Posthaste, I ordered a copy of the book and then pored through it. The chapters were short, more summations than in-depth histories. Although quite a few of them piqued my interest, only one suggested a story, that of Dona Gracia Nasi. The section began:

 

Unlike Benvenida Abrabanel, Beatrice de Luna belonged to a family that had chosen to become Marranos [unwilling converts to Catholicism – also known as conversos] so that they could remain in their home in Portugal. They had a successful business and a rich life. Beatrice was born in 1510, thirteen years after the expulsion of all practicing Portuguese Jews. Those remaining in Portugal worked hard to hide any Jewish allegiance from the world…

I devoured the section, all four pages of it, from Beatrice inheriting her husband’s share of an immense international commodities business to her flight from one country after another, the Inquisition hot on her heels, to her imprisonment in Venice, her transformation into Dona Gracia Nasi (her childhood Jewish name), to her eventually settling in Turkey at the invitation of the Sultan. But all this was so abbreviated as to be tantalizing without deep substance.

In the footnotes, however, I discovered that historian Cecil Roth had written an entire book about Gracia, The House of Nasi: Dona Gracia (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1947). Although the book was out of print, I was able to borrow a copy from a local university library. Within those scholarly pages, I discovered a story as dramatic, tragic, and inspiring as anything out of Hollywood or New York.

I could have tried to tell Gracia’s entire story, but that would have meant either another abridged version or an extensive tome. I decided, therefore, to focus on a shorter period of her life: the flight from Antwerp (when Queen Marie of Burgundy, Regent of the Low Countries and sister to Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, schemed to marry off Gracia’s young daughter to one of her courtiers) to Venice. I’d visited Venice briefly during the time I lived in France (1991) and had vivid memories of the shadows under the bridges over the canals, the ancient plazas and towers, and the omnipresence of the sea. I wandered through the original ghetto, Il Ghetto, the old foundry district. I cut out an image from a tourist brochure of a person in the traditional Mardi Gras costume called bauta (including a white mask, tricorne hat, and a black tabarro, a short cloak) and pinned it on my bulletin board, hoping to find a story that would capture the sense of brooding menace. (As an aside, I’m not comfortable with clowns, either.) Armed with image, memory, and scholarly text, I embarked upon the tale.

“Unmasking the Ancient Light” is a tribute to the perseverance of a woman under extraordinary reversals and dangers. Life was perilous for European Jews in the Renaissance, as it had been in centuries earlier. Jews had been expelled from (among others) England (1290), France (1182, 1306, 1321, 1394), Spain (1492), and Portugal (1497). The series of expulsions forced Jewish communities to find safe (or safer) havens, in the Netherlands, Venice, and Islamic countries, such as the Ottoman Empire. They developed international systems of commerce and banking, as well as close familial and communities ties. Gracia’s family was no exception. From Spain (“convert, leave, or die!”) they relocated to Portugal, then to Antwerp, and so forth. While in Italy, Gracia dropped the pretense of a converso and began finding ways to support her fellow exiles, whether lending material aid to individuals to becoming a patron of the arts to creating a printing house to publish Jewish texts in Hebrew and also Spanish (the Ferrera Bible) for those unable to read the ancient languages.

The list of Gracia’s accomplishments could easily fill the word count of a piece of short fiction, but I wanted her story to be more than a list of the amazing things she had done. I wanted to capture the spirit of the woman – if not historically accurate, as is always the challenge with fantasy – but one that would speak to the hearts of readers as Gracia had spoken across the centuries to me. I focused, then, on her struggle to survive the political intrigues and animosities of her time while preserving and nourishing the spirit of her people. The magic, as it were. Here I found a second inspiration in various treatments of the feminine aspect of the divine and the equivalence of the Shekhinah, sometime called the Indwelling Spirit, with light, without getting too dogmatic or theological.

As a final note, since I dutifully returned Cecil Roth’s book to the university library, my husband presented me with a copy of The Woman Who Defied Kings: The Life and Times of Dona Gracia Nasi, A Jewish Leader During the Renaissance (Andree Aelion Brooks, Paragon House, 2002). If you want to know more about her, I recommend this highly accessible book (which has a ton of footnotes, for the historians among you).

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Posted by News Editor

The Way You Look Tonight coverThe Way You Look Tonight
Harmony Springs 3
by Mindy Klasky

A May-December romance fans flames in a small town…

At the ripe old age of twenty-six, Anne Barton is content to live with her mother in her cozy childhood home, surrounded by stuffed animals and girlish dreams. But the owner of the Orchard Diner has a secret: when she was twelve she caused a horrific fire that brutally scarred her best friend.

Forty-four-year-old firefighter Will O’Hara knows he should campaign for the job of Harmony Springs Fire Chief. Doing so, though, would force him to overcome his blinding fear of public speaking.

When a charity stunt pits Anne against Will in the small town’s Mayor for a Day election, both candidates are pushed far outside their comfort zones. Anne must confront the crush she’s had on Will since the fireman rescued her from her nightmare inferno. And Will battles his own burning attraction, knowing Anne is young enough to be his daughter. If they keep playing with fire, someone is sure to get burned.

Read a sample online

Buy The Way You Look Tonight at BVC Ebookstore

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eclipse, Ethiopian

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 15:02
sistawendy: (smoldering windblown Merc alley)
[personal profile] sistawendy
Saw the eclipse yesterday using a pinhole camera - two pieces of poster board, one with aluminum foil taped to a hole and duly pierced - instead of glasses. It's too bad m'boy wasn't around; I'll have to show him how the pinhole camera works later. (The neighbor girl was disappointed that I didn't have any film in it.) Teachable moments R us. Observations:
  1. The temperature drop is for real, and it caught me unprepared. My naked toes didn't finish thawing out until I got to work. Yeah, I was only ten meters from my front door, but I didn't want to miss any of it.
  2. When the sun is 92% covered as it was in Seattle, it's still pretty bright. Had it not been for the camera I wouldn't have guessed that we'd had more than maybe 50% coverage.
  3. It got super quiet. I could hear construction work going on nearby before the eclipse, but it stopped. Good for the construction workers!
  4. It all took longer than I expected.
  5. I figured the post-eclipse commute was going to be terrible, but neau, it was actually much less crowded and faster than average.
I'm still not sure whether it's too bad that the Wendling didn't want to go down to Oregon to see the totality. On the one hand, we missed an adventure. On the other, he's kind of a whiny-ass punk when traffic happens, and it sure did, according to several of my friends. Also, no cellular data, no SMS, etc., which would not have been good for his mood. He ordered eclipse glasses from Amazon and had them shipped to my place. He made a special trip to pick them up on Sunday, so at least he was ready, wherever he watched it from.
Ethiopian eetz at short notice with Funny Lady at Queen of Sheba on the Hill. That place is better than I remember; maybe it's changed hands since I was last there. And I more-than-kind-of love Funny Lady for not getting bent out of shape about my last minute suggestions. After all, I love hers too.

She proposes the following theorem: in the long run, S ∩ L = ∅ where S is the set of people you want to have sex with, and L is the set of people you can live with, ∀ you. I think this theorem is false, not least because I really want to believe it's false. Surely I know some counterexamples even if I'm not among them.

Amsterdam – Canal Barge & Rijks

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 22:36
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
On the previously mentioned trip to Amsterdam, the bloke and I stayed on a canal barge in the Westerdok.

This was the much bigger cousin of the holiday barges that pootle up and down our Worcestershire canal. The main bulk of the hull served as the home of the bloke who ran the B&B. We were in the wheelhouse, overlooking the canal. The docks seem to serve as pretty much permanent moorings for the barges in this area. Each one had a small garden, and there was even a floating children’s play area.

It was surprisingly quiet given that the location is a mere 15 minute walk from Centraal Station. We could hear a distant roar of traffic, but mostly we heard the hangry cheeping of two adolescent coots and the occasional quack of a duck. We also found a great crested grebe nesting a few boats down. It was definitely brooding, as we never saw the nest unoccupied.

Urban great crested grebe nest
The nest itself was a rather wonderful construction, being a mix of urban rubbish and plant detritus, with a few hollyhocks artfully arranged around the edges. The grebe had two female mallard bodyguards, who immediately came to circle the nest at a careful distance, giving me the side-eye when I hopped down on to the dock from the pavement to take photos.

The barge proprietor tiptoed in every morning to leave us breakfast on the table next to the wheelhouse. It included a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, muesli, yoghurt, and hardboiled eggs nested in knitted cosies. Much as I wanted to sleep in, the prospect of getting that into my belly when I heard his footsteps got me out of bed pretty early both mornings. We received so much food at breakfast that we were able to make sandwiches from the bread and cheese to squirrel away for later. We ate these in the Vondelpark on the first day, and for supper on the second after the lunch at Rijks.

Apart from the sheer pleasure of walking around Amsterdam, we also indulged in a trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant for a very belated birthday treat for me. We spent three and a half hours eating lunch at Rijks, which is next to the Rijksmuseum. The bloke had mentioned that it was my birthday when he made the booking. As a result, in addition to our pudding, I got a white chocolate candle with sorbet and a little message inside. We sampled both white and red wines, all by Dutch winemakers “from everywhere in the world” (e.g. New Zealand and South Africa).

Photos from Rijks behind the cut.

+++ )

(no subject)

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 14:46
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Yesterday afternoon I was in a weird mood--I thought I was going over to [personal profile] goshawk's house for an hour or so to cuddle with her cat and do some writing, but I ended up wanting to be alone to think and brood and sleep, and ended up skipping dinner and staying until ten PM. The cat was glad, since he's lonely without his human, but I'm still not quite sure what's up with me. Then I went home and ranted about the adults involved in the Indigo Children idea, which was very soothing.

I nailed today's job interview, or else I've never nailed anything in my life. I want the position desperately. But they said they'd take "a few weeks" to decide. Siiigh.

On the upside, Mom was able to afford to pay someone to come in and drywall my kitchen and bathroom. So yes, everything there is now covered in drywall dust, but once I clean it off I get to paint and make things look actually inhabited.

(no subject)

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 20:08
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Today I have mostly been grumpy
which is only because the calendar is about to do a thing
and shall wear off soon.

I'm almost sure.

Today was also Cleaner Day, and everything is indeed Cleaner, except I still need to buy a new plugboard so I haven't done the vacuum cleaning.
I did run the dishwasher and do three loads of laundry, the last one drying right now, so I reckon I'm still ahead on points.

Mum also phoned to see if I wanted to go out. Because she had forgot it was Cleaner Day. And also imagined that I would want to go out on zero notice, because that sounded me like.

Grumpy.

I'm super bored and need to make a Plan, one with progress points and so forth. Something measurable.

I mean the plan where I make the house nicer has progressed steadily, but now I find I feel like I haven't done anything, so I need to figure out what would count and, I don't know, collect XP instead of gold, maybe.

Eh, it's a good time of year for starting things.

Shall try and get a reading list and do a studying, some bit of history maybe.

Or, just read through the half shelf I already got, but somehow that's never the most appealing.

I'll figure something out.

Fig and Ibid

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 14:40
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Are surrounded by cats used to other cats and thus not necessarily alarmed to see new ones. Ibid is content to sniff noses with the bolder of his new housemates, whereas I think Fig is affronted by their lack of timidity.

I still have not seen the orange kitten I was warned could be an issue. It's afraid of people but likes to tussle with older cats. I expect Ibid will like this and Fig will not.
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy posting in [community profile] spoonlessactivists
Link: Depends on party
Location: Anywhere in the world if you're a UK citizen
Deadline: Varies, but there will be some this autumn
Time estimate: 15 minutes
Requirements: money / mental / personal information / decision-making
Anything else: It may be a while until the next general election, but local elections can make a difference to people's lives. Joining an imperfect party and campaigning for change from within is usually easier and more effective than starting a new party from scratch or trying to get an independent elected. Being a member for a few months before the election gives you opportunities to help influence things when it comes, whether that's by voting within the party for a particular person to be the party candidate for your area, putting forward or voting on topics for policy discussions and campaigns, or by getting information about ways to volunteer and increase voter turnout.

Trapped in the wrong trouser-leg of time

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 13:10
[syndicated profile] charlie_stross_diary_feed

So it's time I faced facts: I've been writing this blog for seventeen years and it is getting bloody difficult to come up with stuff to say. (At least, right now.)

My usual book launch promo stuff last month was derailed totally by family circumstances (that won't recur). I really don't feel like kvetching about politics, either the ongoing UK-specific slow-motion train wreck that is Brexit, or the equally bizarre theatre of the absurd and evil that is the current incumbent of the White House. The global neo-nazi resurgence might be another angle, but I'm not the ideal person to write a "why Nazis are bad, 101" for folks who haven't already got the message—I'm not patient enough and the subject strikes much too close to home for comfort. (I grew up attending a synagogue with older members who had numbers tattooed on their arms; I'm pretty sure that if I lived in the US right now then I'd be a gun owner by now, and stockpiling ammunition and escape plans.)

These are dangerous times in the anglophone lands, and worse is coming; the UK seems to be rushing headlong towards a private debt crisis (largely due to nearly a decade of misguided austerity policies, but with insane ramping of student loan debt on top) and the economic uncertainty induced by the Brexit-triggered recession we're entering isn't helping ... and the Tangerine Shitgibbon in Chief seems to have decided that, in comparison with a short victorious war with North Korea, sending the US army back into Afghanistan is a vote-winner.

Against such news headlines I don't much feel like prognosticating about the near future right now.

I'd like to be able to take comfort by speculating about how things might have turned out differently in another time-line, but that's not so good either. Imagine the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential election results were flipped: where would we be now?

Let's tackle the UK first. David Cameron would still in all probability be Prime Minister, Theresa May would still be Home Secretary, and Boris Johnson would still be a joke. I see no way the UK wouldn't have been hit by several terrorist attacks—Manchester, London Bridge, the same sorry litany—so the likely political response from Dave and Theresa would be the same (kiss your civil rights goodybye, oh, and we're going to censor the internet while we're about it). Osborne would still be Chancellor, so a continuation of his austerity program would be on-going, albeit with an economy not sinking into recession and a currency that isn't crashing to a 30 year low. So it'd all be fucking depressing for those of us on the "let's not starve poor people to death" left, but at least it'd be a familiar kind of depressing instead of an "oh god and by god I mean Cthulhu why are they flooring the accelerator towards that cliff edge?" depressing.

In the USA, let's suppose Hilary Clinton took the Electoral College—just—but the House and Senate seats landed the same way. By now we would for a certainty have a Kenneth Starr 2.0 investigating the Clinton White House on some pretext or other ("but her emails!" would be a good start, even if "Benghazi!" flopped), while a drunk and angry Donald Trump would be tweeting up a storm about how he was robbed and threatening to sue Crooked Hilary in the Supreme Court over those rigged votes she bought from (... insert nonsensical Trumpian rant here). There would probably be deadlock between the executive branch and legislature over Clinton's choice of a new Supreme Court justice, but the exploding clown car attempts at repealing the ACA would have broken down immediately on the inconvenient problem of a Democrat president. The US government would have competent civil service leadership in place, mostly inherited from the Obama administration. There'd be none of the chaotic misrule we've seen this year. But there would still be angst and drama and threats of impeachment, and a President tempted to use foreign military adventurism as a tool of distraction ... and unlike Trump, this alternate-45th POTUS would know exactly how to make that happen. I'm calling it for a US/Russian clash in Syrian airspace, or a disastrous North Korean miscalculation. (What doesn't happen is Clinton going after Iran: she was part of the team that brokered the deal. It's probably too early for a presidential visit and a formal apology for Operation AJAX, at least unless she makes it into a second term, but at least that particular pot would be off the boil.) And the neo-Nazis would still be rebranding themselves as the alt-right and getting their fangs into pop culture via social media and the Republican party via Breitbart Media and Fox.

Tentative diagnosis: we're in a deviant time-line, careering towards a catastrophe. But the time-line we branched off between last June and November held all the seeds of our current doom and we'd have ended up here sooner or later. The root cause is the breakdown of the beige dictatorship at a point where wholly new and frightening tools of propaganda have become available and the social media many people trust are themselves in thrall to toxic agendas. The progressive opposition is chaotic and scattered and racist rabble-rousers have pulled their jack boots on and gotten marching, and they seem to have a first-mover advantage (if only because most of our mass media is owned by chancreous cockstains like Rupert Murdoch).

Interesting Links for 22-08-2017

2017-Aug-22, Tuesday 12:00

Lesson #3273 - Science

2017-Aug-21, Monday 10:30
[syndicated profile] survivingtheworld_feed


This isn't about whether the science is questioned or not - realize that there are flat earthers who believed that some large beast was going to block the sun, or something like that. On a third axis, the scientific debate over the data itself is relatively similar for both climate change and whether or not an eclipse is going to occur.

To be fair, climate change is going to have an impact for a long, long time, and the eclipse is already over and done with and probably a bunch of people will forget it happened by the weekend. So the fourth axis, time, is probably just as significant of whether or not it is fun.

How do we make climate change fun? I guess we could declare beachfront property along the southern border of Georgia after we lose most of Florida? People like beaches.

Anyway, the eclipse was cool

PHD UNKNOWN: New page up!

Totality!

2017-Aug-21, Monday 22:10
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I'm in Tennessee at the moment. Two friends and I sat out and viewed the entirety of the solar eclipse. The totality was so beautiful; so awesome in the original sense of the word.

It took us about four hours to return when it had taken us maybe an hour to get to our viewing spot, but we had plenty of snacks and the new Kesha album to keep us happy. We ate peach pie for dinner, because we are grownups.

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