An ode to Susan Duncan

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:29 pm
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[personal profile] marina
I'm finally caught up on this week's Orphan Black!

everything goes under a spoiler cut )

Just One Thing (20 July 2017)

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:04 am
nanila: YAY (me: abby)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!

Take that, reproductive system.

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:28 am
monanotlisa: (scrubs! - duh)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
Surgery itself went well...though complications then kept me in the hospital for not the planned 2-3 hours but for about 12 -- and it's all a bit ongoing, shall we say. I'll post more, but despite my three-hour nap after we came home, I'm beat. And my brain still isn't working properly.

Shout-out to the folks working at UCSF Mt. Zion -- they've all been both both friendly and competent medical professionals (the super-enthusiastic residents were THE BEST. One of them bounced little on his feet, holding the clipboard for consent signing out to me).
monanotlisa: Sam Wilson in Falcon gear, in profile, looking fabulous as ever. (falcon - captain america)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (www.blackalliance.org) is having two webinars on the State of Black Immigrants. Part 1 is July 18, tomorrow, at 5pm; part 2 is July 25, both 5 pm EST.

Registration: goo.gl/u8Eckc.

Reading Wednesday

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:30 pm
muccamukk: Bill standing in front of the TARDIS bookshelf. (DW: Queen of Books)
[personal profile] muccamukk
What I Just Finished Reading

Still No Word by Shannon Webb-Campbell
I read this slowly and several times. I have trouble writing about poetry, but I liked the clarity and feeling here.

Chalk by Paul Cornell
Hard to know what to rate this one. I think it does what it's trying to do with great effectiveness, but I'm not really interested in what it's trying to do? The story does claustrophobic, creepy and bleak, pretty well wall to wall, which I think is very true to the author's experiences, but like with Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane (with which this shared a lot of elements), I'm not that invested.

I liked a lot of the struggle for significance in the face of meaningless cruelty, and the storytelling itself was delightfully creepy (for those into horror), but it was a hard read.


The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell Scott
I knew very little about Mrs Roosevelt and nothing about Pauli Murray going in, and loved finding out about them. The book primarily focuses on Murray and her life, with the interactions with ER highlighted and context of ER's life at those times added. It doesn't shy away from their weaknesses and mistakes, which is nice in a positive bio. I felt that it gave me a strong understanding of both women, and of how their interactions with politics changed over the years. I now want to read bios of all the other amazing women they crossed paths with along the way.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, narrated by Kate Burton
I really enjoyed this. It's sort of meandering and reflective, with time jumps and backstory, but I just liked spending time living with these characters. There was a core of good intentions and kindness in most of them, even if most of them didn't always live up to that. The period setting was phenomenal.

The Quartermaster: Montgomery C. Meigs, Lincoln's General, Master Builder of the Union Army by Robert O'Harrow, narrated by Tom Perkins
Perhaps a little heavy on lauding our hero, rather than letting his achievements stand on their own, but absolutely fascinating for all that. I would have liked more on the mundane logistics of the Civil War supply system, and maybe a bit less building things before the war, though the War Department politics were very interesting.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, narrated by Bahni Turpin
I can't figure out if this book is not as clever as it thinks it is, or if I'm just not smart enough to get it. A problem I have with a lot of litfic, to be honest.

I was initially cooler on it, but reading some interviews with the author gave me a better idea of what he was doing, and that helped my appreciation of the book.

I admit that I did not find the surface narrative of Cora's escape that interesting, though I liked Cora herself, and it was kind of neat to pick out threads from various real slave narratives. The alternate history elements in the Carolinas were also pretty neat, though they didn't really tie into the railway being an actual railway, which frankly I don't get the point of.

There were themes of story telling and who gets to have a voice/tell the story of enslaved people, which I didn't really pick up on myself, but appreciated after hearing the author talk about it.

All in all I liked it, but don't really get the buzz.


Adrift on the Sea of Rains (The Apollo Quartet, #1) by Ian Sales, narrated by Jeffrey Schmidt
Competent alternate history, which is mostly enjoyable because of the massive amount of NASA nerdery. Though props to the author for starting the series with such an unlikable protagonist (the kind of man who thinks he's the best ever, but is clearly not someone who should be in charge of a gas station, let alone a moon base). The tech conceit was a bit handwavey, but it got the story where it was going, and I enjoyed how it unfolded.

The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself (The Apollo Quartet, #2) by Ian Sales, narrated by Jeffrey Schmidt
Again with pleasing NASA nerdery (though stop explaining abbreviations! anyone this far down the NASA rabbit hole knows what LEO stands for, let alone USAF! I liked the conflict between civilian NASA and the Air Force space corps.

However, the hero is more or less why I don't read SF by dudes unless it's recced. His entire character is basically Sad Because His Wife Left Him. There are no significant women in the story other than the ex-wife.

I also didn't believe the central plot point, which I won't spoil, but will say was a handwave too far in terms of science. You can't just wave the word "Quantum" around and expect me to believe it. I might not have minded as much if I'd liked the hero, but here we are.

Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above (The Apollo Quartet, #3) by Ian Sales (Goodreads Author), narrated by Trina Nishimura
I mean, It's always nice to read an AU where the Mercury 13 got to go to space, even if they continued to get screwed over by NASA, but I didn't find the plot of this one very compelling. Sales clearly couldn't think of much to do with female astronauts other than have them do the same stuff all the guys had done and then cheat them out of the moon walk, so half the plot is about a male deep-sea diver who is looking for a spy satellite's cargo. I basically felt like I was reading a non-fiction book about the US spy program, with a Korean War AU on the side. Thin on both characterisation and plot. Author describes make and model of every plane, train and automobile in story. Does not need to do this.


Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan, narrated by Suzanne Toren
I know everyone read this when it came out ages ago, but I admit to having read the preface and then skipped to the bits about T.E. Lawrence, at the time, so this is my first go through.

I really appreciate the historical perspective, and how the author kept focused on the conference, but provided the background for each of the major regions and disputes. The personalities of all the diplomats were very well drawn, and I liked the heavy use of quotes and original sources. They helped keep me engaged in the storyline.

The conclusion regarding the spin out from the peace conference was very interesting, and I'll have to check out more books on the topic.


What I'm Reading Now
Theoretically a couple things, practically not much.

What I'm Reading Next

No idea.
Going on a trip starting tomorrow, so probably a lot of romance novels. *remembers to charge e-reader*

New Discord Server

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:52 pm
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[personal profile] franzeska posting in [community profile] cranky_old_fangirls
Invitation to The Lawn discord server

The Lawn

I know there are already Imzy Discord servers and many other places we may be congregating, but I haven't found a pan-fandom, pan-fanworks-focused one that isn't full of "Think of the children!" rules.

30 Life on Mars icons

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:00 pm
fueschgast: Sam waking up in 1973, looking confused. (LoM)
[personal profile] fueschgast posting in [community profile] fandom_icons
8 20 22
The rest at [personal profile] fuesch.

Ethan Frome

Jul. 19th, 2017 02:20 pm
lunabee34: (Default)
[personal profile] lunabee34
Ethan FromeEthan Frome by Edith Wharton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I last read this book in 8th grade about 26 years ago. I remembered liking it and the general plot but not much else. Recently, a bunch of people on FFA were talking about how much they hated the book, so I thought I'd revisit it and see if my opinion had changed.

I still like it. :) I am a huge sucker for stories in which much of the narrative is ambiguous or imagined or a deliberate fantasy (see the Haunting of Hill House, which also shares a climax with this novel, or "The Last Man" episode of SGA). We don't actually know if the backstory the narrator of Ethan Frome has invented is true; he imagines the bulk of the story in the second before he crosses the threshold to Ethan's home. Conversations he has with Ethan and with other townspeople corroborate parts of his fantasy, but our unnamed narrator could be misreading the clues as badly as Lockwood does in the beginning of Wuthering Heights (although probably not; there's no textual evidence he's doing so).

The language here is so beautiful. It isn't spare though the scenes Wharton describes are often spare and stark. Here's an example: "A mournful peace hung on the fields, as though they felt the relaxing grasp of the cold and stretched themselves in their long winter sleep."

Overall, an enjoyable and quick read. If you're looking for a happy ending, this is not the novella for you. Everyone in this story is trapped and has very few choices if they have any at all. Poverty is a vise around Ethan and Mattie and Zeena that they can't dislodge. It's beautifully written, though, and a good look at the shape despair sometimes takes.



View all my reviews
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Selected Poems, by William Carlos Williams: Holy shit, it has to be noted—and I did not do this on purpose—but it took me five years exactly to read this book. I started reading it on July 11, 2012, and finished it on July 11, 2017.

That's exactly how slow going it was.

To my disappointment, not everything William Carlos Williams wrote is as accessible as "The Red Wheelbarrow" and "This is Just to Say," two of his most famous poems. Instead, there's a mix of transparent and opaque.

And then there's Paterson, which he's also known for, a five-volume epic poem that here is presented in extracts, taking up about forty pages instead of its usual three hundred, and seems to be about a grasshopper, a park, geography, some text from a medical journal, a personal letter, and a history lesson. I don't know if it would have made more sense if I had read it in its entirety, but I'm not interested in finding out.

Williams liked to experiment with white space and sentence fragments—he's a contemporary of e e cummings and T. S. Eliot—but his white space lacks the energy and enthusiasm of cummings, or, later, of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Mostly it just looks jumbled, or unnecessarily spread out, staggered like the teeth of a zipper. The chopped up, incomplete sentences were coarse and seemed to impede meaning rather than free it. I didn't feel like I was discovering or feeling something; I felt like I was tripping over it.

For such a long volume, my notes with my favorite poems and lines don't even take up a whole index card, and I was definitely experiencing William Carlos Williams fatigue by the end. The book collects selected poems from 1914 to 1962, and I found Charles Tomlinson's introduction to be wordy and almost breathless in tone but informative about Williams and his poetry style, though more useful after I'd read the book than before.

My favorite discovery has to be the complete Pictures from Brueghel series. I'd read parts of it before, but didn't realize there was more to it. It's ten poems based on works by Brueghel the Elder, who I encounter quite often in poetry. There's something about his paintings that draws poets to him. It's probably the level of detail, all the little stories going on in these huge lush landscapes full of color and people and animals. The poems I've read have all evoked such clear images, even if I'm unfamiliar with the paintings themselves, and Williams's work is no exception. Though, as always, in order to enjoy Williams's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" to its fullest, you benefit by knowing the joke behind Brueghel's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" and the tiny splash Icarus makes down in the corner of the painting where no one is even looking. Just his leg sticking out of the water. Williams captures the humor and sadness of that image, still giving it only slightly more attention than Brueghel did.

It seems I like Williams best when he's being simple and transparent. His complicated, fractured works don't appeal to me as much, and it feels like this collection is more geared toward the latter. But could be it only felt like it.

Contains: rape, classism, and racist language and attitudes.

Never knew no good from bad

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:55 am
musesfool: bodhi rook (honor the heart of faith)
[personal profile] musesfool
I went to bed early last night and I slept like a rock. I should not still be sleepy! Arrgh!

Wednesday reading meme:

What I've just finished
Caliban's War by James S.A. Corey, which I enjoyed a lot, mainly because Avasarala is the best and also Bobbie! ♥ Holden still needs a lot of punching though. Ugh. Why is this guy the main character? Not only is he a dead bore, he's a ridiculously common dead bore!

I like TV!Prax better than book!Prax, I think, but I also think the show compresses the timeline in a way that means I don't get bored with a character having repetitive beats, the way I can, and do in this case, in a book.

What I'm reading now
Still, I picked up Abaddon's Gate and started it this morning, so I'm still entertained enough to continue.

What I'm reading next
The next book in this series, probably. I don't even know what the name of it is. *looks it up* Ah, Cibola Burn.

I also read two really long stories that both turned out to be in progress, which I probably should have noticed but didn't. I mean, when I see a thing is 175K words long, I figure it's done. I mean, who has that much to say in one story? But no. Sigh.

In my recent fanfic readings, I learned that I will nope out of a story if you kill off Wedge Antilles. Which was a surprise to me - how strongly my kneejerk NOPE was - but there you go. Do not want! (I mean, I don't care for any character death in my fic, and generally not in canon either! but I get that some AU premises require it. But like Bartleby the scrivener, I would prefer not to.)

I also learned that I don't really ship Bodhi with anyone but if I did it would have to be Jyn and Cassian. Gotta keep the Star Wars OT3 pattern going, I guess. I just don't find Jyn and Cassian all that compelling. *hands* I'd much rather read about Baze and Chirrut being the most married. (I think Rebels is the only place that doesn't have an OT3, but I am okay with that. I'm already bracing for Kanan and Hera to get an undeserved tragic ending.)

I also realized that in addition to believing that Luke Skywalker is asexual, I believe Anakin is demisexual, and both Leia and Padme are bisexual. Ahsoka is mostly into women except that I also ship her with Anakin (and Rex, a little), so there are exceptions? And Obi-Wan is pansexual and flirting his way across the galaxy at any given moment.

Which is probably more than anyone cared to know about my Star Wars head canons. *snerk*

***

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:12 am
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
I wasn't able to use the c-PAP at all last night because every time I put it on, I'd start sneezing in under a minute. The air blowing through made a particular bit of my sinuses itch like crazy. After I post this, I'm going to wash all of the gear and let it air dry. (I've got ten minutes left on the CD I'm listening to, and with Cordelia still in bed, I don't want to turn up the volume enough to be able to hear it in the kitchen).

I've been sneezing a bit, off and on, since I got up this morning. It hasn't been enough to make me worry, but it also hasn't quite gone away. I'm also now feeling sore from the walking I did on Monday. Walking is difficult because my calf muscles are trying to refuse to stretch at all.

I wrote 87 words last night. I'm hoping that this is the breakthrough I need in order to be able to get moving with the story as it's due Saturday. I also spent about ten minutes finding names for the OCs I know I'm going to need for my Captive Audience assignment.

I'd like to go out and do some Ingress this morning because some players from the other side came through and knocked over almost all of the portals in the neighborhood. I managed to reinforce three that are difficult to attack without tramping over uneven ground (these folks were out well after dark and tend not to want to get out of their car(s) at the nature center), but there's one unclaimed portal now that is easy to knock down from the parking lot but can't be captured from there. One only has to venture about two yards onto the grass to reach it, but... Most people don't bother.

I probably won't end up going because I've only got an hour before a friend comes over and because I need to do several household chores first. If Cordelia wakes in time, I want to see if she has dishes lurking in her room. I'm hoping to run the dishwasher soon. There's not a lot of space left. I could fill it with a couple of mugs. I'd just like to give priority to bowls and/or plates if she's got them.

I need to put in a support request at AO3 because there's a comment on one of my fics that never got emailed to me. I've gotten emails for more than a dozen comments left after it was and for one left seven hours before on the same fic. It's been three days, so I don't think it's just delayed. It's not in my junk mail, and I checked Gmail just in case it was getting hung up there (occasionally, that account just won't download for a few hours at a time), but it's definitely not there. It's not utterly lost because it's in my AO3 inbox and on the fic, but... I like to archive comments locally.

(no subject)

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:03 pm
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
I've been so busy, and so focused on spending my free-time-to-write on original projects, that I feel like I want to talk to people on Dreamwidth but don't really have anything to write a post about.

So let's start with the essentials, which is two friends who are currently in need of a bit of help.

[personal profile] kuwdora, who makes amazing vids, is taking vid commissions to help pay for a career development opportunity.

...and it seems the other friend has reached their financial goal for the thing they needed, which I saw halfway through writing this entry, so. Please consider helping out kuwdora!

*

I'm busy planning London things (when I'm not busy doing other things). I've bought contact lenses for the first time in my life (putting them in and out is AWFUL but having them in is pretty wonderful). I finished watching "The Handmaid's Tale" and the "Game of Thrones" premiere and feel weirdly similarly about both.

Sunday was picking up my contacts and hunting for a birthday gift for a friend and getting stuff from the pharmacy and overall I got home from work around 8:30pm. Monday was pilates at 5pm, followed by my roommate's friends coming over at 9pm for Game of Thrones. Tuesday was going to buy new walking shoes (mine have holes in them and I need something for London), and because I needed a specialized store I yet again came home at like 9pm.

Today is going to be swimming (because my pilates class was canceled), followed by an optometrist appointment.

Basically just really, really long days. I've mostly been spending my weekends doing fuck all because of it, lol.

Anyway, I'm looking for ideas for what to do in London. So far I have the staples (places I've been and can always happily spend time in):
- british museum
- V & A

Potentially interesting but also maybe kind of boring (I have a friend who'd LOVE both of these but for me they're kind of "oh ok" sort of options):
- tour of parliament
- tour of buckingham palace

plays (I have to pick one):
- Matilda in the west end
- Much Ado About Nothing at the globe
- Queen Anne at heymarket (I do love Romola Garai)

Other than that I have: walking around various parks. LOL.

There's definitely loads more to do in London, but I feel like I've done the more obvious touristy stuff (Sherlock Holmes house, the eye, transport museum (LOL I know this is less obviously touristy, but I liked it)) and the less obvious stuff I'm not familiar with?

(I've always wanted to do the loo tour, ever since meeting the owner/tourguide at a party, but it seems every time I'm in London the times don't work out ;_;)

Anyway, suggestions for stuff to do are very welcome!
selenak: (Default)
[personal profile] selenak
For once, I manage to write my book reviews on a Wednesday.

Sam Bourne: To Kill the President

It was to be expected: the first Donald Trump era thriller (that I've read). Which takes full advantage of the fact that when previously any critic worth their salt would have complained about the one dimensional characterisation of the villains and the lack of realism in the US voting someone like that into power and then the Republican Party falling in line, followed by no checks and balances from any institution after even the Supreme Court caves due to the stolen seat being filled by the new President's choice, now all this looks like, well, realism.

Spoilers from an age where reality beggars caricature )


Philip Kerr: March Violets.

This is the first novel of a mystery series which I heard/read about via The New Yorker. The article in question was enthusiastic enought to overcome my instinctive squick at the premise, to wit: hard-boiled/noir detective novel set in the Third Reich. Basically, what if Philip Marlowe was German? Wandering those mean streets as a cynic with an ethical core takes a whole new meaning if the authories aren't just corrupt but a dictatorship preparing for war and genocide. Our hero is Bernie Gunther, former policeman who quit the force in 1933 for the obvious reason given that the novel positions he has ethics, and became a private investigator instead. Kerr serves up all the usual hard boiled/ noir tropes - untrustworthy millionaire clients, corrupt cops, shady dames -, complete with Chandleresque language, and he did his research - the novel's setting is Berlin in 1936, around the Olympic Games, and in addition to the well drawn Berlin geography, there are some great nods to Fritz Lang's movie M via some of the supporting cast, gangsters (given that Bernie Gunther originally gets hired to recover some diamonds, though of course it turns out it's far more complicated and what everyone is after is something else altogether. The brief appearances by historic figures (Göring and Heydrich, to be precise) are drawn credibly, which is to say their vileness comes across without Kerr employing sledge-hammery moustache twirling; in fact, he uses Göring's bonhommie manners to make him chilling.

As opposed to To Kill a President, this actually is a good novel. But. I still struggle somewhat with the basic premise. This is the first novel of what according ot the New Yorker article I'd read are twelve so far, and already I'm having to suspend disbelief about Bernie's continued survival. There's no reason why Heydrich at the end of this first novel shouldn't have gotten him killed, for example. And since we're in 1936, Bernie would still have the possibility to leave the country, and given what happens to him in this novel, it's hard to wonder why he doesn't, given he has no dependants who'd suffer for it. Yes, the decision to emigrate wasn't as easy as hindsight would have it if you weren't rich and didn't have friends abroad, but again, some truly harrowing things happen to Bernie in this novel which would serve as an incentive to get the hell out of Germany if ever there was one beyond the general situation of the country.

With this caveat, I'll keep reading.

Midweek Antiprocrastination Post

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:23 am
peaceful_sands: butterfly (Default)
[personal profile] peaceful_sands posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Welcome to Wednesday and time to tackle the thing that has been lurking and needs to be done. What will it be? What is that PITA of a thing? Care to share, we're here for you and will be virtually behind you with all the encouragement you need.

In need of a little challenge to get you to start something? My challenge to you today is to check on the fridge. Depending on your energy levels and time allowance, select what's most appropriate for you. Remember if you do want to break it up or end up having more energy/time that you initially expected, you can always come back and do another step later today (or tomorrow).

Step 1 - Open the fridge and do a quick check for anything out of date and needing to go.
Step 2 - Spend a bit more time and do a thorough check to the back of shelves/bottom of drawers etc and make sure that you've checked everything in there - take mental note of anything that needs using quickly.
Step 3 - Starting with the top shelf, take everything out, lift out the shelf and clean it, dry it, replace it and put back in a more organised fashion - you may at this point realise that some things would ideally be in a different fridge location, whether it can be moved may depend upon there being space in its ideal location.
Step 4 - If you've still got energy/time, repeat with next shelf
Repeat Step 3 if you wish, until all shelves/drawers and the little door shelves have been checked and cleaned. If you can, as you go, wipe down the inside top and walls of the fridge as well with a cloth and some sort of light cleaner to get rid of any lurking invisible unwanted life forms. If you are tackling just a shelf at a time, don't get the top/walls too wet so that no cleaner runs down onto food stored lower in the fridge.

Remember that there is no obligation to do this challenge and also even if you do start it, it doesn't have to be done all in one go - a shelf a day for the week would be just as wonderful if you wanted to tackle it that way.

So with that I shall say goodbye (I'm not back until fairly late tonight, so please do cheer each other along), good luck with whatever you decide to tackle and a reminder that the optional challenge is OPTIONAL and also does not have to be completed as the WHOLE task - step 1 is a success, as is any other step. Look after yourselves, remember to think of your rewards for completing any personal pain in the tuckus tasks and let us know how you get along.

Haus Couch Composition

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:11 pm
[syndicated profile] omgcheckplease_feed
35% dead skin cells15% bodily fluids (butt sweat)12% PBR10% upholstered wood10% “cushioning”7%...

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 08:57 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Has anyone here ever had issues with coins not surviving going through the laundry? I assumed, at first, that I was seeing some sort of play money* what with the dimes ending up looking the way they do-- They're smaller in circumference and have the outermost edge about twice as thick as the center in a slightly irregular way that looks like they've been smushed. Quarters come out looking right except that the ridging on the edges is completely gone. I think pennies are going the same way as dimes, and I haven't seen a nickel going through yet.

I'm trying to figure out how this can happen without whatever's doing it completely destroying our clothes or, you know, affecting them somehow. All the clothing seems to be fine.

Our washer and dryer are about twenty years old. We bought them new when we bought the house. The dryer uses natural gas.

*Cordelia says the weird coins are nothing to do with her.

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