copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I still have to review Extra Virginity as well, but I actually liked that one, so it will take longer to compose….

One of the things I did get done yesterday between work, the ball game, and the Epic Sunburn, was finish a slim book of short stories called A City Equal to My Desire by James Sallis. This wasn’t a book that was recommended to me, which means I don’t have to feel bad about truly disliking it. I found it in a keyword search on the library website for books about ukuleles, and it has a short story called Ukulele And The World’s Pain, which admittedly was one of the better stories in the book despite still not being very good.

From what I can tell, he did pick the best story out of the book to develop into a novel, “Drive”, but it is very obviously unfinished in short-story form. Sallis has a couple of ongoing problems in the short story collection, one of which is that he tends to skip the vital information you need in order to know what the fuck is going on. And not in a “the blanks slowly get filled in” way, or in a “your imagination is more terrible” way (though there is a little of that) but just in a way where like…he says something that you understand to be vital to the story but which is missing context, then spends like a page describing the fucking diner someone’s sitting in, and by then any context forthcoming doesn’t get linked back. It’s like being in the middle of a paragraph when you hit the photo plates in an older book – yes the photos are very interesting thank you but I need to finish the thought you were sharing with me before I go back and look at them. I think maybe he thinks this is challenging the reader but it’s not, it’s just annoying and makes what are otherwise interesting premises totally opaque. I shouldn’t need to work this hard for a story about a hit man who decides not to kill a politician. 

If the book had a more cohesive theme in terms of the stories, it might be more readable – he clearly enjoys building worlds and then doesn’t quite know what to do with them once he’s built them, so if this was an entire book of “weird and different worlds” ala Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, I would buy in more fully and I think he would have put a little more elbow in. But it’s not. It’s mostly “here’s a really interesting world and a person living in squalor in it does something while being in it”. Also he appears to be fascinated by describing things that are shaped like pi. And a lot of times it feels like he read a wikipedia article on something and wanted to share some knowledge, so he just kind of built a half-assed story around his wikiwander. 

And all of this I would probably let go if say, it was something I was noticing in a fanfic writer, or someone who was just starting out, or someone I felt was genuinely trying to get a point across. But there’s this inexplicable sense of arrogance to the collection, a sort of smugness to it that in professional writers drives me up the goddamn wall. Stephen King sometimes falls into the same trap, where it feels like the author believes they don’t have to respect their readers because they are The Writer. 

The thing about volumes of short stories is that you keep reading it because sometimes there is a real gem. And there are one or two good stories in the volume, but I don’t know if they’re worth the rest of it. 

So my review I guess is mostly me being annoyed, but it boils down to “If you like short stories in the SFF Noir genre, give it a whirl, but if you’re bored with a story none of them get better, so feel free to skip to the next one.” 

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when the sun burst through the sky

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:05 am
musesfool: Stephanie Brown as Batgirl (can't hardly wait)
[personal profile] musesfool
I spent last night reading fic where Jason and Cass turn out to be biological siblings, not just adopted siblings, and squee!, that is one of my favorite Batfamily tropes. Plus, there was some awesome Jason-Cass-Steph bonding which I feel canon has repeatedly cheated me out of, even though they would get along like a house on fire (literally, probably, given Jason's involvement and enjoyment in blowing things up). Plus there is some hilarious snark at poor Tim's expense that made me laugh out loud repeatedly. Oh Tim. (There will be recs at the end of the month as usual, but here and here for those of you who are impatient and also not following my pinboard.)

Also, yesterday, my consolation birthday present arrived - a beautiful red patent leather Love Moschino tote bag (wow, there were three left in stock when I ordered mine and now there are none! I'm glad I got there in time!). During the whole epic search for a new bag, I coveted a red patent leather bag, but couldn't find one (or, rather, couldn't find one that was less than, like, $800 and while I'm profligate, I'm not that profligate), since I guess they aren't in style right now? Except it's red patent leather so I can't imagine how it could go out of style? But whatever. On a whim on Wednesday, I checked Zappo's to see if there were any available, and lo and behold, there it was. It's beautiful. It's big and kind of unwieldy (and unpleasantly sticky against the bare skin of my arm in the heat), but I don't care, because it's gorgeous.

Bosses 1 & 3 both admired it as I unpacked it from the box, and they were like, "Are you going to save it for special occasions?" and I said, "Hell no!" (note: I did not actually say "Hell no!" I just said, "no! I bought it so I could use it! Because it is beautiful!") And I recommend to all of you to use your beautiful and special things rather than waiting for some mythical special occasion to crop up, because frequently, you will be waiting forever and never get to enjoy the beautiful thing you bought for yourself. Using a special bag/wearing your beautiful new shoes/opening that expensive bottle of wine - they can all make a regular occasion special, and I recommend you do that rather than wait for some occasion arbitrarily deemed "special" enough to break out the fancy lipstick or whatever. Live your best life whenever you can, people!

***

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:43 pm
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
Happy Birthday [personal profile] coughingbear

Friday glee is on a mission

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:08 am
rydra_wong: Lisa Rands' chalky hands on the sloper on the route Gaia (climbing -- hands)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] disobey_gravity
The Friday post of glee is where you get to tell us about your climbing-related happiness this week.

It can be a new achievement or adventure, or just that you climbed and had fun; it can be that your favourite climbing wall is expanding or that you bought new rock shoes or that you found a cool ice-climbing vid on YouTube. No glee is too small -- or too big. Members are encouraged to cheer each other on and share the squee.

N.B. Please feel free to post your glee on any day of the week; the Friday glee is just to get the ball rolling.

To enhance this week's glee: I haven't yet had a chance to watch this owing to internet problems, but here's half an hour of beautiful Torridon bouldering.
musesfool: wendy watson in a wetsuit with a gun (come at me bro)
[personal profile] musesfool
Dear co-workers:

* I cannot finish your urgent project in a timely fashion if you keep interrupting me to ask when your project is going to be finished! Please stop!

* We have already done Thing based on all your requirements (and with your approval!) last quarter. We can just update it instead of spending so much time trying to come up with a new way to do it (only to come up with basically the exact same Thing). There is no need to spend hours reinventing the wheel!

* You have to decide whether you need a meeting to happen ASAP or if you need everyone involved present, because it's July coming up on August, and half the people you need will be out on vacation at any given moment and I have no control of that.

* I don't want healthy snacks in the vending machine. If I am driven to getting food from it, it's generally because I want Frito Lay corn chips or terrible plasticky cheap chocolate, not some sort of chip made from beans or some kind of granola bar! WTF?

no love,

me

***
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I am like….90% sure I’m going camping this Friday. 

It depends a bit on the weather, but I’m mostly packed, I’ve cooked food that’s currently waiting in the freezer, and I have acquired the third Diane Mott Davidson book to read. 

The plan is to leave work early, catch the train to the campground, camp overnight, and in the morning hike out to a different train station further down the line, about a seven-mile trek, to do a longer endurance test than last weekend’s. Then I’ll catch the train home around noon on Saturday.

If something goes wrong, I can catch an evening train home on Friday until eight o’clock, or starting in the morning at 5:30, with little to no exertion. It’s pretty low-risk and I’m well stocked. I don’t have a sleeping pad, but my backpack has a partial one built-in, and I have one arriving tomorrow (though it might be too bulky, we’ll see). And honestly in this heat, I might just sleep on top of my sleeping bag in any case. 

Worst case scenario, the campground has heated, lockable shower cubicles with nice big floors. I’ve slept on worse. 

Caaaaaaamping! *jazz hands*

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fountain pen sale

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:31 pm
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
[personal profile] yhlee
The time has come to find new homes for some of the vintage fountain pens in my collection.

These are all great pens, but the truth is I have a fair number of great pens and these are ones that simply aren't making it into my rotation. I'd rather someone else get some enjoyment out of them!

All prices include shipping within the continental USA. Elsewhere, please inquire--I will probably have to charge you shipping at cost. I accept payment via Paypal.

If interested, either leave a comment or email me (yoon at yoonhalee dot com).





From left to right:

1. Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir (a sort of dark swirly marbled green). Lever filler. The great thing about this pen is that it has a #3 adjustable nib. It goes from Fine to Broad on the flexiest setting. The only reason I'm letting this go is that I have a Wahl-Eversharp Doric in black with a #7 adjustable nib, and I honestly don't need two adjustable Dorics.

Please note that the #3 Doric is a petite pen--unless you have very small hands, you will probably want to use this posted.

Price: $225. SOLD

NOTE: [personal profile] troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it!

2. Waterman Lady Patricia that I bought from Mauricio Aguilar of Vintage Fountain Pens. He graded it a superflex, and it's a pleasurable and absolutely reliable writer; I've always had great experiences with the pens I've bought from Mauricio. Lever filler. Again, this is a lovely pen that I simply don't use--in this case because I'm busy using a different pen that I bought from Mauricio, a Waterman 52V (for which Jedao's Patterner 52 was named :p). Like the #3 Doric, this is a petite pen, and probably best used posted unless you have very small hands.

This is a handsome pen with green and brown swirls, and I love looking at it, but I really prefer for all my pens to be working pens that get used. Maybe you can have fun with it!

Price: $410.

3. Conklin Crescent Filler--the crescent filling mechanism is not that different from lever filling and is very simple to use, and really neat if you love geeking out about different filling mechanisms. This is a wet noodle that does hairlines, if you're into flex writing or copperplate; I probably wouldn't recommend it for sketching because of the fineness of the nib, but it would make a great fountain pen for non-sketch-speed line art.

Price: $320.

4. Osmia 34 in gray candy. This is a very flexy nib that goes from Fine to Broad, and unusually, it's in a piston filler. Please note that the material is discolored along about half the barrel (ambering)--this doesn't affect the pen's functionality, although if you care more about aesthetics this is not the pen for you. This nib has an almost painterly feel to it that is very pleasurable for writing.

Price: $240. [Going to [personal profile] rushthatspeaks for a trial run!]

5. The last two are a Sheaffer Balance in Marine Green, fountain pen and mechanical pencil set. The fountain pen is a lever filler and has a flex nib; I'm not sure what width graphite the pencil takes, although it comes loaded with one. The set is very handsome; please note that the fountain pen has a chip near the lever. This doesn't affect function but may be an aesthetic concern.

Price: $210.

NOTE: [personal profile] troisroyaumes gets first call on this one. If she doesn't want it, then someone else can have it! (She decided to get the Wahl-Eversharp Doric instead, so this pen and pencil set is available!)

Chicks Dig Gaming

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:25 pm
yhlee: Avatar: The Last Airbender: "fight like a girl" (A:tLA fight like a girl)
[personal profile] yhlee
Chicks Dig Gaming, ed. Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith? [this appears to be part of the author name, as it's listed with the interrogation point in multiple places], and Lars Pearson is one of the books I picked up at Pandemonium Books & Games in Boston. It's an absolutely delightful collection of essays about gaming by women, ranging the gamut from board games to video games to one anthropologist non-gamer who decided to play Portal to study the phenomenon of gaming and explore her reasons for not being a gamer. :p

A few of the essays didn't speak to me personally, but that's fine--for example, there was one about adventure games through the lens of the Monkey Island games, which I did play, but I didn't imprint on the genre. It's not that it was a bad essay, but rather that it was a type of gaming experience I just wasn't as interested in. And that's fine; for some other reader that could be entirely their thing.

Here's a rundown:

cut for length )

To sum up: highly recommended.
rydra_wong: Doonesbury, Watergate, two congressmen: "If only he'd knock over a bank or something ..." "By George, we'd have him them!" (bank -- watergate)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
The Guardian: Trump had undisclosed second meeting with Putin, White House confirms

New York Times: Trump and Putin Held a Second, Undisclosed, Private Conversation

Note: it was "private" as in "out of earshot of anyone except Putin's translator" and "not mentioned to the public". It was not private as in "it was held in view of most of the other G20 leaders OMFG ARE YOU KIDDING ME".

Just to make the whole thing even stupider (on Buttercup's part) and more of a blatant power play (on Putin's).

[tumblr.com profile] plaidadder breaks this shit down: A Million Encores: Putin And our Playable President

And spells out one point in particular:

Why do we know about this? Because some of the European G-20 leaders were so concerned about this that they called their global risk consultant to get his opinion on it. That’s what Ian Bremmer does: he assesses global political risk for people who want to use it to make investment decisions.

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*

***

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.

in the corner garden

Jul. 18th, 2017 01:23 pm
musesfool: Daisy Ridley as Rey with lightsaber (you were not mine to save)
[personal profile] musesfool
You've all been watching Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, right? Leia, Rey, Ahsoka, Padme, Jyn! They're so adorable! I might be shipping Leia and Sabine a little bit now too. At least I said, "NOW KISS" at the end of "Bounty of Trouble." *g*

I caught this week's Orphan Black.

spoilers )

Ugh I stayed up way too late last night reading and I'm paying for it now. I just want to sleeeeeeeeeeep.

***

squee!

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:46 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
You guys, among many many other works, Ninefox Gambit is listed as one of the inspirations for Paizo's forthcoming RPG Starfinder! Tons of other authors and media there too.

I'm also chuffed to see I'm not the only one who has found Jack L. Chalker inspirational for sf purposes (although in my case it was Soul Rider and one that's not mentioned in the list, Rings of the Master).

My husband has preordered Starfinder but does this mean I now have to fight him over the hardcopy? LOL.

i'm surrounded by your embrace

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:34 pm
musesfool: han/leia from TFA (stlil crazy after all these years)
[personal profile] musesfool
Five things make a post:

A. I had a most excellent birthday dinner on Saturday evening. L and I went to Uva, which I had never been to before and it was so worth it. They have an adorable little courtyard in back, so we sat outside and drank a lot of wine (A LOT OF WINE) and ate like queens.

2. I was going to make myself a birthday cake, but then I was sad and also I wasn't sure it would be good and I didn't want to make a cake that big and have it be terrible (because then I couldn't foist half of it off on my coworkers). That would just be one disappointment too far. I still want to make it though. It looks amazing. And terrible. But mostly amazing. (I would have made fresh whipped cream though instead of using Cool Whip. I'm not much of a food snob, but fresh whipped cream just tastes better, regardless of authenticity.)

iii. The A Wrinkle in Time trailer looks fantastic.

D. Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Behind the Scenes. I might have burst into tears when Carrie Fisher said, "It's all about family," but you can't prove it!

5. I posted a story for my birthday:

Sing a New Song (@AO3)
Star Wars; Vader, Leia, Luke, Obi-Wan; AU; g; 4,130 words
In which Ben has a bad feeling, Luke makes it to Tosche Station, Leia takes control of the situation, and no one understands how hard Vader's life is.

This is the sequel to Just a Little Bit of History Repeating but probably not the one that people were asking for. *hands* I'm probably never going to write a long involved epic AU where they actually overthrow Palpatine. I'm just not that kind of writer. I just want the fraught family reunions where the Skywalkers get to be all ~dramatic~ at each other.

I don't usually write multiple POV stories anymore, but this one seemed to require it, so we could see Luke's "Wtf?!", Obi-Wan's "I have a bad feeling about this," Leia's ability to roll with the weirdness (and also ameliorate the tension between Vader and Obi-Wan), and Vader's misguided belief that he has control of anything, let alone his kids.

As I said in an endnote on AO3, the title is from U2's "40" (and not the Mountain Goats' "Psalms 40:2"*) and I kind of feel like the title of the concluding story of this little trilogy should also come from Psalm 40 but right now it's tentatively titled "How Soon Is Now" for ~reasons. I still have to figure out how to actually write it. Because I couldn't leave Ahsoka out! The story was originally going to end with that - I felt like Vader saying "no, there's someone else" was kind of analogous to Yoda's "no, there is another," but given that it was Luke's section, I thought he ought to have the last word.

Anyway, I like how it turned out, and I'm glad some other people did too. *g*

*which I still think should have a SPN vid made to it, and from which I already used the title "If I'm Not Beyond Repair" for Bucky, or you know I'd be using that for a Star Wars story ("Lord, send me a mechanic, if I'm not beyond repair" could definitely be a Vader and Luke story, you know? Though I could probably do something with "in the burning fuselage of my days" or even "feel bad about the things we do along the way, but not really that bad" if the right story idea struck. Huh. *adds them to the list of titles to use someday*)

***

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:48 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[tumblr.com profile] readera's partner, J, has been in the ER multiple times in the past three months, and their finances are very strained because of it. They're raising $300-$500 for transportation costs and medicine; you can read more and reblog here or give directly here.

[tumblr.com profile] sleepyheathen needs to make next month's rent and is selling items, offering commissions, accepting donations, and has an Amazon wishlist up. You can read more, purchase, or reblog here, or donate via paypal here.

[tumblr.com profile] tony-in-distress is trying to escape an abusive situation and hoping to take her siblings with her. She needs to raise enough money for a deposit on a safe house for her and her siblings to live in. You can read more and help out here.

Anon is raising funds to help a friend cover debt and pay for legal bills after her abusive husband took custody of their youngest son. You can read more and give here; unfortunately due to Australian law apparently they can't provide much information.

Sarah Sadat had to leave her job recently due to stress and is facing mounting medical bills for a failing kidney and previous hospitalization; she has surgery scheduled for next month, and is fundraising to help cover medical and other bills. You can read more and give to the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] ohstephyy was let go from a job three months ago and hasn't been able to get another one; there are also other costs coming up to cover. You can read more and reblog here; a paypal address is available at the post.

[personal profile] laurashapiro linked to a fundraiser for [personal profile] kuwdora, a talented vidder who is trying to become a professional editor. She has an opportunity for professional coaching from the editor of Burn Notice and Empire, but can't afford the expenses on her own. You can read more and help out here.

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] tiarasnteakettles who is looking for work as a harpist, including attempting to purchase a harp that would be a massive upgrade from her current instrument and allow her more freedom in performance. You can read more about her situation and reblog here, including links to her Patreon and online store and Paypal donation address.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

News To Know:

Anon linked to [tumblr.com profile] wanderlust-anthology, an upcoming anthology of reimagined myths, legends, and folklore based on the theme Quests and Journeys. They are looking for creators for this anthology, which will be a full-color printed book with stories, comics, and artwork. You can read more at their tumblr or at the FAQ here; sign-ups close July 30th.

Housing:

Riel is looking for a roommate in Austin, TX to share a townhouse; she and the other roommate (male) are both grad students, and they do have a cat. Riel is very fandom-friendly. Lease starts in August. You can check out the townhouse here and get in touch at ariellayendler at gmail.com.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

la! sewing hopes

Jul. 16th, 2017 10:12 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
I have just ordered Gillian Conahan's The Hero's Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming [Amazon] and am looking forward to it. :D Conahan is the editor-in-chief of Vogue Patterns (!).

A couple reasons:
- I have toyed with the idea of getting into cosplay but need to learn to sew.
- I would love to learn to do basic sewing things and maybe work up to fancier sewing things. Like, it would be great to be able to shorten pants legs on my own, or shorten sleeves! That would expand my wardrobe options tremendously. (I know tailors do this stuff, but we are too disorganized to get to the tailor.) Not-so-secretly I want to be able to make slightly fancier outfits for dancing in or cosplay, BUT I know that would be a long way away and I should start with easy basic stuff, like pillowcases. =)

One of the book's reviews indicates that it's good for beginners and talking you through pattern alterations. I might try to swing a beginning sewing class eventually, but first I'm going to try Youtube and check this book.

I have also ordered a couple of Japanese pattern books for menswear and unisex (is that still the preferred term?) military jackets. I have a military surplus military jacket that I love dearly, but for half the year in Baton Rouge it is too damn hot to wear comfortably. I crave a military-jacket-alike done in very lightweight fabric that I can wear most of the rest of the year. But I will have to learn to read and alter patterns for this, so this is more in the nature of motivational hoarding.

Also, if I learned to sew cosplay outfits, I could deck out family members and pose them and take photos of them for art photo reference purposes. =D

Right now the big obstacle is that my sewing machine, which I had only played with a little, was one of the flood casualties. I was not really happy with the bobbin-loading whatever, which seemed to come out really lopsided no matter how I did it, so I might go with a different model this time.

So the subgoal to that is to scrape up the money for a sewing machine. I think a budget of $300 will probably get me a machine that is both friendly to beginners and capable enough to last me as I *knock wood* learn to use it and grow more skilled. (This is based on casually Googling for "best sewing machine for beginners 2017.")

Probably the fastest way of raising the money is selling off the stash of older BPAL LE bottles that my mother-in-law uncovered [1] and also trying to sell off some of my spare fountain pens. Is anyone here in the market for vintage fountain pens? FPN Classifieds or asking a seller I have bought from before for an appraisal is probably the likelier bet...? Let's be real, I have a number of lovely vintage pens that are just not making it into the rotation, e.g. a Waterman Lady Patricia with a superflex nib and a wet noodle Sheaffer Balance and another wet noodle Conklin Crescent and a wet noodle Wahl-Eversharp Doric with #3 adjustable nib, are you sensing a theme? [2] Since they're on the somewhat spendy end, the appraisal might be best, but if anyone here has been in the market for a wet noodle/superflex fountain pen, THIS COULD BE YOUR CHANCE.

[1] I don't have a list right now; I'm recovering from a migraine (yay Excedrin) and I made Joe take the perfumes into another room because something in there (the cinnamon AT MINIMUM) was setting off the migraine like whoa.

[2] I have basically settled into my Waterman 52V and Wahl-Eversharp Doric #7 adjustable nib as the two wet noodle pens that will do me for the rest of my life. The rest have become kind of redundant.
yhlee: Shuos Jedao (Hellspin Fortress) (hxx Jedao 1x10^6)
[personal profile] yhlee
PREAMBLE: I had a conversation with someone at Readercon whom I'm not going to name to save them the embarrassment. They will undoubtedly recognize themselves if they stop by. You're not a bad person, but you're human and you messed up, and I need to explain why and maybe reduce the odds of something like this happening to me again. Please don't ~FEELINGS~ at me here, even if you're tempted to; I don't need or want an apology; just go think about it in your own space, with your own people.

So. I was chatting with someone who knew of my writing but whom I did not know personally (we were meeting for the first time in any venue), and as the topic meandered, they asked me if they could ask me a personal question.

Fine, I said. (How bad could it be?)

They asked me about living in Louisiana, and whether my marriage to my husband Joe was considered valid.

Well, I said, Louisiana doesn't do gay marriage. [EDIT: 0] However, I haven't transitioned legally (or physically) [1]. On all my legal documentation I'm a woman. So as far as the state of Louisiana is concerned, my marriage to Joe is a marriage between a man and a woman, and I'm legally in the clear. (Please refrain from telling me about how terrible this situation is. Rest assured that I'm in Louisiana, I'm not stupid, I have my own thoughts.)

[0] Huh--it was banned the last time I looked it up several years ago, but the ban apparently has since been struck down. So I said this in error; on the other hand, I would personally have serious reservations about visibly going around as half of a m/m couple in my daily life.

[1] I have reasons for this that are none of your business, and I will not be discussing them here.

Point the first, before I recount more of this conversation. I feel rather strongly that asking a complete stranger about the validity of their marriage is something that you should refrain from doing, even if you have taken the precaution of asking if you can ask a personal question. I answered the question, but I was honestly kind of taken aback and I was in "I must show my public face as an author interacting politely with a reader" mode. The blunter version is that the question was rude.

Anyway, my interlocutor blurted out (in response to my explanation about being listed as a woman on all my legal documentation), "They just MISGENDER YOU???" (with about that emphasis).

Let me explain to you why this form of performative pearl-clutching is deeply unhelpful. The misgendering is a consequence of decisions I have made about my own life. As y'all have figured out, I live in Louisiana; I'm in a more or less conservative part of the country. In addition to choosing not to pursue legal or physical transition, part of not attempting to present as male in my daily life in Baton Rouge (besides the fact that I can't reliably pass, absent transition) involves my calculations regarding personal safety.

Again: I made this choice because it's my life and I have to live it. There are a lot of complicated factors involved that I do not feel the need to explain to the world at large. Who the hell are you, a complete stranger, to judge my life choices? Because that's what that was. Judgment.

What happened next was that my interlocutor was extremely performatively upset "on my behalf" to the point that I had to spend the next ten minutes calming them down and reassuring them that I was all right. This was exhausting for me. Look, I live this shit every day, and I have coping mechanisms, but it's deeply unhelpful to have to come up with extra coping for a complete stranger. If you find the whole situation viscerally horrible or whatever, fine, but that's your damage, not mine; I have my own. Deal with your damage on your own time. For my part, I can't sit here clutching my pearls about my own life situation 24/7 or I'd be paralyzed to the point of uselessness.

Dear reader, next time you're tempted to open your mouth and ask a complete stranger about the status of their marriage, or force them to perform emotional labor reassuring you about the details of their own life, maybe consider shutting your mouth, going away, and working through whatever issues you have on your own time. You're not evil; but you're not helping, either.

Readercon bookspoils

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:22 pm
yhlee: chessmaster (chess pieces) (chessmaster)
[personal profile] yhlee
*shifty eyes*

From Pandemonium Books & Games:
- Chicks Dig Games, ed. Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith?, and Lars Pearson. I'm only a little way into this but really enjoying it, and looking forward to passing it on to my daughter (a girl gamer!) to read.
- Kingdom by Ben Robbins. This is "a role playing game about communities," recommended to me by [personal profile] maga ages ago. I'm glad to have a chance to pick it up in hardcopy (I prefer hardcopy for games).

- David Weber's The Shadow of Saganami (recommended by [personal profile] davidgillon [1])

[1] I ordinarily do not take book recommendations UNLESS I ask for them. I asked David for a specific reason. Please no book recs; it's not you, it's me.

- Seth Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant, which he gave to me since he was toting around a copy and was pondering giving it away, and I said, "Give it to me! The ARC you gave me drowned in last year's flood." So he did. =D I love this book so much, and I'm excited for the sequel, parts of which I've read in draft.
- C.J Cherryh's The Faded Sun trilogy, the three-volume SFBC hardcovers with the not very good cover art. I love this trilogy and my omnibus with the lovely Michael Whelan cover art (originally from Kutath, I believe) drowned. This was in the "free books" area at Readercon--some astonishingly good stuff got dropped off there, although of course it got picked over within minutes. I decided this was enough of a lucky find and then took it and ran rather than being greedy and looking for more. ^_^
- William Barton's Dark Sky Legion, which I grabbed last-minute from the free table because, although it looked like no one else wanted it, flipping open to a random page suggested that it might have SURPRISE CLONES. =D Also, it has a cover that honestly looks like...look. The smoldering (figuratively, not literally! with sf/f you have to specify XD) white man appears to be buck-naked, is holding a bunch of wires or something that conveniently, along with some smoke, conceal his crotch area, and also he is ripped. =D I mean, this book could be COMPLETELY TERRIBLE, but who knows? It might live down to its cover in wonderfully cracktastic ways! Especially if there are SURPRISE CLONES!

And then I fell prey to the used books available for sale in the Bookshop at Readercon--mainly because a lot of these I am not sure are even available as ebooks and if they're cheap, why not? (We're going to need another bookcase though...)

- David Feintuch's Fisherman's Hope. I've read the Seafort Saga before; this is vol. 4, my favorite one, and later this week I should probably talk about why.
- Cordwainer Smith's Norstrilia. I pounced on this when I spotted it--I had previously owned but not actually yet read a copy of this novel, and then flood. So this time I'm going to read it, dammit.
- Walter Jon Williams' The Praxis, The Sundering, and Conventions of War, first three books of the Dread Empire's Fall space opera series. I have read something short by Williams somewhere and remember being intrigued, so I figure this might be worth a try? Joe might like it?
- Steve Jackson's Sorcery! Book Four, Crown of Kings. =D =D =D I used to own this in hardcopy and flood, so being able to replace it = A++.

So yeah, got scurvy again

Jul. 15th, 2017 09:08 pm
rydra_wong: Text: "Your body is a battleground" over photo of 19th-C strongwoman. (body -- battleground)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
For the sake of pedantic clarity: much as I like saying that, I don't actually have scurvy -- quite.

I do presently have plasma vitamin C levels which (Google tells me) would qualify me for a scurvy diagnosis if I was showing any particular symptoms. Which I'm not, beyond my usual levels of fatigue and physical crud (there's stuff -- flare-up of an old injury, etc. -- which, with hindsight I could construe as maybe related somehow, but basically I'm very well, and said stuff would not have made me suspect that anything was wrong). Possibly I'd get symptoms if I let the deficiency run on longer, but that's an experiment I am disinclined to try.

N.B.: this is on an intake of fruit and veg which should easily supply far more than the RDA from diet alone, plus supplementation of a gramme of vitamin C a day.

Which is absurd mega-dose levels.

It used to be two grammes, as that's what it took to drag my blood levels back into the normal range when this showed up on test results before; this past year I suggested tapering down to half-as-ridiculous and monitoring my blood levels to see if they stayed okay. Which they did, at least until last autumn.

Then I was getting a blood test for something else completely, my GP suggested checking my vitamin C levels, and boom, they have fallen through the floor again.

So now, back to double-ridiculous doses and waiting to re-test.

My medical Google-fu is usually pretty good, but it's failed me so far on this. I've asked my doctor to consult colleagues and see if I should be referred to a relevant consultant or WTF, on the basis that it's such a bizarre and extreme test result we should probably see if there's an underlying reason that could or should be treated (or, for example, something which might cause the test to give inaccurate results).

Anyway, I thought I'd lob it to the hive mind in case anyone's heard of a similar case or know of something that could cause this, because I am so baffled. And I realize that my belief that bizarre medical things should happen because of reasons has been shown to be delusional before, but still.

... maybe I have a tapeworm that consumes nothing but vitamin C.

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