This week in writing, 10/22

Sunday, 22 October 2017 11:10 pm
dira: Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Default)
[personal profile] dira
This week included my birthday (and I am still in mid-birthday-weekend-trip) so… less writing. (And I have concluded that I need to let Kinktober go because I’m just picking away for days and days at one day’s story, and missing working on other stuff, so I am pretty decidedly not in The Kinktober Spirit.)

WIPs currently active: 5, since as of this moment I’m not counting the Kinktober thing I was working on.

Words written this week: 1,725

WIPs that got no words this week: 0

WIPs that did get words this week:

Codename: Aluminum Bastard (aka broken dick epic): 142

Born in the Blood: 187, and then I got to a scene break and now I have to figure out the next scene. Oh dear. 

Slavefic #6: 176, although I may have to walk back some of it, because it’s possible I got carried away writing things in direct refutation of a frustrating comment on a previous story. Oops.

Wildly Unmanageable Ace!Bitty Longfic: 194

Jack/Bitty angsty happy ending kidfic: 734

Kinktober Day 9 (Sam/Grant, abandoned for now): 292, and finally I have to admit that writing fanfic of an original thing I wrote is crossing some wire in my brain that is making it weirdly difficult to write a PWP?? idek.

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(no subject)

Saturday, 21 October 2017 08:55 am
skygiants: Jadzia Dax lounging expansively by a big space window (daxanova)
[personal profile] skygiants
After reading Ann Leckie's new book Provenance I went on Twitter and asked what you call a screwball plot if it isn't necessarily a comedy.

Like, Provenance, while frequently funny, is not a non-serious book -- it concerns itself with classism, wildly unhealthy family relationships, interstellar warmongering, fetishization of cultural artifacts, and inhumane conditions of incarceration, not to mention murder -- but the structure of the plot is very classic screwball. Misunderstandings! Mistaken identities! Brilliant[ly ill-advised] schemes colliding with each other and blowing up in everybody's face! The faint air of Yakety Sax playing frequently in the background!

Honestly it feels a lot like Ann Leckie channeling Lois McMaster Bujold, with less intense character dynamics but also fewer moments of side-eye.

Our Heroine Ingray Aughskold is the foster daughter of an elected official who has been locked in competition with her foster-brother since they were both small for the eventual goal of inheriting their mother's position. Ingray comes from a public orphanage, while her asshole abrother is the son of a wealthy family, which gives him an edge that Ingray has never quite been able to best.

CUE: Brilliant[ly ill-advised] scheme! Ingray decides to attempt to break a fellow political foster-kid, Pahlad Budrakim, out of Compassionate Removal (i.e. terrible jail) in order to learn the location of the highly important cultural artifacts which Pahlad has hypothetically stolen.

Complication: Pahlad is possibly not Pahlad, and is certainly not inclined to be cooperative.
Complication 2: The space captain who Ingray hired to get them back home is wanted for theft by an alien ambassador, who Does Not Understand Humans, and whom everyone is panicked about offending due to some Very Important Alien Treaties.
Complication 3: Meanwhile, what Ingray's mother would actually like her to be doing with her time is shepherding around some other ambassadors, human ones from a different planet, who want to do politically-motivated excavations in a local nature preserve
Complication 4: Also, someone is about to get murdered!
Complication 5: And the cop in the case has a crush on Ingray!
Complication 6: And MANY OF THE HIGHLY IMPORTANT CULTURAL ARTIFACTS HAVE DISPUTED PROVENANCE AND IT'S VERY DISTRESSING (for everyone but me, because the minute I heard that title I was like 'this had better be about cultural heritage' and LO AND BEHOLD)

((...though I did want to see a little more documented archival paperwork and process surrounding the question of the authenticity of the artifacts, but I mean, ignore me, it's good, it's fine.))

My favorite character was definitely possibly-Pahlad, with their bitter cynicism and constant challenges to everyone else to do better; wanting More Pahlad all the time was probably my biggest complaint about the book.

My other favorite character was the almost entirely useless Radch ambassador, who just did not want to be there that day. Everything about the treatment of the Radch in this book delights me. "So weird to hear this totally clueless woman speaking with the accent we're used to hearing from villains on the TV!" You definitely don't need to have read the Imperial Radch books to enjoy Provenance, but I suspect it does probably make the few Radch cameos five times funnier.
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)
[personal profile] lannamichaels
1) make the days REALLY REALLY BIG because of course I need to know the calendar day. But not month...

1a) remove the month from the day heading, because of course I don't need to know what month a day is in (it does this even on the "month changes during the week" weeks, going from 31 (for October) to 1 (for November), whyyyyy)

2) make the time of day REALLY REALLY SMALL because of course I don't need to know what times things are

3) decide to get REALLY REALLY CONFUSED about how to handle dual calendar systems, even though it had no issue with that before



note: the "all day events" section is tall and mostly empty in the Old Google Calendar one because further on in the week, I have a lot of stacked all day things; that's my RL calendar. The new version is the fandom calendar, which has much fewer things cluttering it up


Old google calendar:
google calendar old version


New google calendar:
google calendar new version

So, it used to be that we hadn’t upgraded to

Friday, 20 October 2017 01:38 pm
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
So, it used to be that we hadn’t upgraded to Windows 10 because our IT department hadn’t cleared it as “secure” enough (it’s not that it wasn’t secure, it just hadn’t gone through the security affirmation process). Now apparently it is, since they upgraded me to 10. I’ve never really had 10; I decided not to upgrade my personal laptop, though for a while the laptop I used for travel had it. 

I know this is just me getting older, but I am weirdly suspicious not of Windows 10 as a system but of the Windows 10 aesthetic. Everything is too smooth and square. Things that should be rounded are pointy and things that should be pointy are rounded. Everything is well-animated and in soothing pastel greys. 

I come from an era where computers weren’t even MEANT to be soothing, where it was just accepted that they would challenge you visually as well as implicitly. And I’m not saying we should go back to a Windows 3.0 aesthetic or anything, I don’t want computers to be difficult, I’m just saying. It’s…

It’s quiet. Too quiet. 

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fantasy casting

Thursday, 19 October 2017 09:28 pm
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)
[personal profile] philomytha
I've only watched two episodes of the show so far, but the guy playing Richard Garland in The Halcyon is very close to my mental model of Illyan. He's got the self-effacing slightly puppyish face, he's got the whole spymaster cunning and fighting dirty thing going too, he's a loyal but independent-minded subordinate and generally he's not far off my mental image of him, both in the actor and the character. Tempting to reshape Lady Hamilton as Alys now and see if I can ship them, but Alys even right after Padma died wasn't quite as crazy as Lady Hamilton, though Lady Hamilton does have good reason.

Anyway, it's a good show so far. It's about the fortunes of a grand hotel in London just before the Blitz begins, a bit Upstairs Downstairs/Downton Abbey kind of vibe, but in the 40s. And googling it now to find out the name of the actor (Steven Mackintosh) I discover that it's been cancelled after one season, because this always happens with new series I like the look of. Oh well.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
So, I think someone high up in management at my institution got hacked last year or something, since in the past year we have developed some serious paranoia regarding data security. Not to say that data security isn’t important or that I dislike the changes, I think they are for the most part sensible, but we went from like, zero to Steranko-System-in-Leverage in the course of a month or two. 

The latest development is a mysterious edict that we all have to leave our computers at work but logged out tonight so that they can “encrypt” our computers somehow – I assume it’s some kind of software they’re going to install, but there’s been a dearth of information over what exactly this Encryption Of Computers entails. Furthermore, I was told that my computer is incompatible with encryption (loose lips sink ships, laptop!) so it will have to be wiped completely and upgraded. Which I’m fine with, all my work is on a network drive anyway and I just had to remember to move a few files. 

But my laptop apparently heard them and knows it’s being wiped. Yesterday the flash stopped working and today my Outlook has decided to neither send nor receive any email. Additionally, a retail clothing website just broke Firefox so hard it no longer allows me to log into anything. 

What I’m saying is that this laptop is going down swinging, and I kind of admire its fighting spirit, but goddamn, could it not have waited until the end of the workday so I wouldn’t have to use Microsoft Webmail to do the last two hours of business today. 

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I provide straight lines for the Internet

Thursday, 19 October 2017 07:41 am
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Last night, I bolted out of a dead sleep at a little after 11 because the landline was ringing. I run downstairs, but let it go to the answering machine, which is basically a reflex at this point. No message.

I then look at my phone, because grabbing that when I wake up in the middle of the night is absolutely a reflex (though the Pip sleeps much, much better these days!) . . . and it was me. The cell had someone dialed the landline. [*]

I post this story elsewhere, and literally seconds later, I get the punchline )

[*] On reflection, it wasn't that late, so I think I fell asleep with the phone still on in my hand and touched it enough to keep the screen awake, until eventually I randomly dialed home. I checked, I hadn't made any other outgoing calls, at least.

(no subject)

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 07:40 pm
skygiants: (wife of bath)
[personal profile] skygiants
I didn't deliberately read up on seventeenth-century English history history in preparation for A Skinful of Shadows; it was just a fortunate coincidence that I'd just finished Aphra Behn: A Secret Life right beforehand (thanks to [personal profile] saramily, who came into possession of the book and shoved it into my hands.)

The thing about the English Civil War and everything that surrounds it is that it's remarkably difficult to pick a team, from the modern perspective. On the one side, you've got Puritans and repressive morality and NO PLAYS OR GOOD TIMES FOR ANYONE, but also democracy and egalitarianism and a rejection of the divine right of kings and the aristocracy! On the other side, you've got GLORY IN THE DIVINELY ORDAINED KING AND THE PERFECTION OF THE ESTABLISHED SOCIAL ORDER, but also people can have a good time every once in a while and make sex jokes if they feel like it.

Anyway, one fact that seems pretty certain about Aphra Behn is that she grew up during the Interregnum and wrote during the Restoration, and was very much on Team Divine Kings Are Great. Would Puritans let a woman write saucy plays for the stage? NO SIRREE, NOT AT ALL, three cheers for the monarchy and the dissolute aristocracy!

There aren't all that many facts that are certain about Aphra Behn, especially her early years -- the first several chapters of this book involve a lot of posed hypotheticals about who she might have been, how she might have got her start, and who might have recruited her into the spying business. It does seem fairly certain she was a spy: code name Astrea, Agent 160. (Me, to [personal profile] aamcnamara, after seeing Or last month: "I don't know that I buy all that Agent 160 business, there's no way that was something they did in the 1660s!" I apologize for doubting you, Liz Duffy Adams.)

Admittedly she was the kind of spy who spent most of her spy mission stuck in a hotel in Antwerp writing irritated letters back to King Charles' intelligence bureaucracy, explaining that she would happily continue with her spying mission and do all the things they wished her to do if only they would send her enough money to PAY HER DANG HOTEL BILL. (They did not.)

Besides her unpaid expense reports, most of what is known about Aphra Behn comes from her context and her publications, and the things she wrote in them -- only some of which can absolutely definitively be traced to her at all; several of her short stories and novellas are disputed, including one of the ones I found most interesting, "Love-Letters Between A Nobleman And His Sister." This early three-volume novel is extremely thinly-veiled RPF about a wildly trashy historical trial involving King Charles' illegitimate son, his best friend, the best friend's wife, and the best friend's sister-in-law. All of these people then went on to be involved in a major rebellion, which the second and third volume of "Love-Letters" cheerfully fictionalizes basically as it was happening, in the real world.

One of the first English novels ever written by a woman [if it was indeed written by Aphra Behn], and arguably the first novel written EVER, and it's basically one of Chuck Tingle's political satires. This is kind of amazing to me.

OK, but back to things we think we're fairly sure we do know about Aphra Behn! She wrote a lot about herself talking, and about men judging her for how much she talked; she wrote a lot of things that were extremely homoerotic; she also wrote a lot about impotence; she was often short on money; she cheerfully stole other people's plots, then got mad when people accused her of stealing other people's plots; she rarely wrote anything that was traditionally romantic, and most of her work seems to have an extremely wicked bite to it. She did not read Latin, which did not stop her from contributing to volumes of translations of things from Latin. She was almost certainly not a member of the nobility, but she believed in divine right, and divine order, and divine King Charles, even though it seems likely from her writing that she did not believe personally in religion, or God, and the King probably never did pay her bills. An extremely interesting and contradictory person, living in an interesting and contradictory time.

And now I think I need to go find a good biography of Nell Gwyn - she's barely relevant to this biography (Aphra Behn dedicated a play to her, but there's no other information available about their relationship) and yet Janet Todd cannot resist throwing in a couple of her favorite historical Nell Gwyn one-liners and they're all SO GOOD.

Things

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 07:31 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
It seems like it's been ages that I've posted anything substantial and non-FMK here (which I knew was a risk; I have enough social media XP (extroversion points) to keep up with approx. 1 DW post a week, that is well-established). So here is a 5 things to break the monotony:

1. Pokemon Go will not let me install the latest update (It gives an error message that says "we hates your phone, precious" [paraphrase] and then won't install.) So instead I have been playing Magikarp Jump, which the app store always tries to tell me pokego players will enjoy. So far:

This is my fish. There are many like it, but this one is mine. )


2. Also I finally won the last boss level in Alphabear, so until I got my fish game, I was totally at loose ends for mindless phone games, and started looking for ports of the ones I played as a kid. HOW IS AN ANDROID PORT OF GODDAMP CATERPILLAR 11 megabytes? I coded that from scratch on my TI83 when I was a kid! In, like, about 100 lines of code! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

(I also coded a text adventure with a gender-ambiguous protagonist on that calculator, actually...)


3. I finished cleaning my bathroom yesterday! It only took me about two weeks! It is so nice to go in there and have it be clean! clean ALL the things )


4. So last November I kind of went into power-save mode for awhile, quit using Habitica and also quit a bunch of the things I had been doing on a regular basis (tag wrangling, practicing piano, working on Spanish and Icelandic, writing on a regular basis, using Tumblr...) But my sister got me back onto using Habitica again, and now that all the cat-related tasks are gone (and I trimmed some other stuff) it's a much more reasonable list of dailies.

I had forgotten how very motivating it is to get to tick the thingy. Now I am debating whether to use my Orb of Rebirth and start over or not (And whether to try to get together an active party with more than just me and my sister and a bunch of inactive accounts.)

And I'm trying to get back to doing some of the other things I stopped, too. I gave Tag Wrangling an un-hiatus notice, so I'm committed to trying to be less fail at that, and I pulled out a piano book for the first time in months (I found a copy of the very first one I learned out of, The Joy Of First-Year Piano, to warm me back up) Og ég er að læra íslensku aftur. Þótt jurtabókin er erfitt. Það er of mikið um illt kaffi í bókinni. Y yo hablé español a una clienta hoy! Un poco español, pero un poco es más que nada.

The only thing I gave up that I haven't missed at all is Tumblr. *shrug emoji* (even that's not true, I have a secret backup tumblr to which are added a couple people who post mostly personal stuff and also a bunch of nature and solarpunk and library special collections photos, and no politics or fandom, and it's still fine.)

5. One of the things on my habitica dailies is to post an AO3 comment once a day. Another one is to do something with politics once a week. I got my wires crossed in there somewhere and realized that if I don't feel up to actually engaging with politics I can just send one of my (excellent) congresspeople an email that literally just says, "Hi staffer who reads these, you are fighting the good fight, keep holding the line, thank you", just like when I want to leave an AO3 comment but don't know what to say, and it STILL COUNTS.

Also, people are trying to get public outcry going toward Congress passing the nonpartisan bill Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) which would make it so the US President could not launch a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war. TBH I can't think of ANY reason why that should ever have been possible, but ESPECIALLY now. So write your congresspeople or spread the word to #PULL THE FOOTBALL

/me crosses off "do politics" for this week

Scandal, the ABC show

NSFW Wednesday, 18 October 2017 03:21 pm

Yuletide and bears

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 08:05 am
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
SteelyKid made teddy-bear-pipe-cleaner swaps [*] for her Girl Scouts bridging ceremony last night, which she was justly proud of because she'd figured out a better way to make them that didn't involve cutting up the pipe cleaners, and she distributed them by running up to people, sticking out her full hands, and saying, "Bears!"

Which made me laugh every time, thinking of friends writing Yuletide.

Anyway, her swaps were a big hit, and if you need a Yuletide beta and you think I might know your fandom, hit me up even if it's not on the spreadsheet. Comments are screened.

[*] Any kind of little craft on a safety pin that you can trade.

FMK #27: Judge A Book By Its Title

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 07:40 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Last week's winners were not what I expected! But F goes to The Red Tent and K goes to The Magicians (which is WAY more hated than I had realized! For good reason apparently.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

This week's theme: I have no idea what this book is about, I'm pretty sure I only have it for the title.

Poll: Bail, Capote, Carey, Collins, Connors, Corliss, Ericson, Galloway, Gould, Morse, Shann, Shreve, Townsend, Wodehouse )

Star Trek: Discovery

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 11:13 am
marina: (Default)
[personal profile] marina
Before we get into this post, please know: I am not a Trek fan and have never been a Trek fan. I like maybe 2 characters (MAYBE) and a select few episodes from like, ALL OF STAR TREK CANON and furthermore: I've not seen most of the Star Trek canon. I also have a lot of not-necessarily-positive feelings about Star Trek FANDOM that I've been known to vent about so.

Please please ask yourself whether, knowing that, you really want to read the rest of this entry (which will contain mostly snark). Also know: if this entry isn't for you, I still love you and would never judge you (or anyone) for a single second for liking the things you like.

General thoughts on Star Trek )

Star Trek: Discovery 1x05 - Choose Your Pain )

attempting embroidery

Monday, 16 October 2017 10:18 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Somehow, I don't know how, I started following an embroidery blog, Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. And I liked what I saw, but transferring designs seemed really tedious and also fraught with the possibility of error, and it's not like I don't have enough stitching projects on hand already.

. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.

The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.

It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.

Here's as far as I got before I stopped:

picture )

(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)

I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.

So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )

Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)

My standards are broken

NSFW Monday, 16 October 2017 04:33 pm
petra: A blonde woman with both hands over her face (Britta - Twohanded facepalm)
[personal profile] petra
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