(no subject)

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:10 pm
yam: (Nap guitar)
[personal profile] yam
It is I, sleeping yam!

Sooooo sleepy all the time. I barely do anything and then am so exhausted by it. Feeling pretty down about that, but oh well, it is what it is. I was hoping maybe it is just allergies on top of everything, but I'm not usually allergic to everything forever, and I haven't been getting less sleepy. On the other hand, it seems to be a truly epic year for allergies across the board, judging by how hard it is to keep my antihistamine section stocked at work, so maybe that is it. I'm like, pregnancy-level sleepy, although thank god that is not the cause. (I love my baby and I am never doing that again.) Feeling down about my finances as a tangled-up part of this; I keep trying to pick up extra shifts - in fact I have one this very week, I have absolutely not learned - and then getting smacked down immediately by how weak I am for days afterward. Sigh. I did a big round of expense trimming and feel a bit better about things, but my travel budget is not very... er... existent. Things will improve a bit next year I think, when my tax returns catch up to reality and I qualify for more government this and that. And I'm going to sign up for the Please Pay For My Mental Health Medication I Am Broke But You Want Me To Take It Trust Me program, which will incidentally pay for my expensive migraine pills, since they are also used for various psychiatric issues. Nothing's all that bad, but a lot of things are not great and getting my pollyanna on is something I have less and less energy for. Thank god I have cats.

I am, no surprise, still loving having cats again. It's not exactly the unconditional love of an animal that appeals - it's super conditional, I totally feed them and they love that! - plus I feel lots of unconditional love from my family and friends, I am blessed. But I never have to explain or do emotional labour about my migraines to them. It's... it's amazing. I spend a lot of exhausted time trying to hide how much pain I am in, or trying to wade ahead through awkward answers to "How are your migraines?" "How are you?" "You're doing so much better!" etc, or trying to soothe people who have gotten a peek at what exactly I'm used to - being in pain 24/7, expecting to be in pain, being glad when the pain is not as bad as it sometimes is, stopping for meds every 4 hours - that stuff keeps me busy and I don't really want to spend more time going "No, no, it's okay, I've got this. I mean, I recognize that it's awful that I've got this, that there's a thing to get, just... let's talk about the weather, hey?" And yet I have the same impulses when people I love are in pain or in a lingering bad situation and I get the helpless need to reach out and show my shared horror / sympathy / disapproval etc. I'm not sure what to do with the irritation at how much emotional labour it is. Trying to come to view it as a symptom of my illness rather than a behaviour other people are doing to me. In some ways the societal downplaying of how bad migraine can be because it's predominantly a woman's disease comes in handy, helps me get away with "Fine thanks how are you!" when light is hurting me and sound is hurting me and my head is throbbing and moving hurts. It's... complicated. I've settled on usually answering "Oh, medium." when people ask how I'm doing. Most people seem to interpret that as "not in the mood to talk about it, but not brushing you off," which is about what I want I guess. Sick of this shit; still no hall pass; oh well, heft the backpack, here we go. But cats. Cats are an outlet of affection and amusement that involves none of this social illness role math. It's nice.

Splatoon 2 just came out and I ADORE IT. (Splatoon 2 had a line item all by itself in my cramped little budget. Tentacles: essential.) I can't stand to play for more than a few matches in a row because the sound hurts and also like, staying awake is harrrrrd, but BEING A SQUID IS STILL GREAT. Greg is very excited to watch me play. He would also like to play, but he's not getting his hands on my expensive, fragile Switch until he can come up with the gameboy I just bought him like six months ago which is lost inside our apartment somehow. This is not as ridiculous as it sounds, as our floors are constantly a disaster - he's six and I can't easily bend over to pick things up because of my bad knee and the way my head hurts if I do - so probably there are LOTS of interesting treasures hidden in the drifts of clutter here. But no getting jam on my new console until I confirm the previous one hasn't been stepped on or something. I might cave and let him play Splatoon 1 on the wii u, since let's face it, it's already well-jellied.

I've been going to church lately. I feel all sheepish about it, after being various flavours of atheist all these years. (While also being a church-going unitarian for many of them - but that's different in a lot of important ways.) But the Wednesday healing service at the local anglican cathedral is so lovely. It's so CALM and quiet and soothing, and they pet my head with blessed oil, and all kinds of muscles in my head and neck untense as the liturgy flows past. And then church ladies make me coffee and gossip about nursing homes with me. (As a pharmacist I am totally up on all the nursing home gossip.)

I have recently devoured two Neal Stephenson books and loved them: Reamde and Seveneves. They are both very in your face speed-reads (despite their great weight) rather than dense fruitcake like the Baroque Cycle, I am happy to report. I mean, I read all of the baroque cycle (I alternated it a chapter at a time with Vorkosigan books to keep myself going,) but it's more the kind of thing you do to put on your resume rather than for pleasure. I'm a little afraid to pick up his newest, DODO, because it looks like a bit of a return to historical twee-ness. I might give it a few years and then peep nervously at reviews.

Righto, back to sleep. Here are your journal entries for the next three weeks: CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS

Activity, and the lack therof...

Jul. 22nd, 2017 02:38 pm
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
Wednesday evening's radio club committee meeting was about as interesting as you might expect, but at least it didn't last as long as usual. I was home very shortly after 10pm, and got an early night.

I was awake quite early on Thursday. The morning's Morse practice went a lot better than it's gone in quite a while. Only one word caused me trouble. However, after it was over, much of the rest of the day was a bit of a struggle, energy-wise. A bit of stuff got done, but much less than might have been.

I spent a little more time tidying on Friday, but again ran short of energy and motivation before I got very far. It's still at the "things get messier before they get tidier" stage.

In the evening, however, there was gaming. At young A's request we played 7 Wonders, and Phil won. It was a short enough game that I was home before 10:30pm.

It rained overnight, and it has also been raining randomly and heavily at intervals all day. I have done a bit more tidying. I've also spent a bit of time trying to catch SOTA activators on the radio, Radio conditions ruminations )

Edit 7 hours later: Well, quite a bit of stuff has found itself a home in the workshop or the boiler cupboard, and there's a lot less on the floor now. There's further to go, but much less far than there was this morning.

Tomorrow there's an NMC rehearsal.

Runner beans

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:34 pm
watervole: (Default)
[personal profile] watervole
 I only used to eat runner beans when cooked, but many years ago now, I observed my mother-in-law's tortoise eating raw runner beans with great enthusiasm.   So I tried one and found that I liked it.

Oswin does too.  Really likes them.  Can eat several in a day.

Today, she was eating a slice of cake.  Grandad came in with fresh supply of runner beans from the allotment and gave her half of a runner bean.

She took it with great delight, ate it at once, and only then went back to the cake.

I love a three year old who appreciates allotment veg!

Cool Stuff Friday

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:22 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday still hasn’t seen the new Spider-Man movie 🙁

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Human rights

Jul. 19th, 2017 05:37 pm
history_monk: (Me)
[personal profile] history_monk
The "Great Repeal Bill" is trying to chip away at human rights protection for UK citizens. I'm amazed that the Tories think this is a good idea; do they expect to be in power forever? Petition from 38 Degrees here

Tweets, Bubbles and Bleeps

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:29 pm
hrrunka: A small radio transceiver (morse)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I tackled the waterlilies in the pond on Monday morning before my morning shower. What I really need to do, but will have to leave 'til they've died back for the winter, is to reduce the root-stock by about 80%, and fix the remaining root-stock to something seriously heavy. Trouble is, by the time the season's good for doing that to the plant, it's also a whole lot colder, and paddling in the pond when the temperature's in single digits isn't that much fun...

I was distracted for quite a bit of the rest of the day by the astronomical society committee's ideas for adding social media links to the society's website. I compromised by experimenting a bit with Twitter, which might do enough to distract some of the committee, but not, I fear, the ones wedded to Facebook.

On Tuesday I was a bit distracted by Ingress, which took almost 48 hours to increment my "Max Time Portal Held" stat from 149 to 150 days. I'd figured the counter should have rolled over some time on Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon I was wondering whether the portal it was referring to was not the one I thought it was referring to, and that the mystery other portal had been taken down some time Monday morning without my noticing or being alerted. It turned out that Ingress just has a very flexible definition of "day".

On Tuesday evening there was a talk about Morse Code at the nearer of the two radio clubs I attend regularly. The meeting was well-attended, and folk seemed to enjoy it. As the talk was aimed more at those who've never used Morse, I found most of the actual Morse a bit slow, but maybe it will spark some interest.

There was a bit of a thunderstorm overnight. I didn't properly wake up for it, but I was aware enough of it going on that I didn't sleep all that well, either. I've been feeling the effects all day. This evening there's a committee meeting for the other radio club, so I expect I'll end up having an afternoon nap before that.

A Hugo recommendation for next year

Jul. 18th, 2017 05:29 pm
filkerdave: (science fiction)
[personal profile] filkerdave

The truly wonderful What Football Will be Like in 17776 has finished so now's a great time to sit down and read it.

It's a lovely little SF piece. Be warned that you'll need to watch videos and animations as well as reading text. It's worth it, though.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

“There is a common poor attempt at a joke … that consists purely in stringing together a series of marginalized identities and calling attention to it … as if the mere existence of someone like that would be so absurd it could only be laughable.”

Invisible 3 CoverAlliah is one of the contributors to Invisible 3, which came out on June 27 and includes 18 essays and poems about representation in science fiction and fantasy. You can order the collection at:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

Any profits from the sale of the collection go to Con or Bust, helping fans of color to attend SF/F conventions.

As with Invisible and Invisible 2, the contributors to this third volume have shared work that’s heartfelt, eye-opening, honest, thoughtful, and important…not to mention relevant to so much of what we see happening in the genre today.

#

Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities

Growing up in the 90s and early 00s in the south-east of Brazil, all I saw in mainstream media were the same repetitive, harmful and offensive stereotypes about travestis in telenovelas and badly written comedy TV shows, and the effeminate gay men and macho lesbian women token characters whose non-conforming gender expression was grossly caricatured for cheap laughs.

As an openly queer young girl in school, I learned that I could be queer, but not too much, not too visibly. I’ve heard those laughs, and I internalized through bullying and ridicule that I should change how I presented myself to the world—which I did really fast by becoming the stock image of a non-threatening feminine girl, although I never hid my sexuality. My first awkward attempts at a masculine gender expression didn’t have time to blossom. I shoved it down some unreachable recess of my mind and avoided it for 10 years, which (along with compulsive heterosexuality and a binary cisnormative culture) is why it took me so long to understand my bisexuality and figure out my transmasculine non-binary gender identity.

Once I did, I uncovered a gender euphoria I’ve been cultivating ever since.

It took me years to understand the ways in which I inhabit my queer transmasculine genderfluid neuroatypical body, and my most powerful illumination came unexpectedly through the stories of a queer non-binary neuroatypical green witch: Elphaba Thropp, the Wicked Witch of the West.

Wicked: Cover ArtI first met her in the book series The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire, where most aspects about her gender and sexuality were ambiguous or obscured between the lines, and later in fan fiction, where the depths of Elphaba’s intersectional identities (canon or not) could be explored to the fullest by writers that shared those same identities.

Despite being an avid reader of speculative fiction since childhood, it was only after these encounters with trans and non-binary characters in fan fiction during the first half of my twenties that I started researching these topics, that I found out where I belonged. I discovered a thriving community of authors from marginalized groups creating astonishing rebellious versions of every world I’ve ever dreamed of and countless others I couldn’t imagine would be paramount to my process of liberation.

I owe it mostly to the fictional characters and their creators that illuminated me—from early readings like Virginia Woolf’s Orlando to the most recent fan fiction stories about a non-binary autistic Elphaba, a genderfluid bisexual Korra (from The Legend of Korra), and an agender transhumanist Root (from Person of Interest). I wish I could’ve met them sooner. Along the way to self-discovery, I had to collect all sorts of missing pieces with jagged edges and weird fractal shapes, and figure out a way to put them together myself. I was lucky to stumble upon the stories that I did and then to be able to find the communities that I needed. That’s why representation is vital. You cannot search for something you don’t even know exists.

There is a common poor attempt at a joke (that I’ve seen in both Anglophone and Brazilian online spaces), often directed at dehumanizing non-binary people and mocking activists working at the multidimensional core of intersections, that consists purely in stringing together a series of marginalized identities and calling attention to it, using the accumulation of these identities as a joke in and of itself, as if the mere existence of someone like that would be so absurd it could only be laughable.

One of the things fantasy author Jim Anotsu and I wanted to acknowledge when we wrote the Manifesto Irradiativo—our call to diversity and representation in Brazilian speculative fiction—is that our lives cannot be reduced to an isolated shelf in a bookstore or a niche market, thus we cannot be constrained to discussing the realities of our identities in those compartmentalized terms. We’re so much more than single-issue stories, than the same old one-dimensional narratives constructed to serve the gaze of the oppressor without making them examine their privileges and dismantle their systems of violence.

Those single-issue stories exist and persist for several reasons concerning the maintenance of racial, economic, and social power, amongst them because there is a fear of “too much” diversity. As if a book about a bipolar asexual bigender Afro-Brazilian person, for example, would scare away or alienate the common reader—who is always presumed to be the neurotypical cis straight white default that can handle only one unit of diversity at a time, served lukewarm, unseasoned. But as Audre Lorde said in a 1982 speech at Harvard University: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”

Stories matter. And we shouldn’t have the full extent of our existences cut, segregated, and dimmed in them. We deserve to live as a hyperdimensional mesh of identities when they want to flatten us, to be loud when they want to silence us, to occupy the spaces that have been negated to us, and to be wonderfully written and represented as such.

***

Alliah/Vic is a bisexual non-binary Brazilian writer and visual artist working in the realms of the weird and pop culture. They’re the author of Metanfetaedro and have various short stories published in themed collections and on the web. They’re currently building too many independent projects, working on their first novel, and haunting your internet cables. Find them tweeting at alliahverso and newslettering in Glitch Lung. Or buy them a coffee at ko-fi!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Hay-fever

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:15 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
My mother had hay-fever when she was younger, and it went away entirely when she was pregnant with my sister.

My sister has always had really horribly terrible hay-fever, and childhood eczema, and dust allergies.

When my mother was pregnant with me, her hay-fever came back.

I've never had hay-fever, or indeed any allergy in my life.

We've always put the whole thing down to some sort of pregnancy / immune system weirdness. However....

I've been sneezing for the last four or five days, and feel otherwise fine. Bah! I guess it's caught up with me at last.
filkerdave: Made by LJ user fasterpussycat (Default)
[personal profile] filkerdave

It turns out that there's no Music AH for Worldcon 75.

I mean, on one level, I'm not shedding any tears over screwups with the convention after they booted me (and the way it was done). But on the other hand, my friends are going to miss out on a lot of the activity they enjoy at the convention because there's nobody put it together.

Complicated feelings.

A Continuing Theme...

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:21 am
hrrunka: Frowning face from a character sheet by Keihound (good idea)
[personal profile] hrrunka
I woke up on Friday morning to an unusual noise, which turned out to the CPU fan on my main mail-handling machine complaining, so the day's "you weren't expecting this this, but..." activity involved replacing that CPU fan. The machine is now running noticeably more quietly, so I guess that fan had been slowly getting louder for quite a while.

On Friday evening I went over to Gravesend, and we played Carcassonne: The City.Phil was not quite as awake as usual, and I got lucky, and ended up ahead at the end of the game, by one single point.

On Saturday I took a look at the weather forecast, and grabbed my scruffy Driza-Bone coat as well as my grubby leather hat before heading for London Bridge. At Borough Market I met up with a number of other folk, and then went off with a "something sweet" mission. The day's "you weren't expecting this..." moment came I just after I got back to the meeting point, when a stranger with a camera asked whether he could photograph my hat. Once all the shoppers had emerged from Borough Market we re-gathered in the space next to City Hall for our picnic. It was a good gathering, with plenty of catching-up chat. The weather could have been better, but the drizzle never got quite heavy enough to cause serious trouble. We got to see Tower Bridge raised (to allow the Thames Barge "Gladys" to come through). Afterwards I went onto H.M.S. Belfast to have a quick look at the Bridge Wireless Office, and to talk to the folk running the amateur station that day. By the time I got home I was quite tired, and I went to bed relatively early.

I woke up at my usual Sunday time when the radio came on at about a quarter to nine. I caught the radio club's Sunday morning Net, then spent much of the rest of the morning dozing, and got very little done. A friend dropped by at around tea time, and we spent an hour and a bit chatting. After he left I watered the garden, and noticed that the heavy rock that had been keeping the water lilies in place in the pond had been tipped off. Looking back through webcam images, it seems to have been displaced last night, but it was too late in the day for me to consider putting it back in place, so I guess I'll just have to find time for that another day.

Sciffy Chicks

Jul. 16th, 2017 04:15 pm

Mazes and Monsters: The LiveTweeting

Jul. 15th, 2017 08:29 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

A couple of weeks ago, I asked people to share an announcement about Invisible 3, saying that if we got at least 100 retweets, I’d do a livetweeting of the 1982 made-for-TV film Mazes and Monsters.

Mazes and Monsters movie posterThe film is based on the novel of the same name, by Rona Jaffe, and warns of the dangers of fantasy role-playing games. It’s based at least in part on rumors and legends of students sneaking into the Michigan State University steam tunnels to play Dungeons and Dragons and disappearing.

Most of this background is, as you might imagine, complete bugbear twaddle.

On the other hand, this was a chance to see Tom Hanks in his first starring role for film.

You’ve got Robbie (Hanks), a troubled kid whose brother vanished years ago. He comes to a new school after failing out of the last one for playing too much Mazes & Monsters. He tries to avoid M&M’s siren song, but because he’s “Level Nine,” Kate, Daniel, and JJ really need him to join their game.

When Robbie and Kate hook up, JJ gets depressed and talks about suicide, but instead decides to run a live-action version of M&M in the local caverns. Robbie promptly has some sort of mental break and “becomes” his character, on a quest that takes him to New York City to find the Two Towers.

All four kids seem to come from rich families (I’m not 100% sure about Kate), because the film is so much more powerful if it shows that even rich white kids can be broken and destroyed by the evils of role-playing game.

Invisible 3 CoverThere’s also a bird, a lot of hats, a mother who likes to redecorate her son’s room, and a skeleton having inappropriate relations with a flashlight.

I’m embedding the Storify of my tweets below. If any of this makes you laugh, or if you just want to show your support or sympathy, please consider checking out Invisible 3 and/or leaving a review. Thanks!

And now I’m off to try to recover some of my SAN points…

###

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

How embarassing!

Jul. 15th, 2017 08:51 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
I just went to vote for the Hugos, and the only category where I had any strong opinion was Best Series (which I'm still not entirely sure I agree with as a concept anyway) and maybe BDP:SF.

I don't think I've read any of the fiction other than one novel that I bounced off. I've seen one of BDP:LF, and half of BDP-SF but couldn't tell you which episode was which. While I do think that Chuck Tingle deserves some Fan Writer kudos I'm not sure I want to rank him top in the category....

Oops. Am obviously a Bad Fan!

Multi-tasking

Jul. 15th, 2017 11:20 am
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
This morning, I pruned the wisteria, which (despite, or possibly as a result of, not getting to flower) has grown very vigorously this year.

This had the added advantage of providing Jo with a bijou snackette (once she figured out how to unwrap it) and, I very much hope, stopping expectant-mama-pigeon from waking me up at 4:30 every morning from now on.

Awkward to the end...

Jul. 14th, 2017 10:41 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
It's very common to have a horse who spends his working life wearing shoes and then has them taken off for his retirement, on account of them not being needed when all he's doing is wandering around in a field.

GB's been happily barefoot for a decade, but today the farrier said that now he's not working we need to think about putting shoes on him for the two hundred yard walk up and down the hill each day to the summer pasture. It is true that his feet were a state, but I was thoroughly expecting to be told not to be silly when I mentioned shoes....

What I'll probably do is put booties on him, morning and evening, just for the walk. I ordered a set this afternoon, and they'll probably arrive before we go away for The Bloody Wedding so that I can check that they fit / he doesn't object too much before the sitters have to deal with him.

When we first took his shoes off, I bought him some ferociously expensive booties, which he hated with a passion. Now that he's had no shoes for so long, they don't fit him any more, so they've gone back in the box. Hopefully he won't complain too much about the new ones...

We is smart, we is!

Jul. 14th, 2017 10:38 am
muninnhuginn: (Default)
[personal profile] muninnhuginn
Ravens can plan for future as well as 4-year-old children can

Actually, don't bother reading the article (we already knew we were clever), just admire those glossy feathers.

Smart,... and smart, eh?
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