swan_tower: (natural history)
[personal profile] swan_tower

In the never-ending attempt to keep my stock of author copies under control, I’m offering up three copies apiece of Voyage of the Basilisk and In the Labyrinth of Drakes. You’ve got about three days left to enter!

Also, I’m still looking for icons! Renewing the call not because I haven’t been offered a good selection, but because I want to give more people a chance to win the two Advance Reader Copies of Within the Sanctuary of Wings. Get your image manipulating on and maybe get a book!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

Weekly media report

Mar. 29th, 2017 04:47 pm
immlass: (hello foxy)
[personal profile] immlass
Books:
- Bad Feminist: Essays, by Roxane Gay. Having finished this, I see why so many people are so impressed by Gay. I really liked her approach to "bad" feminism and didn't feel too badly scolded by her essays about race. She told it like it is for her.
- Rivers of London: Night Witch, by Ben Aaronovitch. Graphic novel set before the most recent book, which I wish I'd read in proper order because it explains some things. Enjoyed it nonetheless!
- Amberlough, by Lara Elena Donnelly. Oscar Wilde meets James Bond in fantasy Weimar Germany. If the rest of this novel lives up to the set-up, I have a new favorite.

Movies/TV:
- None

Music:
- Jean-Michel Blais & CFCF, Cascades. Piano and synthesizer. I'm a fan of CFCF and we saw them at SXSW, which led me to immediately pre-order the album, most of which they'd played.
- Natalie Clein, Saint-Saëns: Cello Concertos. She has the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Manze on the violin.
- Academy of Ancient Music, Birth of the Symphony: Handel to Haydn. Part of my ongoing effort to upgrade my baroque and classical knowledge. Not thrilling but definitely enjoyable, and I'm definitely learning to tell the composers and periods apart, too.
randomness: Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea), photograph by Malene Thyssen, cropped square for userpic. (Default)
[personal profile] randomness
I have a very modest proposal which immediately occurred to me on reading this piece in the Belfast Telegraph:
Colum Eastwood has welcomed confirmation from Brexit Secretary David Davis that Northern Ireland would have an "automatic route" back into the EU if it were part of a united Ireland.

Unlike Scotland, which has been told it could be forced to join a queue for membership of the bloc if the country votes for independence, the province would not have to reapply for EU membership, as the Republic is already one of the existing member states, Tory minister said.

In a letter to SDLP MP Mark Durkan, David Davis wrote: “If a majority of the people of Northern Ireland were ever to vote to become part of a united Ireland the UK Government will honour its commitment to enable that to happen.”

He added: “In that event, Northern Ireland would be in a position of becoming part of an existing EU member state, rather than seeking to join the EU as a new independent state.

"It would of course be for the EU Commission to respond to any specific questions about the procedural requirements for that to happen."
It occurs to me immediately that there is a possible route for Scotland here, which probably only works if Ireland unites. Possibly not even then, depending on how Brussels looks on this particular plan.

If it is the case that becoming part of an existing EU member state means a country does not have to reapply for EU membership, clearly that's the preferred route. So after a united Ireland--possibly within hours of unification--Ireland and Scotland can then form the Celtic Union, and the whole Union would remain an EU member state.

Obviously, one would want to know whether the EU would be willing to accept this before embarking on this course of action.

Disclaimer: I am not either an Irish or UK citizen, or a citizen of any EU member state.

I have found two letters to the Irish Times advocating Celtic Union, but neither of them directly addresses the EU membership issue.

I have also found a letter to the Belfast Telegraph which does explicitly address the issue of EU membership.

I'm glad people are thinking along these lines. One hopes they can get organized in the next two years, as the clock is now ticking.

In LA

Mar. 28th, 2017 10:49 pm
liralen: (Default)
[personal profile] liralen
We've arrived in LA. It is the latter half of Jet's Spring Break, and we're here to remember, and to visit a few people, including a niece who is in school here and a friend I've never seen in the flesh before, but whom I talked with a great deal over a good many things.

We'll see how it goes. In the mean time, my body is amazed at what it's like to not play TF2 for an entire day. We've been to Trader Joe's and to the Mecca that is Original Tommy's, and eating my single cheese, extra chili, hold everything but the slab of fresh, local tomato, please.

It was amazing. My stomach is still uneasy about what I did, but... a price well worth paying. *laughs*

We got out to the Santa Monica pier at night, walked it and ate a churro. Got to see the fishing was good on the end of the pier, and got some good steps in today. It's a break from the gaming...

We made it into the top 16, didn't make the top 8, however, who were in the play offs. We do, however, have a chance to go into silver from steel. There are a few new players who want to join our team after one person left and the other just got less interested in the game itself. The personality mix is far more volatile, now, but the talent involved is much better. My mentor says that I'll do fine in silver, with him to help me learn and use his experience to help us, too. And we have one of his good friends as a team mentor as well.

So it's going to be a little crazy. So I'm taking time away from my rig, and I'm going to try out a few significant changes to see if I can't get my aim to be both better and hurt my right hand/wrist less. And we'll see...

But the time away is going to be essential for the change, and I'm going to have to sleep and rest away from the computer as much as I can. So we'l see how it goes.

The Cheese Theory of Adaptations

Mar. 28th, 2017 03:05 pm
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

My sister and I went to see the Power Rangers movie this past weekend.

You may think this was due to some nostalgia on my part. It’s not: I never watched the show, never had any of the toys, only vaguely knew it was a thing. My previous attachment to Power Rangers was nil. But the trailer looked fun and I’d done a whole lotta adulting over the previous couple of days, so off we went, even though my sister said that “everything Haim Saban touches is covered in a layer of Cheez Whiz.”

This led to us formulating the Cheese Theory of Adaptations.

At the low end you have something like the G.I. Joe movie. Was it cheesy? Yes — but it wasn’t good cheese. In fact, it was pre-sliced American cheese, and we’re not even sure the film-makers remembered to take off the plastic wrapper before offering it to us.

On the high end you have the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Which is also incredibly cheesey — but you find yourself saying, “dude, is this gruyere?” We’re talking high-quality cheese here, folks. The sort you can eat without feeling ill afterward, and even want to eat again.

The Power Rangers movie isn’t gruyere, but my sister and I agreed that it’s a good, decent cheddar. The weakest part of it was the obligatory Mecha Smash Fight at the end; by putting all the heroes into mecha, you restrict 90% of their opportunities to act, because the close-up shots of them mostly consist of them talking and then being shaken around their cockpits. But the good news is that the mecha part only comes at the very end of the movie, because the writers were far more interested in spending time on character development. These Power Rangers are a bunch of messed-up kids, and they aren’t able to “morph” (manifest their color-coded suits of armor) or control the mecha until they sort out some of their messes. That runs the risk of being pat — an After-School Special kind of story — but it isn’t, because “sort out” isn’t the same thing as “get over.” Nobody learns a Very Important Lesson and is thereafter rid of all their issues. Resolution comes in the form of honesty, of admitting they’ve got problems and trusting one another with their secrets. It lends weight to the idea that they have to work as a team; you can’t do that when you’re afraid to show your true self to your teammates, very real warts and all.

And there’s something to be said for throwing your entertainment dollars at a movie that shows a broad cross-section of the teenaged world. The Red Ranger and team leader appears to be your usual whitebread sports hero (and in the TV series that’s apparently what he was), but he’s got a history of sabotaging himself in disastrous ways; the introductory scene ends with him wearing a police-issued ankle monitor after a high-speed chase and subsequent wreck. He’s the only white member of the team. The actress playing the Pink Ranger (whose color palette has shifted closer to the purple end of the spectrum) is half-Gujarati, and her character is in trouble for having forwarded a sexually explicit photo of her friend to a guy at school. The movie shifts things around so that the black character is no longer also the Black Ranger; he’s the Blue Ranger instead, and on the autism spectrum, while the Black Ranger is Chinese-American and taking care of his seriously ill mother. Finally, there’s been a fair bit of press around the fact that the Yellow Ranger (played by a Latina actress) is the first LGBTQ superhero in a feature film.

So like I said: a good, decent cheddar. The characters are vivid and interesting, their problems feel very real, and the resolution on that front isn’t too tidy or simplistic. The villain and the throwdown with her are the least interesting parts of the whole shebang, but they don’t take up too much of it overall. It was a fun way to spend my Sunday afternoon.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

(no subject)

Mar. 27th, 2017 07:53 pm
subbes: an antifa symbol. (antifa)
[personal profile] subbes
i'm rubbish at social interactions

this is making finding a local affinity group quite difficult

*sigh*
randomness: Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea), photograph by Malene Thyssen, cropped square for userpic. (Default)
[personal profile] randomness
If you're following me on Instagram or on Twitter, you'll have noticed that I've started posting again on both sites. (If you're not, and you'd like to, let me know who you are over there and if I know you I'll be glad to give you access.)

If you're following me here you'll know that I've been having frustrating problems with storage on my Android phone. I'm happy to report that my immediate problems have more or less been solved, though my actions didn't have much to do with it. Last time I mentioned that I thought it was a software problem and that one suggested solution was to move apps from external to internal storage and see if one of the apps resident on the SD card was causing the OS to dismount the card.

After a couple of rounds of this annoying tedium I realized one first step I could take was to reboot the phone into safe mode to see if any of the downloaded apps were causing the problem, or if the actual source of the issue lay elsewhere.

I rebooted the phone into safe mode and waited a few minutes. Sure enough, the phone dismounted its SD card, right on schedule.

It didn't seem to matter whether I had any apps on the phone at all. The problem was apparently either preinstalled software or hardware. I was, without any particular evidence, leaning towards hardware. I thought about buying a new SD card, but that seemed like it might be throwing good money after bad.

One evening after I had mostly given up on the problem and was researching new phones, I got a notification of a system update. I was kind of surprised that my phone manufacturer had even gotten around to updating the OS, but happily so. I figured updating the system couldn't make things much worse than they already were.

Well, what do you know? Updating the OS changed my problem from "the phone dismounts its SD card three to five minutes after reboot" to "the phone intermittently dismounts its SD card a few days after reboot". That is more or less acceptable, where five minutes of uptime is not. I'm now reasonably pleased with the current behavior of the phone. I mean, I reboot the thing every couple of days on average because something gets wedged anyway.

Nonetheless I continue to be peeved at the way Android handles external storage. Over lunch last week, as we were both grumbling about our phones, a friend compared the way Android deals with external storage to the bad old days of the 640k RAM limit on the PC. It's not directly analogous--storage, not memory, for one thing--but it does require some irritating workarounds of its own.

For example, I have a fair amount of space remaining on my SD card: about 9GB. This does not help me with my internal storage crunch, however, as I have less than 720MB left there. And that's what matters to the Google App Store: if I don't have sufficient space in internal storage to download and uncompress an app, I can't install it on the SD card. More irritating is that when the App Store discovers this, it throws up a menu helpfully listing the amount of storage you're short of, and then deeply unhelpfully lists apps you might delete from the phone, without regard to where those apps are stored. This is dumb, because you can delete apps off the SD card all day without making the least difference to the App Store, which will unhelpfully continue to suggest more apps to delete.

Since all my large apps are now on the SD card, the apps the App Store will list first are invariably the ones on the SD card, and thus useless in resolving the internal storage space problem.

This design makes access to the SD card subject to the bottleneck of one's internal storage limit. I feel for my friend: his phone has 4GB of internal storage and it's manufactured by Samsung, which I understand to be one of the bigger offenders when it comes to manufacturer-imposed software bloat. At least I have 8GB of internal storage to start with, because Android takes up over 3GB of that. He's left with less than a GB of internal storage after Google and Samsung are done with his phone.

Moreover, the App Store doesn't tell you whether a particular app can be moved to the SD card. You have to install it and then go into settings to see where the OS put it. I've been doing a lot of this: download, check, delete if installed in internal storage. It is tedious.

For most apps, I suspect there's no very compelling reason to require that it be stored internally but it does require an active effort by the developer to allow the app to be moved to external storage. In any case, a vast number of apps have to be installed in internal storage.

There are a couple of fixes, none of which are immediately appealing. First, I could root my existing phone and then shove all the apps onto the SD card. Seeing which ones then broke would be entertaining, if not entirely useful.

Alternately I can buy a phone with lots of internal storage and/or no SD card slot whatsoever. This is the iPhone solution, and there are a number of Android phones with the same philosophy: no external storage equals no problem with a distinction between internal and external storage.

The downside of this, of course, is that no external expansion means you pay over the odds for storage and are stuck with your decision after purchase, because internal storage is fixed and invariably more expensive than that on an SD card. It does eliminate an entire class of issues with regard to storage--for example, if I'd bought a phone with plenty of internal storage this problem would never have happened to me at all--but the web is full of griping about the markups phone manufacturers get away with on internal storage.

One final note is that in copying over the 9000+ images I have taken on my phone I noticed two were corrupt, and caused my phone to dismount the SD card when I tried copying them. So it's possible my actual problem is that SD card has bad sectors and the OS was coping with this problem ungracefully by dismounting the SD card instead of just locking out the bad sectors. In any case I've already copied those particular images on a previous backup so the data is fine. Everything else on the SD card is an app, and so easily replaceable as well.

Really what I need is a new camera because I shot nearly all of those 9000+ images during the time I've been without a camera. I much, much prefer having a standalone camera to shooting with a phone, but that is a rant for another day.

In further NorCal news

Mar. 25th, 2017 03:36 pm
subbes: An excerpt from Cat & Girl. A teacher says "Follow your dreams," to which Girl responds "my dream leads to scurvy." (My Dream Leads To Scurvy)
[personal profile] subbes
Friends, chums, and comrades went to Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco town hall with Jackie Speier. Pelosi is reticent about meeting with constituents - like Feinstein, she prefers to keep them far away unless they're paying $15,000 for a plate at a fundraising dinner, or asking only pre-written questions. In keeping with this tradition, tickets were required, space was limited, and the event wasn't really publicized until late, but we still managed to snag enough space - I gave up my space and the three extra seats I'd reserved to anyone who needed 'em (reserved for "Rosa Luxembourg," "Tony Benn," and "Jeremy Corbyn" so hopefully they weren't checking IDs at the door).

The town hall was ostensibly to talk about resisting - i.e. an opportunity for Pelosi to pretend that the Democrats are doing more than being milquetoast centrists (and that they totally would be doing all this resisting, even if we weren't overloading their switchboards and offices with calls and faxes and letters and e-mails and sometimes straight-up visits because it's the only way to get to them). I trust you know why I disagree with this claim.

What I'm seeing on Twitter is that we managed to get in some good questions about the need for single-payer/guaranteed healthcare, and Pelosi biffed the response - at one point claiming the ACA was further left than medicare for all - if anyone can explain the logic of this to me I'd be grateful, because... what? But then, she's the same one who responded "we're capitalist and that's just the way it is" to an earnest young socialist's off-script question: she... does not do well with unscripted Q & As.

Gads, and people wonder why the DNC is so unpopular. Look at them! Just look!

Far Future Little Dudes

Mar. 25th, 2017 03:59 pm
bluegargantua: (Default)
[personal profile] bluegargantua
Hey,

So a year ago I got really interested in Gates of Antares by Warlord Games. I liked the figures. I basically liked the games system it was built on (Bolt Action) so I picked up the starter box.

Then I read through it and I was reminded why sci-fi rulesets are so problematic for me. Each race uses a different technology (or a different application of the same technology) to do stuff. But in the crucible of war, especially between two forces of relatively equal technical sophistication, either one type of technology would turn out to be better (a laser gun is always better than an automatic rifle) forcing both sides to use the same tech or there'd be no functional difference between them (so both laser gun and automatic rifle would be the same stats-wise from the game's perspective). This means there are potential balance issues and, of course, you're locked into a particular manufacturer's minis (unless you proxy them). I dunno...I got it and then kinda lost interest.

But I had a pile of plastic and felt like the minis were interesting enough to paint up so over the past couple of months, I have been. Let's look at what I've done.

First up, we have the forces of the Ghar, vicious little goblin-like creatures that wrap themselves in powerful, slightly unstable battle suits and wade in for the kill. You get six the in the starter kit:


Ghar Battlesuits


These battle suits come in two configuration. You have the Scourer Cannon:


Ghar Battlesuit -- Scourer Cannon

\

Ghar Battlesuit -- Scourer Cannon 2


For close-in work, you've also got a group equipped with a plasma claw:


Ghar Battlesuit -- Plasma Claw


The fact that a power claw is a viable choice for a military force, kind of underscores my point about wonky sci-fi rulesets. I'm not saying that close combat won't be a feature of combat in the future, but no one's going to have major formations of guys equipped with a can opener. Maybe if you're fighting in a space unfriendly to projectiles such as a ship in space. But then, assuming the suit fits in the hallways, you're not likely to think a plasma-powered claw is a good idea either. Still...they look pretty cool, I do admit.

So that's the evil aliens. How about the humans?


Concord Strike Force


These are the basic Strike Troopers for the Concord (human) force. Each squad is composed of five guys that includes a leader and a heavy weapons trooper with plasma lance:

Concord Leader and Heavy Weapons Trooper

And three Strike Troopers:

Concord Strike Troopers

But because this is the far future, these squads get some robotic assistants (and this, by the way, is one of the things that really drew me to the game initially, most forces have or can have various helper drones). These primarily consist of Spotter Drones helping to find enemies and direct fire:

Concord Spotter Drones


Your squad can also pick up some heavier Combat Drones with a plasma cannon for a little more support:


Concord C3D1 Support Drones


Oh and the second one on the left has a subverter matrix to hijack enemy drones (and again, this cyber-war component was another draw to this game for me).

Anyway, a typical strike squad will have the troopers and their spotter drone along with a combat drone and its personal spotter drone:


Concord Strike Squad


A rather nice looking group even if I do say so myself.

I took this opportunity to try and practice a couple of different painting techniques. In particular, I normally use a dip shader to shade/shellac the mini with maybe a hint of highlighting after. Here, I used some colored shades (black and green) and then tried harder to do more highlighting afterwards. I need to work with this technique a bit more, but I am pleased at the way all these guys came out. 

The Ghar probably could've used a bit more highlighting to brighten them up a bit, but again, it all came out pretty well.

This was also the first time I tried painting figures on flight stands. Honestly, I should've white glued the drones to a stick, painted them on that and then transferred them to the clear flight stands, but I was feeling lazy and masking the flight stand worked out pretty well.

The biggest experiment was detailing the lenses. The Ghar suits in particular have those glowing blue plasma cores and a face full of lenses. Usually, I paint those kinds of things black (or one other color) and let it go at that. I still can't paint eyes to save my life. But this time, I wanted to give the lenses a shot and I'm really happy with the way it all turned out. I'm hoping to keep working on these detail bits and improving those a bit. It doesn't take much and it really makes the model pop.

Anyway, these guys are unlikely to hit the table (at least not in a game of Gate of Antares) but I'm glad I got them painted. I got to practice a few different techniques and I really do enjoy painting these little dudes even if I'm not a Golden Demon.

Next up: a blast from the past.

later
Tom


Surrendered Review

Mar. 25th, 2017 02:06 pm
bluegargantua: (Default)
[personal profile] bluegargantua
Hey,

So the other day I finished up Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer. This is the sequel to last year's Too Like Lightning which I rather enjoyed. So I was really looking forward to this.

Unfortunately, I think the series finally succumbed to the issues I noted in my review on the previous book. The book is a history of seven fateful days that changed the course of a human utopia. It is also, a lengthy mediation and discussion of Enlightenment-era thinking and personalities. The problem, as I noted in the previous book, is that the world-building and technology on display in the book mean that you can't just shoehorn 18th Century thinking as the power-behind-the-throne as it does here. The book's world, it's plot, and it's philosophical discourses all work at cross-purposes to one another and eventually you finally have to start asking questions the book doesn't really want to answer.

Let me be clear -- there is an enormous value to reading and understanding historical patterns of thought. I love history and I love listening to the thinking of people of the past. It's why I really enjoy Lapham's Quarterly for example. No matter what Big Topic you're thinking about, someone in the past has probably already had thoughts similar to yours and articulated it better, just as someone else probably was more articulate in tearing down that idea.

But those thoughts also existed in a certain context and you can't just wholesale dump them into a new context and expect everything to run smoothly (and yet, you can't also just blandly claim that the new context invalidates all the thinking of the past).

Anyway, with this book, people make a number of decisions that just don't quite hold up under scrutiny (outside of their Enlightenment context...maybe) and a couple of them are actively being assholes, but somehow the other major players shrug their shoulders and let them get away with it.

I dunno, there's a lot of really neat stuff in this book, but it's just doesn't fit together. Also, there'll be yet another book in the series. To it's credit, the book does end at a decent(ish) stopping point, but I'm in no hurry to pick up the next book in the sequence.

later
Tom

two last icons!

Mar. 23rd, 2017 12:52 pm
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

I realized recently that not only do I not have an icon for Within the Sanctuary of Wings, I don’t have one for In the Labyrinth of Drakes, either.

So! I have two ARCs of Sanctuary to offer in exchange for people making me pretty icons out of the cover art for those books. You can find the full images for Labyrinth here and Sanctuary here. The icons need to be 100×100 pixels and contain the titles of the books; beyond that, arrange ’em however you like. I’ll pick two recips out of everyone who sends me an icon — so if you want the book early, fire up your mouse!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

Bryan Ferry & Judith Owen

Mar. 23rd, 2017 01:03 pm
immlass: (music - radiola)
[personal profile] immlass
Bryan Ferry with Judith Owen opening. Moody Theater at ACL Live March 22, 2017.

My seat getting powers managed to get four together in the presale but sadly they were by the bar, which meant a lot of drunken yakking especially as the evening wore on. The sightlines were fine even though we were far stage right, but the noisy people were a buzzkill.

I wasn't familiar with Judith Owen but she won me over with her middle-aged lady brashness and piano skills, especially her finale, a fantastic cover of Age of Aquarius. I bought her album on the basis of that performance.

Ferry was brilliant and performed all his hits (including More Than This, which I cleverly managed to be in the bathroom for). His vocals needed to be up much higher in the mix to make the lyrics comprehensible. I know he's 70 and his voice isn't as clear as it used to be, but he was really just too quiet compared to the instruments when they were really rocking out. (They were fine during the quiet bits). The sax player was amazing and got a lot of highlight time, but she was first among a really good set of musicians.

Overall I enjoyed the show a lot and couldn't believe how many seats were empty and how many people were there to talk instead of get into the music. The problem is not in the star, but in Austin ourselves.
swan_tower: (natural history)
[personal profile] swan_tower

It isn’t nice to taunt . . . and you still have nearly five weeks to wait before the novel itself can be in your hands. But if you need your appetite whetted just that little bit more, Tor has posted the first chapter of Within the Sanctuary of Wings.

April 25th. If you think you’re chewing your fingernails off, know that mine went away months ago!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

Weekly media report

Mar. 22nd, 2017 02:11 pm
immlass: (ace of hearts)
[personal profile] immlass
Some things that I've been thinking about.
1. I'm never going to catch up on my TV backlog for this season so a bunch of shows are just going to get rebooted where they are. For the CW superhero shows, I'm not sure I'm missing anything. For the Star Wars stuff, I just don't care.
2. Related to the Star Wars stuff, I'm not going to read any more of the new canon books/graphic novels, and I'm not going to watch any of the backstory. I don't like where they're going and while I don't mind 2.5 hours and $25 to participate in communal culture, I'm done devoting more time to actual canon than that. I have better things to do with my limited time on this earth.
3. I'm winding down the last of the Classic Who DVDs on Netflix and then cancelling my DVD subscription. It's time.

Books:
- Star Wars: Rebel Heist, by Matt Kindt. Interesting enough story conceptually but honestly not that compelling on its own. (And adds no real canon to the universe, alas.)
- Vader Down, by Jason Aaron. New canon crossover between the OT triad and the characters in the new Darth Vader comic. While i like the DV comic, this one suffers from the comparison between the characters we love and the new ones (particularly the droids). Also the Darth Vader stuff makes him the same sort of ridiculous as a Dalek fleet. I'm glad I read it but I think this is going to be the last round of Star Wars stuff.
- Bad Feminist: Essays, by Roxane Gay. I'm really enjoying this as essay/memoir/meditations about race & feminism so far.
- Daughter of Necessity by Marie Brennan. Saw this on a friend's read list and devoured it at once (it's short). Magic and myth and the Odyssey from Penelope's point of view. Recommended, and reminded me why I liked her dragon books when the racism wasn't so blatantly overwhelming.
- A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers, by Alyssa Wong. Recommended to me. Another short on family and power and love and time travel. Difficult but well worth it.

Movies/TV:
- Doctor Who: The Twin Dilemma. Six and Peri's first adventure. Six starts out as even more of an asshole than he ends up. Which is saying a lot. The problem with the story is that Six is in it, not that the actual story (involving special twins and gastropods) is bad.

Music:
- My Education, Schiphol. Homegrown Austin post-rock. Really wish they'd do another silent film score. Their music is perfect for it.
- Sym, Symbiosis. The other release from the Strange & Ancient music people. They're not exactly classical early/medieval nor are they exactly renfest folks but they seem to be somewhere in the middle stylistically.

Productive Day!

Mar. 19th, 2017 10:33 pm
tkingfisher: (Default)
[personal profile] tkingfisher
Today we did a burn on the weeds in the garden, I weeded a bunch more by hand, planted some stuff I'd been meaning to get in the ground, dug up some ground covers and transplanted them to ground that needs covering. Then I made more pendants for Texas Furry Fiesta next weekend, prepped some bags-and-boards for prints, wrote a Hidden Almanac, and did a podcast interview with New Moon Girls in Minnesota.

It was very productive. I am trying to be glad of that and not to feel guilty when tomorrow and yesterday prove not to be nearly as productive. Still, I'm going out birding in Texas last week of March, and I'll probably have some evenings free to get some writing done, finish the latest kid's book worth of edits, maybe work on a novella that's been lurking for nearly a year, or even doodle on my iPad. I am feeling that itchy art brain of "MUST DO ART!" but it's slamming into the wall of having to finish the latest hamster book's worth of illustrations. Still, only a few more weeks of hamsters, and then I can draw any weird thing I want!

Really looking forward to that bit. I am very proud of the Hamster books, but they're a serious mental investment. It's worth it, and I'll do as many as they buy, but I want to draw other things for a bit and remember who I am when I'm not a respectable children's book author...

(no subject)

Mar. 18th, 2017 03:21 pm
subbes: A screenshot of green text in a black terminal window. This is the default icon for any entry I post from charm.py (bash)
[personal profile] subbes
i drove all the way to san francisco for a training about how to respond to police brutality, only to discover that SURJ had given out the wrong address and it was actually in oakland and i couldnt get there in time. more proof that you should never trust white people.

SXSW 2017 Night Four

Mar. 18th, 2017 12:58 pm
immlass: (music - radiola)
[personal profile] immlass
Hey, we managed a second night this year, which means we're one up on last year. (Health stuff is a bitch.)

We decided to stop into the Townsend and listen to a Colombian band called Sagan, which did beautiful electronic soundscapes but half the singing was in Spanish. I enjoyed it but Michael wasn't into it so we moved on.

The Golden Arm Trio was at the Elephant Room so we stopped in to listen to the music there. We were at the back so there was a lot of talking but as usual, they were great. One of these years, we're going to go see them not at SXSW.

Then we managed to squeeze into the back of St David's for Agnes Obel, which was my one must-see show of this year. She was amazing, and just when I'd given up on The Curse, she played a new arrangement for four voices as her closer. We had fantastic sound since we were right in front of the board.

Michael had hit his head on the way out of the Elephant Room (it's a low basement venue) so we bailed out and went home. But even if we don't do any more tonight, we've done a good SXSW.

Photobucket

Mar. 17th, 2017 02:41 pm
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[staff profile] karzilla posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Thanks to everyone who let us know that Photobucket images were not loading properly on some pages. The problem seemed to be mostly limited to HTTPS requests; Dreamwidth maintains a list of known high-traffic image sites that support HTTPS, so that our secure content proxy service doesn't cache them unnecessarily. Unfortunately Photobucket seems to have recently changed their site configuration such that HTTPS requests aren't being served as expected, and we've now taken it out of our list of "proxy-exempt" sites.

If you continue to have issues, make sure you're not using HTTPS Photobucket links. It's a bit counterintuitive, but if you use HTTP instead, it will be automatically transformed on our end to an HTTPS link that uses p.dreamwidth.org.

Hope that clears everything up for now! Let us know if it doesn't...

The New Green Wave

Mar. 17th, 2017 12:05 pm
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[personal profile] swan_tower

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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