iTunes is first out the starting gate this time...
Amazon and Nook should follow within the day. I'll post the links as I find them.
I've wondered if I should say any more about it, but really, at 28k words you can all find out for yourselves soon enough.
It's not, by the way, my shortest novella so far -- "Winterfair Gifts" was about 23,500, by way of comparison; "Weatherman" was about 27,000.
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 27
Advice for My Nephew on Getting his Driver’s Permit
Set your hands at 10 and 2
Grandpa once said to me, your mother,
your cousins, and he’ll say to you.
He’ll tell you to buckle up, adjust your
seat, your mirrors, and the one-second rule
for estimating the distance between
you and the car in front of you.
Then round and round you’ll cruise an empty
parking lot with Grandpa braced
between the dash and seat, smiling.
But he is a white man and may neglect to add:
Keep your palms flat against the wheel
when the police stop you for a broken light,
and never reach for your wallet.
— Wendy Scher
Negatives: jesus god could we please not have humor -- "humor" -- at the expense of the fat girl, and sitcom humor in general isn't often my thing.
Positives: The first couple episodes were actually pretty free of fat-girl "humor"; it was the fourth that had me grinding my teeth. Otherwise we do find it funny! And Alan Tudyk looks like he's having the time of hislife. Also I like Jackie (Christina Kirk), his assistant, and her dry take-no-bullshit delivery.
(Shallow negative: Emily (Vanessa Hudgens) has teeth that are disturbingly white.)
These days we're watching it and The Expanse, which between my difficulty hearing it and my moderate face-blindness I can barely follow; it's an incongruous pair of shows!
The pepper seeds look exactly the same as last week -- ie, nothing is visible above the soil -- which is to be expected.
Meanwhile, the Lazarus pepper has lost one bud (it shriveled and is about ready to drop from the plant) but the other is hanging in there and might be thinking about actually blooming. I firmly expect any bloom to be lopsided and weird, and then to probably shrivel and drop off itself, but you never know. Miracles do happen! (And there's a reason they're called miracles, and it's not because they're common. *wry*) Anyway, I mixed some crushed eggshells into its soil, which will probably not do much indoors and away from helpful bacteria and such, but the peppers did seem to like their eggshell supplements last summer so whatever; I doubt it can hurt.
More next week, as always.
[[original Tumblr post, for when the embedded images inevitably break]]
February 27, 2017 - It Was A Good Day
Everyone at this house seems to be on the road to recovery. One grandchild felt well enough to go to school and stay the whole day. The other still had a slight fever this morning and stayed home. By the time I got here, everyone was fever free and able to eat small amounts of bland food.
At the office, there are four people out with the same complaint. If the Universe is on my side, I won't get it.
The sun was out, bright and shining, all day. It lifted my spirits and made me happy. However, my phone keeps screaming at me because the local weather stations are predicting thunderstorms all day tomorrow, and some are expected to be severe. I hope they're wrong...
My sister and brother-in-law arrived safely in Flagstaff around 1:00 pm and decided to stop for the night. If luck and the weather are on their side, they should be home Wednesday late afternoon or early evening. They've been gone since January 5, so I'm anxious to see them.
It was good at the office, too. Everyone was calm, there was no drama or petty behavior, and we laughed a lot. Also, I was able to get caught up from being out on Friday. Tomorrow, I should be sitting pretty.
So, to quote my friend Cube, 'Nobody I know got killed. I didn't even have to use my AK. I gotta say, it was a good day.' ;-)
And a reminder that fics in about 26 hours, at 8pm MST on February 28th.
( Pinch Hit #8 )
"Slade drugging her and making her crazy– I won’t say that didn’t happen, but that seemed a little much to me. I believe Slade dotes on Rose, which makes the schism which has developed between them all the more ridiculous because neither is actually talking to the other – hence a widening misunderstanding on Rose’s part (she thinks he’s out to kill her). Slade, for his part, has no idea what Rose is thinking. This echoes many father-daughter relationships; I love you, I can’t stand you, I’m putting a hit out on you so I can pretend to protect you in order to spend time with you.
"As smart as Slade is, when it comes to Rose, he’s just a typical dad – an idiot." -- Christopher J. Priest
( Read more... )
Title: Following Hunches
Pairing/Characters: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy.
Word Count: 100 x 12 *sigh*
Challenge: Written for draco100's prompt #12: A Hunch.
Beta(s): sevfan and emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.
( Following Hunches )
⌈ Secret Post #3708 ⌋
Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.
( More! )
Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 27 secrets from Secret Submission Post #530.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 1 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
In early December, I delivered — via Skype — some opening remarks for the Superhero Identities Symposium at Melbourne’s Australian Center for the Moving Image. Angela Ndlianis, one of the event organizers, has let me know that an audio podcast version of my remarks and those of some of the other sessions are now available online. You can access my remarks here.
My remarks built upon Henry Jenkins, Sangita Shresthova, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik, and Liana Gamber-Thompson, “Super-Powers to the People!: How Young Activists are Tapping the Civic Imagination,” in Eric Gordon and Paul Mihalias (eds.) Civic Media: Technology, Design, Practice (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2016), 295-320.
Here’s the abstract for the talk:
“What Else Can You Do With Them?”: Superheroes and the Civic Imagination
By Henry Jenkins
“If a superhero can be such a powerful and effective metaphor for male adolescence, then what else can you do with them?” — Kurt Busiek, AstroCity
In his 2015 book, On the Origin of the Superheroes, Chris Cavalier traces one origin story of the superhero back to the figure of popular rebels, such as Robin Hood and Guy Fawkes, suggesting the ongoing struggles to contain these larger-than-life protagonists operating outside the system into the constraints of corporate ideologies and political institutions. From the start, the superhero had a politics and from time to time — when Superman was “Champion of the Oppressed” rather than the defender of “Truth, Justice, and the American way,” when Green Lantern and Green Arrow set out to discover a troubled 1960s America, when Captain America questions the military-industrial complex, and when Wonder Woman inspires the birth of Second Wave Feminism — that politics threatens to get out of hand. It is one thing to kick Hitler’s butt and another to stand up for GLBT rights, challenge Islamiphobia, or support African self-determination.
My interest here, though, is not first and foremost in the way politics is depicted in superhero comics, but rather the ways superheroes are stepping off the page and the screen and becoming resources for the Civic Imagination. Around the world, activists are struggling for immigrant rights, battling rape culture, questioning the police state, asking for homes for Syrian refuges, or condemning wealth inequality while deploying iconography and mythology borrowed from the American superhero tradition. Before we can change the world, we need to be able to imagine what a better world might look like, we need to believe that change is possible, we need to see ourselves as agents of change, and we need to develop empathy for the plight of others whose experiences are different from our own. The Civic Imagination refers to the often shared mental constructs and rhetorical devices through which we inspire these potentials for social and political change.
Recent research on participatory politics in the United States suggests that more and more the Civic Imagination is being fueled by popular culture, especially among youth, and we have begun to see such patterns elsewhere around the world. There is a blurring of the lines between fans and activists as characters from popular culture are being reimagined, redrawn, and re-performed to speak for non-dominant peoples who often want contemporary heroic narratives they can pass along to their own children and help them imagine a different role for themselves as political and civic agents.
And this process has gone global as the success of the Marvel franchises has introduced the superhero genre to countries, especially in the global south, which have had limited exposure to it before. As countries seek to create mythologies that place them on the map of an increasingly transnational culture, as they seek narratives of personal and collective empowerment, they are seeking to insert their concerns into the framework the superhero genre provides us.
In this talk, I will provide an overview of this phenomenon, situating it within the larger contexts of participatory politics and the Civic Imagination. I will consider what about the superhero has made this popular culture trope such a flexible and generative tool for sparking the Civic Imagination. And I will close with some reflections on the strengths and limits of conceptualizing struggles for social justice within the terms the superhero genre offers.
You can go here for information about the conference and links to other presentations, including featured interviews with Hope Larsen, Paul Dini, Nicola Scott, and Tom Taylor, among others.
Angela also shared with me some great videos produced for the event interviewing Australian fans and artists from local comics conventions. Enjoy!
Oliver has had a crush on Matt almost since the first time he saw him years ago and pretty much nothing has changed. They are still the best of friends, but Matt moved to New York City ten years ago and Oliver remains in California. Oliver still spends every Friday night with his friends at their favorite bar, Wild Side, and his friends still like to give him a hard time about his hookups, or lack of hookups. It’s just that Oliver wants it to mean more and it certainly doesn’t help that Matt remains on his mind.
Matt’s first love was the piano, but when a career in music didn’t work out, he turned to modeling. He’s successful, yet nothing feels right, from his relationships to his career and he can’t figure out what he needs. Matt never felt like he fit in with Oliver and his friends as he was the housekeeper’s kid and he knows he hasn’t been the best friend to Oliver over the years. But when Matt feels like it’s all coming apart, he finds himself at Oliver’s door.
Their friendship finally catches fire and Matt and Oliver find themselves turning to each other again and again while telling themselves it will end when Matt goes back to NYC. Oliver has always known it would be difficult to give Matt up and Matt is caught off guard by the depth of his feelings for Oliver. Matt has always felt that Oliver deserves better, but it may take Oliver letting Matt go for him to realize what he has had all along.
This book opens with brief flashes of the past that highlights the relationship between Oliver, Matt, and their group of friends. We see the guys at 18, right after high school graduation, again at 20, and then in present day when they are 28. They have all remained the closest of friends with Matt being the only one that has moved away. Matt and Oliver are still in contact and will always have a bond, but the visits become less over the years.
Oliver is living his dream as an author and has the career he always wanted. He doesn’t have someone to share his life with and although he tried dating, nothing and no one seems to stick. Oliver will deny it, but Matt is always in his mind as a comparison. Matt is more successful than he ever thought he would be, yet he feels unsettled and unfilled, like any moment someone will see through him and call him out. When he needs to figure out his next step the only place he thinks to go is to see Oliver.
Childhood friends-to-lovers can put me in the zone when it’s done well, but this one wasn’t done as well for me. I never felt the longing and the passion that these guys were said to have for each other, especially from Matt. They are in the friend zone for a long time and that spark never came off the page for me. Also, their voices never did seem to grow up for me over the course of the book and they gave off the sense that they were still way young and playing grown up. Many of their interactions felt stiff and forced and the emotion that was being discussed didn’t reach out to me and the whole book had a sense of detachment to it.
Oliver is a nice guy and the stable one that looks after all of his friends, yet he came off as a bit bland, while Matt was the gorgeous model who never felt good enough and he has personal as well as family issues to work through. All of these guys tended to emote all over the place, yet they can’t find the words for each other and it all shockingly fell flat for me.
The story introduces us to a group of friends, which includes Dare as the owner of the bar the guys hang out at. Dare and Austin were featured in the story, Dare You To, that Jay reviewed as part of It Was Always You anthology. That story is now available on its own as is listed as book #0.5 in this series. While Dare and Austin do make an appearance in this book, it’s not imperative to have read that story.
The first book I ever read by Hart still remains my favorite from the author and I feel like I am constantly chasing the high from that book as this one was lacking for me. But, if you enjoy this author and are looking for a new series set around a group of friends in California, you could give Gone For You a try.
Today is ‘International Polar Bear Day’, and in honor of the efforts to save this species, we are introducing you to a trio of adorable new cubs!
On November 8, a Polar Bear named Anana gave birth to twins at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. On November 16, her sister, Aurora, also gave birth to twin cubs. However, this great news was met with the unfortunate passing of one of Anana’s cubs.
This is Aurora’s third time producing twins; the first litter did not survive and the now famous, Nora, was born in the second litter on November 6, 2015. Nora was hand reared by the Zoo team after Aurora left her alone in the den when she was six days old.
Activity inside the dens was being monitored using remote cameras, and the reason for the loss of Anana’s cub will likely never be known. Animal care staff members, who had been observing Anana and Aurora 24 hours a day, noted the cub stopped moving, but Anana continued to groom the cub and held it in position to nurse.
“At this time, both Anana and Aurora are attentively caring for their cubs but the sudden loss of one of Anana’s cubs is a sad reminder of how fragile their lives are both in our care and in their native Arctic environment,” said Carrie Pratt, Curator of North America and Polar Frontier. “We remain hopeful for the survival of these cubs as well as for the future of Polar Bears.”
The sire to all the cubs is 28-year-old Nanuq who came to the Columbus Zoo in 2012. As long as Aurora and Anana continue to care for cubs in their dens, Nanuq is the only Polar Bear visible to guests.
Anana and her cub are taking baby steps to explore other areas of the maternity den. The little one is now eating chow and will also steal little slivers of meat from mom. The cub is also climbing and running on sand piles and sod. After being introduced to a few inches of water (up to the belly), the cub is a big fan. The cub’s sex will be confirmed during the vet wellness check-up in the coming weeks, and both mom and baby will remain off-view until spring.
Aurora and her twin cubs are also experiencing similar milestones as her sister and cub. The cubs are being introduced to more of the behind-the-scenes yards with sand and sod (slowly growing their world) and they are doing great. They are also eating chow and sneaking bits of meat from mom. The twins have been introduced to a few inches of water. According to keepers, they will put all four paws in, splash around and stick their snouts in. Afterwards, they like to roll on the sod to dry off. The twins’ sex will be confirmed during their vet wellness check-up in the coming weeks, and, as with Anana and cub, both mom and babies will likely be on view in the spring.
Nanuq is the oldest male Polar Bear to reproduce in a North American zoo. Nine-year-old twins Aurora and Anana arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2010 when the Polar Frontier region opened. All three bears came from other zoos on breeding loans as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan (SSP) for the threatened species.
Female Polar Bears generally have their first set of cubs between the ages of four and eight years. Due to delayed implantation, the gestation period can range from about 195 to 265 days. Pregnant Polar Bears den in the fall and give birth, generally to two cubs, in the winter. The cubs grow quickly on their mother’s fat-rich milk before emerging from the den in the spring.
Polar Bears are native to the circumpolar north including the United States (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark (Greenland). They are at the top of the Arctic food chain and primarily eat seals. Polar Bear populations are declining due to the disappearance of sea ice, and experts estimate that only 20,000-25,000 Polar Bears are left in the wild. Some scientists believe if the warming trend continues two-thirds of the population could disappear by the year 2050.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in partnership with Polar Bears International (PBI), has provided support to 14 conservation projects in three countries since 1998. In recognition of the Zoo’s conservation and education programs, PBI has designated the Columbus Zoo an Arctic Ambassador Center.
For more information on the work PBI does, and 'International Polar Bear Day', please see their website: www.polarbearsinternational.org
I had last watched Star Wars Rebels: S03E10, The Librarians: S03E04, Lucifer: S02E11, Legends of Tomorrow: S02E07, Luke Cage: S1E010, Miraculous Ladybug: S01E18 and Nirvana in Fire: E06. I've watched more episodes of most of these shows and picked up some new ones since then: Powerless, Queen In Hyun's Man and Westworld.
I finished watching Luke Cage S1 and I don't think I'll be watching S2. Look, I just aggressively DO NOT CARE about Diamondback. And there wasn't even a single Jacob and Esau reference >:[ Some preacher's sons those two are. (There was at least one Cain and Abel reference, but that's a gimme.) Tbh, I love Claire and Misty and a lot of the other characters, but Diamondback sucks the fun right out of everything. My favourite scene was the one where the radio dude raps over images of regular people standing up for Luke and justice. More of this, less of Diamondback, please.
We'll call that my comfort spending for today, since it turns out that one of the JCCs that was targeted in today's wave of bomb threats was here in my town. Which, about the only change that makes me feel is that now I'm a little more scared for my life, but fucking hell these people make me so tired. These people who can't obey such basic rules of conduct as "don't threaten children," they make me so goddamn tired.
Happier things, you guys. I finally got my works cited page up, and am reading the Grimoires book on that list. It is so tasty I cannot even tell you. It has pages and pages of both end notes and recommended reading. I love it good.
I finished taking notes on Nerd Girls, read over the notes on Malachy and noted things for myself and most of them I believe I can interpret well and fairly without help, so that's fine. I still need to figure out what the antagonists are in Malachy other than Hunter Standish, the most annoying rich white dude ever to rich white dude (and also [redacted redacted redacted]), but that I can do at some point in the next few days as I hurriedly page through my Daemonium and Ars Goethia and so on. There's got to be an answer somewhere in there. Today is for getting at least to Julien's portion of this story and maybe a scene into it, and laying out the bones of my fictional magical tradition and what they do other than long involved pretentious hermetic rites and so on.
Of course now that I have seeds in the ground it's supposed to freeze at least two nights out of the coming week. Because of course. Still, it's all marigolds and broccoli and other plants that do all right in cool weather, so hopefully they won't be affected very much. I have no idea how much cleaning I'm going to get done over the next week or so, but the weekend after this coming one is the one the boy took off for a con we're not going to go to anymore so maybe there will be a Dave and Busters trip in the offing. That'd be nice. And in the meantime, he has also promised to help with the cleaning. And hopefully get the big shelves on which the board games can go, because I would like my bookshelves back please and thank you. Aaargh. Really, we just need to rearrange a huge chunk of shelving. Over the next couple of weeks. I hope.
( Cut for comments on XXXIII )
Movies this past weekend:
3. The Great Wall--I have to give props to a movie where the LEAST pretty thing/person in it is Matt Damon. Gorgeous costuming, cool creatures, stunning vistas (in the vein of "looks fake, but I know it's not" beauty), etc. It's a Chinese historical drama, and while I can appreciate that, it's also got some stilted dialog. I liked it, it surprised me (especially how it ended), but I didn't love it.
4. Elysium--I know, I'm extremely behind on some movies, and this is one I'd wanted to see when it came out in the theater, but after we got out of Great Wall, feochadn decided a Matt Damon-Pablo Pascal double-feature was in order, so we came back to watch this.
I keep wanting to do a post about Shadowhunters, which I've been watching for the last few months, and being completely befuddled by both the show and the fandom. Might do that soon, just for a break from Black Sails posting.
This morning's dream featured black dogs with raven faces.
Big. Big black dogs with big raven beak faces.
They were bred with regular black labradors, and most of the puppies would look like them, just stronger and longer lived and better at the magic stuff tangled all through the dream. But then sometimes you'd get a line of black labs that randomly threw a raven face. Puppy puppy puppy beak.
It was such a striking image it has been following me around all day.
Of course it was in a mostly funny way in the middle, where there was a really tiny black dog on the train. Like not chihuahua tiny but it disappeared under the seats on its way past. Tiny black bristly thing making me think of packs of waist high raven dogs.
But mostly I just keep getting snuck up on by these dream images of raven face dogs
and wondering where I ought to put them.
a) I am realizing how much I let fall by the wayside in the past MONTH, sorry EVERYONE WHO EMAILED ME and anyone who asked me even a slightly detailed question in asks
b) I am back at work and expected to be a competent human being especially since half the team is now out sick (probably my fault). Also one of our newest analysts is very sweet and has imprinted on me just a little – I am her preferred question-answerer, I think – which is fine except for how I gotta know answers and stuff.
And one of the highest-up guys in our company – who I used to smartass around with because I didn’t know he was one of the highest up guys in our company – emailed me today like I NEED. A THING. PLEASE. NOW. HELP. and I, having realized Who Exactly He Is, made tiny mental screams of terror while procuring the thing.
It’s been a day.
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