recs?

Feb. 11th, 2017 20:19
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
Recently I talked with my niece about Harry Potter, Star Wars, the MCU and fiction in general, and apparently she's dissatisfied with the genre convention that in the end the "good guys" always win.

Now I don't get that at all, because for me one of the main draws of fiction, and genre fiction in particular, is that it is escapist and less depressing than reality, so I pretty much only like genres that for the most part abide by the convention to deliver a happy ending, i.e. I like fanfic, romance, YA, mysteries, and the kind of SF&F where heroes win, and am much less into e.g. horror or "literary" fiction or other genres where that isn't the convention. Even when I read stuff like apocafic or such, I ultimately want it to end hopeful for at least the main characters.

So I don't really have any recs for media (books, movies or tv series) that end badly for the heroes overall, because even when I encounter the situation of just some of them not making it (like in HP) I'm on the look out for fix-it fic. But I wondered whether others might have recs that I could pass on to my niece to satisfy her odd (to me) preference for some variety and a more fraught fictional experience.

Though I'm not sure whether she wants depressing stuff or more things along the line of the fanfic type revisionist AUs with perspective shifts, because she mentioned that she was kind of rooting for Loki and Tom Riddle and such, i.e. where the story just takes the bad guys' side and for them it is okay, even though the world is then in the hands of a megalomaniac. I mostly dislike that type of fanfic as well. And I don't look for that kind of "twist" in original fiction either.

It would have to be stuff that is available in German and at least somewhat suitable for an eight year old.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
Okay, so this probably has happened to many of us, that you read a story, that intersects with your life or experiences in some way. When that happens to me and I start writing a comment, my own experience is then what's in my head as reaction, and basically I recount whatever episode or life experience resonated with that story. Only then at the end of this, I come to the realization that my comment on the story doesn't actually talk about the story as such at all, but just about me. Then I feel really awkward, and more often than not I don't post that comment, and just click the kudo button instead.

However, most authors seem to like comments better than kudos. Does this still hold true for comments that don't actually talk about your story as such but are more or less (over)sharing of personal experiences a story resonated with?

Like okay, say you wrote a roadtrip fic where your characters look at a giant ball of rubber bands or whatever, and then you get a comment that is along the line of "here's my roadtrip experience of looking at a giant rubber band ball". It's not totally unrelated to your story, but not about praising your great characterization, awesome writerly skill or perfect timing either. And of course often it's not about a rubber band ball but some more personal resonance.

What do you think about such comments? Awkward? Still better than kudos? Better not posted because you don't really want to hear random strangers' anecdotes?
ratcreature: RatCreature begs: Please? (please?)
I don't watch a lot of vids, and as a result I never even know how to effectively look for some in the instances when I want to watch some new ones.

I'm in the mood for visually fast paced vids, not necessarily action vids, though I do like those a lot, however generally I'm not that fond of vids meant for dancing or vids to dance music. Also, while I enjoy humor as much as anyone, the vids I love most are more on the drama or even angsty side of things, with a bit of pathos even. Just right now not slow pathos, but fast.

Compared to fic I really lack the analytic skill and vocabulary to describe what I'm looking for... :( But an example for the kind of vid I mean would be [livejournal.com profile] barkley's Numb3rs vid Reach For the Sky.

Have you watched any vids like that recently? (Or not so recently, I really watch very few.) The fandoms I'd most appreciate for this would be MCU, Star Wars, Star Trek, XMFC, Pacific Rim or even Check Please, since I recently learned from [personal profile] dine's rec of this cool, if short vid by helorific that fans vid in that fandom as well.
ratcreature: RatCreature enjoys food: yum! (food)
When I make thicker, fluffy pancakes, instead of the thin crepe-style ones, I rather like adding stuff to the batter. Some chopped nuts work well, as does mashed banana, but I always fail when I try adding blueberries. Either the blueberries burst open and the surrounding area gets soggy, or the pancakes brown unevenly due to either blueberry juice getting out and caramelizing faster than the rest of the batter or intact blueberries sticking out making for an uneven surface, but I never get nice texture with blueberries in a fluffy pancake that is evenly browned. The online recipes I've found seem to imply that adding blueberries to pancake batter ought to work like regular pancakes in a straightforward way, yet it doesn't for me.

This morning I considered trying for blueberry pancakes again, but ultimately shied away from it, because my previous attempts never worked, and I'm not sure what I can do differently to make them not fail. I mean, the banana-pecan pancakes I made this morning were tasty too, but it would be nice to be able to make blueberry ones, so I wondered whether anyone has mastered this and could give advice?
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
In English with some verbs you can use their ing-form after go, i.e. sentences like "I go running often", "we are going shopping" etc., but with other verbs this is not allowed, i.e. you don't say "we are going eating"(*) but "we are going (out) to eat".

I think the rule is that the construction is only allowed with movement verbs, like go walking, swimming, dancing, etc. all work, but not with reading, knitting or painting. I'm actually unsure about playing, but I think not? OTOH working and hunting seem okay in the construction?

I tried finding the rule for this in grammar explanations but I'm not even sure whether the -ing is considered a gerund or a present participle here. So I was hoping that maybe the English language geeks on my f-list could point me.
ratcreature: RatCreature as dragon (dragon)
I've been looking at Amazon to pre-order, and it looks for this one there will be a paperback available at around the same time (publishing date June 16) as the expensive hardcover (June 14)? Does anyone know whether this is correct?

With the last couple of volumes I've ended up getting the hardcover because paperbacks were out much later, but having a hardcover is not worth paying more than twice as much for just two days earlier, especially since I've been not as into the series in the later volumes. And hardcover is harder to carry around.

But I've had Amazon advertising wrong dates before when there were multiple US/UK editions available for pre-order, and ended up pre-ordering an edition (based on picking the cheapest), that then didn't come out at that date after all. (Most recently that happened to me with Foxglove Summer, iirc.)
ratcreature: Tech-Voodoo: RatCreature waves a dead chicken over a computer. (voodoo)
Tumblr seems to freeze Firefox fairly often on my computer, e.g. I scroll down my dashboard and then suddenly the page (and all of Firefox actually, like I can't switch tabs) becomes unresponsive for a little while before scrolling resumes. At first I thought it might be some unfortunate side effect of XKit or an XKit extension, because the filtering that applies to my dashboard (like removing the sponsored stuff, and blocking some tags), and that used to slow things down on my old laptop sometimes, but this effect also happens sometimes when I have just a single Tumblr post open and scroll down that.

Do others have this problem? It is starting to really annoy me. It never happens on any other website besides Tumblr.
ratcreature: reading RatCreature (reading)
Currently I use a 7-inch Nexus tablet for e-book reading, and that suits me fairly well, i.e. I like that I can't just read books but also have a browser, can check email etc., the screen works well enough except in bright sunlight, and the features of the ebook apps are decent, but I run into issues with the battery life semi-frequently, and the tablet does not recharge very quickly either.

I don't think I have extreme battery demands, but say I recharge it fully overnight, then take the tablet with me, use it intermittently throughout the day, and it connected to wlans a couple of times, and then back home I want to read an e-book for several hours that same evening, that may not work without recharging, or at least without running the charge really low. And then recharging it from something as low as 10% battery to full again can take longer than seven hours, which is annoying.

So I am considering whether I shouldn't get a dedicated e-reader for those times when I want to read an e-book or fanfic for several hours. I would consider a newer tablet, but I'm not sure those are really significantly better when it comes to battery life, especially the ones priced in the mid-range. Also there don't seem to be many 7-inch ones around anymore, and I don't actually want a larger device. Mine easily fits not just in my purse, but also into the inside pockets of coats and parkas and such, which a 10-inch or even 8-inch one wouldn't, whereas e-readers, which tend to smaller sized would.

So now I'm wondering which e-readers are good. I do not want an Amazon Kindle, because most of the non-fanfic e-books I read come from my public library which uses epub (often with Adobe's DRM), and I don't want a device that doesn't support different formats natively. And all the fanfic I have already downloaded for reading on my tablet is in epub too. I know that I can convert things via Calibre, but I refuse to get a specialized e-book reading device that then can't even read different e-book formats. That is just ridiculous, IMO.

So does anyone have good experiences with current non-Kindle e-readers that would fit my criteria? (Not too big, good battery life, support for different e-book formats including library e-books, easy transfer of fanfic e-books to the device via Calibre, decent search and sorting options for finding books again on the device are sort of the essentials)

From looking at tests, comparisons and my library's e-reader info sheet, the ones I'm currently considering most is the Pocketbook Touch Lux 3 and the Bookeen Cybook Muse Frontlight. I also looked at the Kobo Glo HD, but I am not thrilled with this forced registration you apparently have to do to use your own device.
ratcreature: FAIL! (fail!)
I don't see the lock icon anymore in my style or the older default site scheme I use to display entries (I'm still sticking to XColibur there iirc), though I do see them in some other journal styles and the style I see when I use a mobile device. Is this a new way to hassle users to switch to their new site and f-list styles? Is anyone else having this problem?
ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
Tumblr has created a way to not show a Tumblr via the web URL but only on the dashboard to followers. But as I understand it, the behavior is that anyone can follow you if they know your name unless you explicitly block them. So content is not actually private as such, because if I for example came across one of these error pages following at a web URL, I could follow the name in the URL and then see the content on my dash, at least unless/until I got blocked.

Only I probably couldn't find any specific content because I'd have to scroll back through my dashboard to see it, since the URLs don't work anymore for anyone, logged in or not, including the owner even, based on the reblog comments?! So if you hide your Tumblr, how could you find or see your old posts if neither archive nor tag links work any longer?

And how does this behave with reblogging? The post says the social functions all work as before, including reblog, does that mean if your followers, who may not even realize you disabled URLs as there is no symbol on the posts like on LJ/DW, can still reblog and it would show on theirs with a proper URL (and be visible to all including search engines if they set their Tumblr for maximal exposure?) or only reblog through the dashboard feeds to their followers but not the public Tumblr?

This implementation of (faux-)privacy doesn't sound like a recipe for wanky misunderstandings and disaster at all... /sarcasm
ratcreature: reading RatCreature (reading)
I currently use Calibre to organize my ebooks, and I wonder if it would work out to use it to backup and keep track of the fanfic I downloaded on my tablet as well.

I do not want both mixed up, because the fanfic would totally drown out the books by an order of magnitude, and also the tags I want to use for both are very different. I've seen an option in Calibre to create virtual "libraries", but I wonder whether that is really good for keeping things separate. Has anyone experience with using Calibre for both? Or a better system?

I'm a bit wary to import hundreds of stories into my Calibre Library only to find out it would be a mess I'd have to clean up manually...
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
In the AO3 bookmark system, if the story gets deleted, would comments in my bookmark stay? I'm considering whether I shouldn't start to copy title/author/fandom into the comment field, so I'd at least know what story vanished.

I get really annoyed at seeing deleted stories in my bookmarks (any bookmarks really, but especially my own) without even knowing what they were, and no way to reconstruct what's gone. Having to add a comment would be slightly inconvenient (in part I use the AO3 bookmarks because it's just one on site click when I can't be bothered to properly tag on my Pinboard) and it would look a bit redundant as long as the bookmark is intact, but it might be worth it to avoid potential future aggravation.
ratcreature: Like a spork between the eyes. (spork)
Is there a way to get rid of that annoying "answertime" thing that shows at the top of your dashboard now? I usually don't even know these people (presumably famous ones?) that are asked questions. I couldn't find an option or extension in xkit.
ratcreature: Flail! (flail)
I'm still not reliably back online, because the eye issues are still ongoing... but since I can do screen reading right now, and just came across another story with the trope "soulmates reveal their names to each other in body writing", I just have to ask: Are there any of these stories that actually have any explanation for how that is supposed to work?

I mean, I love soulmate tropes, and I can put aside the general, inherent practical problems of just two people being fated to match each other and be compatible, but -- It's one thing to handwave a premise of "humans recognize their soulmate when they see them by some magical or biological impulse" but in these particular universes how did the name thing even start? The stories never seem to say whether these name marks just started to show up (by some magical? means presumably) once a group already had developed writing (and if so, do not all humans have them, but only literate societies?), or whether humans in these universes developed writing based on the odd marks that showed on their skin (and if so, do all societies have the same writing?).

Also if the marks precede the writing, how did humans even find out these symbols referred to their soulmates' names? If every human was born (or developed) a mark rather than both soulmates showing the same symbol or something, you'd think the natural assumption would be that this was their own mark/symbol.

Are there any stories that offer any explanation for the mechanism?
ratcreature: RatCreature begs: Please? (please?)
I usually don't listen to audiobooks, because I prefer reading to listening and sometimes find it hard to follow them.

Unfortunately I may need to undergo another eye treatment, and usually these come with cruel reading/screen time restrictions and admonitions to avoid any eye strain afterwards. So to prepare, I'm looking to get some audiobooks to make the internet withdrawal less horrible.
ratcreature: RatCreatures as Magneto (magneto)
...is set in the late 60s and puts them in a Black Panthers like role and explores that?

I recently listened to a long interview with the director Stanley Nelson about the new documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, and that made me want a kind of XMFC universe version of such a history with mutants.

Like a slightly AU scenario where Magneto's Brotherhood are actually part of a movement, whose prominent leaders are imprisoned or assassinated, and they are targeted by COINTELPRO infiltration (granted, a bit trickier with mindreading telepaths around, but maybe they just don't expect other mutants to work for the FBI like that), and there are mutants that act as agents provocateurs (could explain more bizarre plans...) and are trying to sow dissent and split the organization, and all that stuff.
ratcreature: RatCreature is thinking: hmm...? (hmm...?)
So werewoves in fiction generally are good at regeneration, also they tend to grow canines when they shift. Do you think when an adult human gets bitten and transforms into a werewolf form for the first time they regrow any missing/crowned teeth?

I mean that has to be a common issue, because most adult humans have at least have a crown or two by their thirties, often earlier, yet I can't remember ever seeing a scene in werewolf fiction where the newly made werewolf has to spit out their now obsolete dental implants...
ratcreature: What? Who? When? Yes, I have been living under a rock... (under a rock)
I know that Bucky Bear appears in that Marvel A-Babies vs. X-Babies crack (though I haven't read the comic), but is that the first and only "canon" (well some variety of official source anyway) with Bucky Barnes teddybear merchandise and fandom just really ran with it, as fandom does, or does it appear anywhere else?
ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
I used to do this with that Tumblr Savior script thing, but it must have gone glitchy at some point without me noticing, because right now when I add stuff to its filter list it doesn't hide the posts.

I'm trying to not be spoiled for the new X-Men movie until I watch it, and I have been just staying away from Tumblr the last few days, but apparently Tumblr has by now become a thing that I have a routine impulse to check. So having a working tag filter again would be helpful.
ratcreature: RatCreature is confused: huh? (huh?)
I'm reading Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, and I know some others in my circle have read it, so maybe you can help with this. I'm not sure whether this is a mistake that wasn't caught in editing, or whether I misunderstand the timeline but in chapter eight Sunny says to Orlu "But you and I have been going to the same school since we were about five." (on page 141 in my edition), but earlier we were told that Sunny only moved to Nigeria from the US when she was nine. I don't get it.
ratcreature: Tech-Voodoo: RatCreature waves a dead chicken over a computer. (voodoo)
Does anyone know how to undo this? I must have pressed the wrong key combination, but I don't know what I pressed (I wanted to press Ctrl+T to open an new tab), and now instead of dark on light my Firefox tabs except the active one have light writing on dark background. It's a bit disorienting. I can't find a corresponding setting in the menu.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
...why is it that the logo on Spider-Man's back looks more like a tick than a spider? I mean, it has eight legs, but otherwise looks like a blob. The Watsonian explanation I can think of is that Peter's artistic and sewing capabilities for his homemade costume aren't that great, but the logo on the front is more delicate and is segmented, and looks much more like a spider. Maybe it's more simplified for distance visibility on the back?
ratcreature: FAIL! (fail!)
I don't always read the announcements on the ff.net mainpage, so I only now noticed the update from January 5th which says "We are redesigning the storymarks (story bookmarks) feature and unfortunately the new system is incompatible with the current setup. If you have existing storymarks, please save them at your earliest convinence [sic]." What on earth are these "storymarks"?!? Do they mean the favorites list? I do have favorites bookmarked that way, though most are old, and more recently I've just used the the story alert feature, but I'd still save them, only it doesn't seem like you can export them as bookmarks. Or do they mean some other feature I'm not aware of? I have never seen the term "storymark" on the site before in all the years. Why can't they call things in their announcements like they are called in the site navigation?

ETA: [personal profile] sholio explained to me that they are apparently something separate from the favorites (phew!). I still can't find the feature (maybe they are already gone?) and don't recall ever seeing anything called that, but at least I won't miss the feature. Also I can see why they need to redesign it, if the feature was so hidden as to completely escape any notice by a regular user.
ratcreature: WTF!? (WTF!?)
I think I just got spammed through a poll on LJ? I mean, an openID account that links to some tattoo-related domain replied to one of my polls. I didn't click on the URL, but the poll was very old and asked which icon to draw next, and I have already drawn almost all of them, including the one the responder just picked. So as a genuine poll response it makes no sense. Does this come up as spam vector for others? And can you delete or report it?
ratcreature: RL? What RL? RatCreature is a net addict.  (what rl?)
When a Tumblr post contains more than one picture, with certain numbers some of the images tend to be resized rather small with maybe only one image largish. And then when I click the images I just get an annoying slideshow that barely makes the images larger and actually makes large images *smaller*. Is there a way to click somewhere (or change a setting somewhere) that enables me to see the images at their proper size as they were uploaded? Or at least at the 500px width resize Tumblr does for single picture posts?
ratcreature: hiding under my blanket (hiding under my blanket)
When you post a work and filled in the "inspired by" field, does the author of that get an automatic alert of some kind? (as default setting, I mean, I suppose you could turn off all notifications) Or do you need to check the "gift for" field? I'm asking because so far I haven't heard anything from the author of the Pinky & Brain story I illustrated, not even a kudo or anything, which is slightly discouraging. But then I didn't actively comment on their story with a link to the picture, I just assumed they'd get a notification of "ratcreature posted X inspired by yours" and then see my illustration, but didn't mark the extra gift ticky box. Along similar lines, I guess the author needs to approve related works somehow before they get linked from theirs to prevent trolling or such? Because I notice that my illustration is not just automatically linked from the bottom of the story. Of course they could simply be offline over the year-end period.
ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
I need opinions on an art choice for my [livejournal.com profile] secret_mutant piece, that would be revealing if I posted it publicly in the post. So if you don't participate in that exchange, are online more or less now when this is posted, and are willing to get a PM and answer a quick question right now (no art or X-Men knowledge required) to help me decide something, could you comment here?
ratcreature: Like a spork between the eyes. (spork)
Is there some kind of customization for Tumblr (greasemonkey script, custom css or such) that would allow you to collapse certain image posts so you would not have to see them on your dashboard?
ratcreature: reading RatCreature (reading)
Do book recommendation algorithms ever work for anyone? I mean, I've rated almost all the books I bought on Amazon in an attempt to see if this improves things, yet rarely seem the recs tempting or helpful. For one thing it insists on reccing me the n-th parts of series instead of the first, despite me not having bought the earlier ones. I'm not really interested in reading even the first of the The Wheel of Time series, let alone the 13th part, which Amazon apparently recced me due to having bought The Kingdom of Gods. Similarly I've now entered and rated quite a number of books on Goodreads, yet their recs are not all that helpful either. Admittedly sometimes books crop up that look interesting or some that I've read and liked (and just not entered), so they are not always completely wrong, but I have yet to really feel compelled to read a book from their list next. Well, at least Goodreads thinks I would like to read the first part of The Wheel of Time series (because I added LOTR) not the 13th.

Poll #8357 do book rec alghorithms work for you?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 24


Are the automated book rec algorithms on commercial or social book sites helpful for you?

View Answers

Yes, I frequently find new books to read, that I then like, through them.
0 (0.0%)

Yes, I've found good books more than once.
3 (12.5%)

Not really. Sometimes potentially interesting books may crop up, but they get lots in many meh or WTF? suggestions.
12 (50.0%)

Not really. The interesting books that come up are mostly ones I've already read or heard from so there is little added value.
5 (20.8%)

No, the suggestions never really fit.
3 (12.5%)

I don't try to find interesting books this way in the first place.
1 (4.2%)

I don't collaborate in getting data mined like this, and do not feed them my reading choices.
0 (0.0%)

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