(no subject)

Feb. 27th, 2017 09:19 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] redsixwing!
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Since this was our fifth stay in a Landmark Trust property for the bloke’s birthday, I think I feel safe in calling it a tradition.

On Friday last, we gingerly loaded up our newly repaired car and crossed everything in the hopes that it would make it through the 200-odd mile drive from our house to North Yorkshire to stay in The Old Grammar School.

Kirby Hill is a beautiful grey old stone village, set around a green. The Old Grammar School [TOGS] was such from its establishment in 1556 to its closure in 1957. An average of 30 local boys aged 10 to 18 were taught there, though many departed aged 14 to go to work. The ground floor schoolroom was converted into the village hall, while the first and second floors were converted into the flat that one can now book through the Landmark Trust [LT] for holidays. LT properties are carefully furnished and kitted out with libraries that are specific to the property and to the history of the place. For instance, I read Goodbye, Mr Chips, which is a heartwarming fictional biography of a schoolmaster, while we were in TOGS. LT properties also deliberately don’t provide televisions or WiFi. In fact, my phone signal was so bad that I couldn’t even get the 3G to work.

We arrive late in the afternoon and were pleased to find that the previous occupants had left us sufficient firewood for that evening.

Our first thought on entry was “tea”. Thoughtfully, the housekeeper had left a complete tea service ready for us and a small jug of milk in the fridge.

The bloke pouring some milk for Keiki, who’s standing on a dining chair. The window seat, which features in subsequent photos, is to their right.

+12 )

Up next: visiting the Kirby Hill church (St Peter and St Felix).

Quick note about the photos: I have come to rely on Aviary in Flickr to do colour correction on my photos. It’s quick and convenient and its algorithm seems to be pretty good. Except at the moment, it’s not working. To those who care about white balance, my apologies.

Baking: Nigella Christmas

Feb. 27th, 2017 09:12 am
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
The children and I decided to try to make the “Christmas wreaths” on Saturday morning. These are essentially marshmallow treats except with cornflakes instead of Rice Krispies. We made zero attempts to create wreaths as I have no idea how you manipulate the crunchy gloop before it becomes impossibly sticky. It also didn’t help that Keiki accidentally dumped out the entire tube of sprinkles on the first blob I put down on the baking parchment. There was a delay whilst we salvaged as many as we could from the kitchen counter. By then the marshmallow gloop had partially set.

It didn’t matter what they looked like anyway. We made twelve of them at 10:30. They had set by 12:30.

There were three left at 15:00, in spite of the bloke declaring that they were a little too sweet for him. (He ate three.) Photographic evidence of the remainder is below. Keiki's sprinkle-bonanza treat is the one on the lower right, in case that wasn't obvious.

We then revisited the chocolate biscuit recipe from the bloke’s birthday. Because they were just that tasty. Hopefully those will keep us all in good spirits this week.

Tomorrow, a Monday

Feb. 27th, 2017 12:05 am
archangelbeth: Face with glasses and large red horns. Looking blah and-or grumpy. (DjinnBeth)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
With a long drive in the earlier morning part so we can be there in the earlier afternoon. Or something. Time is not my forte right now. I only got to bed at around 4am last "night," and then my only food till dinner was an apple (medium-small) and a mini peanutbutter cup.

Naturally, for those reasons and some hormonal ones, I hate the world.

The puns will continue until morale (mine) improves.

Havva Quote
S_____ shakes his head at the Ancestry DNA commercial where the woman thought she was Hispanic, and then discovered to her astonishment that her ancestry was . . . well, by the charts they put up, exactly what you'd expect a Hispanic to have, if you knew the history of Spain and its colonization in the Americas.

INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

Everyday stuff

Feb. 26th, 2017 11:50 pm
buttonsbeadslace: drawing of a high-heeled boot (Default)
[personal profile] buttonsbeadslace
- Today Sparkly and I went to a hamantashen-making party. It was pretty great.

- Why are there daffodils already what the fuck. 

- The local library doesn't have very many of the Dragonlance books but across the whole library system they have... well, all the ones I want to read, at least. So I'm placing a hold and I'm very excited. And now I'm going to bed.

(no subject)

Feb. 26th, 2017 08:56 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I'm in a foul mood because I'm behind on job applications and paperwork, and generally just feeling like an incompetent. Also the main mouse button on my laptop wore out, and I have to remember to use the one at the top of the touchpad, just below the spacebar and alt key. It's incredibly vexing and trying.

I keep meaning to blog about church and the church ladies and stuff, but I just feel too gross and anxious tonight.

Linkspam: fannish/geeky/SFF, misc.

Feb. 26th, 2017 10:37 pm
umadoshi: (WotH: Seiji reading (iconchacha))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things/SFF

"Gerard Butler, Neal Moritz Team to Adapt Fantasy Novel 'A Darker Shade of Magic'".

"Hayao Miyazaki is officially moving forward with a new Studio Ghibli movie".

"Nebula nominations with free reads!" "Every year I have trouble finding a hyperlinked list of all the free Hugo and Nebula reading, so this time I’m going to take the initiative and make one myself right away instead of waiting."


"How to Draw an Exoplanet: A pair of illustrators turned tiny blips in data into vivid views from the TRAPPIST-1 star system".

"10+ Animals That Look Like They’re About To Drop The Hottest Albums Of The Year".

"Scientists Used a Little Bee Puppet to Teach Real Bees How to Play Bee ‘Soccer’". (And about 40 seconds of footage here on YouTube.)

"Cards Against Humanity co-creator sends newest board game, Secret Hitler, to all 100 U.S. senators".

"Readers' prize winning pictures of cats". [The Guardian]

"Terrorists are building drones. France is destroying them with eagles". [Washington Post] "The eagles — named d'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos and Aramis — grew up with their nemeses. They chased drones through green grass that summer, pecking futilely at composite shells as seen in Sky News footage. They were rewarded with meat, which they ate off the backs of the drones."

"It's very hard to maintain an anonymous Twitter account that can withstand government-level attempts to de-anonymize it". [Boing Boing]

"Google and Mozilla's message to AV and security firms: Stop trashing HTTPS: Researchers call out antivirus and security appliance vendors for dangerous SSL inspection practises".

"The Trash Heap Has Spoken: The power and danger of women who take up space". "Every day, I look for myself in other women’s bodies. This is what happens when you never see yourself in television shows or catalogues or movies—you get hungry. In passersby, I seek out a faithful replica of my own full chest: my plastic-bag stomach pooched over jeans, my milk-carton hips, and my face with its peach-pit cheekbones set in coffee grounds. In this way, I see myself in pieces, mostly, and have to assemble my body in my mind." [Content notes: discusses weight/weight loss attempts etc., but doesn't dwell on them terribly, IMO.]

"27 Bookish Goods For Cat Lovers". [Book Riot]

"When Things Go Missing: Reflections on two seasons of loss". [The New Yorker]

"12 Powerful Posters Of Female Scientists That Every Classroom Needs".

"Ikea Lab Releases Free Designs For A Garden Sphere That Feeds A Neighborhood".

"REFUGE Restrooms" is "a web application that seeks to provide safe restroom access for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals. When the Safe2Pee website passed out of functionality it left a hole in our hearts. REFUGE picks up the torch where Safe2Pee left off and makes the valuable resource available to those who find themselves in need of a place to pee safely once again. Users can search for restrooms by proximity to a search location, add new restroom listings, as well as comment and rate existing listings. We seek to create a community focused not only on finding existing safe restroom access but also looking forward and participating in restroom advocacy for transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming folk."

PSA + tatting

Feb. 26th, 2017 08:00 pm
yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
[personal profile] yhlee
My website now has a section for Appearances; the one that's up there is a reading/signing at Borderlands in San Francisco on April 15 at 3 p.m. It would be lovely if anyone who's not my sister showed up. XD I may even make hexarchate cartoon handouts for people who show up; we'll see!

Meanwhile, I have taken up tatting!

So the weird twisty helix-looking part of the beginning of the strand is because I had forgotten that you have to do two half-hitches in opposite directions to get a tatting double stitch. Then the light dawned (I'm slow, okay?) and the straight-cable-looking section is where I figured it out and practiced that for a while. It's hard to see in the photo, but I'm using two different colors of thread (yellow and orange, both colors I hate [1] so I don't mind using up lots of it making ugly practice tatting, I'm weird) so that I can tell what the working thread is.

[1] My favorite color is black. Which reminds me, I need to write up The LEGO Batman Movie, which Joe and I saw together.

I was introduced to tatting by [profile] lshelby, who generously set me up with basic supplies and some instructions. I struggled with it for a while (to master the double stitch, you have to figure out how to "flip" a loop, which is apparently the big stumbling block when most people try to learn tatting) then set it aside. The kit didn't survive the flood but I remembered how intriguing it was (also, she sent me the most GORGEOUS tatted dragon pendant, which also didn't survive the flood, and I want to make some of my own! she has the pattern online), and it's cheaper than knitting. Tatting thread is, like, basically thread, so it's much cheaper than fancy yarn. (Also I divorced knitting because I can't knit lace to save my soul.)

I use two shuttles to do tatting, although there are other ways. I picked Aerlit shuttles because they seem to be reasonably well thought of and were reasonably priced [2]; some people like the tiny crochet hooks for unpicking stitches gone wrong, some people hate them for catching in thread. I don't have a strong opinion yet. There's also a kind of tatting you do with needles, but I don't know how that works at all.

Also, the shuttle doesn't come with a cat sticker on it, I just stuck it on for decoration and to help me tell the two shuttles apart (because you have a working thread and a non-working thread). The smart thing to have done would have been to buy shuttles in two different colors but I didn't think of that. Whoops!

[2] You can even make your own tatting shuttles out of cardboard or plastic. But at a few bucks apiece I figured I'd rather have the kind with a bobbin. There are super fancy shuttles carved of the bone of unicorns or whatever the hell, but I'm not making that kind of investment in a new hobby I don't even know yet if I'll stick with it.

ETA: Tatted Treasures has a lot of great tutorial videos and posts on shuttle tatting, if you're interested.

ETA #2: Tatting the double stitch would have made so much more sense so much earlier if people had explained it to me in terms of KNOT THEORY.

ETA #3: I sent this pic to my mom, who reports that when she was in school, she had a friend who made tatted lace, but that at school they learned crochet and knitting, not so much tatting. She also reports having heard of or seen books on tatting in bookstores, although again, not as popular as knitting or crochet. And that she's seen Japanese shuttles that have pointy ends but not the crochet looks like on my Aerlit shuttles.

one thing about Sherlock S4

Feb. 26th, 2017 06:46 pm
kindkit: Images of Mycroft's tie, eyes, and cane. (Sherlock: Mycroft is proper)
[personal profile] kindkit
I just finished watching it yesterday, and there were some things I really liked, some things I thought were just strange, and one thing that irritated me enormously. Guess what I'm going to talk about?

not spoilery for plot but somewhat for character development )

Requiescat in Pace

Feb. 26th, 2017 05:38 pm
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
[personal profile] mjg59
The Fantasyland Institute of Learning is the organisation behind Lambdaconf, a functional programming conference perhaps best known for standing behind a racist they had invited as a speaker. The fallout of that has resulted in them trying to band together events in order to reduce disruption caused by sponsors or speakers declining to be associated with conferences that think inviting racists is more important than the comfort of non-racists, which is weird in all sorts of ways but not what I'm talking about here because they've also written a "Code of Professionalism" which is like a Code of Conduct except it protects abusers rather than minorities and no really it is genuinely as bad as it sounds.

The first thing you need to know is that the document uses its own jargon. Important here are the concepts of active and inactive participation - active participation is anything that you do within the community covered by a specific instance of the Code, inactive participation is anything that happens anywhere ever (ie, active participation is a subset of inactive participation). The restrictions based around active participation are broadly those that you'd expect in a very weak code of conduct - it's basically "Don't be mean", but with some quirks. The most significant is that there's a "Don't moralise" provision, which as written means saying "I think people who support slavery are bad" in a community setting is a violation of the code, but the description of discrimination means saying "I volunteer to mentor anybody from a minority background" could also result in any community member not from a minority background complaining that you've discriminated against them. It's just not very good.

Inactive participation is where things go badly wrong. If you engage in community or professional sabotage, or if you shame a member based on their behaviour inside the community, that's a violation. Community sabotage isn't defined and so basically allows a community to throw out whoever they want to. Professional sabotage means doing anything that can hurt a member's professional career. Shaming is saying anything negative about a member to a non-member if that information was obtained from within the community.

So, what does that mean? Here are some things that you are forbidden from doing:
  • If a member says something racist at a conference, you are not permitted to tell anyone who is not a community member that this happened (shaming)
  • If a member tries to assault you, you are not allowed to tell the police (shaming)
  • If a member gives a horribly racist speech at another conference, you are not allowed to suggest that they shouldn't be allowed to speak at your event (professional sabotage)
  • If a member of your community reports a violation and no action is taken, you are not allowed to warn other people outside the community that this is considered acceptable behaviour (community sabotage)

Now, clearly, some of these are unintentional - I don't think the authors of this policy would want to defend the idea that you can't report something to the police, and I'm sure they'd be willing to modify the document to permit this. But it's indicative of the mindset behind it. This policy has been written to protect people who are accused of doing something bad, not to protect people who have something bad done to them.

There are other examples of this. For instance, violations are not publicised unless the verdict is that they deserve banishment. If a member harasses another member but is merely given a warning, the victim is still not permitted to tell anyone else that this happened. The perpetrator is then free to repeat their behaviour in other communities, and the victim has to choose between either staying silent or warning them and risk being banished from the community for shaming.

If you're an abuser then this is perfect. You're in a position where your victims have to choose between their career (which will be harmed if they're unable to function in the community) and preventing the same thing from happening to others. Many will choose the former, which gives you far more freedom to continue abusing others. Which means that communities adopting the Fantasyland code will be more attractive to abusers, and become disproportionately populated by them.

I don't believe this is the intent, but it's an inevitable consequence of the priorities inherent in this code. No matter how many corner cases are cleaned up, if a code prevents you from saying bad things about people or communities it prevents people from being able to make informed choices about whether that community and its members are people they wish to associate with. When there are greater consequences to saying someone's racist than them being racist, you're fucking up badly.
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
[personal profile] sovay
So the launch for Caitlín R. Kiernan's Agents of Dreamland was a lot of fun. I had never before interacted with the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences Council; it turns out that they are both a fantastic tiny bookstore and art shop in the Providence Arcade and the people behind NecronomiCon Providence, the biennial convention of the weird coming up in August. They had set up an open tab for the authors with New Harvest Coffee & Spirits, a lovely and generous idea; I completely failed my free booze check and instead just ordered some ginger-lemon tea with an extra slice of lemon and a ridiculous amount of honey so that I wouldn't lose my voice during the reading. There were people in attendance whom I hadn't seen since last year's Readercon. I read a short selection of poems including "Being Providence" and "An Obedience Experiment" and most of my short story "The Creeping Influences," forthcoming from Shimmer. Caitlín read the first two chapters of Agents of Dreamland and a lengthy, poetic, frequently hilarious excerpt from her novel-in-progress Interstate Love Song. I appreciate her and Spooky dropping me back at the train station afterward, because by that point the weather had gone from misty to gross; I caught the last commuter train out of Providence, finished reading Margaret Atwood's Hag-Seed (2016), started reading Grace Lin's When the Sea Turned to Silver (2016), did not commit violence either physical or verbal upon the nearby students who seemed to be engaged in an experiment to determine all possible inflections and volumes of the word "bullshit." [livejournal.com profile] derspatchel met me at South Station and after discovering that the internet was wrong about a restaurant being open (for Boston definitions of) late, we fetched up at jm Curley's for very late dinner and it all worked out fine. Today I am quite tired, but I am also baking bread with my father, which is low-key and going to be tasty, and the excursion to Providence was one of the nicest reasons I've had to get out of the house in months. Seriously, most of the rest have been protests. I would enjoy having a social life that is not 100% activism. I wish that didn't feel irresponsible to say.

1. O bel(le) inconnu(e) who sent me a DVD of Pimpernel Smith (1941) but did not include a card, thank you! If I were the sort of person who used multiple exclamation points in sentences, there would be a lot at the end of that preceding line.

2. I don't know how I spent the last fourteen years unaware of British Sea Power's "Carrion," but [livejournal.com profile] ashlyme has kindly remedied this lack. Can stone and steel and horses' heels ever explain the way you feel? From Scapa Flow to Rotherhithe, I felt the lapping of an ebbing tide. Oh, the heavy water, how it enfolds, the salt, the spray, the gorgeous undertow. Always, always, always the sea.

3. Bill H.97 is dead; long live Bill H.1190. [livejournal.com profile] teenybuffalo did some calling and discovered that this bill, which like its died-in-committee predecessor was drafted by Representative Kay Khan to prohibit the practice of so-called conversion therapies on queer and trans minors in Massachusetts, will get an as yet unscheduled public hearing at which members of the public can speak to its importance and the necessity of getting it passed. If you would like to participate in this process, call your state legislators, contact Representative Khan or her office, express your support for the bill and ask to be notified when its hearing date is set.

4. I took two silly quizzes last night: on Boston slang and political affiliation in 1917 Russia. (The latter is entirely in Russian, but the preceding page provides translations if necessary.) Apparently I am a centrist Social Revolutionary with a 100% command of Boston slang. I'm so confused about both of these.

5. I've been meaning to post this for days: Yoon Ha Lee talks about gender, representation, win conditions, and math.

6. This is also no longer current events, but I found it beautifully and intelligently written: "On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America's New Right," published right as the conservative mainstream was proving with their jettisoning of Yiannopoulos that their former championing of him had nothing to do with the First Amendment and everything to do with normalizing hate speech. "This is not liberalism winning the day. This is the victorious far right purging the brownshirts."

7. Please enjoy these pictures of Eartha Kitt with kittens.

My mother will be watching the Oscars tonight. She has been listening to Hamilton all day and wants to see Lin-Manuel Miranda become the youngest-ever winner of the EGOT. (Or since he has a Pulitzer already, perhaps EGOPT.) I have decided that I would like to see Barry Jenkins' Moonlight win, even though the odds are against it. Failing that, though I did not find it flawless, I think Denis Villeneuve's Arrival. It didn't have stupid science, which almost never happens onscreen.

[edit, shortly after midnight, frenetic recourse to Facebook and Rob's Twitter feed, and a clarifying phone call from my mother who watched the entire ceremony] Good grief, that happened. Mazel tov, Moonlight!

Le Tarot d'Ambre: Vers la Marelle

Feb. 26th, 2017 05:22 pm
yhlee: Amber Tarot Knight of Swords: Benedict (Tarot d'Ambre: Benedict)
[personal profile] yhlee
Le Tarot d'Ambre par F. Nedelec, cont'd

Toward the Pattern

Now with bonus numerology! And Douglas Adams references! And chess!

Read more... )

adventures in bad poetry

Feb. 26th, 2017 05:49 pm
rushthatspeaks: (sparklepony only wants to read)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
[personal profile] nineweaving recently gave me John Julius Norwich's Christmas Crackers, which is a commonplace book filled with the quotations Norwich has, for many years, collected and typed out as Christmas cards and crackers (the store-bought ones don't say much interesting, usually). It's a very good commonplace book, distinguished by being funnier and more impressive than those usually get, and I am treating it as one should treat commonplace books, i.e. opening it occasionally at random, giggling, and putting it down again. In no circumstance do I intend to read it straight through, because then what would there be to boggle at when I pick it off the shelf and open it randomly in a few years or decades?

Anyway, as good commonplace books do, it collects bad poetry as well as good, and I opened it to something so thoroughly appalling that the selection has been stuck in my head for more than a week. I truly think this belongs in the annals of terrible verse with William Topaz McGonagall and Julia Ann Moore, for the comma splices if for nothing else (and there is else). I showed it to Ruth, and spent the next five minutes desperately wishing for a video camera; I really thought they were going to throw the book out of the window.

Abandon hope, etcetera. )


kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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