Finally, not a fan of the theme song

Oct. 1st, 2017 08:14 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Insufficiently "Fanfare to the Common Man" for my tastes, and I don't like the intro video either.

(And I have Thoughts. For a society so obsessed with the Prime Directive, Federation humans are equally obsessed with the idea that secretly, all species would be better off as humans. Here it is AGAIN in this ep. Nevermind that being raised by Vulcans is a strange plot contrivance, isn't it enough that she's content and functional, without having to ditch who she is to be "more human" by some arbitrarily emotional reckoning? Is this universal Trek belief a clever dig at Americans, or do Trek writers really agree with this? Eddington was right - they're worse than the Borg! They assimilate people, and they don't even realize it. This would be an interesting angle to take. They already have the seeds planted with the Klingons. They're not going to go that route, though.)

Ah well. In other news, J was thrilled with his bag. Also, I am sick. *sneeze*

Oh! And when I came home today from walking the dogs, there was a cardboard cat carrier and a small box of cat food on my porch. This is all a bit inexplicable, and I'm wondering if maybe somebody intended to leave a cat there? If so, kitty escaped. Just as well - I'm full up on formerly stray animals.

****************


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[syndicated profile] abondgirlsfooddiary_feed

Posted by Hannah

Now, we all know that my favourite kind of cake is chocolate cake. But all types of cake are welcome here! I also have a lot of time for a good carrot cake. Carrot cake is a flavourful, comforting, pleasing option from the cake world, and I am always happy to see one. Here, we have carrot cake with a difference. This week, I am working with Indigo Herbs, who sell not just herbs but a wide range of high quality, organic, natural health products. With some fantastic ingredients from their online shop, I’ve created these gluten free carrot cake muffins.

DSC_0026-1-1024x683

DSC_0060-1024x683

These muffins are really simple to put together. You don’t need any special equipment, or any complicated baking skills. The muffins keep well, and are very portable. Packed full of carrots, walnuts, and dates, they’re great for an energy boost, and even a pretty legitimate breakfast choice.

DSC_0087-1024x683

Using walnut flour and coconut flour here means the muffins are gluten free, but also means they have a delicious and complex flavour. You can, of course, use regular gluten free flour, but if you’ve never worked with walnut or coconut flour before then this is a great easy introduction to these ingredients.

Similarly, you don’t have to use coconut sugar here, but it’s got a lovely coconut scent and flavour and a tempting, caramel-like colour.

DSC_0120-683x1024

Notes:

If you don’t need to make these muffins gluten free, or don’t have some of the more unusual baking ingredients listed here, then I’ve included alternative options.

I use tulip muffin cases for absolutely no reason other than I like the look of them. Standard muffin cases will work just as well.

The icing can certainly be skipped, if you prefer. It’s lovely with the muffins, but not essential if you’re trying to keep the sugar quantities down.

Ingredients:

140g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
175g coconut sugar (or caster sugar)
250g carrots, grated
100g chopped dates
100g walnut flour and 100g coconut flour (or 200g gluten free self raising flour)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder (gluten free if necessary)
3 eggs, beaten
50g walnuts, chopped
100g icing sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until creamy and well-combined. Stir in your grated carrots and chopped dates.
  2. In another bowl, combine your flour(s), cinnamon, and baking powder. Begin to add your eggs to your carrot mixture, a little at a time, alternating with spoonfuls of the flour mixture, until everything is mixed together. Finally, mix in your walnuts.
  3. Divide your mixture evenly between your 12 muffin cases. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until firm and starting to turn golden. While they bake, pop your icing sugar (if using) in a large bowl and slowly drizzle in the lemon juice, mixing with a whisk or a fork, until you have a smooth, fairly thick but pourable icing – you might not need all of the lemon juice.
  4. Let your muffins cool for 5-10 minutes, then drizzle with the icing.
Disclaimer: I was kindly given the products from Indigo Herbs used in this recipe as a gift, but all opinions are my own.

The post Gluten Free Carrot Cake Muffins with Indigo Herbs appeared first on A Bond Girl's Food Diary.

Tuesday 26/09/2017

Sep. 26th, 2017 08:11 am
dark_kana: (3_good_things_a_day official icon)
[personal profile] dark_kana posting in [community profile] 3_good_things_a_day
1) I have some inspiration for a new drabble. It has to be less than 200 words. I'm going to try and write it during lunch break... :D

2) Home made soup, by myself this time ^^

3) Boyfriend's mother is coming over for dinner.

Good things

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:26 pm
buttonsbeadslace: drawing of a high-heeled boot (Default)
[personal profile] buttonsbeadslace
- My back feels better
- My throat feels better
- I got a slow start, but I did a decent amount of work today
- Sparkly is very busy but doing ok

I have to / get to go to the library tomorrow, because my books are due and the website seems to be down, so I can't renew them. 

Lots of stuff is is happening with the Graham-Cassidy bill, and I'm sort of trying to stay informed without spending too much time worrying about it. So far that's been leaning towards "not informed." 

Sparkly comes home in 15 days, which simultaneously seems like not very long and a really long time. We text all the time, and in some ways it's not unfamiliar, because we were long-distance for a long time, but I really miss em.
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Today I had a doctor's appointment.

Medical detail, TMI, mini-rant, brain weirdness and body weirdness Read more... )

However, good things today and recently included:

Fall leaves on a row of trees on a hill.

A view of Mt. St Helens enrobed in white snow under a blue sky.

Warm blankets.

Food Read more... )

On Sunday, attending an extremely moving Fall Equinox ritual with the local ADF druidic grove. We'll be back. It's still echoing.

Brain weirdness Read more... )

In a bit here I'm going to turn off the screenglow and lights, and light a candle. Yay candles.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:08 pm
skygiants: Kozue from Revolutionary Girl Utena, in black rose gear, holding her sword (salute)
[personal profile] skygiants
I happened to see on Twitter that today was the 30th anniversary of The Princess Bride, which I guess makes it a good day to post about As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of the Princess Bride.

This is Cary Elwes' memoir of the making of the film, a book I had vaguely meant to read for years, but did not actually get around to until our new roommate left his copy in the house this summer as a sort of placeholder before actually moving in. It's very charming! I'd sort of always had a vague sense that Cary Elwes must in some way resent being forever branded as The Man In Black, and I'm sure that at some points he has and does, but this write-up is probably the most overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic Hollywood making-of memoir I've ever read. It's clearly intended for people who love the film and want to go on loving it, without a complicated feeling in sight.

My favorite part was probably the enthusiastic things that Cary Elwes and everyone interviewed had to say about Robin Wright and her acting as Buttercup; they're all like "we sailed through on jokes! playing the straight man is the hardest role in the cast! ALSO SHE CAME FROM SOAP OPERAS, SOAP OPERAS ARE SO HARD, DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY LINES PER DAY --" I went in braced to feel vaguely defensive of Robin Wright and Buttercup, as I so often do, and instead I was charmed and endeared!

I also enjoyed accounts of:
- Mandy Patinkin turning up to the first rehearsal with six months of sword practice under his belt, much to Cary Elwes' dismay
- William Goldman freaking out about Rob Reiner setting the leading lady on fire
- Andre the Giant accidentally conking Cary Elwes out on set
- Cary Elwes carefully arranging himself on the grass in an elegant lounging position to hide that he'd broken an ankle joyriding in a golf card
- so much detailed description of sword training and fight choreography! *__* SO MUCH

"National backbone"

Sep. 26th, 2017 12:40 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

I. J. Khanewala writes:

While visiting the tomb of the first emperor, I saw a sign in Mandarin which read minzu jiliang and translated as "National backbone". It left me quite mystified.  Here's a photo of the sign:

Source ("Utterly lost in translation").  Any idea what it could mean?

Textual references to "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone" — that's what GT, Microsoft Translator, and Baidu Fanyi all have, and it's not far off; there's not much else you can do with it, though it would sound better if worded as "backbone of the nation") abound in modern China and calligraphic representations of the phrase are in evidence in many public spaces.  So it's not surprising that it would be in evidence at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.

"Mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") is a variant of "中国的脊梁" ("the backbone / spine of China"), coined by the great author Lu Xun (1881-1936), whom we've mentioned many times on Language Log, in his article " Zhōngguó rén shīdiào zìxìnlì le ma 中国人失掉自信力了吗?" ("Have the Chinese People Lost Their Confidence?").  It was written during the period of the buildup to the Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 to September 9, 1945) to encourage people not to lose strength and hope in their struggle against the invaders.

The most famous calligraphic exemplar of "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") is that by Zhao Puchu (1907-2000) at the Big Goose Pagoda in Xi'an, which is closely associated with the celebrated Buddhist pilgrim and translator, Xuanzang (fl. ca. 602-664).  Zhao evidently meant his rendition of "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") as a tribute to the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk.

Here's a photograph of the wall on which Zhao's calligraphy is displayed, with a portion of the enormous pagoda looming in the background:

Geremie Barmé comments on Zhao's calligraphy thus:

It's an oddly anachronistic work. The calligraphy is by the pro-Communist state Buddhist layman Zhao Puchu 赵朴初.  Zhao is celebrating the achievements of Xuanzang 玄奘. What mínzú 民族 ("nation") in the Tang, one may well ask?

Barmé is not the only commentator to question the appropriateness of Zhao dedicating the phrase that originated with Lu Xun during the period of the Second Sino-Japanese war to the Tang Buddhist monk, Xuanzang.  Numerous posts online reveal that many people know about the association between Lu Xun and this phrase, but they are confused about why this phrase appears next to the Big Goose Pagoda in Xi'an.  Some commenters opine that it is weird and awkward to juxtapose this phrase with the Big Goose Pagoda because they don't sense any convincing connection between the place and the phrase.  Presumably, the phrase is also calligraphically displayed at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, which might similarly lead to the same kinds of questions as those raised about its appearance at the Big Goose Pagoda.  The difference, however, is that Zhao Puchu was one of the most famous calligraphers of the second half of the twentieth century, so that — no matter whether fitting the context or not — Zhao's calligraphy, which may be seen at countless places all over China, seems justified by the sheer eminence of the artist.

Here's the phrase on a wall in Shaoxing, Lu Xun's hometown in Zhejiang Province:

There's little doubt that it perfectly suits the place and the person.

[Thanks to Yixue Yang and Jinyi Cai]

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:36 pm
jjhunter: A sheep with shaded glasses and a straw hat lies on its side; overhead floats the pun 'on the lamb' (as in baby sheep). (on the lamb)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.

=

Signal-boosting much appreciated!
jjhunter: Watercolor sketch of arranged diatoms as seen under microscope (diatomaceous tessellation)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Ed Yong @ the Atlantic: Even Jellyfish Sleep
Do jellyfish dream of gelatinous sheep?

Ephrat Livni @ Quartz: Octlantis is a just-discovered underwater city engineered by octopuses
Gloomy octopus males seem to spend a great deal of time chasing each other out of dens.

Ed Yong @ the Atlantic: Octopuses Do Something Really Strange to Their Genes
It’s impossible to say if their prolific use of RNA editing is responsible for their alien intellect, but “that would definitely be my guess”

Greta Keenan @ New Scientist: Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds
Nocturnal predatory fish use calls to stay together to hunt, while fish that are active during the day use sound to defend their territory.

So there's that section of roof done.

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:20 pm
archangelbeth: Bleach's Captain Byakuya, three-quarters view. Captioned: sigh (Sigh)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
The central part of the house will probably get done next weekend, and the big room's roof on the weekend after that? Or vice versa. One of those.

I have not had enough sleep -- despite getting to sleep earlier than usual for an exhausted change -- for three days and I am just about asleep on my feet.

Insurance does not want to cover construction defects, and suggests we talk to the developer/builder. -_-

Havva Quote
Judge of Spiders sentences the defendant to hang.
w~~~~~~~ says, “Ah, but to hang by what?”
f___ says, “...by the web, until fed!”



INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
but given the advanced state of their tech, am I wrong in pegging this as a third universe? Okay, that's my official head-canon. Something, something, temporal cold war - THIRD UNIVERSE! (So does each new parallel universe also have its own twin mirror universe?)

Also: Why do all futuristic jails in all universes everywhere have force fields with no physical backup? That seems like a major design flaw.

Also also: Why are all the Klingons bald? Strange fashion choice, or genetic disease?
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

There was thread over at Metafilter this week talking about book sales and author earnings, including a link to a study that purported to chart author earnings, based on sales at Amazon.  I have to admit I had a bit of a giggle over it. Not because it was attempting to guess author incomes, which is fine, but because the methodology for estimating those earnings came almost entirely from trying to estimate sales of the authors’ books on Amazon, and extrapolating income from there.

Here’s the thing: For non-self-published authors, the correlation between annual book sales and annual “earnings” as a writer can be fairly low. As in, sometimes there is no correlation at all.

Confusing? Think how we feel!

But let me explain.

So, I’m a writer who works primarily with a “Big Five” publisher (Tor Books, which is part of Macmillan). For each of my books, I’m given an advance, which in my case is paid in four separate installments — when I sign the contract, when I turn in the manuscript and it’s accepted, when the book is published in hardcover and when the book is published in paperback. This is fairly typical for most writers working with a “traditional” publisher.

Once the advance is disbursed, my publisher owes me nothing until and unless my book “earns out” — which is to say, the amount I nominally earn for the sale of each unit (usually between 10% and 15% of each hardcover, and 25% of the net for eBook) exceeds cumulatively the amount I was offered for the advance. Once that happens, my publisher owes me for each book sold, and that amount is then usually disbursed semiannually…

usually. There could be other complicating factors, such as if the royalties of the books are “basketed” (meaning the contract was for two or more books, and the royalties are not disbursed until the advance amount for every book in the “basket” is earned out), or if some percentage of the royalties are held back as a “reserve against returns” (meaning that some books listed as sold/distributed are actually returned, so the publisher holds back royalties for a payment period to compensate).

Bear in mind that most publishers try to offer as an advance a sum of money they think the book will earn, either over the first year in hardcover, or across the entire sales run of the work. Which means that if the publisher has guessed correctly, it will never have to shell out royalties. Sometimes they guess poorly, which means either they paid too much for an advance or not enough; in the latter case, that’s when the royalty checks come (please note that even if a publisher pays “too much” and the advance isn’t earned out, it doesn’t mean the book wasn’t profitable for the publisher — their bottom line is not necessarily heavily correlated to the author’s advance — nor does the author have to pay it back).

So what does this all mean? Well, it means that for a non-self-pubbed author, often none of their annual earnings from a book are directly related to how many of those books sell in a year (or any other specified time frame). In fact, depending on how the advance is paid out, three-quarters or more (even all!) of the author’s earnings from a book are disbursed before the book has sold a single unit.

Like so:

Book is contracted: 40% of the advance (“signing installment”) goes to the author. Books sold to date: 0.

Book is turned in and accepted: 20% of the advance (“delivery and acceptance installment”) goes to the author. Books sold to date: 0

Book is published in hardcover: 20% of the advance (“hardcover installment”) goes to the author. Books sold to date: 0 (there may be pre-orders, but the sales don’t usually start being counted until this time).

Book is published in paperback: Final 20% of the advance goes to author. Books sold to date: Hopefully some! But even if the number is zero, the final installment gets paid out (if so few books are sold that the publisher foregoes the paperback release, there’s still usually the contractual obligation to pay out).

Note these advances can be paid out over more than one year — I once got a final installment for an advance roughly six years after I got the first installment (it was a complicated situation). Likewise, once the book starts selling, it can be years — if at all — before the author starts earning royalties, and even then, thanks to the reserve against returns, what the author gets in those semi-annual royalty checks is not 1:1 with sales for the period the check covers (note: this sometimes works to the benefit of the author). Also note: Those semi-annual checks? Often cover a period of time located in the previous fiscal or calendar year.

All of which is to say: For a “traditionally published” author, at almost no point do what an author’s yearly earnings for a book directly correspond to how the book is selling in that particular year.

(Is this bad? No, but it needs paying attention to. Authors tend to love advances because they’re not directly tied to sales — it’s money up front that doesn’t have to be immediately recouped and can help tide the author over during the writing and the wait for publication. But it also means, again, that it can be years — if at all — before money from royalties comes your way. Authors need to be aware of that.)

To move the discussion to me directly for a moment, if someone tried to guess my annual earnings based on my yearly unit sales on Amazon (or via Bookscan, or anywhere else for that matter), they would be likely be, well, wildly wrong. At any moment I have several books at various stages of advance disbursement — some contracted, some completed but not published, some published in hardcover and some published in paperback — a few all paid out in advances but not earned out, and several earned out and paying royalties.

Add to that audio sales (another set of advances and royalties) and foreign sales (yet another) and ancillary income like film/tv options (which are not tied to sales at all, but sales help get things optioned) and so on. Also note that not all my sales provide royalties at the same rate — a lot will depend on format and how many were previously sold (if they are in print or physical audio), unit price (if they are eBook or audio files), and on other various bits that are in contracts but not necessarily disclosed to the wide world. Oh, and don’t forget my short fiction and non-fiction!

Basically, my yearly earnings as an author are a delightful mess. I’m glad I have an accountant and an agent and a very smart life partner to help me stay on top of them. These earnings have almost nothing to do with unit sales in any calendar year, and more to the point, never have, even when I was a newbie book writer with a single book contract to my name. I signed my first book contract in 1999; since then I have yet to have a year when my earnings from being an author approach anything like a 1:1 parity with my book sales in that same year.

Does this matter? Well, it matters if you are, for example, trying to extrapolate what “traditionally published authors” make based on their annual sales, and are then comparing those “earnings” to the earnings of self-published authors. It’s ignoring that these are entirely different distribution systems which have implications for annual earnings. I don’t think one is particularly better than the other, but a direct comparison will give you poor results. Note also that’s true going the other way — applying “traditional publishing” income models to self-published authors will very likely tell you incorrect things about how they’re doing economically in any one year.

(And as a further note: Do likewise be aware of the caveats for anyone trying to extrapolate self-pub/indie annual author earnings from Amazon as well. It misses direct sales, which for authors who ply the convention circuits can be significant, and also may not fully incorporate how Amazon deals with payments in its subscription models, which are handled rather differently than actual sales, and which (unless it’s changed very recently) come from a pre-determined pot of payment rather than a straight percentage of sales. Hey, it’s complicated! Almost as complicated as the “traditional” model.)

Here’s one thing I suspect is true: It’s possible to make money (sometimes a lot of it) as a traditionally published author, or as an self-published/indie author — or as both, either in turn or simultaneously, since, as it happens, there’s no deep ideological chasm between the two, and generally speaking an author can do one or the other depending on their project needs, or their own (likewise, it’s possible to make almost no money either way, too. Alas). It’s not an either-or proposition.

But yes: Here is a grain of salt. Please apply it to anyone who tells you they know how much any author (traditional or self-pub/indie, but especially traditional) is earning in any year, based on Amazon sales, even if they’re  limiting it to Amazon sales. They’re just guessing, and you have no idea how far off their guesses are. And neither, I strongly suspect, do they. Only the actual authors know, and most of the time, they’re not telling.


Just One Thing (25 September 2017)

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:59 pm
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath posting in [community profile] awesomeers
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Andrew has (extremely carefully and only after I said it was okay, having learned from last week's debacle!) opened the post from the Home Office and can confirm that it's my UK passport.

I'm not even happy or relieved yet. I'm so ground-down by the whole process that it still hasn't sunk in yet, even as I look at it with the lettering all shiny, next to me on the table, waiting to be taken upstairs and filed away into unobtrusive normality.

[in the highway, in the hedges]

Sep. 25th, 2017 03:37 pm
watersword: "Shakespeare invaded Poland, thus perpetuating World Ware II." -Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged. (Stock: Shakespeare invaded Poland.)
[personal profile] watersword
[insert groveling for not being interesting for like a month]

The world is on fire; Endellion was good-but-not-great; autumn in New York is almost as good as spring in New York; Chuck Schumer and his staff ignore their phones 100% of the time (Kirsten Gillibrand's staff is at least available sometimes, and my representative's staff ALWAYS talks to me); I made apple hand pies this weekend; the seminar I am taking is not as interesting as I was hoping but I will soldier on; the fact that no one has cut together the Elizabeth-Swann-relevant scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean 5 is an abomination; my office moved across campus and while there are some serious downsides, the fact that I no longer work in a dungeon is a net positive.

I cannot believe it is already almost Yom Kippur.

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