Cool Stuff Friday

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:22 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday still hasn’t seen the new Spider-Man movie 🙁

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I still have to review Extra Virginity as well, but I actually liked that one, so it will take longer to compose….

One of the things I did get done yesterday between work, the ball game, and the Epic Sunburn, was finish a slim book of short stories called A City Equal to My Desire by James Sallis. This wasn’t a book that was recommended to me, which means I don’t have to feel bad about truly disliking it. I found it in a keyword search on the library website for books about ukuleles, and it has a short story called Ukulele And The World’s Pain, which admittedly was one of the better stories in the book despite still not being very good.

From what I can tell, he did pick the best story out of the book to develop into a novel, “Drive”, but it is very obviously unfinished in short-story form. Sallis has a couple of ongoing problems in the short story collection, one of which is that he tends to skip the vital information you need in order to know what the fuck is going on. And not in a “the blanks slowly get filled in” way, or in a “your imagination is more terrible” way (though there is a little of that) but just in a way where like…he says something that you understand to be vital to the story but which is missing context, then spends like a page describing the fucking diner someone’s sitting in, and by then any context forthcoming doesn’t get linked back. It’s like being in the middle of a paragraph when you hit the photo plates in an older book – yes the photos are very interesting thank you but I need to finish the thought you were sharing with me before I go back and look at them. I think maybe he thinks this is challenging the reader but it’s not, it’s just annoying and makes what are otherwise interesting premises totally opaque. I shouldn’t need to work this hard for a story about a hit man who decides not to kill a politician. 

If the book had a more cohesive theme in terms of the stories, it might be more readable – he clearly enjoys building worlds and then doesn’t quite know what to do with them once he’s built them, so if this was an entire book of “weird and different worlds” ala Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, I would buy in more fully and I think he would have put a little more elbow in. But it’s not. It’s mostly “here’s a really interesting world and a person living in squalor in it does something while being in it”. Also he appears to be fascinated by describing things that are shaped like pi. And a lot of times it feels like he read a wikipedia article on something and wanted to share some knowledge, so he just kind of built a half-assed story around his wikiwander. 

And all of this I would probably let go if say, it was something I was noticing in a fanfic writer, or someone who was just starting out, or someone I felt was genuinely trying to get a point across. But there’s this inexplicable sense of arrogance to the collection, a sort of smugness to it that in professional writers drives me up the goddamn wall. Stephen King sometimes falls into the same trap, where it feels like the author believes they don’t have to respect their readers because they are The Writer. 

The thing about volumes of short stories is that you keep reading it because sometimes there is a real gem. And there are one or two good stories in the volume, but I don’t know if they’re worth the rest of it. 

So my review I guess is mostly me being annoyed, but it boils down to “If you like short stories in the SFF Noir genre, give it a whirl, but if you’re bored with a story none of them get better, so feel free to skip to the next one.” 

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havocthecat: the lady of shalott (Default)
[personal profile] havocthecat
For anyone who might be interested, Pixar has Pixar in a Box on Khan Academy.

It's primarily directed at film writing, but I think it can be used for all types of narrative storytelling. I've been listening to The Art of Storytelling video series.

It starts out with "We are all storytellers," (I'm there still) which I think is an admirable point and has a number of their creators talking about their amateur efforts and how they got started, like Betty and Veronica fashion fanart. :)

It leads to characterization and story structure, and while I don't know that visual language is going to be terribly helpful to us print writers, it might give good ideas for descriptions of scenery to go around dialogue. There are also lessons and activities that you can do, should you choose.

(I can't find closed captions on Khan Academy, though. That's my one quibble thus far.)

One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is still this graphic: Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling.

No, I'm not saying they have to be YOUR rules too. I'm just saying I find the list as a useful set of way to help me go through one of my stories and figure out what's not working and what I need to do to make it work. Or sometimes, for me to just let go and stopy worrying at something, and maybe come back to it later.

when the sun burst through the sky

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:05 am
musesfool: Stephanie Brown as Batgirl (can't hardly wait)
[personal profile] musesfool
I spent last night reading fic where Jason and Cass turn out to be biological siblings, not just adopted siblings, and squee!, that is one of my favorite Batfamily tropes. Plus, there was some awesome Jason-Cass-Steph bonding which I feel canon has repeatedly cheated me out of, even though they would get along like a house on fire (literally, probably, given Jason's involvement and enjoyment in blowing things up). Plus there is some hilarious snark at poor Tim's expense that made me laugh out loud repeatedly. Oh Tim. (There will be recs at the end of the month as usual, but here and here for those of you who are impatient and also not following my pinboard.)

Also, yesterday, my consolation birthday present arrived - a beautiful red patent leather Love Moschino tote bag (wow, there were three left in stock when I ordered mine and now there are none! I'm glad I got there in time!). During the whole epic search for a new bag, I coveted a red patent leather bag, but couldn't find one (or, rather, couldn't find one that was less than, like, $800 and while I'm profligate, I'm not that profligate), since I guess they aren't in style right now? Except it's red patent leather so I can't imagine how it could go out of style? But whatever. On a whim on Wednesday, I checked Zappo's to see if there were any available, and lo and behold, there it was. It's beautiful. It's big and kind of unwieldy (and unpleasantly sticky against the bare skin of my arm in the heat), but I don't care, because it's gorgeous.

Bosses 1 & 3 both admired it as I unpacked it from the box, and they were like, "Are you going to save it for special occasions?" and I said, "Hell no!" (note: I did not actually say "Hell no!" I just said, "no! I bought it so I could use it! Because it is beautiful!") And I recommend to all of you to use your beautiful and special things rather than waiting for some mythical special occasion to crop up, because frequently, you will be waiting forever and never get to enjoy the beautiful thing you bought for yourself. Using a special bag/wearing your beautiful new shoes/opening that expensive bottle of wine - they can all make a regular occasion special, and I recommend you do that rather than wait for some occasion arbitrarily deemed "special" enough to break out the fancy lipstick or whatever. Live your best life whenever you can, people!

***

Roxy and other animals update

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:15 pm
miss_s_b: (Mood: Mad as a flibble)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Second course of antibiotics seems to have done the trick, so it appears the infection she had was a resistant strain, or at least resistant to the most common doggie antibiotic.

Now we have to sort out her teeth...

Daughter has been really excellent recently, alternately cajoling me into doing self care ("come on mummy, lets go to the gym, it's good for both of us" "Lets take the doggies for a walk, clear our heads") and baking cakes for me to eat. She's getting REALLY good at baking.

Pretty much everything else is still stressful or infuriating or depressing, but I'm not dead. And tomorrow we go to That London for a couple of days to see the wimmins krikkit world cup final, so hopefully running away for a bit will help.

Interesting Links for 21-07-2017

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
NOVELLAS

How Sere Picked Up Her Laundry by Alexander Jablokov

The Girl Who Stole Herself by R. Garcia y Robertson

I posted about the first of these as soon as read it, considering it worth the cover price on its own, https://beccaelizabeth.dreamwidth.org/3346818.html , but the other novella was also strong.

Central female character, mostly talking to girls and women, interesting career progression very swiftly, and a worldbuild that goes out in stages that make sense but sometimes managed to surprise me. Trigger warning for attempted rape, interrupted, and several different situations where sexual contact is implied or mentioned in situations cannot be freely consented to, like women in prison or slaves or attempted underage. It's all about how messed up all that all is. Protagonist is a 'closet princess' who spends all her time on the net, whose adventures in virtual reality have practical applications and real world political consequences. Interesting, but, see triggers.

Asimov's keeps being darker like that than is my preference.

Read more... )


So that's a couple I can't see why they're SF, a lot that are darker than I'd like, and a couple of very readable ones.

So, basically, I can see Asimov's is doing a thing. It seems like a competently written thing. But it is only sometimes an overlap with things I want to read.

Still, good when it is.

Equinox placeholder letter

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:19 am
odessie: (Default)
[personal profile] odessie
Hello!  Thank you, lovely person making a vid for me!

This is a placeholder letter because I'm currently on a canal boat in the wilds of...actually, I don't even know exactly where we are, the Midlands possibly, or the North-West of England...?  We were in Staffordshire a day or two ago but don't know if we still are...

Anyway, I've got extremely limited internet access at the mo but have managed to hop briefly on some wi-fi to do a quick sign-up and post this, but a proper letter will have to wait until I get back, sorry!  I should be able to post it on Sunday 20 July, Monday at the latest.

In the meantime, if you've got an idea you're excited about, please go ahead and start making it and don't worry at all about my requests or tastes etc!  I don't have really specific ideas I'm dying to request anyway.  If however you're the kind of person who prefers a bit more to go on or needs some inspiration, I'll try to get up a letter with some more details as soon as I can.

For the interested, my requests are:

Call the Midwife (TV)
Holes (2003)
Jane Eyre (2011)
Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012)
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Vera (TV)

Daily Happiness

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:39 am
torachan: arale from dr slump with a huge grin on her face (arale)
[personal profile] torachan
1. My mom called me this afternoon and said her husband was having problems with his computer, could I come over and fix it and she'd give me money off the rent if I did. Well, that's always good incentive, but especially considering we just had $1500 in car repairs, I rushed right over. :p And it was an easy fix, so I probably spent more time driving over there in lunchtime traffic than actually spent at his computer.

2. I finally got the last of the twelve memories in Zelda, and now there's another final memory to get. I played for quite a while today but I don't even know what all I did. Mostly wander around central Hyrule and kill Guardians in hopes of getting some damn ancient cores, but I killed like ten or more and only one dropped a core. I need three more cores to upgrade the last piece of my guardian armor! I also randomly found the Tingle tights even though I wasn't even looking for them. Oh, and I played some of the Trial of the Sword, but I died and then decided to do something else for a while.

3. Jasper is getting so big! He's almost nine months and he's pretty much as big as Chloe now, maybe even a little bigger.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:12 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I need to get someone to sit with me and help me deal with work email, because I've reached the point of really, SERIOUSLY intending to deal with it... and achieving as much as opening my inbox in a tab, before I have to walk away from my computer for three hours to stave off a panic attack. There's not even anything that bad there! I'm just being... blah.

In better news, I had a good fannish week for once. I started a kinkmeme! ([community profile] omgsexplease)

Next week I'm going to Ottawa to visit my girlfriend, so that's nice.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:56 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
If you think you have invented an ansible
instant, faster than light, communication
and you only have one planet to test it on

how would you test?

if magic is ftl, how would they figure that out?

Gender arguments

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:25 am
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
The thing that makes conversations about gender and media difficult to have
is that, in an ideal world, I'd want gender to be a nonbinary system, a gender spectrum, with no particular weight or pressure to so much as pick a position on it, let alone be stuck there.

... but I am aware that this ideal world is based on what would make the world most comfortable for me, and other people want to do their own thing, so okay, I guess, they can play this two sided thing, if they particularly want.

Read more... )

We have to start by engaging with the dominant paradigm, but I get so tired of it when it is being a really intolerable paradigm.

There's no room for anyone in this thing, why even prop it up?




So what this adds up to is, the Doctor has potential to be my ideal character. All Time Lords do now. Because they can demonstrate in one continuous person the utter irrelevance of packaging.

But, because they are on the whole written by binary people in a binary system, it seems annoyingly likely they won't.

And yet it's still progress, because parity is at least twelve more Doctors away, so this is a place to start.



It's just kind of wearying knowing that saying this out loud is... pretty likely to start an argument on the fundamentals. Like, gender. What is even up with that?

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:13 am
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
More things I have learnt from physio - mainly notes to self. I suspect [personal profile] hagar_972 and [personal profile] taennyn may have useful experience here, where I'm just starting out on the same journey they've already been on.

Muscles in the thigh - VMO, lateralis, the big quad one, the sartorius one across, adductors on the inside, abductors on the outside. VMO needs extra strengthening due to hypermobility. The small stabilising muscles tend to give up, then the big muscles compensate, and that's why my hamstrings get tight all the time. Then the hip/bum ones like glute max and glute mede also need help, particularly the latter.

Making sure things activate in the right order is hard. If the lateralis activates before the VMO instead of at the same time, then my kneecap slides sideways and that's one of the reasons it hurts. Trying to activate the VMO first will retrain it so they both go at the same time.

Very little of note

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:54 pm
jamie: Enjoy life, there's plenty of time to be dead (Enjoy life)
[personal profile] jamie
Started a few fights on fb. Always fun.

B ordered and/or bought all the Funko SDCC exclusive pops that she wanted so that's done too. One of the required a 90 minute drive each way but it was entertaining so I didn't mind. Not sure what she's going to do next year.

Went through my many small boxes of family photos looking for what stuff I have from one side of the family. End result? 11 boxes of photos of the paternal side, 1/2 a box from the maternal side. Thing is, until my generation both side of the family were at about the same socio-economic level. One of them was just way more into taking pictures than the other as far as I can tell. And it held true through mine and family vacations. We just didn't take pictures when we were with them in comparison to the dozens we did on the other side. It's so odd.

Saw a picture of my maternal grandmother as a young woman for the very first time this morning, sent to me digitally by a second cousin (I love the future). It's a little tough to tell from the photo but she can't be older than 30 in it which is much younger than the age 60ish photo I'd seen a long time ago. We apparently looked a lot alike and this photo does show that family resemblance rather strongly.

5 sleeps left.

SSHG Promptfest Reveal

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:43 pm
kerravonsen: Snape, Hermione: "Believe" (Snape-Hermione)
[personal profile] kerravonsen
So, the [livejournal.com profile] sshg_promptest has completed, and the reveals are up.
I made two items for the same prompt, because it was such a fabulous prompt:

Threads. As light as gossamer or spun into a thread; holding things together at the seams; yarn woven into a tapestry or the warmest blanket; twisted into string, a cord, a rope. Threads of memory or of hair. Loose threads. (prompt by [livejournal.com profile] eoforth)

First piece: Interlocking LivesSSHG Jewellery
On Etsy (more pictures, and yes, you can buy it!!!)

Second piece: Woven Threads
On Etsy (more pictures, and you can buy this one too!)

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thedivinegoat

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