November 26th, 2014
ysobel: A bunny (bunny comics) in the dotted-line red-x-in-corner broken-image style (404 not found)
posted by [personal profile] ysobel at 01:09am on 2014-11-26 under ,
So I had been super proud of myself for maintaining my duo streak even with nano

(455 days)

(Which ran from the beginning of when I started duo, with four skips that were covers by the streak protection thing you can "buy" to cover a single day of inactivity)

Went to bed last night and totally crashed. Couldn't keep my eyes open at all -- and this was at like 9pm, when I usually get to sleep more like 11 -- so I listened to an audiobook until I stopped tracking it, and then slept.

Woke up just now (1am) and realized that I hadn't done duo. Went ack, and went in to do an easy lesson -- I am a boy, the man eats an apple -- because the usual thing would take too much braining (plus I can't see the left half of the keyboard because blanket, and touch typing is less possible on a touchscreen keyboard, so I'm typoing like hell) and I figured doing it now would make sure the streak protection kicked in.

Except I apparently hadn't done it the day before either.

So I am now on a one day streak.

On the one hand, I knew I couldn't keep it up forever. And 455 is something to be damn proud of. And I know I should be seeing the long success instead of the two days of failure: know I should be saying "well I just have to go longer the next time."

On the other, some of what was keeping me doing it daily was the streak itself, and I don't have that, and I don't think I can do it again. Fifteen months is a long time. And every time I see the streak length now, it'll just be a reminder of how I fucked up. Again. Because it feels like I always do.
andrewducker: (lady face)
Boing Boing has a story - Youtube nukes 7 hours' worth of science symposium audio due to background music during lunch break.

a) Who puts up a 7 hour video unedited? Complete with the lunch break?
b) Yes, that music is owned by someone (probably several someones). Feel free to lobby for the law to change, but you don't get to use someone else's recent music without their permission. I think copyright overreaches a lot, and would limit it severely, but "I put someone else's recently-made music in my video" is definitely something copyright should cover.
c) For God's sake, edit the lunch-break out of the video and put it back up. And while you're at it, chop it into sensible chunks and put them up as separate videos - how hard can that be???
miss_s_b: (Default)
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 08:02am on 2014-11-26
Happy birthday, [personal profile] londonkds!
alexseanchai: 11-round crochet granny square, red center through grape edge (Default)
alexseanchai: 11-round crochet granny square, red center through grape edge (Default)
November 25th, 2014
pegkerr: (Harry felt he could have produced the wo)
posted by [personal profile] pegkerr at 10:15pm on 2014-11-25 under , , ,
Rob is home from the hospital! (And losing his hair all over again, poor guy; he looks a bit mangy but is very glad to be home), and with me, he thanks everyone for their support.

CaringBridge post here.
Mood:: 'content' content
resonant: Three frogs in Santa hats (Default)
posted by [personal profile] resonant at 09:41pm on 2014-11-25 under
I've spent a couple of months trying to sit with my losses and changes, done and happening and still to come. It was good to have a period of quiet. It was what I needed. But I really missed you folks.

I didn't discover the secret of life. I did discover that I was allowing my time and energy to sort of flow out without any direction from me -- to be used by whoever demanded them, to drift into hours spent noodling around on the computer in a way that was neither pleasure nor rest. Little by little I'm trying to change that.

So I'm going to be trying to do fandom in a way that has more

interacting with each other as people
getting help from others to make my writing better
helping others who want to make their writing better
reading delicious stories

and has less

passive absorbtion
meta without interaction

Chat and Dreamwidth and your worlds and your stories are good for me. Tumblr is bad for me, and for now I'm opting out. (Well, OK, I confess: I'm still following a handful of artists. Plus Important Birds.)

So: Hello again! Let's get back into the groove with the December Daily meme! Pick a date in December and give me a topic, fannish or no. (Also, if you're participating, can you say so in your comment so I can follow you home and ask questions to you?)





  1. [personal profile] out_there: What's the worst novel you've ever read, and why?
  2. [personal profile] panisdead: dreams. Any way you choose to interpret.


























skjam: (Jazz)
posted by [personal profile] skjam at 09:41pm on 2014-11-25 under ,
Hi folks!

One of the ways Weekly Shounen Jump stays on top of the sales charts is by "churn", ending old series and starting new ones in their manga anthology magazine. Now, sometimes this happens naturally, as the recent run of Naruto reached a good point to end the series. But more often, it's a series that used to be popular but has gone downhill (Psyren for example) or a recent entry that didn't catch on (for example, Barrage.) In these cases, the writer has to wrap everything up in three or four chapters, so the story has some kind of ending.

Generally, the Jump editorial people want three new series to start each quarter of the year; which means that it's time for the online edition to have another round of "Jump Start." This last week, the first of the new series debuted, Takujo no AGEHA.



It's about ping-pong, or as they persistently refer to it here, table tennis. 18 pages of 55.

You may notice some similarities to an older manga series.... )

Next week, it's E-Robot, with the power of weaponized fanservice.

Your thoughts and comments?
SKJAM!
http://www.skjam.com
Music:: "Honky-Tonk Woman"--Tina Turner
Mood:: 'cynical' cynical
thnidu: cat staring out at you, photoshopped into wild colors (Pow Wow cat)
posted by [personal profile] thnidu at 10:35pm on 2014-11-25 under
I just discovered "Stand Still, Stay Silent" from somebody's link, but I can't remember whose. From "About...":

It's been 90 years after the great cataclysm that ended of the old world. Most of the surviving population of the Known world live in Iceland, the largest safe area in existence, while the safe settlements in the other Nordic countries; Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, are small and scarce.

Countless mysterious and unspoken dangers lurk outside the safe areas, the Silent world, and hunters, mages and cleansers will spend their lives defending the settlements against the terrifying beings. Because of a great fear towards everything in the Silent world no official attempts to explore the ruins of the old have been made, and most of the information about it has turned into ancient lore, known by few.

But now, at last, it is time to send out an research crew into the great unknown! A poorly funded and terribly unqualified crew, but a crew nonetheless.
 

pekeleke: (Default)
james_davis_nicoll: (Memetic Prophylactic Recommended)
evilawyer: young black-tailed prairie dog at SF Zoo (Default)
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
posted by [personal profile] seekingferret at 07:25pm on 2014-11-25 under
So, Philcon happened, and it started with a wonderful surprise and kept on being excellent.

As I was waiting in line to register, a couple of men in yarmulkes walked up to me and asked if I would join their minyan. I grabbed my roommate [personal profile] freeradical42 and together with the already assembled folk there were seven men and one woman gathered to pray in one of the hotel meeting rooms the Con was using. We started praying the afternoon service and then when that was finished, we began Kabbalat Shabbat, the special prayer service welcoming the Sabbath. And as we started singing Lecha Dodi, the song that is the heart of the Kabbalat Shabbat service, more people started coming in. We got an eighth man, and a ninth man, and a second woman, and as each person entered the room the singing grew louder and more spirited and more joyful. And then the tenth man came in and together we all sang "Bo'i V'Shalom", the final stanza of Lecha Dodi, which ends "Bo'i Kallah, Bo'i Kallah": "Come to me, Sabbath Bride, come join me."

This was my fifth time at Philcon and the first time I've been able to find a minyan. It was definitely the biggest crowd of Jews I've seen at a convention. And the experience put me in such a good mood to start the Con, because it felt like such a powerfully integrating experience. Sometimes going to Philcon means I have to feel like I'm making compromises- doing things that aren't in the spirit of Shabbos, or doing things not in the spirit of Fandom, but opening Philcon with a beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat service made me feel like I could do both without having to compromise. That I could share in the joy of two of the communities that are most important to me- three communities, really, since my five roommates/companions for the Con were Alcovians, another of my most important communities.

After davening I made kiddush and motzi and then met up with [livejournal.com profile] nathanielperson. Together we attended a panel on terrible science fiction we love anyway. The most enticing recommendation was a particularly bitter recommendation from one of the panelists for an alien romance novel called Captive Surrender.

Then I went to the Opening Ceremony and bailed after ten minutes when it became apparent that there was going to be nothing happening at the Opening Ceremony, while [livejournal.com profile] nathanielperson went to a panel on the Square Cube law in SF and bailed after ten minutes when it became apparent that it was going to just be a panel about Godzilla. So we met up and caught the end of a panel on how laughable it is when old SF gets future predictions wrong, and then went to a really cool panel on the mechanics and history of the Antikythera device, an amazingly intricately geared mechanism that apparently was used to reasonably accurately model patterns of eclipses, lunar phases, and various other astronomical information approximately 100 BCE. Then a couple more friends showed up and we hung out for a bit and then I wen to sleep before midnight because I was exhausted and I knew that I needed the sleep if I were going to survive the weekend.

Saturday morning began with a really good panel on Sexism in Fandom. It was really well moderated by Orenthal Hawkins and after the requisite griping about how terrible gamergate is, it started to explore the psychology of the harasser and the way in which the growth of geek culture has forced these cultural confrontations out into the open. So that male geeks who had formerly established their own exclusionary hierarchy in opposition to the conventional mainstream hierarchy were being forced against their will to acknowledge that they no longer have as much power to act as gatekeepers to the geek hierarchy, and they are trying to abuse what power they still have left to hold on. But the panel also spoke about how parts of geek culture that aren't as public, places like Philcon that have sometimes been a bastion of male fandom in the past, also have to work to keep fighting sexism and make it so that there aren't places in fandom that offer a safe haven for bad behavior by abusive trolls. And everyone was well behaved and there was hardly any mansplaining and the panel just went off shockingly well.

Then we sat in on a panel on "Literary Hard Science Fiction" and whether the demands of "literary fiction" and the demands of "hard science fiction" were at odds. It took the panel all of six seconds to agree that they weren't, but what I really liked about this panel was that it didn't end up just being a panel of listing examples of literary hard SF that works or arguing about genre definitions, which are two things that could have happened and which wouldn't have been the end of the world, but which get tiresome. Instead, the panelists, all thoughtful writers led by Michael Swanwick and Tom Purdum, took a pretty sharp look at the challenges of pulling off both ends of the mashup. One panelist cited a Golden Age editor as telling their writers not to try to do anything too complicated with characters because it would distract the reader from the delivery of ideas. And obviously the New Wave pushed back in the other direction with SF that tried to add more emphasis on characters and prose styling, but it was interesting to me that the Golden Age model actually had reasoning behind it, rather than merely being (as it often imputed), fueled by lazy, bad, hasty writing. The conclusion the panelists drew, more or less, was that pulling off Literary Hard Science Fiction involves juggling a lot of pieces and is really hard to do well for that reason because both elements are fighting for the reader's attention.

Which led to an interesting observation that threw the panelists down an interesting tangent: As mentioned in the Friday panel about incorrect future predictions, readers find technology that doesn't match our experience of the world to be distracting. It requires time and thought to assimilate these new ideas and technologies. On the other hand, when reading about technology that we have already assimilated into our heads, this adjustment and thought isn't needed. Therefore, there is some literature, such as the work of Verne, that has sort of retroactively become literary because the tech no longer seems futuristic, and we can pay attention to the story and character elements.

So I think the trick to working effectively with both big technological/cultural ideas and big character ideas, to bridge the gap between rigorous SF and rigorous literature, is to make both unobtrusive. It's a tough trick, but I think framing it in that way makes it seem more approachable. The great thing about this panel was that it was completely from the writer's perspective. I don't think you would hear critics talking about literary hard SF in the same way.

Afterward I'd volunteered to be the locus for a meetup of the Central Jersey Geek Meetup, as I did last year. As also happened last year, nobody showed up. I sat in the lobby for twenty minutes reading a book and then cool people who weren't involved in the Central Jersey Geek Meetup showed up and we talked for a while. Then I had lunch and went to the game room for the first time.

Philcon has a really awesome game room. The folks who run it started out just getting a suite and hosting gaming because they didn't like the way Philcon ran gaming, and eventually after a couple of years of this Philcon realized that John and Ginny knew their shit and started supporting their game room and including it in programming. They bring dozens of games, they bring lots of snacks to fuel gaming, and they offer up their time to make sure everything runs smoothly.

I had brought a game I kickstarted called Coin Age, a little pocket sized microgame played with coins and a single custom playing card sized board. I'd wanted to try it out and I easily found someone willing to play with me. It turned out to be exactly what I'd wanted- simple, easy to teach, and shockingly complex strategically for such a simple game. I played it several times over the course of the weekend when I had time to kill, after this. Everyone enjoyed it.

Then, a great panel on Jewish folklore in contemporary Jewish fantasy. I got so many recommendations of authors and works out of this, and I got to share a few of my favorites- Benjamin Rosenbaum's Biblical vampire story "The Book of Jashar" and Richard Dansky's Pirate Rabbi adventure "The Thirty Ninth Labor of Reb Palache".

There was a lot of discussion of the Golem and how often writers and TV people get it wrong, and how as the most well-known Jewish folk tale it gets incredibly overused when other Jewish fantastic devices would have actually been more appropriate. There is so much else going on in Jewish folklore! There are thousands of years of tradition, traditions from all over the world.

I mean, in my own fiction alone we have the demon Ashmedai, the prophet-king Melchizedek, Noah's dove, and my own strange take on the Golem story. Plus dybbuks in a D&D oneshot I ran and Solomon's secret wisdom in my Storium game. There is a hell of a lot to work with.

After that, we sat through [personal profile] freeradical42's two panels, one on Ebola and epidemics and one on common medical mistakes in media. Jon and I spent the former panel making radio telescope jokes and cracking each other up, but they were both good panels.

I skipped the transformative works/ fanfiction panel in order to run a D&D game, but I do want to say a few things about it. First, I heard a few people say that the panel turned out well, and I have no doubts about that. My complaint was never that the panel would be bad, just that it wasn't a topic I thought needed to be talked about anymore. Second, I went to the feedback panel at the end of the convention and delivered a version of my rant from the previous post and almost got cut off, they were so fast to respond with "We're aware it's a problem, it's at the top of our list to fix next year, and it's a very high priority in particular for our new Head of Programming." So that sounded like very good news.

My D&D game was worth skipping the fanfic panel for. I ran a small section of the megadungeon Dwimmermount, converting it on the fly to D&D 5E. It's a really astonishing dungeon product, featuring 13 incredibly massive levels full of complicated interconnections and factions and story hooks. And it's so well designed and well laid out that it feels even bigger than the massive book that contains it.

After I ran the game, the people who run the gaming room asked me to poke them during the year about running a game next year, so that it can actually get listed in the program. So that may happen, and would be pretty cool.

The party, which called itself Three's Company (because they were sponsored by General Three), consisted of a human noble fighter, a human peasant fighter, and a halfling rogue. They entered the dungeon in high spirits, mocking each other and jostling each other, making so much noise that they alerted a group of orc guards watching the entrance. They defeated the orcs pretty handily, including the ones who split off to sneak around and ambush them from behind, then examined the room, which contained a group of large idols that had clearly been altered to feature the head of a heretical deity. They tried to smash the heads, but failed several times and eventually gave up.

Then they moved on in their explorations. Passing through a couple of hallways, they found a room with terrifying Thulian masks on the wall and started pulling them down off the wall without thinking, triggering a poison gas trap. The noble fighter survived the gas and was able to catch a gasp of fresh air, but for some reason the curious halfling rogue decided to lick the mask and died from the concentrated poison residue. [Fortunately, at just this point a wizard showed up and joined up with the newly renamed Four Minus One's Company.] The two fighters decided to take the masks, clean them carefully, and wear them for the added intimidation it would give them, then the exploration continued. They found a locked iron door and bypassed it, and then found a small chapel with six columns along the side walls, dedicated to the heretical deity Turms Termax. Inside, animated reliquary bones were primed to attack any visitors who did not worship Turms Termax, and so the party found itself defending itself against flying femurs and phalanges. One of those femurs knocked the noble fighter unconscious, but the peasant fighter managed to defeat the bones with some help from the wizard, and suddenly a cleric showed up ([profile] tealdear, tired of the DC2017 party) to heal the fighter.

The recovered Four Minus One Plus One's Company noticed that an altar in the back of the chapel showed evidence of being moved back and forth, and they pushed it out of the way to reveal a secret door to the chapel's treasury, where they found LOOT!

Then we all decided to call it quits so we could go to the Eye of Argon reading, an annual Philcon tradition of attempting to read the worst fantasy story ever written without laughing or misreading (saying a typoed word correctly count as misreading). Eye of Argon was great. It was decided to relocate to a party room when the actual turnout at the panel was low, so we had lots of booze and we had lots of unsuspecting people to initiate into the horror that is the Eye of Argon. After we made a good show of the Eye of Argon, we repaired back to our room, where we drank more booze and talked for a while before sleep sometime after 3AM.

In the morning my first panel was the only bad panel of the con, a panel on the topic of "Separating an Author from their Work" that I knew better than to attend. I totally knew better, but I didn't realize quite how terrible it would be. Highlights:

-Sharon Lee saying that she didn't understand why her friend thought she needed to recommend Lord Peter Wimsey with an antisemitism warning, "because Lord Peter is a progressive!" and when I tried to explain to her that seeing Lord Peter unexpectedly palling around with Nazis felt like a slap in the face and I would have loved to have gotten a warning, she shook her head and told me that I was being ridiculous.

-Peter Prellwitz, in the aftermath of a discussion about how to feel about Marion Zimmer Bradley in the wake of the revelations about her complicity in her husband's child abuse, declaring that it was unjust media harassment that killed Joe Paterno.

-A long rant from Oz Drummond about why everyone needed to understand that Requires Hate was a terrible person whose stories should never be read, in the midst of a panel where any criticism of Orson Scott Card was met with cries of "CENSORSHIP!"

-Ian Randal Strock repeatedly declaring his glee that after a similar panel at Arisia had been full of panelists who felt that Orson Scott Card's homophobia was reason to stop buying his books, this panel was full of rational people.

So yeah, it was a charming panel and I was nearly the only person in the audience challenging any of the things they were saying. Though I was really grateful that when I suggested that the Berkeley fannish community separating Marion Zimmer Bradley and Walter Breen as authors from MZB and WB as people was part of what had allowed the fannish community to ignore the mounting evidence of child abuse, someone else in the audience actually stood up for my position and backed me up.

Grah. I went back to my room afterwards to check out and rant at my roommates for a while. Very grateful that they let me rant myself out.

Um.. what else happened? There was a filk contest that produced a "My Favorite Things" filk about Klingons in tutus. There was some workshopping of one of my fanvid WIPs over lunch. There was a panel on Non-Binary Gender in SF that produced lots of interesting seeming recommendations and little else, and stalled out when [livejournal.com profile] nathanielperson challenged the panel to name any SF featuring actual human transpeople instead of aliens with non-binary genders. And then the con ended with the aforementioned feedback panel where I was reassured that next year we might actually get decent fanfic panels at Philcon. Yay Philcon.

It was a most excellent weekend and then I went home and sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeept.

Holy fuck, three thousand words of con report.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
James P. Hogan is staying busy. Usually authors are tipped off the edge of the Earth as soon as they die.

(tor.com mentioned the new omnibus)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
That is Baxter's Proxima?
evilsusan: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] evilsusan at 03:57pm on 2014-11-25 under ,
case: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] case at 06:48pm on 2014-11-25

⌈ Secret Post #2884 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.

More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 034 secrets from Secret Submission Post #412.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Set at "Jurassic World". I would love to hear a Bob Newhart-style monolog from the point of view of the insurance broker tasked with getting insurance for JW.
andrewducker: (Master and Doctor)
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
post-tags: instagram, crosspost "Then the horizon glows, almost like it's on fire." #sunset #winter #newengland
princessofgeeks: (Default)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
icon_uk: (Default)
musesfool: abbie mills & ichabod crane from sleepy hollow (are you thinking what i'm thinking)
Sleepy Hollow
spoilers )

For this, I didn't watch Jane the Virgin, and I had to set Star Wars Rebels to record this morning's replay. Sigh.

***
Music:: Devil's Playground - Gram Rabbit
Mood:: 'annoyed' annoyed
inoru_no_hoshi: Fujiwara no Sai draped in floral-patterned cloth on a floral-patterned background. (He blends in a bit.) (Sai in cloth)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll at 02:53pm on 2014-11-25
So anyone who wants input into its contents has until midnight.
turlough: fabric doll of Jamie McCrimmon ((dr who art) badass scot)
posted by [personal profile] turlough at 08:53pm on 2014-11-25 under ,
icon

http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb499380/pics/challenges/nexticon47-1.png

King Arthur and Patsy, his squire, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Mood:: 'busy' busy
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
nexticon_mod: b/w scratch texture with "nexticon mod" in white (font Arial Black) (Default)
posted by [personal profile] nexticon_mod at 08:47pm on 2014-11-25 under ,
Time to vote again!

Voting for round 46… )

Round 47 starts now.

Last icon: Doctor and Arthur
thnidu: glowing light bulb. tinyurl.com/33j2v8h (light bulb)
posted by [personal profile] thnidu at 01:57pm on 2014-11-25 under
"There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply calisthenics with words." — Dorothy Parker

Hat-tip to Steven Brust
posted by [personal profile] randomness at 01:37pm on 2014-11-25 under
I really need to come up with a reason to go to Casa de Queso (as Formaggio Kitchen is affectionately known to some) sometime out of the holiday rush. The staff are unfailingly helpful and great fun to talk cheese with. I went in today with a clear plan and set of requirements which they did their usual excellent job of helping me with.

But outside of the rush they tend to be much less crowded.
alexandraerin: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] alexandraerin at 11:39am on 2014-11-25
Out of respect for the heartfelt grief and mourning of a community denied justice, I will not be blogging today.
jae: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jae at 09:12am on 2014-11-25 under ,
What word do people who refer to those who are in a country without official permission as 'illegals' reserve for actual, you know, illegals?

Admittedly, this may only be an issue for people who call those who are in a country without official permission 'illegals' and are fans of The Americans. But still, I wonder.
Music:: silence
Mood:: hmmmm.
xtina: Black text pink background: "Couldn't you be NICER about it and less ANGRY and QUIETER and CUDDLIER and more SILENT and" (activism)
posted by [personal profile] randomness at 10:47am on 2014-11-25
Boy, talk about burying a story*! Next to no one is talking about Secretary Hagel leaving the administration.

This piece in Politico hits the major points:

The defense secretary, regardless of his lofty title, was never part of the president’s inner decision-making circle on foreign policy, which the sources said would remain intact (and it’s worth noting, the sources said, that powerful Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey is), and few expect his departure to solve the deeper problems plaguing Obama’s national security team given the iron grip exerted on foreign policymaking by Obama’s West Wing staff.

And the move alone will do little to help a struggling second-term president mend what the sources said were far deeper rifts within his overburdened West Wing-based national security team, pointing in particular to long-simmering tensions between McDonough, who had been deputy national security adviser before moving up to chief of staff, and Rice, the worst-kept secret struggle in Washington.

More broadly, the dumping of Hagel leaves unanswered the key foreign policy dilemma that hangs over the remainder of Obama’s presidency: It’s clear that Obama, propelled to office six years ago on the promise of ending two unpopular wars, must now radically readjust his priorities from a posture of military withdrawal and Pentagon budget cuts to one of engagement, but it’s not at all clear how he plans to do so.

...

Hagel’s main gripe, according to people close to him, was what he viewed as a disorganized National Security Council run by Rice—a criticism shared by McDonough, according to a senior administration official. (An email to McDonough wasn’t returned.)

That observation puts Hagel in good company: His predecessors as defense secretary, Bob Gates and Leon Panetta, have both taken the unusual step of publicly criticizing Obama’s White House team for power-hoarding and dysfunctional decision-making at the expense of the Pentagon. “The whole system is dysfunctional. The lines of communications [between the NSC and the Department of Defense] are totally broken,” the staffer told me. “I hope that whoever takes over fixes it, and fast.”


*Yeah, yeah, I know this wasn't planned. I'm talking about effect, not intent. And I'm not dismissing the importance of the news from Missouri, either.
telophase: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] telophase at 09:38am on 2014-11-25 under
As usual, for this year's gift-giving charity the library is going with a local organization for children's advocacy. The Christmas program provides the names and wishlists of kids in the system, and we buy presents for them which the organization delivers to the parents(s)/guardians so that they can wrap the gifts and give them to their kids. The same names are given to multiple offices/workplaces, so I don't need to worry that these are the only presents the kids are getting.

I usually try to grab the names of girls with geeky interests, but there were none in this year's selection. So who did I pick this year? Two brothers, Jesus (11) and Angel (8)*. Their wishlists are:

Jesus: "Drawing, colored pencils. Cars, balls. Favorite color: blue."

Angel: "All superheroes, transformers. Dinosaurs, basketball. Drawing."

I GUESS I'M GIVING THEM ART SUPPLIES, HUH? :D Suggestions welcome! I'm going to take a look at how-to-draw superhero and car books, but don't want to limit myself to that as it's obvious enough they may get multiples. I usually buy local and always include the receipt anyway, so that the parents can exchange the gift if there are duplicates or the kid already has it.


(BTW, Monster High is apparently the in thing-there were multiple kids asking for it!)

* Not their real names, from what I understand. The center preserves their anonymity.


edit: Ooh, this car-design kit looks pretty spiffy!
supergee: (coy1)
posted by [personal profile] supergee at 10:47am on 2014-11-25 under
When I was growing up, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton all had an affirmative action program, though they didn't call it that. In the interests of diversity (and you could make a case for it), they modified their admissions standards beyond mere academic ability, to make sure that about 95% of their students were goyem, or I believe we're now supposed to call them Gentile-Americans. Now it's non-Asians.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james_davis_nicoll at 10:36am on 2014-11-25

So

posted by [personal profile] yendi at 10:27am on 2014-11-25
I went to bed last night before the Ferguson lack of indictment was announced. But I can't say I was surprised. Disappointed, but not surprised. Between the decision to announce at night and the gathering of police, it was pretty obvious that they were not going to indict Darren Wilson, and that the local government was doing its best to make the situation as awful as possible (The Onion's pre-decision headline, "Heavy Police Presence In Ferguson To Ensure Residents Adequately Provoked," was dead-on).

As Newsweek noted a few months ago, prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch pretty much sides with the cops every time. And as just about everyone has noted, damned near any prosecutor can get a grand jury indictment. the famous quote by Sol Wachtler about prosecutors convincing grand juries to "indict a ham sandwich" being pretty accurate. Of course, as 538 notes, cops are the exception. It's almost like they're a protected class, allowed to abuse the law with impunity. If you prefer more right-wing sources, here's Reason noting the same thing. If you prefer less integrity-driven right-wing sources, National Review is all over things arguing that cops are the victims here. I won't link to their bile.

I'm disgusted and disappointed and horrified and angry. And (as Colleen Lindsay noted), the very fact that those, and not fear, are my emotions is about as much of a sign of privilege as anything.

Doing a rare thing and disabling comments here; between work and other stuff, I don't have a lot of web time today, and frankly, there are plenty of places for folks to have a conversation if they want it. Take care of yourself.
The Deal of the Day is on assorted Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movie and video game sets for 66-75% off.

The Kindle Daily Deal is on Edna Buchanan's Cold Case Squad for $1.99 (91% off).

There are a handful of $1.99 DVDs: Mr. Popper's Penguins, Spaceballs, and Mallrats.

The LEGO Movie on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital is $17.96 (50% off).

The Shield: The Complete Collection is $24.99 (62% off) on DVD. Season 1 of Chicago PD is a ludicrously low $5 (89% off). And Season 1 of The Blacklist on Blu-Ray is $14.96 (80% off). That's the same price as on DVD, but James Spader's hat deserves the proper HD treatment.

For Android users, the Amazon App Store for Android has Jack Lumber for free today. I've played and love the Mac version of this (which came in one the zillion Humble Bundles), and it's certainly worth grabbing at that "price."
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posted by [personal profile] metaphortunate at 06:39am on 2014-11-25 under ,
I wrote this whole long post about what I am committing to doing, and saying, in my effort to not raise another Darren Wilson or George Zimmerman. About how I don't even know where to start with some of it, and, though it sounds obscene to say so when friends last night were having much harder and scarier conversations, still the thought of setting out to make changes to our lives seems scary and hard.

Then I saved it and did not post it. Instead, last night Mr. E and I talked about what we should do. I think maybe as non-Black people this is a good time for us to have awkward, difficult conversations about race in our own families rather than in social media.
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posted by [personal profile] marina at 03:10pm on 2014-11-25 under , , , ,
A shitty thing happened at work today, as it sometimes does. A coworker made some derogatory comments about Russians in a meeting with a bunch of people in the department, including myself.

As sometimes happens, a different coworker later came up to me and said "Are you all right? I'm so sorry that happened. I was on the verge of saying something to [coworker who was speaking], but I didn't, but I wanted to apologize to you on behalf of all of us." These are quiet, private conversations, that of course go nowhere in terms of precluding such behavior in the future. In fact often the coworkers who express this sentiment are doing so more because they hate the offensive coworker, for whatever reason, that week, than out of genuine solidarity or sympathy, as evidenced by the fact that these "sympathetic" coworkers themselves occasionally make disparaging comments about Russians, mock Russian accents or Russian food, etc. (Last week we had a whole discussion at lunch about how gross Russian food was, obviously initiated by people who were not me, but I was present. It was great.)

It makes me think about a lot of things.

About how used to it I am, at this point. About how it's taken slightly less than 3 years of working in a place where I'm the only Russian speaker to be used to this. Where I'm no longer even offended or angry, just tired and scared. Where I just want to ignore everything I can, forget everything I can, pretend these people don't hold these opinions, pretend, in the most fantastical scenario, that they don't even know I'm Russian. That I can hide it from them somehow, make them forget. How well I've learned to navigate the battle of being visibly, outspokenly Russian with being prepared for the backlash. I know people will mock me, I know they won't understand my perspective, I know they think my parents are trash and their accents, their food, their fashion sense are horrible.

At least so far - so far, praise be - I haven't succumbed to actually wishing I wasn't Russian. I've always hoped that spending my adolescence in a 98% Russian speaking environment, among my fellow immigrants, has inoculated me against that, at least. A lot of my upbringing, both at home and at school, growing up, talked about people who were, essentially, "ethnic traitors". People who would change their names, change their clothes, pretend not to speak Russian, avoided Russian things at all costs, etc. These people - kids and adults - were despicable, pitiable, pathetic. My mother used to tell me, when I was 7, about my native-born classmates, who used to bully the fuck out of me, including stealing and destroying my things, beating me up and spitting on me: "don't try to fool people that you're one of them. They'll always know that you're not." I had asked to change my name to something less Russian sounding than Marina. Perhaps Miriam. My mother had laughed, a sort of kind, sad smile. Like she didn't know how to explain to me that nothing I did would ever be enough.

I used to hate myself a lot as a kid, for a lot of reasons, most of which had to do with immigration. When I was older, my hatred for people who tried to "pass" as non-Russian bordered on the irrational. It was not uncommon among my peers. There was literally nothing more pathetic, to us, than trying to suck up to the people who bullied you in grade school, who thought your heritage was garbage, who mocked your parents. It was too sad and disgusting to contemplate.

It took a long time, to learn to forgive. To accept that there are no good choices under duress. To learn not to judge my fellow immigrants for whatever they had to do to survive.

The other thing instances like this make me think about is - how privileged I am, and how utterly horrible it is that this is my experience considering how privileged I am. I'm not even on the outskirts of marginalized identities in Israel. Mine is a relatively light case.

It makes me sick and terrified to live in this country, drives home how incredibly, unspeakably worse it must be for others, who like me work and live here, in this, our most progressive city.

Lastly, it makes me think about how uncomfortable I am, still, in spaces occupied by the wealthy, educated, "liberal" elites of this country.

I, and most people from my community, come from areas of poverty, lack of access to resources, lack of education, working class neighborhoods. These were the people I grew up with, the people I was surrounded by. Ethnic tensions in these places looked entirely different. I grew up unused to the subtlety, the insidious nature of discrimination and prejudice when it's something one can't openly mention in polite company.

Among my coworkers, the educated liberals will only say derogatory things about Russians when caught off guard. When they're stressed or in the middle of a poorly thought out joke or are responding to a statement they didn't realize would touch on Russianness. They're not necessarily repentant, afterwards, but they feel as though they've transgressed.

Where I grew up, when people didn't like Russians they were very vocal about it. Everything about their manner, their speech, their attitude let you know they thought you were beneath them. No one was shy about using slurs or saying what they really thought. The refinement always makes me uneasy. Everything feels like hypocrisy. It's like I have to assume beforehand that everyone has these prejudices, or else I'll let myself get attached and only discover it at crunch time, when there's stress or drama or something major happens. It worries me, sets me on edge, being around people who think they're above ugly prejudice or discrimination. That they're too smart, too "good", too educated, too peace loving, too kind to fall prey to it.

I know I'm certainly not above prejudice, I know it's something I struggle with, in areas where it doesn't affect me and even in some areas where it does. I try to keep that in mind. Understanding how oppression works doesn't make you immune to perpetuating it. The air you breathe is always tinged with it, and the work of undoing its effects is continuous.

Anyway, it just always makes me think how odd that is, and how not-unusual. To work so hard to get to the "top", to live and work in the centers of social and material wealth, only to feel, after all your formal education, like you miss the open hostility and discrimination of the neighborhoods you worked so hard to escape.

Native-born Israelis: please consider whether your comments are appropriate on a post like this, and please don't speak for me or for groups you don't belong you re: what it's like living in Israel. In general, but especially here.

Posted by Stephen Bridenstine

As we live our lives increasingly in the digital realm, the sights, sounds, and moving images of the internet impact our conception of the world around us. Take, for example, the many online mapping services.  What began as simple tools to find driving directions have evolved into advanced applications that map multiple layers of data.

But who decides what we see? What features are considered sufficiently important to be included? And what information about our country do those design decisions make invisible?

Here’s the map of South Dakota provided by Google Maps. Notice that the many Indian reservations are unmarked and invisible.  If you scroll in, eventually the reservations appear. At the state level, though, they’re invisible.

3

In contrast, Indian reservations do show up on Bing:

4

Among the other map services, Yahoo! Maps and MapQuest do label Indian reservations while OpenStreetMap does not.

While these mapping tools certainly empower the individual, it is the designers and the developers behind them who hold the real power.  I can only speculate as to why Google Maps does not include reservations at the state level, but their decision impacts the way we understand (or don’t understand) the geographic and social reality of this country.

Stephen Bridenstine is pursuing a history masters degree at the University of British Columbia, where he studies popular attitudes and public memory concerning Indigenous peoples, the historic fur trade, and the natural environment. He blogs about non-Native America’s weird obsession with everything “Indian” at his blog Drawing on Indians, where this post originally appeared.

This post was updated to reflect 2014; it originally appeared on SocImages in 201i.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

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posted by [personal profile] jack at 02:02pm on 2014-11-25 under ,
Hunger Games: Catching Fire (film)

I thought this was done fairly well, but I still thought that it was undermined by the fact that everyone was lying to her all the way through, it made the middle bits so different in retrospect in way which doesn't really seem to be acknowledged.

Mirage, Matt Ruff

I read this for Bug's book club and then had a clashing engagement and couldn't go.

About an alternate world where there's a United States of Arabia instead of United States of America and 9/11 happens in reverse. I liked a lot of the characters, but lost interest in what was going to happen half way through.

It was a lot less fail-some than I expected, and made some good points about some of the problems in how many arabic countries are seen. But I thought the mirror-image conceit was pushed too hard, in a way which reinforces an idea that America=civilised and middle-east=not, which isn't what we want to reinforce.

I agreed with Rmc's review http://rmc28.dreamwidth.org/555077.html which said it better than I have time for.

The Demon's Lexicon, Sarah Rees Brennan

I enjoyed this. I think I saw SRB doing something cool online or at a con and found the book from there, but I don't recall exactly how.

Magicians main power is summoning demons, which always must be imprisoned in circles. This is a quick path to the dark side because they need to feed on people. Some people have lesser magic powers, but it's hard to compete. About the main character and his brother, and traumatised almost-silent mother, moving from city to city intermittently trying to have a normal school life while being intermittently found and hunted down by circles of magicians.

It's a YA-type book which I find slightly reminiscent of DWJ (with imperfect relationships between teens and discovering a lot of things which were evident but the main character was oblivious to), which is a good start.

I was left wanting something chewier, and more "lexicon", but I enjoyed it. I don't know how it would compare for someone closer in age to the protagonists.

Shadowboxer, Tricia Sullivan

Somewhere I was recommended several female-protagonist urban-fantasy combat-sports books, the last being Jacqueline Carey's Santa Olivia about a faux-werewolf boxer.

I'm only 2/3 of the way through this. About a just-under-18 girl with a large temper and chequered history as an up-and-coming Mixed-Martial-Arts fighter, who punches someone at the wrong time and takes a sabbatical at her manager's cousin's gym in Thailand, fighting Muay Thai. Mixed up with the story with magic about the eternal forest, and a fostered girl escaping her immortality-seeking guardian, starting from Thailand but later returning back to America.

I loved the main character and MMA/Muay Thai, which has small touches of magic, which are well done as relevant but deniable, but is mostly about her real life. The secondary characters are vivid, and the main character comes across well as someone sympathetic but with a real anger problem.

The other thread was well described but I found less engaging, as I'm already convinced that 99% of fictional orphans warring against evil magicians automatically prevail, whereas I was genuinely unsure about the fights.
forests_of_fire: A picture of a brilliantly colored waterfall cascading into a river (Default)
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)

These are all very first-world problems, but, on top of my not feeling 100% well with vague and intermittent symptoms that don't constitute me sick enough to get off work and existing commitments, aaaaarghsome.

I was not entirely prepossessed by the dermatology clinic at London Teaching Hospital last week, since, although it was no longer in a building large swathes of which were being closed down and echoing around it, it was in a really unwelcoming hole and corner space on the floor over the clap clinic, with the receptionist concealed behind the door, a queue across the doorway to see her, and everything seemed really disorganised. I will, however, concede that I did manage to get seen (by a doc who did not seem to have had prior access to my notes) within 15-20 minutes of arrival.

I am also in a 'financial transactions badly aspected' phase, and while none of this is actually critical and it is not as though I have the bailiffs at the door due to these various instances of inefficiency, it has involved more time than I like listening to hold music and please hang on messages, repetitive phone conversations, and naggy emails.

Would my dearios not have imagined that, two months late and counting, I would have had paid my expenses for being Guest Speaker at Ottawa conference? Ha!

There is new system at work whereby instead of minor sums coming out of petty cash with proferred receipts as necessary, all expense claims have to be put in the same way and signed off by line manager. Our LM is currently away so I got a minor matter of a taxi fare signed off by someone who used to be my LM before the reshuffle, who, it turns out, is not authorised to sign off on that account.

Also I am having Immense Faff with Financial Institution which already has Massive Incompetence Form, in which people give me the wrong information as to why they are calling me, are not giving me pertinent information, and signally failing to transfer my money that they happen to be holding to the place where I would like it.

Added unto which, I am trying to find a pillow that suits my requirements (non-down, fairly flat) and discover that the various purveyors of beds and bedding along Tottenham Court Road have masses of cushions and jolly throw pillows and snazzy pillowcases but are really coy about committing to just plain ol' pillows that you can then put your existing cases on, and seem to have very limited ranges.

Music:: Barrett Strong, Money and Me
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
posted by [personal profile] the_rck at 08:53am on 2014-11-25 under
I have my nephew's Christmas present ready to go to the post office. I just hesitate to send it because it's so early. He's seven. I don't want to ask him to wait a month to open his presents. That just seems cruel. Then again, I will be near a post office this morning and don't expect to be again until some time in January. If I don't mail it today, Scott will have to.

I baked a cake yesterday. It was from a Kroger brand mix. The texture is a little off, and it sheds crumbs a lot when I cut it. Still, it's not terrible, and it was cheaper than Betty Crocker or Pillsbury or whatever. The frosting was also Kroger brand. It's pink and tastes of artificial strawberry. I expected it to be nastier than it is. I can actually eat it which wasn't a given.

I have several DVDs I want to watch this week, and I don't know if I'll get to all of them. First, I bought the Rurouni Kenshin live action movie. I'm about twenty minutes in, and I keep stopping because there are other things I need to do. I have a DVD of Dae Jang Guem that I've had from Netflix since some time in September. I really want to watch it, but I keep not finding time. Finally, I have the last DVD of season two of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries from the library. That's due on Sunday. I don't know if I'll be able to renew it or not; it depends on if someone requests it between now and then. I only have a few hours for watching anything today because I've got a doctor's appointment mid-morning.

I'm debating what to do with my collection of Bill Cosby albums. I have a lot of Cosby in my iTunes, and I have more on vinyl, awaiting conversion. I just don't know. It's hard to accept that he's a terrible human being, but the evidence is compelling. I loved his comedy-- It's never mean. I'm simply not sure that I can listen to it any more; it feels too much like endorsing his actions. I definitely won't purchase any more of his albums, but what to do about what I already own?

Posted by Racialicious Team

There will be those who will reduce Monday night to the sights of burning buildings and tear gas around Ferguson, Missouri, and use that to excuse and explain the police violence that both incited and accompanied them.

But the reality is, demonstrators marched — peacefully — both in Ferguson and around the country not long after a local grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. These activists were not alone, and they will not be the last. This space is to recognize their presence, despite the insistence of certain narratives that they were not.

The post Voices: The Michael Brown Protests You Didn’t See appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

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