The difference between . . .

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 07:41 am
scarlettina: (Reality Check)
[personal profile] scarlettina
A couple of remarks on Facebook this morning got me thinking about contrasts and distinctions.

1) An acquaintance of mine posted a single phrase: I need a girlfriend. The conversation that ensued was . . . enlightening. A couple of his female friends advised that he work on himself and that love would come. (This has been my occasional thought about this acquaintance, as it has often been about myself.) Some of his friends asked him what he could possibly need a woman for; girlfriends, they said, were all whiny, needy and expensive. And this acquaintance of mine said, "You mean it doesn't get better? At least the last one had the body of a goddess." At which point, I thought, "Ah, you're not looking for a girlfriend; you're looking to get laid." There's a difference. It also made me remember one of the many reasons I've never dated this acquaintance of mine. He reveals himself too often to be exactly the kind of man who doesn't see women as real people. We are useful for particular things, but mostly we're adjuncts to men, from his perspective.

2) I saw a production of "Cabaret" last night, and remarked upon the fact that a couple of people laughed at the end of the song "If You Could See Her," with its horrifying, deliberately anti-Semitic punchline. I said that I wasn't sure whether or not they laughed because they were shocked or because they actually thought it was funny, that in the current political climate it's hard to tell. A friend responded that it's an old show, and that when he saw it in the 1980s, people laughed then, too. I responded, "I don't think the age of the show has anything to do with it. It's a shocking moment, signaling a major cultural shift in the play." He said, "The age of the show was in reference to your thought on current politics." But the more I think about this exchange, the more I think he really didn't get my point. Did he think I thought the show is contemporary? Is he not aware of my more than passing interest in theater and awareness of at least some of its history? Possible, certainly, but I'd be surprised if that were the case, given how long we've known each other. Art--good art--remains relevant despite the passage of time. It will provoke different conversations in every era. Either he missed my point, or he really thought I had no idea what I was talking about. The longer I know this man, the more we butt heads about particular issues, the more I think he hasn't been paying attention, which is . . . disappointing. Or maybe it's just that we've lived such completely different lives that we don't know how to communicate with each other--a thought that has never occurred to me until just now.

What other Nicolls are up to

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:15 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My niece Ilia and nephew Jake are appearing here:

Read more... )

Weekend To Do

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 08:34 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
1. Write and submit PW review. Probably Sunday, so I can work in the library near where I'm attending a concert that night.

2. Rest strained/pulled muscle (possibly hip abductor) whatever it is so it gets better.

3. Venture out for concerts Saturday and Sunday nights.

4. Laundry? If my muscle is better. It is raining a lot this weekend, so I might not want to trek to the laundromat for that.

5. Try not to be too frustrated with my injury.

Friday For What It's Worth

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 07:13 am
marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells
This has been a week of extreme highs and lows. The high points were awesome but the low points are...low.

I've got news I can't share yet so this is kind of a boring post. I need to get back to my book rec posts but Fridays are kind of a bad day for them.

We were supposed to have a hurricane but it turned and is now torturing a different part of the country.

Oh, I did a Reddit r/Fantasy AMA yesterday, and got a great question on Worldbuilding:

Question: One of my favorite things about your books is the incredible detail and authenticity to the cultures and societies you create. I've read City Of Bones and your Raksura books and I am always immediately engaged when the characters travel to a new city. The residents, architecture, customs, languages, and overall presentation feel well rooted and historical. It really adds an incredible flavor to your writing and inspires me to improve my own.

Are you willing to describe the process in which you develop a new city? When you sit down to create a new location, how you start the vision and do you have a system in how you begin to add layers of detail until the city/town/society feels authentic?

Me: Thank you so much!

I use different methods for different types of book. For the Ile-Rien books, where the locations are based more on real-world places, I did a lot of research into cities in similar cultures, climates, environments as my imaginary city. For the Raksura books, I tried to think of a neat setting for a city, then tried to make it as weird and extreme as possible. Like the Turning City, Keres-gedon, which started out as just a camp in the mountains.

Basically it's a process of coming up with an element you want in your city, like canals. You look at cities with canals, like Venice, and maybe Angkor Wat. What are the canals used for? Transportation, a reservoir, entertainment, defense, etc. You think about how the environment and climate of your city is going to affect your canals. Can they freeze over? Are they affected by drought? Sewage? Plant growth? Underwater monster issues? Etc. Why or why not are they affected by these things? Once you make all those decisions, you decide how they affect the inhabitants of the city, their culture, their everyday life. It can be simple or complicated, and ideally, it leads to ideas that can further characterization and plot. And the big thing to remember is that the reader doesn't need to know everything you know about your canal system. They'll be able to infer a lot from the bits and pieces they see as your characters move through the story, and the sense that the city is operating by a logical system is more important than knowing the exact details.

I also don't usually figure out too many of the details of my settings in advance, since I'm going to concentrate mainly on the parts my characters are interacting with. Like most of the city may be sketched in, but the characters are going to need this little train system and this temple hospital, so those bits are going to get more attention and development. Also keep in mind that cities change over time, with new buildings, new roads, and what stays in place and what gets built over or torn down all say things about the people who live there.

It also helps not to set too many boundaries. You never want to tell readers that there's nothing over the mountains, because it's going to make the world feel closed in, like a puddle instead of a huge mysterious ocean. And if you keep writing in this setting, you may eventually need those empty places to put things in.

I hope that helps!


***

Also:

I have a signed copy of The Murderbot Diaries: All Systems Red in the Authors for Grenfell Tower Auction: https://authorsforgrenfelltower.com/2017/06/23/signed-copy-of-the-murderbot-diaries-all-systems-red-by-martha-wells/

There are tons of other great items up for auction to benefit the tower fire victims. Please check it out or pass it on.

Links

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm
muccamukk: An orange life ring floating in the sea. (Lights: Lifering)
[personal profile] muccamukk
I ended up signing up for [community profile] fandomgiftbox, which is sort of [community profile] fandom_stocking in the summer with slightly different rules. I had fun treating it last year, so why not.

Wish there were more people in my fandoms in [community profile] multifandomdrabble fest. Sign ups open for another day!

I know people have been looking for nice Bill icons from this series of Doctor Who. Here are a bunch made by [personal profile] luminousdaze, along with 12, Missy, Clara and a bunch of the gang.

I really like this essay by [personal profile] lydy: The Rules: A Memo for Every Man in My Life.
Instead, I want to address something that comes up over and over in these conversations, and always from men. "What are the rules?" "How can I know how to behave if you won't clarify what you want?"

Dear men, please do not ask me to provide to you something that I have never had. I cannot provide you the rules. I do not know what they are, and I never have.


Pitssburgh Queer History project has some great archival material here.

ETA: For those who like Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells is doing an AMA here, and here's a quote from the next one.

New PSA fic and some writerly musings

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 10:29 pm
celli: an ad for "Tom Corbett's Slash Goggles! Only 35 cents!" (slash)
[personal profile] celli
The Reverse Fuckbuddy (2103 words) by celli
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pod Save America (RPF)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jon Favreau/Jon Lovett
Characters: Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau, Tommy Vietor, Pundit (Pod Save America RPF), Leo (Pod Save America RPF)
Additional Tags: First Time, Friends to Lovers, Fuckbuddies, Jon POV Character is Lovett
Summary:

Jon doesn't want to talk about it, Favs doesn't know what he's talking about, and Tommy would like everyone to shut the fuck up.



emotion in fic )

I find the process of learning this new skill fascinating, if you can't tell, and will happily chat about it for hours. So let me know if you have any comments or further suggestions!

A Liverpool Lark!

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 08:07 pm
mizkit: (Default)
[personal profile] mizkit

A few weeks ago my friend Leah said her husband wasn’t much interested in seeing Wonder Woman, so she wasn’t likely to see it in the theatre, and Ted said “THIS WILL NOT DO” and checked to see how much plane tickets to Liverpool were and they were practically nothing so he sent me to Liverpool for a lark with Leah, and we went to Wonder Woman together!

Knowing I had to get up wery wery early for my flight, I took a shower the night before and ended up with…Quite The Hair in the morning.



But I tamed it, and got myself some hot chocolate at the airport. I was very tired. But less large of hair. :)



It was the shortest flight I’d ever been on that didn’t involve being in an actual puddle-jumper (ie, 6-12 seat twin propeller airplane). We went up, we went down, there I was. I hung out at the airport for a while, reading, until Leah could collect me, and we spent an EXTREMELY giddy couple of hours ranting about work, children, and the patriarchy. (And, to be fair, a bit about Tom Hardy. Not so much ranting there, mind you, but. :))



These drinks are not actually alcoholic, because it was 11am, but they were DELICIOUS!



We went to our movie. We sat through a truly inordinate number of ads, which, thankfully, had no sound. We started to become concerned, in fact, after many many soundless ads. Then the trailers started, also soundlessly. They were doing these weird little 10 seconds spots for Dunkirk, and the second-to-last one faded to black and immediately came up with the trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, except because there was no sound and the fade to black had been so brief, they really looked like one trailer.


“Is this how we won WW2?” Leah asked, mystified. “Woody Harrelson and an army of monkeys?”

Then a theatre employee came in and said the entire sound system in the theatre had blown and they would not be showing us Wonder Woman in that theatre at that time.



However, there was another showing half an hour later, and they let us go to that one!



We had an utterly splendid time. Leah really enjoyed the movie. It ended and she said, “That was…that was *good*,” in astonishment, and then we went back to the airport, picking apart all our problems with it and rewriting things to our satisfaction, but we were really happy and had such a good time! And decided that we should really do that more often, because it turns out to be really cheap to pop over for a day, and ours is one of those friendships based on kindred spirithoodness rather than regular meetings in real life (we think that was our 6th time actually being on one another’s physical presence), but it was such fun that it seems like it should be a thing we do, and I need to look into doing that with OTHER friends in England and equally nearby locales…!

But yeah. That was really great. Yay for a lark!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Sophie

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 07:46 am
scarlettina: (Everything Easier)
[personal profile] scarlettina
In last night's post, I mentioned that Sophie had an abscess. I won't get into giant detail, but the TL;DR version is that apparently she and Zeke had a tussle at some point. He bit her and the wound healed, but she developed an abscess in the fat layer under her skin. It had to come out. I took her to the vet, she stayed overnight and she's home now with a giant scar on one side and an Elizabethan collar to keep her from picking at it.

(I tried to post a picture of her here, but DW has an unfamiliar picture-posting system, and I can't seem to get it to work. I'll figure it out eventually.)

She's doing just fine. She's eating, pooping, and getting used to life with an E collar. Last night, I closed her in the upstairs room, collar on, with food and a litter box. This morning, as if to show me who's boss, I woke to find the collar laying in the doorway to my bedroom and Sophie nowhere to be found. The door to the upstairs room was still closed. The only way she could have gotten out was to climb up and over the loft edge, and then jump down onto the easy chair on the main floor. No, there's nothing wrong with this girl. She's going to be fine. But this all means that I'm going to have to keep a careful eye on her. If she can remove her collar and drop it in my doorway to spite me, then it's going to be a tricky two weeks until she can stop wearing it.

:: sigh :: Cats.

r/Fantasy AMA

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 09:00 am

Owww.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 08:20 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
No gym last night, no softball tonight - my thigh hurts, even at rest, which generally indicates a muscle strain. It hurt enough to wake me this morning. But how did I do it? How? Unless I strained something while walking funny due to the lower back/glute strain? (which is better, BTW) I took another dose of naproxen and wrapped it in my brace, which helped last time I had a thigh issue, which incidentally lasted quite a while and annoyed me very much.

*throws up hands*

I started reading The Hanging Tree yesterday and I'm more than half done already, so that's something. It feels great to be reading a book I can't wait to return to.

Willfulness and willingness

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 08:01 pm
scarlettina: (Default)
[personal profile] scarlettina
So one of the concepts we deal with in DBT is "willfulness." It's the idea that you are not participating effectively in the world as it is, or that you're not doing something you know needs to be done to move toward a goal. When we say "in the world as it is," we're talking about radically accepting reality: if it's raining, then it's raining and there's nothing you can do about that if you don't like it. (That's the mildest of examples. A more realistic one might be if someone is terminally ill, there's nothing you can do about the illness; you have to accept it. Denial is willfulness.) You have to accept it--not deny it or argue about it. Only then can you move into "willingness," which allows you to find your way to making a commitment, first to accepting that which feels unacceptable and then making a choice to do what needs to be done and doing it.

The last few days have been challenging. I started a meditation practice. I started an inner child visualization practice. I continued to journal in my DBT journal, which I won't be sharing here. I did these things along with my DBT homework and mindfulness practices. I was taking my medications regularly. Somewhere over the weekend, something in me got willful and I stopped pretty much everything. I tried to meditate; I had no focus. The inner child visualization just stopped. I stopped keeping the daily mindfulness journal that's part of DBT. I stopped taking my medications. At the same time, I discovered that my cat Sophie had a giant abscess that would have to be removed; she went off to the vet yesterday for surgery.

This morning, I had a therapy appointment and everything sort of crashed.

I didn't have my diary card with me. Then I had to admit that I stopped all of these things: meds, meditation, mindfulness and so on. And then we got digging into why. The answer was simple and devastatingly difficult all at once. I was taking care of myself, and I suddenly got skeptical about the idea that I was worthy of that kind of self-care. I'd even started thinking about going back to Weight Watchers. So what did I do? I made myself sick eating badly yesterday. Literally sick. I got three hours of sleep last night because I felt so physically awful and I was so worried about Sophie.

That not taking care of myself, that skepticism about me being worthy of self care, was willfulness. I was not participating effectively in the world as it is, a world in which I am worthy of that kind of self care, a world in which it's important for me to be healthy so I can function properly and can move forward willingly. We talked about where these ideas were first fostered inside me, we talked about how much care taking of others I've done over the last few years, we talked about how all that care taking made it easy for me to put aside my self care, allowed me not to examine my attitude about self care and my worthiness of self care and the love needed to maintain it.

I called in to work sick today because I felt so awful and was so tired. I knew I'd be having to care for Sophie, a kind of care taking I was totally willing to do, that I accepted needed doing and that I was responsible for. But I also had to take care of me, which meant accepting that I am worthy of care, then doing what's needed: taking my medications, journaling, being gentle with myself about starting over again.

Practice makes progress, as a WW leader said to me years ago. Progress. That's all I can ask for.

What I'm Doing Wednesday

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 07:26 pm
sage: close up of a slice of lemon held up against the sky, dripping (lemon)
[personal profile] sage
dirt indoor, outdoor )

healthcrap
Tomorrow I get more injections, yay! PT, ottoman, and building hip muscle are helping my feet. Not eating or speaking is helping my jaw -- which is not tenable, obvsly, ergo the excitement over more injections.

solstice astrology )

Artificial Condition Quote

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 05:28 pm
marthawells: (Default)
[personal profile] marthawells
Trying to get photos to post here still seems really wonky, so here's a link to a tumblr post with a quote from The Murderbot Diaries: Artificial Condition: https://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/162086407182/for-book-quote-wednesday-bookqw-on-twitter

This was for Book Quote Wednesday on Twitter.

(no subject)

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 04:15 pm
neonhummingbird: (squeal pigtoss)
[personal profile] neonhummingbird
I am starting class again tonight, yay! In an interesting turn of events, class will finish two days before my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, so that works out well. Apparently we're doing something Spanish with a circle skirt and character shoes and a fan, which is going to be very cool, but is an awful lot of crap to haul around....

We really need to find a home for big gorgeous smart hyper boy Kimchi. He was in a Mood last night, and was not about to let me pick him up off the top of the cat tree (usually he's quite easy to handle, but this time, teeth were threatened), so I had to resort to putting treats on the bench and ignoring him for a while. After about 10 minutes, he got bored with being stubborn and trying to annoy me, came over to eat the treats, and allowed himself to be carried back to his cage like a perfect little angel. The stinker. We had Caline the Crazy out, too, speaking of hyper cats who need homes... Oh, and my huge sweet buddy Chaz, who is perfect except for having FIV, and why has no one adopted him yet?!?

In the bunny business, we have six at the moment, who are all darlings except for Sawyer the Sex-Obsessed, with whom I cannot deal. (Who is nice and all, but has expanded my Bunny Weirdness Scale by an inordinate amount. It used to be like 1 to 10, but he's way out at about 35. Holly the Demon Bunny looks almost normal by comparison.) Really, I just want to find nice homes for Paul Bunyan and Timmy Bananas, who is going to go bananas if he has to listen to Sawyer frenetically humping his stuffed toy right overhead for much longer.

The Transformers 5 world premiere was in the Loop last night, which was weird. Something about having a giant banner of a giant robot hanging next to the Civic Opera House stone-engraved signage is just... wrong. But Haagen-Daaz was taking advantage of the foot traffic to give out free samples, so I had mint chocolate chip ice cream for dinner. Sometimes, I just fail really hard at adulting.

Patreon review categories finally updated

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 03:40 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The only way I could work out to fix the formatting issues (where point size varied for no reason and underlining got tossed in at random) was to remove all formatting in the original document and reinsert links by hand.

Marvel at the new list!

Read more... )

I’m writing for LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS!

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 10:22 am
swan_tower: (gaming)
[personal profile] swan_tower

I’ve been sitting on this news for nearly a year, waiting for my first piece to go live so I can tell you all about it.

So there’s this game called Legend of the Five Rings. It was a collectible card game and RPG; I got involved with the RPG, doing some freelance work for the later parts of fourth edition, because it had sucked me in overnight. The setting, Rokugan, is inspired by Japanese history and culture, and it’s got the kind of rich worldbuilding that makes the place come to life for me. So when the parent company sold L5R off to Fantasy Flight Games, I was, shall we say, rather determined to stay involved.

And I am. But not writing for the RPG this time: instead I’m one of their fiction writers. You see, one of the defining characteristics for L5R has always been the ongoing narrative of the game, influenced by the winners of various tournaments, and expressed through official canon stories.

My first story is here!

I think it should be a decent introduction to the setting for those who aren’t familiar with it. (In fact, that’s one of the goals for this first set of stories: give newcomers an overview of Rokugan, clan by clan.) If you like what I wrote, you might find L5R overall interesting, and you can check out the other fictions here (those provide links to the pdfs if you want to see the pretty formatted versions).

Yeah . . . I’m pretty excited. 😀 The setting has been rebooted back to the Clan War, so there’s an opportunity to do all kinds of cool new things, and this story provided a really great chance to showcase that, with the Dragon facing two entirely fresh conflicts that don’t come with easy answers attached. And I’m working on more stuff as we speak, so my involvement will be ongoing. *\o/*

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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