conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
but I'm too lazy to thank you all individually, so this will have to suffice.

(Actually, I just thought one group thank you would look less silly than comment after comment of just the word "thanks".)

Review: I Will Not Go Quietly

May. 29th, 2017 02:29 pm
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[personal profile] redheadedfemme
Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold

4 of 5 stars

This is the first book I've read in the Vorkosigan Saga, and somehow it feels appropriate to be coming in on the tail end of the series. I'm meeting the characters for the first time in their maturity, and in some cases the twilight of their lives (although Cordelia, at seventy-six, says she will live to be at least a hundred and twenty). There is a great deal of history here. These characters have weight and depth, and Bujold does a tremendous job of showing this, mostly through dialogue, as Cordelia Vorkosigan, her son Miles, and Cordelia's former paramour Oliver Jole (with her now dead husband, Aral Vorkosigan), reconnect, reestablish old relationships, and begin new ones. 
This is a mature book, written by an adult for adults. There are themes of aging, acceptance, moving into a new period in one's life (retirement, which means something far different in this universe and to Cordelia; for one thing, due to uterine replicator technology, she is going to be starting a brand-new family at the age of seventy-six, using previously frozen eggs and sperm from herself and Aral), and reconciling the past with the future (mainly in the person of Miles, who had no idea of the nature of his father's poly marriage). Cordelia is the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up: completely at home in her own skin, content with her life, and needing no one. She is delighted by the new turn in her and Oliver Jole's relationship, but she will not go with him to what once was her home planet, Barrayar, if he takes an offered promotion there, and she is not shy about telling him so. (This conflict is resolved at the end of the book; Oliver turns down the promotion, retires from the military, and finds a new career and purpose of his own, with Cordelia on Sergyar.)
There's nothing earth-shattering in this book. The fate of Sergyar and Barrayar does not rest on Cordelia's decisions, and no one dies. (Aral died three years before, but Cordelia and Oliver talk about him so much, he's basically a third protagonist. This is all done in a healthy way, however, as the fond reminiscences the two principals have about someone who was vastly important to both of them, while they have nevertheless moved on with their lives.) The tone is quiet and restrained, but there is a great deal of wry humor, all character-based, and I laughed out loud several times. One passage in particular made me chuckle, when the truth about Cordelia and Oliver is finally revealed to her son (p. 214): 
Cordelia perked up in the hope that this might lead into some more personal revelations, but instead Oliver went off into an enthusiastic description of the Serena lake life as observed through the crystal canoe. The flash of self-forgetfulness brought his considerable charm to the fore, and Ekaterin [Miles' wife] smiled.

"But you can't be planning development out that way," said Miles. "Mother is trying to get people to move away from the local tectonics." 

Cordelia abandoned patience as unrewarding. "Actually, Oliver and I are dating."

Miles stared. The silence stretched just a little too long, though Ekaterin raised her eyebrows, looked back and forth between Cordelia and Jole, and ventured, "Congratulations!" Miles closed his mouth.

In another moment, he opened it again. "Er...what exactly do you mean by dating? In this context." 

"Screwing, dear," Cordelia replied, in her flattest Betan tones.
Cordelia Vorkosigan is a badass, and everyone in this book knows it. 
These are, by far, some of the most fully-realized characters I've read recently, and it was a pleasure to eavesdrop on these pivotal moments in their lives. Now I'll have to go back to the beginning of the saga, and see how they got to where they are today. Given the author's obvious skill, I'm sure I'll enjoy the earlier books as much as I did this one.  

Where There's Smoke...

May. 29th, 2017 12:03 pm
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
...there's a brush fire, in this case.

Yesterday morning after having breakfast at the Wigwam, I was walking to the Frontier Fun Center to play pinball (it being too hot to work in the middle of the day on Sekrit Home Improvement Project) when I saw a lot of smoke in the distance.

Uncontrolled Burn )

I got grumpy at someone who called a "controlled burn" an oxymoron and said "remember that the next time you start your car." I suspect he won't get it.
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Posted by Frank Chiachiere

TIBS Link Station, southbound platform.

Mike Lindblom, The Seattle Times [$]:

Sound Transit and its allies in Congress say they’ll fight a 2018 budget proposal by President Donald Trump that yanks $1.1 billion to build the Lynnwood-Northgate light-rail extension — half of that project’s entire funding.

The White House policy change would also remove an anticipated $500 million grant for the Angle Lake-Federal Way extension, scheduled to open in 2024, and 12 other projects still in development.

The White House policy change would also remove an anticipated $500 million grant for the Angle Lake-Federal Way extension, scheduled to open in 2024, and 12 other projects still in development.

Not a good development for Sound Transit.  The agency took an additional step to issue a joint statement with Los Angeles Metro:

“The administration’s assertion that our regions can deliver transit solutions for our citizens without federal partnership is uninformed, misguided, and unfair. The voters of our communities stepped up and voted to tax themselves to provide a path out of punishing congestion. For that bold action, they should be rewarded at the federal level, not punished.

It’s too soon to speculate what exactly Sound Transit would do if it lost all federal funding.  Presidential budgets are typically thrown in the recycling bin by congressional appropriations committees, but at the same time this one does represent the ideological commitments and priorities of a large faction of the Republican party, and the Republican party does have near-complete control of D.C. right now.

Earlier this month, Congress got together on a six-month spending bill that restored funding [$] for Lynnwood link and other local rail projects (such as the Center City Connector streetcar), so it’s possible something similar may happen when the budget process resumes.

Meanwhile here in the Other Washington Heidi Groover at The Stranger notes that HB 2201 passed the House in Olympia.  The bill would lower car tabs for ST3, costing Sound Transit as much as $2B.

Another former LJer :-)

May. 29th, 2017 10:26 pm
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[personal profile] spiderbraids posting in [community profile] 2017revival
Name: Parn

Age: Just entered my mid 30s

Location: Thailand

Gender: Male

Languages: English and Thai

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I moved to the US when I was 3 and moved back back when I was 9, so my English is good. I'm a computer engineering graduate working in software programming. I've been an avid fan of Winx Club since 2005. I'm also great at geography and editing videos :-)

Top 5 fandoms:
The only fandom I've remained active for all these years is Winx Club (it's a major part of why I got an LJ to begin with), though I've also been a fan of The Amazing Race since the beginning. Currently I'm also into post-2010 animated Disney features (plus Inside Out), Equestria Girls, and whatever my eclectic tastes happen to fancy :-)

I mostly post about: Reactions to The Amazing Race (both US and Asia editions) dominated my LJ for the past couple of years, but 1) once upon a time, I made plenty of posts about Winx and the very occasional post on my life, and 2) I used to post plenty of icons at a now-defunct LJ community (had a good knack for it too :-)) I do hope to diversify, though...

I rarely post about: Personal life, except for really big events

My last three posts were about: Reactions to TAR... You'd have to go back to early 2016 to find my last non-TAR post :-\

How often do you post?: About once a month during TAR seasons (I try to gather several eps' worth of thoughts at a time) plus occasions I'm inspired to write about other things

How about commenting?: I've never been big on commenting for commenting's sake, usually only if I have something substantial to say. I prefer my comments to be more than simply "I like it! It's pretty!"

I'm an idiot

May. 29th, 2017 10:33 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Instead of just futilely bouncing ideas around in my head, I could just ask:

Does there exist a check list of tasks for establishing a small, one-day con?
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Posted by Carolyn Yates

May is Masturbation Month! Here's how the AS staff does it, featuring first time stories, all the weird places we've masturbated, how we feel about that and more.

(no subject)

May. 29th, 2017 09:04 pm
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[personal profile] olivia_beige
I am NEARLY finished with this term. Freedom, I can almost feel youuuuu. Time to catch up on sleep and comments and whatever else, I can almost feel youuuu.

And then summer lectures commence on June.

What are you excited about for the next few months?
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Posted by Beth

In this month's Follow Your Arrow, Klara shares the story of her gender-neutral barbershop business, how she made the leap from office-worker to sole-trader, and the importance of building trust in the community she serves.
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Posted by Knute Berger

The Monorail isn’t supposed to be here.

It was built as a demonstration project for mass transit for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and was originally slated to come down after the exposition. Ideas to expand it came to naught. In the early 2000s, when monorail mania revived in Seattle, it was going to be demolished for a new “Green Line” as part of a new citywide monorail system, until the voters pulled the plug on the plan.

Despite challenges, the Monorail is not only still standing but arguably is more essential than ever with an important role to play in the remaking of Seattle Center.  As the city considers two half-billion dollar proposals to remake KeyArena into a world-class concert and NBA/NHL venue, the Monorail comes up as a critical part of any transportation plan getting people to games and events.

At 55 years old, rather than frail, the Monorail is pretty robust. The trains are maintained in a cramped underground space under the Seattle Center station. Many of the parts are off-the-shelf technology, such the rubber tires it runs on that come not from some futuristic lab but Les Schwab. Good, durable design has kept the Monorail going.

I got a sense of that as I sat in the driver’s seat of the Blue train recently. I noticed two things. First, the control panel is a computer screen that displays the number of miles the Monorail has traveled since the beginning: more than 1.3 million. That’s a bit more than the odometer reading on a used Volvo. Second, as I pushed the joystick forward to make the train go I could feel its strength. With 700 volts of electricity powering it, the experience was Jetsons-like: smooth, quiet, zippy and far above the madding crowd. The train feels anything but antique.

According to Seattle Monorail Service, the private company that operates the system for the city, the Monorail is still a workhorse. During the six months of the world’s fair, the Monorail’s two trains, Red and Blue, hauled some 8 million passengers. The annual haul in 2016: 2.2 million. The Monorail operates 363 days a year and is self-sustaining.

Keepsakes from the Seattle Center Monorail's past adorn the walls of its headquarters building at Seattle Center, which has not moved since its inception in 1962.
Keepsakes from the Seattle Center Monorail’s past adorn the walls of its headquarters building at Seattle Center, which has not moved since its inception in 1962.

While today’s annual demand is smaller than in ‘62, it’s still significant. For big summer weekends like Northwest Folklife and Bite of Seattle, the trains carry up to 22,000 people per day. Its current maximum capacity is about 6,000 per hour (3,000 in each direction). Monorail general manager Thomas Ditty tells me the busiest 45 minutes of the year follows the New Year’s Eve fireworks show at the Space Needle as they convey “the cold, wet and intoxicated.” And servicing the KeyArena is nothing new: the Monorail carried Sonics fans when the team was here before and they still adjust operating hours to work overtime to accommodate KeyArena events, from wrestling to pop concerts.

Still, there are improvements that could expand capacity and alleviate traffic and parking challenges if KeyArena gets more use.

Getting people on and off faster is a major point of improvement. Accepting ORCA cards, selling e-tickets or selling Monorail tickets as part of other event passes (buy a concert ticket that includes a Monorail ride) would help. Having to move everyone through the old ticket booth bottleneck is inefficient. The Monorail, in fact, is already working on moving to electronic payment.

Stuffing more people in the cars is not viable — current train capacity is about 250, with seats for 110. That’s fewer people than used to cram in during the world’s fair. But in 1962, there were no ADA requirements, folks didn’t lug backpacks or push strollers the size of small SUVs. People are also bigger now. Ditty also notes there is an increased number of passengers with luggage because they can quickly link from airport light rail to the Monorail to get to cheaper hotels near Seattle Center. “They can save $80 per night,” he says.

Seattle Center Monorail general manager Thomas Ditty points out the monorail has always run on high-voltage electricity, with oversized rubber wheels that hug the track.
Seattle Center Monorail general manager Thomas Ditty points out the monorail has always run on high-voltage electricity, with oversized rubber wheels that hug the track.

Eventually, light rail will go right to Seattle Center, but people often forget there is already a direct link between Westlake Station and the Westlake Center Monorail station (via elevator). Upgrading the “vertical connection” with a bigger, faster elevator or adding a second one would facilitate getting people from the tunnel to the Monorail station quicker. Better elevators, better stairway-to-tunnel connection and reduced ticket booth gridlock could speed loading and unloading significantly, Ditty says.

Expanding Westlake’s Monorail platform would also help. This has been considered before, moving it out or lengthening it. In the 1990s, one idea was to have it connect to what is now Nordstrom’s flagship store. This is conceivable because the two Monorail stations, the rails, and the support pylons are not protected by the Monorail’s 2003 landmark designation. Only the cars are fully protected by the preservation ordinance. Meaning, station and track improvements could be made without running afoul of restrictions.

The original Westlake Monorail station was torn down for Westlake Park. It was designed so both trains could load and unload simultaneously. The current configuration only allows one train in Westlake at a time. When the station was moved into the new Westlake mall in the late 1980s, the Monorail tracks were moved at a bend that created a section now called “the gauntlet” where the two trains cannot pass each other without colliding, which happened in 2005.

The pinch point hurts turnaround time. If the Westlake station platform was redone and the gauntlet removed you could maybe double the Monorail’s capacity from 6,000 to 10,000 or 12,000 per hour, according to the Monorail’s director of marketing Megan Ching.

Both bidders on the KeyArena makeover, Seattle Partners and Oak View Group, have said that boosting Monorail capacity is crucial to their plans, though their bids do not include those costs. Presumably, they would be borne by the city of Seattle, Sound Transit, King County, private investment or some combination.

The Monorail in Seattle has had a somewhat bumpy ride but has proved to be resilient. With some tweaks, investment and ingenuity, it can continue to carry a big load when it comes to Seattle Center’s future.


tanaqui: Illumiinated letter T (Default)
[personal profile] tanaqui posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
Volunteer your time in bite sized chunks, from your own home, on demand and on your own terms. Benefit worthy causes to suit your lifestyle via non-skilled actions. Dip in and dip out with absolutely no commitment. It’s all FREE!

(I found this, and the links in my previous post over in the US Politics thread at [community profile] fail_fandomanon, where I often find good links and good discussions.)
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[personal profile] tanaqui posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
Two men were stabbed to death and another man severely injured Friday on a light-rail train in Portland, Oregon after intervening when a passenger began “ranting and raving”, shouting anti-Muslim slurs at two young women, police said.
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[personal profile] earth_colors posting in [community profile] arashi_off
Translation of OP TALK of VS Arashi 2017.05.18 only:


Read it HERE
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Posted by Casey

These gritty and glittery queer urban fantasy novels feature sex-work activism, genetic experiments, polyamory, erotic antique-postcard painting, sibling rivalry and more — and a ton of queer women characters.

May 2017

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