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
redheadedfemme: (Default)
[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.

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?

(no subject)

May. 29th, 2017 09:04 pm
olivia_beige: (Default)
[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?

"Living in a bubble"

May. 29th, 2017 05:36 am
rosefox: Me looking out a window, pensive. (thoughtful)
[personal profile] rosefox
[personal profile] siderea linked to this post:

I know you want to, and you are constantly being told that you must, excel at and be committed to, for example:

1. earning a living wage
2. healing from and/or dealing with injury, illness, emotional trauma, disability
3. basic self-care and adulting (laundry, financial management, etc.)
4. family relationships (finding/maintaining romance, caring for kids and/or elders, dealing with family drama)
5. a social life beyond that
6. a fulfilling and fulfilled creative life
7. service to the community
8. social and political activism
9. self-improvement and continuing education
10. physical fitness (maintaining and building)
11. fun hobbies
12. spiritual growth

...plus enough downtime to keep you functional.

But excelling at each of those is equivalent to a full-time job and you cannot physically do them all. In fact, our society considers basic competence at
two of them to be a passing grade. ONLY TWO.

The idea is that you're supposed to look at this list and agree that it's impossible to do it all and then feel relief from the pressure. But I'm really pleased to realize that I'm doing very well in almost all of those categories. My social life isn't as busy as it used to be, but that's fine, it'll come back as Kit gets older. Creativity and hobbies are one category for me and I've always got something going; since I'm doing historical research for Valour Advances right now, that brings in continuing education as well. If I expand #12 as "spiritual and psychological growth" I've got that covered. Tomorrow I'm going to get a new prescription for occupational therapy and add physical fitness back onto the list in a formal way, but I've informally been doing fairly well at it (picking up a 25-pound toddler is great for building upper body strength). About all I'm missing is activism as distinct from service to the community; my Twitter and DW PSAs, and my Story Hospital posts, fall into the latter category rather than the former. I do wish I could do more direct political activism but I'm coming to accept that I can't right now, not with everything else I have on my plate.

[personal profile] siderea proposed a 13th category of "recovering from catastrophe". I'd add a 14th of "coping with oppression, marginalization, danger, and/or abuse". I feel like the secret to doing everything I do is that I don't have to manage assholes in pretty much any part of my life. My spouses are great, my friends are great, my family drama is minimal, my boss and colleagues are great, I'm not being targeted by trolls, etc. I'm a queer trans polyamorous weirdo, but I'm in a place where it's pretty safe to be that way. I don't have to worry about my home being unsafe for me, or about being kicked out of it. I have health insurance and a savings account. Safety is what lets me get a ton of shit done. I'm not having to manage my safety. If I were—I know from experience—it would be the other 13 categories' worth of work all in one.

So I suppose this list represents my political philosophy too: the job of society is to take on category 14 for everyone. Reduce oppression, marginalization, danger, and abuse in order to enable people to lead fulfilling and satisfying lives in every possible dimension. I live in a tiny magical bubble where I've made that possible for myself and my family, and it's great. I want it for everyone.

The Blood is the Life for 29-05-2017

May. 29th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Mood: Miserable Brian :()
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I am dangerously low on spoons, I have a bunch of things I'm committed to doing before the end of the month, electoral stuff is particularly pressing (I may be beginning to regret being on regional exec, and chair of Plus, and involved in national stuff too) and daughter is on half term holiday so I have less time to do everything.

I may be a bit absent for the next few days, is my point. And if I do turn up I may be irascible. Just so you all know.

Sunday is the new Friday

May. 28th, 2017 11:42 pm
ironymaiden: (joe metro)
[personal profile] ironymaiden
Via [community profile] thefridayfive

1. What is your current main mode of transportation? e.g. car, bike, subway, walking etc.
I'm car-free and multi-modal. Toss up between bus and walking.

2. Are you satisfied with your current main mode of transportation (answer to question 1)? Why?
Yes. I like reading and knitting, I don't like stop and go driving or hunting for parking.

3. Do you think you'll change your means of transit soon? e.g. buy a car, get rid of your car, walk more etc.? If so why?
No.

4. If time distance and money were not factors how do you prefer to get from point A to point B?
train. (we have talked about moving to light rail.)

5. What was your worst transit experience?
depending on a taxi that never arrived.

SIFF hot take May 28, 2017 at 11:20PM

May. 29th, 2017 06:20 am
ironymaiden: (siff)
[personal profile] ironymaiden
Person to Person

that was meh. and its meh-ness annoys me. it had a bunch of stories happening on the same day in New York City and I spent the entire film waiting for them to intersect. they don't. I should have gone home early.
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Seasonal Preparations
By Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 1 of 1 (complete)
word count (story only): 1357


:: This story takes place after “Outside Influence,” and is entirely fluff, as a reward for my readers' forbearance with the intrusion of Real Life and its damage to my writing schedule. ::




A full week of preparing meals and tidying after the Williams family gave Leland a great deal of insight into their personalities, often clues that none of them realized that they had given. It was easy to use those details to make meals more than a punctual collection of standard dishes. A full week of watching through doorways as Edwina taught the little boy with the strange gait and speech, but whose mind was as bright as the lighthouse lamp where Leland and his brother Prescott had been stranded by an ocean storm had given him larger and larger ideas, until he was afraid he wouldn't be able to create any of them. He had loved that lighthouse, and he was quickly making a similar place in his heart for the little boy.
Read more... )

Done last week (20170521Su - 27Sa)

May. 28th, 2017 10:00 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

Big week. The sale of Rainbow's End (now "Rainbow's Ended"?) closed on Tuesday, after a marathon clean-up session. (The buyers had done a walk-through Monday evening, and called with a list of things that had to be cleaned up. If they weren't done by EOD Tuesday, they were going to hold up closing. Since the closing for our purchase was scheduled for Wednesday, that was a non-starter. Cleanup had to be done.)

First (realtor) Chris and I cleaned up the messes left by the movers who ghosted on us last week, the housekeeper, and me when I came by both Thursday and Sunday and simply ran out of spoons. I think some valuable things may have been hauled off by the guys from 1-800-GOT-JUNK, but I was pretty low on spoons at that point.

After that, (this is still Tuesday!) I met G at UHaul to rent a truck so that we could get his motorcycles out of the garage. Fortunately, our housekeeper (G', if you've been following the details of my notation) offered to store them at her house. We probably came within inches of dropping a bike, more than once.

After that, I came back to the house (no longer ours, since they did close on time) to pick up the hazardous materials we'd taken out of the garage, since GOT-JUNK doesn't do hazmat. I came around to the front after that, and took a blossom and a bud from the Royal Amethist rose. Then I sang "The Mary Ellen Carter" on the way home to keep from losing it.

Wednesday, the purchase of our new house on Whidbey Island closed. I also learned that 1. the household hazmat site on Aurora Avenue is closed on Wednesdays, and 2. latex paint is not considered hazardous, so they won't take it. I was, and still am, too short on emotional cope to react significantly to either event.

Thursday I bought cat litter for solidifying the paint. I was kind of out of it, and didn't do much except reading (see links).

Friday I found out that C had not gotten signed up for Medicare. Damnit, she was positive that she had; if I'd known we could have done it when we visited the office to deliver our marriage license. Weeks ago. Shit. I also took care of the nine cans of paint that actually had room for cat litter to be added.

Saturday I tried to get C signed up for Medicare, and failed. (I failed again today.) There's still a lot of other stuff I've been neglecting.

Meanwhile, I've been doing paperwork mostly connected with health care, utilities, you name it. If I'd been under any illusions that retiring was going to be less stressful than working, well, ... Maybe it gets better? Damned if I know. I've also been reading a lot, mostly math and computer science, probably because it gets me into a flow state where I'm not really aware of anything else. Not being aware of anything mostly sounds pretty good right now.

Oh, yeah; I ought to schedule an appointment with my therapist. Not that that's been doing any noticable good lately. I have difficulty imagining how it could do any good, which may be part of the problem. (That's not a new thing; except for learning about CBT and getting me on the first of a series of drugs that may or may not still be working it didn't do a whole lot for me back in California, either.)

And don't get me started on politics.

Notes & links, as usual )

grateful

May. 28th, 2017 09:38 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Chairs. Chairs are a very good for tired.

Beds. Also good.

Got food. Food I can eat. Yes.

Water. Properly filtered now with filter from store. Yes, so many chores we did. Yay water.

NOT grateful for brain not fully boot up all day, but okay. Grateful for at least not feeling BAD on top of not think properly; feel okay, just can hardly process, and body does not want to energy. Or heavy things - heavy things are a clear firm NO DO NOT I WILL MAKE YOU SORRY IF YOU DO THAT so I was good and did not do that today. Difficult. Thanks. Yes. I am grateful for S moved all the heavy groceries and laundry. S is good.

Garden yessss and the little plants. I cannot words. But happy yes plants.
galacticjourney: (Default)
[personal profile] galacticjourney

by Rosemary Benton

After a short hiatus following the death of a dear family member I was in desperate need of some levity. Avoiding the non-fiction section, and especially the news stand, I made my way to the science fiction shelves of my favorite book store and picked up a novel that had originally caught my attention back in April. Raiders from the Rings is latest story from experienced science fiction writer and physician Alan E. Nourse.

Following a near cataclysmic world war, Earth has separated genetically and culturally from those who live out an exiled existence in space. This space-bound society, appropriately called the Spacers, squeak out a living by occasionally raiding food stores and supply depots on the technologically-lagging Earth. But when a newly built secret Earth armada confronts a raiding party of Spacers, all out war is declared once again. Like the conflict that nearly wiped out humanity before, both Earthmen and Spacers seem to be on a trajectory of mutual destruction. It will be up to Ben of the Martian house of Trefon and his two Earthling hostages, Joyce and Tom Barron, to keep their people from pyrrhic victories.



(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)

Gored

May. 28th, 2017 09:10 pm
kevin_standlee: (House)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
We continue to work on the Sekrit Home Improvement Project. I mixed seven sacks of concrete yesterday and five today. We had a little bit left over from the last sack, so we made use of it.

Filling a Hole )

Lisa scooped the extra bit of concrete into the gore point and it looks pretty good. We'll probably have some other extra concrete later, which will will use to fill the rest of this area. This will be good because it has been inconvenient when rolling things from one end of the property to the other.

SIFF hot take May 28, 2017 at 09:06PM

May. 29th, 2017 04:06 am
ironymaiden: (siff)
[personal profile] ironymaiden
Finding Kukan

doc about Kukan, the first "best documentary feature" (1941), which is considered a lost film, and Li Ling Ai, credited as "technical advisor". the filmmaker makes a case for Li Ling Ai as the true producer. it's a nifty detective story and uses shadow play under some of the narrative, to great effect. Kukan itself was about the second Sino Japanese war and was remarkable for its color footage of the bombing of Nanking, shot at ground level. this doc was chock full of interesting stuff about the lives of Chinese-Americans in the 30s, plus great footage of the director presenting her research to a weeping audience in modern-day Chongqing.

notable comment from Q&A: Kukan wasn't that old and its history has mostly been lost. five of the people interviewed in the film are dead as of this viewing. the director urged us to record our parents and grandparents while we can.

May 2017

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