(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:23 pm
buttonsbeadslace: drawing of a high-heeled boot (Default)
[personal profile] buttonsbeadslace
 My throat hurts and I'm Tired, but I had a good day. Work was boring, cats are good. Tomorrow Sparkly's team is relocating from just-south-of-Jacksonville to actually-in-Jacksonville. Ey seems to be getting along well with eir boss, which is wonderful. 
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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Making potpourri with last year’s dried flowers, dried herbs, and some essential oils. Statice, larkspur, gomphrena, lavender, even some celosia and probably some odds and ends I don’t remember now, and topped off with some of last year’s hydrangeas, which have now leached to a beautiful creamy golden color. (at Laughing Earth)
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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I had saved this photo, which my mother texted to me from France the day before yesterday or so, because I wanted to post an illustration of how goddamn adorable my parents are, but @dolly-bassett just posted about visiting this site and I suppose it does warrant a much more serious caption.

Adorable little old folks aside, this is a very somber site. It’s the Carriére Wellington, which is a museum related to WWI: in the chalk soil, since medieval times there had been tunnels dug to quarry the chalk, and during the War, British sappers connected the tunnels to blow up a huge mine during the Battle of Arras in 1917.

My parents are currently overseas on a long-anticipated once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit WWI battle sites– they’re focusing on sites relevant to American units, as my mother is finishing a book documenting the experiences, insofar as she can verify them, of every man from our local town who served. They’ve participated in a number of wreath-laying ceremonies. Dad has his own investment in it; he served for many years in the 42nd Infantry Division [National Guard], which was formed in order to fight in WWI. (My sister, meanwhile, served for a long time in the 3rd Infantry Division [regular Army], and at the gate of any base they staffed, their standard greeting was “Rock of the Marne,” which was the Division’s catchphrase– they were first blooded there, at the 2nd Battle of the Marne, in 1918, and awarded the nickname for their refusal to retreat.)

(Maybe the US should have stayed out of it, and maybe WWII would have been averted. You could argue that either way, but you can’t deny that, clearly, a lot of our modern military and status as a world superpower kind of grew out of that intervention. Maybe we should have intervened earlier. Nobody ever writes that AU, they’re too busy saving the Confederacy or letting the Nazis win. Has anyone written an AU where the Americans stayed isolationist? Hook me up.)

Today my parents took a side trip to Verdun, which, no, was not a site American units notably participated in, but is important to see. About a million people died there, about a hundred years ago. Humbling to consider. 
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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glittersword:

thatonepinkdress900:

thefistoinitiative:

charlie brooker literally said in the post-emmys interview that he initially tried to write san junipero about a heterosexual couple and it kinda sucked and he switched them to a same-sex couple and it immediately became much better and also easier to write and he finished it with ‘so that’s my writing tip’… the only true ally

ah yes, because everything gay is automatically better. //s

it sure is bitch!

I went to reblog this because I love the sentiment that everything gay is automatically better as a true thing, but I do find this sort of thing is often true about writing and stories in general. Oftentimes writers will unwittingly take shortcuts and rely on formulas without realizing it, and if you actually turn and address your assumptions head-on instead of handwaving a Default Everything, your story will be much richer. 

By “default assumptions” I mean all the boring formulaic shit that everyone assumes in stories, and it’s lazy. Like, the boy gets the girl, that’s a formula; the boy’s story is centered, that’s a formula; everyone important is white, that’s a default Hollywood assumption; everyone important is straight, ditto; a whole list of tropes and assumptions and formulas and frameworks that the part of the story you’re interested in hangs on without you noticing.

The more you pay attention to those, and come up with real genuine thought-out ideas instead of relying on frameworks, the richer your story is, the more worldbuilding you’ve done in those little ways– like, is a character disabled in some way, or from a marginalized identity, or from a different background, and can you give even your background characters some real consideration as humans, all of that weaves in and makes the story, the “hook”, the plot thing that made you want to tell the story, have much more resonance. 

Even things like, you’re a middle-class person who grew up with financial security but not a ton of extra money, and you’re writing a story where a bit of the plot framework hangs on some event relating to money, giving your protagonist a background of either extreme wealth or extreme poverty, and then really considering how that would have formed her character up to this point, will give her a lot of resonance with readers in how she reacts to this central plot point. She’ll react differently as a person than you, the author, would in this situation, and that will ripple outward and change all kinds of unexpected things about the story, and that will give you so many things to work back into your story, enriching it the whole way. Similarly, even not plot-significant traits that you don’t have but that many humans on this earth do, will pay dividends in giving your character a whole set of characteristics that make them see the world in a distinct way. (Like, your character is an amputee, or something– it doesn’t have to matter in any way to the plot, but if you write the whole story with that characteristic in the background, it just enriches the character. It doesn’t have to be a story about How Janey Got A New Foot; she can have one she likes just fine, and it doesn’t affect the plot, but it’s going to affect tiny details of a lot of her scenes, and that’s cool. As a side bonus, if you do your research really well, someone who has a prosthetic foot and has never read a novel with a protagonist who had that trait too will find this story to be the Most True Thing Ever and will maybe write you to tell you so, and it will make you cry Good Tears.)

Of course every time you write a character whose background– race, disability, economic class, sexual identity– is different from yours, you have to research, and be prepared to get something wrong and have to research more how to fix it– but that’s all such a good way to immerse yourself deeper in a story, and get a much clearer headspace for the story. And anytime you upend your assumptions and see what weird shit is living under a particular rock, you’ve expanded your world an awful lot.

This is a long-winded way to point out that I tend to write diverse stories not because It’s The Right Thing To Do And Representation Matters– although that certainly doesn’t hurt, I do think of that sometimes, and sometimes notes from readers who saw themselves and were kind enough to tell me so make me cry a lot of the Good Tears and it’s great– but because the stories are just so much better, the more of the Real World Outside Your Own Personal Experiences that you try to draw upon to create your fictional world. This applies across genres, of course. 

Anytime you’ve got unexamined tropes and Central Casting Characters you’ve mostly just changed the hair and outfit of, you’ve got a weaker story. Even if you do decide to go with tropes and Central Casting, if you’ve at least considered why, your story will be better.

Also, yes, everything gay is automatically better, that’s just the truth and I don’t make the rules.
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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lynati:

taraljc:

orangeschmorange:

Something I did not know…

wait, so the clowns are Insane Clown Posse fans? I just assumed they were random clowns.

http://ift.tt/1gCLiLY
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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The sister whose apartment I appropriated for Found Cat has decided to motivate herself to clean her by now very cluttered apartment by throwing one of those Tupperware-style parties on Saturday. It’s for luggage or something, I don’t know. Anyway. 

The apartment’s a disaster; when she moved in, she filled the large closet in the entryway with huge rubbermaid bins full of shit she hasn’t looked at in the four years since (and, I might mention, shit she’s hauled from Cortland to Buffalo to Denver to Troy to across-Troy). And then she had bad depression, and then she went through grad school, and then she had roof leaks that meant she had to pile everything she owned into different rooms in the rather small sort of railroad-style apartment (buildings in old Troy are like fifteen feet wide for real), and it happened like three times that the lighting fixture in her bedroom crashed down amid filthy water all over her bed at three in the morning, but the landlord (a good dude don’t get me wrong the building’s from 1831 and shit happens) finally fixed it, and then she came home once and her living room was full of water on a sunny day and it turned out someone’s garden hose next door had burst and sprayed straight in her window for hours, warping her floor and damaging a lot of her belongings (the mortified neighbor paid, but, the damage was impressive). 

Anyway. This place is to put it mildly a disaster area. I’ve hauled furniture out, in the last couple of months I’ve spent several days here mostly cleaning out bags full of old mail and shit she threw in there to hide it when someone came over and she was “tidying”– but today I promised her several hours, and showed up with a half-assembled quiche Farmsister had prepared for the occasion, and threw it in the oven and we started to clear out the Dreaded Closet.

She insisted, see, that if we just got the shit out of the closet, the stuff she cares about can go in there, and then she’ll go through those boxes and throw away most of what’s in them.

But like. The closet was stuffed full. The rest of the apartment is also stuffed full. So we pulled out a filing cabinet yesterday, and put it into my car, and Farmsister now has a second filing cabinet for her office, which doesn’t fit but that’s her problem, not Middle-Little’s and thankfully, not mine. 

And it’s going to take weeks to go through the contents of these boxes. We moved the remaining filing cabinet into the closet, but that now means we can’t put even a single one of these totes or boxes back in– and some of them might be things she wanted to keep after all, so… 

We hit on a daring plan. Earlier, Farmsister had expressed to me that she worries about Middle-Little, and thinks she should probably make a standing dinner date with her once a week going forward, it’d be good to see her and make sure she’s eating properly and also, Farmbaby loves her and listens to her and wants to see her all the time. 

So I said, we take all the boxes over to the farm, and then you have a deal: Once a week, you come to dinner, and the first thing you do on arrival is take a box. That box comes back to your apartment. You know you have now one (1) week to get through that box. And Farmsister isn’t going to let you not take a box next week. You’ve got to get this one put away and sorted out and gone, in your apartment that is already cleaned and organized with your current belongings. You start from a baseline of your currently-used belongings are present and accounted for. And then you go through your old shit and either make it fit, or throw it out. Instead of binging, it’s regularly-scheduled.

This, unlike many plans– which Middle-Little excels at making and literally never sticks to– will work, because Farmsister is really good at sticking to a fucking plan, ok, and she’ll do it, and she doesn’t understand Middle-Little’s total lack of executive function but she does love her and want to help, and this way she won’t be too mean, but she also won’t let her slide. 

So we called Farmsister and she agreed to this. It’s probably five carloads of stuff, which will fill about half of one of the empty grain bins up in the granary. 

This all is very good, because our poor mother has awful PTSD, of sorts, about cluttered apartments in Troy– when her brother, her only brother, her baby brother, died very suddenly a couple of years back, he left her a three-story townhouse in Troy absolutely stuffed fucking full of cats, their vomit and shit, tuna cans, old clothes, books and books and books, garbage, and priceless antiques, and she and Dad had to clean it out alone. Well, they had the help of the homeless man who was living in the garbage-filled basement apartment. I’m not kidding, there really was a homeless dude in there. My uncle knew he was there and had decided he was cool with it. The dude was… not really… okay, but Mom and Dad gave him actual money to keep the house from burning down while they were cleaning it out, and they all parted friends, sort of, in the end. Which is better than you’d expect a story like that to go. 

Anyway. Mom cries sometimes because she’s worried about Middle-Little’s apartment. It’s good she hasn’t seen my house in six or seven years. Though, she wants to visit. Yikes.

Hey, I got like six huge totes full of fabric and old drapes out of my basement to make yurt quilts so that’s a start. 

And if I can save Middle-Little’s apartment– she’s lived here exactly four years as of last week, by the way. Yiiiiikes. 

I took a break and let Middle-Little have some time to herself to go through her shit, and instead deep-cleaned her bathroom, which was cathartic as fuck and rewarding. It’s a lovely little tile joint and I Magic Erasered the fuck out of it and it’s literally never been that clean, so I feel really good.

The other thing I did today was clean out half the granary’s second floor, and inventory all the Christmas ribbon, and go through the dried flowers from last year and cut down all of the statice and sort it by color. Then I spent the afternoon entertaining Farmbaby, whose cooperation was easily bought by the promise of a single candy bar. She’s wonderfully bribeable and it’s great. 
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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Spectator, Remi the cat watches as, in the process of helping Middle-Little sister clean her apartment, I accidentally shotgun a beer. No, don’t ask me how, it’s best left up to the imagination. (at Troy, New York)

Everyday stuff

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:22 pm
buttonsbeadslace: drawing of a high-heeled boot (Default)
[personal profile] buttonsbeadslace
 I did a lot of work today and my brain is very tired. Oh, I should mention, though- Sparkly got a confirmed ~demobilization date~ for when ey's coming home: October 10th. 
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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addignisherlock:

It terrifies me that there’s so much raging passion in the lgbt+ community that insist on marginalizing asexuals and implying that asexuals don’t deserve to have safe spaces. There’s still so much acephobia so I just wanna know which blogs are genuinely supportive and a safe space for asexuals
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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ileliberte:

Tiny (tinier?) Poe with mom, pilot Shara Bey (from Shattered Empire), for inyron’s art prompt for little Poe and playtime with his mother (with bonus Leia doll) :)

(no subject)

Sep. 19th, 2017 04:24 am
harpers_child: melaka fray reading from "Tales of the Slayers". (Default)
[personal profile] harpers_child
3 card pull. Shuffled a couple times and took the top 3.

the sorcerer, the shadow of the past, the fixer

that's a jumble and not helpful. Odd for this deck.

Took bottom 3 cards off the deck.

the lady of sorrows, the challenge, the leaving

There's the brick to the face I'm used to.
Letting Go. Go For It. Moving Forward.

Whelp. Now I know the thing I've been thinking about is correct. It's painful so I'm not talking about it. One of those things that suck super hard.

Performance

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:09 pm
buttonsbeadslace: drawing of a high-heeled boot (Default)
[personal profile] buttonsbeadslace
Today I captioned an interview with a woman who runs an after-school theater program and had a lot of feelings about "shyness" and public speaking. Theater is great. Music is great. Being in the pit orchestra for the school musical was hands down the best thing I did in high school. But the way some people talk about kids "coming out of their shells" rubs me the wrong way.

Read more... )

Rats and Books

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:21 pm
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
We've been hearing noises in the wall between our house and the garage for a while, and got confirmation today that it was rats. Apparently they chewed their way in through a hole at the end of a rain gutter and got in the garage attic, then got in and have been hanging out under the bathtub. So, not fun. But someone at the university recommended a wildlife removal company that specializes in rodents, and I think that's exactly what we need. (We're also infested with geckos, but that's actually a good thing.) Anyway, it's going to be expensive, but not nearly as bad as I thought.

***

Fireside Fiction has set up an ebook Hurricane Relief Bookstore. 100% of the profits go to hurricane relief funds in Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean. My book Wheel of the Infinite is available there, with lots of other cool SF/F novels, magazines, and anthologies:

http://www.hurricanebookstore.com/

Birthday!

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:57 pm
popkin16: (john surprised)
[personal profile] popkin16
Happy birthday [personal profile] wings128! I hope your day was full of good things, like lots of slash for your ship(s) of choice and presents :)

Fabric magery

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:00 pm
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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deadcatwithaflamethrower:

anonysquirrel:

So I’ve been geeking over not only the embroidery from @deadcatwithaflamethrower‘s Nizar and @jabberwockypie’s enthusiasm for making real life versions of costume renderings, but also the magic involved in producing the fabric, and how to sew protective spells, and I am headcanoning medieval magic fabric production methods like mad.
So, one of my oldest fabric geekery areas is medieval natural dyeing in both western Europe and Japan? And if anyone tries to tell me plant-based non-synthetic dye methods are not both potions and magic I will bust out chapter and verse on how the Heian Japanese used to dye silk with cloves for the scent in addition to the color, and used to drape silks over heated frames and play scent-guessing games to see who could identify what went into them, and how the Nara dyers in 900 produced thousand-year-colorfast reds with combinations of akane reds and tea ash mordants that preservationists who came along in the 1500s couldn’t even begin to replicate, and dyers with fermentation-based indigo vats they’ve kept running for 30+ years by tending the vats as though they’re just as alive as people - feeding them, watering them, sheltering them from heat or humidity, removing the living “mother” with care and replacing the same decades-old mother along with more nutrients…
tl;dr Indigo vats are totally potions magic, and indigo was usually a significant component in medieval blacks because the tannin-and-oak-gall combo for ink did terrible things to wool and logwood wasn’t available until trade with the New World happened. And then when you add ACTUAL magic in…
Mother of indigo is such a deep blue-violet-black with green-and-purple raven-wing shimmers that it’s gorgeous by itself, but in the real world you can’t actually capture that in fabric; it’ll flake off. So let’s say that’s one of the colors an enterprising potion-witch DID manage to capture, adding some raven feathers to the mix for transferrence and symbolism of cleverness and flight.
And then there’s the additions to the vat that keep it healthy over the long term, and having to know what it needs to keep the subsurface indigo in deoxygenated states before they had titration kits and pH testing. Madder was added to indigo vats for the fermentation-related enzymes and the like, but also brought red dye components to deepen the color. Bran was also part of the fermentation system but didn’t bring any color at all.
When you cross-pollinate that with non-pigmented but magically symbolic potions ingredients, and then cross-pollinate that with silks “dyed” for scent rather than color… yeah. All kinds of symbolism in the waiting there, along with time of year and phase of moon and harvesting of the ingredients and how to adjust the pH with vinegars crafted from symbolic plants and ashes from others….
And then there’s the spinning. Hand spinning every thread, and what the spinner’s hands and the wood of the spindle (which is very like a magic wand) bring to the fabric. And then there’s the weaving, and the loom choice, and the patterning.
And then there’s the embroidery. With knotwork as the design base there’s three layers of spellwork to stitch in – spell-words in a hidden underlayer with any color of dye that would be magically appropriate, covered by the couched-down silver overlay, and then with a technically-visible but practically-unseeable set of additional spell-words stitched over the top of the couching, and you need to work each ribbon of the knot in the correct order because some pieces overlay - that would be a huge part of making that fabric unreproducible without taking out every stitch one at a time, and that’s before getting into the non-visible parts of spellcasting. :)
Plus it’s entirely possible that the actual species of sheep required for making the wool is no longer available? They had very different sheep breeds in the mundane middle ages; magical sheep breeds must have been even smaller population bases to start with, and there may have been magical non-sheep creatures that provided fiber for the spinning too… imagining angora bunnies the size of alpacas here…
(happy fabric geek.) :D 

FABRIC PORN.
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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archifist reblogged your photo and added:

turns out, you are a terrible hunter and Whiskey will prevent you from dying THIS TIME but really you should learn to do better.

Last year she left stuff a couple of times, and I never ate it, and told her to eat it, and finally she started eating it herself. This year though, I just don’t want to step over a dead… vole? is that a vole? short tail… so i threw it out into the fresh-plowed field when no one was looking. So she’s gonna think I ate it.

I think she’s actually paying me protection so I’ll keep Beans, who bullies her, from coming around. Beans loves the yurt but only remembers about it when she follows Whiskey out there to beat her up. So I hissed at Beans last time and backed Whiskey up while she drove her off (she’s much smaller and less tough than Beans is), and I think Whiskey’s bringing me protection mousies so I’ll keep it up. Her brother Reno chased her into the yurt last week too, and I hissed at him and actually smacked him with a towel so he’d leave her alone. (Also it was four in the morning so he was not on my good side.)

Poor tinycat Whiskey just needs a safe space. I’d rather she bribe me than pee on my bed, which is what she did to the vegetable manager when Beans was harassing her in his apartment… 
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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The granary, next to the house, is a 2-storey structure of similar age to the house (1820s). The second storey is basically wholly unchanged from its original settup, and the intact slate roof means the floor is basically flawless. Dad fixed the windows this spring. It’s currently serving as a living room for the apprentices on oe side, and sewing machines and dried flower paradise on the other. So the photos are of the sewing machines (both mine, a 40s singer knockoff I’m using to quilt yurt insulation, and a brand-new Brother embroidery machine I’m using to make patches), the loft door, and some of the drying flowers. (at Laughing Earth)
marthawells: (Atlantis)
[personal profile] marthawells



Now that the cover (by Jaime Jones) has been revealed, more preorder links are available. (I really, really appreciate preorders, wherever you shop, not just the links here.)


Note: Artificial Condition is a novella, around 160 pages. It's a direct sequel to All Systems Red and begins not long after that novella ends.


Description: It has a dark past -- one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself "Murderbot." But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don't want to know what the "A" stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks...

Available at:
Barnes & Noble, Amazon US and all other Amazons, Mysterious Galaxy, BooksaMillion, Book Depository, and from a local independent bookseller through Indiebound.

ebook (DRM-free): Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada, Kindle France, Kindle Germany, Kindle Spain, and all other Kindle retailers.




Excerpt:


SECUNITS DON'T CARE ABOUT the news. Even after I hacked my governor module and got access to the feeds, I never paid much attention to it. Partly because downloading the entertainment media was less likely to trigger any alarms that might be set up on satellite and station networks; political and economic news was carried on different levels, closer to the protected data exchanges. But mostly because the news was boring and I didn't care what humans were doing to each other as long as I didn't have to a) stop it or b) clean up after it.

more )
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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Whiskey, you don’t have to pay rent. Really. #yurtlife #catsofinstagram #deadrodent
[personal profile] dragonlady7
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newboy-bigworld:

destinyrush:

Yes! Let them know ✊🏾

REBLOG THE FUCK OUT OF THIS!!!!!

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