ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
"The Sharpest Dose of Reality" is now open for microfunding. Pain's Gray and Shiv are going to play together!  Won't this be fun?

Prompt for 2016-12-09

Dec. 9th, 2016 11:50 am[personal profile] sacredporn posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
sacredporn: Kris Allen icon made by Sacred Porn (Default)
Today's prompt is "the one thing that I can never tell you about".

[ SECRET POST #3627 ]

Dec. 8th, 2016 07:01 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #3627 ⌋

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

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 08 secrets from Secret Submission Post #518.
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.
copperbadge: (Default)
I’m not talking about bad service or food poisoning or poor ambience, I’m not talking the worst KIND of food, I’m talking straight up the worst-tasting single meal you’ve ever put in your mouth and then kept eating.

I’ll start: New Orleans airport, 2015, a Subway meatball sandwich. I can’t even describe to you how terrible it was, there was no single identifiable part that was awful, it was simply a sack of dreadful from the gummy bread to the cold meatballs. Especially since the previous evening I’d eaten amazing boudin at one of the nicest restaurants in the French Quarter. But I was so hungry and my flight was delayed but “boarding any minute” so I couldn’t leave my gate.

IT WAS ALL I HAD. THE SUNCHIPS COULD NOT SAVE ME.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2gHbTYL
via IFTTT

(no subject)

Dec. 8th, 2016 10:18 pm[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Dancing again today. I couldn't quite concentrate. Also sometimes felt a bit like on remote control. Boo. I usually like dancing. But I didn't crunch anyone today so I still winning.

I was thinking what dance Mick Rory might get into.

Maybe morris? Big blokes, beer, and big sticks. Plus I found some on youtube calling itself a fire dance, but since they were just wearing black and orange tatter coats rather than actually on fire he may find that disappoint.


ASDA had only 3/12 the five alive I wanted, Sainsburys hadn't got my apple pastry though they did apologise plenty good, and they don't sell some of the first aid stuff I was look for neither. Also I forgot my penguin bag because driver was ten minute early so I didn't get all the freezer things neither. not a very successful.

but i'm home safe so that's okay.

Birdfeeding

Dec. 8th, 2016 04:04 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today when I went out to feed the birds, I startled a great-horned owl from his perch, and got to watch him glide around the edge of the yard.  :D  

There were sparrows swarming the suet feeder this morning.  Yesterday, I saw the first downy woodpecker on there.

The weather has turned frigid.  Remaining green leaves on plants are crunchy underfoot.  Apparently there's a polar vortex.  O_O 

8. Smartphones

Dec. 8th, 2016 08:25 pm[personal profile] moem
moem: A computer drawing that looks like me. (Default)
I'm about the least logical person to write about this, because I do not own a smartphone. But someone has to do it, so I'll go ahead and do it. I'll be doing research as I go along, and cite my sources for you to peruse if you want to. As always, keep in mind that corrections and additions are welcomed.

So. Smartphones. Almost everyone in the industrialized world now carries one of these palm-sized computers with them. And they are a great way to keep track of people. It's a lot like Orwell's vision of the surveillance state of the future, with one big difference: we don't have to be forced to wear a tracking device. We do it by ourselves, because it's convenient and fun and offers a lot of options that we really want. Here's what your smartphone can reveal about you.


What kind of information is being collected? By who?

Your telecom provider is, at the very least, keeping tabs on the following:
  • Incoming and outgoing calls: the phone numbers you call, the numbers that you receive calls from, and the duration of the call;
  • Incoming and outgoing text messages: the phone numbers you send texts to and receive texts from;
  • How often you check your e-mail or access the Internet;
  • Your location.
Not all providers keep your data for the same amount of time. Check this article. Oh, and if you're not excited about the Trump presidency, T-Mobile may not be your provider of choice.
Other parties who may be privvy to your information:
  • Retailers can nowadays follow you through cameras, using face recognition, and combine that information with the MAC address of your smartphone which can, in many cases, be linked to a specific individual. The difference between Bluetooth-tracking beacons and Wi-Fi tracking systems is that the modern smartphone leaves Wi-Fi on, even when manually switched off for data connectivity, as a way of pinpointing its location. Source.
  • If you're using the Facebook app, Facebook has access to:
    • Your contacts, including modification and adding or changing calendar events. They know who is in your phone and can contact them.
    • Your exact location. They know where you are at any time.
    • Your camera, including taking pictures and videos at any time, as well as recording from the microphone. They can get at anything you’re saying or looking at.
    • Your text messages, your calls, and can call phone numbers. They can see who you’ve contacted recently.
    • Your internal storage, including permission to delete anything. They can see the files on your phone.
    • Full Internet access anytime, changing your wallpaper, opening up over other apps, and downloading files. They can make little tweaks without your knowledge.
    • When posting a status, the app can determine what song you’re listening to or what TV show is on in the background, and tag your status with this information. Source.
  • Many different apps send location information and other data to third parties. That includes things like games and flashlight apps.
  • If you're using Chrome as your mobile browser, Google has access to your browser history, open tabs, passwords and more.

Apps


Apps are what makes a smartphone a smartphone: it can run software, programs, applications, in one word: apps. These apps need permissions to do things; a browser, for example, needs permission to use the internet. Permissions are the only layer of defense between your phone and an app. If an application has malicious intent, all you have to do is allow it on your phone with invasive permissions to create problems.
Never give permissions to an app without at least reading what they are, and thinking about what that means. Try to understand the permissions required by the app: is there some legitimate reason or is something malicious happening in the background? To give an example, a calculator or torchlight application shouldn’t be requesting access to your contacts. Likewise, many applications shouldn’t be requesting your GPS location: it could potentially give away when you’re not currently at home (useful information for anyone breaking into your house). If you’re not comfortable with the permissions being requested, it’s always best to cancel the installation. Source.
Here's a guide for Android. Here's one for iPhone.


The risks of free WiFi


Using public WiFi isn't unlike having a conversation in a public place: Others can overhear you. If you don't take precautions, information your devices send over a public WiFi network goes out in clear text — and anyone else on the network could easily take a look at what you're doing with just a few simple software tools.
Someone spying could easily pick up your passwords or other private information. If you use the same password on multiple sites, that could be a big problem. (But you should not be doing that anyway.)
The next potential problem is what is called a honeypot. Thieves might set up their own WiFi hotspot with an unassuming name like "Public WiFi" to tempt you to connect so they can grab up any data you send. These are easy to set up without any kind of special equipment — it could be done just using a laptop or smartphone — so you could run into them anywhere.
Finally, using public WiFi puts you at risk for session hijacking, in which a malicious hacker who's monitoring your WiFi traffic attempts to take over an open session you have with an online service (like a social media site or an email client) by stealing the browser cookies the service uses to recognize who you are. Once hackers have that cookie, they can pretend to be you on these sites or even find your login and password information stored inside the cookie. Source.

When you're using a public WiFi:
  • Make sure you know that you are connecting to the right WiFi hotspot and not one that has a similar or generic-sounding name. And read the terms and conditions.
  • Check that you are using HTTPS by looking at the URL of the site you are connecting to. Also check the spelling of the URL itself.
  • it’s better to use a mobile browser than an app, because browsers are more fussy when it comes to checking and verifying these HTTPS connections. Essentially, apps can be accepting bogus security credentials without your knowledge, and that’s a problem if you’re doing something important like online banking or buying stuff online. Source.
  • Use a VPN if possible. More about that later.
  • Use two-factor authentication wherever possible.
  • If you want to be extra careful, avoid doing anything over public WiFi that needs you to enter a password.

Avoid the Facebook app


From a viewpoint of privacy, Facebook is one of the worst offenders. The Facebook app, doubly so. So if you cannot live without Facebook, at least don't use it through the app; instead, view it inside your browser of choice. Or for a nice compromise: use a wrapper app like Tinfoil or Metal (Android).


Messenger apps


Whatsapp is a very popular messenger app for smartphones. The good news is that it's lately been made to use encryption; the bad news is that it's owned by Facebook, who of course still gets the metadata (who are you talking to, when and how often?)
A good alternative that's been getting a lot of attention is Signal. And another good option is Telegram. Both of these offer encryption and are free, as well as ad-free!


Going off-grid


If it makes you uncomfortable to be tracked so closely all the time, go off-grid now and then. It's a good idea to switch your smartphone off when you're not using it; unfortunately, that's not always enough anymore. Modern smartphones never turn off completely and you can't always take the battery out anymore, either. A good way to cut off all information to and from the device is to put inside a signal blocking pouch! Complete how-to here.

It's also a smart option to split your phone use off from your smartphone use. You could get an old-fashioned 'dumbphone' and use that to make calls, while reserving your smartphone for browsing on the go. Compartimentalization again. Non-smartphones are often sold as prepaid phones in bigger electrinics stores; make sure you are getting a simlockfree phone.



Go back to the index of Cybersecurity for the Trumped.
Back to Index

Loose-leaf Links #31

Dec. 9th, 2016 08:00 am[personal profile] calissa
calissa: A black and white photo of a large, dark teapot and a small Chinese teacup with a fish painted on the side (Tea)

Loose-leaf Links, Earl Grey Editing, loose leaf tea, Daintree chai, Daintree, Daintree tea, tea, The Tea Chest

Loose-leaf Links is a feature where I gather together the interesting bits and pieces on sci-fi and fantasy I’ve come across and share them with you over tea. Today’s tea is Daintree Chai, the signature blend of The Tea Chest. It contains star anise (among other ingredients) which gives it a strong aniseed flavour.

Awards News ) Community and Conventions ) On Equity ) For Writers ) For Readers )

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline and [personal profile] technoshaman are looking to microfund "The Sharpest Dose of Reality" and hope to find more cosponsors for it. If you have not yet decided what you want to sponsor this time, give it a thought. This is hardcore hurt/comfort kink involving superpowers, the likes of which you will not find in the mainstream. ;)

"The Sharpest Dose of Reality"
Your Shiv prompt inspired the free-verse poem "The Sharpest Dose of Reality." Shiv meets Pain's Gray, and they get in over their heads during a sparring match. Fortunately Pain's Gray knows how to get out of it. The result is mindblowing.
732 lines, Buy It Now = $366

One bright spot about getting stuck
with office work for several months
was the way it introduced Shiv to
a lot more of Boss White's allies.

"Shiv, this is Pain's Gray,"
said Boss White, waving a hand
at the slender man in the chair. "He's
on loan from a friend up in Motor City,
to help with sparring practice. I'd like
you to show him around, and take him
to the gym so he knows the way."

weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
The old magnolia tree by the driveway has lots and lots of buds. Meanwhile the great gingko trees are tossing off a rain of yellow leaves.

D.O.P.-T. (Monday)

Dec. 8th, 2016 12:12 pm[personal profile] weofodthignen
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
The housemate has been going through old catalogs and other mail and we've filled the paper side of our recycling cart for the second week in a row. Unfortunately I've been too much of a lump to also bale up cardboard boxes to prop up next to it, so they will have to continue piling up in the garage.

D.O.P.-T. (Sunday)

Dec. 8th, 2016 12:09 pm[personal profile] weofodthignen
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
At the supermarket, the cashier in the next line was calmly wearing Mickey Mouse ears with an Xmas tree between them, sticking up on top of her head. What will she do when it's actually Yuletide.
thnidu: warning symbol, black exclamation mark in yellow triangle (warning)
Target Reannounces Recall of Menorahs Due to Fire Hazard
Recall date: December 6, 2016
Recall number: 17-045

Recall Summary
Name of product: Menorahs
Hazard: The menorahs can melt when the candles are burning, posing a fire hazard.
Remedy: Refund
Consumer Contact )
Description:
This recall involves clear acrylic Hanukkah menorahs in a pyramid design that are 10.5 inches long, 1.2 inches wide and 2.3 inches high. Model number 240-14-0169 and bar code can be found on a round white label on the side of the menorah.

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received eight reports of the product melting, including three reports of fire. No property damage or injuries have been reported.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled menorahs and return them to Target for a full refund.

Sold Exclusively At: Target stores nationwide from October 2015 through December 2015 for about $20.
Importer(s): Target Corp., of Minneapolis
Manufactured In: China

For Americans living overseas...

Dec. 8th, 2016 07:06 pm[personal profile] tanaqui posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
tanaqui: Illumiinated letter T (Default)
If you're an American living overseas, you should check out Democrats Abroad, the official Democratic Party arm for the millions of Americans living outside the United States.

You can find out about volunteering opportunities, while they're running a weekly Congressional Call Storm with a useful script for what to say if you're calling from outside the US.

November 2016 Newsletter, Volume 108

Dec. 8th, 2016 10:29 am[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
otw_staff: 'Comms' and 'Janita' written beneath the OTW logo (Janita)
Banner by caitie of a newspaper with the name and logos of the OTW and its projects on the pages




A month of collaboration, with a new server to set up, new imports to AO3, and lots of new staffers at the OTW! https://goo.gl/VrHBxC
theferrett: (Meazel)

I don’t know how many people will attend in the Christmas rush – but if you’re in the Cleveland area this Saturday and feel like watching Julie Andrews in heart-swooningly close detail on our Ultra 4k television, we are hosting the sing-a-long this Saturday afternoon.

Details are on Facebook, or just email me to ask me what’s up!

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

(no subject)

Dec. 8th, 2016 10:52 am[personal profile] melannen
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
Hi!

I am on the tail end of what was apparently an extremely extended case of salmonella poisoning. Fun. I had just enough cope to make it through work every day and then go home and get slept on by a cat, so I basically missed the entire month of November.

The timing of it has also given me a conditioned nausea response to mention of certain current events (altho tbf that might not be entirely the salmonella's fault) so I went mostly internet cold turkey and will probably be less around on social media for awhile yet, at least until my digestive tract and I trust each other enough to start taking risks. Right now I am just aspiring to be able to make the yuletide deadline.

I have been catching up on my fiction reading, though, so if you want proof that I'm alive I am updating Goodreads.
theferrett: (Meazel)

My Uncle Tommy did volunteer work in Greenwich Village back in the early 1980s, when I was a teenager. He brought me along to help, which made me feel very grown up; I was eleven, and yet here I was stamping envelopes, doing data entry, working in an office.

I loved my co-workers.

They were all really funny guys, flamboyant, and they treated me like a grownup – which was to say they made jokes I didn’t get, and didn’t footnote. After the volunteering shift we’d all go out to a bar, and they’d sneak me into the corner – very grown up – and they’d drink beers and tell theatrical stories while my uncle gave me a roll of quarters and I played Donkey Kong Junior.

I loved them. They were bold, unashamed of their lisps – which was critical to a kid who’d been to vocal therapy to lower his squeaky voice – and they all dressed super-well.

I did not realize they were probably gay until I was almost thirty. That’s when someone said, “Man, the AIDS epidemic totally destroyed the gays in Greenwich Village,” and I thought, “Man, I hope all of my Uncle’s old buddies from Greenwich Village are okay WAIT WHAT”

I had all the pieces. But nobody had specifically called them gay. And I didn’t think that I was the sort of kid who hung around with gay dudes while I was eleven, so even though I had all these facts – a pretty much all-male volunteer squad in Greenwich Village, the stereotypical gay voice, flamboyance, great dressers all – they never coalesced into “Teenaged Ferrett hung around with gay dudes.”

(I called up my Uncle Tommy to confirm they were gay. They were. My Uncle was not, but he apparently did very well with the few women who volunteered with the organization.)

Yet that’s how life happens sometimes: you can have all the pieces, and not put them together because nobody gave you the word. I’ve had friends who took years to realize their Grampaw wasn’t allowed to be alone with them because he was a pederast. I’ve known folks who didn’t realize their parents were swingers despite copious evidence because it never occurred to them their parents could be swingers.

Sometimes you can be bathed in evidence of a plain fact and not recognize it because you don’t believe you’re the sort of person that fact applies to. I was just an ordinary kid from the suburbs, and at the time “gay people” were this wild minority – I didn’t think of myself as the sort of kid who had wild adventures with Greenwich Village Queens, let alone of myself as the sort of kid who’d idolize them. Likewise, my friends had ordinary childhoods with loving parents and the concept that their mom and dad were those swinger people just didn’t fit the mold.

You can have all these pieces lying about, unassembled. Until someone gives you a name. Until someone tells you that yes, you are that sort of person, you just didn’t think of yourself as that person until now.

So.

Does anyone who had a good upbringing think of themselves as “the sort of person who gets raped”?

I see people confused by delayed accusations: Yes, they were raped, but how could it take them time to recognize what happened to them? And much like my gay buddies as a kid, they had all the evidence but it didn’t seem, somehow, to apply to them. This wasn’t a Hollywood rape where a stranger barged into their house – this was a friend, someone they loved, and maybe they said very nice and kind things before and after the assault. Maybe they still like their rapist, or want to like them.

They had all these pieces of evidence – mainly, the fact that they didn’t want to have sex, and yet someone did things to them against their will – but that doesn’t make sense because they’re not the sort of person who’s a rape victim, and they feel terrible a lot but this hasn’t destroyed every last happiness in their life like everyone tells them it should, and so they know something bad has happened but that word “rape” doesn’t seem to apply because they’re not that sort of person.

Until all the evidences finally click into place and they realize that, sadly, they are.

Which is not to say that every person who gets raped is unaware; some are. The most toxic misunderstanding of rape is that there can be only one “accepted” reaction to it, and anything else indicates that the rape didn’t really take place.

Alas, people have all sorts of different reactions to life-changing trauma; look at any funeral, where some people withdraw into silence, and others need all their friends to party with them, and still others need to vent angrily about the injustice. There’s no singular script to grief, which means there’s no “right” way to do it.

But some rape victims get slammed by people because they should have known what happened right away. “Why didn’t they know?” And the answer is, for those people, that their vision of themselves did not encapsulate the sad concept of “I can get raped,” and as such they had all of these pieces of evidence lying around unassembled, waiting for that one key that would tie them all together.

It could be argued that they should have known. And they probably would have known, if it was someone else this happened to. But some times you’re blind to the events of your life simply because the evidence contradicts who you think you know who you are, and waking up to the person you actually are takes some time.

Especially when that person isn’t someone you ultimately want to identify yourself as.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

Prompt for 2016-12-08

Dec. 8th, 2016 10:58 pm[personal profile] sacredporn posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
sacredporn: Kris Allen icon made by Sacred Porn (Default)
Today's prompt is "the two of us".

new year's

Dec. 8th, 2016 02:40 am[personal profile] synecdochic
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
I keep forgetting to mention -- we will not be holding New Year's Eve at chez Faultless Pajama this year, because we will be out of the country! (It's a birthday year that ends in 0 for me, so we're taking a big trip: 3 days in Hong Kong, 14 days cruising through southeast Asia, 2 days in Singapore.) The best prices were over Christmas/New Year's and not over my birthday week, weirdly enough, so we're leaving next week. (OMG I am so excite.)

We plan on bidding 2016 good riddance somewhere far away from here, but will be back hosting again next year. :)

The Next Day

Dec. 7th, 2016 11:38 pm[personal profile] kshandra
kshandra: Cartoon: Garfield face-down in his cat bed, a single Z in a word balloon over his head (Z)
It did not surprise me in the least to wake up this morning showing signs of a depressive episode, despite being at therapeutic levels with my meds. A death in the family will do that to a person.

I was NOT, however, expecting to come home from work and sleep for almost four hours. ([personal profile] gridlore was surprised I woke up at all...)

Now to see if I can get myself BACK to sleep, so as not to completely mess myself up before a solo day in the office tomorrow.
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
Star Wars was a war story for my generation. Sanitized, by and large divorced from bloody death scenes, the battles implied plenty of sterile deaths. The focus in the space battles was on the overall danger of the rebels' mission, or the risk of the Millennium Falcon being captured or recaptured, rather than on specific, immediate threats to individuals-- until the climax of the film, when Luke and Darth Vader engage in a dogfight.

In 2016, there's another Star Wars movie out, tailored to the next generation(s) of fans.
Read more... )

Ambiguous fruit

Dec. 8th, 2016 02:10 am[personal profile] thnidu
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)



They're pomelos when you eat them.
They're pummelos when you throw them at each other.

Not worthy?

Dec. 7th, 2016 09:38 pm[personal profile] azurelunatic
azurelunatic: We're about to set a weirdness baseline the likes of which the planet has never seen.  (weirdness baseline)
Poll #17774 Proving a point to someone
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 31

On the worthiness of partners (this would be my primary partner, who I started seeing *formally and officially* in September)

They are worthy of dating Azz
13 (41.9%)

They are not worthy of dating Azz, sorry
0 (0.0%)

I don't know one or both of these parties well enough to answer this
16 (51.6%)

My response to this cannot be summed up in a radio button, and I should comment
2 (6.5%)

And furthermore!

They make Azz happy
24 (77.4%)

Azz makes them happy
11 (35.5%)

Their ex is a screaming toolbag
13 (41.9%)

I'm just glad nobody's in serious denial anymore
9 (29.0%)

I'm just glad nobody's cheating on anybody anymore
9 (29.0%)

What about Darkside, though?
0 (0.0%)

What about Purple, though?
2 (6.5%)

What about sithjawa, though?
0 (0.0%)

What about [attractive denizen of a certain continent], though?
1 (3.2%)

Let's hear it for polyamory
22 (71.0%)

At last, someone with a strong enough Weirdness Field to date Azz!
6 (19.4%)

At last, someone with a strong enough Weirdness Field to date this person!
3 (9.7%)

It's disconcerting the way Azz is around much less on the public internet
10 (32.3%)

Fuck cancer forever
29 (93.5%)

Nobody is allowed to marry anybody (until at least 2020)
3 (9.7%)

Why does Azz have to move to the Pacific Northwest, though?
3 (9.7%)

Teleporter!!!
20 (64.5%)

Tickybox
20 (64.5%)

Cold-Forged Flame

Dec. 7th, 2016 11:37 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: Avatar: The Last Airbender: "fight like a girl" (A:tLA fight like a girl)
Marie Brennan's Cold-Forged Flame is one of those novellas-printed-as-a-book that are happening these days, a trend I generally approve of on the grounds that I am a slow reader and I actively seek out skinny books. In this case, however, I feel that the story would have been better served written as a full-fledged novel, or anyway a longer novella.

In Cold-Forged Flame, a woman warrior is summoned to retrieve the blood of a mysterious being called the Lhian. Complications: she has no memory of who she was. She has no choice but to carry out this quest (I read it as a geas, although it's not called that in the book). Her summoners claim that her amnesia will protect her from coming to further harm from the Lhian, and that explanations will only put her at risk. Left with no choice, she goes to confront the Lhian.

Normally amnesiac protagonists are one of my narrative kinks. What I discovered, though, is that it's not just amnesia that makes them so appealing to me. I either want angst--lots and lots and lots of angst--or I want wisecracking. There are undoubtedly examples of angsty amnesia beyond counting. As for wisecracking, the main example I can think of here is Corwin from Roger Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber, and the Amber series had the additional advantage of such a colorful, epic setting and characters that even in the space of the first volume I found myself entranced. If your taste in amnesiac protagonists doesn't come hedged about with weird modifiers the way mine does, though, this may work better for you.

Brennan's prose is taut and vivid, and there are some interesting characters sketched here, but that's half the problem--they felt like sketches. I felt strongly that this was a consequence of the story's chosen length. I would have loved to learn more about the protagonist's nature, some of which comes clear through the course of the story, and the man she encounters and the revolution he wants to spark. But we are only given fragments, and not enough meat on the bone (if I may mix my metaphors). I am given to understand that there will be a sequel, but I would much rather have gotten a work more complete in itself.

There are some intriguing hints about the nature of myth, storytelling, and archetype, but I couldn't help but feel that Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood did it better, if from a different direction; or perhaps, if you're willing to approach the idea from yet another angle still, Simon R. Green's Once in a Blue Moon. (Unfortunately, while I loved the Green, it's the fifth and last book in the Forest Kingdom series, with a side trip through the additional six-book Hawk and Fisher series, so it's not going to make a lick of sense without all of that as background.)

The other thing that made this book a hard sell to me was no fault of the book's, which is that I the vibe I got off the magic was partly Faerie (I think Brennan has said that some of the ideas were inspired by the White Wolf Changeling RPG) and I am a hard sell on Faerie stories with the exception of "Tam Lin." ("Tam Lin" gets grandfathered in because I imprinted as a child on Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard. I am so sad that the one "Tam Lin"-based novel I read this year was botched.) So if this is your sort of thing, it may well please you. But the subject material doesn't inherently interest me.

I wanted to like this more, but I don't think this was my cuppa. Perhaps another time?
umadoshi: (kittens - Jinksy - looking up)
PSA: 2017 sign-ups are open at [dreamwidth.org profile] inkingitout.

Today was a perfectly good, unexciting day. Nothing went particularly wrong, but nothing went as planned, either. It included things like not getting any work done (>.<), although I dealt with other things that needed doing, and my mother-in-law stopped by to give us a small applesauce cake and visit me and the cats briefly ([dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose was still at work).

In the late afternoon/early evening, Jinksy settled in for a long nap on my lap just when I'd been aiming to finally get to work, and since my deadline's a week off, I was easily persuaded. (I tweeted a few photos as he adjusted position periodically. [I took far more than I tweeted.])

Tonight I decided to finally try using a to-do app, and went with Wunderlist because a) it was already on my phone (I think I installed it on my first smartphone at someone's recommendation and never used it, but then automatically ported it over to the newer phone) and b) it has great ratings on the Google Play, although I see it has some close competition in the ratings department. So we'll see how that goes.
dira: Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Default)
Books:

I just finished Penric and the Shaman, so Penric’s Mission is up next! I am also “in the middle” of several things in that I have not yet accepted that I am never going to finish them so they are still in the “currently reading” category on Goodreads, but I am thinking that the New Year will probably be a good time to make a clean sweep of those.

I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I am not going to finish the Read Harder Challenge. Maybe next year? 2017 is bound to be… not 2016, right? *knocks wood*

Books finished:

Penric and the Shaman (http://ift.tt/2h8fXVF) by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is the second in the series, after Penric’s Demon, and, oh man. <3 <3 <3 There are THE BEST DOGS and also I burst into tears at the climax and also an excellent line about the Son of Autumn and who belongs to him. <3 <3 <3

Ice Planet Barbarians (http://ift.tt/2d3me07) & 

Barbarian Alien (http://ift.tt/2h8hr1P) by Ruby Dixon

I KNOW I KNOW BUT THEY’RE ACTUALLY KINDA… GOOD? AWESOME??

These are the first two of 11 or so books, following the fate of a dozen young women abducted by aliens from all over the US (and one from Canada) and whisked off to space to be… sold, probably. Six of them are put in cryostasis by the aliens, but several more are packed into a cage in a cargo hold, aware of their fate and abused by their guards. In Book 1, Ice Planet Barbarians, our heroine is Georgie, who takes the lead on a plan to fight back, which… kind of succeeds, in that Georgie bludgeons an alien guard to death. Unfortunately, they can’t go on to take over the ship because they’ve been jettisoned from it, abandoned on a harsh ice planet in the jammies they were wearing when the aliens abducted them from their beds. 

And that, obviously, is when Georgie strikes out to scout for food/shelter/help and meets a seven-foot tall blue alien dude who realizes instantly that she is his perfect match for making babies with! :D :D :D 

(No seriously though they’re ACTUALLY GOOD? AND KINDA ADDICTIVE?? TW for rape & multiple deaths in the first book though.)

Fics:

I have ten fic tabs open, including “The True Repairman Will Repair Man” (http://ift.tt/2bx2oJI) which is on part 16/? and needs a reread, as the Plot Is Thickening. :D

Fics finished:

(A sampling of stuff I’ve bookmarked recently–you can see all my bookmarks at http://ift.tt/2bFC4A9)

Something Like This by @emmagrant01 (http://ift.tt/1oHy0BG) Check, Please! Jack/Bitty, Parse/OMC. Complete, as of today, at 280k. <3________<3 If you need a huge long immersive Jack-and-Bitty-getting-together story, complete with Parse also finding true love along the way, HERE IT IS. AU before Jack and Bitty got together in canon, and featuring a demisexual Jack, which was catnip to me. Gorgeous. 

Weary World Rejoicing by @annakovsky (http://ift.tt/2gd0a3f) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, post-”The Gift” apocalypse AU. This fic is just about 13 years old, but I think of it every time I hear “O Holy Night” and this year I actually went and reread it. Oh, everyone. (Then I read the sequel for, I think, the very first time, and OH EVERYONE ;______; and also I spent many confused minutes afterward pawing through the Wikipedia article on the Fisher King, hoping to make things make sense. Which, ha ha, why would a grail legend make sense of anything ever.)

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2h8qyzB
via IFTTT

Misc. linkspam (19 links)

Dec. 8th, 2016 12:54 am[personal profile] umadoshi
umadoshi: (Tutu/ItW "charm for a prince" (bookelfe))
"Bright threads in the tapestry: on the 2016 Tiptree Fellowship". [[twitter.com profile] likhain (Mia Sereno)'s post on being awarded the Tiptree Fellowship]

"Google, democracy and the truth about internet search". [The Guardian] This is rather terrifying.

"Touching Photos Show Protesters Celebrating After Dakota Access Pipeline Victory". [Buzzfeed]

"Forget Coffins! This Company Will Swirl You Into Beautiful Glass Creations When You Die".

"It's not your grandma's Book of the Month Club". (*side-eyes the headline writer*)

"Can You Figure Out the Mystery Inside This Remarkable Ad About High School Love?" (Speaking of headline styles that should be retired. And possibly incinerated first.)

"We went to Victoria's Secret and saw why it's a disgrace to ALL women".

From the same blog, and linked from the above article, "I tried the bras that Kate Middleton wears — and here's why I'm hooked". Fun read with what sounds to my (BEYOND AMATEUR ear) like solid bra-fitting advice, plus a truly remarkable bit of info for wearing white shirts.

"This artist reimagined Disney princesses as badass tattoo queens".

"Christmas Ghost Stories: A Spooky Festive Tradition". (Includes many links.)

"Around the World in Eighty Cokes: Touring the World of Coca-Cola". [Lucky Peach]

"A visual compendium of glowing creatures". [2014]

"In the Deep, Clues to How Life Makes Light".

"Our Fairy Tales Ourselves: Storytelling From East to West: Marie Mutsuki Mockett on What a Story Can Be". [LitHub, January 2016]

"How the largest mass-blinding in Canadian history birthed CNIB: The Halifax Explosion taught Canada important lessons on living with blindness". [CBC]

"The Bay Is Now Selling The Most Badass 3 Piece Christmas Suits For $129".

"Celebrity 'READ' Posters Of The 80s and 90s". [Book Riot]

"16 Floor-to-Ceiling Bookshelves That Will Make Your Jaw Drop". [slideshow]

"History of 'Happy Holidays'".
annathepiper: (Thinking)

My colleagues over in NIWA are having a discussion about trigger warnings on our Facebook group tonight. I’ve added a little bit to that discussion at the level I thought appropriate, and would now like to come over here into my own space to go into a bit more detail about my stance on the idea in general.

I have seen a lot of sturm and drang about what trigger warnings actually are and what purpose they serve. There are a lot of folks out there who have negative opinions about them, but I don’t want to get into that; I already got into that in 2015, and do not need to do so again. The point of this post is to just talk about what I believe trigger warnings to be and what purpose I find them to serve.

There are two ways I can talk about this: as a reader, and as a writer.

As a reader, there are certain things that cause me to actually appreciate a thoughtfully worded trigger warning. For example, anything warning about sexual violence as a plot point. Due to my own history and that of more than one of my loved ones, the vast majority of the time, I’m really not going to want to engage with any story that involves sexual violence.

I would be overstating the matter to claim that such a story would trigger me; it probably wouldn’t, not in the way that I understand that word to be used when people talk about being triggered by things. But at the same time, I want to know before I actually start to engage with a story if there’s going to be rape involved or any other kind of sexual abuse–because if there are other aspects to that story that might counterbalance that and make me want to engage with it anyway, I want to be able to factor that in when I’m making my decision about whether to read or view that story.

Here’s a specific example. While I’m a big Marvel fangirl and have happily watched all the various Marvel movies, both seasons of Daredevil, and some of Luke Cage, I have specifically avoided watching Jessica Jones on the general grounds that I know that story’s about a woman dealing with having been sexually abused. And while I rationally understand that it’s a very powerful story and that in fact David Tennant by all reports does a brilliant job of portraying the bad guy, I also know that I would really not enjoy being a viewer of that story.

Again, it would be overstating the matter to say that it would actively trigger me, and I don’t want to disrespect the term by claiming it would. But I also will not dismiss my own less potent reactions. I know I wouldn’t want to engage with that specific story, so I won’t.

Also, let me emphasize that if I know a story has sexual violence in it beforehand, this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not going to engage with that story at all. What it does mean is that I’ll probably go to greater lengths to find out whether it has other aspects to it that might counterbalance my distaste for that kind of plot and make me want to take that story in anyway. In the case of Jessica Jones, I read several reviews and recaps of episodes just to see whether the plot sounded like something I could deal with anyway, and to get a sense of what the fandom felt about the material over all.

With a book, I’d do much the same. If I’m looking up a book on Goodreads and I see a mention in the reviews on it that there’s sexual violence in the story, if there are other things about that book I may want to engage with anyway, I’ll take greater care before deciding whether I want to buy it. I might check it out from the library instead. And I’d go over the reviews for it in more detail, just to see what people have to say about it.

In short, a thoughtfully written trigger warning about sexual violence in a story is something I feel would let me make an informed decision about whether I want to deal with a particular story. And the key phrase here is “informed decision”.

I also don’t feel as though a trigger warning about some other thing (e.g., graphic non-sexual violence, e.g. a car crash, or whatever) would annoy me. The presence of a trigger warning on a story in general is not going to make me specifically not want to read it. It’d be a neutral piece of information for me, one that would not be immediately relevant to my own decision about whether to engage with a story. But I am totally fine with it being there for someone else to make that same informed decision.

Now let me talk about this as a writer.

To date, I haven’t written anything that I feel really warrants a trigger warning. As you might guess from the first part of this post, it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll ever write sexual violence into one of my plots. I’m not saying I never will, if a story presented itself that legitimately required it, but the bar for that story to clear would be very, very high. (In fact, as a younger writer, I actually tried working a rape plot into a draft of one of my earliest novels. It… did not work. And that’s a decision I do not feel I would make lightly now that I’m an older and more experienced writer.)

If I were to write something that would warrant it, though, I’d be thinking about how to present a trigger warning in a thoughtful way. I don’t feel like I’d make it hugely complicated or blatant–just a little note at the beginning of a story, to alert potential readers that “hey, this story has potentially sensitive items X, Y, and Z in it”. I also don’t feel like it’d be appropriate to go into too much detail, because spoilers are not a thing I want to throw out willy-nilly, but I could see myself inviting readers who do in fact need to know more to contact me directly.

Because really, at the end of the day, it’s all about that aforementioned informed decision. It might cost me a reader, who might say “well shit, I guess that story isn’t for me”. But on the other hand, it might also gain me a reader, who might say “oh dear, well, this one bit of the story sounds like it’ll be a problem, but I like these other bits so I want to read it anyway, and by the way, Anna, thank you for actually warning me in advance”.

‘Cause really, sticking a trigger warning on a story is going to cost me at most a few sentences worth of effort. Which, if you’re a writer writing a 100,000 word novel, really isn’t that much effort at all.

And if it happens to make a potential reader’s life a little easier, I certainly can’t see the harm in that.

Given the world we live in, I think we need all the little gestures of compassion we can get.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Adj + Noun Gratitudes

Dec. 7th, 2016 06:09 pm[personal profile] alatefeline
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Plush octopus.

Fixed car.

Homemade bread.

Hot drinks.

Sunny cold.

Cozy radiator.
thnidu: rotating snarky comments on common misspellings. got it from lj:snobahr (spelling)
Subject: Erratum (typo really, but funny)

Re your story "A former Oxford English Dictionary editor explains the word 'pom'":

I'm pretty sure John Simpson did NOT say

“We analyse words. We look at them as scientists — how old they are, which part of the word they're used in, why they change senses at particular times."

Yours truly,
$THNIDU

[ SECRET POST #3626 ]

Dec. 7th, 2016 06:45 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #3626 ⌋

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

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 15 secrets from Secret Submission Post #518.
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.

For 2017

Dec. 7th, 2016 05:35 pm[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Don't often tick the Other/Genderqueer/Non-Binary box in my site's review gender fields. Can change that. What authors should I consider?

[added later]

I am also not exactly inclusive where trans people are concerned, so would not mind suggestions.

This may be useful.

https://twitter.com/trans_lit

Oh Dear

Dec. 7th, 2016 05:30 pm[personal profile] jjhunter
jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (Default)
I'm generally very facile with numbers. Unfortunate degree of utter exhaustion unlocked today: it took me four tries to punch in my conference code correctly for a call I was leading at work.

(Granted, I'd gotten through a full day's work beforehand, including some moderately complex data merging and a number of fiddlely coordinating to-do's in preparation for the call, and the call itself went fine, but that was an unnerving degree of short term memory scrambling - I had it written right in front of me in digit batches of 4-4-2.)
ysabetwordsmith: Sheba with parrot wings (fledgling grace)
This poem came out of the December 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] redsixwing. It also fills the "angels" square in my 7-1-16 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo. This poem belongs to the series Fledgling Grace.


"Valley of the Shadow"


The lost souls huddle in
the shadow of the forest,
frightened of the valley
that lies beyond.

Then comes a light,
a warm golden spark
swinging through the shade.

The Angel of Death comes,
walking with a measured stride,
holding a crystal lantern that turns
the Valley of the Shadow of Death
into a dance of light and darkness.

"Go to him," the ushers say,
gently shooing the souls
on their final journey.

They take flight then,
and are drawn like moths
toward the swaying light that
shines through the shadows.

The ushers close their condor wings
and return to their work, inspired
as always by this ephemeral glimpse
of the One who holds their service.

* * *

Notes:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
-- King James Bible, Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:11-24; John 10:1-21)

Death is often depicted with a lantern.

Condors are giant vultures.

beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
Sometimes dreams prepare you for real life challenges
and sometimes you wake up with a most urgent feeling because
a mercenary company had to be able to call up a thousand men, Read more... )



So, I went off to get a licence to get Captain Cold out of prison and assemble the Rogues. A scouting party could move faster. I'd recruit an even dozen, get down there, and see if between us we could cut the necromancy off at source.

I walked out with blanket permission to get whoever I wanted out of jail... and under a geas, same like I was now stuck under. Such a fuzzily worded geas we either fixed the problem (hah, which problem) or served for a whole year and a day.

So, year and a day with Captain Cold and whoever he would recruit. Heatwave, of course, though he wasn't even in prison, he'd get bound by the same thing to stay with Cold. And no Mirror Master, he'd disappeared into his mirror realm a while back and none had heard from him. But I thought we needed more cold, so we got Weather Wizard in, and then recruited Killer Frost.

Even just from that, it was going to be wild.





It would turn out that the city about to be besieged saw the scale of problem they'd called down on themselves and thought they were so epically screwed it could not get worse. So, necromancy. Except, and it's sad when they have to learn this the hard way at city scale, it can always get worse.

So Cold and the scouting party would go to the source and have a grand dungeon crawl in a graveyard full of barrows and ancient magic. But even after that was defeated and frozen solid (because even the undead have trouble going anywhere when they're somewhere betwee block of ice and crunchy pieces) the threat remained. Somewhere in the city the big bad had set up already, and if we went in there to deal, we'd be the wrong side of the walls when things kicked off.

But even without the geas on, after what we'd just seen, we knew what we had to do.




Adventure. Grand scale.

Don't know what I'd do with an even dozen characters though. Read more... )



Team composition is hard. You want to bring people who can pull on each other's issues so as a writer you've got your brew set up, but you also need a reasonable range of powers, so in universe they'd choose each other for this particular mission. And if you're trying to achieve diversity or gender parity from a 'verse that maybe doesn't so much, well. More difficult than that even.


And choosing people that aren't at some point in prison or at least bad guys in canon feels like cheating on my initial premise somehow. And bad guys always get less depth so you kind of have to reach for issues.


ooh, thought of: Read more... )


Haven't put as much work into the dungeon crawl contingent yet. Send the arogues into the tomb complex, that'll go well...



I have spent hours on this and yet I never get around to making story out of bunnies.

I shall go do something else.
umadoshi: (kittens - Claudia - green wall)
Fannish/Geeky Things

"(Almost) Every SFF Adaptation Coming to Television and Movie Theaters!" [Tor.com] (Not news that both Newsflesh and October Daye are on the list, and there's no real info on Newsflesh, but I, at least, was unaware that the writer adapting Toby for TV is Margaret Dunlap, who's worked on The Middleman and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.)

"Yuri!!! on Ice Anime Casts Pro Skater Nobunari Oda as Himself". [ANN]

"Announcement: official Mass Effect novels coming from Titan Books in 2017!" Authors include N.K. Jemisin and Catherine M. Valente.


Writing/SFF

"The Continent, Carve the Mark, and the Trope of the Dark Skinned Aggressor". [Justina Ireland]

"John Scalzi: Writing For Audio Made Me A Better Writer, Period".

Merriam-Webster discusses "What is 'World-Building'? And how do you spell it?"

"The Progress and Pitfalls of Television’s Treatment of Rape". [Variety]


Useful

"Cat Can’t Breathe? Feline Asthma: What You Need To Know".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] newredshoes, "Speak Up & Stay Safe(r): A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment". [Feminist Frequency]


Social Justice

"‘Please, I am out of options’: inside the murky world of DIY abortions: As Donald Trump promises new restrictions on abortion, emails reveal the desperation of women who have no place to go to end unwanted pregnancies". [The Guardian]

"What Was the Nerd? The myth of the bullied white outcast loner is helping fuel a fascist resurgence".

"'All my life suddenly made sense': how it feels to be diagnosed with autism late in life".

"Why My Online Relationships With Fat Women Have Been The Most Important Ones Of My Life".


At The Establishment:

--"Why The Publishing Industry Can’t Get Disability Right".

--"How To Help The Cause When You Need Help Yourself". [Content warning: suicidal ideation]

--"You Don't Have To Like Me--You Just Have To Believe I'm A Human Being". "Here’s the thing. You either believe in justice and equality or you don’t. You either believe that people of color are human beings deserving of full rights or you don’t. There are no preconditions to that. There are no exceptions to that. You believe in my humanity or you don’t."


Cute Stuff

"Dog wears camera that takes photo when he gets excited".

"15 Cats Who Think They Are Hiding From The Vet".

"Rescue Goat With Anxiety Only Calms Down In Her Duck Costume".

"Before-and-After Photos of Dogs and Their Humans Growing Up Together".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] jimhines, "17 Dogs Who Are Carefully Bending Their Human’s Rules". [Buzzfeed]

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] disobey_gravity, a short video of a kitty tackling a climbing wall. [1 min., 10 seconds]

December 2016

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