james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Let's see if this format works better:
Between our time and that of 17-year-old Noria Kaitio is the Twilight Century, a period of climate-change-driven chaos left the world a much poorer place. Noria lives in the Scandinavian Union, which in turn takes its direction from New Qian. Democracy is a thing of the past, as it generally is in stories like this, and government is very much top down. A sensible person in these circumstances either tries to exploit a dying system for ephemeral personal power or they try to avoid attracting the attention of ambitious people. Noria rejects one and fails at the other.


The rest of the review can be found here.

Collar

Sep. 17th, 2014 09:21 am[personal profile] redsixwing
redsixwing: Picture shows a red-winged angel staring at a distant blue star. (Default)
We went for a collar yesterday, a handsome blue-green one to match D's eyes, and got a tag with his name on it ("Dee," for pronunciation's sake) and my contact information, in case he should stray and be found. I need to find the tag stating he's had his shots and put it on, too.

Putting the collar on him was a pretty simple thing. He wanted to play with the jingly tag, and allowed us to pet him with it right away, and then wanted to be in Star's face. I held it up to his neck when he wound around me, sized it, and Star clipped it on, because he was winding around Star at that moment in time.

He stopped long enough to bend his head and sniff his new tag, and then he went right back to winding around us and asking for pats.

He's starting to look like a sleek and healthy cat instead of a rail-thin hunter, and his friendliness is just incredible. I was cleaning out the litter box this morning and he jumped on my back, then got onto my knee so he could pat and lick my face, and I could scratch him more.
aldersprig: (kai-sky)
To [personal profile] alexseanchai's prompt

When the war came, she went, not to ground, as so many of her friends and cousins did, but to water, to the sea.

The bombs were falling all around, but she slipped on her seal skin and slid under the water, down where the Leviathan still remembered her, down where her other family, her seal family, still lived. She found the little place she had built, so long ago, where those like her - and those like dolphins and true seals, merfolk and otters - could breathe safe air, deep under the ocean and yet dry and homey. The humans were clever, but none smart enough to find this place.

It was not the first time she had gone to see, and it would likely not be her last. She was, if not eternal, near unto it, and she did not like war at all.
Read more... )
annathepiper: (Bigger on the Inside)

Half a week late, but this is what you get when you’re me and trying to pull the rest of a novel together behind deadline!

Picoreview for this one: I’ve seen some very positive reaction about this one, and I’ve seen some outright disgusted reaction too. (The Doctor Who Podcast, which I listen to, had dramatically different opinions on it!) For me, it was one of the better episodes I’ve seen in a while–but shaky on the final dismount.

Don’t turn around and look at the spoilers!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Update-ish.

Sep. 17th, 2014 09:22 pm[personal profile] jolantru
jolantru: (Default)
I am slated to have a biopsy done next Friday.

It will be done as day surgery.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This story belongs to the series Love Is For Children which includes "Love Is for Children," "Hairpins," "Blended," "Am I Not," "Eggshells," "Dolls and Guys,""Saudades," "Querencia," "Turnabout Is Fair Play," "Touching Moments," "Splash," "Coming Around," "Birthday Girl," "No Winter Lasts Forever," "Hide and Seek," "Kernel Error," "Happy Hour," "Green Eggs and Hulk,""kintsukuroi," and "Little and Broken, but Still Good."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Natasha Romanova, Phil Coulson, Clint Barton, Betty Ross, Bucky Barnes.
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Mention of human trafficking and nonconsensual drug use. Slightly offstage sexual violence. Dubcon/Noncon.
Summary: Sometimes the Black Widow needs to hunt, and sometimes she needs help settling her personality afterwards. Uncle Phil arranges an extra ageplay session.
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Family. Fluff and angst. BAMF!Black Widow. Black Widow is creepy. Spiders. Coping skills. Asking for help and getting it. Hope. Nonsexual ageplay. Caregiving. Competence. Girl stuff. Toys and games. Gentleness. Trust. #coulsonlives

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8.

Read more... )

At Greensted Ongar

Sep. 17th, 2014 06:49 pm[personal profile] den
den: (Photos)
The church at Greensted Ongar

The bell tower was built in 1720. The brick extension was built in 1550. The oaken walls of the nave were built in 845. When you consider a mature oak is 400 to 500 years old, these trees were saplings when the Romans were still in Britain.

Greensted Church

Church, graves, and wooden walls. )
den: (Beer)
One for [personal profile] makovette.

Sheaf Stout

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a medium brown head. Looks black and opaque in the glass.

First Sip: Sweet, dark malts, with chocolate, coffee and toffee flavours in the background. Hops is mild but persistent, so it lingers for a long while after the swallow leaving a slightly astringent after-taste. Mouth-feel is thick, with a mild carbonation tingle on the tongue.

The brew is one of the best dark brews in Australia. It's as good as Cooper's Stout, but it's not as bitter and so it is even easier to drink. Sheaf leaves a nice warm feeling in the belly, and the beer burp is nice. This is an exceedingly yummy beer which does not promote drinking in moderation.


Sheaf Stout
Carlton & United Breweries, Ltd
5.7% alc/vol
750ml bottle

Sheaf Stout

Same again, sir? YES! oh so very yes.

TBR Tag

Sep. 17th, 2014 08:00 am[personal profile] lynnoconnacht
lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)

The Bibliophibian tagged anyone who was interested in doing this tag meme and it looked like a lot of fun, so. Here I am. Considering myself tagged. XD

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Little Lion Lynnet's.

Galaxies, stars, and a serene reflecting pool combine to create this memorable land and skyscape. Galaxies, stars, and a serene reflecting pool combine to create this memorable land and skyscape.


Prompt for 2014-09-17

Sep. 17th, 2014 11:01 am[personal profile] sacredporn posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
sacredporn: Kris Allen icon made by Sacred Porn (Default)
Today's prompt is "a sad, sad song".
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Dodge and weave 2/3rds of the way across Charles St, lose confidence and race back through traffic. There may be some sort of lesson there.

(It's a fairly major road, this bit is near the bus station and there was a lot of traffic)

I also got to watch a squirrel follow someone onto a bus, stand on hind legs looking at the passengers and then leave. My guess is it did not have exact change for the fare. The driver did not seem fazed, which makes me wonder if this has happened before.
aldersprig: (Shooting star)
How would an Immortal deal with the End Times?

The world will inevitably come stumbling into apocalypse, and They will be there to witness it. Dryads, demi-gods, deities of every pantheon- is it possible for the Eternal to handle an ending with grace?

Should it come through disease, disaster, or religious fervor, discover What Follows…





This anthology includes a story by yours truly (what, immortals & end times, do you think I could resist), as well as stories by K Orion Fray (the artist formerly in my attic) and our friend who I've referred to here as Skan.

Anticipated release date is next Friday!

It will be available in eBook and POD (POD specifics to follow); eBook will be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords.

Again, that's next Friday! And it's an anthology I get to be in with friends of mine!

(Also, it's an apocalypse anthology, so extra bouncing).

Stay tuned for more details!
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
51SpZ3NemXL


The first science fiction author connected with the University of Waterloo I know for a fact I met is James Alan Gardner, whose work I heard first on radio in the 1970s, who I met in person thanks to FASS, the University of Waterloo’s longest-operating amateur theatre group, and who gives me a ride to gaming every week.

Festina Ramos is a member of the glorious Explorer Corps, that chosen elite who get to go down to the surface of unexplored worlds once the probes have hit their limit of usefulness to see what exciting new ways each new world has of killing people like Festina. That process of discovery is often called going Oh Shit because those are usually the last words heard over the explorers’ radios.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Do all of the reviews I do for James Davis Nicoll count as paid or just the sponsored ones?

Maniacal laughter

Sep. 16th, 2014 07:36 pm[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Decided to search the local used bookstores in person, rather than calling them to ask about a particular book.

Ash

VICTORY!

[ SECRET POST #2814 ]

Sep. 16th, 2014 07:01 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #2814 ⌋

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

01.

More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 029 secrets from Secret Submission Post #402.
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.

(no subject)

Sep. 16th, 2014 02:31 pm[personal profile] copperbadge
copperbadge: (Default)
So I went to the dermatologist this morning, to check up on Damien, the mystery rash that turned out to be Maybe Lymphoma, But The Nice Kind. Well, I say nice. Mostly I mean "not terminal". The doctor I spoke with this time (my last doctor left) thinks it might have been pseudolymphoma, like my body just enjoys dressing up as various diseases to freak me the fuck out.

"I can't say for sure," he said. "I didn't meet you last time, but I did meet your biopsy, and it looked pretty scary under a microscope."

Thanks?

Anyway, they wanted some blood work, which was fine, but apparently now I regularly get that thing where they puncture a vein and you pass out. So that was less than fine. But eventually, after regaining consciousness and lying down for a while, they put me in a cab and I came home.

To find the Neato humping the Wii Fit, but I digress.

They said, just in case I'm anemic, they wanted me to drink some beef broth, which I am doing.

Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to drink an entire cup of beef broth. It's like chewing on a lump of salt. Or like, repeatedly licking a steak without getting to eat it.

Steak may be in my future for dinner.

Running Robot

Sep. 16th, 2014 01:54 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Check out this robotic quadruped which can run and jump.  It's pretty cool.  Legs are more versatile than wheels for traversing uneven terrain and surmounting obstacles.  So this is a fascinating advance.

Although billed as a robotic cheetah, it lacks the characteristic flexible spine which creates the cheetah's famous speed.  I'm thinking more mechanical hound.  This isn't just a random quibble, by the way, it's science in action.  I know how  a cheetah generates so much speed -- that spine acts like a spring -- and I can apply that knowledge to other contexts.  So I knew to look at the spine of the robot.  Now if I were into competition robotics, this would inspire me to experiment with springy-spined robots to see if I could really make a robotic cheetah.  And maybe I'd try to stick a gyroscope in one too, because a cheetah's cornering agility is also a masterful thing, whereas vertical robots have this annoying tendency to wipeout on turns.  (I am impressed by the above robot's ability to stay upright.)  Since I'm not skilled at building robots, I'm putting these ideas online for the amusement of anyone who is.

Just, y'know, don't use it to make mechanical hounds for hunting bookworms.  In this society I feel a need to make that warning.

Poetry Fishbowl Open!

Sep. 16th, 2014 01:13 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Paranormal detective Brenda in a wheelchair (PIE)
The Poetry Fishbowl is now closed for prompts.  (Other poem thumbnails may appear later.)  Thank you for your enthusiasm.

Starting now, the bonus Poetry Fishbowl is open!  This is the perk for recent fishbowls meeting the $250 goal.  Today's theme is "P.I.E."  I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems.

You may also want to browse recent discussions about disability in F&SF and the vocabulary of disability on my blogs.


What Is a Poetry Fishbowl?

Writing is usually considered a solitary pursuit. One exception to this is a fascinating exercise called a "fishbowl." This has various forms, but all of them basically involve some kind of writing in public, usually with interaction between author and audience. A famous example is Harlan Ellison's series of "stories under glass" in which he sits in a bookstore window and writes a new story based on an idea that someone gives him. Writing classes sometimes include a version where students watch each other write, often with students calling out suggestions which are chalked up on the blackboard for those writing to use as inspiration.

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is "P.I.E."  I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.


Cyberfunded Creativity

I'm practicing cyberfunded creativity. If you enjoy what I'm doing and want to see more of it, please feed the Bard. The following options are currently available:

1) Sponsor the Fishbowl -- Here is a PayPal button for donations. There is no specific requirement, but $1 is the minimum recommended size for PayPal transactions since they take a cut from every one. You can also donate via check or money order sent by postal mail. If you make a donation and tell me about it, I promise to use one of your prompts. Anonymous donations are perfectly welcome, just won't get that perk. General donations will be tallied, and at the end of the fishbowl I’ll post a list of eligible poems based on the total funding; then the audience can vote on which they want to see posted.

2) Buy It Now! -- Gakked from various e-auction sites, this feature allows you to sponsor a specific poem. If you don't want to wait for some editor to buy and publish my poem so you can read it, well, now you don't have to. Sponsoring a poem means that I will immediately post it on my blog for everyone to see, with the name of the sponsor (or another dedicate) if you wish; plus you get a nonexclusive publication right, so you can post it on your own blog or elsewhere as long as you keep the credits intact. You'll need to tell me the title of the poem you want to sponsor. I'm basing the prices on length, and they're comparable to what I typically make selling poetry to magazines (semi-pro rates according to Duotrope's Digest).

0-10 lines: $5
11-25 lines: $10
26-40 lines: $15
41-60 lines: $20
Poems over 60 lines, or with very intricate structure, fall into custom pricing.

3) Commission a scrapbook page. I can render a chosen poem in hardcopy format, on colorful paper, using archival materials for background and any embellishments. This will be suitable for framing or for adding to a scrapbook. Commission details are here.  See latest photos of sample scrapbooked poems: "Sample Scrapbooked Poems 1-24-11"

4) Spread the word. Echo or link to this post on your LiveJournal, other blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Digg, StumbleUpon, or any other social network.  Useful Twitter hashtags include #poetryfishbowl and #promptcall.  Encourage people to come here and participate in the fishbowl.  If you have room for it, including your own prompt will give your readers an idea of what the prompts should look like; ideally, update later to include the thumbnail of the poem I write, and a link to the poem if it gets published.  If there is at least one new prompter or donor, I will post an extra freebie poem.


Additional Notes

1) I customarily post replies to prompt posts telling people which of their prompts I'm using, with a brief description of the resulting poem(s). If you want to know what's available, watch for those "thumbnails."

2) You don't have to pay me to see a poem based on a prompt that you gave me. I try to send copies of poems to people, mostly using the LJ message function.  (Anonymous prompters will miss this perk unless you give me your eddress.)  These are for-your-eyes-only, though, not for sharing.

3) Sponsors of the Poetry Fishbowl in general, or of specific poems, will gain access to an extra post in appreciation of their generosity.  While you're on the Donors list, you can view all of the custom-locked posts in that category.  Click the "donors" tag to read the archive of those.  I've also posted a list of other donor perks there.  I customarily leave donor names on the list for two months, so you'll get to see the perk-post from this month and next.

4) After the Poetry Fishbowl concludes, I will post a list of unsold poems and their prices, to make it easier for folks to see what they might want to sponsor.


Feed the Fish!
Now's your chance to participate in the creative process by posting ideas for me to write about. Today's theme is "P.I.E."  I'll be soliciting ideas for Brenda, Darrel, Nate, Rick, their friends and family, private investigators, people with disabilities, creatures of urban fantasy, adaptive equipment, interesting weapons, tools of the trade, clothes that are designed to look good while seated, adventures on wheels, bizarre things that happen in cities, urban legends, offices and office buildings, wheelchair-friendly places, mobility-challenging places, romantic spots, life on wheels, things able-bodied people rarely notice, saving the day, annoying things that unwelcome suitors do, side scenes from previous events, and poetic forms in particular.  But anything is welcome, really. If you manage to recommend a form that I don't recognize, I will probably pounce on it and ask you for its rules. I do have Lewis Turco's The New Book of Forms which covers most common and many obscure forms.

I'll post at least one of the fishbowl poems here so you-all can enjoy it. (Remember, you get an extra freebie poem if someone new posts a prompt or makes a donation.) The rest of the poems will go into my archive for magazine submission.
aldersprig: (Tairiekie)
I'm working on listing the cast for Edally - everyone who appears in every chapter.

That's a lot of people.

What I could use from you: Grab a chapter/Interlude (Claim here first to avoid duplication of work) and list all the named characters in it.

For every chapter done, I'll write you 250 words about... whatever Edally/Reiassan related words you want, although preference given to things at least tangentially related to Edally (rather than, say, more Rin/Girey).

The first of the stories can be seen here, if you want to know what you're getting.

And if you think I'm offering up a lot of bribery, between this and my request for reviews, well... you're not wrong

Chapter 1 - Claimed by Capriox
Chapter 2 - Lilfluff
Chapter 3- Claimed by Capriox
Chapter 4 - Claimed by Rix

Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Interlude: In the Onadyano Tower Dorms
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
Note: This will conflict with several dates posted here and there. I'm still working on that!! But this is meant to give me a solid reference from which to work.

Dates of R are listed as years from landfall on Reiassan.

Lyuda Era - approx. 500 R.
Edally Academy was begun approximately one thousand years ago, in the time of the Emperor Eleddeltendel...

Skirmish Era, from 200-750 R

About 500 years ago, the original tower of Edally was torn down.

Rin & Girey Era: 900 R.

Edally Academy (Serial) era: 1500 R.

Doonts it with the stick of Officiadom.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
cover


Walter Jon Williams wastes no time establishing his world in this mid-1990s science fantasy novel:

A burning woman stalks along the streets. Ten stories tall, naked body a whirling holocaust of fire. Terrified people on Bursary Street crumple into carbon at her passing, leaving behind only black char curled into fetal shapes. The heat she radiates is so powerful that structures burst into flame as she passes. A storm of paper, sucked out of buildings by uncontrolled drafts, spiral toward her and are consumed. Uncontrolled rivers of flame pour from her fingertips. Windows blast inward at her keening, at the eerie, nerve-scraping wail that pours from her insubstantial, fiery throat. In a city that girdles the world, all-devouring fire is the worst thing imaginable.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
Nicked from nwhyte

These days, everyone is talking about the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially when they’re not talking about ISIS. But sadly nobody has managed so far to explain this complicated topic in an easy to understand manner. So we commissioned a panel of Western Middle East experts and asked them to apply their unique approach to the subject with their customary disregard for cumbersome nuance and the stifling requirements of accuracy. The result is this fascinating article. - See more at: http://www.karlremarks.com/2014/09/we-give-scottish-independence.html#sthash.JIvxOJgH.dpuf

At Framlingham Castle

Sep. 16th, 2014 05:56 pm[personal profile] den
den: (Photos)
Framlingham Castle, built 1174, then the current internal buildings were built in the 1600s as a poorhouse. When I visited, an medieval re-enactment society, the Plantagenents, were recreating medieval castle life.

Framlingham Castle

Castle, squires, knights, Ladies, hurdy gurdy man )

zizek

Sep. 15th, 2014 10:38 pm[personal profile] italiceyeball
italiceyeball: Orange Octopus (Default)
Toward the end of a critique of Buddhism(I have arguments, but he isn't all wrong), this



And later, "...the retroactive teleology of love."
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 LJ user Kestrels_nest noticed there was a verse missing in "A Strange and Gentle Contagion," which was a previous linkback poem.  That one is now complete.
galacticjourney: (Default)
The Soviets have accomplished another space first, striking the moon with a probe yesterday, September 14, 1959, after a speedy half-day flight.



To all accounts, the mission payload was identical to Mechta, which sailed past the moon in January. I’m still not sure whether we’re to call the thing Mecha, Lunik, or Luna, but no matter the name, there’s no question but that it was an impressive feat of astrogation; the moon is actually a surprisingly small and hard target to hit. One German scientist likened it to hitting the eye of a fly with a rifle bullet at a range of six miles. And the Soviets managed to do it on their second try (that we know of).

The 390kg package, much larger than anything America has tried sending to the moon so far, was packed with radiation detectors for measuring cosmic rays. It also carried a magnetometer and a micrometeoroid detector. Between the two Luniks and the three successful Pioneers, we should have a pretty good magnetic and radiation map of things this side of the moon.



Most significantly, from a political perspective, are the myriad of Soviet badges and medals that Lunik II spilled out on the lunar surface upon impact. Not only is the U.S.S.R. now the first nation to litter another celestial body, but I imagine they may start rumbling about owning the moon. After all, finders keepers!

Many have speculated that Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev timed his visit to the United States to take advantage of the lunar shot—or perhaps it’s the other way around. Either way, it certainly gives him bragging rights as he tours our nation.

NASA has officially replied that they have a lunar probe in the works of comparable size that may go up as early as October. You’ll certainly read about it here if it does!

---

P.S. Galactic Journey is now a proud member of a constellation of interesting columns. While you're waiting for me to publish my next article, why not give one of them a read!



(Confused? Click here for an explanation as to what's really going on)


Vixy & Tony: save the dates!

Sep. 15th, 2014 03:48 pm[personal profile] vixy
vixy: (rock gods)
In other other news, I'm gonna copy and paste from Tony here, because reasons. Also because I'm still going WAIT HOLY CRAP HOW ARE THESE DATES HERE ALREADY AAAAAAAAA

----------

I just looked at the calendar, and was amazed at how quickly time keeps on slippin' into the future. The Wayward Sereniversary celebration is this very weekend! So soon? YES, SO SOON! It's this Saturday September 20th! Our beloved Sunnie will be joining us on fiddle, and it's going to be a blast! Come join us!


----------

Then the following weekend we jet off to FilkCONtinental with Betsy and Sunnie! What crazy person scheduled a Germany trip right after a Wayward gig? Oh right, it was me.

----------


Then we get a brief rest before being GOHs at Orycon, in Portland, November 7-9, where Sunnie will join us and hopefully we'll catch a glimpse of this guy.

----------

But wait! There's more! Before we stick a fork in 2014 and call it done, there's something special coming up after Orycon that we want you all to be a part of. We don't have all the i's crossed and the t's dotted yet, but you're going to want to save the evening of Wednesday, November 19th on your calendar for so
mething we're cooking up with someone we know. Trust me on this one... More details to come!

[ SECRET POST #2813 ]

Sep. 15th, 2014 06:46 pm[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets
case: (Default)

⌈ Secret Post #2813 ⌋

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

01.

More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 038 secrets from Secret Submission Post #402.
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.

Wait

Sep. 15th, 2014 06:35 pm[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
The "no" side in Scotland reinvented the Yvette gambit?

Weekendliness

Sep. 15th, 2014 04:29 pm[personal profile] silmaril
silmaril: "...the comprehension of sweet sound is our most indefinite conception."  E.A. Poe. (Music)
We take a break from the series of "What keeps Silmaril so ILLITERAL anyway" to briefly comment on the weekend.

Friday evening: Long campus walk garnished with Ingress. Then extremely tasty tacos from the local El Salvadorean pupuseria; I've never tasted their pupusas or anything else on their menu because their tacos are either $2 or $3 each, and frankly, great. I had them as take-out, as I always do, and had wine waiting for me at home.

Saturday: Catching up to Coursera for the first time since before my trip to Turkey in the beginning of August; I had taken a break and not registered for any classes during August and was not late for the first homework deadline for the one serious class I am taking in September, so that worked out nicely. Then I had a voice lesson, which was scheduled to be an hour but went on for closer to 90 minutes because, in my instructor's words, "I didn't want to cut it off, because you're right in the middle of getting this into muscle memory." "This" being how to project with different vowels within a specific part of my register (i.e. a specific note range). It was an extremely tiring, but extremely, extremely productive session, and I'm looking forward to the next class (which will be some time next week). Then I was invited over to Glen Echo for swing dancing by [livejournal.com profile] turnberryknkn and [livejournal.com profile] elzkitten; I joined them kind of late (having had dinner with said instructor and his girlfriend first) and had a really, really good time, as I had not been dancing for way too long.

Sunday: ...so I got home past 2 am, therefore Sunday was a slow start. I drove up to Baltimore to help Chort continue the work of packing up his basement in preparation for the sale. Then I came home to work a bit, and after work did some more puttering around on the computer doing organizational things while watching the first few episodes of Leverage, which my mother and sister have been insistently telling me to watch. I do really enjoy it so far, I find.

So it goes.

Sleepy Hollow (review)

Sep. 15th, 2014 02:20 pm[personal profile] vixy
vixy: (autumn leaves)
In other news:  I have totally fallen for a TV show and I have to tell you all about it!

When I first saw the ads for Sleepy Hollow, I laughed out loud. That is going to be fucking ridiculous, I thought. That's an even worse concept than "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" or whatever it was. Well, maybe I'll watch out of curiosity.

I missed the first two or three episodes when they were broadcast, but a friend online said he'd been watching it and that it was actually pretty good. So I got them on Amazon streaming.

And holy crap, they were GREAT.

I've seen the show referred to as camp, and I can't entirely dispute it. We're not talking camp like Rocky Horror or anything, but it's light SF/horror that is not taking itself too seriously, while at the same time not breaking the fourth wall to go "nudge nudge wink wink". It strikes just the right balance between the two. It's also not necessarily for purists of either Christian mythology or American history. The show plays fast and loose with both. But if that won't make you yell, you can sit back and be gloriously entertained.

The effects are wonderful, the writing is fantastic, and the casting... the casting is the main reason to stick with it. Tom Mison is absolutely perfect as Ichabod Crane; the way he speaks, the way he puts in the most delightful mix of knowledge, bewilderment and snark into his character, it's pure joy. Nichole Beharie is also perfect as Abbie Mills, the police officer paired with Crane to figure out the weird shit going on in the town of Sleepy Hollow. She's funny and snarky and dangerous and utterly believable while constantly barraged by unbelievable circumstances. Orlando Jones as her boss (Captain IRVING HEE HEE HEE) is absolute GOLD. Amandla Stenberg, of Hunger Games fame, is wonderful as his daughter Macey. John Cho is delightfully freaky as another police officer turned evil but struggling with himself. And John Noble gave me FREAKING CHILLS in his performance as a sometime assistant of Crane and Mills. There's also Lyndie Greenwood as Abbie's badass sister Jenny; Nicholas Gonzalez as Detective Morales, Abbie's ex and another officer in the force; Jill Marie Jones as Cynthia Irving, the Captain's ex-wife and Macey's mother; Katia Winter as Katrina Crane, Ichabod's wife.

And see, here's one of the big things that everyone's talking about with regard to this show. One of the two leads, and many of the supporting cast, are people of color. One of the two leads is a woman of color, in fact. And that's already all too rare in media nowadays. Let alone in science fiction media. And on top of that, which other reviewers have pointed out already... the people of color in the story aren't there just to suffer, sidekick, or teach the white folks a lesson. This was something I hadn't thought enough about until I read some other reviews on it, but even when there are leading or major supporting roles for people of color, they're all too often There for a Purpose (tm). They're the Magical Negro, or they have some morality lesson to teach, or they're there to be saved. It's depressingly rare that viewers of color get to just identify with characters in a story, having adventures and doing things and interacting with the other characters. And here, there is more representation than I've seen in any other genre show I can think of, and it is a fabulous cast telling fabulous stories.

The show doesn't put its hands over its eyes and go "la la la I don't see color" either. In the pilot episode, Crane, who's been revived from revolutionary war times, first meets Lt. Mills and says he assumes she's been emancipated from enslavement?  Her reaction has about the level of WTF that the comment deserves. Race isn't ignored, but it's also not the focus. The focus is telling this delightfully weird interpretation of (and extensive elaboration on) the story of the Headless Horseman.

The show isn't without problematic aspects. There's been no queer or trans representation at all, so far. There's been one mention of the slur "g*psy" (though at least only in regards to a language being translated; thankfully there were no stereotypical characters brought in). And there was an episode involving a Native American "demon" and shamanic ritual that, while I'm completely unqualified to judge as to whether it was at all sensitively done or gross cultural appropriation, I can't say is likely to be flawless given the liberties the show takes with Christian mythology and history.

While acknowledging its problematic aspects, I'm still really pleased with its overall level of representation, and just plain super enjoying the stories. It sort of pokes a similar spot that Buffy used to, with similar snappy dialogue and unexpected humor in the face of supernatural shit, but without Joss Whedon's weirdness about women. If you miss Buffy's good parts, or if you just love a good science fiction/supernatural story, I really really recommend Sleepy Hollow. One catch: it's not really easy to jump into the middle of. Season 2 premieres on the 22nd, but you can get all of season 1 from Amazon streaming and probably other places, and it's TOTALLY worth it. (The season 1 finale made me go AUGH I WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT YOU GUYS.)

(Bonus: Audible released a free download of Tom Mison reading Washington Irving's original "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" aloud. I just listened to it this morning. I didn't get a lot of work done.  Damn, that man's voice.)

ETA:  I *think* this is the review I refer to above. Not 100% sure because I don't remember reading that super cramped format, so maybe I was reading it quoted elsewhere in large parts.

This is also a good one, and makes some points that I missed, including points about gender-- the female leads display no jealousy, cattiness, etc. regarding each other's interaction with the male lead, and the show doesn't go the obnoxious "a male and female lead MUST have sexual tension" route. Katrina and Mills both stay focused on the apocalypse at hand rather than "who gets the man".  Crane and Mills become close and caring friends. It's refreshing.

Prompt for 2014-09-15

Sep. 15th, 2014 05:02 pm[personal profile] brewsternorth posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
brewsternorth: Electric-blue stylized teapot, captioned "Brewster North". (Default)
Today's prompt is "to hear better".

Prompt for 2014-09-14

Sep. 14th, 2014 05:00 pm[personal profile] brewsternorth posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
brewsternorth: Electric-blue stylized teapot, captioned "Brewster North". (Default)
Today's prompt is "the turning of the year".

Zombies, walk.

Sep. 15th, 2014 01:42 pm[personal profile] vixy
vixy: (screaming)
Since I have less impetus for walks now that my company no longer has a PO Box at the local post office (it used to be my job to go check it every day), I'm trying to make a point of taking walks. I'm woefully out of shape, in the stamina sense-- I get out of breath waaaaaaayyyyyyyy too easily. On Brooke's recommendation, I finally got around to downloading "Zombies, Run!" and giving it a try.

After a couple of problems which turned out to be mainly user error, I've got the thing working, including playing nice with Google Play Music (it says this is an experimental feature and may not work, so I was all happy when it worked for me!) My playlist for the purpose is called "All You Zombies".

I'm enjoying the app so far. I've only done a couple of stories, but the very first story mission knocked my socks off. Like, I was not expecting right away for them to go for the tragic, and the voice acting is exceptionally well done, so it wasn't cheesy like it might have been with bad acting. When we got to (rot13 for spoilers) gur mbzovr punfvat zr jub jnf npghnyyl gur qrnq-naq-mbzovsvrq ybir vagrerfg bs zl pbagnpg ng gur onfr, jvgu fnvq pbagnpg tbvat "bu... bu tbq gurl'er fubbgvat" juvyr gur bgure crefba ng gur onfr jnf yvxr "lbh xabj fur jbhyq unir jnagrq guvf, lbh xabj fur jbhyqa'g unir jnagrq hf gb yrnir ure nf n mbzo" and I was like HOLY CRAP THEY ARE NOT FUCKING AROUND HERE. The story is not fluffy, is what I'm saying. Torrey told me that Elizabeth Bear wrote a chapter for them, and some other authors like her as well. I'm looking forward to the rest.

So far I've been walking along our stretch of the Interurban Trail. This amuses me somewhat, as our stretch of the Interurban borders directly on a verrrrrrry big cemetery. My 30-minute-ish walk is pretty much the length of the cemetery and back home again. So far no actual zombies spotted. (It's got a quite nice old rusty wrought-iron fence, though. Atmospheric!)

I doubt if I'll ever segue to running. Ever since my knee started clicking whenever I go up stairs (putting an end to my career as a stealth assassin), I'm a little leery of anything that high-impact. I dunno, we'll see if I ever get bored with walking. Small steps. So to speak.

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