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link roundup 6/23/17

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:09 am
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[personal profile] snickfic posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
Dropping back in with a few links! Feel free to drop others in comments.

Supreme Court sets higher bar for stripping citizenship (Reuters). The justices ruled 9-0 that a naturalized American citizen cannot be stripped of citizenship if a lie or omission on immigration forms was irrelevant to the government's original decision to grant entry into the United States.

[Seattle] Landlords Are Now Required to Provide Voter Registration Info (Seattle Met). Very cool look at how voting accessibility can be addressed on the city level.

Steyer to plow $7.5 million into voter mobilization efforts (Politico). Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer said Thursday he will put more than $7.5 million into an effort to register and turn out young voters in eight states ahead of the midterm elections.
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
[via email]

Dear Senator Johnson:

First of all, thank you for speaking out against the speed with which Senator McConnell is trying to force his Better Care Reconciliation Act through the Senate.

Secondly-- As it turns out, Senator McConnell had polio as a small child; his health care was entirely government-funded. This is exactly the kind of health care--the kind that provides needed services to children whose parents *are*not*wealthy*--that he is trying to destroy. The hypocrisy of this infuriates me, above and beyond all the other things that I think are appalling, shameful, and horrifying about the BCRA.

The BCRA is potentially catastrophic for me. I have a number of chronic conditions, including Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Restless Legs Syndrome, that are controlled, entirely or in part, by medications--medications that I cannot afford without health insurance. Without the chemical assistance to straighten out my brain chemistry and neurology, I will very quickly become paralyzed by the apathy of depression and the brain-lock induced by OCD--not to mention the chronic sleep-deprivation caused by RLS. And these conditions are all incurable. They can be *managed* very successfully, but I will never be free of them. I need these medications for the rest of my life. (I'm 42. I'm hoping "the rest of my life" is a very long time.)

Right now, I have insurance through the State of Wisconsin. But--as you are possibly aware--the state has been steadily chipping away at its employees' health benefits for the last 20 years, and if the BCRA passes, it gives Wisconsin greatly increased leeway to make state employees' health benefits ever more meager, which will mean my out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions and doctor visits will continue to increase and increase, while my insurance covers less and less of the care I need. (The medication which principally controls my RLS already has a co-pay of more than $100 a month.) And if I *lose* that coverage, I will be uninsurable. I am a walking compendium of "pre-existing conditions"--I didn't even tell you about the chronic migraines or the fibromyalgia or the Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Senator, I need health insurance. I need it to be affordable. I need it NOT to be contingent on my never having been and never becoming sick, because that door slammed shut a long time ago. I need it to PROTECT ME, not benefit the health insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

I am hoping that, as my senator, you care more about my well-being than you do about providing tax cuts to a handful of people who do not need them. I am hoping that you recognize Senator McConnell's rank hypocrisy and that it angers you as it does me. I am hoping that you will defend me and your other 5.77 million constituents who need, as a matter of quite literally life or death, the access to affordable healthcare that Senator McConnell and his BCRA are trying to strip away from us.

Please continue to oppose the BCRA. Do not let this unconscionable bill be your legacy.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:43 pm
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[personal profile] rfmcdonald

  • The Big Picture shares shocking photos of the Portuguese forest fires.

  • blogTO notes that, happily, Seaton Village's Fiesta Farms is apparently not at risk of being turned into a condo development site.

  • Centauri Dreams notes a new starship discussion group in Delft. Shades of the British Interplanetary Society and the Daedalus?

  • D-Brief considers a new theory explaining why different birds' eggs have different shapes.

  • The Frailest Thing's Michael Sacasas commits himself to a new regimen of blogging about technology and its imports. (There is a Patreon.)

  • Language Hat notes the current Turkish government's interest in purging Turkish of Western loanwords.

  • Language Log's Victor Mair sums up the evidence for the diffusion of Indo-European languages, and their speakers, into India.

  • The LRB Blog notes the Theresa May government's inability post-Grenfell to communicate with any sense of emotion.

  • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen wonders if the alt-right more prominent in the Anglophone world because it is more prone to the appeal of the new.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw wonders if Brexit will result in a stronger European Union and a weaker United Kingdom.

  • Seriously Science reports a study suggesting that shiny new headphones are not better than less flashy brands.

  • Torontoist reports on the anti-Muslim hate groups set to march in Toronto Pride.

  • Understanding Society considers the subject of critical realism in sociological analyses.

  • Window on Eurasia notes how Russia's call to promote Cyrillic across the former Soviet Union has gone badly in Armenia, with its own script.

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus

Jun. 23rd, 2017 05:01 pm
thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Default)
[personal profile] thomryng
How does the human brain wrap itself around the eternal and infinite love of God for His creation? How can can we even begin to comprehend the depth of love in Christ’s wounded heart as he pours Himself out for us sinners at Calvary?
The truth is, we can’t. The saints and the... (more at http://www.thomryng.com/amateurmonk/the-most-sacred-heart-of-jesus/)



Originally posted at Mundus Tranquillare Hic. If you wish to comment, please do so there.

http://www.thomryng.com/amateurmonk/the-most-sacred-heart-of-jesus/

File under: 2017 transitions - Holy Rosary / Visitation, Annual, Holy Days, Meditations, Pope John Paul II, Prayer, Rev. Jacob Maurer, Rev. Michael Wagner, Rev. Nicholas Wichert

In the works...

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:23 am
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[personal profile] laramie

I've been putting together a collection of my non-romance fantasy short stories. Three of these were previously published. My plan is to make the collection a freebie with a Creative Commons license, and offer it as a bonus to people who sign up for the mailing list I use to share news of my fantasy stories for young readers. These aren't necessarily children's stories, but the first two have child protagonists, one employs fairy tale motifs and they are all certainly odd.

Wedding the Wind; Four Odd Tales

* The title story, Wedding the Wind, turns out to be an origin story for Mary Poppins, as a new Mary takes up the mantle, er, umbrella of her predecessor.

* Tess on the Stairs is an ultra-short ghost story that will make sense only to those familiar with the oeuvre of the Grateful Dead. (Originally published in Spinning Free)

* Survival, in which one monster relates to another, placed in the Minneapolis City Pages' Annual Fiction Contest some years ago and was originally published in that periodical.

* Without the Wicked Witch consists of a speculation in which psychological health makes everyone happier and fairy tales pathetic. (Originally published in Daughters of Nyx).

beta_search community

Jun. 23rd, 2017 05:17 pm
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[personal profile] sexycazzy posting in [site community profile] dw_community_promo
If you are in search of a beta to help with your stories then:

[community profile] beta_search is for you!

Come along and join!

Snippet from the community profile:

You are welcome to make three types of posts:

1) Looking for help
2) Offering help
3) Tips

You may look for or offer beta, cheerleader, or mentor assistance.

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:54 am
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[personal profile] kittydesade
That was definitely not allergies. She said from her vantage point of On The Couch With A Bucket Of Tissues Next To.

All right, so today's writing will only be brainstorming and wiki-making and we'll see if any of it's coherent later.

I hate being sick so much I cannot even tell you. My sinuses are trying to push my teeth out of my head.

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:40 am
yhlee: voidmoth with starry wings in a triangle (hxx emblem Nirai)
[personal profile] yhlee
Which faction of the hexarchate are you? [Solaris Books].

A quiz! I get Nirai...?!

Good Kitten - more Beauty-Beast

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:29 am
aldersprig: (lock and key)
[personal profile] aldersprig
First: M/m Keeper/Kept
Previous: Be Yourself


This chapter features a lot of description that wanders around the edges of sex without describing penetration or intercourse.
.

Read more... )

Want More?
morgandawn: (Art Noveau Blue)
[personal profile] morgandawn
Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/2tWNh4y at June 23, 2017 at 07:55AMAnalysis | What the Senate bill changes about Obamacare
Tags:not a reblog, affordable care act, politics, activism, PDWCrosspost
Tumblr post (this is likely a reblog, and may have more pictures over there)
June 23, 2017 at 07:55AM

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 04:00 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Today I definitely slept twelve hours, broken a couple times with drink breaks. Possibly more.
Guess moving every box and book in the house repeatedly makes you tired.

Also yesterday I bought a fan and today the weather went acceptable again so I don't need it.
You're welcome ;-)

Probably it was the being cooler and no window open that let the sleeping work.

For values of work that involved dreaming a mage caused epidemic that killed fifteen thousand people.

It was an interesting setup, college of magic, rules about celibacy, me and Magneto and the Professor planning to break them, Julian Bashir turning up for the medical parts along with his politician older twin Alex. Plenty of romance options and bonus magic. But the bit with all those thousands of people bleeding from the everywhere kind of took all the fun out of the other parts. Read more... )

I also dreamed that the reason I'm... built with a handy energy reserve suitable for surviving starvation rations... is that I'm instinctively good at the spell Monk's Feast. Hmm, dreamed it wrong, in GURPS it's Monk's Banquet. Either way, it's the spell where you can go without food or water for a day because magic took care of it. If I cast that and ate anything on top, that would all be bonus calories and end up going to my waist.

Pretty good excuse.

But I've spent most of the afternoon, it feels like, dreaming about the various slightly bad tasting penance rations of the college of magic, so I think I'm hungry. I'll go eat a real food.
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[personal profile] cmcmck
 Huzzah! Photobucket have finally deigned to get their $%^&! act together after being down for several hours.

So, the walk I promised you yesterday!

This is the headstock of the mine cage I posted yesterday- if that cable ever snapped, you had a lot of dead and badly injured miners on your hands:



More pics! )

Cool Stuff Friday

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:18 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday is almost finished with this first draft…

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

thomryng: A Sepia Man in a Hat (Default)
[personal profile] thomryng
Burgos Cathedral is monumental, with side chapels, sacristies, choirs, crypts, a cloister, and a museum. We spent a good chunk of the day inside, and we didn’t see nearly all of it. I took hundreds of photos. I will be posting a small representative sample here.

Date: 12 April 2016
Place:... (more at http://www.thomryng.com/camino/camino-photo-of-the-day-burgos-cathedral-interior-4/)



Originally posted at Pilgrims on the Way. If you wish to comment, please do so there.

http://www.thomryng.com/camino/camino-photo-of-the-day-burgos-cathedral-interior-4/

File under: Photo of the Day
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[personal profile] klgaffney
Daily Toss for 06-23-2017. )

it's braver sometimes just to run

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:55 am
musesfool: Kermit the Frog (can't look clowns will eat me)
[personal profile] musesfool
Last night, we had dinner at Joanne's, the Lady Gaga family restaurant. The food was fine, but for the prices they charge, I expected at least two meatballs with my spaghetti and meatball dinner. To be fair, the one meatball was of decent size, but still, it's listed as spaghetti and meatballs on the menu so it's not ridiculous to expect there to be more than one meatball on the plate. I am just saying.

It's warm and clammy today, which is my second least favorite combination (cold and clammy is worse), but I'm looking forward to the weekend, as this week has seemed endless. It was so hard to get out bed. Sigh.

I did just get off the phone with 1. the realtor and then 2. the lawyer, so things are progressing there re: the negotiation of a slightly lower price due to the low appraisal (all thanks, apparently, to the fact that while the seller lists the apartment in Forest Hills, it actually exists in Rego Park which is one - slightly less expensive - neighborhood over. And if you are from Queens, you know what I mean). The question is whether this affects the lender in any way, but since the loan amount is the loan amount regardless, I'm not sure why it would? but what do I know? As per my lawyer's instructions, I am playing dumb (I mean, on this topic, despite all the info from Uncle Google, I actually am kind of dumb? so it's not hard! *hands*) The lawyer and mortgage broker are on top of that.

When I spoke to the realtor this morning, I was like, it's been a week since they received my application but I shouldn't expect to hear from them before the Fourth of July weekend? and he was like, "they don't like to disclose their schedule but I'll ask for an update," and then he just texted me to say that the board has received and is reviewing my application so EEP! That, more than the bank or the seller or the more normal processes of home-buying is what is freaking me out. I have more to say about this but probably not until it's all over, and even then, probably only in a locked post. Mostly what I want to say is EEP! At least I found my black dress (and my mom's pearls *snerk*) so I'm prepared!

I feel like I should have something fannish to say, and I'm sure I did before these phone calls all started happening, but I guess for right now, this househunting business is my main fandom. Sigh.

***
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[personal profile] bjornwilde posting in [community profile] ways_back_room
Is there some bit of canon or plot that you are ignoring as it is a stupid-assed decision?

Bonus question: I recently noticed my profile for a pup was woefully out of date and needed reworking. Post in with your pups and we'll review their profile and offer any suggestions we might have.

Prompt for 2017-06-23

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:28 pm
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[personal profile] sacredporn posting in [community profile] dailyprompt
Today's prompt is "a promise that I won't be able to keep".

What other Nicolls are up to

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:15 am
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My niece Ilia and nephew Jake are appearing here:

Read more... )

Religion and sexuality

Jun. 23rd, 2017 03:12 pm
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)
[personal profile] liv
Recently two special interest groups I'm second degree connected to have been involved in scandals around religious attitudes to homosexuality.

The leader of a tiny UK political party, the Liberal Democrats, resigned because
To be a political leader - especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 - and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching, has felt impossible for me.
And a tiny UK Jewish denomination, Orthodox-aligned Sephardim, are up in arms because R' Joseph Dweck taught something about homosexuality in Rabbinic sources and commented
I genuinely believe that the entire revolution of…homosexuality…I don’t think it is stable and well…but I think the revolution is a fantastic development for humanity.


This stuff is minor on the scale of things, but the media love the narrative of gay rights versus religious traditionalism. Anyway lots of my friends are religious Jews or Christians who are also gay or supportive of gay people and other gender and sexual minorities. So lots of my circle are exercised about one or both of the incidents.

opinions )

Ocelot

Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:01 pm
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[personal profile] guppiecat

Ocelot_1


“Folks on the Internet say that the end of the world is right around the corner, but I don’t see it.”




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Merci!

Jun. 23rd, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Have you heard of the Croquembouche [CROCK-you-EAM-butchy]? It's a French thing.

Well, if not, here's what it's supposed to look like:

So kinda like old, cobweb-wrapped monkey bread. But in a yummy way.

 

Well, a certain anonymous person - who shall remain unnamed to protect her anonymity - found this gem at a wedding which she may or may not have anonymously attended:

I believe her exact words were, "it looks like some kind of primitive jungle cake being attacked by a swarm of lactating spider-wasps."

Mmmm, lactating spider-wasps...

Well, uh, Jane D. [wink wink], thanks for putting a new spin on these things.

 

Note: I think it's important to ask yourself a couple of questions before commenting here on Cake Wrecks:
Question: Did Jen and john really intend to give us the pronunciation of a word?
Answer: No.
Question: Are Jen and john complete and total idiots?
Answer: No.
Question: Do they...
Answer: No.
Question: Would they...
Answer: No.
Question: What about...
Answer: No.
That is all.

 

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Those of us who have served time in conservative Christian youth groups recognize this theme from the many, many Why Wait lectures we heard. Your purity and innocence, the lecture always said, are the Greatest Gift that you can offer to your spouse on your wedding day. Setting aside the merits of this particular pitch for chastity, the strange thing here is finding that the inner monologue of jet-setting, secular, un-saved Buck Williams sounds like a True Love Waits seminar.
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Hello Captain,

My distant friend Sally and I went out to dinner and she started asking me about my past relationships. I’ve known Sally for over a decade and she’s never pried into my dating life. I told Sally I wasn’t interested in dating anyways as I am looking for a job and like to online date or meet people through work. She tried to reason me out of all of this which seemed troubling.

A couple weeks ago Sally had a birthday party. She had put the event on Facebook. After our dinner, Sally texted me that her friend John saw me on the invite list and became “interested” in me. She said he might hit on me at the party ( he did not show up). This made me uncomfortable as I hate flirting with strangers. It’s odd but I’ve never even flirted with someone who’s become my boyfriend.

I also don’t trust Sally’s judgment at all. To be blunt I’ve met her friends and they aren’t horrible but they’re the “I don’t suffer fools gladly” type.

John has also been asking Sally about me. He wants to know when I’ve found a job and want to meet him. I have never indicated I want to meet John. I’m refusing, there’s something odd about a person in their late twenties being this invested in someone because of their FB profile. I rarely if ever post on FB. He is also asking me out through my friend which seems manipulative.

Do you have script suggestions?

Thanks,

– No thanks stranger ( female pronouns)

Dear No Thanks, Stranger!

I do have script suggestions! And other suggestions!

Step 1: BLOCK that John dude from Facebook and then go ahead and find him on all social media platforms you use and preemptively block him there. Not unfollow, not unfriend, not “hide feed” – BLOCK. Also, consider temporarily changing publicly visible avatars to something other than your face, and locking down security/visibility of any photos of you that are out there. Make sure there is nothing out there to feed his fantasies.

If that seems mean or harsh or unfair, let’s remember: You’re not interested in him at all, you’re already vaguely creeped out by his attention, you are losing nothing from your life by cultivating your internet garden as you see fit. The way he’s monitoring you, asking for updates about your life, and trying to get Sally to set the stage for him but not talking to you directly is odd and he needs to stop it right now, so, help him out with that.

And if this is all projection/matchmaking by Sally, oops, you blocked a total stranger who doesn’t actually know who you are. Not a big deal at the end of the day.

Possible Reaction: John will get the message and leave you and the entire topic of you alone. Good news everyone! This Choose Your Own Adventure Story ends here!

Probable  Reaction: John will notice what you did immediately and he will contact Sally to see what happened. Sally will then ping you to talk about John and his Johnfeels of rejection. (If this happens, please keep reading Step 2)

Step 2: Tell Sally that the whole John thing made you really, really uncomfortable and you don’t want her to set you up for any more “hitting on” scenarios or act as your romantic go-between. Also you’d prefer to keep your information completely private where John is concerned, so, you’d appreciate it if she didn’t update him on your job search or your life or pass on requests from him.

Possible Reaction: Sally will say, “Oh wow, sorry for making you uncomfortable, I get it, don’t worry about a thing.” If this happens, keep enjoying whatever you enjoy about your “distant friendship” with Sally! Here endeth this Choose Your Own Adventure Tale! Yaaay!

Possible Reaction: Sally will be hurt that you didn’t appreciate her matchmaking efforts or feel bad for John and think you’re mean for rejecting him and she’ll double-down on John advocacy. If this happens, please continue reading Steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: Do not give Sally reasons for your rejection of John. “I prefer not to.” “I’m just not interested.” Don’t pick apart his actions or his undesirable qualities or give excuses about being busy – she’ll use whatever you say to convince you to “give him a chaaaaaaaance.”

Step 4: If Sally continues sharing your info with John and trying to play matchmaker in your life after you’ve said “no,” block Sally or, if you’re reluctant to do that after 10 years, put her in that Facebook-Jail thingy where she can’t see any of your posts for a good while.

If you miss Sally you can always dig up her number down the road (and get her a copy of Austen’s Emma for the next gifting holiday). If John wanted to ask you out he could have come to the party, had a normal conversation with you and said “Hey, want to grab a drink with me sometime?” without all the fanfare. He could have also asked Sally straight up for an introduction (and respected your resulting “no thanks” when and if it came). He could have sent you a friend request and a note that says “I’m a friend of Sally’s, I saw you on the invite list, mind if we connect here?” Even if he’d chosen a less creepy and roundabout method of getting in touch, you’re not interested, so, farewell, John, we hardly knew ye.

For those who like to matchmake (I sometimes like to matchmake, especially “you live in the same city and I think you’d make good friends” matchmaking), I recommend asking the people in advance, like, “Hey, I’d love to introduce you to a friend of mine who lives in your city/does what you do for a living/reminds me of you/keeps sending me the exact same Twin Peaks memes that you send, I think you’d really get along, would that be cool?” and then if it is cool with both people I make a quick introduction and then I get out of the middle of things – the people will either find their own conversation or they won’t. If it’s not cool, I drop the subject. The matchmaker’s ego and investment in the outcome < the interest and wishes of the matchmakees.


PSA

Jun. 23rd, 2017 02:35 pm
lost_spook: (Default)
[personal profile] lost_spook
I'm still tired from yesterday, but a head's up (via a genealogy news feed I follow) in case it's of any use to other people:

Find My Past (one of the big online genealogy sites for the UK) are allowing free access to their main UK collections till 26th June. (No strings attached for this one, not even fake-orders to get it; only registering if you haven't already.)

Some more details & instructions on the site's blog: https://blog.findmypast.com/free-british-irish-records-2445715211.html


*skuttles off to collapse somewhere again*

impractical arrests

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:53 am
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
There was a "die-in" outside of Mitch McConnell's office yesterday, organized by the disability rights group ADAPT.
http://adapt.org/
I don't know the rules about being in hallways outside of Senators' offices, but the building belongs to all of us, so it seems to me that people should be welcome to protest. Not,apparently, or at least not to the extent of taking up all the space in the hall, which may be the relevant aspect of it. Forty were arrested, and many people were dragged away by police, as is traditional in protest arrests. What seemed nonsensical to me is that many of the protesters were lifted out of their wheelchairs and awkwardly carried away. There are videos available online. In addition to being dangerous, how is it practical? What are they going to do when they get to the police officer station - have officers keep carrying them around? There was some video footage of people with electric scooters being pushed in the scooter, but many were taken from their various chairs. Why didn't the police just, I don't know, take the wheelchair with the person in it? Some of those chairs cost thousands of dollars and are custom made - separating the user from the chair makes no sense to me.
dreamwriteremmy: Alexis Bledel, a brunette smiling sitting on a bench (DreamWriter - Alexis Bledel on a bench)
[personal profile] dreamwriteremmy
Wed Dec 21st: How will you know you're successful? (Gwynne Michele's FB post)

When I feel accomplished and proud. When I see things completed. When I'm getting attention for what I do. When I feel in love with what I'm doing.

December Blogging Meme Masterpost (LJ)

An Adventure, Chapter 2

Jun. 23rd, 2017 09:07 am
aldersprig: (Aldersprig Leaves Raining)
[personal profile] aldersprig
Chapter One: http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1334158.html

The darkness inside was disorienting. She looked in, and could see nothing; it was as if no light at all passed through the doorway, not even the creepy red illumination.

She couldn’t turn back now; her fingerprints were on the doorknob. Oxana stepped through, feeling carefully with one foot on the floor and holding her hands in front of her.

The floor felt rough under her feet but level, and nothing met her hands. She took careful step after careful step, reaching out to either side, feeling in front of her, wondering once again was this a good idea?

The answer appeared to be no, but here she was anyway. Her head hurt, probably from the pressure changes down here, and the air tasted damp and stale, like the door hadn’t been open in a long time. Since 1920? she wondered. Or just a few years ago? Was it safe to breathe? There were all sorts of stories about why the dorm had been closed off, after all. She couldn’t remember if one of them had been about gas, or bad air, or carbon monoxide, or anything.
Read more... )




There is an Underschool Pinterest board! Here - https://www.pinterest.com/aldersprig/underschool/

Want More?
spiralsheep: Einstein writing Time / Space OTP on a blackboard (fridgepunk Time / Space OTP)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Women in engineering and Cornish Black history: I've mentioned Black people in Kernow (Cornwall) before, such as musician and composer Joseph Emidy, and y'all know my passion for engineering, so here's a combination of both. While in Penwith I visited the excellent Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno and was lucky enough to have a guide who used to work there when it was a telecommunications engineering college for Cable and Wireless (back when the people of the UK all owned a share in that successful nationalised international business). My volunteer museum guide was Black. I only mention this because it's likely that if I didn't then most readers would assume otherwise.

Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973, was the first woman engineering student at this Cable and Wireless college.

Engineer Oluyemisi Ojo from Nigeria, Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1973

Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga, in Porthcurno, Cornwall, during the 1980s.

Engineering students from Vanuatu, Qatar, and Tonga in Porthcurno, Cornwall, 1980s

One more small image, and three book reviews. )

• [...]
four steps forward and three back, and yet nothing
remains the same, for the mountains are piled up
and worn down, for the rivers eat into the stone
and the fields blow away and the sea makes sand
[...]

The Big Idea: Laura Lam

Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:47 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Big Ideas are great for a book (I mean, that’s kind of the whole point of the “Big Idea” pieces). But as Laura Lam explains about her novel Shattered Minds, sometimes the Big Idea is just the jumping off point.

LAURA LAM:

Sometimes you get the big idea for the story. Sometimes that’s not enough, even when you’ve written the damn thing.

My first idea excited me and got that fire of creativity going. I wanted to play with the Dexter notion—the serial killer who feels conflicted about it. A character who loves killing in rather inventive ways, who thrives off violence, but has enough of a glimmer of a conscious to want to change. A serial killer who doesn’t want to kill innocents is sort of like a vampire who doesn’t want to drink human blood—can they suppress that thirst or will they succumb? We as humans love staring into that darkness. It’s why we read about serial killers, about mythological creatures who prey on humans, or it’s why we watch horror. Carina, the protagonist of Shattered Minds, is a serial killer who becomes deliberately addicted to a dream drug called Zeal so she’s only killing people in her imagination.

The first big idea: serial killer lost in dream drugs. I knew this book would be more violent than my other work and have some cool, trippy dream sequences. I also wanted to build on the world I created in False Hearts, which came out last year (the Pacifica novels are a series of standalones set on the West Coast of the formerly United States). This book is set in Los Angeles instead of San Francisco. The series blends psychological thriller and near future tech, with a big nod at 80s and 90s cyberpunk. Shattered Minds has hover cars, floating skyscrapers and mansions, bright moving ads against the sides of buildings. People can change their appearance at will thanks to flesh parlours. Moving tattoos are etched on their skin, and their eyes might glimmer in the dark from extra implants. Pacifica is a shiny ecotopia that’s an ugly dystopia once you scratch the surface.

I wrote Shattered Minds, and the plot worked, for the most part. Carina scared me, but not quite as much as the villain, Roz (if you watch Orphan Black, Rachel is a big inspiration for her). I did a lot of research on serial killers, especially female ones, and neuroscience, hacking, corporate espionage, and more. But something was missing. All the pieces were there, made sense, but it was just . . . lacking. The puzzle pieces had the right images but they weren’t slotting together. And that was terrifying. This was going to be my fifth published book. Shouldn’t I have a better handle on this by now? I’d put in all this work, and I could tell something was wrong. This is where good editors are worth their weight in gold. Together, we found the second big idea to bring the project back to life.

It became a Frankenstein retelling. I struck the thing with lightning, basically (har, har). In the first draft, Carina was a serial killer just because . . . she was. There wasn’t much explanation or reason. No purpose (to use the most overused word said in lectures on the MA in Creative Writing I help teach at Napier in Edinburgh). In the next draft, Roz experimented on Carina when she was a teen, reprogramming her brain to be cool and collected—the perfect unbiased scientist, unbothered by things like empathy or ethics. (Note: this isn’t a spoiler—you find all this out in chapter three after the third murder in a row). However, Roz’s experiment went wrong. Carina started feeling things again, with the side effect of her also wanting to kill everything around her. Now Roz has a much stronger reason to want to take down Carina rather than just greed. Carina is the broken experiment that much be eradicated. The one who got under her skin. The one she couldn’t let go.

The next draft just worked. I loved editing Shattered Minds as much as I had hated writing the first draft. Scenes slotted into place, Carina and Roz finally worked, circling each other like sharks. It was glorious fun to make my dark, bloody book even darker and more twisted.

Sometimes, maybe a book needs more than one big idea. More than just “what if” question. Maybe something is missing in the first draft and you just need to add a little lightning to revitalise the corpse.

—-

Shattered Minds: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.


Butterflies!

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:52 am
shadowycat: (Butterfly)
[personal profile] shadowycat posting in [community profile] common_nature
When I was at the botanical garden, I went into the glasshouse this time to look at the butterflies. I must have timed it right near a release because there were butterflies galore. One rested in my hair for awhile, and I got one to sit on my hand, too. I wanted to share a few of the pictures I took. I hope you like them! :D

 photo DSCN2022_zpsmbvtiu4n.jpg

More butterflies )

Weekend To Do

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:34 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
1. Write and submit PW review. Probably Sunday, so I can work in the library near where I'm attending a concert that night.

2. Rest strained/pulled muscle (possibly hip abductor) whatever it is so it gets better.

3. Venture out for concerts Saturday and Sunday nights.

4. Laundry? If my muscle is better. It is raining a lot this weekend, so I might not want to trek to the laundromat for that.

5. Try not to be too frustrated with my injury.
rfmcdonald: (Default)
[personal profile] rfmcdonald
Yesterday morning before work, I ventured over to the rooftop patio of the Yonge Eglinton Centre. The views that it offers of midtown Toronto from three stories up are lovely, but I like the park itself, a green space surrounded by the towers of the YEC.

Greenery on the roof (1)


Greenery on the roof (2)


Looking north


Looking up


Greenery on the roof (3)

I'd rather sleep

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:06 am
elanya: Pensive pony (Default)
[personal profile] elanya
Yesterday when I realized at almost midnight that I hadn't made a daily Post, my reaction was as above. It still is this morning, if I'm being honest, but is no longer an option. So instead, I'm bundled up in my rain gear on the bus towards work. I don't have any cash, so before I go buy strawberries I need to go to Loblaws and buy something to get some cash back. At least a chocolate croissant, probably a fruit smoothie, and maybe some tea, since I haven't had and today and my work stash is empty of caffeinated kinds. Then market strawberries, the other bus to work. I need to do better there, and be more self driven. I have plans and ideas, I just need to follow through

Definitely caffeine first, though.

Interesting Links for 23-06-2017

Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
[personal profile] nanila
I’ll never understand the pride people take in saying, “I was born and bred here” or the use of the same phrase to defend one’s perceived superiority or deservingness of housing, health care or other basic human rights.

I mean, what did you, yourself, actually do to influence where you were born or bred? Unless you were a particularly ambitious embryo, the answer is “nothing”. Sure, your parents might have made some kind of effort to select your place of birth. Maybe they strove to move to better housing in a neighbourhood with better services and schools. Maybe they’re even immigrants, like my dad, and they struggled long and hard to learn their fourth language in order to integrate into their adopted country. But you? You didn’t do anything. Why are you so proud of that? Think of the things you've accomplished in your life. Isn't it far more fitting and fulfilling to be proud of those?

And why the obsession with asserting the superiority of a single identity over the others? “I’m English first and then British.” Pro-tip: Most of the rest of the world considers both of those to be synonymous with “ex-colonialist imperialist arsehole” so it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. ^.^

Here is a list of the geographically-linked identities that I consider myself able to lay claim to. I’m proud of some and not others.

  • American
  • British
  • European
  • Hawai’ian
  • Filipino
  • Olympian
  • Seattleite
  • Angeleno
  • San Diegan
  • Londoner
  • Brummie (this is a new one; still feels a little odd)


Today, I think I’m proudest of being European. I earned that identity and that passport, and I’m still very pissed off that some people want to take it away.

Today is also, weirdly, simultaneously:

  • the anniversary of Brexit, aka the Colossal Waste of Time and Money Foisted Upon Us by a Generation That Tore Down Decades of Painstakingly Won Goodwill with Our Neighbours and Won’t Live to Experience the Disastrous Consequences, Thanks a Lot, Dickheads.

    And

  • International Women in Engineering Day


So, to close this post, here is a peaceful photo of a woman doing some engineering.

Scientist at work

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