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Jul. 26th, 2014 04:01 am
gwydion: (Derringer)
[personal profile] gwydion
* US Fighter jets escorted a Canadian plane back to Toronto after a passenger made a bomb threat. No one was harmed, the man is in custody, and the passengers were moved to another plane and sent on there way. It is sounding like a case of mental illness rather than terrorism.

* It has been confirmed that the Russian military has been firing across the border into the Ukraine as the Ukrainians have been claiming all month.

* Congressional Republicans are so lazy and opposed to the whole idea of doing their job, that 1/4 of our embassies have no ambassador because they insist their goal of thwarting the President for petty partisan gain trumps all other considerations, including sending an Ambassador to Russia. When they scream about how upset they are about events in Ukraine, they are lying. If they did care, they wouldn't be harming our ability to do anything by refusing to even consider appointing an ambassador.

* Five Palestinians were killed in the latest protests in Gaza. A twelve hour humanitarian truce was on as of this writing, but there is little hope of longer.
supergee: (platypus)
[personal profile] supergee
Charles Pierce returns to the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver:
One must never forget when discussing anything Paul Ryan says about economics that he fundamentally does not believe that the care of the poor and the sick is a legitimate function of government. This belief is theological. It is the basis for his entire political career. And it has not changed. This is a philosophy he developed while going to high school and college on my dime and yours through Social Security survivor benefits, and you're welcome again, dickhead. Anybody who thinks Paul Ryan has "changed" in any substantive way should not be allowed out in public without a minder. In this recent scam, the tells are scattered everywhere, and they are obvious, and you don't even have to know that the more "compassionate" of his proposals don't have fk all chance of getting through the monkeyhouse Congress in which he is a leader. He knows that, too.

a day or something

Jul. 26th, 2014 02:42 am
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Meeting happened, reasonably well attended. The gesticulating project manager complimented us on our organization skills as I passed around the pens & post-its.

PayPal saga may have concluded. The things I do for the complicated accessibility situation.

Purple was out of the office today.

My dad called as I was packing up for the day. I told him about the helpdesk occurrence. He quite sharply said that he had been taught that when a woman says stop, you stop.

Nora and I plotted vigorously. A character named possibly Fred (Phredd?) occurred. Plus his genderfluid fabulous government employee partner. Meet-cute being arrested (and not) for gender-biased, cissentialist, bureaucratic, and petty, notions of indecent exposure. Read more... )

A quick note on mobility

Jul. 26th, 2014 10:19 am
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
[personal profile] kaberett
Over the course of this DLA application, I have over and over again caught myself thinking oh, but my walking is so much better than it was last time I applied, what do?!

And the answer is: actually, that assertion's bullshit on at least two counts. Namely:

(1) none of my DLA award was for my physical mobility impairments
(2) the reason my walking appears to be so much better is that I have a wheelchair. This means I'm not walking (so much) even when I really shouldn't be, which means I'm less tired & more capable on "good" days.

In conclusion: mobility aids are great, and I still need to write the essay about how I got over myself enough to start using them.

If only...

Jul. 26th, 2014 12:21 am
dragovianknight: A small kitten draped in green yarn (Default)
[personal profile] dragovianknight
...the mere act of installing Scrivener and Liquid Story Binder would inspire me to actually WRITE.

(I have the itchy creative brain/no inspiration combo that often precedes me flinging myself bodily into a new fandom. Unfortunately, there's not one damn thing I'm feeling fannish about right this minute, so instead I will go farm leather and crab meat along the Pandaren coastline.)

Edit: And then I was ridiculously pleased to finally track down, after YEARS of not being able to remember anything but the title and the most sketchy details of plot, Godsfire (This was the cover it had when I read it. I remembered said cover completely wrong, except for the part where there were cats. Now I wonder where the hell my mental image of a vaguely Egyptian-esque cat lady reclining on a throne came from.)

(no subject)

Jul. 26th, 2014 02:31 pm
splodgenoodles: (Default)
[personal profile] splodgenoodles
At the risk of sounding like a bad person for actually contemplating the fact that Tiger won't live forever and that after she's gone I will look for another cat, I'd just like to point out that good cat ownership involves thinking ahead.

By this I mean that my next cat will be bathed every so often. Unless it's already so set in its ways that it will take my arm off if I try.

But seriously, if a cat can learn that being gently wiped down with warm water isn't a bad thing, it's going to have a much happier old age.
[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Asking about birth control coverage when interviewing with faith-based organizations

I’m a young nonprofit professional with interest in working for a variety of faith-based organizations. Given all the current controversy extending even beyond the nonprofit field, it’s recently hit home for me that in the near future, I may very well in interested in taking a job at an organization whose employee health insurance does not cover contraceptives. I would never want to work for such an organization as it is clear that their mission and entire organizational culture is opposite of my own beliefs.

Normally, I would never bring up the specifics of employee benefits until after an offer has been given, but this issue seems to have a totally different foundation. I wouldn’t want to waste either of our time by going through an entire interview process only to reject the offer for these personal reasons. Is there any way to bring this up tactfully earlier in the process?

Probably not. Asking about details of benefits usually doesn’t go over well until you’re at the offer stage (or close to it). I suppose you could frame it as inquiring how they’re responding to the controversy on the issue, which might get you some information, but which may or may not feel relevant, depending on the specific organization you’re talking to.

But you can certainly ask at the offer stage. And if you discover an organization isn’t covering birth control, you can certainly make it very clear that you consider that unacceptable and that that’s why you’re turning down the offer.

2. How should I point out that my coworker plagiarized?

I realized that a staff writer has plagiarized one of their pieces from an earlier work by a another university staff member. There’s no attribution to the original piece, and the staff writer’s piece is essentially a shortened and partially rephrased version of the original piece. It’s the exact kind of plagiarism I constantly work against at my job (I’m a writing tutor). I have never met this person, and may never meet them, as they work at the main campus in another state. Typically when I email someone at the university campus, I don’t get much of a response. Should I email the staff writer asking her to at least credit the original source? Is it appropriate to bring it up to anyone else?

I’d email the writer and cc her manager, saying something like, “I noticed that this piece appears to have been pulled from ____ but doesn’t have attribution. Wanted to give you a heads-up that it’s missing the original source.” Cc’ing her manager may seem like overkill, but plagiarism is a big enough deal (and in an university environment, your coworker can hardly be oblivious to that) that it’s reasonable to make sure that someone other than her knows that it happened.

3. My job offer was revoked over my availability

I am a college student who just accepted a new part time job nearby campus that I am really excited about. I signed an employment offer form and am days away from orientation. I have given my two weeks notice at my previous job as well. I just was asked today about my availability. I sent them an email containing my availability, which includes a week and a half time I cannot work because of a school extra curricular commitment that I cannot get out of. I had mentioned this week long commitment during my job interview and I was assured it would not be a problem. Following my email I received a phone call saying that they are not going to give my any hours for the rest of the summer because of my unavailability and that I can apply again when my availability opens up.

Are they even allowed to do that? I had already been offered the job and had quit my other job because I really need the job. I have plenty of availability for the week before my commitment to do all the training they need me to do, the only problem seems to be the week I cannot work. After that week school will start and my availability will be even more limited, so I don’t even know if they would take me if I applied after. I am overly qualified for the position and have 2 years of previous experience working at the same company back home. I am not sure how to approach this whole situation.

Yes, they’re allowed to do that, but it’s crappy. I’d try calling the person who hired you and pleading your case — point out that you’ve already quit your job because you thought you had an agreement with them and that you were clear about your availability in your interview. Ask them to reconsider since you’re now in a difficult spot as you’ve already resigned your current job (stress that part, because it should make them feel ridiculous for doing this).

4. Getting a vacation time bump when you negotiated extra vacation time earlier

My husband started at his current company 5 years ago. When he started, he negotiated a starting salary, benefits, and vacation package of a senior employee. The company put him at the 5-year mark with respect to vacation – or 3 weeks of paid time. However he recently realized he may not be bumping up to the next level of paid vacation. While all the 10-year employees will get 4 weeks, he believes he will still get 3. He hasn’t confirmed this with his manager or with HR though.

Because he technically only has 5 years with the company, he is unsure if he should speak with his manager about moving up to the 10-year mark for vacation. At the same time he doesn’t feel that waiting another 5 years at this company for the additional vacation is something he wants to do at this point in his career. The company also allows no unpaid time off, so scheduling longer family vacations has been tricky as our children get older. Should he raise this topic in advance of the yearly review cycle in 2015 in order to give his manager time to review any options with HR? What would be the best way to approach this with his manager or HR?

Yes, he should absolutely raise this — maybe a month or two ahead of the review cycle. This isn’t something that should take major advance notice to implement (it should be a simple adjustment if everyone is agreed, which they should be), but if he wants it to kick in at that point, it’s reasonable to raise it before then.

5. Citing experience moving around because of a parent’s job

I grew up moving from one place to another because of my dad’s job (US, Singapore, England). Is there a way to use this experience(s) in answering interview questions or use to stand out/grab attention during my job searches and interviews?

Probably not. Experience with other cultures and the ability to quickly adapt to new contexts are both useful things, but that’s trumped by the fact that citing experiences from childhood and adolescence generally doesn’t come across well in a hiring process — unless it comes up organically in conversation with your interviewer. It’s not something that’s likely to be a differentiator; it might just be an interesting point in conversation. I’d construct your candidacy around what you’ve achieved, far more than where you’ve lived.

"Go kitty go!"

Jul. 25th, 2014 10:40 pm
rosefox: A black cat happily hugs a denim bolster (cat)
[personal profile] rosefox
Kitty micturition TMI--all good news )

Other than that, it's been a very lovely day. My mother came over for lunch and was thrilled by the new place and impressed by our kitchen layout and equipment. Always nice when an FCI-trained chef is happy to cook in your kitchen. :) After she left, X came home early from work and I sobbed all over them for about an hour--going to the vet's office is very hard on me, plus it's just generally been a rough week--and then wiped my face and declared myself done with crying. We spent the rest of the evening snuggling and knitting and attempting to make gluten-free bread in the bread machine (the dough was too wet, so it overflowed and scorched on the heating element; I'm letting it dry out overnight in hopes of that making it easier to clean up, since right now it's basically yeasty glue).

Pre-pregnancy things have shifted X's sleep schedule around a lot. We used to have tea five nights a week from ~10 to ~midnight, but now they're exhausted and ready for bed by 10 or 10:30. This is our first time trying a weeknight date, on the theory that one long date a week could replace shorter but more frequent teatimes. I had been very very reluctant to delete the "time for tea!" alarm from my phone because it felt like such a loss, but if all our dates are as good as this one was, I'll feel a lot better about the change.

Magic Pond in the Everfree

Jul. 25th, 2014 10:36 pm
frith: Yellow cartoon pony with pink mane, blue eyes (FIM Fluttershy head)
[personal profile] frith posting in [community profile] ponyville_trot

It's July 25th, this community is three years old and still trotting.

On con running

Jul. 25th, 2014 10:18 pm
feuervogel: photo of the statue of Victory and her chariot on the Brandenburg Gate (Default)
[personal profile] feuervogel
With the DashCon fiasco fresh in people's minds, I made a tumblr post on what you need to think about before you decide to run a convention.

Some of it I learned the hard way, but I didn't tell them that.

Fest: Genfic Exchange

Jul. 25th, 2014 09:08 pm
argentum_ls: Scott McCall (Default)
[personal profile] argentum_ls


Jul. 25th, 2014 09:37 pm
kayre: (Default)
[personal profile] kayre
I was waiting in line for a haircut this morning. I had already turned my phone down, so after a bit I checked it, and there was a voicemail message from my contact at Just Right Presby. There was still someone ahead of me so I slipped out and returned his call. After the opening greetings, he said "I'd like to offer you a job!" I said "oh, please do!" and he laid out the details-- about 20% more than I'm making now, 5 Sundays off per year. I accepted on the spot, having already decided that this was best for me and my family.

Things that make me especially happy:

Being a Presbyterian again, after 30 years a Methodist and nearly 6 years serving Lutherans.
A genuine choir, a dozen folk capable of singing in 4 parts, even willing to attempt a cappella.
12 hours later, I've gotten 'hello' emails from the pastor and 2 committee heads.
The title is Minister of Music-- a title I've actually never held.

I've emailed Too Big Lutheran telling them I'm withdrawing my application, and phoned Too Small Methodist. That was hard; they don't have another candidate, and there's a lot I found appealing about them. In fact, I even said that if there's any way I can help with some of the outreach ideas Rev. P. has without stepping on the toes of whoever they hire, I would love to do so.


Jul. 26th, 2014 02:12 am
sophie: A cartoon-like representation of a girl standing on a hill, with brown hair, blue eyes, a flowery top, and blue skirt. ☀ (Default)
[personal profile] sophie
I'm living with my parents again.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. :/

brain dead on Friday

Jul. 25th, 2014 07:25 pm
miintikwa: a Stephanie Roberts painting made into an icon with a pretty redheaded girl (Default)
[personal profile] miintikwa
I have been sick all day. Anytime I try to eat anything, I get viciously nauseated. This morning's yogurt didn't stay down, but the soup for lunch and chicken for dinner did, thank goodness.

I am hoping it's just the higher levels of pain causing it, and that it'll chill once this flare goes away. Feh. Stupid body, can't I trade it in for a cyborg one yet?

Anyway. I did a third interview yesterday, and hopefully I'll get the link for that soon. I contacted a friend and did some brainstorming about my LJI entry, and hopefully that will create an entry in my brain so I don't get kicked out by default in 2 days. C and I are planning on working on my new website this weekend, and if we get enough done it might be live Monday.

For now, I'm going to run offline to try and write this LJIdol entry. Fingers crossed.


Jul. 25th, 2014 07:41 pm
supergee: (noose)
[personal profile] supergee
A graphic graphic. The young & impressionable should be protected from this stuff.

Still alive

Jul. 25th, 2014 04:37 pm
ysobel: (Default)
[personal profile] ysobel
...just don't have a whole lot to say.

and my elbow and wrist are both being crunchypainful. using the mouse hurts. so does crocheting. and driving my chair. sulk.

(see, this is why I don't post. all I have is whines about my physical condition, and that's interesting to pretty much nobody)

I'm okay (but my car isn't)

Jul. 25th, 2014 06:58 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Last weekend I tried to get my car inspected, but the gas station 'round the corner discovered that the hood wouldn't open. So this week I brought it to my dealership for a diagnosis, they ordered the necessary parts, and today I left it there and took their shuttle down to work. At lunchtime they called to say it was ready, and I took a cab up.

I picked up my car, left the dealership to run an errand and then head back to work, and then two businesses away from my dealership, *bam* suddenly there's a big pickup truck smashed into the driver's side of the front of my car.

That road is two lanes in each direction plus a turning lane, you see, and I was in the outside lane. The person on my left, in the inside lane, waved the pickup across to turn into the Wendy's (at least that's what the pickup driver said, and it does make sense), but the pickup driver didn't see me in the next lane over.

I'm fine—it was a low-speed collision since the pickup driver was starting from a stop and I wasn't going that fast because there was traffic on the road. No airbag deployment, no bruises, though I'm feeling a bit achy (this is doubtless exacerbated by the stress). Hell of an adrenaline comedown, though.

After the police came to fill out an accident report, I managed to get my car back down the street to my dealer's—just barely, as it turns out, because when the people at the dealership started it up again to put it where they needed it, they had a lot of trouble keeping it running. (The pickup driver followed me to make sure I got there okay. They were driving a work vehicle and I hope they don't get in too much trouble solely over this—they made a mistake, no question, but for me it's a very "there but for the grace of something" kind of mistake, and they were very polite to me.) And hey, at least I didn't need a tow since I was so close . . . though you bet I regret the money spent on the hood, now.

So it's in the hands of the insurance companies, now. I strongly suspect it's going to be totaled, because it's a 2003 Prius with 138,000 miles on it, and, well, take a look:

my poor smashed car )

I'm honestly a little bummed at the prospect. We've been putting money away for a new car, because mine's old and Chad's has had persistent electrical problems, so financially we'll be okay, but darn it, I was hoping to get at least 150K out of it just to say I had, you know? It's my first car, it fits me like a glove, and I think it probably could've gone for considerably longer if it weren't for this.

Anyway. If it's fixable, great, and if it's not, then I'll get a shiny Prius C out of it.
[syndicated profile] unshelved_feed

Posted by Bill Barnes

This week's book recommendations from the creators of Unshelved and their friends. Learn who we are, how we pick books, and other books we've featured.

Amazon | Powell's

Learn to Program: Second Edition by Chris Pine

Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2009. 9781934356364.

Link to this review by billba tagged nonfiction

Unshelved strip for 7/25/2014

@bookblrb: A thorough but lighthearted approach to learning programming using the language Ruby.

Amazon | Powell's

Diamond Boy by Michael Williams

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2014. 9780316320696.

Link to this review by flemtastic tagged coming of age

Henpecked by his wife to get a better job after the school where he worked closes, Joseph takes his family from one part of Zimbabwe to another, from the comparatively safe city of Bulawayo to a relative's house near the diamond fields of Marange. His son Patson is eager for the change, but realizes it is not everything it was supposed to be when a taxi driver refuses to take them there because it is too dangerous. Dumped off with their luggage in the middle of the road by the frightened driver, they meet a smuggler, Boubacar, who is able to spirit them to their relative through the land mines, crooks, and armed groups. Then the real trouble starts.The fields in Marange have diamonds deposited near the surface, in the dirt, as opposed to huge, underground mines. Thousands of people sift the dirt for small alluvial diamonds, trying to find large girazi, raw diamonds each worth enough to live on for several years. Mining was bad enough, but then the Zimbabwean army takes over and things quickly get even worse.

Why I picked it up: I read Williams’s book Now is the Time for Running years ago. It was gritty, realistic, historical fiction about a boy and his mentally handicapped little brother fleeing violence in Zimbabwe.

Why I finished it: Williams links this book to Now is the Time for Running by having characters from each cross paths as they are waiting to escape over a river into South Africa. If smugglers can help them make it past the wild animals and soldiers, they can each pursue a peaceful life. It is natural, organic, and a great addition to the book.

Williams has Patson go through quite a rough patch without ever becoming maudlin. I was completely captivated by Patson's hunt for his sister and his relationship with Boubacar. Physically scarred and muscular, Boubacar does not seem like he is the kind of man who will help, but he sees something in Patson that reminds him of his own rough childhood. He is a teddy bear who vows to help Patson get his sister back from the smuggler who has kidnapped her.

There is also a historical note at the end that explains the alluvial diamond fields in Zimbabwe, and the army's interest in using the money and people there to further their goals. At the high point of the Marange fields, there were 35,000 people working. Sure to be caught during the day, groups of bedraggled kids and adults sifted the dirt at night for diamonds when they could not be seen by security officers.

It's perfect for: My young friend Rachel. She has a social conscience and is always trying to inform herself about how she can help improve bad situations around the world. I am sure she is already up on blood diamonds, but this is Zimbabwe, not Sierra Leone. She will appreciate seeing how Patson not only tries to survive, but also tries to help others.

@bookblrb: Patson relocates to the diamond fields of Marange, Zimbabwe, with his family, but it’s very dangerous.

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

Viking, 2014. 9781101633533.

The stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy.? ?Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.? ?The Magician’s Land is an intricate thriller, a fantastical epic, and an epic of love and redemption that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnificent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.

Praise for The Magician King: ?

“Grossman expands his magical world into a boundless enchanted universe, and his lively characters navigate it with aplomb.” —The New Yorker

“The Catcher in the Rye for devotees of alternate universes . . . A rare, strange, and scintillating novel.” —Chicago Tribune

Sponsored - Learn more about this book - How to sponsor Unshelved

Amazon | Powell's

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Delacorte, 2014. 9780385736800.

Link to this review by danritchie tagged coming of agescience fiction

Prenna is a Traveler. She came to April, 2010, from the late 2090’s, along with several hundred others from a hellish future where humanity is doomed by a blood plague. (An earth too warm and wet had spawned hordes of mosquitos that spread the virus that doomed mankind.) The Travelers live in small groups throughout the northeastern U.S. They are controlled by an overbearing group called the Leaders that requires them to live by strict rules and watches over them via glasses they all wear because their eyes were damaged by time travel. No one knows of these emigrants except for Ethan, a young man who witnessed Prenna's appearance near a remote creek where he was fishing.

Four years later, Prenna is in love with Ethan, even though she is not allowed to be intimate with a time native. Ethan understands Prenna’s dilemma and never demands more from her than she can give. When an elderly homeless man befriends them, he begins sharing details about the future that no one should know. Then, after he is attacked in front of Prenna and shares a secret of great importance for the future, Prenna and Ethan set out to stop the events which lead to the blood plague.

Why I picked it up: I read Brashares Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and was taken by her insight into young adults and her beautiful writing. 

Why I finished it: Prenna's and Ethan’s evolving relationship is amazing. He is the only person who knows what she is and the immense risk she is taking in trying to alter the future. Initially captured and isolated by the Leaders as a threat to their autonomy, she is freed by Ethan. Using newspapers and other information left by the homeless man as he died, the two have only days to change the course of events which lead to the future that Prenna and the Travelers escaped.

It's perfect for: Cynthia, who loves time travel and also is deeply interested in global warming and its ramifications. She will find Brashares's vision of the future believable, and will enjoy the delight Prenna experiences in the everyday things that were lost in the future: flowers sprouting in the spring, birds singing, and walking around free of mosquito netting.

@bookblrb: Prenna and the other Travelers come from a hellish future where humanity is doomed. Then she falls in love.

Amazon | Powell's

The Sister Season by Jennifer Scott

Penguin, 2013. 9780451418814.

Link to this review by emilyreads tagged literary

The three Yancey sisters are coming home to their Missouri farm for Christmas to bury their abusive old bastard of a father, and nobody’s happy about it. The eldest, Julia, leaves her professor husband at home in hopes of bonding with her sullen teenage son after his suicide attempt. Middle sister Maya brings her kids and philandering husband, Bradley, to her own chagrin and that of youngest sister Claire, who supposedly slept with Bradley ten years prior. Mom Elise gamely holds out hope that old wounds can heal, but things don’t look good. It’ll take a week of awkward confrontations and one near tragedy to shake off the decades’ worth of hurt all four Yancey women have suffered.

Why I picked it up: I have a sister, grew up in the Midwest, and enjoy family dramas. This seemed like a good fit.

Why I finished it: It became clear early on that this was a Lifetime Original Movie in book form, and I can’t resist those.

It's perfect for: This has wine book club written all over it: unexpressed emotions, the endless quest for unattainable “perfection” as a wife and mother, a Bechdel-test-passing plot, and a few adorable kids to boot.

@bookblrb: The three Yancey sisters' families come together for Christmas to try to shake off decades' worth of hurt.

Amazon | Powell's

Coaltown Jesus by Ron Koertge

Candlewick Press, 2013. 9780763662288.

Link to this review by darcy tagged coming of agepoetry

Walker has had a hard time since his brother Noah died. The two shared a bedroom, and it’s difficult to see an empty bed every night.

After he prays to God to help his mother cope, Walker is surprised to find Jesus in his bedroom the next day. Even more surprising is how irreverent and sarcastic Jesus can be.

Why I picked it up: I'm not normally one to pick up books about Jesus, but I love novels in verse and I was intrigued by the title.

Why I finished it: From the first moment that Jesus arrived I was hooked by his honesty and sarcasm. "I would have been here sooner," he said, "but traffic on I-55 was awful." Walker's trying to adjust to a new life without his brother but it isn't easy. Koertge's portrayal of a Jesus who sets boundaries with Walker kept me coming back: ”You know what, Walker? I think I'll come back when you're in a better mood.” Extra points to Koertge for working in the Jesus action figure.

It's perfect for: Chris from my early Sunday school years. He would often interrupt lessons to ask our teacher if Jesus really looked like the white, long-haired hippie in the paintings in the church basement. Chris now hopes that Jesus is getting as bald as he is. I know that'd he'd love the part where Jesus tosses back his mane of hair and talks about how much he likes it, and that he could never go bald like Buddha.

@bookblrb: After Walker prays to God to help his mother, he finds an irreverent and sarcastic Jesus in his room.

Amazon | Powell's

The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien

Roaring Brook, 2014. 9781596439382.

Link to this review by flemtastic tagged coming of age

Rosie Sinclair is one of the lucky girls at the Forge School. If she can keep up her popularity rate (viewer interest in her on the reality show about the high school), she will make it past the culling and get to spend the entire year at the school. But competition is tough, and to move up she will have to create some compelling drama. Her growing relationship with the hunky, hot dishwasher, Linus, promises to help.

Given to storing her sleeping pills in her cheek and roaming at night, Rosie is awake at odd hours and sees something she is not supposed to. Girls in her dorm are being wheeled away while asleep, and returned to bed with needle marks on their arms. When she checks her arm, she has a mark, too. Dean Berg is up to something, and Rosie dedicates her research project to finding and proving what’s going on. But the Dean is on to her, and she must be careful for both Linus' safety and her own.

Why I picked it up: Caragh O'Brien wrote a popular dystopian series called Birthmarked. She is adept at creating a world that is very different from ours, yet seems very realistic.

Why I finished it: It was a compelling mystery and reality TV show concept rolled into one. It was high-tech enough to be plausible, dangerous enough with all the snooping around and surreptitious video-taping to be suspenseful, and romantic enough with Linus and Rosie's growing attraction to each other that I was propelled forward in reading it. I liked how Rosie made her project for class to record ghostly activity, which allowed her to install video cameras around campus so she could monitor the Dean.

It's perfect for: Jennifer, an eighth grader at my school who likes romance novels. Linus' willingness to sacrifice his health, job, and freedom to help Rosie, even though he has not seen actual physical proof of her accusations about the Dean, will win over Jennifer’s heart. Jennifer will also love a sultry kiss with Linus that may or may not be staged for the cameras.

@bookblrb: Rose tries to keep her popularity up so that she can spend the year on the reality TV show shot at her high school.

Amazon | Powell's

Sheltered: A Pre-Apocalyptic Tale by Johnnie Christmas, Ed Brisson

Image, 2013. 9781607068419.

Link to this review by geneambaum tagged coming of agegraphic novel

In a survivalist camp in the woods, families are getting ready for the end of the world by building bunkers and storing supplies. Many of the adults believe they’re not ready to survive long-term on their own. Some of the teenagers have also gotten the message that the apocalypse is just around the corner and that they’re not ready. They make the tough decision and execute their parents to ensure their own survival.

Collects Sheltered #1 - #5.

Why I picked it up: The subtitle. What’s “a pre-apocalyptic tale?”

Why I finished it: Victoria and Hailey are out in the woods having a smoke when they hear the gunshots. They’re not in on the plot, and after they see what the boys have done they run for a bunker. They have enough food to last a while, but without a radio or a telephone to call for help it’s up to them to save themselves.

Readalikes: Lord of the Flies, because it’s an answer to what would have happened if those boys had had guns.

@bookblrb: In a survivalist camp, teens get the message: the apocalypse is just around the corner and they’re not ready.

Amazon | Powell's

Jan's Atomic Heart and Other Stories by Simon Roy

Image, 2014. 9781607069362.

Link to this review by geneambaum tagged graphic novelscience fictionshort stories

Short comics set in a drab future full of robots, aliens, and at least one talking gorilla.

“The Cosmonauts”

Above the Talkaman Desert, a slightly idiotic cosmonaut figures out how to get along with the senior man on the space station.

“Jan’s Atomic Heart”

In Frankfurt, a man hit by a train is temporarily inhabiting a robotic body. There’s only one problem: it may be a bomb.

“Good Business”

Arms dealers sell weapons to insect-like aliens.

“Shipwrecked with Dan the Gorilla”

Brian and his friend, a talking Gorilla, face the end of their time stranded on a small island.

“Bar Fight"

A man and a giant alien squid get into a bar fight in orbit.

“Homeward Bound”

Two birds check out a crashed spaceship.

“Hunter Killer”

A human and alien patrol a desert in Federal Terran Space.

Why I picked it up: I remember reading and enjoying the title story when I bought it in a comic store years ago, and I wanted to try more of Roy’s comics.

Why I finished it: Roy’s science fiction feels short and personal. I love the way these moments imply a much larger reality without too much explanation. The soft, black-and-white art adds to this impression -- it’s easy to take in and creates the sense of a wholly underwhelming future.

Readalikes: It reminds me of the weirder, more 1950s-esque visions of Philip K. Dick in which, despite futuristic technology, everyone still has to go to a dismal job at a dismal office. My favorite of these is still Time Out of Joint.

@bookblrb: Short comics set in a drab future full of robots, aliens, and at least one talking gorilla.

Amazon | Powell's

Slam!: A Tale of Consequences by Adam Stower

Owlkids, 2014. 9781771470070.

Link to this review by snow tagged picture book

An oblivious boy, wearing headphones and reading comics, slams a door, knocking a ball off the roof. Then everything around him falls apart. The ball lands on a cat, who jumps on a woman's head, which causes her to spill her groceries on a jogger, and so on, until the aliens take off and a sleeping dragon awakes.

Why I picked it up: I like picture books that tell progressive stories through small changes to the art from the previous page.

Why I finished it: Slam! has a lot of words, but they are almost all sounds, so I kept thinking how much fun this would be to read aloud. Stower's art is terrifically cartoonish, particularly when he is drawing body language. And I loved going through each page a second and third time to find all the small details, from eyes peeking out of a sewer drain to treasure hidden beside a pirate's skeleton to a girl sharing ice cream with one of the aliens.

Readalikes: P.T.A. Night by Jeremy Scott is a progressive story picture book with a silly/scary theme, as monsters and aliens interrupt the after-hours goings-on at a school, like PTA meetings, preparing the next day's meals, and cleaning the halls. The always wonderful Mercer Mayer has a progressive story -- Octopus Soup -- that will appeal to fans of the movie Finding Nemo. Budding mathematicians will love Emily Gravett's The Rabbit Problem which follows the adventures of two rabbits in Fibonacci Field, where 1 + 1 quickly becomes 288.

@bookblrb: A boy slams a door, knocking a ball off the roof, and that causes everything around him to fall apart.

In Paris!

Jul. 25th, 2014 11:11 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
[personal profile] kaberett
Excellent balcony, well fed, slightly drunk; world has been set to rights.

It Can't Be!

Jul. 25th, 2014 02:38 pm
onyxlynx: Saluting snowman on back of "Bay Celebrations" (Winter Holiday Icon)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 90 degrees F.  In the Bay Area.

Fic: Faster

Jul. 25th, 2014 04:53 pm
lightgetsin: The Doodledog with frisbee dangling from her mouth, looking mischievious, saying innocence personified. (Default)
[personal profile] lightgetsin
I wrote a thing!

Faster (10847 words) by lightgetsin
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Rape/Non-Con
Relationships: Jamie Benn/Tyler Seguin
Characters: Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn
Additional Tags: kink_bingo, Temperature Play, Sensation Play, Relationship Study, Established Relationship, Tattoos, Discussion of past sexual assault, discussion of past drugging, survivor conversations, everyone copes in their own way, Jamie is a good boyfriend, Tyler is too but he hasn't noticed yet, romantic getaways

"Okay," he says, "You know how when you're on a breakaway, and you've got a couple D-men on you? Like, right behind you. You can't see them, but you can feel them right there coming for you?" Jamie nods. "The only thing to do is to be faster than them." Tyler says. "You can't turn and look, you can't slow down. You've just . . . you've just got to skate harder. It's like that."


Jul. 25th, 2014 03:57 pm
supergee: (starmaker)
[personal profile] supergee
I could be quite happy never again reading about The Blablabla That Changed Blablabla Forever, but this one fills in the blanks with books and science fiction and quotes me,* and I pretty much agree with it, except I hope they turn out to be wrong in including The Hunger Games and The Wind-Up Girl

*Saying something I went on to argue was wrong, but that happens.

Thanx to Moshe Feder

Exercise nerdiness

Jul. 25th, 2014 09:50 pm
yvi: Kayle smiling under her colorful umbrella (Firefly - Kaylee sun)
[personal profile] yvi
The gymnastic rings have arrived! And they are so very awesome. Yay, shiny new toy :-)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
But I am so stressed out I can't feel my fingertips and I can't see a way out of the corner I am boxed into:

A: Work has dramatically slowed down in the last year.

B: For reasons I am going assume for the moment are not due to deliberate choice on the part of the companies I freelance for, none of checks I've expected this month have materialized (if I am not stress-confused, I think at this point the most recent invoice that has been paid is about 2 months old); when companies were actually issuing checks they were irregular and unpredictable. This isn't specific to one company: nobody is paying me. Nobody. And even if all the money I am owed showed up today, I'd just be treading water.

UPDATE IN MID POST: in fact I just got email assuring me at least one check will definitely not be showing up for at least a week thanks to the new system (another company told me privately my checks might be cut in a week and then sent out a public email telling freelancers to expect the delay to be a month). I'd walk away from book reviewing at this point if there was anywhere to walk to.

Actually, the above is not quite true: while Romantic Times pays very, very little they have never promised to pay any more than that and they do pay on time. So kudos to them; they are the one bright spot.

[I spend a lot of my time telling myself that this is not a repeat of what Guardians of Order did to me, even though a lot of the same notes are in this tune]

C: There are bills I have been deferring for as long as I can and expenses I have cut to the bone as far as I can but I'm pretty sure all the plates I have in the air are about to come crashing down.

D: Can't afford to create the Millennium Reviews book and frankly I don't understand a lot of what people are telling me how to create it.

(That said, editing all the reviews and adding new commentary for all 35 essays would take me two weeks to a month)

E: Review site ditto: I know how to create content for it but I can't see how to create it and the advice I am seeing doesn't mean anything to me.

Open to suggestions here.

SysAdmin Day!

Jul. 25th, 2014 04:31 pm
[syndicated profile] otw_news_feed

Posted by Kiri Van Santen


Graphic by Aga of the OTW logo and the logos for AO3, TWC, Open Doors and Fanlore

On SysAdmin Day, the OTW wants to salute the work of systems administrators everywhere for the hard (and sometimes thankless) work that they do. Celebrated for the first time in 2000, SysAdmin Day takes place on the last Friday in July.

We also want to highlight and thank our own staff for the work they do to support the OTW and our projects. For example, our Systems Committee maintains: the infrastructure that runs Archive, the site for Open Doors, the platforms that host both Transformative Works & Cultures and the Fanhackers blog. They’re also the committee that makes sure Fanlore's servers are running properly.

Internally, Systems also maintains: the servers that host our email, internal documents, and volunteer records. They also research what our tech needs are likely to be in coming years.

As you can see, they always have a lot to do! So, thank you, Systems monkeys, for your work 365 days each year! <3

News topic tags: 

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2014 05:42 pm
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
[personal profile] tree_and_leaf
I don't write enough fic to feel I really justify this, but on the other hand, I would enjoy it, so:

Pick any paragraph or any passage from any fanfic I’ve written and comment to this post with that selection. I will then give you a DVD commentary on that snippet of what I was thinking when I wrote it, why I wrote it, what’s going on in the characters’ heads, why I chose certain words, what this moment means in the context of the fic, and anything else you’d expect to find on a DVD commentary track.

Fic here.

I got it!

Jul. 25th, 2014 12:28 pm
kayre: (Default)
[personal profile] kayre
Just Right Presbyterian called this morning with an offer, and I accepted on the spot; I start September 1. Can't stop smiling. More later!

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2014 12:25 pm
twistedchick: black (black)
[personal profile] twistedchick
The attorney was a verbally abusive low-rent process server who probably only encounters animals in order to kick them. He told me to fuck off. I flipped him the bird from the truck.

But he did bottom-line it: she has to go back, or we may be dealing with a long list of charges.

The SU will talk to the family this afternoon.

ETA: Please, no more advice. You are not walking in our painful shoes. I appreciate you all and love you, but the stress is taking a toll on my heart, and on Steve's health. I do not see a happy ending anywhere, because she is identical to the cat they lost; nobody is going to care that there might be two identical cats on the same street five houses apart.
[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

This was originally published on March 28, 2011

Someone told me recently that I was his only manager who ever asked him to specifically report on what he wasn’t getting done. Other managers wanted to know plenty about what was happening — but because they never asked him about what he wasn’t getting to, he assumed he’d just better be getting to all of it.

This works fine if a person’s workload is completely manageable. But when workload is high, it can lead to all kinds of bad things:

* employees who are chronically trying to get an unreasonable amount done, which leads to mistakes and burn-out

* some things necessarily not getting done, and these may be the wrong things

* some things necessarily not getting done, without the manager realizing it and having the opportunity to step in

As a manager, you want your people to proactively tell you about what’s not happening that ideally would be happening. And that’s because you want to be part of choosing what those things will be — not just letting them get selected by default. And you want to have the chance to say, “Actually, X is really important, so let’s push back Y instead / bring in temp help / get Joe’s department to help out with this / use this as the impetus to finally think seriously about adding a new staff position.” Or, if none of that is feasible, you want to at least know.

Alternately, if the problem isn’t the workload but is in fact the employee’s productivity, you want the opportunity to know about that, and to know that these specific things are going undone. You’ll find out eventually, believe me — but if you wait until you find out on your own, the problems may be way worse than if you’d caught them early on.

So you want your employees to proactively talk to you about what things they’re regularly not having time to attend to. And since many (maybe most) people won’t do that on their own, you need to ask them, and you need to make it safe for them to give you an honest answer.

But instead, what I often see are managers who pile on more and more work without asking what’s reasonable, who signal to their staff that they better just find a way to cram it all in, and who are then shocked when they eventually learn that some things aren’t getting done.

This is not to say that you should excuse employees who don’t maintain a high level of productivity; believe me, I have high expectations when it comes to productivity. Some people who have worked for me would say they’re too high, in fact. (But they’re not.) But it does mean that if you don’t approach issues of workload in a realistic way, with a premium on encouraging people to communicate, you’re basically guaranteeing that some important things won’t get done (or at a minimum won’t get done well) and you won’t even know about it until it’s too late.

So try it. Ask: “What things are you finding that you don’t have time to get to?” You might learn useful things that you didn’t know.

open thread – July 25, 2014

Jul. 25th, 2014 03:00 pm
[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

Lucy playingIt’s the Friday open thread. This post is for work-related discussions only. Please hold anything off topic for the free-for-all open thread that’s coming this Sunday.

The comment section on this post is open for discussion with other readers on anything work-related that you want to talk about. If you want an answer from me, emailing me is still your best bet, but this is a chance to talk to other readers.

"Coyote destiny"

Jul. 25th, 2014 08:40 am
sergebroom: (Default)
[personal profile] sergebroom
"He found himself smiling. He, too, had come home."

Allen Steele's novel "Coyote Destiny" was not my favorite in the series, but it ended the whole affair in a bittersweet and yet satisfying way.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
[personal profile] redbird
This is information paraphrased without attribution, by request of the originator. I don't entirely agree with them (as they know) but think the information is worth passing along:

The memorial for Fred Pohl in Chicago's northwest suburbs is coming up in about a week. The event is free and open to the public. There will be a bunch of invited people speaking, followed by a reception. At the request of Betty Ann Hull (Fred's widow), Jim Frenkel will be one of the speakers.

If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable around Jim Frenkel, you may want to skip the memorial, leave before the reception, or keep an eye out. Assuming he behaves appropriately, this wouldn't be a good time or place to confront him, because the emphasis should be on Fred Pohl and because it would be unlikely to achieve anything. (Note that introductory clause: Nobody, even someone with an impeccable past, should get a free pass for harassment "because it's a funeral".)

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2014 11:29 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Something's going on with Earthlink. The last couple of days, when I first get up, it hasn't allowed me to do anything but check my e-mail. I can't load any websites at all, and it's a wide variety of websites, too, so it's not just that they're down. It's enough of a connection that iTunes tries to make me login, and my e-mail comes through just fine. As far as I can tell, we have an internet connection. We just can't web surf at first. I get up at different times different days, too, so it's not connected so much to a specific time.

We made pizza for dinner last night. The problem with doing that is that there's never enough for all three of us to get a satisfying meal. I suppose we should load up on broccoli (we always steam broccoli when we make pizza because we put broccoli on the pizza).

Scott was scheduled to go in early this morning, but they didn't end up needing him. Unfortunately, I fell back asleep before he found that out, so I didn't realize he'd come back and left my 5 a.m. alarm on. His alarm goes off about 5:10, so he lost a bit of sleep to my alarm. I felt bad about that when I realized he was still there.

I have to see if I can get Scott to bring my website back up. I'm writing bits of a story that's only posted there, and they fit the [ profile] weissvsaiyuki challenge, so I'd like to post what I've written there but don't feel I can without being able to link to the other parts. Of course, I said I wasn't going to write more of that story, ever. I just suddenly found that I had to.

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