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Hugo Reading 6 Campbells

Jul. 23rd, 2014 09:20 am
catsittingstill: (Default)
[personal profile] catsittingstill
This is kind of a contradiction in terms, since the Campbell award is not a Hugo. But it's given at the same time, the same group of people can nominate and vote, and the Campbell material goes out in the Hugo packet on the same terms (which is to say maybe it does, and maybe it doesn't--something to remember abou the Hugo packet!)

The nominees (and the books/stories provided for each, in no particular order) are:
Ramez Naam, _Nexus_
Wesley Chu, _The Lives Of Tao_
Sophia Samatar, _Stranger in Oolondria_
Max Gladstone _Two Serpents Rise_ and Three Parts Dead_ (novels)
and
Benjanun Sriduangkaew _The Bees Her Heart The Hive Her Belly_ _Fade To Gold_ and _Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade_ (short stories)

5) _The Lives Of Tao_ I started with a good will, but set aside impatiently when it seemed to me that the protagonist was spontaneously becoming stupid whenever the plot called for it. It had potential otherwise, and it wouldn't be a travesty if it won, but I'll be checking future releases by this author out at the library rather than the bookstore.

4) _Stranger in Oolondria_ I realize I'm in the minority on this, but I strongly disliked this book, mostly because I thought Jissavet was a complete jerk, and I resented that nobody else in the book seemed to be able to see it. I mean, I'm perfectly okay with turning your back and walking away from blood kin who mistreat you, and I understand how it is to feel impatient with someone whose thoughts are slow and plodding, but I do feel like when someone has shown you nothing but kindness and made considerable sacrifices for you, to treat them like dirt in return (the jewelry scene pops to mind) and never notice or care, is unacceptable. But I haven't seen any other reader mention this, so maybe this book will work for other people. And there is no denying that the writing is beautiful.

3) Sriduankaew's stories. These were okay, but I kind of had trouble following what was going on. My Hugo reading has necessarily been somewhat rushed, and I suspect some of the more poetic and evocative writing is at a disadvantage as a result.

1) (formerly 2)) Max Gladstone's books. _Two Serpents Rise_ was okay--_Three Parts Dead_ I thought was really good. I loved the idea of law as a form of magic. I may yet change my mind and put Max first.

2) (formerly 1)) _Nexus_. You know, in some ways, this is popcorn. There are parts of this--like why doesn't the protagonist have a better appreciation of the potential for abuse, and where is the funding for all this coming from--that just don't make sense. But I loved the ideas behind it and the soaring optimism, and I really enjoyed the idea of how the monks dealt with it (I can't really tell you what they did without spoiling it, but I really liked it and it seemed plausible to me at the time.) But now that I think about it, I am going to swap Max and Ramez. Because, really, this is popcorn, and _Three Parts Dead_ I think is better done.

So I guess it's a good thing that I wrote this.

An update

Jul. 23rd, 2014 08:54 am
moonwolf: (Default)
[personal profile] moonwolf posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
Even though I've been getting better at posting the monthly round-ups here I really do want to be writing more updates, because in the last couple of months I've been finding writing them more difficult and I'm not entirely certain why. I have been writing a lot, in my attempt to write 150,000 words by the end of July. My current word count for the month is 114,197, so I think it's possible, and it makes me wonder how much I could write if I didn't have days when I don't write at all, normally because I find that I can't concentrate for whatever reason, which this month has been due to the weather a lot. I'm really not a summer person. The sun drains what little energy I have and it's really hard to replenish. Today I'm not certain how much I'm going to be able to accomplish, due to dogs, but I'll be more likely to find time this afternoon than I will this morning.

I have been getting more ghostwriting work, but I had my first real issue with that at the beginning of the week. Someone I thought I'd work well with had an editor who didn't understand the way I write and when I saw the edits she'd done I had a real crisis of confidence. By then I'd already made the decision to walk away, so I should be finishing off the work myself as the client doesn't have any rights to it, as well as the other novellas I've started working on. At the moment I'm just over 5,000 words into the first books of all three series, as well as the other novella, and I've found something that I started writing ages ago but never finished that I also plan to release. At the moment I have a lot of plans, but I'm still not earning a lot, which is something I really want to change. I'm hoping the novellas will help with that, but they're not going to be ready until maybe the end of September, so I had another idea.

To make some quick income, hopefully, I'm making an offer to anyone who'd like to buy some words from me, which will be published at the website. Send me $5, £3, or €3.50, or any multiples (e.g. $10, €10.50, £12, etc), via Paypal - k_a_webb[at]live[dot]co[dot]uk - with Personal Journal Offer and the collection(s) you want your words to be in and I'll write you at least 1000 words of fiction (for $10 you'd get 2000 words, €10.50 you'd get 3000 words, and for £12 you'd get 4000 words). I can also, if it's simpler, send a request for the money if you email me with what you want, as I can request in a number of currencies. Every 10th purchase will get a free gift, which might be a story bundle, an adoption/rental, or a commission. Signal boost and I'll double your words. If someone purchases for the boost - by adding your journal into the notes - I'll triple your words. My aim for this is the groceries for next month, which is £50, and if I make it then I'll post some extras at the website and here, which will probably be a couple of conversations with characters and one other interesting extra, which might be a DVD commentary or some demi-fiction. If I double it I'll write more extras, because they are fun.

I also have a Patreon account, where I'm posting some exclusive fiction, so if you'd like to become a patron there I really would appreciate it. Having a regular monthly income is something that will mean I can keep writing. My aim for the end of the year is between £50 and £65 a month, which will cover my half of the groceries and my phone credit. If I double that I should be able to pay for all of the groceries. Anything about that will mean that I'll have the freedom to buy more of the things I'd like without stopping to wonder if I can afford it - like pens and notebooks. My final aim is to earn £400-£500 a month, as that will put James and I in the best position to be able to get somewhere with our lives, although that isn't going to be easy. We left college at a time when the world was beginning to go into economic meltdown and I think it's going to end up affecting us for the rest of our lives, but we'll find a way.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
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," and "kintsukuroi."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Nick Fury
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Minor character death. Bullying. Fighting. Suicide attempt (minor character).
Summary: This is the story of how a little boy named Flip grows up to save the world a lot.
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Family. Fluff and angst. Accidents. Emotional whump. Disability. Sibling relationship. Nonsexual love. Parentification. Manipulation. Coping skills. Asking for help and getting it. Hope. Protection. Caregiving. Competence. Toys and games. Comic books. Fixing things. Martial arts. Gentleness. Trust. Role models. Military. BAMF Phil Coulson.

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22.

Read more... )

Poem: "Collateral Damages"

Jul. 22nd, 2014 11:09 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] janetmiles. This also fills the "red" square in the Spring and Autumn Bingo public card. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. This poem belongs to the Damask thread of the Polychrome Heroics series, an immediate sequel to "Buttoned Up."

Read more... )

kill all the things

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:13 pm
solarbird: (Default)
[personal profile] solarbird
i am at that point in a project where i just wish i'd spraypainted everything white

also the fucking wrong paint that home depot gave me against my explicit instructions ("paint and primer in one" fuck that that's called shitty pigment) does not bind worth shit TO ITSELF i waited three times the minimum time for a second coat and got sheeting and horribleness

actually let me revise my first statement i am at that point in a project where i wish i'd blown up the building

ahhhhhhh the sound of distant explosions

so soothing

Another busy day!

Jul. 22nd, 2014 11:53 pm
archangelbeth: Woman doing a zombie "braaaaains" pose (Braaains!)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
0: Discover that it's a good thing I washed the Black Pants laundry yesterday. O:p Cramps suck.

1: Get kid to photo class/camp thing.

2: Breakfast.

3: Home, briefly. Making appointment for Ivan with the vet. Then chiropractor appointment for me.

4: because going to wait in the hot parking lot would be waiting, and going home would be turning around and coming back, go to buy bird seed and soft food for Mr. Bites Food And Drops It From Mouth.

5: Pick up kid. Go to Subway because that's what kid wants for food.

6: Spend 45 minutes in the bathroom with Ivan, stirring up the food so he'll come back and lick it. (He does, nearly the entire time, actually. He just doesn't bite it.)

7: take Ivan to vet. Ivan has Cataracts, arthritis, and now needs to be eating supplements for his joints, and special extra-gooshy food that will cling to his tongue and get some calories into him even if he won't take bites of anything. He will also be weighed weekly, and if doing well, is gonna get teeth-cleaned in a month or so.

8: horn lesson.

9: Trash Night! While sifting litterboxen, discover some Probably-Ivan deposits, probably from after vet-visit. Finally! Ivan also is more willing to go up and down stairs after me. Spend more time in the bathroom, giving Ivan more soft food to lick.

Havva Quote
Politics is a youth's game,
A man's profession,
And an elder's art form.
--Cymelian/Imperial proverb


INwatch+Bookwatch )
Adopt one today!
Dragons under fold )

Character Agency

Jul. 22nd, 2014 09:14 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here's a wonderful article that explains character agency.  A majority of stories that suck have a problem with absent agency; the characters get railroaded.  This is not fun.

I on the other hand like characters who can get into trouble on their own, and audiences who can suggest exciting trouble into which characters can get.  Nothing is more entertaining than having someone say, "Hey, there's a six-foot-wide mud puddle over there," and the main character goes, "Nah, I'd rather burn down the barn instead."  Or whatever.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story came out of a discussion between me and [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, with contributions from both of us; it's so short, I don't want to muck around trying to divide a price. It also fills "The Classics Freestyle" square in my 6-11-14 card for the [community profile] fanbingo fest. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

WARNING: This story contains some rude language, weapons of mass destruction, references to crazy supervillains, and super-gizmologists with a shortage of common sense. Consider your tastes before you click through.

Read more... )

stealing from tumblr posts

Jul. 22nd, 2014 10:00 am
solarbird: (Default)
[personal profile] solarbird

I wish LJ had this kind of photo post

Kitchen restoration project in the 1924 addition to a 1911 building - it's almost all of what I've been doing lately. (Well, that and the rest of the apartment. But the kitchen has taken the most time and is the one I haven't contracted out anything except the new floor, not shown).

The person who added this kitchen in 1958 used a seemingly-random assortment of old used cabinets from different sources. They're all decent cabinets - and all older than 1958 - but they don't go together and so feel like a bunch of isolated islands rather than of a piece. I'm trying to fix that, by adding matching trim to the cabinets which didn't have it (window cabinets did, others didn't).

I'm using vintage wood, retained when other parts of the building got work. Parts of this trim came from a room which formerly had ceiling tile and early-60s panelling; other parts came from a strange, damaged, and badly-placed-to-start-with storage drawer cabinet in the basement.

Also, I fixed that fan, as well as cleaning and repainting the cover. INDUSTRIAL!

Poem: "Friendship Is Important"

Jul. 22nd, 2014 02:12 am
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is kind of an elegy, thus posted free. It fills the "coma" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )

Poem: "A Voice from Beyond"

Jul. 21st, 2014 11:58 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is, in essence, an elegy inspired by an article, "The Story of One Whale Who Tried to Bridge the Linguistic Divide Between Animals and Humans," and therefore posted for free. It also fills the "Stockholm syndrome" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. It belongs to the Aquariana thread in the Polychrome Heroics series.

The name "Noc" is pronounced "NOH-see."

WARNING: This poem features many intense topics, some of which actually happened in our world. The warnings contain spoilers; highlight to read. These include human/cetacean challenges, past enslavement of a sapient cetacean from childhood to death, Stockholm syndrome, survivor guilt, rough telepathic contact, grudging response to apology, and other issues. Viewer discretion is strongly advised. Please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether to dive in.

Read more... )

Poking the Bear- July 2014

Jul. 21st, 2014 10:50 pm
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Poking the Bear- July 2014
Compassion Fatigue


It's not easy to imagine a world different enough from ours to make it interesting to read, challenging and realistic behind the curtain, and... not get frustrated at the injustice, incompetence, or general screwiness of everyday life.

Read more... )

Update from Kajones_writing

Jul. 21st, 2014 10:50 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
July has no theme.

Fiction: The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 113th continuation) has Quiar and Peric talking about the nature of souls.
The World Walkers: Quiar: The Case of the Counterfeit Enchantments (part 9, 114th continuation) shows Lucille and Bertram discussing the fae.

The World Walkers: Athare: Riordan: Making Worlds? (part 3) is about Emrys and Riordan talking about the fate of the worlds.
The World Walkers: Athare: Electra: Meeting a Rabbit (part 6) has Electra helping the life clay creatures.
The World Walkers: Athare: Lucille: Becoming a World Walker (part 2) is about Lucille getting her last tattoo.

The Donor House: Melody: Becoming a Vampire (part 3) shows Rex and Melody talking about the Donor House.
The Donor House: Ethan: One Careful Owner (part 2) features Ethan talking with other captive donors.
The Donor House: Katie: The Offer of a Vampire Loan Shark (part 2) is about trying to find a way out of a desperate situation.
The Donor House: Linnea: Living with a Vampire? (part 3) has Linnea and Gage discussing whether they can live together.
The Donor House: Taryn: Rescued? (part 3) shows Silver and Taryn trying to form a plan to stay safe.


Other Fiction: The World Walkers: Taithmarin: Joel: Stepping Onto Taithmarin (part 2)
The World Walkers: Taithmarin: Matt: Arriving (part 6)
The World Walkers: Taithmarin: Luna: The Book Portal (part 5)
The World Walkers: Taithmarin: Siobhan: Stepping Onto Taithmarin (part 2)
The World Walkers: Athare: Mab: Mab’s Story (part 2)
The World Walkers: Athare: Bronwen: Plans
The World Walkers: Athare: Bryn: Talking to Emrys
The World Walkers: Athare: Oscar: Talking to Emrys
The World Walkers: Athare: Ianto: Talking to Mab (part 2)
The World Walkers: Athare: Piaras: Talking with Mairin (part 3)
The World Walkers: Athare: Sibeal: Looking Back
The World Walkers: Athare: Lorelei: Travelling Through Time (part 2)
The World Walkers: Athare: Frane: An Uncomfortable Landing (part 3)
The World Walkers: Athare: Glyn: A Door to an Unexpected Place (part 2)
The World Walkers: Athare: Jetta: Saved by Cough Medicine (part 3)
The World Walkers: Kankirin: Elodie: Recording Souls (part 2)

The Fae World: Eorith: Luke: The First Arrival (part 2)
The Fae World: Eorith: Kristen: Waking Up (part 6)


Very. Busy. Day.

Jul. 21st, 2014 11:45 pm
archangelbeth: Woman doing a zombie "braaaaains" pose (Braaains!)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
1: Took Kid to photography camp/class/thing.

2: Mailing Death Certs to my mom so she can get social security canceled.

3: Depositing Checks at bank. (Anthem "refund" -- they didn't spend enough on medical expenses, so the ACA makes them give back some of what I paid, yay! -- and a SJGames check.)

4: Breakfast.

5: Calling vet to see about appointment for Ivan. Who has STILL not pooped. Though he does stick his nose in foodbowls frequently (or did yesterday), I am not sure how much is getting in his stomach. Got vet's answering machine. O:p

6: Picked up kid. Got her lunch at Subway. Came back home briefly.

7: Went on Long Drive.

8: Returned. Message on answering machine from vet. Realized we needed to get new shoes for kid (she is size 8 in sneakers now; grownup sneakers). I was desperate for a shower, so I went and took one and kid and spouse went and got shoes.

9: ...no, I have no brains. ...I have no quote for the day, either. I am sorry. Please think good things for Ivan. I am worried about His Elegance.

INwatch+Bookwatch )
Adopt one today!
Dragons under fold )

Outdoor Trek

Jul. 21st, 2014 04:04 pm
vixy: (moon on a string)
[personal profile] vixy
Oh right, I forgot to mention! We have another gig this Saturday!

We're playing a short concert set to open for Outdoor Trek, the local Star Trek outdoor show!   Details here on our artistdata page

Time: Saturday, music at 6pm, show at 7pm
Place: Blanche Lavizzo Park, 2100 S Jackson St, Seattle
People: http://www.helloearthproductions.com/

The Star Trek (TOS) episode they're doing is "Mirror, Mirror." I actually have never seen one of their productions, so this is going to be exciting for me! Tony saw them last year and absolutely loved them.

We'll be one crew member short of the usual band, as Betsy will be away with the faeries. :)  But we hope to see some of you humanoids there!

Bits and bobs of life

Jul. 21st, 2014 01:53 pm
vixy: (fired fox)
[personal profile] vixy
 It's summer, and it has been ridiculously hot. It was less melty this weekend, at least. My brain's still pretty melty today.

'Tis the season for what I call the teenager stage of the juvenile crows. (I've probably written about this before, but it doesn't stop being funny to me.) They're old enough that the adults no longer dive-bomb people protectively for getting near them, but young enough that they still have the voices that sound like kazoos. And still try to get adults to feed them. This results in the crows coming to my food dish (and everywhere else) consisting of one or two juveniles following an adult around going KWAAAAH! KWAAAAH! KWAAAAAAAH! with beaks constantly open, while the adults gather food for themselves and try their best to ignore the juveniles.

Once in a while the adults get fed up (so to speak) with it enough that they'll suddenly turn and shove some food into the juvenile's mouth. Which results in a sound like KWAHH! KWMMPHWMMMWMMMPH. Which is NEVER NOT HILARIOUS.

-----

My bosses have decided to cancel their PO Box and have the mail just come to the physical address. I've worked for this company for ten years, and they had the box for I don't know how many years before that. Back when they got it, the idea was to protect the office manager (now me); one or two incidents of an angry claimant threatening or shooting at insurance adjusters made national news, so I'm told, and since everyone else in the company works at home, the office manager is alone in the office most of the time. They got the PO Box so that the company's address on public materials, correspondence and so forth, would not be the physical address where a claimant could find the office manager alone.

Google making it possible to pretty much find the physical location of anyone anywhere, the bosses have decided there's no point making me go to the post office every day. They did check with me first to see if I was okay with the change. I was. So last week I canceled the PO Box. It was much easier and quicker than I was expecting (though probably they skipped a step or two for me, like checking ID, since they know me by sight.) And now I no longer have to make those daily 1.5-mile-round-trip trips. And though that means taking my walks on my own time now, it's a bit of a relief not to have that hanging over me every morning (the mornings with migraines were...unpleasant.) It's kind of a weird change; I haven't yet stopped getting the feeling around 9:30 or 10am of "I've gotta do something I'm supposed to do something I haven't done yet and I'm about to be late for it."

-----

We had two gigs this past weekend. We had fun but I'm exhausted today. (See also: mornings with migraines.) Can't Stop the Serenity was in a cute new location this year, the Central Cinema. Nice acoustics, nice layout, good feel, pretty good food.  (Although some folks seemed to think "dinner theatre" equated with "bar" and thus talked throughout the concert. A little distracting, but not the venue's or the organizers' fault. I chose to think of it as having communed a bit with the spirit of my mother, who played her share of bar gigs where nobody was listening.) It was a good turnout for the event. "Hecklevision" (basically MST3K via tweet) seemed to work well once everyone got the dick jokes out of their systems.  I'd enjoy seeing a movie a little better suited to it. We had to duck out early so as to get rested up for Sunday, so we didn't get a chance to say goodbye to the SBC folks. Thanks again for inviting us!

Betsypalooza (not the official name I don't think) aka House Concert Under the Trees (I don't actually know what its official name was) was an absolute BALL from start to finish. I was so happy to see all the wonderful people who came and brought all their positive energy and love. I really needed that. (I know that I hide a lot from the social, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate what you bring.) The tiredness today is TOTALLY worth it. Thank you to everyone who performed and everyone who worked and everyone who came and everyone else who tweeted or otherwise sent their good wishes. Thanks especially to Kaede Tinney for asking us to join the event as their backup band. <3 <3 <3

-----

Tomorrow's my birthday. I'll be 43. My postal carrier at work (who's been our regular carrier for the entire ten years I've been here, and for the years before that when he knew the previous office manager) remembered my birthday, but didn't remember my age, and refused to believe it. :) That's always flattering. I get the good genes from both sides. I told him I'd show him my ID tomorrow if he wanted. I might greet him at the door with my driver's license just to be funny.

I've been wracking my brains for literally a month trying to figure out what I want to do for my birthday. And I can't really think of anything. I don't have any super-special restaurant I want to go to. I'm thinking about afternoon tea at Queen Mary's, but that's not something the whole household would really enjoy. (Torrey and I might just go by ourselves.)  The spa would be nice, but the boys can't go to that. (Torrey and I might go do that too.) I perused the local theatre and ballet offerings, but nothing's on right now that I want to see.

Maybe I'll call in sick to work tomorrow. I'm not sure they'd actually buy it... but that's actually all I can think of right now that I really want to do. Take an extra day off work and just lie around the house. Except then I'd just end up feeling guilty at the end of the day for having "wasted" it. Brains are silly.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer has written a charming bit of demifiction, "O'Fallon Journal: Community Events Calendar."  It describes a safety demonstration hosted by the Activity Scouts (formerly known as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts) to teach people what to do if they spot a supervillain.  Given the politics in Terramagne, large-scale official responses tend to be unfeasible and so the slack has been taken up by smaller, nongovernment organizations.  Why this one?  They're scouts:  they always go first to find the way for everyone else.

Also brilliant and worthy of note: people can request a sticker for those who prefer to avoid audience interaction.  Ever go to an event and sit in the back where you couldn't see, so you wouldn't get picked on?  This neatly avoids that problem, and is a cheap easy solution that any event organizer anywhere could implement.  Don't want to play for whatever reason, get a sticker, and you could safely sit anywhere.  I've spent years blocking for my friends who didn't want to be approached, and this is so much better.

This is so me

Jul. 21st, 2014 03:09 pm
thnidu: a G-clef crossed with a lightning bolt (clef)
[personal profile] thnidu


Gmail up to 71 languages

Jul. 21st, 2014 12:38 pm
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
[personal profile] thnidu

Thirteen new languages for Gmail

Posted: Monday, July 07, 2014
Posted by Ian Hill, Senior Project Manager, Google Localization

Email is a universal way to communicate. No matter where you are, you can reach anyone else in the world* with the press of a button. We take it for granted now, but it's so much easier to keep in touch with people than it was in the old days of pens, paper, and stamps. But there’s still an important barrier we need to overcome to make email truly universal: language. Gmail is already available in 58 languages, and today we’re bringing that total to 71—covering 94 percent of the world’s Internet population and bringing us closer to our goal of making sure that, no matter what language you write in, you can use it in Gmail.

These 13 new languages are joining the Gmail family: Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala, and Zulu.

As any native speaker knows, each language has its own nuances, so we worked closely with linguists to make sure the tone and style are just right. For example, both Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional Chinese characters. However, you’ll notice that Gmail’s new Chinese (Hong Kong) language uses 收件箱 for “Inbox” instead of 收件匣, which is a word more common in Taiwan.

All 13 languages are rolling out today in Gmail on the web and feature phone browsers. Try out any one of them by going to your Settings. It’s much easier than finding the right postage.

* Well, not anyone.

bee done with this already

Jul. 21st, 2014 08:30 am
solarbird: (molly-tired)
[personal profile] solarbird

Swamped with day job work; I mentioned some of that here. But I did find time to go see and write up an analysis of Maleficent, and lament how it should’ve been great, but wasn’t, quite. Near-misses are so painful sometimes, and this is one of those times. I lament the film it should’ve been.

I can’t be done with this kitchen restoration soon enough, I gotta tell you. I’ll be at it all day again today, then tomorrow hopefully recording some vocals with Leannan Sidhe. Until then, have some flowers.


Can’t Bee Done With … ar ar ar ar ar


Blue and White and Edges So Sharp

eta: I put some kitchen pictures in comments.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Making adjustments

Jul. 21st, 2014 03:18 am
fayanora: Steph Chloe Dartagnan (Default)
[personal profile] fayanora
I have IBS, and it seems to be made worse by spicy food and anything in the onion family, much to my dismay, because I love spicy food and onions. I used to boggle the minds of the other kids in Pizza Hut pizza parties by putting so much ground hot pepper on the pizza that you couldn't see the cheese anymore for all the peppers (because I was so stuffed up all the time as a kid that spicy peppers were one of the few things I could actually taste). And onions have always been my favorite vegetable, along with broccoli.

Anyway, Brooke and I have been growing zucchini, and we harvested our first one, which was so huge we split it in half and each got half. I wanted to make my long time favorite chicken veggie stuff with hummus, but in the past I always used taco seasoning, or African Piri-Piri mix if I had it, to give the chicken veggie mix flavor. Or, barring that, paprika or cayenne. But couldn't do that this time. So what to flavor it with?

Well what I ended up doing was stir-frying the veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, and broccoli) and chicken in olive oil and adding basil and oregano, then when it was done cooking, mixing in the whole package of crumbled feta cheese into it and shaking it up to mix it.

And oh my goodness, that stuff is AWESOME! Sooooo delicious! Especially eaten using tortillas spread with olive tapenade hummus, which is this hummus with diced olives of several varieties in the center, and olive oil. I had been on a long hiatus from my chicken veggie stuff and hummus, actually, until then. And now I think I'm off that hiatus for a while.

Oh yeah, and while I was walking to Sandy earlier because I didn't want to wait 30 minutes for the Line 71 bus, there was this one house (in an area where the people seem to all be upper middle class) that had a free-box FULL of zucchinis. (Not sure if every town has free-boxes; they're boxes people put out with handwritten signs saying "Free" on them.) I took the three largest ones, and left the rest. Not only did I not want to be greedy, I'm also unsure if I can use what I took fast enough to be worth it. But I hope I do.

Also, earlier at the Grocery Outlet store I found a Digiorno's "Design A Pizza Kit" for $4. I decided to try it. It's got the cheese and tomato sauce pre-done on the crust, with the other ingredients in separate packages. One had pepperoni, one had chicken, one had a mix of bell peppers and onions (which I may give to Brooke since my IBS doesn't like it), another had spices (basil/oregano mix), and the last had extra cheese. Well, I put on everything except the onion/pepper mix, and also added sliced black olives, fresh mushrooms, and extra cheese.

OMG I've just eaten some and it is MANA FROM HEAVEN! An olivegasm in my mouth!

Poem: "The Walking Trees"

Jul. 21st, 2014 02:03 am
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the June 3, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] rosieknight. It also fills the "Mobile / Carnivorous Plants" square in my 6-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored via the general fund, based on an audience poll. It belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )

Poem: "Islands and Bridges"

Jul. 21st, 2014 01:55 am
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the June 2014 Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the "exhaustion" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] fanbingo fest. This poem has been sponsored from the general fund, based on an audience poll. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
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," and "kintsukuroi."

Fandom: The Avengers
Characters: Phil Coulson, Nick Fury
Medium: Fiction
Warnings: Minor character death. Bullying. Fighting. Suicide attempt (minor character).
Summary: This is the story of how a little boy named Flip grows up to save the world a lot.
Notes: Hurt/comfort. Family. Fluff and angst. Accidents. Emotional whump. Disability. Sibling relationship. Nonsexual love. Parentification. Manipulation. Coping skills. Asking for help and getting it. Hope. Protection. Caregiving. Competence. Toys and games. Comic books. Fixing things. Martial arts. Gentleness. Trust. Role models. Military. BAMF Phil Coulson.

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21.

Read more... )

Poem: "Heroic Physics 101"

Jul. 20th, 2014 09:44 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the March 18, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from an anonymous Dreamwidth user. It also fills the "Places of Work" square in my 12-8-13 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] chanter_greenie. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics setting.

Read more... )

Don't start your day like this.

Jul. 20th, 2014 09:49 pm
archangelbeth: Woman doing a zombie "braaaaains" pose (Braaains!)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Okay, so Ivan hadn't pooped at all in the night, and for obvious reasons I was freaking out. So we wound up taking him to the emergency vet, first thing.

Where we stayed for 3-4 hours. I sent the kid and spouse over to eat at the next-door restaurant, but stayed with Ivan myself.

Eventually, some blood tests and a blood pressure test later, the vet says she thinks that it's probably arthritis. She assured me twice that it didn't feel like he was blocked up in the intestines, so I am mostly okay.

So we brought him home and will be getting supplements for him -- he's losing muscle in his hind legs, which is not good -- and consider whether a painkiller shot might be a good idea, or prednisone, or what.

Except we had to stop on the way so spouse could pick up uncle from his (spouse's) mom's house, and drive down to uncle's house.

So it was past 2 by the time I had anything to eat but a thyroid pill. (Around 6, I went back to pick up spouse.)

Needless to say, the only thing I have done is amass some treasure on Flight Rising, because brains.

Plus I am still worried about Ivan, who still has not produced proper poopings, but who has been wandering around discontentedly.

Havva Quote
C, watching Sleeping Beauty, quotes: "You poor, simple fools. Thinking you could defeat me. Me! the mistress of all evil!"
N says, "Who's the wife of all evil?"
--from the MUSH



INwatch+Bookwatch )
Adopt one today!
Dragons under fold )

45

Jul. 20th, 2014 06:34 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

If I remember correctly, I watched the moon landing on the TV in the lounge at the Stanford AI Lab, 45 years ago today. It was the start of my first year of grad school.

I missed my 45th reunion at Carleton a few weeks ago. IIRC I went to my 25th, but it might have been my 30th.

My 50th high school reunion is next year.

I don't think I count as middle-aged anymore.

Poem: "Compromising Positions"

Jul. 20th, 2014 06:18 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is the freebie for the July 2014 Crowdfunding Creative Jam, inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] pointedulac, along with some previous discussions about the sliding scale of morality. It also fills the "manipulation" square in my 6-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest, and the "fever / delirium" square in my 6-10-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )

Done this week (20140713 Su - 19 Sa)

Jul. 20th, 2014 06:00 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

It's been a rough week, for some reason. Possibly knowing that the Starport is about to be gone forever. And that the money we make from the sale isn't going to come close to what we need. Don't get me wrong -- I love it here, I love my family, and I love our house. It's just...

A couple of fun wikipedia dives -- details in the notes, though I don't actually log the URLs.

Colleen and I went to Seattle Optix Tuesday and got measured for new glasses. It's been three years for her, and two for me, so it's definitely time.

Thursday after dinner we watched the dvd of Company, after listening to it in the car with Naomi (who is trying to educate me on Broadway since the '60s). The staging is weird, but it works.

The week wrapped up with a nice drive with Colleen, and salad from our garden with dinner.

There are links in the notes, as usual.

raw notes, with links )

Hugo Reading 5--sort of.

Jul. 20th, 2014 07:04 pm
catsittingstill: (Default)
[personal profile] catsittingstill
Okay, looking at the fan art to choose best Fan Artist probably doesn't really count as reading, does it?

Oddly enough, my Hugo packet download included only three of the five artists. I don't know if this is because the others were left out of the packet, or because my packet didn't download properly (the folder for this category didn't come through in the first download, and in another category I was minus one finalist, but when I re-downloaded, that finalist's entry appeared and so did the Fan Artist folder.) In any case I found examples of the other two artists work by googling, so I was able to gather some information to evaluate all of them.

5) Steven Stiles. Um. I wonder if he really thought through which images he wanted in the Hugo packet. The first image of his I opened was two aliens comparing genitalia. It was...hmm.... It was ...different. But it didn't impress me in any other way, I'm afraid.

4) Brad W. Foster. I enjoyed his stuff, but it was a bit cartoony for my taste. The brains at the shopping mall was fun. But I don't understand what use brains have for all the stuff they had apparently been buying. But while Webb's work (below) made me want to know the story, these just made me shrug and move on.

3) Spring Schoenhuth. I had to google her. She works in jewelry, which I found hard to compare to the graphic arts nature of the other entries, but I agree that a jeweler is an artist, and can think of no more appropriate category for her. I couldn't find very many pictures of her work, but I liked what I saw, particularly the rocket neclace.

2) Sarah Webb. Oh my. Her paintings all make me want to know the story behind them. I love the girl in the gondola, and the city with the snow on it, and the person climbing up the mountain, and the people riding the mammoths. The mimmoths got especially excited over the last one. I love these with a powerful love that put her in first place in my heart for a while. I love this kind of semi-photograph-like style and the many details in each picture, and I wanted to read the stories that (surely) went with them.

1) Mandie Manzano. I had to google her too. I spent a long time staring at her pictures on the web. I think her mastery of technique is even greater than Webb's, and that is why I put her in first place, but I have to admit I'm a bit distanced by the lack of faces in her work. I think she is working in stained glass, and the constraints of the medium (glass is easier to cut in some directions than in others) make faces very hard to do, but it is hard for me to relate to people whose faces I never see. But the utterly luminous colors entrance me, and the dreamlike settings make that distancing seem more natural.

Manzano and Webb may yet switch places, and there was nothing here that made me say "oh come *on*; you are just trolling me now" but I strongly prefer the first two over the last three.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
I'm linking to a personal statement written by a member of the Wiscon committee charged to investigate harrassment reports against Jim Frenkel. There are many good comments on the post.

http://antarcticlust.dreamwidth.org/257808.html

Last Day of the Half-Price Sale

Jul. 20th, 2014 05:44 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is the last day of the half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics.  There are still some poems left if you are shopping, and the sponsored ones have been linked if you want to read them all.

The second general fund poll is still open too.  Vote on more poetry you'd like to see published.

The tooth shall set you free?

Jul. 20th, 2014 12:45 pm
freyjaw: (health)
[personal profile] freyjaw
Broke another tooth on a cracker of all things, so I'll show that one to the oral surgeon when I see him about the broken front tooth. I'll be consulting him about an implant for the front. Dentist says I'm a bad candidate for a partial: weak enamel/teeth will be weakened further by a partial and will lead to more lost teeth. Ew.
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
A community event announcement in the Sunday edition of the O'Fallon Journal on July sixth:


On Saturday, the 12th of July, at 2 p.m., 'The Home of DANGEROUS Books,' a bookstore at the corner of Willow Street and Morgan Avenue, will host a Safety Training Course which will be run by Activity Scout Troop 144. Scout Leader Jennifer Williams will be performing as Judi the Juggling Clown, and while it is tradition not to reveal the name of any former Activity Scout who has played the role of The Antagonist, both the scout leader and the proprietors, while declining to state gender, state that the role will be filled by a former scout holding Shining Star achievement rank and a position in good standing with the Saint Louis police department. Please contact Officer Martin Gonzales, head of the St. Louis Community Outreach office at 909-238-3087 during business hours with any further questions.

Parents are strongly encouraged to bring their younger children, and any older children who may not wish to be singled out, to the activity desk for an animal sticker before the program begins. While The Antagonist very rarely chooses a preschooler to participate directly, a generally confident, alert child can participate safely, and many often initiate interactions. Parents are also encouraged to model family rules such as, “You may talk to strangers when Mommy or Daddy are with you.”

After the safety activity, fruit juice, vegetable sticks, pretzels, cake and ice cream will be served, in keeping with the 'party' theme. Parents are encouraged to bring safe snacks for children with dietary restrictions.

While the Safety Training Course is presented almost exactly as taught to Activity Scouts, this event is not a recruiting drive. Students age six or older who wish to sign up should have their parents contact the Activity Scout Laboratory nearest them, which can be found at: Fshttp:\activityscouts.org\map.dmi (A Family-Safe Certified website).
naamah_darling: Cartoony picture of a black panther with curved horns and a red ball in his mouth. He wants to play. (Jandar Sad)
[personal profile] naamah_darling
Felt identifiably sick the past few days, but not with any specific symptoms.  No cold-like symptoms, no congestion, coughing, no nausea either, nothing.  I just feel exhausted and achy and . . . just shitty.

Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.  Good wishes appreciated.  I don't have the mental/emotional energy to deal with this shit right now.

Been having major emotional upheaval lately, and it shows no sign of resolving, and I'm just . . . tired.  And that particular kind of hopeless that doesn't mean I'm going to lie down and die, but means I don't have any real hope.  Like, things are changing, and they will keep changing, and I have no real hope that any of it will be to my advantage in any way, and I'm so tired of shit going wrong, or just being hateful and frustrating in general, that I honestly don't give a fuck what happens to anyone else, I just want what's best for me.  And I'm so close to being willing to hurt people* to get it, and that frightens me.

Congratulations, Life.  You've finally made me totally selfish.

Ugh.

This is how I feel all the time.

No, really, that's worth a watch.  It is the perfect expression of just being so tired of literally everything.  I have watched it dozens of times over the last few months, and it always makes me laugh, even as I feel it gives voice to some deep inner frustration within my soul.

* I mean be awful, manipulative, deceitful, and cruel.  Not murderous.  I want to stress hurt, not harm.  I don't see how physically harming anyone would solve anything, here.

2AM linkspam

Jul. 20th, 2014 01:51 am
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
Unsqueamish science geeks will enjoy this post from Vincent Racaniello's Virology Blog about visiting labs that experiment with infectious agents. Vincent Rancaniello is sort of the Carl Sagan of virology. I highly recommend his virology MOOC at Coursera.
http://www.virology.ws/2014/07/14/visiting-biosafety-level-4-laboratories/

Kay Thompson, the author of the Eloise series of children's books, was seriously multi-talented.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0860373/bio

Can you never get enough of lightning storms? Here is a map where you can watch them in almost-real-time. You can even have sound, but the sound needs work (it's a small "tick" instead of a giant "KABOOM").
http://www.blitzortung.org/Webpages/index.php

Some people like electric shocks. But as for the general notion that people don't like to sit around with nothing to do, I used to have a tiny frisson of panic when my dinner companion left to go to the bathroom, but after I learned to meditate, I look forward to an opportunity to sit around with nothing to do. (Even so, I don't do it on my own, only when I am waiting somewhere.)

Funny bit: "(In the lab studies, one participant’s data was tossed because an experimenter had accidentally left a pen behind and the subject used it to write a to-do list. Another’s was tossed because an instruction sheet had been left behind and he used it to practice origami.)"
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/people-prefer-electric-shocks-to-being-alone-with-their-thoughts/373936/

Oh no, millennials are living with their parents! Or are they? (Spoiler: People living in college dormitories are counted as "living with their parents.")
http://m.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/everybody-freaking-out-about-millennials-living-with-their-parents-needs-to-read-this-1-sentence/373893/

Supposedly in the early 80s you could only get a job working on the Macintosh team if you loved pineapple pizza. Things haven't changed much in high tech Silicon Valley. "The first step toward dissolving these petty Cultures is writing down their unwritten rules for all to see. The word 'privilege' literally means 'private law.' It’s the secrecy, deniable and immune to analysis, that makes the balance of power so lopsided in favor of insiders."
http://qz.com/225782/the-next-thing-silicon-valley-needs-to-disrupt-big-time-its-own-culture/

How constantly trying to make ends meet stresses people in poverty. "In making day-to-day financial decisions, Shafir says, "the poor are just better than the rich. They use their dollar better than the rich. They're more efficient. They're more effective. They pay greater attention." But they have less mental energy for other things.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/14/330434597/this-is-your-stressed-out-brain-on-scarcity

The OH sent this to me with the comment that this is "why I wear purple [cochlear implant] headpieces."
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/17/332255209/hey-miss-idaho-is-that-an-insulin-pump-on-your-bikini

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/07/14/331298996/why-did-black-voters-flee-the-republican-party-in-the-1960s

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/07/10/330422908/dress-codes-are-open-to-interpretation-and-a-lot-of-contention
http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/08/02/racist-color-blind-dress-codes/

Parodies of "Blurred Lines" that aren't by Weird Al
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKfwCjgiodg (This one has an excellent fat female rapper)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC1XtnLRLPM (This is by a group called The Law Revue Girls)
Article about the Law Revue Girls version: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/03/robin-thicke-blurred-lines-feminist-parody_n_3858992.html

missing from maleficent

Jul. 19th, 2014 11:14 pm
solarbird: (Lecturing)
[personal profile] solarbird

Just back from the first movie I’ve seen in months, Maleficent. I wanted to see this before it fell out of theatres, mostly because of the trailers with her wings, because yeah.

Let’s talk about the good parts, first: Angelina Jolie is wonderful. It looks great. The green fire which is signatory to this version of the character was lovingly rendered and just felt right. The christening scene, reinterpreted here? Perfection. The later interactions of Aurora and Maleficent, ages, oh, 13ish to the end of the story resonated well, and just worked.

But… while so many things are right, I can’t get past “pretty good” as a response. Not great. Merely pretty good. That’s because I just can’t get past the fact that in this film, too many things are too easy. I don’t mean physically easy, tho’ there is some of that; those parts are not so important. No, I mean emotionally easy.

And from here on out, we’ll be heading deep into spoiler territory, so you have now been warned.

Let’s start with our antagonist, King Steffan.

Sharlto Copley plays Doctor then King Steffan well, given what he has to work with. But there isn’t enough meat in the part. There should be; all the bones are there. But Steffan’s arc is missing too many important, difficult notes.

His needed to be both a more political story – it’s a very political tale, after all – and a story about ruined love. Okay, sure, there was never “one true love,” as the film fairly points out – but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a kind of love there, and I think there was. And, well, betrayal of such things is a staple of royal histories. It’s entirely in theme.

And so Steffan commits a great treachery, setting events in motion, becoming King Henry’s heir. But that sort of treachery – so personal a treachery – needs confronting. In the film, all we really get is a big fight scene.

That’s letting him and the audience off easy, and it’s a failing. We in the audience need to know his self-justifications – how it was right for him to cut off and steal her wings, how it was right for him to seize the throne from a dying King Henry, how everything since then – the economic hardships, the battles – have proven how he and King Henry both were right to hate and desire the faerie lands.

How it’s all self-defense. How it’s all her fault. Not his. Not King Henry’s. Her fault.

Never his.

We shouldn’t buy it, of course. We don’t need to believe it. We just need to believe he believes it – even if only by lying to himself so strenuously for so long. We needed Maleficent to confront his justifications, and deny them, laying the lies bare.

We needed to see that, and we didn’t. Steffan’s descent into paranoia – see also, “uneasy rests the head that wears the crown” – played out well, but that’s not enough. We needed to get into his brain, and find him lacking.

It also would’ve been nice to see some of this from Princess and then Queen Leah’s view. It’s clear that King Steffan’s isolation grows throughout the film; it would’ve been nice if we’d known some of that has come from Queen Leah’s knowing that something happened between him and Maleficent. Sure, she knows about the wings; that’s why he’s king. But there was more to it, more that he’s lying about, something both more and rotten. Something that makes her suspicious, then untrusting, then isolating.

In short, his betrayal should ruin two potential loves. Ruined love already underlies the text; it should be a stronger undertheme, since it’s what unlocks his character. Love doesn’t have to be “one true love” to still be love; Steffan ruins it through betrayal for the sake of power, every time he acts.

It would make a nice parallel to the the other easiness problem in the film: the too-easy relationship of Maleficent and Aurora.

Maleficent’s affection for Aurora comes too quickly and too trivially, in film-time. Less so in story-time; it spans many years in character. But that’s not communicated well, and even in story-time, Maleficent’s saving Aurora’s life from the inept fairy trio’s overwhelming incompetence* mere days after cursing her to die.

And it doesn’t resonate; it doesn’t work. Maleficent’s complex and multistage arc should be awesome – from young love, to betrayal and ruined love, to justified hate, to claiming her revenge… and then turning back from that, working through to regret, and to building an adult, parental love, and reclaiming her life for her own, from the wreckage wrought by Steffan.

Most of the pieces are there, but… it’s hollow in the middle. We needed a better arc of her hate. The arc is set up nicely. The betrayal is agonising. And so, she cursed an innocent baby to “sleep like death” tragically on the cusp of adulthood, as per her symbolic death with the rending and theft of her wings, and we’re kind of on board with that. We can see how she gets there.

So she can’t just step in and save Aurora over and over again without a good emotional reason, even if only to tell herself. Yes, it’s the turning point in her arc. Yes, from her own curse (irony!) she’s fated to love Princess Aurora in some form, as everyone who interacts with Aurora will come to love her, though not “true love” her. Maleficent is hoisted by her own petard here, and that’s fine.

But as with Steffan, there are always rationalisations for things done. Steffan needs to rationalise his evil; Maleficent needs to rationalise her goodness, in symmetry.

It could be simple – Aurora has to live to 16 so that Maleficent can see the curse she laid down become true, and watch King Steffan’s agony and failure to stop it. That’s a bit stock – a bit, heh, easy, really – but it’s a starting point.

Saving infant Aurora is a critical change at a critical moment. We needed some emotional support for that, and we didn’t get it. I’m not looking for All! The! Angst! – I’m looking for more emotional struggle to sell me the progression of character. Maleficent initially needs to save Aurora out of hate and revenge, not out of “well, guess so.” “Might as well” is just too damned easy.

Which is a damned shame.

Still, pretty good. Not what it should’ve been, though. That always hurts; good and great are awesome, terrible is terrible, hilariously terrible is even better. They are what they are and could be. But the near-misses like this one… they hurt. Maleficent could’ve been brilliant. Instead, by letting characters and the audience off too easy, it was merely… pretty good.

Not great. Pretty good.

And that’s a damned shame.


*: The three fairies were well too incompetent. It felt as though they were made even more spectacularly incompetent simply to provide more opportunities for Maleficent to step in and save Aurora. And again, that’s another case of letting things be Too Easy.

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Movie review: Maleficent

Jul. 19th, 2014 11:10 pm
annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)
[personal profile] annathepiper

Dara and I were a bit late to seeing this movie; we know it’s been out for weeks now. But we finally got a chance to see it before it vanished from the theaters, and I’m pleased we did. Overall picoreview: pretty good, though I have a bit of a hard time going above that, mostly because both Dara and I wish there would have been more substance to the script.

(ETA: Dara in particular lays down an excellent argument about symmetry–about failing to show us King Stefan sufficiently justifying his evil actions, and Maleficent justifying her good ones. Go see what she has to say, too!)

Overall, though, holy crap Angelina Jolie rocked the hell out of the role. And the costume and wardrobe and makeup people should get an Oscar alone just for the work they did on her eyes, her facial structure, the horns, and the cheekbones. Also, WINGS. Because I mean DAMN.

I’ve been asked if this film is kid-friendly, and I’ll say here what I said on Facebook: that I do have the caveat of not being a parent, and not regularly interacting with children, so I’m not exactly in a position to be the best judge of that. That said, I’d suspect that there’s some intensity here that might be a bit much for younger children, particularly in the violent climax of the story, as well as overall rather adult plot themes. Older children may fare better, but that could depend on the kid.

Spoilers behind the wall of thorns!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

Second General Fund Poll

Jul. 19th, 2014 11:25 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The second general fund poll for July 2014 is up on LiveJournal.  You can vote for which bundle of poems you'd like to publish via the general fund.
kyrielle: A photo of kyrielle, in profile, turned slightly toward the viewer (Default)
[personal profile] kyrielle
http://www.kgw.com/news/Boy-with-brain-tumor-just-wants-box-of-cards-for-birthday--267802461.html

This is current, and currently on multiple news sites. I find no debunking of it in a quick search. Meaning that this one is probably real and currently topical, so if you are inclined to send birthday cards to a boy (whose tumor is inoperable, and of a type that tends not to respond well to chemo, so...yeah) - the article has the PO box.

Poem: "I'm Here for You"

Jul. 19th, 2014 05:52 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was written outside the prompt calls, inspired by discussion with [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "pursuit of happiness" square in my 5-22-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by an anonymous donation. This poem belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
archangelbeth: Woman doing a zombie "braaaaains" pose (Braaains!)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Well, aside from the unfinished one, which I hope I managed to continue-the-theme through effectively. (I think I'm more pleased by how I... well, by how I now intend for it to turn out. In that respect. Which I don't want to talk about openly just now.)

I now need to open the OTHER file, which I know is also pointing out problematic things. Which, of course, I want to fix, but I also want to be done with this blighted albatross. Hopefully, though, many of the problematic things will have been fixed in a prior pass, yay?

Must re-contact artist, who was last seen having a honeymoon. *grin*

Crossing fingers that my website wizard will not get an attack of life and thus I will eventually have a Real Author Website!

Still need to get the blighted Doing Business As thing sorted out. Also need to ship down the Death Certificates to my mom, so that she can figure out if anyone bothered to tell Social Security that my sire died. Among other stuff.

Also need to read things for people, finish an online course, and worry about Ivan-the-Cat, because Ivan has been acting all puny and sad today. And purring while he was eating and drinking, which could be a goo sign, or could be stress-purring. If he is not better by Monday Morning, he is going to see the vet. (I like our vet a great deal, but frankly, I do wish we didn't have to see her more than once a year.)

Havva Quote
Snowflakes Upon Stone: the name for a coat coloration in horses, created via alchemy. It's a particular shade of dark gray with white spotting.
--Crucible glossary


INwatch+Bookwatch )
Adopt one today!
Dragons under fold )

Science. Sweet, sweet science.

Jul. 19th, 2014 01:00 pm
kyrielle: A photo of kyrielle, in profile, turned slightly toward the viewer (Default)
[personal profile] kyrielle
So, we're doing the summer library program, which is reading for 20 minutes a day, with the boys. And it comes with a separate track of doing science experiments also. We're trying to do that with the boys, but really, mostly with Drew - Ian doesn't entirely understand (not surprising - he isn't even three!) and also gets bored.

Today, however, Ian managed to stay focused for most of the time involved.

See, I got a book on candy experiments.... So we did color dispersion, and dissolving candy in water and adding baking soda to tell if it was an acid (and confirming that acids were sour, which of course meant a taste test of the candies, which was popular), and then - stretching the definition of experiment marginally, but in a good cause - we compared the behavior of *chocolate* in a microwave to the behavior of a *marshmallow* in the microwave.

Happy boys. Too much sugar around, but I think I kept the ingested amount reasonable, and happy boys.

And we still have a "pizza box oven" out back trying to heat s'mores. I think they've actually subsided on the plastic and are no longer in the proper shape, but eh, we'll see. If they melt, it will have made its point. And really, shouldn't candy science be sticky and gooey and messy?

a family-friendly aircraft carrier

Jul. 19th, 2014 02:36 pm
thnidu: A place for everything, and everything someplace else (A place for everything)
[personal profile] thnidu
hat-tip to John D.

Peregrine falcons delay USS Saratoga departure

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Navy is ready to say goodbye to the USS Saratoga, but a family of peregrine falcons is not.

The falcons are nesting on board the decommissioned aircraft carrier in Newport, Rhode Island. The Navy has delayed the Saratoga's final trip to Texas, where it will be dismantled, until the fledglings are ready to leave.

"We wanted to do the right thing by these birds," said Lisa Rama, spokeswoman for Naval Station Newport.

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