A bit wet

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:17 am
vilakins: Vila in cold-weather clothes looking unhappy (weather)
[personal profile] vilakins
One of the many reasons we moved to Oamaru was the weather. It's a lot drier here than wet, humid Auckland.

The latest storm hit the whole country, but especially the east coast of the South Island, this area particularly badly. Oamaru got over three months of rain in 26 hours. The infrastructure couldn't take it, rivers have flooded their banks, State Highway 1 is closed in many places including downhill from us where it crossed the river, and houses in the North End, a flat coastal area, are flooded, and steep Don Street, one we considered, is now a river with water running under houses.

At first I was pleased to live on a hill - and so far we're all right as the rain continues - but we woke up to see a slip on the hill opposite. There aren't houses on the slope (another reason for picking this place - nice view) but I suspect there are on the flat under it.

We have to go to Christchurch next week, so I hope the roads are open by then.

Reminder

Jul. 22nd, 2017 11:07 am
timetobegin: (leverage [ trio ])
[personal profile] timetobegin posting in [community profile] iconthat


Text is such a hard challenge!! Give it a shot :)
Challenge 63 is due in about 24 hours!

[ SECRET POST #3852 ]

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:25 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3852 ⌋

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

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 00 pages, 00 secrets from Secret Submission Post #551.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:48 pm
lurkingcat: (Default)
[personal profile] lurkingcat
Just when I was in need of a calming distraction... an unexpected Neko Atsume update appears. I've got to admit that I'd mostly stopped playing but given the number of conference call requests that the team mailbox got bombarded with this afternoon now seems like a good time to start checking in on the Neko Atsume yard again.

In real life feline news Kheldar is thoroughly disappointed by the amount of water that has fallen from the skies today. He has apparently spent most of the day asleep under a bed and is only willing to venture outside now that the rain has slowed from torrential to the occasional bit of drizzle. It is very, very wet underpaw and frankly that's just not acceptable for an elderly cat.

New Books and ARCs, 7/21/17

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:53 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

As we ease on into another summer weekend, here are the new books and ARCs that have come to the Scalzi Compound this week. What do you like here? Share your feelings in the comments!


[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Here’s Sugar curling up with a good book, in this case the ARC of Don’t Live For Your Obituary, my upcoming collection of essays about writing and the writing life, which comes out in December from Subterranean Press. And you can win it! Here’s how:

Tell me in the comments which Beatles song I am thinking of right now.

That’s it!

The person who correctly guesses which Beatles song I am thinking of wins. In the case where more than one person correctly guesses, I will number the correct guesses in order of appearance and then use a random number generator to select the winner among them.

“Beatles song” in this case means a song recorded by the Beatles, and includes both original songs by the band, and the cover songs they recorded. Solo work does not count. Here’s a list of songs recorded by the Beatles, if you need it. The song I’m thinking of is on it.

Guess only one song. Posts with more than one guess will have only the first song considered. Posts not related to guessing a song will be deleted. Also, only one post per person — additional posts will be deleted.

This contest is open to everyone everywhere in the world, and runs until the comments here automatically shut off (which will be around 3:50pm Eastern time, Sunday, July 23rd). When you post a comment, leave a legit email address in the “email” field so I can contact you. I’ll also announce the winner here on Monday, July 24. I’ll mail the ARC to you, signed (and personalized, if so requested).

Kitten not included.

Also remember you can pre-order the hardcover edition of Obit from Subterranean Press. This is a signed, limited edition — there are only 1,000 being made — and they’ve already had a healthy number of pre-orders. So don’t wait if you want one.

Now: Guess which Beatles song I am thinking of! And good luck!


good news, so far

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:23 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Maybe it's a good thing that I put off driving to Quebec to look at the historical archives of the Revolutionary era -- because I found some of what I would have gone looking for online, in historical society volumes from Michigan.

Why Michigan? I have no idea. But they are there.

Five volumes. More than 700 pages in most.

I'm downloading them and plan to read them all. What I'm looking at is the correspondence of Gen. Frederick Haldimand, a Swiss-born British soldier who became the military commander in the Americas. He was Ebenezer's boss, during the time of the events I'm dealing with, and a lot of the other characters involved with Ebenezer are likely to be in them as well. So far I've run into Brigadier MacLean, who was in command at Fort Niagara, and whom I've met in other letters before -- he wrote a friend about how badly Haldimand was dealing with the Sullivan expedition and how disappointed the Indians who were British allies were about it: "The king has a fool for a general" (direct quote from the letter, which is in the Archives of Ontario, filed under Scottish Immigrant Papers.) In the current letter, he's talking about running out of trade goods, asking to be sure the proper things are sent to Niagara and to Erie (which fort he had to borrow supplies from, and promised to make it up to them) and it is clear from his clipped-off sentences that he is really pissed about it all but can't say that to his boss.

It's something like 1800 pages overall. I'm downloading it in PDF and in MOBI, so I can read it on Kindle and cross-reference with the PDF for documenting pages and such for bibliographic info, if necessary.

I'm looking for two specific things (but I'll take others as they come): Ebenezer's promotion to lieutenant and move to the Indian Dept. from Butler's Rangers, and Ebenezer's own letter(s) to Haldimand demanding a reason why he was being detained without being charged and describing how he was being treated in various places of imprisonment (the Ranger camp at Niagara on the Lake, Hamilton (which was called something else then) and Quebec. I would have checked for these in Ottawa on principle, but apparently Ottawa was not that big a deal back then.

So, I'll spend the time I might have spent on the road (and more) in reading this pile of British military correspondence and getting to know the guys better. I can think of worse things to do in August.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:20 pm
lilly_c: (Maps - wandering gyspy)
[personal profile] lilly_c
A select few pictures from mum and Brian's recent visit, these were taken on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the week they were here, the Anchor Trail pictures are already posted (locked) and for the Wednesday and Thursday we were out and about in Aberdeen with having dinner reservations at both Rendezvous at Nargile (highly recomend it!) and the casino as well as going to the cinema to see Despicable Me 3 which I enjoyed a lot more than both DM2 and Minions because I liked the villain, okay I liked Scarlet Overkill in Minions and want to see her in any potential future DM films but Vue really have to fix the heating because screen 2 was roasting and they didn't put the air con on at all.

Anyways, rambling on :) behind the cut is a select few pictures whittled down from 160 and barring a small amount of edits - cropping and where needed rotating, still orignal sizes because these were all taken on my tablet. A few of these have already appeared on my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Inverness, Glasgow and Perth )

Agent to the Stars, 20 Years On

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:10 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

So, on July 21, 1997, which was a Monday, I posted the following on the alt.society.generation-x newsgroup:

Thought y’all might like to know. I’m happy, pleased, tired.

96,098 words, cranked out in a little under three months, working
mostly on weekends, grinding out 5,000 words at a sitting.

Learned two things:

a) I *can* carry a story over such a long stretch;

b) like most things on the planet, thinking about doing it is a lot
worse than simply sitting down and doing it. The writing wasn’t hard
to do, you just need to plant ass in seat and go from there.

I did find it helped not to make my first novel a gut-wrenching
personal story, if you know what I mean. Instead I just tried to write
the sort of science fiction story I would like to read. It was fun.

Now I go in to tinker and fine tune. Will soon have it ready for beta
testing. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

That novel? Agent to the Stars. Which means that today is the 20th anniversary of me being a novelist. Being a published novelist would have to wait — I date that to January 1, 2005, the official publication date of Old Man’s War — but in terms of having written a full, complete (and as it eventually turned out, publishable) novel: Today’s the day.

I’ve recounted the story of Agent before but it’s fun to tell, because I think it’s a nice antidote to the “I just had to share the story I’d been dreaming of my whole life” angle first novels often take. The gist of the story was that my 10-year high school reunion was on the horizon, and having been “the writer dude” in my class, I knew I would be asked if I had ever gotten around to writing a novel, and I wanted to be able to say “yes.” Also, I was then in my late 20s and it was time to find out whether I could actually write one or not.

Having decided I was going to write one, I decided to make it easy for myself, mostly by not trying to do all things at once. The goal was simply: Write a novel-length story. The story itself was going to be pretty simple and not personally consequential; it wasn’t going to be a thinly-disguised roman a clef, or something with a serious and/or personal theme. It would involve Hollywood in some way, because I had spent years as a film critic and knew that world well enough to write about it. And as for genre, I was most familiar with mystery/crime fiction and science fiction/fantasy, so I flipped a coin to decide which to do. It come up heads, so science fiction it was, and the story I had for that was: Aliens come and decide to get Hollywood representation.

(I don’t remember the story I was thinking for the mystery version. I’m sure death was involved. And for those about to say “well, you didn’t have to stick with science fiction for your second book,” that’s technically correct, but once I’d written one science fiction novel, I knew I could write science fiction. It was easier to stick with what I knew. And anyway I write murder mysteries now — Lock In and the upcoming Head On. They also happen to be science fiction.)

I remember the writing of Agent being pretty easy, in no small part, I’m sure, because of everything noted above — it wasn’t meant to be weighty or serious or even good, merely novel-length. When I finished it, I do remember thinking something along the lines of “Huh. That wasn’t so bad. Maybe I should have done this earlier.” In the fullness of time, I’ve realized that I probably couldn’t have done it any earlier, I wasn’t focused enough and it helped me to have some sort of external motivation, in this case, my high school reunion.

Once finished, I asked two friends and co-workers at America Online to read the book: Regan Avery and Stephen Bennett, both of whom I knew loved science fiction, and both of whom I knew I could trust to tell me if what I’d written was crap. They both gave it a thumbs up. Then I showed it to Krissy, my wife, who was apprehensive about reading it, since if she hated it she would have to tell me, and would still have to be married to me afterward. When she finished it, the first thing she said to me about it was “Thank Christ it’s good.” Domestic felicity lived for another day.

And then, having written it… I did nothing with it for two years. Because, again, it wasn’t written for any other reason than to see if I could write a novel. It was practice. People other than Regan and Stephen and Krissy finally saw it in 1999 when I decided that the then brand-new Scalzi.com site could use some content, so I put it up here as a “shareware” novel, meaning that if people liked it they could send me a dollar for it through the mail. And people did! Which was nice.

It was finally physically published in 2005, when Bill Schafer of Subterranean Press published a limited hardcover edition. I was jazzed about that, since I wanted a version of the book I could put on my shelf. The cover was done by Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik, who among other things knew of the book because I was one of Penny Arcade’s very first advertisers way back in the day, advertising the Web version of the book (those guys have done okay since then). Then came the Tor paperback edition, and the various foreign editions, and the audiobook, and here we are today.

When I wrote the novel, of course, I had no idea that writing it was the first step toward where I am now. I was working at America Online — and enjoying it! It was a cool place to be in the 90s! — and to the extent I thought I would be writing novels at all, I thought that they would be sideline to my overall writing career, rather than (as it turned out) the main thrust of it. This should be your first indication that science fiction writers in fact cannot predict the future with any accuracy.

I’m very fond of Agent, and think it reads pretty well. I’m also aware that it’s first effort, and also because it was written to be in present time in the 90s, just about out of time in terms of feeling at all contemporary (there are fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors remaining, to pick just one obvious example in the book). At this point I suggest people consider it as part of an alternate history which branched off from our timeline in 1998 or thereabouts. Occasionally it gets talked about for being picked for TV/film. If that ever happens, expect some extensive plot revisions. Otherwise, it is what it is.

One thing I do like about Agent is that I still have people tell me that it’s their favorite of mine. I like that because I think it’s nice to know that even this very early effort, done simply for the purpose of finding out if I could write a novel, does what I think a novel should: Entertains people and makes them glad they spent their time with it.

I’m also happy it’s the novel that told me I could do this thing, this novel-writing thing, and that I listened to it. The last couple of decades have turned out pretty well for me. I’m excited to see where things go from here.


In which My Doctor is The Best Doctor

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:54 pm
miss_s_b: (Who: SixAppeal)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I am well known for the fact that Colin Baker is my favourite Doctor when it comes to Doctor Who; possibly I am well-known for it because it is somewhat unusual*. The Other Baker has the biggest cohort of fans from classic era, I suspect at least partly because he is the longest serving, and my least favourite of the new era Doctors remains inexplicably popular among youngsters, perhaps because he's conventionally pretty. Us Colin fans are a small yet hardy bunch, and quite a lot of the time the rest of fandom treats us like we are A Bit Strange.

However, I cleave to my belief that Colin Is Best, and I would like to present to you two very different little bits of evidence that have been added to my Colin Is Awesome pile:
  1. My friend Andrew has been doing reviews and analysis of Colin's first season on the show, and in this piece he explains, in quite some detail, why one of the worst Who stories ever showcases exactly how brilliant Colin is in the role.

  2. Colin's incredibly robust reactions to the casting of Jodie Whittaker, even to the extent of retooling his own iconic regeneration line and becoming mildly impolite to a fellow former Doctor, has been a joy for me to behold. Colin has always been a Who fanboy, as well as a Doctor, and this response from him was just magnificent.
I don't expect to convert many - any - of you here. I know you've all got your views, and some of them are quite fixed, just as mine are on this matter. Nevertheless, it would be nice if fandom in general could have a bit less casual disrespect for Colin, and his fans. He's a good actor, and a fab Doctor, and we should all cherish him.



* for various demographic reasons, the cohort for whom Colin is Our Doctor is smaller than that for almost any other Doctor. If you want more on the maths of this, Andrew goes into it here.

Wisdom of the crowd.

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:01 pm
sg_wonderland: (Default)
[personal profile] sg_wonderland
Every time I see the promo for this show, all I can think is "that's almost the exact scene from 2010 where the Aschen are lauding 3/4 of sg1....."

Linkspam: fannish/geeky, misc.

Jul. 21st, 2017 03:02 pm
umadoshi: (ocean 01)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

"Here's how the new Star Wars novels will connect to The Last Jedi: The ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ books will explore details from the history of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia". I'm just gonna jump down here to Canto Bight: "This collection of four short stories will focus on creatures from the glamorous casino world of Canto Bight, described as the galactic version of Monaco. The book, which hits stores on Dec. 5, will be written by Saladin Ahmed, Rae Carson, Mira Grant, and John Jackson Miller." [Also linked at [dreamwidth.org profile] aftertheendtimes, because awesome news is awesome.]

"Stargate Origins Series to Launch New MGM Digital Platform — Watch Teaser".

"Pacific Rim: Uprising Releases Teaser and Info on a New Crop of Jaegers". [Tor.com] And once again, we have a Jaeger with a slur (same one) in its name. :/

"Jenny, the Doctor’s Daughter, Finally Getting the Doctor Who Spinoff Adventures She Deserves" [in audio drama form]. [The Mary Sue]

"Dick Grayson vs. Toxic Masculinity". [Book Riot] [May 2017]


Miscellaneous

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] wendelah1, "Rape Choreography Makes Films Safer, But Still Takes a Toll on Cast and Crew". [Content warnings: what you'd expect from that headline.]

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] dine, "The Kitten Rental Program is Saving Lives".

"The Lost Picture Show: Hollywood Archivists Can’t Outpace Obsolescence".

"Photobucket Is Holding People's Photos For 'Ransom': The company is now charging a $400 fee to hot-link images — which will break photos on tons of old websites and blogs.". [Buzzfeed]

"The Lost Cookbooks Of Black Chefs".

"Just 19 Fascinating Things About The Hair & Makeup On 'GLOW'". [Buzzfeed]

"How Eyeliner Defines My Womanhood". "My politics and my eyeliner became inseparable. Projecting my own sense of beauty, without shame or hesitation, scared the hell out of my opponents. My look was my armor and my weaponry. / But the fight took its toll. Somewhere in my late teens, I closeted myself again, without particularly noticing that I was doing so. I stopped wearing anything that scanned as feminine. I didn't even own eyeliner for 20 years. And I said nothing when people took me for a straight, cisgender man. [...] I’ve finally recognized, over years of trial and error — mostly error — that a wildly disproportionate amount of anxiety I experience arises from dressing like a man. A couple of years ago, that anxiety was swallowing me whole. I didn’t like who I’d become, and I wanted better for myself and my family. And, thanks to the wealth of information available online, and the supportive trans and queer community I found there, I had finally found the words to describe myself."

"Not in This Day and Age? On “Feisty, Cheeky, and Rebellious” Women in History".

"Cooling the tube – Engineering heat out of the Underground". "One of the biggest problems is a side-effect of what made it possible to dig the deep level tunnels in the first place — namely the very solid and nice to tunnel through London Clay which sits under the city.

In fact, when the early tube tunnels were dug, they were so cool down there that the cool tube was seen as a respite from the summer heat on the surface. Why suffer on a bus in the heat when there’s a cool tube to take instead, said the marketing men.

So why is the Bakerloo line, once the coolest place to be, now a mobile sauna?"
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Just what the subject said. The road crew is digging up the place they dug up and then paved over last week. The kitchen sink has been clogged for two days; the plumber says the snake is pushing the clog but not going through it. He's trying to get at it in the basement now, with the SU's help. He's the one turning water on and off up here.

I am back in the bedroom with Beautiful, who informed me in no uncertain terms that the new paving stones are too hot for her to walk on. Either that or she doesn't like stone dust between her toes because it tastes gritty. Anyway, she's lying on my t-shirt, a sock and a carry bag on the bed near my feet.

And so you get the links I have found...

The Oakland police dept. has severed its ties with ICE. And I love body cameras on cops, especially when the camera footage shows the cops planting drugs and faking evidence.

A good airplane story: A flight attendant saw 'help me' written in the aircraft toilet, informed the pilot and there were police there to catch the kidnapper and free the girl who wrote it when the plane landed. And there's information about a group of flight attendants that fights human trafficking.

Federal Judge James Boasberg found that the federal permits justifying the Dakota Access Pipeline were not filled out legally -- they lacked vital information on the effect of the pipeline on Native water, among other things -- and the court seeks an additional briefing to consider whether to shut down the pipeline altogether. This is a huge step and victory for the Standing Rock Sioux and the waterkeepers, even if it is not yet the final victory.

Elon Musk says he has verbal approval for an underground 'pipeline' that would take people from DC to NY very fast.

Info on preventing dementia long before it starts.

They thought it was just a rock. It's a million-year-old dinosaur fossil, a rare one.

Confessions of a NYTimes copyeditor. You may or may not have heard that the Times is laying off something like 30 -- or was it 60? -- copyeditors, a move that I look at with horror since those are the people who catch the inadvertant errors before they get in print. When I worked at a daily paper, the news path was: reporter, region/city editor, copyeditor, back shop for compositing and layout. Whoever was copyeditor edited all the stories on the first page of the local news section and designed its layout, and changed it at half-hour intervals for the four editions. But this was a one-printing newspaper -- one paper a day, different editions for different sales regions, such as city, local county, neighboring NY county, neighboring PA county. The NYTimes, on the other hand, has an international edition, a national edition, and several local editions each day, at different times and deadlines. That's an all-day job. And the copyeditors have to be sure that every story is factually correct and matches the style of the paper. (One of these days I'll write about stylebooks.) Anyway, the mere thought of losing copyeditors makes my skin crawl.

Apparently, NY City does not allow pet-sitting without a kennel license, and kennels aren't allowed in the city. This does not make things easy for pet owners, though
the Bloggess's letter to the pet sitter that wasn't sent would scare me off.

Speaking of pets and runaways, Trump's personal lawyer has left, quit, run off, and so has the legal team's media spokesman. Now the head of the team is ... and no, baseball fans, I am not joking ... Ty Cobb. (The baseball player Ty Cobb scored very well and was a bloody sunovabitch to deal with; he wore spiked shoes and if he didn't like you and you were guarding a base, he'd slide into the base and aim the spikes at your legs. He aimed at black players in particular.) Hmm. He'd be right at home with Trump, wouldn't he?

A trying time on a grand jury.

***

A break: Women win the Internet in tweets. And #10 illustrates why women should be on *every* design committee.

Decolonial theory at work in Australia.

Agatha Christie's coming to your screens, along with a lot of other interesting stuff.

9 classic country songs and the books they pair up with.

Fancy cotton candy art in China.

Jeramiah Moss was here.

Are the 1930s returning in the Left?

Giant metal chicken. Need I say more?

What a president with nothing to hide would say to the NYTimes.

Abandoned spaces.

Seven provisions in the Senate health care bill that may not survive committee review. Read this, despite the eyeblinding art at the top.

But you do need to know that a bill funding arts and humanities has made it out of committee. Yay NEA and NEH!

Where does time go? I don't know. I do know that this last link is posted for reference and not for your reading pleasure -- in case you have to look something up: a chronological list of Trump's lies.

The plumber is done, so I'm going to finally get my morn-, no, afternoon coffee.

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:31 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Scott's response on giving away the crock pot was "Hallelujah!!" We just have to figure out an easy way to transport it. Our cleaning lady is thinking that she'll bring a sturdy bag and take one piece a week. I think the base the lid are light enough to go together, but the stoneware inserts are really, really heavy.

I ended up not writing yesterday. The afternoon and early evening got devoured by insurance related stuff. There's a receipt I can't find that I'm about 60% sure I submitted for a claim, but I can't find any indication on the Aetna statements that they ever got it. I also haven't managed to find it in any of the places I keep those receipts.

Then, while we were eating dinner, our power went out for about an hour and a half. Scott and I decided to go out in search of some sort of dessert, but the first place we tried had too long a wait for seating. The second had already closed for the evening. We went to Plum Market for the half price baked goods and then ended up at Wendy's for frosties. After we had paid, they handed them to us with straws, telling us that they were out of spoons and that, if we really wanted, they could give us forks instead of straws.

Cordelia's pediatrician told me that I will have to talk to the sports medicine people about guidelines for what she can safely do in gym class. I really hope they don't need to see her in order to do that because there's pretty much zero chance that they could see her for that before October, not the way non-emergency appointments go at the U.

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