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[personal profile] hollymath
At first I was frustrated that the initial excitement about the new Doctor is so long before we'll see anything more of her. Still got my beloved Capaldi at Christmas, and then a year off...

But an internet friend has written a Thirteenth Doctor story, and he says "I wanted to write the Doctor as I wanted her to be rather than predict the one we'll see on TV." And I realized that I'm glad we have a year am a half to write her as we want her to be before all my reservations about the writing and directing of the TV show have to kick in. I know good writers, and no doubt there are many more, who I don't have to have such reservations about.

And now I'm glad of all that time.

The story is very good. It's called "Be Afraid" and you can read it here.

Poetry I actually like

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:58 am
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Yet the gods do not give lightly of the powers they have made
And with Challenger and seven, once again the price is paid
Though a nation watched her falling, yet a world could only cry
As they passed from us to glory, riding fire in the sky

I skippped out of the Dreamwidth meetup at Loncon for a half hour, making apologies to [personal profile] liv and [personal profile] starlady and others, to see Jordin Kare's filk concert. It left me weeping in sadness in places, and laughing in delight in others. I bought a CD from him afterward and thanked him for his music.

For the engineer sighed as he studied those plans
And he read the demented designer's demands
Then he called in his techs and he said to his crew
This guy seems to think that there's jobs we can't do
And parts we can't build so let's give him a thrill
We'll build his machine and then send him the bill

I'm sad to hear Dr. Kare passed away the other day. His music and his science inspired me constantly.

Roxy and other animals update

Jul. 21st, 2017 02:15 pm
miss_s_b: (Mood: Mad as a flibble)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Second course of antibiotics seems to have done the trick, so it appears the infection she had was a resistant strain, or at least resistant to the most common doggie antibiotic.

Now we have to sort out her teeth...

Daughter has been really excellent recently, alternately cajoling me into doing self care ("come on mummy, lets go to the gym, it's good for both of us" "Lets take the doggies for a walk, clear our heads") and baking cakes for me to eat. She's getting REALLY good at baking.

Pretty much everything else is still stressful or infuriating or depressing, but I'm not dead. And tomorrow we go to That London for a couple of days to see the wimmins krikkit world cup final, so hopefully running away for a bit will help.

Music meme: day 14 of 30

Jul. 21st, 2017 01:24 pm
liv: Detail of quirky animals including a sheep, from an illuminated border (marriage)
[personal profile] liv
Here we go, the middle of the list hits A song that you would love played at your wedding.

As you probably know, I'm already married, and I had my wedding five years ago. wedding reminiscences plus video )

I have no intention of having any more weddings to choose music for. I'm already married, as are all my partners. And maybe poly people aren't supposed to say this, but I really think I've found my people and hope not to end or change my current relationships. Friends who have looked into these things in more detail think it's not actually illegal to have weddings, in the sense of ceremonies indicating lifelong romantic commitment, to more than one partner, as long as you don't try to register the relationship as a marriage for legal purposes. But I am not really sure of the details and anyway at the moment we don't have any desire to be married to more people than our existing spouses, even if it is (or became) legally ok.

It is fair to say that I never intended to get married the first time either, so maybe I'm wrong. I suppose we've vaguely talked about the possibility that those of us who are EU citizens may need to marry those who are not for immigration reasons and safety, but I really really really hope it doesn't come to that and if we were in that situation there wouldn't be any singing and dancing, just whatever paperwork we needed for survival. And hypothetically my current relationships might come to an end and then I might find a new person who really wanted to get married to me. But then the song I would choose would depend so much on the person and the circumstances that I can't really speculate what it would be, and I don't really want to because it involves imagining the ends of relationships I really want to keep.

I'm not in general a fan of the wedding tradition of the First Dance to a romantic song. Partly because I'm not much of a dancer, and partly because I think there are better ways to do symbolic consummation. And then finding a song which is lyrically appropriate is surprisingly hard; a lot of songs in the style that's appropriate to slow-dance to are really breakup songs, or at best they're hugely monogamy-assuming and heteronormative. As [personal profile] elf pointed out in this meme, a lot of poly-friendly songs are about casual hey we're just doing this as long as we both like it relationships, which is kind of wrong for a wedding.

I think it was [personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait who pointed out that the most inappropriate possible song for a wedding is She moves through the fair, since it mentions our wedding day but primarily as a euphemism for death. I am very fond of it, mind you. And I have attended a wedding where the big romantic moment Song was Hey, that's no way to say goodbye by Leonard Cohen, which is a gorgeous song but way depressing if you go past the opening lines:
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
Yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you

I never daydreamed about my ideal wedding when I was single, so I never had a concept in my mind of what song I would love played. If I happened to be in a relationship where we had a song that was meaningful to us as a couple, then perhaps I'd choose that, but I can't help myself thinking about the detailed interpretation of the words. So, just out of interest, do any of you know any songs which are good for weddings, talking about serious relationships but not about possessiveness? Or songs that are good for non-religious communal singing?

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:53 pm
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[personal profile] naath
15.A song that is a cover by another artist

oh, I know one for this!


Chis Hadfield sings space oddity.

Interesting Links for 21-07-2017

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
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[personal profile] andrewducker

(no subject)

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:13 am
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[personal profile] cesy
More things I have learnt from physio - mainly notes to self. I suspect [personal profile] hagar_972 and [personal profile] taennyn may have useful experience here, where I'm just starting out on the same journey they've already been on.

Muscles in the thigh - VMO, lateralis, the big quad one, the sartorius one across, adductors on the inside, abductors on the outside. VMO needs extra strengthening due to hypermobility. The small stabilising muscles tend to give up, then the big muscles compensate, and that's why my hamstrings get tight all the time. Then the hip/bum ones like glute max and glute mede also need help, particularly the latter.

Making sure things activate in the right order is hard. If the lateralis activates before the VMO instead of at the same time, then my kneecap slides sideways and that's one of the reasons it hurts. Trying to activate the VMO first will retrain it so they both go at the same time.

So my mother had a small stroke.

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:34 pm
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[personal profile] conuly
She's talking just fine (which is great, she's a real chatterbox) and even though she has some weakness on one side, it's already improving.

And while we were gone dealing with this, the cops broke into our house to search for our escaped neighbor. Which is ridiculous - they didn't have a warrant, and they certainly didn't have probable cause, and they definitely did not have our consent to a search.

I must say, they're really pulling out all the stops here. The cops, the state troopers, a joint NY/NJ task force, a helicopter... all this for some dude who ran out of his house, handcuffed, in his undies. It's either overkill, or they're hiding something big.

Music meme, day 22

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:02 am
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[personal profile] ilanin
Today's prompt is "a song that moves you forward". I only ever had one song in mind for this:

Obstacles is the credits track, and, to some extent, Chloe's theme (or at least, it plays over her ending) from Life is Strange. Both the song and its use in the game are about how you can't always have what you want, and it was pretty cathartic for me while I was struggling to cope with the idea that things weren't going to work out for me and K despite everything having seemingly gone right for us.

The list )


Jul. 20th, 2017 03:09 pm
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[personal profile] rachelmanija

Curious Alex.

Erin, waiting for it.

In Memoriam

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:42 am
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Jordin Kare.  [personal profile] calimac  posted a wonderful remembrance.  I only met him a few times.  My heart goes out to Mary Kay.  ETA:  [personal profile] wild_irises remembers his smile.
[syndicated profile] reader_of_else_feed

Posted by readerofelse


Definitely a pretty edition, so glad I got this not the tv cover

So I didn’t manage to finish The Vorrh in enough time to ensure I’d get through The Handmaid’s Tale in enough time for book club, so I’ll be going back to it*. I’m far enough in that I know it’s going to be an interesting post, for sure.

I’ll admit it, I haven’t actually read The Handmaid’s Tale before. I know, I know, I really ought to have. Seminal work of feminist dystopia and all that. Booker nominated speculative fiction! Multi-award winning! So many reasons I should have got round to this, rather than have it lurking on my To Read list. So, probably spurred on by the current tv show (which I wouldn’t watch without having read the book), I decided to nominate it for this month’s book club meeting, and I am so, so pleased it won. Not because I’ve ticked it off my list. But because it turns out it is probably one of the best books I have ever read.

I think part of that is I got to it in a good week. I started reading it on a Monday, mid-way through a book I suspect of being… iffy on gender stuff, and just after having reacted very very positively to a film for feministy reasons. I was in the right headspace for this. But I think I’d have loved it, if not quite as ridiculously much, whenever I came to it. Because it strikes the perfect balance of horror and realism, creating a dystopia thoroughly rooted in things one can relate to. Atwood is particularly good at grounding her world in history, creating images of the future with echoes of the past, making it so much easier to visualise things ever so clearly. Likewise, the style of the narration, the humanity of it brings it closer to something you can easily feel and imagine. It’s not a dispassionate, third person narrative, watching from a distance. It’s a person right there, feeling those feelings and seeing those things, with all the attendant confusion, unreliability and lack of detail that brings. It’s not explaining every single tiny cause and effect and grand scheme and overarching theme. It’s more human than that, and that’s what makes it so wonderful.

More than anything, though, it is Atwood’s prose that sells it. I forget, sometimes, when I’ve been reading a lot of books with good stories and writing that… gets out of the way… that I really really value decent prose. For all that I love the SFF genre, and I do (I mean, I have a blog dedicated to talking about it and everything), one of the ways I feel it lets itself down is that, on the whole, the standard of writing required for something to be considered good is much, much lower than you might get in other genres. Not all the time, and I’m not saying there’s no well written SFF (I mean, China Miéville exists). But it’s not the norm. So when I do get to some SFF with properly glorious, beautiful writing (thank you David Mitchell, for instance), it stands out as the joy it is to read. And The Handmaid’s Tale is exactly that. Atwood uses her prose to create a vivid, personal and very real sense of a person, as well as subtly crafting her as an unreliable narrator in her own unreliable words. But the thing which truly stood out to me more than all of that was how Atwood describes a scene. My memories of the book are the vivid mental pictures of the landscapes she describes. The weather particularly – the weather which feeds into the tone and themes and which becomes such a subtle but integrated part of the narrative – sticks firmly in my mind. I could see so clearly the empty blue skies of summer she called up, and the sharp edges of the headdresses, the stark colours of the clothing. Colour and sensation are massive focal points in how she creates her world, and it is this more than anything which sticks with me, because it creates a palpable atmosphere. It’s not just that you can imagine her summer, but you can feel and see it. And that’s just so, so rare in SFF that I read… and it’s not like I’m rereading comfort-trash all the time. I generally try to read well-written things, for the standards of the genre, because I do really like good writing… but there’s a step-change between most of that and this, and it’s something that stands out so strongly when I get it.

And then of course there’s the world she describes.

One of the most chilling… but in a weird way almost comforting… things about the book is how real it seems. How… detached from its own time. Like, I know when the book was written, and if I really really pay attention, I can get some sense of that when reading it. But otherwise, it feels sort of timeless. It could happen now. And for all that current events definitely are nudging it more towards realism than anyone wants, part of me feels like that might have been true in the entire intervening time between the writing and now. It feels far more universally applicable than… say… Animal Farm, as well as, frankly, being a better book. It hasn’t (yet? I hope this changes) got the sense of absurdity and unreality that Animal Farm has that really undercuts the seriousness of its message. This… feels so real. And the reactions of the women – the way that not everyone is good, and many of them are their own oppressors – the way there are people all the way down the spectrum of morality particularly emphasise this. It’s not a simple story. It accepts that people are complex, and not everyone follows the same logics, and it still manages to come out of that with a coherent narrative drive.

But somehow, this complex narrative about many people being absolutely horrible is a comfort. And I think part of that is solidarity. My general impression has been that the women who’ve read it and expressed opinions are not… shocked by it. It feels real in a way it doesn’t to the men. And I feel like part of that might be a feeling of, however much the scale is different, not feeling alone. Because this is grown out of a reality many women experience – expanded and overgrown as it may be – and so there’s a sense of understanding and… feeling like you’re believed? I’m not sure how to articulate it.

Mainly, it feels like a very very relevant story, and one that is deeply personal and human. Because the main beauty of it is the narrator, in all her unreliable glory. She’s torn between resentment and horror at her situation and acceptance, almost gratefulness. She’s not a fighter. She’s not a glorious rebel facing up to the evil regime. And that’s why she matters so much. She’s a survivor. She’s someone who puts down her head and gets by. Yes, she hates what her world is. But she lives. Yes, she takes the freedoms she’s given and enjoys them. But she hides them, quietly, sensibly and carefully. She’s who many of us would be, in a way we wouldn’t be the outspoken, strident fighter, consequences go hang. The book gives us her too, in Moira, but she’s someone to be admired, sometimes close and sometimes from a distance, not the voice that speaks directly to us. We’re not meant to identify with Moira, just wonder at her. And for all that sounds a somewhat grim indication of the mindset of most people… to me, at least, it felt real. And that felt so much more worthwhile than a story of noble and… unrealistic, in most people’s cases… dramatic fight and rebellion and turmoil and drama. Because most things aren’t like that.

I’m rambling now, so I’ll get to the point. Much like Wonder Woman, but in a very different direction, The Handmaid’s Tale  is a book I found emotionally important, as well as objectively good. There is much to recommend it in the abstract – it is painfully well-written, moving, clever, insightful, horrifying and plausible – but where it really succeeds is the emotional. It feels real, and it feels important. And that’s… a very difficult thing pulled off beautifully. I felt no hesitation giving it five stars on Goodreads, and I honestly think it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I am definitely going to seek out more of Atwood’s work because this was just too… yeah.

Next up, a break towards something slightly lighter, ish, maybe – I’m currently reading The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okarofor, and so far it’s really really readable.


*This is still technically true, but I’ve now started reading something else that isn’t creeping me out with male gaze/sexist/casual racism swan stuff.

Good Story. Dodge the Extras

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:27 am
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Jolene Nicole Jones.  WARNING:  DO NOT CLICK FOR THE "INCREDIBLE BODY TRANSFORMATIONS" which are weight-loss pictures, and HALT THE VIDEO halfway down the page.  (Or visit her Facebook site.  I don't do Facebook.)
emperor: (Default)
[personal profile] emperor
Fans of the coffee stall on the Cambridge market (link to my previous post on opening hours) may be interested to know that he doesn't seem to be open on Thursdays any more - AFAICT he's now Mon-Wed, Fri, Sat.

Not entirely co-incidentally, my coffee supplies are now rather low :(

Incoming Legendary raids confirmed!

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:51 am
kirin: Kirin Esper from Final Fantasy VI (Default)
[personal profile] kirin posting in [community profile] pokestop
Official announcement here: http://pokemongolive.com/en/post/legendarypokemon

Probably coming worldwide shortly after the Chicago GO fest, as I imagine them unlocking it is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Though it seems like Legendaries will be releasing gradually into the raid pool. I'l also heard scuttlebutt that Legendary raid eggs will have an extra-long lead time, to make it easier to coordinate a large group, though I'm not sure where that info comes from.

Someone over on the Silph reddit also did a pretty nice write-up on which pokemon that you can raise now will be most useful for Gen 1-2 Legendary raids: https://www.reddit.com/r/TheSilphRoad/comments/6ogm5u/last_minute_preparation_for_legendary_raids/

For me, right now I've got one Bite/Crunch Tyranitar and one Rock Throw/Rock Blast Golem, plus the usual complement of Eeveelutions and one each excellent Scizor w/Bug, Houndoom w/Dark and Dragonite w/Dragon, so that's a start at least. Sadly neither of my Omastars have the useful legacy rock moveset, oh well.

Music meme: day 13 of 30

Jul. 20th, 2017 04:32 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
I'm getting really behind the wave on this, aren't I? Still, there's more than one person still working through the list! Today is One of your favourite 70's songs. I'm not very good at knowing which songs come from which decade, and most of the music on my computer has really inaccurate metadata. But one song which I know is from the 70s, and which is definitely one of my favourites, is Go to Hell by Alice Cooper. I'm not sure if it's actually my favourite 70s song, but I really ought to have something by Alice Cooper in the meme.

I'm really very fond of Alice Cooper goes to Hell; it was my first encounter with the idea of a concept album. I especially love this opening track because it's a bit of (darkly) humorous intro, with the bathos of ridiculously specific examples of depravity:
You'd gift-wrap a leper and mail him to your aunt Jane
You'd even force feed a diabetic a candy cane

I often tell the story of how when I went to university I gained a certain amount of respect among the alternative crowd by explaining that Alice Cooper was in fact a ouijia board chosen stage name for a definitely male singer. Despite not looking like the sort of person who would know rock music trivia. But I love Alice Cooper for being so gloriously terrible, and occasionally coming out with works of sheer genius like Poison (not from the 70s) in among all the McGonagall stuff.

video embed (borderline NSFW) )