Three sentences about 2017-09-14

Sep. 20th, 2017 07:00 am
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
A sleepy day after the long one yesterday, but I made good progress at work nonetheless. I think that not eating during the day helps a lot; I've noticed that I'm often very tired, and also often somewhat more grouchy and impatient, right after dinner for an hour or two. The school's annual "ice cream social" was tonight, which basically involves Richardson's ice cream, some chocolate and caramel sauce, and lots of running around on the playground. :^) It started to rain partway through, but not for long, and stopped and started fitfully after that. Junie headed out with a friend who lived partway between school and home after one drizzle, though, and she then walked the rest of the way home by herself, because she is Big. :^) Q and I stayed basically until the very end, and had a good time.

Three sentences about 2017-09-13

Sep. 20th, 2017 06:31 am
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
Up at 05:30 for some off-hours work; my only other note is that there was frisbee. :^) It was ok; we were playing against an "indie" team, of people who had signed up as individuals, and they were a pretty mixed bag of skill levels, and pretty uncoordinated as a team, which I suppose is how the indie team I played on last fall must have seemed to everyone, but there wasn't an indie team in the spring league, so I'd gotten used to playing against folks who'd been playing together a lot. Anyway, it was ok; we scored the first six or eight points, and then started to slack off somewhat, and offered to mix up the teams and play just for fun, but they wanted to practice playing together, which seems legit. I didn't play very well, but was pretty tired after the early start to the day, so didn't beat myself up about it too much. I stayed up a little too late, but more like midnight than like 02:00, so not disastrously bad on that front.

Three sentences about 2017-09-12

Sep. 18th, 2017 09:53 pm
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
Heh, I guess the last time I posted was me saying "I feel reluctant to post things". I didn't mean that to apply to Three Sentences. :^p Time to catch up!

...but I have no recollection of Tuesday, and no notes. Probably there was work! Q had his first day of basketball at ABGC -- I'm never sure what to call this, it doesn't feel like a "class", it's not a "league", there's not a "season", he's not on a "team", he's not "practicing" for anything, who knows; anyway -- and seemed to like it. (I wasn't there, but based on his reports, and Amy's.) Junie's LEGO robotics class (see, that one feels like a class! shrug) is a week shorter, so it starts next week but ends the same week as Q's basketball. That's all I got.

Pinch Hit #10

Sep. 19th, 2017 07:24 pm
withinadream: (Default)
[personal profile] withinadream posting in [community profile] femslashex
 To claim, comment on the Google Group or e-mail femslashexmod@gmail.com

Pinch Hit #10
Fandoms: Overwatch, The Bold Type, RWBY, Game Of Thrones, Black Sails, DCU (Comics)
Medium/s: Fanfic
Claimed!
bookgazing: (Default)
[personal profile] bookgazing posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
I always go into Hugo voting with the best of intentions. I'm going to read all the things, view all the things, and not just get bogged down in the Novel category. 2017 is going to be different!

Yes. Well.

Appropriately for the Hugo Awards this optimistic view proved to be, as usual, pure fantasy. Still, I did pretty well for a lady with a long commute and limited data; particularly when it came to the Best Short Story category. I read four of the six stories nominated in this category for 2017. And what better way to get back into writing than to share all my thoughts with you?

Read more... )

Pinch Hits #7-9

Sep. 17th, 2017 08:03 pm
withinadream: (Default)
[personal profile] withinadream posting in [community profile] femslashex
 We have 3 new pinch hits available. To claim, e-mail the mods at femslashexmod@gmail.com, or comment on the Google Group

Pinch Hit #7
Fandoms: Dishonored, Imperial Radch series - Ann Leckie, Original Work, Mass Effect
Medium/s: Fanfic
Claimed!
Pinch Hit #8
Fandoms: Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Affinity - Sarah Waters, Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Medium/s: Fanfic
Claimed!

Pinch Hit #9
Fandoms: Undertale, Revolutionary Girl Utena, The Adventure Zone, Gatchamon Crowds, Homestuck
Medium/s: Fanfic, fanart
Claimed!

3 Weeks To Go

Sep. 17th, 2017 07:25 pm
samuraiter: (Default)
[personal profile] samuraiter posting in [community profile] femslashex
Or two weeks and six days, rather. The countdown is still visible here. All pinch hits are currently claimed, but the pinch hit list is always open for volunteers, as is the beta reader list. And do not forget to double- (or triple-)check your Dear Creator letters to make certain they are unlocked and readable. ... In short, same song and dance as before, but keep those tap shoes tapping. :-)
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[personal profile] mem_winterhill posting in [community profile] davis_square
Friends just pointed me to this nerd comedy event coming up at the Armory. I am a fan of new ways to reach out on science topics in fun ways, and this sounds good to me. 

Saturday, September 30 at 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM EDT. Ticketing info over at facebook. 

https://www.facebook.com/events/116424495686654/

Come hang out with Boston Skeptics and enjoy a night of comedy between science friends.

"You know how Larry the Cable Guy's act pretty much consists of him yelling "Git 'er done!" every five minutes or so? Scientist-turned-comic Tim Lee's material is the diametric opposite. Lee, who got his PhD before realizing where his true talents lay, blends science talk (complete with PowerPoint presentations) with comedy. The hilarious result is like what would happen if you crossed your high-school chem teacher with George Carlin"
- The Boston Phoenix

Pinch Hit #6

Sep. 16th, 2017 06:27 pm
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[personal profile] withinadream posting in [community profile] femslashex
 We have a new pinch hit: fandoms are Critical Role, Doctor Who, Dragon Age, Hunger Games, Mass Effect, and Crossovers. Claim at the Google Group or by e-mailing femslashexmod@gmail.com !

Claimed!

Derek Jarman's The Last of England

Sep. 16th, 2017 03:46 am
rushthatspeaks: (altarwise)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
Derek Jarman is probably my favorite film director-- the only serious competition is Ulrike Ottinger-- and in several of his books he speaks about The Last of England (1987) as his masterpiece, which of course means it's the one of his films that is impossible to get for love or money, especially if you live in the U.S..

The Brattle just screened it as part of their currently ongoing Tilda Swinton festival. Tilda Swinton, very young at the time, turned out to play England. (I probably should have expected that, but somehow I didn't.)*

He was quite right about it being a masterpiece, and, again as I should have expected from Jarman, it has had me thinking very hard about the nature and purpose of art ever since.

The Last of England is definitely a movie. It's a post-apocalyptic dystopia shot entirely using the decay of the civil infrastructure present in Thatcher's England, and I could identify a narrative-- a pair of brothers, one of whom is subverted by his attempts to subvert a balaclava-wearing, machine-gun-toting agent of the state, so that their romance causes him to wind up in a mask with a gun himself, and the other of whom winds up shot by said state agents-- and there are a lot of interesting allusions to other works of art (the opening narration at one point quotes Howl and then veers crashingly into T. S. Eliot in what is either complete literary blasphemy or the way that line was always meant to end, possibly both).** There's a year-king thing, kind of, except he doesn't get up again, and the childhood of the brothers is portrayed using home videos from Jarman's own childhood, which is fascinating because his parents were among the latest chronologically of the dyed-in-the-wool servants of the British Raj and it shows. There's a vitriolic intellectual critique of just about everything about the concepts "England" and "British".

But the thing that had me reeling and trying desperately mentally to cope is that above all, and with absolute intentionality, The Last of England is not a movie. It is a curse.

I have spent a lot of time considering evil and its relationship, if any, to art, because I try to create art myself and I feel it is a responsible thing for any artist to consider. I could get into a long digression about what I believe about evil and what I don't, but suffice it to say I do believe in evil, and the principle way I have seen evil interact with art is that subset of art which actively attempts to harm the audience, for no reason other than that it can. That sort of art can do a great deal of damage, if one runs into it at the wrong time. The other major way I have seen evil interact with art is art that is promulgating an ideology of evil, a set of beliefs which make the world decidedly worse, such as the racism of D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation.

I had never contemplated what I would think of a piece of art which is definitively opposed to an evil ideology-- Thatcherism, fascism, totalitarianism-- and which is doing everything in its power to harm, to hurt, to wreak havoc on, to destroy, and, if possible, to damn in the Biblical sense-- a set of people who are not the viewer.

When I say curse I mean it in a very old way. I mean that Derek Jarman was a great scholar, and he knew more about sixteenth- and seventeenth-century magic and alchemy than most academics, and he knew more about English witch-lore than any other authority I have ever encountered. And I don't know nearly as much about either as he did, but I know enough that this movie consistently raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I am... not quite sure that there is an attempt in and by this film to summon a specifically demonic presence. They may have been aiming for neutral. Or for angelic, and... missed, but I doubt that. I don't mean summoning in an obvious way, it's not like there are pentagrams on the floor, quite. It's done with light and fire and movement and the visual invocation of archetypes. It's done with dance and cross-dressing and other very careful costume.

And it's the precise kind of anger and pain turned into hatred that would cause a pastor to make serious inquiries as to the state of one's soul, and which might cause less theologically minded persons to mutter things about the abyss gazing back. Which is a concern Jarman eyes, and then discards, because this ideology, this thing that had happened to England under the rule of Thatcher and those around her, was to him worth that kind of hatred. And I think he came out of it all right as a human being and an artist himself, because he was objectively correct about that. But possibly only because he was objectively correct about that. The anger and pain and hatred here were so lacerating, so gorgeously done, so implacable and so beautiful that I kept wanting to hide, and it wasn't even aimed at me, he kept throwing in things to remind the audience that it isn't directed at us and honestly that does not help all that much.

Because with that sort of curse witnessing it is part of what drives it and makes it active.

I spent much of the film with some part of my mind trying to figure out if I thought it was moral to do this, to make this thing. Then I came down firmly and forever on the side that it is, because Tilda Swinton came in and played England.

We initially see Swinton's character in the memories of the one of the brothers who gets executed. She's wearing a sundress, and she's sitting in a field full of so many daffodils that it cannot read as naturalistic, even though, unlike most of the rest of the movie, the scene is shot in natural colors. She's his idealized love, that he won't ever be coming back to, and she's England itself, in both nurturing and colonialist aspects. "Don't be sad," we hear her say matter-of-factly as the bullets strike him: John Barleycorn is, after all, dead. She comes in next in full wedding dress and bridal veil, surrounded by attendants who are large and burly men dressed pretty much as Marie Antoinette, wedding a placeholder of a groom (the camera never focuses on his face) in a burned-out, rubble-strewn wreck of an industrial hangar. No dialogue, just the movements of the wedding, jerky smiles, everyone congratulating everybody else, Swinton eying a pram with an odd mixture of fear and longing. Earlier iconography has made it clear that the pram, though it does, of course, represent a baby, should also be taken to represent not a baby, but a cathexis of other ideas around fear and change and darkness.

And then we cut to Tilda Swinton outside, alone, by the water, by what looks like an industrial canal. There's a fire burning in an oil barrel next to her, a bonfire. She has scissors, and she tries to hack her way out of the wedding dress. It does not want to go. (It's really a lovely dress, by the way, in legitimately good taste, with about sixteen layers of veiling.) She rips at it with her fingers. She claws. She bites off parts of it. And these motions, without ever quite ceasing, turn themselves into a dance.

A line from a short story by Tanith Lee was running through my head during this scene, and it's still the only thing that comes to mind as anything resembling an adequate description: "... when she danced, a gate seemed to open in the world, and bright fire spangled inside it, but she was the fire."***

Have you ever seen something so transcendentally beautiful that you don't know how to think about it?

It's not just that this is the best thing Tilda Swinton has ever done on film, though it is, by such a distance that it's difficult to fathom. It's that I suspect it's one of the best things anyone has ever done on film. I am not exaggerating. Watching it is the kind of experience where you don't come away as exactly the same person.

Which she did, in full knowledge, in the service of Derek Jarman's curse.

All right, then. I consider it a moral action. Those few minutes are, by themselves, sufficient justification, and I don't see how the two of them, Jarman and Swinton, Tilda and Derek, could possibly have produced those few minutes out of hatred unless the hatred itself-- well-- to some degree contained within it all of that. Magical curses are, all the books say, perilous things, liable to come back on the caster unless their motives are completely pure. I have to take that dance as demonstration of impeccably pure motivations. I can't see what else it could be.

There are a lot of interesting things about this movie that I haven't even mentioned, of course. I finally understand why Jarman hated Peter Greenaway so much, because it turns out that for Prospero's Books, years later on, Greenaway swiped the aesthetic of some bits at the beginning of this movie that are set in Jarman's actual house and have Jarman playing himself. In fact, Greenaway even swiped Jarman's handwriting for use in his page overlays on the screen. I can see being upset by that. I would have been, too.

And there's the way almost all of the soundtrack is classical, except when it very much isn't. And the way that Jarman on several occasions intercuts between two separate scenes so quickly that persistence of vision forces you to believe that you are somehow watching both of them at the same time (well, and you get rather nauseated, which I don't think could be helped). And there's a scene with a man eating a cauliflower that totally defies all description; never had I imagined such a thing could be done with an innocent cruciferous vegetable. It's not remotely sexual. I'd almost prefer if it was.

But I've summed up the major things I've been pondering since watching the movie, and also it's five in the morning, so. A masterpiece. You should absolutely see it. But be wary.






* It occurs to me only now, writing this, that Swinton's role as both an allegorical England and a theoretically real young woman is an homage to Anna Magnani's stunning performance as the city of Rome in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Mamma Roma (1962). Somehow, all of the critical writing I have encountered on Mamma Roma fails to realize that she is the entire city incarnate and it gets shoved in with Pasolini's Neo-Realist period, which I am starting to think he never actually had. But I digress.

** I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical naked not with a bang but with a whimper

*** From Tanith Lee's "When The Clock Strikes". Worth noting that the character described has sold herself to Satan, and is also the agent of promulgating a curse.
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[personal profile] spindizzy posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Cover of The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley


Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying world-ships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution. As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion. Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation - the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan's new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan finds that she must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion's gravity well to the very belly of the world. Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion's destruction - and its possible salvation. But can she and her ragtag band of followers survive the horrors of the Legion and its people long enough to deliver it?


I picked this up as part of my transcription duties for Fangirl Happy Hour – it's a lot easier to follow a discussion about a book if you've read it – and it turns out that I have more thoughts on it than I expected!

The plot that can be described without spoiling the book is this: Zan wakes up with few memories of who she is, and a mission to take over a living planet/ship called the Mokshi on behalf of women who claim to be her family. The women are part of the Katazyrna, the ruling family of their own living planet/ship, one bound into a network of other planets/ships known as the Legion; they want the Mokshi because it is a planet not bound into orbit with the rest of the Legion. And from there, things get... Complicated.

Read more... )
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[personal profile] bettyw posting in [community profile] davis_square
 There will be fireworks at Spy Pond at dusk (around 8pm) for Town Night/Day.

Fox update

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:30 am
rushthatspeaks: (parenting)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
At one day shy of eleven months, Fox is definitely both walking and talking.

Over the last few weeks, the walking has gone from very determined cruising to one or two steps without falling down to chains of three or four steps connected by moments of serious arm waving, or squatting and standing back up again. They don't really fall down at all, and never have, but they would sometimes cease forward motion. Now we've just gotten to walking across a room, and I haven't seen them crawl in several days. They also climb much better-- can get onto the back rail of the futon, or actively pull themself up onto my shoulder when I'm sitting on the futon. They don't seem to distinguish yet between standing on/climbing on somebody and standing on/climbing on inanimate objects. We need to give them a real shot at stairs sometime here, as there aren't any in our house and they could probably use the practice.

The talking... I guess many people's first words are... more readily distinguishable? I mean, either Fox has been talking for like a week, or Fox has been talking since about April, and I legitimately do not know. They've been saying 'Hiiiiii' to people all along, literally since birth, and they've been saying 'Ma! Ma!' to Ruth and 'Da! Da!' to me and 'At! At!' to the cats for some months, but they also said those syllables to things that aren't me or Ruth or the cats. I just wasn't able to tell babble from intentional speech, and I don't really think there was a way to.

However, what we're getting now is Fox saying 'Ma! Ma!' at Ruth in the morning when they want Ruth to get out of bed and feed them, which is pretty clearly intentional, and they say 'At!' when they see a picture of a cat in any of their books. (I haven't seen them hold a book upside down in a couple of weeks, either. Something about pictures has clicked.) Also today they hugged me and then put the final d on 'Dad' for the first time, which was just as heart-melting as I could possibly have imagined. We've also had 'Es' for a while, which means general agreement, though, and this fascinates me, we have nothing even vaguely resembling no as a word, just yelling. And 'Ba' means ball or book, but 'Ba' in a different tone means bottle; I can't really duplicate this but can hear the difference clearly.

I haven't heard them babble any of the phonemes yet that would allow them to use the names of various grandparents or their third parent, and we're all actually pretty sure they consider their third parent's name too hard right now, given the timing of various looks of frustration.

Their favorite toy right now is the photo album Ruth got them with pictures of extended family, friends, and various significant occasions in their own life, which they will pore over with devoted concentration for long stretches of time. They haven't liked an object so much since they first noticed their mobile at five months. Sometimes we'll go through and say again who various people are and what the event was, though I have no idea if they remotely have or can have the idea yet of a picture of themself.

They do have the idea now of doorknobs, but not the reach. I have seen them try to follow somebody out the door by going over and batting at the knob from below. So far they are about as good at this as our smarter cat, and I devoutly hope those two never team up. I will also be shocked if Fox doesn't start climbing over baby gates rather sooner than us parent-types would like, although at least we have one more level to lower their mattress inside its enclosure if they start getting out of their bed anytime soon.

Solid food clicked some while back, and while they're still having four or five large bottles a day, they also eat two or three solid meals, things like mango puree, applesauce, avocado, yogurt, Cheerios, and/or semisolid oat cereal. Sometimes we mix some of those together. We also give them bits of what we're eating, though we're trying to avoid large quantities of sugar and salt till they're past a year old. They have two and a half teeth, the bottom front two and one I think I see lurking partially emerged in the back bottom left. They can drink through a straw, and they can drink from a sippy cup and, actually, from a regular cup, though I don't let them very often because after they drink from it they'll just toss it down like they do the bottle.

We have never cut their hair, because that's a decision they'll be able to make for themself in not all that long, so they strongly resemble a Beatle, or possibly an emo rocker circa 2004. Putting a barrette across the bangs works until they take it out and try to eat it. Pigtails actually work but are not remotely my aesthetic preference. Fortunately they don't seem to mind hair in their face-- I've never seen them push at it or get frustrated with it.

Ruth took them to a baby swimming class over at MIT for a while, so we now have some notion of how to work with a swim diaper and how to interact with an infant in the water, which is great because we're going to the beach next month.

And their first birthday approaches apace, though milestone-wise-- toddler. I'd say we have a toddler.
mem_winterhill: (Default)
[personal profile] mem_winterhill posting in [community profile] davis_square
HeatSmart CoolSmart SomervilleAt the Climate Commission meeting last night, we got an update on the heat pumps program that's running now. If you have been thinking about ways to reduce your carbon footprint, you really ought to take a look at these new and high-tech super efficient devices. Or if you know your heating equipment is getting up there in age, you should at least come and learn about these. And they can do heating as well as cooling. In my house, it looks like I'll be able to reduce my natural gas heating a lot and rely on my solar for much of my heating and cooling.

I've been resisting air conditioning over the years for a variety of reasons, but this new style of heating and cooling tech I can have both, with much less environmental impact (and noise). Also right now there are big rebates and low interest loans. It's hard to know how much longer good programs like this will run in our current political environment, you know?

So this event will give you the backstory on the tech. https://www.somervillema.gov/events/2017/10/04/heat-pumps-101

Wed Oct 4 2017 - 6:30pm

LOCATION
West Somerville Community School Cafeteria
177 Powderhouse Blvd.
Somerville, MA 02144

Fanwork Recs — September 14th 2017

Sep. 14th, 2017 08:54 am
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Fanwork Recs (fanwork recs)
[personal profile] helloladies posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Fanwork is awesome and sharing fanwork is even more awesome. Join us as we keymash and squee over our favorite fanwork, from fic (both written and podfic) to art to vids and meta and back again.

If you find something you love, we encourage you to comment/favorite and let the creator know you enjoyed their work. :D o/


Recommendations included:
  • Batman — fic (1)

  • Dream Daddy — art (1)

  • The Left Hand of Darkness — art (1)

  • The Legend of Zelda — art (1)

  • Pokémon — art (1)

  • Star Wars — art (2)

  • Wonder Woman — cosplay (1)

  • Yuri!!! On Ice — vid (1)


Read more... )

What fanwork have you loved recently?

Pinch Hit #5

Sep. 13th, 2017 07:59 pm
withinadream: (Default)
[personal profile] withinadream posting in [community profile] femslashex
 We have a fifth pinch hit, which can be claimed at the Google Group linked below or by e-mailing the mods at femslashexmod@gmail.com.

Pinch Hit #5
Fandoms: The Comfortable Courtesan, Lord Peter Wimsey - Dorothy L. Sayers, DC Cinematic Universe, Cinderella (fairy tale), Disney - All Media Types

Claimed!

Adventures Elsewhere — August 2017

Sep. 13th, 2017 03:04 pm
helloladies: Gray icon with a horseshoe open side facing down with pink text underneath that says Adventures Elsewhere (adventures elsewhere)
[personal profile] helloladies posting in [community profile] ladybusiness
Adventures Elsewhere collects our reviews, guest posts, articles, and other content we've spread across the Internet recently! See what we've been up in our other projects. :D


Read more... )

Meet candidates for mayor & alderman

Sep. 12th, 2017 03:47 pm
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[personal profile] secretlyironic posting in [community profile] davis_square
 There is a candidate meet-and-greet this evening at Workbar in Union Square if you want to meet people who are running for Alderman and Mayor. 


Dear Trick or Treat writer:

Sep. 12th, 2017 07:01 pm
jain: (watchmaker of filigree street katsu)
[personal profile] jain
Thanks so much for writing for me! I really enjoyed participating in Trick or Treat last year and am looking forward to doing so again. I hope you have a lot of fun, too!

My signup requests are all for fic, but I'm happy to receive art as a bonus gift.

With one exception, I have a strong preference for Tricks that either 1) use supernatural horror tropes in a non-horrific fashion, e.g. werewolves who retain their humanity while shifted, or 2) involve scary supernatural threats that are soundly defeated by the protagonists for a happy ending. The one exception is Dark Matter, where I'd prefer canon-level horror.

Particularly relevant to this exchange: I like werewolves, ghosts, and witches; am generally disinterested in vampires but can be persuaded if the fic is awesome; and do not want zombies. Regarding Treats, I like anything from G-rated fluff to hardcore porn, but don't care for PWPs; I like some sort of character and/or relationship development along with my smut. If you want further details on my fic preferences, you can check out my general fic kinks and squicks post or browse my fic exchanges tag.

The Bone Key, Dark Matter, The Eagle, Hexworld, Integrate, Lynes and Mathey, The Queen's Thief, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street )

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