June 2011

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Saturday, June 24th, 2017 09:34 am
Why YouTube did this seems unclear so I am just going to jump to a conclusion completely unsupported by the available evidence and assume this is yet another example of right-wing trolls gaming a site's complaint mechanisms.
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 08:56 am
Without spoiling the title, it's old timey SF from a series set on the worlds of the nearer stars. Wikipedia has a current list. In my day, the right hand column would have been filled with "here there be dragons," not lists of exoplanets.

That one KSR about how if you send a generation ship filled with the learnedly ignorant, colonization will surely fail aside, are there any SF novels recent enough to use the exoplanets we now know of as settings?
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 07:02 am
Continuing to have trouble setting aside time to focus on work with the kids home for the summer.

After taking my mom to her doctor appointment and subsequent errands on Tuesday, I spent most of Wednesday through Friday sick in bed with a fever and sore throat, but no other obvious symptoms. Now I'm finally feeling better, and Robby has decided that since Tropical Storm Cindy's gift of some ridiculous number of inches of soaking rain will prevent him from doing his usual maintenance out at our church this weekend, this is the best time to disrupt the downstairs living area and try to finish constructing Connor's loft bed.

If I didn't have to take the kids to swim lessons today, I'd probably flee to the library and try to get some serious work done. Maybe that strategy will work next weekend, if I can find someplace to go that isn't closed for the holiday.

In other news, Steam is having their annual sale and I've discovered that most of their older LEGO games (pre-Marvel) are PC-only. I really wanted to put the Harry Potter games on my laptop so that I could play them without broadcasting them to the rest of the household. There's also a PC game that Connor wants that is too resource intensive for his poor old gaming PC. But I read on Twitter last night that Starship Titanic is on Steam for $1.49, so I'll get that if nothing else. I've been wanting to play it again ever since I saw Passengers.

I'm also realizing how much cheaper and easier to find the PlayStation 4 is compared to the Nintendo Switch, and that's probably also the better platform to choose if I want to play Kingdom Hearts 3, assuming it ever gets released.
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 06:11 am

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

DSC_9622_SanMateo_1250

Two Mexican Gray Wolf pups born at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo swapped places with two wild-born pups in New Mexico as part of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Grey Wolf Recovery Program. 

The pups born at Brookfield Zoo are now integrated with a wild Wolf pack in New Mexico, and the wild-born pups are being reared by the zoo’s Wolves.  This process, called cross-fostering, maintains genetic diversity in the wild and zoo-dwelling populations of this endangered species.

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DrCopper_BZexam_1250 (1)2
DrCopper_BZexam_1250 (1)1Photo Credit:  Brookfield Zoo



In early May, teams from Brookfield Zoo gathered up the largest male and female pups from a litter of five born at the zoo on April 22.  At just 11 days old, the pups required feedings every four hours as they were transported by plane and van to the San Mateo Wolf pack’s den in New Mexico.

As the adults in the San Mateo pack moved down the canyon, the zoo’s field team entered the den and counted eight pups in the litter. Two were selected to bring back to the Brookfield Zoo.

Scents are important to Wolves, so each of the new puppies was rolled in their new den's substrate, urine, and feces to ensure that all the pups smelled the same and they’d be accepted as members of their new families.  The zoo reports that the zoo's pack is providing excellent care to the pups, and they emerged from the den with their foster siblings in late May.

Keepers Lauren Gallucci and Racquel Ardisana explained the thrill of participating in this meaningful conservation effort. “We began our careers in animal care because we want to make a difference in wildlife education and conservation, connecting zoo guests to the larger issues in our natural world. Having the opportunity to make such a direct impact on the conservation of a species for which we care every day really hit home!”

Native to southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas and northern Mexico, Mexican Gray Wolves were hunted to near-extinction in the 20th century. By 1927, they were thought to be extirpated from New Mexico. The last wild Mexican Gray Wolves known to live in Texas were killed in 1970.

After the species was listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1976, plans to reestablish the species began. By the mid-2010s, more than 100 Wolves were living in the recovery area. 

The zoo’s participation in the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program shows how zoos can partner with other conservation organizations to help save species.

 

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 11:05 am

Posted by Daily Otter

Sea Otter Does Some Grooming on the Beach

Via Tom Coates, who writes:

I went to Moss Landing, as I often do when I'm down that part of the coast, because you can see Sea Otters from the beach park. Unusually this time though, one of the otters was on the beach and I managed to take this photo from a little cliff above them. I needed a decent size zoom and I cropped the picture quite a lot to get it. I made sure not to disturb the otter.

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 12:04 pm
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 11:34 am
I arrived in Kraków on Monday afternoon and decided to do challenge III. (d), take the first left, then the second right, etc. I prefer to use the adaptation of take the first left, then take the first right, etc.

Write up and photos )
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 08:30 am
...except in the sense of the cover-up being worse than the original offence, but the strange goings on at Holman Fenwick and Willan's Christmas Quiz have livened up what was otherwise a rather dull crop of stories over at Roll on Friday.

(The most interesting thing which happened recently in the legal world prior to Quizgate was the merger between Bond Dickinson, a firm memorable for one associate complaining that "I have more chance of being savaged to death in the gents loos by a walrus than I have of making partner at Bond Dickinson" during a RoF Quality of Legal Life survey, and Womble Carlyle , a US firm, creating a "transatlantic giant" to be called Womble Dickinson which, as per a lawyer I bumped into at a recent course on digital rights confirmed, is as a result in the middle of a mass exodus of talent, since it's bad enough being expected to work US legal hours on a UK legal salary, but having all your peers at other firms singing, "Remember you're a womble" at you on every conceivable opportunity puts the cherry on top of the shit sundae.)

Anyway, Holman Fenwick are a traditional shipping firm, and those always have a bit of a reputation for excessive machismo, especially the "wet" shipping specialists, and as per people chipping in in comments, the partner in question has the reputation of being the biggest wanker in a tough field. When his team won the Christmas quiz by a large margin, it was whispered in the ears of HR that there might have been dirty work at the crossroads, and, indeed, it transpired that the quiz question and answer document had been opened on said partner's computer hours before the quiz commenced.*

Where things then took a turn for the worse is that the partner alleged that it wasn't him, squire, his computer must have been hacked. And while cheating on the Christmas quiz barely registers on the list of batty things I've heard of partners in law firms doing in my thirty-odd years in this profession (in no particular order, these include but are not limited to: ordering one's trainee to iron one's jodhpurs in time for hunting at the weekend, throwing a Company seal at the head of a trainee, ordering a trainee to mouth-siphon petrol out of another car in the office carpark during a fuel shortage, resulting in hospitalisation of said trainee, asking a dark-skinned and a light-skinned secretary at a Christmas party, "Well, girls, how do you feel about cafe-au-lait?", inviting two interviewees to a brothel as soon as the interview had finished with the words, "Well, now that's over, let's go and get our nobs polished" ....) allegations of hacking into partnerial computers** get the IT team really interested, officially because it threatens the integrity of client communications, but really I suspect because it gives them a chance to give the thing a right going over in the hope of being able to go "Good God, I'm glad you brought us in. The same person who framed you for the Christmas quiz must have also tried to frame you for the possession of porn! Look, this file here --and here -- and here -- there's terrabytes of the stuff! We'll have to extend the search to all your mobile devices too, I'm afraid."

Anyway, I'm going with "watch this space."



*HFM clearly take a Kingscote-like approach to security of examination questions and the like. It would never have happened in the Airedale Quiz league, in which I played for about five years.

** Which is usually like taking candy from a baby, tbf; I once many years ago took advantage of the habit one of our partners had of leaving his computer logged on and unlocked while he went off on hours-long gossip sessions with the other team partners to send round an email warning the department of the dangers of leaving one's computer logged on and unattended, and then departed on holiday before the fallout happened.
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 01:00 am
He'd gone to the arena with his slave Bran.

He'd found a lead in his investigations, a gladiator's memento.

He watched the gladiator in question, Achillia, win another of her matches.

He went down to confront her. )
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:32 pm

I’m finally getting back to working on a new gateway/router server and I’m basically setting up this old-school sort of DMZ, with the rest of our servers hanging off one card, and our internal LAN/DHCP/NAT side hanging off the other. (Using ISC, which Debian seems to like.) And all of that seems to be right from the new server’s perspective, which is yay!

Except there’s no packet forwarding from the DHCP side even though it’s enabled and I’m sure I enabled it and yes the kernel thinks its enabled but it isn’t happening.

Any ideas where to start?

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

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Friday, June 23rd, 2017 09:37 pm
Celluloid Hero (29728 words) by gwyneth rhys
Chapters: 6/?
Fandom: Captain America (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe, Golden Age Hollywood Actors
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Steve Rogers, Bette Davis, John Garfield, USO Tour Dancers (Marvel), Original Characters, Barbara Stanwyck, Gene Tierney, William Powell, Cary Grant, Randolph Scott, Jack Warner, Delmer Daves, Ida Lupino, Hedy Lamarr
Additional Tags: Golden Age Hollywood, Hollywood Canteen, World War II, The Star-Making Machinery, Propaganda, someone's going to get his V-card punched, and by someone I mean Steve, Letters, Minor Bucky Barnes/Steve Rogers, First Motion Picture Unit, Pining Steve, Period Typical Everything
Summary:


The talk of the town last night was Captain America’s star-spangled appearance at the Hollywood Canteen, where the ladies swooned and the gentlemen cheered. Rumor has it he will be meeting with studio heads to discuss bringing his patriotic man with a plan to the silver screen.



Chapter 6 finally posted! In which Steve doesn't do well at his own premiere, learns how to play the Hollywood game, gets to know Ida Lupino and Hedy Lamarr, and receives a very important envelope.
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 11:24 am
*taps mic* is this thing still on?

Two things
  1. I'm gonna need to vent for a few days (weeks?) until I stop having all these feelings
  2. This was SO MUCH LESS HORRIBLE because I had support and advice and information so I am paying it forward.
In brief: I went to a tech conference, I got a call in my hotel room on my hotel phone at 11pm from a man with an American accent who said he’d been watching me, it looked like I was having fun in my hotel room, and how about he join me in my hotel room. I declined and hung up. My chat group validated my initial horrified reaction and supported me through calling hotel security, getting my room changed, and his eventual discovery and expulsion from the hotel.

On stalking: It is never OK to do this kind of thing, it is not funny, it is not sexy. It made me feel unsafe. It meant the next day, until he was gone, that I second-guessed every interaction at that conference (of which men were probably 90% of the attendees) and wasted a lot of energy managing anxiety when I could have been benefiting from that very expensive conference ticket. I’m probably going to be having feelings about this for a long time.

On social networks: I was too busy being half awake and alarmed to have an effective response when this happened. It took time to process, it was my social network who prompted me through calling security and requesting the room change, I asked for my conference ID badge to be redacted on my own, but it took a few hours before I was thinking strategically and not just feeling overwhelmed. They validated my feelings, made me feel like it was OK to ask for what I needed, and meant I never felt alone.

THANK YOU.

Treasure the good people you meet in your life, nurture those relationships and share your strength when you can.

On scripts: Being prepared, having a response, knowing what I could say or do or expect can make a huge difference to my emotional well being, and to how I choose to act. It enables me to act rather than freeze up in difficult situations, it means I can protect myself, and it means I can stand up for myself and others.

My proposed future Script
  1. Complain to hotel security, that’s what they are for
  2. Request a room change, a different room when someone creepy knows where you are is A Good Thing.
  3. Complain to the police - I am sad I did not do this, awful!person could have been going home with a police record that might contribute to a future someone’s safety.
This is gonna work better from some humans than others, I’m going to wield being a white woman-ish person as hard as I can given it’s what I have to work with.

On positive action: One of my coping strategies is to try and find a positive action I can do, it helps me channel fear and anger into something that generates better feelings, and makes me feel less helpless when faced with something awful. My positive actions for this event are:
  • To share this with you; may this be in some way useful or empowering for you
  • To inoculate my workplace (via complaining about this a lot) in order to a) share my script with female coworkers and b) let my male coworkers know this is not OK and has consequences.
  • To reflect on how lucky I am to have such excellent support networks, that there were responsive hotel staff, and supportive conference staff
Chat transcript )
 

Gah. The End.
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 11:14 pm


It’s explicitly a book about fading Empire. M16’s roots are in World War 2, and the core of the plot reaches back to there. What is Britain’s place in the world now? What does being British even mean? In a real way, it is a post-Brexit Bond. -- Kieron Gillen

Read more... )
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 05:50 pm


Since Foolkiller ended with the implication Frank Castle was about to shoot The Hood, and the general consensus was "good riddance", I thought I'd take us all back to a time before Parker Robbins was a lame magic Kingpin wannabe, with the MAX series that first introduced him, written by a pre-Runaways and Y: The Last Man Brian K. Vaughn and drawn by Kyle Hotz.

Trigger warning for racism and sexist language.Read more... )
Saturday, June 24th, 2017 12:18 am

Posted by languagehat

Timur Baytukalov has created what looks like a useful site for language learners, EasyPronunciation.com; he says:

I created this website with phonetic transcription converters – https://easypronunciation.com/en/. They can convert text into IPA phonetic transcription. I already support seven languages (English, Russian, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian). Russian and French converters have embedded audio recordings.

Some levels are for paid subscribers, but basic levels are free; it looks worth checking out.

Saturday, June 24th, 2017 01:16 am



"We wondered if he thought a planet full of women could ultimately rebuild society and sustain itself once again. Vaughan was surprisingly optimistic on that front. "Yes, I do think it could. There were a lot of people early on in the first year who complained, "Wow, this is such a misogynistic book to say that, because the men died, the women can't get the electricity running all over the world and the airports up and running again." I think that's an extremely complex, extremely difficult thing to deal with. When three billion people die, I don't care what their sex was, that's an incredibly difficult thing to come back from. I will say that the world would be better off than if it were just the men left. I think that would be an even more dire situation. I think there is hope for the planet."

Source: http://www.ign.com/articles/2008/02/02/y-the-last-man-the-end-of-an-era?page=5


Read more... )
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 04:50 pm
My first introduction to Cordwainer Smith was "The Game of Rat and Dragon," which I'm guessing (alongside "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell") is his most anthologized story based on nothing more than guesswork and the fact that, for years after that story, it was the only Smith I could find. (Admittedly, this was not helped by spending high school in South Korea. [1])

"The Game of Rat and Dragon" has stuck better in my memory, but at some point in college I was delighted to discover that there were more Instrumentality stories. The one that I remembered, years later, as being particularly interesting was "The Crime and the Glory of Commander Suzdal." Peculiarly, I remembered that it had an unusual narrative structure/format, but not anything useful about its plot. Cue yesterday when I actually reread it, having checked out the posthumous collection When the People Fell from the library, and being bemused to discover that this story was almost certainly, before I ever heard of fanfic on the internet, my introduction to mpreg.

A spoilery discussion of the story follows beneath the cut.

[1] My high school library's sf/f holdings were very eclectic. They had a couple decades' worth of Analog under Stanley Schmidt. I read every page of every issue available, and remain fond of the zine although I have not read it in over a decade. They also had old classics like John Wyndham's Re-Birth, amusing curiosities like a litcrit book on the best fantasy novels by Michael Moorcock (possibly with a co-author; I no longer remember) in which he immodestly listed his own Stormbringer, a number of old Nebula anthologies, and a copy of Harlan Ellison's (ed.) Dangerous Visions that I read two or three or four times before someone else stole it or, more charitably, checked it out and lost it. (Years later, I still think Philip José Farmer's "Riders of the Purple Wage" was insufferably boring, and Delany's "Aye, and Gomorrah" makes zero sense when you are barely aware of what sex is.) They had Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, which is where I encountered them. On the other hand, the librarians were very friendly, and for a number of years, because my sister and I were the only ones who made use of the request box, we pretty much got them to buy whatever we wanted to read for the year.

Read more... )
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Friday, June 23rd, 2017 04:10 pm




"I'd read the two BROTHER POWER THE GEEK comics as a small boy, and thought they were seriously weird. Rereading them as an adult they were still seriously weird, and funny, and touched with a sad, strange nostalgia. I'd been reading some Ken Kesey, and somehow the idea of Brother Power as a final remnant of flower power began to possess me. 'At least you didn't bring back Prez,' said my friends, relieved. Little did they know."
--Neil Gaiman, Midnight Days

Mild gore on one page.

'Like where did the beeeautiful people go?' )
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 01:18 pm
If you and I are close, you probably remember first hearing about my sister and being kind of surprised that my feelings for her range from deep apathy (almost all the time) to raging anger/hatred (during any of the crises in my family that she caused or precipitated over the years). Mostly, once the kids I helped raise were 18, she hasn't affected my life in any direct, practical way, but her fingers are in most of the shitty turns my family's lives have taken, for as long as I can remember.

She's in ICU right now, unlikely to regain consciousness, unlikely to live out this day, and I'm sorry that she had such a mean, small, painful life, but I'm not at all sorry that she'll be gone, because it's hard to cause fresh hurt and injury once you've died. Not impossible, but hard.

I'll go with my mom this evening so she can say good-bye. For myself, I don't find it necessary; Barbara's been out of my life since my kid turned 18 (gosh, almost 8 years ago), and for the last couple years, she was in prison, so there's nothing to say good-bye to. For my mom, this is so so so fraught. She blames herself for my sister's mental illness, dissipation, and alienation. She feels like if she'd been a better mother, it would have gone better.

Honestly, my mom was a better mother to my sister than to me -- children who act up often get more attention and effort than the compliant, goody-two-shoes ones. I haven't made any secret of my sorrow over my mother's mistakes in parenting, but they're not the reason my sister is who she is. Not saying none of it was ever a factor. Just that picking one person as the cause of another's bad deeds is pretty much never the way to bet.

Anyway, I'm totally fine, emotionally. I'm just feeling pensive about the ripple effects we all have on the people in our circles, even years after we have any contact at all, and I'm feeling a renewed desire to be a positive force in my loved one's lives, instead of a negative one.
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 09:01 pm

*sigh* I just spent about 40 minutes trying to get some ebooks onto my ereader, which didn’t work very well because it’s been a while since I’d done it and I’d kind of forgotten how. It’s not hard. It used to be hard, and I defaulted to the much harder version, which obviously took more time than the newer easy way, and also the USB port I first plugged it into on the computer wasn’t working and it took longer than reasonable to figure that out, so that was just, yeah.

I wanted to re-read the very comforting BLUE SWORD, but didn’t want to read my 30 year old worn-to-bits paperback. Finally got the books onto the e-reader. Discovered THE BLUE SWORD wasn’t there. Furthermore, it’s not available on kobo’s website, either, at least not on this side of the pond. Gave up in despair, deciding to read Daniel Keys Moran’s THE LONG RUN again, as it’s pretty well equally comfort reading.

And then I remembered I had specifically asked for a bunch of Robin McKinley books in hardback so I could read them at my leisure without wrecking my old worn to bits paperbacks, and of course THE BLUE SWORD is one of them, so I have a lovely hardback edition and now I’m too tired to read it.

So here it is, 5 to 9 on a Friday, and I’m going to bed, because I’m a real party animal. :p

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 01:56 pm

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Baby lemurs 05312017 B

The Jackson Zoological Society is proud to announce the birth of two critically endangered Red Ruffed Lemurs.

On Saturday, May 27, Jackson Zoo keepers arrived at work in the early morning to discover two newborn males in the Lemur exhibit!

New mother, Nekena, arrived at the Jackson Zoo in December of 2016 from Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. She joined the Zoo’s resident father and son, Timmy and Phoenix, respectively, as part of the Red Ruffed Lemur Species Survival Plan.

“The 2017 Breeding and Transfer Plan was published this past February. At that time we had 187 Red Ruffed Lemurs in the Species Survival Plan®(SSP), where we recommended 18 males and 16 females for breeding,” said Christie Eddie, Red Ruffed Lemur SSP Coordinator at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo. “We are in the midst of birthing season and these offspring are among birth reports from five SSP institutions. I expect more to come!”

2_Baby 2

3_Lemurs on a pillowPhoto Credits: EJ Rivers/ Jackson Zoo

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the Red Ruffed Lemur (Varecia rubra) as “Critically Endangered”. Found only in a small area of Madagascar, they are the most endangered type of Lemur in the world due to increased cyclones, illegal logging, and the illegal exotic pet trade. According to the IUCN, there are only approximately 35 Lemurs on average per square kilometer in their native habitat and declining rapidly. Less than 65% of newborn young survive to three-months of age in the wild, and there are less than 600 in zoos or refuges in the world.

“We are absolutely delighted to see these two little ones arrive, both for our park and the species as a whole” said Jackson Zoo Executive Director, Beth Poff. “More than a third of the animals at the Jackson Zoo are either endangered or threatened, and although every birth here is special to the staff, adding numbers to an endangered species is that much more precious.”

The Jackson Zoological Society participates in Species Survival Plans for many other animals, including successful births for the Pygmy Hippo and the Sumatran Tiger. The Jackson Zoo also regularly submits information and samples to dozens of ongoing international studies.

Now barely three weeks old, the Red Ruffed Lemur brothers are getting stronger every day. Unfortunately, it was the first pregnancy and birth for their hand-raised mom, Nakena, whose inexperience with newborns was apparent. Vet Tech, Donna Todd, stepped in and has been hand-raising the endangered babies ever since May 27th.

According to the Zoo, the two are like ‘night-and-day’ when it comes to temperament (one decidedly vocal, one much quieter). But both boys are eating well, have bright eyes, are jumping and playing equal amounts, and are more curious about their surroundings every day.

Special public viewings at the Jackson Zoo Vet Hospital are being arranged, and the Zoo hopes to be able to let the public “meet” them (at a distance) within the next month or so.

Visitors and Jackson Zoo members can visit the adult Lemurs during regular zoo hours (seven days a week from 9 am to 4 pm), and follow the Jackson Zookeepers on Instagram (@JacksonZoo) for close-ups and behind-the-scenes photos of all the park residents. People can also “adopt” the baby Lemurs (or their parents) for twelve months by contacting EJ Rivers at: ejrivers@jacksonzoo.org.

Friday, June 23rd, 2017 01:56 pm
Not my cat, not my house. Please don't be pregnant.
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
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Don't forget that if you want to vote in the 2017 OTW Election, you have to become a member by June 30. Join today! https://goo.gl/yUZHvQ
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 05:17 pm
If you are in search of a beta to help with your stories then:

[community profile] beta_search is for you!

Come along and join!

Snippet from the community profile:

You are welcome to make three types of posts:

1) Looking for help
2) Offering help
3) Tips

You may look for or offer beta, cheerleader, or mentor assistance.
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:40 am
Which faction of the hexarchate are you? [Solaris Books].

A quiz! I get Nirai...?!
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 11:18 am

Friday is almost finished with this first draft…

 

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

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Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:40 am
( You're about to view content that the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )
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Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:26 am


So each June I sometimes try to post a Bradbury comic or two in his memory. EC did numerous Bradbury adaptations and 'The Lake' is probably the strongest.

Story under the cut... )
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:15 am
My niece Ilia and nephew Jake are appearing here:

Read more... )
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 01:27 pm

Posted by JenniferP

Hello Captain,

My distant friend Sally and I went out to dinner and she started asking me about my past relationships. I’ve known Sally for over a decade and she’s never pried into my dating life. I told Sally I wasn’t interested in dating anyways as I am looking for a job and like to online date or meet people through work. She tried to reason me out of all of this which seemed troubling.

A couple weeks ago Sally had a birthday party. She had put the event on Facebook. After our dinner, Sally texted me that her friend John saw me on the invite list and became “interested” in me. She said he might hit on me at the party ( he did not show up). This made me uncomfortable as I hate flirting with strangers. It’s odd but I’ve never even flirted with someone who’s become my boyfriend.

I also don’t trust Sally’s judgment at all. To be blunt I’ve met her friends and they aren’t horrible but they’re the “I don’t suffer fools gladly” type.

John has also been asking Sally about me. He wants to know when I’ve found a job and want to meet him. I have never indicated I want to meet John. I’m refusing, there’s something odd about a person in their late twenties being this invested in someone because of their FB profile. I rarely if ever post on FB. He is also asking me out through my friend which seems manipulative.

Do you have script suggestions?

Thanks,

– No thanks stranger ( female pronouns)

Dear No Thanks, Stranger!

I do have script suggestions! And other suggestions!

Step 1: BLOCK that John dude from Facebook and then go ahead and find him on all social media platforms you use and preemptively block him there. Not unfollow, not unfriend, not “hide feed” – BLOCK. Also, consider temporarily changing publicly visible avatars to something other than your face, and locking down security/visibility of any photos of you that are out there. Make sure there is nothing out there to feed his fantasies.

If that seems mean or harsh or unfair, let’s remember: You’re not interested in him at all, you’re already vaguely creeped out by his attention, you are losing nothing from your life by cultivating your internet garden as you see fit. The way he’s monitoring you, asking for updates about your life, and trying to get Sally to set the stage for him but not talking to you directly is odd and he needs to stop it right now, so, help him out with that.

And if this is all projection/matchmaking by Sally, oops, you blocked a total stranger who doesn’t actually know who you are. Not a big deal at the end of the day.

Possible Reaction: John will get the message and leave you and the entire topic of you alone. Good news everyone! This Choose Your Own Adventure Story ends here!

Probable  Reaction: John will notice what you did immediately and he will contact Sally to see what happened. Sally will then ping you to talk about John and his Johnfeels of rejection. (If this happens, please keep reading Step 2)

Step 2: Tell Sally that the whole John thing made you really, really uncomfortable and you don’t want her to set you up for any more “hitting on” scenarios or act as your romantic go-between. Also you’d prefer to keep your information completely private where John is concerned, so, you’d appreciate it if she didn’t update him on your job search or your life or pass on requests from him.

Possible Reaction: Sally will say, “Oh wow, sorry for making you uncomfortable, I get it, don’t worry about a thing.” If this happens, keep enjoying whatever you enjoy about your “distant friendship” with Sally! Here endeth this Choose Your Own Adventure Tale! Yaaay!

Possible Reaction: Sally will be hurt that you didn’t appreciate her matchmaking efforts or feel bad for John and think you’re mean for rejecting him and she’ll double-down on John advocacy. If this happens, please continue reading Steps 3 and 4.

Step 3: Do not give Sally reasons for your rejection of John. “I prefer not to.” “I’m just not interested.” Don’t pick apart his actions or his undesirable qualities or give excuses about being busy – she’ll use whatever you say to convince you to “give him a chaaaaaaaance.”

Step 4: If Sally continues sharing your info with John and trying to play matchmaker in your life after you’ve said “no,” block Sally or, if you’re reluctant to do that after 10 years, put her in that Facebook-Jail thingy where she can’t see any of your posts for a good while.

If you miss Sally you can always dig up her number down the road (and get her a copy of Austen’s Emma for the next gifting holiday). If John wanted to ask you out he could have come to the party, had a normal conversation with you and said “Hey, want to grab a drink with me sometime?” without all the fanfare. He could have also asked Sally straight up for an introduction (and respected your resulting “no thanks” when and if it came). He could have sent you a friend request and a note that says “I’m a friend of Sally’s, I saw you on the invite list, mind if we connect here?” Even if he’d chosen a less creepy and roundabout method of getting in touch, you’re not interested, so, farewell, John, we hardly knew ye.

For those who like to matchmake (I sometimes like to matchmake, especially “you live in the same city and I think you’d make good friends” matchmaking), I recommend asking the people in advance, like, “Hey, I’d love to introduce you to a friend of mine who lives in your city/does what you do for a living/reminds me of you/keeps sending me the exact same Twin Peaks memes that you send, I think you’d really get along, would that be cool?” and then if it is cool with both people I make a quick introduction and then I get out of the middle of things – the people will either find their own conversation or they won’t. If it’s not cool, I drop the subject. The matchmaker’s ego and investment in the outcome < the interest and wishes of the matchmakees.


Friday, June 23rd, 2017 10:47 am
Yesterday I got the most adorable postcard from [livejournal.com profile] gh0sts. Thank you so much. It was such a lovely surprise ♥

Lets see, in the last week or so I've seen The Mummy, which was okay and Gifted which I liked a lot. Started to watch The Handmaid's Tale, which led to me reading a forum post about the show which included recs for books in that genre, so ended up downloading and reading Only Ever Yours which I gobbled down in a few days, all the time thinking, no, no, this is horrible and wrong.

Talking about reading. I abandoned that Musketeer story I mentioned a few posts back. It wasn't the constant crying that defeated me, even though that was irritating, it was because the writer was posting as a WIP and obviously started changing the story depending on what people said comments. Due to that they ended up constantly contradicting things that had been stated as fact earlier just so they could change the story going forward. I mean, own what you're writing, if someone doesn't like what you've written, that's on them not you. It was so frustrating and in the end I just gave in -- and then started to read a horribly melodramatic mpreg instead.

Looking through my open tabs I found a gdocs draft of the story I started and then abandoned for the wingfic picfor1000 Way bros idea. So I finished it. I need to give it a look over and will probably post it. It's just a bit of fluff, but it's a shame to just leave it sitting there. Though I may go see if I can match it to a bingo prompt first #cheat

It doesn't happen often with both of them working shifts, but both Kayleigh and James were at work the last two days so I had to take mam to a dentist appointment on Tuesday and then yesterday to an appointment to the chest clinic. The dentist went fine, and then yesterday she got mixed news. The tumour in her lung has shrank a little, but her oxygen levels are so low she's going to be started on home oxygen from next week. I think we all knew it was coming, and hopefully it won't be a 24/7 thing but more of a top-up, but she's still upset.

While at the hospital we bumped into my dad's brother who'd been there for a post op check. We talked a while, then when he left mam asked who it was and I told her, uncle Allen. She was astounded, and apparently hasn't seen him since she divorced my dad, so over 30 years ago. I wondered why he seemed a bit tense and she said nothing.

Corey's having more issues with his wisdom tooth so has been calling often over the last two days. He couldn't get an appointment at his own dentist until Monday, so has been trying to get an emergence dental appointment in Newcastle, and after going to the walk in dentist this morning at 8am, finally has a card to say he can go back and wait from 1 this afternoon. Hopefully they can do something then, and if not, has kept the Monday appointment just in case.

I went to a walk to High Force with James, stopping off at the ford first where I had a plodge. It was funny as we met and chatted to a couple there, and then a few hours later met them again at the falls, where the guy offered to take our photo.

Mam got her new car on Monday. Kayleigh is her designated driver, so we took both of them to the garage to pick it up, and while there we were checking out all the new cars. We don't change until Dec next year, so don't even need to start looking until this time next year, but you know, we were there, so why not have a look around? And I have to say, it's such a good feeling to realise I could easily fit into any car, even the smaller kinds, and seat belts fastened with room to spare even in the back seats. When we do actually pick, the only thing we need to think of space wise is whether James' wheelchair will fit in the boot. Nothing else. That was such a rush.

Mog on the Tyne have two new kittens. Want to guess where we'll be going next week? :D
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 09:43 am
It's challenge time!

Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.

Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!

Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!

Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.

Go!
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm
I ended up signing up for [community profile] fandomgiftbox, which is sort of [community profile] fandom_stocking in the summer with slightly different rules. I had fun treating it last year, so why not.

Wish there were more people in my fandoms in [community profile] multifandomdrabble fest. Sign ups open for another day!

I know people have been looking for nice Bill icons from this series of Doctor Who. Here are a bunch made by [personal profile] luminousdaze, along with 12, Missy, Clara and a bunch of the gang.

I really like this essay by [personal profile] lydy: The Rules: A Memo for Every Man in My Life.
Instead, I want to address something that comes up over and over in these conversations, and always from men. "What are the rules?" "How can I know how to behave if you won't clarify what you want?"

Dear men, please do not ask me to provide to you something that I have never had. I cannot provide you the rules. I do not know what they are, and I never have.


Pitssburgh Queer History project has some great archival material here.

ETA: For those who like Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells is doing an AMA here, and here's a quote from the next one.
Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 08:29 pm
For A.B.
Prompt: "Shuos pranks."

with apologies to the black squirrels of Stanford University campus

Jedao and Ruo had set up shop at the edge of one of the campus gardens, the one with the carp pond and the carefully maintained trees. Rumor had it that some of the carp were, in addition to being over a hundred years old, outfitted with surveillance gear. Like most Shuos cadets, Jedao and Ruo would, if questioned, laugh off the rumors while secretly believing in them wholeheartedly--at least the bit about surveillance gear. Jedao had argued that the best place to hide what they were doing was in plain sight. After all, who would be so daft as to run a prank right next to surveillance?

"Lovely day, isn't it?" Ruo said brightly.

Jedao winced. "Not so loud," he said. His head was still pounding after last night's excesses, and the sunlight wasn't helping. Why did he keep letting Ruo talk him into things? It wasn't just that Ruo was really good in bed. He had this way of making incredibly risky things sound fun. Going out drinking? In itself, not that bad. Playing a drinking game with unlabeled bottles of possibly-alcohol-possibly-something-else stolen from Security's hoard of contraband? Risky. Some of those hallucinations had been to die for, though, especially when he started seeing giant robots in the shape of geese.

Fortunately, this latest idea wasn't that risky. Probably. Besides, of the many things that the other cadets had accused Jedao of, low risk tolerance wasn't one of them.

"Not my fault you can't hold your drink," Ruo said, even more brightly.

"I'm going to get you one of these days," Jedao muttered.

Ruo's grin flashed in his dark brown face. "More like you'll lose the latest bet and--" He started describing what he'd do to Jedao in ear-burning detail.

At last one of the other first-years, puzzled by what Jedao and Ruo were doing by the carp pond with a pair of fishing poles, approached. Jedao recognized them: Meurran, who was good at fixing guns despite their terrible aim, and who had a glorious head of wildly curling hair. "Security's not going to approve of you poaching the carp," Meurran said.

"Oh, this isn't for the carp," Ruo said. He flicked his fishing pole, and the line with its enticing nut snaked out toward one of the trees.

Meurran gave Ruo a funny look. "Ruo," they said, "the fish are in the opposite direction."

"Please," Jedao said, "who cares about the fish? No one has anything to fear from the fish. That's just nonsense."

"All right," Meurran said, sounding distinctly unimpressed, "then what?"

Come on, Jedao thought, the nut is right there...

As if on cue, a black squirrel darted down from the tree, then made for the nut.

Ruo tugged the nut just out of reach.

The black squirrel looked around, then headed for the nut again.

"Oh, isn't that adorable?" Meurran said.

"Don't be fooled!" Ruo said as he guided the squirrel in a figure-eight through the grass. "Why would the commandant be so stupid as to rely on carp, which can't even leave their pond?"

Meurran glanced involuntarily at the pond, where two enormous carp were lazily circling near the surface, as if the carp, in fact, had a habit of oozing out onto the land and spying on lazy cadets. "You're saying the squirrels--?"

Ruo continued to cause the squirrel to chase after the nut. "It makes sense, doesn't it? Everyone thinks the black squirrels are the cutest. They're even featured in the recruitment literature. Damnably clever piece of social engineering if you ask me."

Meurran was starting to look persuaded in spite of themselves.

Meanwhile, as Ruo made his case, Jedao leaned back and studied the squirrel with a frown. The local population of black squirrels was mostly tame to begin with and had proven to be easy to train with the aid of treats. (Ruo had made Jedao do most of this, "because you're the farm boy.") But while Ruo and Meurran argued about squirrel population dynamics, Jedao caught a slight flash from behind the squirrel's eyes--almost like that of a camera?

He opened his mouth to interrupt.

The squirrel made an odd convulsing motion, and the light flashed again, this time directly into Jedao's eyes.

Jedao closed his mouth, and kept his thoughts to himself.
Friday, June 23rd, 2017 12:29 am

Posted by languagehat

Over at the Log, Victor Mair posted about the latest silly governmental attempt to control language, in this case Erdoğan’s campaign against foreign influences in Turkish; he quotes an article in The Economist:

Mr Erdogan started by ordering the word “arena”, which reminded him of ancient Roman depravity, removed from sports venues across the country. Turkey’s biggest teams complied overnight. Vodafone Arena, home of the Besiktas football club, woke up as “Vodafone Stadyumu”. Critics wondered what the Turkish language had gained by replacing one foreign-derived word with another. […]

Because so much abstract vocabulary had come from Arabic and Persian, this in effect created a new language. From one generation to the next, the country’s cultural history was cut off. Mr Erdogan seems to want to turn the clock back, complete with imperial nostalgia and resentment towards the West. In 2014 he proposed introducing mandatory high-school classes in Ottoman Turkish, which survives today only among linguists, historians and clerics. The plan was shelved after a popular backlash.

The offensive against Western loanwords will probably meet a similar fate. In an interview, the [Turkish Language Institute]’s head, Mustafa Kacalin, clarified that it would apply only to “bizarre” foreign words incomprehensible to most Turks. The limits became clear in Mr Erdogan’s own speech on May 23rd, in which he denounced loanwords by using a loanword. They were not, he said, “sik” (“chic”). Many Turks no doubt consider the whole thing a load of bosh—from the Turkish bos, “nonsense”.

As Thomas Shaw says in the comments, the quotation from The Economist misspells the Turkish: “it should be şık and boş. Also Erdoğan, of course […].” (In the following comments, Y thought for a moment he was at the Hattery, which was amusing.) We discussed Atatürk’s original Turkish language reform back in 2012.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 05:54 pm
I didn't get the job I interviewed for. Either of them. The first gave completely reasonable feedback: I interviewed well, but lacked key skills that other people who interviewed well had. I'm not going to argue that.

The second, I am happy to have not been offered, based solely on the feedback I was offered. I was told that my answers to two questions seemed vague and not related to the questions. One example was my answer to the question "Give an example of when you provided excellent customer service."

Except I was never asked that question. I was asked "Tell me about your customer service experience."

Those are not the same question. I expect to try to figure out what a user wants/needs from poor information, not a manager who's been in the job 17 years. If that was the kind of "leadership" I was going to experience had I been offered the job, I wouldn't have lasted 6 months.

Back to the hunt.
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