vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[for the last two weeks]

Books

Read Mallory Ortberg's Texts From Jane Eyre, which I ordered copies of for two different people having birthdays this month. ([personal profile] bookgirlwa's copy is getting sent directly to her, and I read the copy I bought for my sister-outlaw when it arrived here.)

Still reading Plato's Republic and The Book of Margery Kempe. *aims a kick at Socrates*

Read The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, and started reading The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. I can see why fandom likes these books - her id is showing, and it runs on hurt/comfort lines, heavy on the hurt.

The blurb for Ancillary Mercy is out, and Leckie's released a Wordle of the book. I'm frantically comparing it to the Wordles of her previous two books, and also trying to convince myself that the prominence of Seivarden's name does not mean she gets killed in the first chapter and Breq spends the rest of the book avenging her death. (Don't ask. Someone on Tumblr had this theory about memorial brooches, and... don't ask.)

Fanworks

Read [personal profile] lilacsigil's Peril of the Old Forest (Long Live The Queen, Elodie, Briony, and Charlotte, f/f.) It is an rollicking Girl's Own Adventure style story that goes beyond the events of the original game while still being very faithful to it, and with low-key (after all, they're fourteen) Elodie/Briony romance, worldbuilding of amazing thoroughness and care (I loved how the magic worked), and above all, a narrative style that keeps invoking the game-play mechanics of the original without actually stating them out loud. (I kept thinking "Elodie just passed her horse-riding check," or "her Wield Magic wasn't quite high enough for that..." Fortunately, in this story Elodie has real allies and friends, and can call on their stats.) Charlotte is particularly great.

Games

Finally managed to survive the Old Forest in Long Live the Queen. :DDDDDDDD And romanced Briony.

Other things I'd like to do: explore the creeping horror plotline a bit further, and find out about Lucille. (I've done a bit of that before, and gotten her to kill me, but I'd like to do the bit with the musician-spy and possibly sacrifice my innocent cousin Charlotte to the kraken.)

Music

I've been experimenting with listening to 8-Tracks playlists. I like the 'Ancillary War' one. I would like the app better if I knew how to get it to stop when the playlist is over, instead of going on to generate 'more like this'.

And I bought and listened to the new Sleater Kinney album. I like it a lot. 'No Anthems' and 'Bury Our Friends' in particular grabbed me hard.

Food

Made fail!Anzac biscuits. They would have been fine except that a) I forgot to let them stand on the hot tray for five minutes before cooling them, and b) I measured the bicarb soda over the pan with the golden syrup and butter and water in it, and I spilled it. I scraped as much out as I could, but clearly there was still too much. So what I got was some very soft, crumbly biscuits that tasted like bicarb soda but were no doubt a rich source of potassium.

Puns

For reasons that are entirely [personal profile] kaberett's fault, I am contemplating the idea of a garlic spiced ham recipe, Spam in Allium.
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
1. Fic post. Communication. Imperial Radch, Psychic Wolves, still no sex. Any questions?

2. I think I know what's causing that bug I keep seeing in Todoist. Maybe. But not how to solve it. It's the time zone thing where it keeps prompting me to change my time zone to the time zone I'm already in. I have the Todoist app installed on both iOS and Android/CyanogenMod. I think the problem may be that iOS lists the time zone as Australia/Melbourne, and Android/CyanogenMod (I'm not sure which is the problem, Android or CM) lists it as Australia/Sydney. (It's Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time, which is what both Melbourne and Sydney are on.) Android/CyanogenMod doesn't have an option for Melbourne specifically (although, strangely, it does have one for Canberra.)

I could try turning on location in Android settings, and let it take time zone from where I am, see if that resolves the issue, but I don't feel inclined to give Google my location data to sell to advertisers.

I won't judge the app creators too harshly. Time zones are hard.

3. I hate summer.
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
We have the same prime minister we did yesterday.

(The Liberal party reneged on their birthday gift to [personal profile] bookgirlwa.)

On the plus side, a lot of us (myself included) were worried that the Coalition would vote to put a more congenial face on the same vile policies, and then there'd be less chance of a real change of government. I guess that's not a worry now. (It's also possible Tony Abbott will start trying to win the country back by being less horrible himself, and thereby forestall a change of government, but I'm not so worried about that. I'm more worried he'll double down.)

On the "small happy things" side, I live in a country where our national broadcaster can quote an unnamed MP as saying that if Abbott lost the motion, Malcolm Turnbull would certainly challenge him for leadership, because "he'd be a complete arsehole if he didn't," and this isn't bleeped out or treated as an unusual way for one member of federal parliament to talk about another.

On the minus side, Mr Abbott said in his public statement today, "We think that when you elect a government, when you elect a prime minister, you deserve to keep that government and that prime minister until you have a chance to change your mind."

SO GIVE US THAT CHANCE TO CHANGE OUR MIND. PLEASE. ELECTION TIMEZ NAO.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
Books

Finished Long Hidden. There were some really good stories, some kind of meh stories, absolutely gorgeous cover art, bad production values in terms of the physical book itself apart from the cover art, and a few minor copy-editing issues (hello my old friend "vocal chords".)

Back to reading The Book of Margery Kempe. Have come to the conclusion that she is possibly THE historical figure I would most like to see on a reality TV show (if someone gave me a time machine and I was only allowed to use it to bring people from the past back to put them on reality TV. Like, Time Travel Big Brother. She would cry all the time, periodically fall prostrate, overcome with how much Jesus loves her, and sometimes start babbling about "the manhood" to everyone's confusion until they realise she means Jesus because he's God in human form. And everyone who thought she was weird would be her enemies AND GOD'S. It'd be great.)

Perhaps you're a friend or admirer of Margery's, and are wondering what to buy for her at Christmas, her birthday, or some other special occasion. I have assembled a helpful wishlist:

- a wedding ring with "Jesu est amor meus" on it
- a complete outfit all in white
- "a well of tears, wherethrough I may receive your precious body with all manner of tears of devotion to your worship and the increase of my merit, for you are my joy, Lord, my bliss, my comfort, and all the treasure I have in this world, for other worldly joy covet I none but only you."
- a new confessor, she just had another one quit on her.

It's easy to laugh at Margery. Very, very easy. But I keep coming back to respecting her. Getting glimpses there of someone who really hated herself, with society's very full encouragement, and who found, somewhere (whether from her own imagination or from literal divine inspiration, as you prefer) a God who really, truly, loves her just the way she is, no matter what, who can say to her "I ask no more of you than to love what loves you, for my love is ever ready for you." She really needed that, and she got it, and she passed it on.

...And then, right after that, she'll come out with something like "and cleave as sorely unto me as a man's hands cleaves the skin of drief fish when it is boiled".

Started reading my new copy of Plato's Republic, which arrived this week. It's the Tom Griffith translation. I want to read it before I read Jo Walton's The Just City (I've pre-ordered the paperback of that, so I have until June to finish the Plato before it arrives.) I've read Plato before, but not recently - I went through a Plato-reading kick when I was about 11 or 12, and read The Last Days of Socrates and the Symposium. At the time, I found the Symposium entertaining, and liked the dialogues in The Last Days of Socrates because I could follow the logic, and that made me feel smug and impressed with myself for reading Plato. But I still felt sorry for Xanthippe. But this will be the first time I've read Plato since then (not counting one semester of philosophy at uni, in which I did way too little of the course reading, and decided that if the lecturer asks everyone if they're relativists and if they think it's important to be relativist about everything, and then says to the ones who agreed, "Aha! Then you're being essentialist about relativism!" then it's okay for me to say "Yes! Yes, I am, and I am fine with that." Because fuck career philosophers. Socrates and Plato included, btw.) So this should be fun.

I also have Call the Midwife (the book) out from the library, for when I need a break from Plato and Dame Margery. Also I have Zen Cho's Spirits Abroad and Twelfth Planet Press's Kaleidoscope for when I'm in the mood for more short stories, which right now I'm not. But I've heard very good things, so they're high up on my to-read list.

TV and Movies

Watched a couple of episodes of Galavant.

Games

Played some more Long Live The Queen. Was blessed with the favour of cats. Yay cats! And saved the day with the power of music. And got the ending where Elodie never marries but has Brin as her companion. And found out Briony's family secret. And I'm up to 8 different methods of death now, out of a total 11 possible. I've been trying to do the forest side quest, survive it, have Briony survive it, and romance Briony, but so far I keep either getting killed in the forest, or having my stats high enough to survive the forest but having a civil war declared on me before I can start the side quest. I'm also trying to figure out the weird shit about Lucille and her family.

Started playing Dragon Age: Origins. I've owned the game on Steam for like two years now, but didn't start playing it until now. My current desktop computer setup is a homemade standing desk in my guest room, and I'm hoping that switching between it and hanging out on the couch with my laptop will help me get less shoulder pain from hunching over the laptop. The chief benefit so far is that I can pace up and down during the long, boring cut-scenes.

I'm playing a male dwarf commoner. What I didn't know about this game from fannish osmosis is how self-consciously Grittily Realistic it is. Grrumph.

Consumerism

Bought my first new wristwatch in years. It is a Timex Weekender, with a khaki and black canvas strap. I like it. It's comfortable, and looks casual but not sloppy. The only problem is that it's 30m water resistant, which in my slightly paranoid judgement means that I'll trust it when I'm washing my hands, but won't shower in it and definitely won't go swimming in it. So I'll switch back to my old watch for swimming. (I prefer to wear a watch when I'm swimming, to judge lap speed and to know how long I've been there and when the pool's closing, without having to swim up close enough to read the clock on the wall.)
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
(crossposted to Tumblr with some additional background)

She was so much affected by the manhood of Christ that when she saw women in Rome bearing children in their arms, if she might learn there were any men children, she should then cry, roar, and weep as though she had seen Christ in his childhood. And, if she might have had her will, oftentimes she would have taken the children out from the mothers' arms and have kissed them in the place of Christ. And, if she saw a seemly man, she had great pain to look on him in case she might have seen him who was both God and man. And therefore she cried many times and often when she met a seemly man and wept and sobbed full sorely in the manhood of Christ as she went in the streets of Rome, so that those who saw her wondered full much on her, for they knew not the cause. (The Book of Margery Kempe, translated and edited by Lynn Staley, page 63.)

This isn't the weirdest passage, that's just the part I was up to tonight.
vass: Small turtle with green leef in its mouth (Eat your greens)
Books

Read John Scalzi's Lock In, which is fun and fast-paced. He's clearly done his reading about the history of US cancer research, which is good to see. I would have liked it better if a mobility-disabled character without a robot body got a speaking part, but it's still pretty great.

The moment I decided to trust Scalzi:

spoilers for a scene about midway through the book )

I hadn't read much about this book before I read it, so there were two specific things that I had not been spoilered about. I caught one of them, I didn't catch the other. V nffhzrq, pbeerpgyl, gung Funar jnf ovenpvny. V nffhzrq vapbeerpgyl gung Funar jnf znyr - Funar'f traqre vf arire fgngrq. And I'm impressed, while facepalming at myself a little bit for my own assumptions.

I will say, though, that there were a few times when a more explicit discussion of the disability issues (and the history of disability rights) would have made it sound less hypothetical and more like a science fiction exploration of something that really happens today.

There were a few places where I was kind of jumping up and down saying "The slogan you want here is 'nothing about us without us', why not use it?"

And he didn't give a shout-out anywhere in the book to locked-in people who do not have his fictional disease, which is going to leave a lot of uninformed readers thinking he made locked-in syndrome up too. I think that was a serious weakness.

But generally it was a good book and lots of fun. Would adapt very well to TV.

Games

Played Long Live The Queen. A lot. Someone in the comments on a review I read said "It's certainly the best regicide simulator there is." This is hilarious and also true.

I won using a spoiler walkthrough. I've also died five times. I figured out how to dance with women, and one of them sent me flowers. I love that my magic tutor is a lesbian. I'm not quite as happy that if I dance with women, it's assumed I'm not interested in men. (I, the player, am not into men, as it happens. But I see no reason Queen Elodie shouldn't be bi.) But still, progress. And I won the naval battle using magic. That was fun.

Things I'm still working on:
- the thing with the cats. (I was working on that this evening, and I got all my stats right for it - yes, I am spoilering myself right and left, why do you ask? - but forgot to do the basic stuff that would keep me safe until that came up, and got killed at the Grand Ball.)
- surviving the forest side quest.
- the hostage situation
- the power of song achievement. I've read the game transcript of that part of someone else's game, and it was super cool.

Music

Listened to Small Town Heroes by Hurray for the Riff Raff. Liked it. I bought the album on the strength of the music video of The Body Electric (tw: the lyrics are about murder. The video shows it symbolically, not graphically), which remains the stand-out song in the album.

Food

Made my take on [personal profile] kaberett's pasta bake. My version used cannelini, a little bit of celery, olive oil, sambal oelek, crushed garlic, oregano, black pepper, salt, spiral pasta, and passata. The beans were a bad idea: combined with that method of pasta preparation, they made it too starchy. The celery was also a bad idea: it didn't cook fast enough. I should have added cooked veg instead. I knew this, but I was craving vegetables, and it affected my judgement. Apart from that it was good.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Books

Still reading Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. It's taking me way longer than it should, and that's not the book's fault. There are some really great stories here, and some others that are okay but not really wowing me.

Comics and Manga

Read No Normal, the first Ms Marvel collection. AWESOME. I guess I'm getting sucked back into comics, because I really want to know what happens to Kamala now. I bought it as a birthday present for the Niece, and I'm glad I did, because it's kind of perfect for a new 13-year-old.

Fanworks

Two of the WIPs I follow updated:
Winter's Children by [archiveofourown.org profile] Neery, and Weeds by [archiveofourown.org profile] Dien.

They are both based on total crack premises, done very well (the latter is "what if Lionel Fusco was Finch and Reed's houseboy?" and the former is what happens when the Winter Soldier comes across a failed Hydra experiment to recreate Captain America by cloning Steve, which resulted in, quote unquote, "ELEVEN TOW-HEADED, ASTHMATIC, ALLERGIC, IMMUNO-COMPROMISED LITTLE BEANPOLES WITH BAD ATTITUDES.") I'm so happy when these update.

TV and Movies

Watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I don't have the stamina for long movies at the moment. I never did have a lot of stamina for that, and this... yeah.

Games

Attempted to install the demo version of Long Live The Queen, which I saw described on Tumblr as a really viciously brutal magical princess game. Unfortunately, getting a 2012 game written in Ren'Py with no multiarch support to run on the latest version of Debian in 2015 is not the easiest thing.

I'll try again on Windows once I have the kitten out of my spare room and get around to turning my desktop on and updating everything and also finding out whether my external hard drive with all my music and videos on it is destroyed after the kittens spilled water on it.

Crafts

Started colouring another mandala.

Other

Wrote some fic, and posted two more installments in my series of Tumblr posts Punster Anaander Mianaai, for a total of three so far. (Idea stolen from [tumblr.com profile] lecterings, who did it with Hannibal. My version will make no sense if you haven't read Ancillary Justice)

Fic post

Jan. 24th, 2015 09:56 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
Maybe they'll leave you alone but not me. Imperial Radch, gen, Ancillary Sword spoilers. Tisarwat, Seivarden. (Warnings: suicide, emetophobia triggers. In other words, it's Tisarwat.)

Summary: Tisarwat matches wits with Seivarden. Which would not normally be at all difficult for her, but she's having a rough year.

I'm trying to get better at posting things and then telling people I posted them, instead of a) keeping them in a directory on my hard drive, or b) posting them to AO3 and then running and hiding. Which means there may be further fic posts after this in the next few days.

Imperial Radch fic-writing problems: when you can't use the word "patronising" without introducing resonances you didn't want.

Meme

Jan. 23rd, 2015 06:49 pm
vass: wonder girl facepalming (Facepalm)
(from [personal profile] dira and [personal profile] recessional)

When you see this, share 3 random lines from 3 WIPs.

1. Seivarden was on watch. Her hand strayed to the clientage token pinned to her jacket. She smiled. The Amaat on duty with her was indulgently amused.

2. The silence is dreadful. There are no birds, no other native animals. There must have been, before. The sun bakes down. One Esk slowly searches the rubble.

3. I just hadn't thought this body had a libido.
vass: wonder girl facepalming (Facepalm)
Does object permanence develop in medical professionals and their staff?

When do they learn that their patients have an existence outside their clinics?
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
"There are always a lot of young ones," explained Wendy, who was now quite an authority, "because you see when a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies. They live in nests on the tops of trees; and the mauve ones are boys and the white ones are girls, and the blue ones are just little sillies who are not sure what they are."
- J.M. Barry, Peter Pan

(Quoted in What-If. I've never read Peter Pan myself - I couldn't get past the first page, with the terrifying mother who tidies up her children's minds.)
vass: wonder girl facepalming (Facepalm)
My favourite teacher in high school went on maternity leave for the year that was my year 12.

I just realised: her son will be 18 next year. Fuuuuuuck.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
Just in the last week and a bit. I'll post a catch-up entry later about the stuff I watched, read, and listened to between my last culture consumed post and now.

Books

Read the first two pages of Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, using ReadLang (web app for reading texts in a foreign language - you can click on any word you don't know, and it translates it then generates a flashcard for later practice. And it lets you upload your own texts.) Decided that, while I can actually cope with the language provided I hit the dictionary very hard, I'm going to put this aside for now and buy an ebook of Erich Kästner's Emil und die Detektive and read that first. (I haven't read it in English, but when I was a kid I did read Lottie and Lisa and, argh, can't remember the title, but one about a young girl with lots of older siblings, and she threaded strawberries on a straw and had the mumps and ate ice cream out of a thermos.)

Read Alaya Dawn Johnston's The Summer Prince. I knew the basic setup, that Enki is the Summer Prince, which means he's going to die. I did not know about the more general suicide themes. spoilers )

I read [personal profile] rachelmanija and [personal profile] skygiants' reviews after I finished it, and basically I agree with their main points - non-irritating love triangle, Bebel is awesome, not sure about the ending.

Read a bit more of Les Misérables, which I want to fucking finish this year. If I read twelve pages a day, I'll be done by the end of March.

Fanworks

Read The Queen's Award, by [archiveofourown.org profile] ambyr. The Summer Prince, June/Bebel.

TV and Movies

Watched My Little Pony: Freundschaft ist Magie 2.19-20 ('Hochzeit in Canterlot') because apparently now I'm watching American cartoons in German. It's definitely more fun than 'logo! Deine Nachrichten' (kids' daily news show), which I am also sporadically watching.

Watched My Little Pony: Freundschaft ist Magie 2.3 ('Twilight flippt aus') which was cringe-inducing. That's the one where Twilight Sparkle forgets to write to Princess Celestia, and over the course of the episode her behaviour goes from realistic portrayal of severe anxiety to annoying stereotyping of general mental illness.

Watched the first two parts and half the third part of a YouTube video of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge's production of Ionesco's The Bald Soprano, a play I last saw when I was 16 or 17, and remember as howlingly, hysterically funny. Unfortunately, this version isn't as good as the one I saw (which was one of the entries for house drama at my high school.) But even then I was the only one laughing. Maybe that's what made it funnier, everyone else in the audience watching in silent bafflement while I nearly fell off my chair laughing.

I think it works best if you treat it as a series of empty social scripts, which the characters themselves are reciting uncomprehendingly. (According to Wikipedia, Ionesco's inspiration for The Bald Soprano was the dialogue in the Assimil language courses.) Which is maybe funnier if you're autistic.

(I have this theory about the autism spectrum and absurdity/Absurdism, and how the former makes the latter better. Like, Camus' The Stranger is about a man who has a sensory overload meltdown and kills someone because of it ("Cool motive. Still murder," as that guy from Brooklyn 99 would say,) and just about all of Stoppard is tragedy, not comedy (funny tragedy, but still tragedy) and, as I said, Ionesco is actually funny.)

Watched an ooold episode of Q and A on ABC's iView - they had it up because Stella Young. Stella was amazing. And Penny Wong was graceful and diplomatic and should be prime minister, and I loved the moment when a young woman in the audience whose mothers were lesbians asked a question about families with same sex parents, and she went from calm and diplomatic to... still calm and diplomatic, but her eyes were like ♥__♥. But Australian politics were fucking depressing then, and have only gotten more depressing in the two years since that aired.

Games

Played through 80 Days three times. This game is dangerous. You start playing at 10:30pm, and suddenly your phone runs out of battery, so you look up and it's 3am. This is all [personal profile] thefourthvine's fault.

I'm not sure quite how far you can go with romancing Fogg. I've gotten Passepartout to admit to being in love with him, and with describing them as like Alexander and Hephaistion, but so far no reciprocation. I want to keep trying.

I liked the hijra character. That she existed, I mean. And that although this is a steampunk game set in the 19th century, it isn't all white even while it doesn't erase the existence of and harm done by colonialism in general and the British Empire in particular.

On my three playthroughs so far, I:
- won the wager, and got back in less than 60 days, Passepartout and Fogg both having very nearly died in a desperate arctic circle voyage.
- lost the wager, got back in 94 days after travelling across Russia and then to the US. Spent too much time looking for good trades, and then Fogg got dysentery.
- won the wager, got back in 74 days, went via Marrakech and Lisbon.

It'd help if my geography was better. My geography's going to improve if I keep playing this.

Music

Bought the Mountain Goats' Transcendental Youth with a Christmas iTunes card, listened to it on the way to go get the foster kittens. It hasn't totally grabbed me yet, but my experience with John Darnielle is that if I keep listening it will grow on me.

Podcasts

Catching up on Piano Puzzler.

Okay, but

Jan. 9th, 2015 11:48 am
vass: T-Rex and Utahraptor in a clinch with a heart above their heads (T-Rex/Utahraptor 4 Evar)
Right after writing that last post, I started doing my Duolingo practice.

And it asked me to translate "Her wife is writing" into German.
Ihre Frau schreibt.

Which is not actually a thing legally done in Germany (they have registered partnerships, but not full marriage equality, same as here) but it is legally recognised in 17 countries plus parts of the US and Mexico, and until I was twenty years old it wasn't any countries, it was a pretty thing that happened in the science fiction and fantasy novels I liked, not something real, something maybe I could do one day.

So that's something. Ihre Frau schreibt, und sie hat eine Frau.
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
Today's morning German practice: for the past few days, every day I've been trying to read the headline and first paragraph of the leading article on the web version of the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Unfortunately, at the moment this is all about terrorist attacks and Islamophobia.

Less unfortunately, but still unfortunately, my German is currently still at the point where I don't grasp whole sentences at a time, so I don't know what's coming ahead. So I get nasty surprises in mid-sentence.

Like:

Doch erste Forderungen... [Forderung, Forderung... *checks dictionary* That the first demand...]

etwa [etwa... that's not the same as etwas, right? *check dictionary* No. ...about...]

nach der Wiedereinführung [Wiedereinführung, Wiedereinführung... *checks dictionary* since the reintroduction...]

der Todesstrafe [the WHAT, PLEASE tell me that doesn't mean what it sounds like it means! *checks dictionary* ...of the death penalty, yes, it did mean that]

lassen erahnen, [erahnen, erahnen... *checks dictionary* leaves? lets? speculation...]

welch unruhige Zeiten Frankreich bevorstehen. [bevorstehen, bevorstehen... sounds like "stands before?" *checks dictionary* Close enough. ...what unrestful times are ahead for France, NO FUCKING KIDDING. :( ]

This sucks. Going back to ponies now. Or possibly to feed the kittens then take to my bed.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
There are two different craft/personal development/creativity thingies I've been thinking of giving a try, but have reservations about. (One of them I heard about tonight, the other I've had bookmarked for a long time, but haven't done.)

In both cases, what I'll most likely eventually do (if anything) is my own DIY version that doesn't involve following their rules or buying their book. (It's funny how guides to Unlocking Your Creativity always seem to have all of these rules about how to overcome society's constraints and learn to break the rules. Ever done Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way?)

So.

Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal. more )

Seena B Frost's SoulCollage. more )

In conclusion: more )
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
Art
The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon: an online archive of the husband and wife illustration team.

Games Journalism
Twine: the video game technology for all. A really good article about interactive fiction games written in Twine, and the people (women in particular) who write them. (hattip: [personal profile] thedeadparrot)

Shakespeare
Shakespeare and OP (original pronunciation) (has some remarks on RP that are a bit frustrating)

Disability
Disability sensitivity training video (Admission: I flinched so hard when the wheelchair-using guy's boyfriend hugged him, before I realised it was his boyfriend and not some random jerk coming up behind him and hugging him because he's a wheelchair user. Oops.)

A Vague Disclaimer Is No One's Friend
The disclaimers in the Xena: Warrior Princess credits. "The rooster was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. Although his feathers were severely ruffled, a little gel and mousse straightened out the mess."

Economics
The secret to the Uber economy is wealth inequality. Clearly put.

Ancient Civilisations
What did ancient Babylonian songs sound like? No, they didn't find an actual music setting from the period (although they are drawing on Anne Draffkorn Kilmer and others' work on the Hurrian hymn to Nikkal.) They wrote their own tunes, using recreated period instruments and linguistic analysis and research into the melodies of similar Semitic languages. It's still really fucking cool and good scholarship.

New Zealand
Stop a mate from driving drunk: bloody legend. The ghost chips ad. (Kiwis: why had I not seen this until now? You guys have been holding out on us!)

Gravity
Tom Marshburn, astronaut, has forgotten how it works

Abuse
Abuse in polyamorous relationships
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
The Kindness of Men. Black Beauty (with surprise crossover). Fix-it fic for Ginger. My inner ten-year-old (the one who on getting riding lessons for the first time, grilled the instructor on whether he used the "bearing-rein") is SO RELIEVED right now, I cannot even.

Communion of Saints. Chalion saga. Acolyte Clara. The saint of the Mother.

The Piper. Tam-Lin (the Pamela Dean novel), Lily and Andrew. It's seven years after the events of the book. Janet's brother and sister are at Blackstock now. This fic is now canon for me. The tone, the voice, the characters, the plot are all wonderful.

The Law of the Wind (that came stirring the sap). The Well of Loneliness/Young Wizards fusion, Stephen and Raftery. Someone did a Well of Loneliness/Young Wizards fusion and made it work. That is a thing that happened this Yuletide.

Striking the Right Note. Valdemar, Vanyel/Stefen, Medren's POV. The summary says "A tale of how Stefen's best friend went from 'Stef, stop dating men that are way too old for you!' to 'Let me matchmake you with my uncle, he is just your type.'" It delivers.

The Pirate Bachelorette. The Princess Bride, always-female Inigo Montoya. SO GREAT. I kept hearing Ines' lines in Mandy Patinkin's voice. Has very good Fezzik, which is my first priority in a Princess Bride fic.

The Queen Says Let Them Eat Cake. The Princess and the Frog, Tiana/Naveen. Meet-the-parents fic. Did a good job of highlighting Tiana as a person, and her relationship with Naveen and why it works.

Moonstone and Muslin Anne of Green Gables, Anne. Anne IN SPACE. My only complaint is that it could have been longer.

Frog and Toad Forever. Frog and Toad books, Frog/Toad. True to the tone of the books. Very sweet friends-to-lovers with relationship negotiation and communication and non-explicit sex.

Southbound. Gone Home, Lonnie/Sam. Made me feel that wonderful feeling when someone you like is about to experience an album or a movie or a book you know they're going to really love. It doesn't matter that they're fictional. I'm still happy for Lonnie and Sam that they're about to encounter Sleater-Kinney. I know how important that's going to be to them.

the star to every wandering bark. Vorkosiverse, Aral/Cordelia. In which they foil a very Shakespearean plot against their marriage by being adults and also not fucking stupid.

Seven Badgers of Troy. A Greek mythology/Harry Potter fusion. Set in Greek antiquity, but people get sorted into Hogwarts houses according to the omens. AND IT WORKS. It shouldn't, but it really, really does.

The rest of these are all Imperial Radch:

Interstellar Propriety. This was written for me, and I've already recommended it, but I'm going to do so again. You know, normally I have a pretty strong embarrassment squick. But for some reason watching Seivarden be embarrassed in this, from Breq's point of view, does not distress me. It just makes me vindictively gleeful. (Probably the trust, respect, and concern help. How it's clear that Breq is not herself enjoying Seivarden's discomfort, and that she's not only worried about the success of their mission.)

What's Caught Is Gone. Starts out with a short, sharp bit of body horror, continues with... well, with good ensemble writing all around, including some of the crew who didn't get much characterisation at all in the books. Particularly good moments: Seivarden and Ship's interaction, Basnaaid and Breq, and Tisarwat with her crew. And especially Ship and Breq: "I gave these moments to Breq, with as much detail as I could; I only wished that I could share more. Share it all, as she deserved." ;__________________;

Necessary Luxuries. I don't totally buy Seivarden's or Breq's characterisation in this, but I keep rereading it anyway, so obviously I liked it enough to keep coming back.

Ancillary Ghost. The Ghost Ship and Seivarden. This is so great. I just. Look. If you know Jonathan Coulton's song 'Skullcrusher Mountain', imagine that, except sung by GlaDOS. To Chell. From the ship's point of view. With really intriguing worldbuilding and characterisation. RUN, SEIVARDEN.

Soft Offering. Mercy of Kalr gives Breq a gift. "It surprised ships, when there was something new to say to each other, and it would be even more surprising to find something to give that hasn't been offered at some point in time. The word "gift" is unfamiliar to ships. There is little ships can give each other beyond the steadiness of each other's presence. Still, it makes Breq wonder briefly if were there ship songs, before they had grown too old to sing to each to each other." That... yeah. That captures Breq-as-Justice of Toren very well. And also the ways in which Mercy of Kalr is much younger. It mades me wonder some more about the differences between Justices and Mercies.

Sweet Awakening. Drabble. Ship and Kalr Five surprise Breq. I love this, really a lot, but I'm not convinced about Kalr Five. If it'd been one of the others (Twelve, maybe) then definitely, but Five in the books seems... not relaxed enough for this. Not without further context. Ship and Breq are perfect, though.

Orders. Drabble. Breq checks in on Seivarden. It's funny: nearly every fic I try to write for this fandom (I've posted some drabbles of my own, and have a drawerful of WIPs I'm trying to get ready to post) comes down to co-sleeping, one way or another. I'd thought maybe it was just me, because my sleep disorder's been really bad at the same time that I've been getting very into this fandom, and maybe I've been projecting it onto the characters. But judging by this drabble and the previous one: maybe not just me, then.

An Uncivilised Citizen. Scenes from the first book from Seivarden's point of view. "She knew only that it was hell to be alone." Yeah. Yes, that works.

The News From Home. Adorable nine-year-old poetry from Basnaaid, and painfully accurate self-doubt and internalised classism/colonialism from Awn. And Awn's awkward attempts at communicating with the sister she's never met yet. And then the last two paragraphs are a sudden horrible gut-punch. Poor Awn. ;____;
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
I got SUCH a good Yuletide fic this year.

Interstellar Propriety. Imperial Radch, gen, Breq and Seivarden. The best sort of trope subversion.

Good worldbuilding and characterisation plus very, very funny.

Spoilery comments below the cut. (In particular: it's labeled "choose not to warn" and there are probably fans of these books on my flist who might want to be spoilered in order to decide if they can read it or not.)

spoilers )

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