vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Read the first part of Mary Oliver's Dream Work aloud to Beatrice in one sitting. Read the rest, still aloud, in a more piecemeal way.

She is magnificent at nature, and at exhortations to the reader.

She's not as good at writing about other people, though. She's good at 'you' and 'I', but not 'him' or 'her' or 'they', and especially not 'that little brown boy in Jakarta with the facial scar who I saw that one time.' Her third people can appear as less than real to her.

Exception: 'Members of the Tribe', a searing condemnation of the pro-suicide themes in Romanticism, written with real empathy for the artists working with those themes; and '1945-1985: Poem For The Anniversary', about the Holocaust (and in the latter one it is, again, the nature images, the animal characters, that make it realest.)

The ones that stood out to me: 'Morning Poem', 'The Chance To Love Everything', 'Rage', 'Wild Geese' (the one everyone reblogs, on the strength of which I bought this book), 'Knife, 'Shadows', 'Clamming', 'The Fire', 'Driving Through The Wind River Reservation: A Poem of Black Bear', 'Members of the Tribe', 'Starfish', 'The Journey' (another much-reblogged one), 'Orion', 'The Moths', '1945-1985: Poem For The Anniversary'.

Read Zen Cho's Socerer to the Crown. It was delicious. I had no idea how she was going to pull the ending off, but she did. Brilliantly. I expected to love Zacharias, and I did, and I was surprised at how much I liked Prunella, since I'd gotten the impression she was a particular Regency archetype, and it turned out she wasn't as much that archetype as I thought. They're both amazing.

I decided it's going to be my third Yuletide fandom. So I nominated it, with the characters Zacharias, Prunella, Lady Wythe, and Henrietta. I was sad not to get Mak Genggang in there too, but I wanted to leave open the possibility of stuff about Lady Wythe and Zacharias in childhood, and Prunella and Henrietta in school, and you only get four characters.


Watched handlebars, by lavenderchai411, which is a Willow Rosenberg character study vid, and scary as fuck. (content notes: blood, knives, implied animal harm.)


More fucking kittens. More Pokemon too.


Played cds in the car: Jessye Norman singing Wagner, and the Tallis Scholars singing Byrd.

Listened to the original cast recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. omfgasdgjksd;lfksdf. SO GOOD.

Listened to the NPR stream all the way through on Saturday. Then on Sunday. Then on Monday I bought the album.

For those who don't already know: musical about the life and death of one of the US founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, here characterised as a brilliant, scrappy, orphaned immigrant with a near-deathwish and a desperate drive to succeed. The composer/lyricist is also the star, and he and the cast are all people of colour except King George III of England, who is white (and hilarious.) The musical style is mostly hiphop, but not all, with many, many references to other musicals and other hiphop/rap works. The lyrics are strong and smart and interconnected, and develop over the course of the show in an incredibly satisfying way. The female characters do not talk to each other about something other than a man, but they do discuss their wishes and options are in life, and their legacy, and clearly have relationships with each other extending beyond their relationships with men -- Eliza and Angelica's relationship as sisters is really strong and wonderful.

"don't modulate the key then not debate with me!"
"I will send a fully-armed battalion to remind you of my love"
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
I know what two of my fandoms are, but I haven't settled on the third, or which characters for the first two.

I'm definitely nominating Imperial Radch and Riot Nrrd. My third fandom might be Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown or Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence.

Here's a trickier dilemma:

Nominations close on October 3rd. Ancillary Mercy comes out on October 6th or 8th depending on US vs UK editions. The first three chapters have already been released to people who pre-ordered, and someone's already nominated the new character who's named in chapter 3.

There is another significant new character who has not been introduced yet, but who I predict some people are probably going to want to write about. I know this because Ann Leckie keeps hinting about her on Tumblr.

I know the character's name because it's possible to deduce this by taking one of the two unexpected words on the Ancillary Mercy wordle (the other one is the name of the new character in chapter 3), referring back to that same word's appearance in Ancillary Sword, and drawing the obvious inference.

But that is a spoiler, especially for people who might want to remain totally unspoiled for Ancillary Mercy before reading it. So it might be uncool to put a spoiler in the Yuletide tag database, even if the spoiler is simply "a new character named ____ appears in this book."

Another factor is that Yuletide sign-ups open on October 18th, and by that time a lot of people who'd be bothered by spoilers will have read it already.

vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Read the first short story in Kaleidoscope, the one about teenage superheroes that are like reality TV. I hope the other stories are this good. [personal profile] fasangel, I'm making you read this one, because they read as Australian in a way I remember was what you liked about Kylie Chan.

My copy of Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown arrived, and jumped ahead of the rest of the TBR. So far I like it a lot.

Comics and Manga

Gave up on Fullmetal Alchemist for now. I'm not feeling it.


Signed up for [community profile] trickortreatex. Got my assignment today. Have already written 538 words. The minimum word count is 300, and the deadline is 24th of October. This bodes well. I mean, I doubt all of those words I wrote today are going to survive, but it's a nice head start.

Yuletide nominations open this Friday.


Determined to finish Pokemon: LeafGreen soon. I finished Victory Road, which means all that's left of the actual story (not the catching them all part) is the islands (which I'm leaving until later), the Elite Four (plus one), and oh... levelling my main six Pokemon up until they're ready to beat the Elite Four (plus one).

My line-up:
Hillary, a Venusaur and my starting Pokemon. Knows Tackle, Giga Drain, Leech Seed, and Razor Leaf.
Justice, a Pidgeot. Knows Fly, Double-Edge, Steel Wing, and Quick Attack.
Goldie, a Gyarados. Yeah, the Magikarp I caught and levelled up until he evolved way back when. Knows Dragon Rage, Hydro Pump, Bite, and Water Pulse. Usually carries Blackglasses to make the Bite stronger.
Sideeye, a Tentacruel. Knows Barrier, Acid, Surf, and Rain Dance.
Attolia, a Ninetails. Knows Ember, Fire Blast, Toxic, and Quick Attack.
Sub, a Machoke, and my most recent capture, replacing Brainy the Geodude because Brainy's hit points were too low and he was very slow. Sub knows Revenge, Vital Throw, Submission, and Cross Chop.

Why is my Machoke called Sub? A Machoke is a humanoid-shaped, purple, very muscular Pokemon, naked except for a pair of briefs and a shiny gold belt. He has a blond quiff, and prominent red welts on his arms. His pose is kneeling. And of course, one of his moves is Submission.

As of right now, everyone is level 48 except for Hillary, who is level 51. I figure that they'll need to be at least about level 55 to win the game.

I've been multitasking by playing the Kittens Game while I level up my Pokemon, which takes wasting time to a new level. The kittens now have three ziggurats and two bio labs. This cannot end well.


Listened to some parang, which is cheerful Trinidad Christmas music. Daisy Voisin and Sharlene Flores. They were both good, but Sharlene Flores was more my thing.

Listend to Doomtree's All Hands again. It is growing on me.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Hi writer!

This is my first time with this exchange. Thank you for writing for me, and I hope it's fun for you.

Do Not Wants: animal harm, misgendering (particularly with reference to Imperial Radch fandom and trying to impose a male or female label onto the characters in it), disability as a horror trope (i.e. if the horror is that the character is or becomes disabled or disfigured or mentally ill.) I feel weird about listing it like that, like they're of equal severity, but they are things that would make this exchange Not Fun for me.

That's not a judgement on those things! Some really great stories and novels and movies have some of those elements, including things that I love. But my ability to cope with them is unreliable, and I don't want my ability to read and respond to your story to be unreliable!

General likes, treat version: mutual respect, kindness, people working together, people getting each other, kissing, hugging, co-sleeping, good worldbuilding, humour.

General likes, trick version: you know what? This is hard to articulate. I guess it depends if you're actually trying to scare me or not. The "trick" stories are supposed to be "more occult or supernatural or scary." So... I'm okay with if you want to scare me, or if you want to go for "occult/supernatural" but not particularly scary. Either is fine with me, but it makes a difference to what I tell you, doesn't it?

Tricks, scary version: pervasive anxiety, atmospheric horror, nightmares, body horror, manipulation, people being their worst selves, bad future.

Tricks, occult/supernatural but not scary version: zombies, vampires, ghosts that go BOO, other stock cartoon monster/villain types, the Scooby-Doo sort of haunted house (or spaceship or space station as the case may be.) I am totally up for supernatural crackfic or farce, if that's what you want to write.

Fandom-specific details:

cut to spare my friends list )


Sep. 14th, 2015 01:46 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
I need to read Fullmetal Alchemist vols 9, 10, and 11 super fast so I can return them to the library and pay a large overdue fine.

After that, I have about 3 weeks in which at my current reading pace (please God let the new antidepressant bring my reading pace back up to baseline) might get me through two books. (After that my reading time has a prior claim for at least a week (it will probably not take me that long to read Ancillary Mercy, but it might take me longer to stop squeeing and rereading and focus on anything else.)

Some possibilities:
(this is not the whole of my TBR, of course, just some of the ones that appealed when I was wandering around my apartment picking up books. Which meant I didn't include my ebooks.)

Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe. I'm currently up to page 146, the narrative finishes on page 184, but there are another 117 pages of primary readings from Kempe's contemporaries, and for brain-related reasons I am not going to be able to stop at page 184 and call it finished. Dense, requires attention. But I really like Margery and do want to finish her this year.

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables. I won't be able to finish this in three weeks, not unless my concentration gets markedly better during that time. (Which it might -- medication change plus season change -- but I can't count on it for planning purposes.) But again, I would like to finish it this year, and if I dedicated one of my two book slots for the next two weeks to continuing with this, it'd improve my chances. I'm currently up to page 290, the last page of the novel is 1194, there are also endnotes, again, please don't tell me to skip the footnotes or to skip Part 4, that is not how I read, that is not how I enjoy reading. My reading speed with this book is about 28 pages per hour. (My normal reading speed is more like 45 pages per hour, depending on how many words per page and how large the pages. This is a book with largeish pages and small print.

Melissa Scott and Jo Graham, Lost Things. I know nothing about this book except that it has fannish appeal, has an airship on the cover, and came from [personal profile] st_aurafina and [personal profile] lilacsigil, which is a good sign. 321 pages.

S. Bear Bergman, Butch is a Noun. 223 pages, and I'm 22 pages in already. Nonfiction essays, so far a little bit more 101 than I was hoping for, and hasn't totally sucked me in: I tend to lose focus while they're explaining how to pronounce "hir". Not that this is a bad thing to explain, just that I was introduced to that pronoun set 20 years ago, and it is no longer quite the revelation it was then.

Plato, Republic. I'm up to page 28 out of 345 (not counting appendices.) Same form factor as Les Mis, with larger margins but smaller print. Probably similar degree of difficulty, except shorter but with a less compelling narrative, and I'd have to keep stopping to yell at Socrates. I want to finish this before I read Jo Walton's Thessaly trilogy.

Johanna Sinisalo, Not Before Sundown. Finnish fantasy novel about trolls, English translation. The front cover quotes USA today as describing it as "a punk version of The Hobbit". 236 pages, the structure looks nonstandard in a way that might make it a quicker read than some. More than that I do not know.

Rachel Hartman, Shadow Scale. Sequel to Seraphina, which I really liked, about the neurodivergent dragons (my interpretation, not the author's.) I bounced very hard off the introduction earlier this year, but that was hopefully because depression, and meds change might help me open the wrapper and get to the chocolate inside. 458 pages, but YA reading level.

Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor. Lots of people whose taste is compatible with mine enjoyed this. 483 pages, smallish print. I am a bit daunted by the size (please, brain meds, work.)

Gillian Pollack, Langue [dot] doc 1305. Australian science fiction, [personal profile] bookgirlwa gave me my copy, again a good sign. Scientist/historian team, having not read Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, decide to travel back in time to study the past on location. 292 pages, looks interesting and not difficult. I am not familiar with the author, but I am very slightly familiar with the time period, which might help. Might pair well with the Sinisalo book.

Delia Sherman, Through A Brazen Mirror. Queer mediaeval fantasy, looks pretty lighthearted. Should be fun. 283 pages.

Ilona Andrews, Bayou Moon. Urban fantasy/romance. 462 pages. Second book in a series; I've read the first. Have had this copy on loan from [personal profile] fasangel for literally years now.

Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider. Nonfiction essays. Might pair well with the Bergman essays. 190 pages.

Leslie T. Chang, Factory Girls. I bought this years ago and gave it to my father for his birthday. He hasn't read it either. I borrowed it back to read myself, and it's been sitting on my bedside table for the past... two years? [personal profile] toft recently reviewed it and got me interested again. Non-fiction, 420 pages.

Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith, Stranger. Post-apocalyptic YA, 416 pages. Not my favourite genre, but I like [personal profile] rachelmanija's other work, and have heard good things about Smith.

Susan Howatch, Glittering Images. Is a historical drama/thriller type thing about the Anglican Church? Which definitely sounds like my thing. 502 pages.

Ursula Le Guin, Always Coming Home. Anthro-SF, 563 pages. Yet another classic I've never read and would like to fill the holes in my education by reading.

Any suggestions on which books I should read in the next 3 weeks? I'm making my own shortlist, but I am open to opinions.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
(Note to people I owe comments to: sorry. My "respond to this" window has 31 tabs, and some of them have more than one comment I need to respond to in them, and I'm getting a bit overwhelmed. Sorry.)


Finished Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone. SO GOOD. Three important characters are from the first two books (two from Three Parts Dead, one from Two Serpents Rise), and I think the book would still work if you haven't read those, but you would get some spoilers for the first two books. Not book-breaking spoilers, but yeah.

If you want a book where one of the two protagonists is a trans woman, and she transitioned long ago and her transness is not the focus of the book, just a thing that matters to her, and is never treated as a romantic obstacle or a big surprise, and she talks to another trans person about something other than being trans, then I think you're going to like this book a lot.

Spoilers for this book to follow.

spoilers )

Need to put in a request from the library to order the next book, but first I need to return my overdues and pay a very large overdue fine because I've been not managing this stuff well lately. Awkward.

Comics and Manga

Up to date on Dumbing of Age.

Did the thing I do every once or twice a year, and caught up on Questionable Content. I might now have a huge crush on Bubbles the gentle combat droid. And I think Gordon the ArachnoPC is kind of adorbs, and he can give me a terrifying backrub if he wants.


Reread Why Wouldn't She Be My Friend? I'm Fantastic by [ profile] axalotlsGambit. All the genderqueer and AI feels.

TV and Movies

Watched first episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine. *snort* That is all.


I'm considering nominating Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap for Yuletide. I think it might make a good gen fandom. Kevin and Ursula eat foods from fictional works. Kevin and Ursula's cats and beagle record a podcast (in front of two live kitchen humans, presumably.) Kevin and Ursula become zombies and do a podcast where they eat braaaains. Cthulhu is a guest on the show. Ursula becomes a Pokemon trainer. Kevin's server wants to review cheap RAM. Improbable segues into ads for Sofawolf Press (although I don't think fanfic is going to top the actual segues into ads on the show.) Stuff like that.

Would that be weird, given that they're more a part of fandom than your typical real person fandom?
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
In how to write an article about an autistic person that will make me want to punch you in the face.

"Ōe's published works have no linguistic content."

For comparison, see the complete instrumental chamber works of Mozart and Beethoven, which contain the complete text of Rousseau's Confessions encoded in a musical notation cipher. Also Brahms, whose later chamber works spell out one of Hegel's lectures as an acrostic, using only the letters A-F and H (German letter names for notes - H is B-natural, B is Bb.)

"As an adult, Hikari creates chamber music."

As an adult, Danny Elfman creates film scores. As an adult, Angela Merkel creates German domestic and foreign policy. As an adult, Serena Williams plays tennis.

I would edit it, but I don't know where to start.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Reading Max Gladstone's Full Fathom Five. It took me a while to get started because I read the blurb and "everyone she knows and loves thinks she's crazy" is a hard sell for me. But so far so good.

Comics and Manga

Started reading Dumbing of Age from the beginning. Didn't cry until the last strip of book 1.

Dina is my fave. She is so great.

In book 4 part one I was legit seriously upset about the thing with Amber and Danny and the thing with Billie and Ruth.

(Content notes for people who haven't read this before: uni students with attitudes and slurs you would expect of them. A plotline about bullying. A plotline about sexual assault. Another plotline about abuse. And kind of ur-plotline about people wanting to be more normal even at the cost of harmless pleasures, and especially taking that out on other people and their harmless pleasures, and how all of this intersects with the two probably-autistic characters, Dina and Walky. (n.b. I'm not sure if Walky is supposed to be read as autistic or not. Dina I'm certain is, and I have some issues with how she's written, in that I don't think the writer really gets her, but I still love her.))

No, you don't understand, I really love Dina.

And also I am kind of sort of way too invested in the godawful mutually assured destruction depression vortex ship that is Billie/Ruth.

Visual Arts

Really enjoying Likhain's recent stuff.


Reread Dolores Crane's 'In Loco Parentis' again, because listening to the Indelicates' 'Be Afraid Of Your Parents' reminded me of it.

TV and Movies

Watched some more Steven Universe. Best line so far: I DON'T CARE IF YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY.

Are the Crystal Gems
They're terrible at parenting
And if you think they aren't
They'll leave their kid unsupervised for long periods then blame him for the trouble he gets into.

"Let's go be kids!" says Steven's friend whose father is kind of crap but not as crap as Steven's family.

Watched POI 4.12, 'Control-Alt-Delete'. Control is a really great antagonist, but I am uneasy with the race and gender politics of this episode, the way the narrative sets Control and the Samaritan on-site guy to be the (knowing or unknowing) pawns of John Greer and Harold Finch.

Started watching Das Boot, director's cut. With English subtitles, because my German is definitely not THAT good. It is, however, good enough to occasionally tell when the subtitles are overly euphemistic. 'Arsch' does not mean 'rear end'. 'Scheiße' does not mean 'oh no'.


Watched GeekRemix's LP of Gone Home. They missed... um, a whole lot of stuff. They didn't get all of Sam's diary entries, for instance. Or find Oscar's drug cache, or how he lost his job. Or figure out Terrence's secret, but that one I didn't work out for myself either -- I read a review that put all the pieces together for that one (I figured out some of it, like that something happened on the same day Kennedy was assassinated that Terrence wanted to go back in time and stop, but not what.) (And then I went looking for that one review. I found it, but on the way I found a different review from a straight woman who thought Gone Home sidelines straight women and that it's a shame because femininity is sidelined in video games anyway, and she would have liked to play a game about Sam and her ROTC boyfriend, and FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU OMG.)


Courtesy of David Willis' Dumbing of Age comic, I discovered this acid trip of an evangelical Christian children's song (if that's not a tautology,) I'm A Slave 4 U, from the Kids Praise Album!, c.1980, featuring Psalty the Singing Songbook.


Picked up the mitred square blanket again.
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
From [personal profile] morbane's post here. (Thanks [personal profile] kaberett for pointing out that this is a thing.)

cut )
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
A Vegetable Love That Would Certainly Not Suit Me
Oedipus with vegetables: a short (8'33 minutes) movie. Amazing production values. Worth watching the credits to the end. (Content notes: knives, trypophobia, dubious relationship to mythology.)


How To Write A Musical: an interview with Lisa Kron, the lyricist of Fun Home the musical. I just want to hug this quote to myself: "When you’re making a work of art, it feels like it will kill you. It won’t kill you. But you feel like it will."

The Loud Hands Project video. (tw: child abuse, ableism. But that's what what it's about. It's about pride.)

Clippy the Microsoft Office Assistant is the Patriarchy's Fault

In Iraq I Raided Insurgents. In Virginia, the Police Raided Me. (Obviously this is a white guy. You can tell this because he survived to tell the story. Meanwhile here in Australia we have just as much of a black deaths in custody problem as the US, and recently police have been using very strong pepper spray on anti-racist protesters while high-fiving white supremacists at a rally... and then last Friday the Australian Border Force announced they were going to go around Melbourne randomly checking people's visa status. What I'm saying is, current police stuff and its racist and nationalist elements scares me a lot.)

An interview with Miss Major on the Stonewall movie

Words To Live By
Page 64 of Shades After, because I can't stop thinking about what Anwar tells JD here, after they come out to him as genderqueer.

AO3 tag generator. If you're on Tumblr you've probably already seen this, but not everyone's on Tumblr. It randomly generates things people tagged their stories with on Archive Of Our Own.

Corduroy, age 26, is the oldest living cat in the world.
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
For those who might not have heard.

Controversial Australian Border Force visa checks, Operation Fortitude cancelled

Shit got very scary.

That public operation was cancelled after protesters flooded the CBD and the ABF officers were penned in Flinders Street Station and couldn't get out because there were so many protesters around them, but this isn't over.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
If something is a normal, natural process, a thing that everybody does/has (or that half the population does/has) then it's possible for it to go wrong (or to have natural variations on how it works that are not wrong, just different; but in addition to those variations, sometimes things plain go wrong,) and it's possible for people to need specialised treatments, interventions, or treatments to manage it.

Any system or function of the body. Any.

Everyone breathes. That's a normal, natural process, and we don't need any special woo-woo pseudoscientific interventions like lessons on how to breathe or equipment to help us do it, people have been doing it since before there were people, so stop pathologising this perfectly ordinary thing that everyone's body does correctly anyway if you just don't mess with it...

Excuse me, the phone just rang. It's people with asthma, cystic fibrosis, and a whole bunch of other respiratory problems. Turns out it's possible for breathing to go wrong. Just because it's meant to work a certain way, just because it's necessary to our survival for us to work that way, doesn't mean it always works that way.

Menstruation is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Reproduction is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Eating is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Hydration is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Pooping is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Your body's natural detoxification systems are normal and natural and can go wrong (and if they do, a macrobiotic diet is not going to save you.)

Sleeping is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Getting through stressful or dangerous situations and then readjusting to safety is normal and natural and can go wrong.

Childhood development is normal and natural and can go wrong.

I could go on, but I hope I've made my point.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Reading Ann Leckie's paragraph by paragraph posts of Ancillary Mercy AND SCREAMING. (That's not a spoiler, is it? I mean, I didn't say if it was good screaming or bad screaming or "is this bit where the Kalrs repaint Ship and we get a minute by minute account of how Breq watches the paint dry going to be an important plot point or...?" screaming.)

And then (today, Tuesday 18/08) the thing she sent me arrived. The first three chapters of Ancillary Mercy, along with a Mercy of Kalr lanyard, a bookplate, and two badges (Awn Elming and Dlique), because she is amazing and generous.

So I read that, and I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT ALL NOW, but spoilers. Also I want to read the rest, and may or may not be printing out a paper calendar so I can cross off every day until it comes out.

Non-Ancillary Mercy reading:

Finished reading the atevi soap opera. No, that's not fair. The atevi machimi. (For those who haven't read it: CJ Cherryh's Foreigner. Atevi are the aliens, machimi is their historical revenge drama TV series.) Will read the rest of them, eventually, while grumbling at myself for starting a 16-book series with my TBR pile/list in the state it's in.

Things that did not happen that I expected/hoped to have happen:
a) it turns out Barb betrayed Bren to the atevi bad guys, because she's tired of only existing to him as a booty call.
b) Bren, or anyone, recollects that human anthropologists and neurologists and zoologists have been wrong before about determining what emotions or cognition a given group of animals or people are capable of having, based on their anatomy and physiology. Like, a lot.
c) Bren's computer is simply too wet and battered to use.

Realised just last week why I keep thinking that the island of Mospheira has something to do with flies. My brain is merging the Spanish word "mosca" with the Australian fly spray Mortein.

Returned Fluent in 3 Months and Carpenteria to the library unfinished. I may or may not try again later, but they were overdue and now is not the time.

Picked Margery Kempe up again. Crying to follow.

Started S. Bear Bergman's Butch is a Noun. Found the first piece, about what butch is and is not, very uncomfortable reading. It was meant to be: it's about the ways we identity-police each other. But I felt more out than in, was reminded more and more that most people looking at me at the supermarket aren't going to see a genderqueer butch, they're going to see a frumpy woman who's not trying hard enough and must have some self-esteem issues to have let herself go like that. :(

Picked up Les Mis again. HAVE FINALLY FINISHED FANTINE, THANK YOU $DEITY. And now for a lengthy infodump about Waterloo. (I actually like that sort of thing, when my brain's working well enough for it. I am the kind of sicko who read Moby Dick and enjoyed the infodumps.) (n.b. not holding my breath or counting my chickens yet, but the new medication may be starting to work: my brain was working well enough for Les Mis this week.)

Read 'The Nalendar' by Ann Leckie while I was waiting for more Ancillary Mercy. Spent probably more time than I should have trying to work out how to pronounce the protagonist's name. Liked the story anyway. :D


A non-zero number of Foreigner fics. As many as looked like they wouldn't spoiler me for the later books. I misjudged that, but it's okay. n.b. Yes, there is Foreigner fic. Some. Also Chanur and Cyteen. I may investigate the Cyteen stuff later.

Also some Last Herald-Mage fics. There's something very pleasantly nostalgic about reading fanfic written in a good imitation of Mercedes Lackey's style.


Succumbed to peer pressure and started Mass Effect. So far have only played as far as almost to the end of the first mission. Is there a way to pause this thing during cutscenes? For disability related reasons, I would like to be able to bail whenever I need to, no matter what is happening onscreen. On one occasion I was about to approach this guy and I knew there'd be a cutscene so I got up to go pee before starting the dialogue, and just as I reached the door, the fucking dialogue started without me clicking anything. Rude.

Also why is the "get out your weapon" button right next to the "go forward" button? Yeah, I know that is a completely standard layout for modern computer games, but my video game ability peaked with NES Classic sidescrollers. I shot the console next to one of the guys I had to talk to. Thankfully, the game didn't acknowledge this in any way.

I'm playing Jane Shepard, born in space, joined the military as an adept, woobie backstory. I'm playing her as mostly neutral with a bit of angry. She is brown and scarred and has a very male gazey body that unfortunately I couldn't modify to be any less so.

I would like it if Ashley didn't snap at me every time I accidentally pressed E instead of W and engaged her in conversation during a firefight when all I meant to do was walk forward.

It'll get better when I get better at third-person shooters. This will come in time, probably.


First tulip bloomed. Second tulip budded.

visual evidence )
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
an electronic billboard, blue background, words say 'this ad wants to know you're ok

And I see it a lot, since there's one at my local supermarket.

It is everything I hate worst about the "RU OK?" campaign.

It doesn't want to know if I'm not okay. It doesn't want to listen to my answer at all. It wouldn't know what to do with the truth. It doesn't, can't, engage with the complicated facts of access to mental health care in this country (this Robot Hugs comic, 'Access', does a good job of outlining why it's not okay to tell someone to "just go see a therapist already") and is certainly not doing anything to make that any better.

It doesn't want to uplift the voices of people with mental illnesses, just to encourage uninformed strangers and acquaintances to try to drag confidences out of them in the name of "being a part of the health system" (the broken one I mentioned before, and our government is trying to break it further.)

It expects gratitude and credit for asking the question, even if it didn't help at all by asking, even if it wasn't wanted. (The smaller print on this billboard says "Outdoor advertising supports great causes like Beyond Blue & RU OK? Day." In other words, they donated advertising space to remind people of the campaign's existence, what more do you want?)

It (the campaign, not the billboard) tells non-mentally-ill people "inspiring" stories, primes them to believe that they are Making a Difference and that their poor, benighted friends will thank them for asking, or that if they don't, that's a problem with the friend, not with their approach. It took money from a company that is actively working to make people less okay.

Above all, it doesn't want to ask mentally ill people what sort of help and support we need and want, and listen to the answer.

It's "raising awareness" in the emptiest, most superficially feelgood way possible, and I want to smash it with a hammer while singing My Chemical Romance's 'I'm Not Okay'.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
For the past three weeks.


Started listening to Alexis Wright's Carpenteria on audiobook in the car. It started out lyrical, and got upsetting very quickly. Unsurprisingly so.

Still reading CJ Cherryh's Foreigner. The main character first appears on page 66. AFAIK none of the characters mentioned up until that page appear ever again. It got good fast once the protagonist actually appeared, though.

And then I looked at Cherryh's wikipedia page and found that it's the first of an unfinished series of which 16 books are already in print (the most recent one three months ago.) Why did I not check this before embarking? IDEK. I was stupid. And reckless. (I've read two other Cherryh novels before this: Cyteen, which I liked a lot, and The Pride of Chanur, which I didn't click with.)

I am having trouble with Malguri, in that it keeps making me think of Malgudi. Wrong genre!

Ilisidi is awesometerrifying. She has a murder pony named Babs. The murder pony is a macheita, which is a large, alien quadruped with sharp tusks. Babs is short for Babsidi, which means Lethal. Not that I don't like Bren, but I would prefer this book to be all about the adventures and political disappointments of Ilsidi and Babs the murder pony.


Reread Bas's R2D2/C3PO series droids need love too. Had forgotten it was written 15 YEARS AGO. I remember her posting it, and then arguing with LJV about whether "socket for hire" was about blowjobs or not.

TV and Movies

Watched Steven Universe episodes 1 and 2. Okay, yeah. I like this. Amethyst is my fave so far, but Garnet and Pearl and Steven are so great too that I could see myself changing faves from episode to episode. Purely by chance, I watched these cartoons on a Saturday morning.

Watched the first three episodes of Community. Yeah, I know, the very latest. I was a little disappointed, in that I fully expected the film theory teacher to die unexpectedly.

Obvs Abed is my favourite, but Troy and Annie and Shirley are great too. And Pierce is a pretty good example of his type. I think this show could be greatly improved by the immediate, permanent removal of Jeff and Britta.

Abed's father made me cry, in a good way. He got how Abed communicates. And how film helps with that. And how it's not "Abed has trouble communicating", it's that "other people find Abed hard to understand." He got it. He got there.


Played through Long Live The Queen again. I lost the naval battle and swam back to shore, my father won a magical duel but nearly died in the process, and my musician-spy informed me that my aunt had been trying to assassinate me, so I executed her whole family.

Started another playthrough of Hatoful Boyfriend. I'm romancing Yuuya this time around, and trying my best (without cheating... yet) to figure out what's going on with the infirmary.


Made a card and a little notebook for my father's birthday.


DAFFODILS. Two of them.
photographic evidence of daffodils )


Went on a KMart shopping spree. Bought totally adult things like a USB car charger and a spare lightning cable in case I'm out of phone battery and need to call for help and my car battery still works but I can't drive. And a pack of blank cards and envelopes, because I am more likely to do the hand-making card shit if I don't try to find cardboard to salvage from Coke cartons or whatever when it's someone's birthday. So that's pretty adult. And... another dinosaur cushion (I had one already) and a ROBOT CUSHION. Okay, it's a statement piece. Like those sharks everyone's buying. ...And weird sand.

Okay, the weird sand was the main purpose of my visit. And it is AWESOME. Not least because it smells like the inside of an Ikea. I guess that is what polydimethylsiloxane smells like. I like that smell, and now I can have it without the stress of an Ikea visit. It feels like fine-grained sand if you stick your fingers in it, but if you pick it up and rub it between your fingers, it abruptly feels like not-sand. More like brown sugar after the moths got to it. But if you pick up a bigger bit of it and let it fall, it falls exactly like sand, only in slow motion. When you just let it lie there, it settles down into a texture like hard-packed (without moths) brown sugar. I bought the green colour, which is lighter than the box, somewhere between grass and lichen. The other options in stock were pink, purple, blue, and some metallic ones that were cool-looking but the same price for less sand.
vass: Hothead Paisan says "FEH MUH NIST". (Hothead)
Could someone please hook me up with a link to a decent 101-level explanation of women-only/minority-only spaces? I'd like to try my father on it.

On the weekend he told me that he didn't see any difference between a club whose membership is restricted to men, and a club whose membership is restricted to women. And the same about clubs that exclude white people. (I didn't get into LGBT spaces, that part of the conversation ended before then. It concluded with his saying "I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree, then," and my saying "No, you're wrong.")

Oddly he did think it was okay to have a club only for Jews or only for Muslims. Religion is different?

My mother (who wasn't there for the conversation) thinks he was just winding me up, but I'd like to assume good faith, and it didn't sound like a wind-up to me.

(Please don't just post an explanation here. I am not linking my father to my online journal, and I don't want to explain it to him again myself, I want to direct him to a written authority that is not his offspring.)
vass: wonder girl facepalming (Facepalm)
In the page on their free range section:

"We believe animals should be ethically raised and tendered with care."

Oh, I bet you do.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
"How To Update Flashplugin For Firefox 64bit 3.6 Help Videos"


(No, the videos were not in HTML5, why would they be in HTML5?)

(You know that app for generating zero-day exploits, which also lets you view cat videos? The latest non-Chrome Linux patch finally arrived, two days after everyone else's patches did. But the update script isn't working properly -- it identifies that there's a more recent version upstream, then ignores it and sticks to the version already installed. I think it's a pinning problem, from the kludge I use to have Firefox-not-Iceweasel on my Debian install. And yeah, I can just download the tarball and install the update manually -- I just did that -- but I'd like to solve the real problem too.)
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Finished In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. It was powerful and important, and I dislike the author's personality but like much of what he has to say.

Started Fluent in 3 Months by Benny Lewis, the self-described "charming Irish polyglot". I think he's probably sound on language learning methods, but I'd skip the introduction and first chapter if you don't like motivational speeches of the "reasons are excuses! if I/she/they can do this, SO CAN YOU! get out of your comfort zone!" bullshit variety.

Comics and Manga

Finished Fullmetal Alchemist vol 8. IT GOT BETTER. I've put a reserve on my library's copies of volumes 9 to 11.


I discovered that there was Kittens Game fanfic. (Read the comments. They are a work of art, if "being insulting to zebras" is an artistic medium. YOU STRIPEY FUCKBAG.)

This one has disturbingly graphic unicorn sacrifices, but I love what they made of the setting and characters.

This one threw me out of the story when Molly put her paws behind her back. I hadn't realised they were anthropomorphic kittens until that point.

TV and Movies

Watched an episode of Sesamstrasse. Grover geht ins Bett, aber er hat Angst deswegen es ist dunkel und finster. Seine Mutter gibt ihn ein Nachtküss, dann hat er kein mehr Angst. And some other stuff happened, but I only cared about Grover. Oh, and there was a song about a fisher who kept fishing junk out of the river, and uses most of it to build a house, and sells the rest to buy a fish for dinner, that was cute.


Ticked off a few more Choice of the Deathless achievements. I haven't mentioned before how much I like one small detail about this game: when you're romancing a character, the option "try to kiss her" or "try to kiss him" always leads to a dialogue in which you ask the character if you can kiss them. You can't just grab them and plant one on them. And then you and that character kiss each other. It is explicitly described as being mutual, not something you are doing to them. I really appreciate that.

Still playing Capitalist Dystopian Kittens. They've been around a little over 400 years now. I can't help noticing that their leader, Molly Fur, is listed as 45 years old. I appointed her leader... I don't remember the date, but it was definitely in the first century. Undead Kitten Kings?

As of this week, the kittens have managed to achieve a housing crisis whereby poor and middle-class kittens are priced out of the housing market and the developers can only build mansions. This is too realistic. DDDDDDDDDDDDDD:

Still playing Two Dots. I've reached the area where there are green eyes everywhere on the map, and funnels everywhere on the playing board. I cannot get the tune out of my head.


vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

October 2015



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