vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
I finished reading it on Tuesday, and have more thoughts that can be contained on one post, and they're all getting in each other's way so I can't decide what to write first.

In the meantime, I started assembling a reaction gif post, which has turned into an illustrated chapter by chapter recap. /o\ This is going to take forever.

a brief, only mildly spoilery example )
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
vass ~$ su
vass # apt-get update
vass # apt-get upgrade --what-the-hell-is-up-with-bash
vass # apt-get upgrade -f --no-seriously-it-is-trying-to-upgrade-to-4.3-9.2
vass # apt-get check --but-the-current-stable-package-is-4.2+dfsg-0.1+deb7u3
vass # apt-get update --so-where-is-it-getting-4.3-9.2-from

vass # vim /etc/apt/sources.list

# wheezy is not trying to break your system
# please do not give wheezy a sock
deb wheezy main contrib non-free
deb-src wheezy main contrib non-free

vass # apt-get dist-upgrade --wait-is-this-the-problem
vass # cat /etc/debian_version

vass # asdfkjsad;lfjk

vass # shutdown -r now
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
When you reflect on how your country's unofficial national anthem is about someone so terrified of being arrested that they killed themselves to escape.

And he was being arrested for theft. And the police were enforcing the property claim of someone who had himself no legal title to the land he grew rich on.

And the general national sentiment is that this is a song about a loveable larrikin and the experience of waiting for a cuppa... rather than about police brutality and injustice. Straya!

Meanwhile, Ms Dhu's family would like to know why she died aged 22 in prison over a fucking parking ticket on her own traditional land. She wasn't the first and won't be the last. Here's the petition link.
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
Thank you so much for offering one of my fandoms! Clearly you have excellent taste. :D

I asked for:

1. Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie. Breq, Seivarden.
2. A Stranger in Olondria - Sofia Samatar. Jissavet, Jevick.
3. The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling. Sukhvinder Jawanda.

optional details which are optional )

Thank you again for offering to write for one of my fandoms. I hope you have fun and that the bears don't get you.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Started Ancillary Sword. I'm a little bit overinvested in the story I want to read, which is almost certainly not the story Ann Leckie wants to tell and has already written. I almost want to push "pause" and wait until Yuletide and hope I get the story I want then, and get it out of my system, and then read Ancillary Sword. But Yuletide is December 25th, and by then everybody who cares will have read Ancillary Sword alraedy, including my writer (if I get matched with someone on this fandom.) So if I want it, I should just write the fanfic myself and then dive in and enjoy the book I'm reading, not the ridiculous, over-the-top curtainfic I have in mind.[*]

I'm 12 pages into the actual book. Breq is acting more and more like a ship. Which, eee! Breq is also watching Seivarden sleep, which is totally normal behaviour for a ship, but is also food for the strange parasite inside me which fans call "an OTP".

[*] Reasons I do not want to do that right now: my goal is to finish last year's NaNo before this year's NaNo starts. And I've already started the worldbuilding for a ridiculous POI Root/Shaw soulbonding story I don't have time to write. (It has soulbonding with the possibility of withholding consent built in. And with the Dan Savage style "you take a .8 or a .9 and round the sucker up" approach to whether there is a "The One" for any person. And complicated and probably unworkable economic and ecological implications I haven't figured out yet!)

TV and Movies

Watched POI 3.05, 'Razgovor'.

"To be honest, I'm really in it for the dog."
Right there, then? That was when Shaw blew her cover bigtime. She is capable of attachment. Gen is right - Shaw's conscience is blunted, but not missing. I need to unpack this in light of [personal profile] recessional's post about this trope: I am not saying that Shaw is a moral person, or that loving Bear compensates for her not loving or empathising with people. I'm saying that Shaw is a person whose conscience and ability to attach and empathise are very damaged, but not non-existent... and who uses her supposed total lack of empathy as an excuse for not doing the painful, horrible emotional work of building and repairing those things. Her ability to care about Bear shows that she could care for people too, and is choosing not to, and that is on her. She does not get to say "it's not my fault, I don't have a conscience, I have a personality disorder."

Like Gen says, the volume is turned down on Shaw's emotions. Way, way down. And if she believes she doesn't have them at all, then she doesn't have to listen.

Gen is awesome.

Shout-out to Joss Carter, who is also awesome in this episode. I did not see that thing with the gun coming, and I should have, and it was beautiful.


More knitting. Blanket is now 6x6 squares. I meant to post a picture of Beatrice modelling it, but she's busy looking out the window where there might be a possum, and I don't want to disturb her.


Started reading Now You Have Dunnett, a chapter by chapter reading of the Lymond chronicles. Thanks [personal profile] wychwood for the rec.

Continuing to read Robert Liguori's Valdemar recaps. He's gotten up to That Scene with Vanyel and Tylendel and the storm and the ice dream. Some interesting speculation from other people in the thread, that Vanyel's Foresight Gift came active before all the other ones did. That it was latent when Savil screened him for Gifts years before, but came active since. I find this persuasive. It's also possible that this isn't Foresight, it's a dream given to Vanyel by the Gods or something. But on balance, I think Foresight's probably the likeliest bet. Since he did have that Gift in latent form before, and has it later on in active form.

[I notice, btw that Our Host is not always good at telling the difference between emotional shock, simile, and actual magic. Vanyel's body temperature did not LITERALLY drop to below ambient. When Tylendel says "you're like ice," he did not mean "you are supernaturally chilling your body to freezing point using those Gifts your aunt thought you didn't have." He meant "you're pale and shocky and cold and shaking," which is not an unsurprising result of going to bed half-naked and without a blanket on a hot, sticky night just as a thunderstorm was beginning, and then waking up a few hours later after a pressure drop during which the whole house cooled down rapidly while you were having a really viciously horrible nightmare.]

Also: wow, I love the ice dream in that iteration, and that whole scene in general. As full of adolescent angst as anyone could want, plus it sets up great resonances for later events. At least three different events that I could see (one from Magic's Pawn, two from Magic's Price.)

I wrote the last three paragraphs earlier on, and there have been more updates since. irritations )
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Because I haven't done that in a while.

cut )
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Finished Crucible of Gold. "Copyright 2012 by Temeraire LLC." Is it a common thing for authors to form a limited liability company which owns their copyright? I don't think I've ever seen that before. I guess it's for tax purposes.

It wasn't the best Temeraire book, by a long shot (my favourite is the first.) Kind of scattered. She seemed to be exploring a theme of possessiveness as a dangerous force, but I'm not sure where she was going with it. The other main theme was Let's Torment Grantly. If you like Grantly and like watching Grantly suffer, then this is your book, and your name is Iskierka.

I have Blood of Tyrants out from the library, but I'll probably take a break from Temeraire and read something else now. Margery Kempe is crying loudly in a corner looking a bit neglected, for instance. And I haven't started Long Hidden yet. My copy of Randall Munroe's What If? arrived today, and my preordered copy of Ancillary Sword was dispatched on Tuesday, which means I'll probably get it in a fortnight.

Memory, by [ profile] emilyenrose. Avengers, Steve/Bucky. Ouch, ouch, OUCH. Highly recommended. But OUCH.

The Essential Atlantis Reading List, by [ profile] ArwenLune. SGA/Gen Kill fusion, gen: fake book covers with blurbs. Won't make a lot of sense if you haven't read at least the first few chapters of her long, awesome Rock Happy. Which is awesome.

Then I went on a Temeraire fic-reading spree.

Companion to a Dragon, by [ profile] Willidan. Temeraire/Sherlock fusion, gen: "Dr. John Watson, lately of Her Majesty's Dragon Corps, invalided out after he was injured when the dragon he was serving with was killed in Afghanistan... He'll do, I suppose."

Unquenchable Fire, by [ profile] rthstewart. Temeraire/Narnia fusion, gen: Eustace and Lucy apply to join the Aerial Corps.

Like Philosophy, like Art, by [ profile] lorata. Temeraire, Granby/Laurence, Granby/Little, Little/Chenery, important spoilers for Crucible of Gold. Loldorable even though I don't really buy Granby/Laurence. I like Little's character here a lot.

TV and Movies

Watched '40 - Love', one of the Cornetto Cupidity Love Stories, this one about a romance between a tennis umpire and the tennis player who knocks her out. Very sweet. Am not sure if Cornetto, when they funded this series of short films, were aware of what "cupidity" actually means. It's not a portmanteau of Cupid and stupidity.

Watched POI 4.02, 'Nautilus'. May have squeed aloud multiple times. Oh Finch. Oh Reese. Oh Shaw. Oh Root. So much fanservice for my two main ships for this fandom, and my OT3.

Root is being strangely gentle with Finch. Almost sympathetic. When the guy in the boot spoke up, I was like "Oh good, she hasn't gone soft." Harold, conversely, is more mystical about the Machine than he used to be, although he still determinedly calls it "it", not "her" like Root does.

NEW BATCAVE! And even more steampunk than an abandoned library. ("Antiques." "Like us, Harold?" Awww.)

My reaction to the ending, btw, was basically "...and by 'work' you mean 'threesome', y/y?"


Endless games of Mahjong solitaire. I'm getting better at it. And it's the sort of game that's fun, not frustrating, even when you lose more than half the time.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
8 Bit Music
This Is Halloween, 8 bit setting

No Award's life lessons from Australian music of the 90s. And to my utter delight, they tracked down YouTube vids of Girlfriend, my all-time favourite band when I was eleven. They were the Spice Girls before the Spice Girls (only infinitely less edgy. Their "hard rock" song, 'Bad Attitude', went "You know you got a, a bad attitude. I wanna love you but you're too wild anymore. Raw, like a diamond in the rough. I wanna love you, but you're too tough." Makes Britney Spears look like Lydia Lunch.) And here's the depressing story behind the music.

Sumer School
The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. Includes, among other things, the Temple Hymns of Enheduanna,
one of the earliest women whose name is known to history.

Peggy Seeger's 'I'm Gonna Be An Engineer' with animation by Ken Wong (hattip: [personal profile] tim)

The 3 Types of Australian Accents (I basically agree with this post, with the caveat that those aren't the only three, just the three largest (specifically Anglo-Australian) groups, and like he said, there are gender variations too. I code-switch between General and Cultivated depending on who I'm talking to. My mother speaks General and my father speaks Cultivated.)

(article from July this year) These six charts show the state of discrimination towards indigenous Australians. "One in five young Australians would move if a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent sat next to them, a survey has found." And it goes on from there. >>>>>>>:(

Disaster Relief
Why gender disaster data matters. Data on the 2004 tsunami found that women were more affected than men.

Marvel Wikia's Multiverse Listing: an incomplete but looong list of all the known Marvel multiverses.

Veterinary Medicine
2014 X-Ray Contest Winners: "They Ate WHAT? (animal harm, but they all recovered) My fave is the golden retriever with a taste for duck.

Animals in Academia
Noted physicist F.D.C. Willard. Also here: "Occasionally one sees references to "FDC Willard, private communication." And sometimes in acknowledgements he is thanked for "helpful discussions.""
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Finished Rudy Simone's Asperger's on the Job. "The practice of personality testing [in a job application context] is discrimination as blatant as a "whites only" drinking fountain." Really? You really want to make that comparison?

Struggling with Naomi Novik's Crucible of Gold. I'm 2/3 through and losing interest. Here's one petty thing that's been grating at me since I noticed it: Gong Su. Does not appear to have a personality at all, and really should given that he's appeared in every book so far except the first. What's his motivation? What are his likes and dislikes? Does he have relationships with other characters? Does he even talk to anyone, ever, except when asked a direct question about food or herbs?

I feel the same about the sailors in this book, who basically only exist to be obstacles and/or currency counters for Temeraire, but even they get more characterisation than Gong Su. Even when they only exist to show up, mutiny, then desert.

TV and Movies

Watched POI 2x22, 'God Mode'. That was worth the wait. Some of Harold's best and worst moments. I like Nathan better now. Shaw: "When I see her again, I'm going to..." (I jump in and offer suggestions out loud to the TV) "...shoot her." Me: "You're no fun." And Root's anointment. &her;

When I first heard the synopsis of this episode, that Reese and Root both have admin powers, I was picturing something more like those children's stories where two kids who aren't getting along get tied together by one arm and leg each so they have to cooperate. Which would have been hilarious, but I'm certainly not complaining about what I got instead.

Watched Sleepy Hollow 1x03, 'For the Triumph of Evil'. Aw, Jenny. ;_; And poor Abbie too. On a different note, lolol at Abbie's expression after letting Ichabod try the energy drink. Like everyone else who likes this show, I could watch a whole season of Abbie trolling Ichabod by introducing him to the future. Is there a supercut of those moments, by any chance?

Also that moment with "the charwoman..." "she's called a receptionist. Or Wendy." Yes, yes she is. And I'm curious about Wendy's opinion of Mr Crane.

Watched POI 4x01, 'Panopticon'. The day after that, over dinner with [personal profile] fasangel, talked about new security laws in Australia, and watched the John Oliver segment on drones. Sometimes POI is positively cozy in comparison with real life.

Watched Sleepy Hollow 1x04, 'The Lesser Key of Solomon'. Aw, Jenny and Abbie. ♥


Spent an evening playing Gone Home from start to finish (it's about 3 hours long.) If you liked Alison Bechdel's Fun Home you might like this, in that it's literary and elegiac, and about difficult families and their painful secrets, and has queer women. Also if you like the '90s and Riot Grrl bands and smart teenage girls writing stories about pirate women. Does not require strong video game skills - you need to be able to move your character around a 3D environment using the arrow keys and change her viewpoint using the mouse, and there are a few very mild puzzles, and that's it. Much more like a novel than a conventional game. Completely absorbing.

Does require a computer (Windows or Mac or Linux) capable of handling the graphics. I used my laptop (running Debian, 2.4GHz processor, 4GB RAM, onboard graphics) and the whole computer crashed once, the fans got a workout, and a lot of times the music and graphics had to stop and let the swap partition catch up, but I knew that was probably what I was getting into by using the laptop not the desktop. So, probably less stressful on a computer that has a graphics card. Or has more processor and memory than that.

Played Depression Quest, and mostly cheated by taking the least depressive option available. D: I just couldn't face the worst case scenarios. Yeah, that was a bad choice of game right now.

Still playing Mahjong solitaire. I love when it comes right down to the wire, and there are two tiles left hidden, and you won't know until those last few moves whether you win or not.

Played Circle of Fifths 2048, which may be one of the most soothing games ever.



Wikipedia-trawling: learned, somewhat to my disappointment, that Pantisocracy has nothing to do with Socrates in panties, and was just another failed commune (this one involving Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey.)
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
For the past two weeks.


Read Benjanun Sriduangkaew's 'Courtship in the Country of Machine–Gods'. Holy fuck. (That's an approving holy fuck, for the record.)

Finished listening to Dick Francis' Twice Shy. William/Cassie/Bananas make an adorable threesome. Seriously adorable. I am... 75%? sure that they weren't intended to be read as a threesome, but they totally were. I liked Bananas quite a lot: unapologetically a fat guy who eats a lot, unapologetically depressive, loyal and hard-working, has more of a moral compass than William but not enough not to be friends with him. But I did hate the subplot about his employee who was Working to Rule. I liked Cassie too, and wish she'd gotten to do more. I didn't see why Cassie couldn't be the one to take over the betting system, since she was the most into it, of the three of them.

Reading Naomi Novik's Crucible of Gold.

Reading Asperger's on the Job by Rudy Simone. A mixture of things I identify with and agree with strongly, and things that make me yell and want to throw the book (which I can't because it's an inter-library loan.) more )


Read Dira's The Saga of Bucky's Duck and immediately responded with late-night inept fanart of Bucky as a duck.

TV and Movies

Watched POI 2.21 (Zero Day). This is not a good time for a subplot about a black woman police officer being framed for killing an unarmed white man. I'm not sure when would be a good time for that plot, but not just now. (Granted, it'd be worse if he had really been unarmed.)

Apart from that, I loved this episode. w00t being awesome! Shaw being badass! Harold being terrible! (And he actually made the Harold Ostrich joke!) Grace being... there. (I like Grace, but she didn't have a lot to work with this episode.) John being... very underused, as was Carter, but there was a lot going on in this episode. Nathan being less unlikeable than he was last time I saw him! The Machine being ♥ ♥ ♥.

The new season has just started, and there is no way I can catch up on all the canon I haven't watched yet by then. But I've spoilered myself comprehensively enough that I think I can safely just start watching the new season and keep watching the old canon piecemeal.


Playing Mahjong solitaire a lot, as a break from Shisen-Sho. Mahjong solitaire is a lot harder than Shisen-Sho. A lot. That's if I use the default tile layout. If I pick one of the others it can be either harder still, or ridiculously easy.

Gotta love that special moment when you're down to just two tiles, one on top of the other.


More blanket knitting, while watching POI.


Made Anzac slice, based on [personal profile] st_aurafina's recommendation over a year ago. Didn't have the right shaped tin, so I spread it 3cm deep in a square tin, and then made the rest into Anzac biscuits. Unfortunately didn't take them out of the oven earlier than the slice, so the biscuits are if not actually burned, still browner than I like Anzacs (I like mine undercooked and bendy.) The slice itself turned out good, and I like the texture, but it didn't taste quite right. Not too sweet, or too dry, but a little bit bland. Needs something. Maybe a little bit of salt. Or even some sultanas or chocolate or something, since it's not actually Anzac biscuits, so it's not OMG BLASPHEMY.

(It's an Australian and New Zealander thing. We have very strong moral opinions on what can and can't go into an Anzac biscuit. And about calling them biscuits. Opinions amounting to "Chocolate chips? Anzac COOKIES? Did our grandparents fight in vain that you would dishonour their name by doing this to the food that bears it?" and so on. Even in people who aren't normally at all nationalistic, and are opposed to war.)


More Robert Liguori vs Valdemar. spoilers )
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
If you were my Windows 7 install disk, and I'd had you lying around in the living room for months, and then had finished installing you (OR SO I THOUGHT) and then put you in a safe place, tidied up the spare room for the foster cat, tidied up the living room and put the desktop there back together, and then I needed you again, where would you be?

ETA: found it. In a small cardboard box full of detritus from the last hardware build, along with the two HDDs I didn't put back in yet after I installed the two SSDs, and forgot I still had. I guess I'll open the case up and put them back in... after I've installed everything and gotten all the antivirus/antimalware/security patches very up to date. Maybe I'll wipe them too. I guess I could pop them back in now and wipe them during the partitioning process. I'm so tired. I wonder if they take SATA cables or if their IDE cables are in the box too.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
My desktop's Debian install now has a user account and a root account, both with passwords that I know.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten the graphics card drivers to work.

Equally unfortunately, Windows will no longer boot. It's still on there, but sometime around either the partitioning process or the Grub install, I must have done something wrong, and yeah. (Normally it's safest to install Windows first, then Linux, as Windows certainly won't respect the other OS already on the computer, but Linux usually will. This is why 5am is not an optimal time for fun and games with the master boot record.)

At some point after I catch my breath I will gather my install disks and start over. (But not right now, I have to go to dinner with some friends.)

This, right here, is why I didn't bother to get properly moved into Windows before getting Debian working. I didn't download all the usual apps or change the desktop background to something nice. I knew that there was a good chance I'd have to wipe it all again very soon.

[Note to self: put Win7 on sdb and Debian on sda, and maybe if I write right here what partition everything's on, I will remember and be sure about it. sdb is the larger of the two ssds, the SanDisk one.]

I think I'll go see what I can find that contains both chocolate and caramel.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Yesterday evening I started reinstalling Debian on my desktop, so I can put the case back together and move it somewhere that's not on the floor of my living room. (Laptop has Debian already. Desktop recently went through a hardware upgrade, then a clean reinstall of Win7, then a new optical drive, and then it was time to set up the Debian/Win7 dual-boot.)

There were sharks, including:

- things taking so long to load that not only did the screen go to sleep, but I only didn't turn the computer off because I gave up and went off to do other things and came back to discover it'd loaded after all.

- loading the non-free network firmware onto a usb stick so I could copy it onto the desktop during the install (normal but irritating)

- the part where the Debian installer told me it couldn't find the CD drive. The Debian installer I'd loaded from the CD drive.

- an extended period in recovery mode

- some time hanging out in the emulated terminal within recovery mode

- at the end of it all, when Debian successfully installed, I restarted, took the CD out, and got a login/password prompt... and realised I'd never been asked to create a user account or enter a password.

I distinctly remember entering a network name and computer name, but not a user account and not a password. I would have remembered that, I'm kind of determined about passwords.

So either the install script managed to create a new Debian install with no user account or password (but still password protected - simply pressing enter didn't work)... or I should be asking Beatrice what my new username and password are.

I'm going to bed. Tomorrow I'll try user/live, root/root, admin/admin and so on, or boot into recovery mode and run passwd. But now is sleep time.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Reading Naomi Novik's Crucible of Gold. Back onto the Temeraire, well, not-horse, after a few years off. I am up to chapter five, and Laurence and Temeraire are... well, I don't think it's a spoiler to say that they're not enjoying a peaceful agrarian existence in New South Wales.

Listening to Dick Francis' Twice Shy. The second half is about Jonathan Derry's younger brother William, whom I like a lot less than Jonathan. Not least because the first time we see him he's lying in bed with his girlfriend, trying to convince her that "no" doesn't mean no. When William and Jonathan are on the phone, the narrator's attempts at an American accent for Jonathan are... well, don't give up your UK citizenship quite yet, narrator.

TV and Movies

Watched POI 2.16, 'Relevance'. SHAW! I watched a Jackson Galaxy short about cat behaviour right before this episode, and Shaw reminds me of a cat: primarily interested in hunting, killing, eating, then sleeping. Except that my cat has better social skills.


Kind of sort of playing through Secret of Mana again. Shut up.


Still listening to the backlog of Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men episodes.

Miles on a confrontation between Man-Thing and D'Spayre: "Listeners, I just want to say, if you ever experience a burning sensation in your Giant Size Man-Thing, you should see a physician immediately."

This was only one of several puerile jokes Rachel and Miles made about Man-Thing. And that is why I love this podcast.

BTW, did D'Spayre ever get tired of being a Marvel supervillain and go join the Black Dagger Brotherhood? He'd fit right in with Zsadist and Phury et al.


Back to reading Robert Liguori's Mercedes Lackey recaps on He's up to The Last Herald-Mage by now, but I'm still reading his take on Vows and Honor. Liguori's reaction to the part where Kethry summons Warrl was so delightful. I loled a lot. (And then there were pages and pages of people arguing about Liguori's interpretation of the book, whether Mercedes Lackey is wonderful, horrible, or in between, etc. Which was a lot less fun.)

A brief summary of why I love these recaps:
spoilers )

I got through 60-something pages of Oathbound recap in a week, and am now reading the recap of Oathbreakers.
vass: XKCD comic: Elaine Roberts plays drums, caption she even for a time took up drumming." (Riot Prrl 2)
"Your iCloud storage is almost full. You are currently using 4.9 GB of 5 GB total storage."

Well gee, Apple, I don't know what to tell you. I wasn't the one who put U2's latest album in my music collection and wouldn't let me delete it.
vass: Dykes To Watch Out For: Janis, pre-transition, singing Britney Spears (happysingingjanis)
Fibre Arts and Anthopology
Tell me a bit about Andean spinning

Consumer Medicine
DIY Diagnosis: How An Extreme Athlete Uncovered Her Genetic Flaw

I Love The Internet
The Voynich Manuscript: if you had been thinking to yourself "I wish I had a PDF of an early 15th-century illustrated codex hand-written in an unknown writing system, so I could stare uncomprehendingly at it on my ereader..." then here you go. I'm glad it's not just me.

Curated Stuff
Public Domain Review: for your rude 19th-century rhymes and airship songs and hallucinatory WW2 propaganda films about hands needs.

Cooking with Villainy: Doom's cooking blog

Unfunny Coz It's True Department
50 Shades of Grey or Contemporary Christian Music Lyrics: A Quiz. I guessed a lot of the Christian rock multiple choice options right simply by picking the options that sounded like the speaker was doing BDSM and enjoying it.

xkcd on thesis defense

The Last True Hermit

Puzzle Trouble: Women and Crosswords in the Age of Autofill, an article about how the gender gap in crossword construction has gotten worse over the past 20 years. (As someone who's occasionally designed crosswords by hand, at an absolute baby level, but never took it further or connected with other puzzle makers, this makes me feel... something.)

Film Reviews
The Oogieloves and the Big Balloon Adventure
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Read Max Gladstone's Three Parts Dead. It was a lot of fun, with a very satisfying ending. The worldbuilding is particularly excellent, notably the practicalities of a world economy based on souls.

I have one complaint: the copyediting was very poor. Lots of errors a good copyeditor should have caught. Particularly homophone errors: clamoring for clambering, vocal chords for vocal cords, and staunch for stanch (to be fair, if it weren't for Eyeteeth I wouldn't know that last one either.)

Started audiobook of Dick Francis' Twice Shy. I like the voice actor a lot, and I like the physics teacher protagonist when he's teaching, and his maths teacher colleague's enthusiasm for (very old) computers. Basic! Tape storage! The protagonist's marital problems are realistically depicted - it's sad, but because the narrative is mostly fair to both parties, it's not making me nope out of the book. I could really do without the whole "infertility makes all women crazy because women are MEANT to have children, and their thwarted maternal instincts could basically lead any of them to go out and steal a baby, it's just a toss-up which one of them will actually do it" part of the plot, though. And the (mild so far) hints of ethnic stereotypes, with the criminals being Italian and therefore hot-headed and irrational and lacking restraint and generally not "our sort" - very Enid Blyton.

I picked Dick Francis up because of recs from [personal profile] shehasathree and [personal profile] rachelmanija in fairly close succession, and I'm glad I did. I can definitely see the appeal of some old-fashioned, solidly English, practical, blokey adventure stories.

Continuing to read Margery Kempe:

Margery: *cries*
Margery's pilgrimage tour group: "If you're going to cry noisily nonstop all the way through mealtimes, then you can't eat with us. It's putting us off our food."
Margery: *continues crying*
Franciscan friars: "We heard there was this pilgrim who wasn't being allowed to eat with the other pilgrims, so we're here to have dinner with you."
Margery: *continues crying*
Franciscan friars: O.o
Franciscan friars: "...Oh. You must be that crazy English lady we heard about who cries all the time."
Margery, excited: "Jesus told me he'd make all the world wonder at me, and they DID. You're from a foreign country and you knew who I am, and you made that O.o face, that means you're wondering at me! IT CAME TRUE! THANK YOU, JESUS!"

Margery: "Can I come with you guys on the River Jordan trip?"
Rest of tour group: "Um, no. You'll just cry and get Jerusalem syndrome again."
Margery: "It is NOT Jerusalem syndrome, I'm like this everywhere."
Margery: "God, can I go with these guys on the River Jordan trip?"
Margery: "So there."
Everyone in tour group, including Margery: *burns feet badly on hot sand*

Margery: "Guys, I can't climb up Mount Quarentyne, my feet are hurt too badly. A little help here?"
Rest of tour group, struggling up the mountain: "Oh, please. Our feet are all hurt too badly too."
Hot Muslim guy: *lurks around looking helpful*
Margery: "Oh, hi. Can I pay you to take me up this Christian religious site where Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights?"
Hot Muslim guy: "Why, certainly you can."
Hot Muslim guy: *is buff and strong as well as hot, helps Margery up the mountain for a reasonable fare*
Everyone: "Yay, ecumenicism!"


Life During Wartime, by [ profile] Aramley. The West Wing/The Thick of It fusion fic. I've never seen The Thick of It (hadn't actually heard of it until now) but it turns out you don't really need to for this fic. The essential concept comes through clearly: foul-mouthed, bullying, Macchiavellian spiritual descendent of Sir Humphrey Appleby, Downing Street Communications Director Malcolm Tucker, meets White House Press Secretary CJ Cregg. It would take more than him to ruffle CJ.

TV and Movies

POI 2.08, 'Til Death'. It takes a lot to be more of a relationship coward than I am, but Harold is up to the challenge. And I am not even talking about how his relationship with Grace ends.

The part where he tries to tell her who he is and what he does, and she tells him there's nothing he can tell her that will make her run away but he should tell her later when he doesn't have that look on his face, and he goes ahead and doesn't tell her? I am trying to decide if that's an intentional parallel with when Jessica tells John to tell her to wait for him, and he doesn't.

And if it is, why is it that I feel a lot more sympathetic about John's major malfunction there than I do about Harold's?

Also I am very, very not thrilled with the business with the gallery. That is creepy and awful. In fact, in general his moves are like... well, one part Gregor Vorbarra's courtship of Laisa Toscane, and four parts Hannibal Lecter's courtship of Will Graham. And being sweet and adorable and having lovely chemistry together 1/5 of the time doesn't make the other 4/5ths of the time okay. No, not even if you're definitely not going to kill and eat her.

I suppose that would be why I'm more sympathetic about John's emotional constipation.

ATLA 38 and 39, 'The Earth King' and 'The Guru'. Pleeeeease can we leave Ba Sing Se now? Why won't everyone just listen to Toph?


Utah Philips' We Have Fed You All A Thousand Years on repeat, thank you so much [personal profile] synecdochic for the earworm. 'Mr Block' and 'The Popular Wobbly' duking it out for space in my head.

"I think we've all got a hypnopterodactyl inside us, waiting to come out." - Rachel Edidin, Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men. I am really enjoying this podcast a lot.

Also listened to the latest Sawbones episode, about the birth of their own baby, who contributed to the podcast with a few "ahs" and gurgles. It was... well, Sydnee is recovering from her unplanned C-section, and their daughter got out of NICU after a week and is doing great now. But I think that last sentence probably pretty much sums up what kind of a birth story it was. Happy ending, but yikes.

Hearing-related note to self: no, they did NOT have to watch an instructional video on "infancy PR", it was "infant CPR". Their baby does not need public relations management just yet.
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
I just checked my text messages. There's one from my electricity company, a "courtesy message" telling me how much average electricity savings they estimate their customers will receive as a result of the carbon tax's untimely death.

(My plan with them is 100% renewable, and I'm a pensioner, so actually I'll be paying the same and my income will be reduced, but I'm less upset about that than I am about their shilling for the government under the cover of "courtesy".)
vass: an orange rooster crowing (Chickens)
picture )


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

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