vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
Unsteady. Imperial Radch, gen, no archive warnings apply, Seivarden, set pre-Ancillary Justice. Won't make any sense at all if you haven't read Ancillary Justice, but contains no spoilers for Ancillary Sword.

I have more Imperial Radch drabbles and double-drabbles that I'm ready to post, and some only slightly longer stuff that I'm less sure about. But I can't decide what to do with the drabbles - post them individually or in separate chapters of the same fic, tagged as a drabble collection. Thoughts?


Nov. 16th, 2014 04:55 pm
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
I am so fucking excited about my assignment, and I can't talk about why I'm excited or the cool things I'm learning while writing it.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Reading Daniel Jose Older and Rose Fox's Long Hidden. So far good stories but the layout is bugging me.


softly enclosed, by [ profile] renquise. Imperial Radch, Awn/Skaaiat. Tagged "really scandalous hand kisses", which about sums it up.

TV and Movies

Watched 'Spock's Brain' for the first time in maybe fifteen years. So, Dr McCoy, what do you think of the quality of this Star Trek episode?

Dr McCoy: I wouldn't have believed the human organism could take such pain.

In this episode, Kirk wants Spock to take off Kirk's belt before Spock can get his brain back.

Watched POI 4.06, 'Pretenders'. OMG that episode was BORING. Needs less John and more Root. Haven't seen the next episode yet, but I hear it delivers.


Finished my second replay of Secret of Mana for the year. The endgame's a lot easier if you take the time to keep bashing away at certain monsters until they cough up the really good armour.


Listened to Dufay's Missa L'Homme Armée while curled up on the couch with my eyes covered and a weighted shawl on my shoulders and a cat on my legs. Early music: reliably comforting.

Got out my descant recorder and have been playing it a fair bit. Nothing in particular, just whatever tune comes to my mind or my fingers. It's amazing the way certain pieces stick in your fingers - that Anna Magdalena Bach Minuet in G, all those Renaissance dances, music theatre standards, folk songs.

Beatrice was startled but not frightened, and ended up sitting on my lap for certain pieces.


I keep falling asleep while listening to Sawbones. This is good, in that I started listening to podcasts specifically to have words to occupy my mind while I'm trying to sleep. And it's good that so far I haven't had any nightmares I can attribute directly to listening to a podcast about ebola or cholera or whatever. But bad in that I keep missing the episodes and having to go back and listen again because I fell asleep.

Ditto Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men. Which, btw, is the only English-language podcast I listen to at 1.25x, not 1.5x. Rachel Edidin: talks fast enough for me to follow! (No, this is a thing. My auditory processing problems have to do with working memory. I'm going to drop words anyway, but the slower the words come, the more I'll lose.)


Dabbed BPAL's 'Snake Oil' on a tissue and carried it in my pocket to a few difficult places so I could sniff it when I wanted to.


Another square of knitting.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
So, this is more than a fortnight since last time. Stuff got in the way. But I need to post this now before I get further behind.


Finished Ancillary Sword. You may have noticed from the constant squeeing around here. Reread Ancillary Justice.

Have been reading and rereading poetry. In particular:
C.P. Cavafy, 'Che Fece ... Il Gran Refiuto'
M Sereno, 'The Exile, i'
[personal profile] kaberett, 'All Souls' Day'
Delmore Schwartz, 'The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me'

Comics and Manga

Read some of FMA vol 8. Am kind of losing focus. And it's very overdue at the library and I think I need to bite the bullet and just return it and pick it up again another time.


Read Satellite by [ profile] petrichoral. Gen, set during Ancillary Justice, Seivarden's point of view. Very good.

There are now seven Imperial Radch stories on AO3, and I've read and liked them all (with the reservation that I had difficulty with 'Bright Lights Over Piraeth' because the idea of someone deliberately triggering a migraine bothers me too much even if Anaander Mianaai is the victim.)

I would advise not reading the list of what you've learned to do without or Three, Four, The Corpse Soldier (both Trick or Treat, written for the same prompt) any time near bedtime, or without a light on. They're both very good, and I highly recommend them, just... upsetting. Extremely upsetting.

TV and Movies

Person of Interest 4x03 'Wingman' and 4x04 'Brotherhood'. 'Wingman' I liked okay, 'Brotherhood' bored me silly. They really are underusing and badly using John. They're doing great with the other characters, though.

Person of Interest 4x05, 'Prophets'. "The world must seem so dark to you right now." "The world is dark for everyone. But Harold, it's going to get a lot darker." Oh Root. I don't know why, but I find it comforting, validating, something, hearing a fictional character I like a lot say that. I went to the #StandUpToProtect event for refugees, and heard all these inspiring speeches about how things can be better, how they have been better in the past, about possibility. Then the same day I watched this, I checked Facebook and read all the latest horrors in the name of security and border protection. It... helps, hearing Root say the same thing in her science fiction context.

Quite apart from all that, it was an amazing episode.


Played Tampon Run. Loldorable, and surprisingly free of bodily fluids. I liked the 8-bit graphics and soundtrack. (The makers are two teenagers who met at Girls Who Code and have some good points about how guns are considered more acceptable in games and TV than tampons, even though menstruation is a lot more natural and necessary than killing people.)

Played A Game About Squares for just long enough to decide that I'd better stop that shit right now before it eats my life and my sanity. AAAAAAARGH.


Listened to the Indigo Girls' album Indigo Girls. Am I the only person who likes the Indigo Girls who does not particularly love 'Closer To Fine'? It's okay, just not one of the ones that really speaks to me. Songs in this album I liked a lot on my first listen: 'Kid Fears', 'Prince of Darkness', 'Love's Recovery', 'Land of Canaan'.

Apart from that, burrowed down in my sleeping bag and listened to Byrd's Mass For Four Voices right through. I still like the Mass For Five Voices better, but that still leaves a lot of scope for liking.

I've been playing the Brandenburgs in the car on and off.


Knitted. Bought fabric to make cushion covers for my couch and a doona cover for my weighted blanket.

Did some marbling using shaving cream (a technique I saw on a webpage.) I'm not sure if water and oil would have been that much harder to get right, but shaving cream worked very easily although unfortunately led to everything smelling of shaving cream.

Tried to etch a stencil onto a stainless steel water bottle, using a solution of white vinegar and salt and a 9V battery. So far no success. I think the wire I used for my cables wasn't conductive enough - I cut up a pair of broken earphones. I'll try again.

STEM swears

Nov. 5th, 2014 12:45 pm
vass: Warning sign of man in water with an octopus (Accidentally)
For when "Jesus H Christ" doesn't have the right specifically technical or scientific ring to it.

vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
I haven't posted one of these in a while.

(TTTO The Beatles' 'Girl')

"Is there anybody here who'll listen to my meowing
All about the cat who came to stay
I'm the kind of cat who meows because she want a feeding
Or who meows because she wants to play
Oh, meooooooow."

Beatrice remains one of the top two smartest cats I've ever known. It's a little unfortunate, from my perspective, that the new tricks she learns are things like "how to wake up human fifteen minutes before the alarm clock," or "human will definitely wake up if I stand on their face and neck."

I think the steroids are making her hungry more often. Or else my disordered sleep is making me easier to con into feeding her more often because I lose track of time and routine.

On the plus side, I've finally found a use I don't hate for the adjective 'impactful'.

Beatrice jumped heavily onto my chest when I was trying to sleep. It was impactful.
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
Yeah, this is gonna be fun.


Oct. 28th, 2014 09:47 pm
vass: My Little Pony, caption "Blossom is thinking about her novel" (NaNoWriMo)
My response to the fairly reasonable question "Quick, What’s Your NaNo Story About?"

It's going to be about 50,000 words. I hope.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Do any of you know how to do a thing with /etc/apt/sources.list?

I know how to add a source. I think I know how to specify a repository, like "download this specific package from this repository, not the other ones in my list."

What I'm not sure how to do (or if there is an obvious way) is to specify "don't use this repository, except for this one package (and its dependencies iff the other repository doesn't have them.)"

My specific use case is: I get Firefox from Mint's repository because Debian doesn't have it, because RMS. (Yes, I know about Iceweasel. I want Firefox.) (And yeah, unfair to blame RMS for everything I find at all frustrating about FLOSS. Tough.)

I would like apt (and its various wrappers) to get everything but Firefox (and its dependencies if they would otherwise be unmet) from my nearest Debian repository.

Right now what it's apparently doing is getting updates from wherever, and it's breaking stuff.

What should I do? (Apart from "use Iceweasel" or "switch to Mint.")
vass: Tosh trying to sleep, her brow furrowed (Sleep Now?)
Going to bed now.

See you all tomorrow.
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: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)

November 2014

23 4 5 678
91011121314 15
16171819 202122


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Active Entries

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Nov. 21st, 2014 04:08 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios