vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Books

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

Comics and Manga

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

Fanworks

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

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

TV and Movies

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

Games

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

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

Crafts

Started colouring another mandala.

Other

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

Fic post

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

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

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

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

Meme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Books

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

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

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

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

Fanworks

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

TV and Movies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Games

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

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

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

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

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

Music

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

Podcasts

Catching up on Piano Puzzler.

Okay, but

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So.

Keri Smith's Wreck This Journal. more )

Seena B Frost's SoulCollage. more )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gravity
Tom Marshburn, astronaut, has forgotten how it works

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The rest of these are all Imperial Radch:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good worldbuilding and characterisation plus very, very funny.

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

spoilers )
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
You're just about to leave for Christmas lunch with your family, and you check your email and your Yuletide gift's arrived.

Thank you, Yuletide Author. I'll read it when I get back from attempting to impersonate a human being. I am not as good at it as Breq, and dislike it at least as much, so having something nice to look forward to will help.

#fml

Dec. 24th, 2014 04:44 am
vass: Small turtle with green leef in its mouth (Eat your greens)
Brushes the GNU Image Manipulation Project comes with by default: a green capsicum (aka bell pepper) stamp

Brushes the GNU Image Manipulation Project does not come with by default: a 1px by 1px brush.

I guess I can use a green capsicum to tick that box I forgot to tick in that paper document I already photographed and uploaded and am now cleaning up so I can upload, right?
vass: Dykes To Watch Out For: Janis, pre-transition, singing Britney Spears (happysingingjanis)
The main characters in Riot Nrrd would be due to graduate soon, if they were on schedule (which in several cases they definitely would not be.)

I miss them. Not in a way that means I think RJ was at all wrong to quit because self-care. Just that I wonder how the characters are doing. If Wren threw a tantrum over the Star Wars sequel announcement, and hates Agents of Shield but can't stop watching, if Palmer's into Homestuck and doing epic troll cosplay, if Charlie wishes he could like Ancillary Justice, but couldn't deal with the pronoun thing (because it took him so much time and pain to claim "he" and "him" for himself, and normally it wouldn't bother him, but in this particular case...), if Sam's writing for the Toast, if Maria's writing for Autostraddle, loves Dragon Age: Inquisition (and managed to get Sam into it despite her snobbery, because elves) and is absolutely torn up about Ferguson and Eric Garner, if Obamacare meant Nhi was able to get some distance from her parents because now if she leaves their insurance she won't be uninsurable because she has a preexisting condition, if Wren's dad and Brad got married (and if Brad wore his Sam Adams costume to the wedding.)
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
Duolingo: "Ich habe eine große Katze."
Me: "Is that correct, Beatrice? Ich habe eine große Katze?"
Me: *types the translation: I have a big cat.*

Me: "Kennst du daß, Beatrice? Daß ich habe eine große Katze? Du bist meine große Katze!"

Beatrice, sitting across the room with her back to me, continues ignoring me.
vass: cover of album "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" (Yuletide Hippopotamus)
Five Christmassy, five not.

West Wing OT3-Compliant Carolling
Martin Sheen, John Spencer & Stockard Channing sing Wonderful Christmastime

Christmas Fanfic
Late Delivery, by [archiveofourown.org profile] tsukinofaerii. Marvel Cinematic Universe.

More Christmas Fanfic
Let's See If You Still Believe In Me, by [archiveofourown.org profile] leupagus. Sleepy Hollow.

Yet More Christmas Fanfic
You Can't Spell Christmas Without AI, by [archiveofourown.org profile] andymcnope. Person of Interest.

Elditch Festivities
Cthulhumass Wreath: a gallery showing its contruction from start to finish (hattip: [livejournal.com profile] browngirl)

Science
How a $47 Shrimp Treadmill Became a $3-Million Political Plaything.

Ferguson
5 Ways You Can Help Ferguson, for anyone else who was flailing around trying to figure out what to do.

Strength And Gentleness
Some Things Are Impossible: How a Rural Queer Lives With Depression, resonated a lot with me even though I'm not rural, and made me think of my friends who are rural and queer and depressed.

Linguistics
What's wrong with Gawker's 'America's Ugliest Accent' tournament

Style
Stylists pioneer dyed armpit hair. Results are amazing.

Profile

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