vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
Time to get back in the blogging saddle. Or something. So, since I last updated culture consumed:

Anita Heiss's Tiddas, as mentioned before.

Courtney Milan, The Governess Affair and The Duchess War. I liked them both, and will read more.

Lia Silver, Prisoner. This is the sequel to Laura's Wolf. I liked it, especially the hero's taste in music. I did keep wondering why DJ had never been dxed with ADHD in addition to his dyslexia. Maybe that's in the next book (which I've already bought and will probably get around to reading soon.)

And I'm rereading Ancillary Justice, to no one's surprise at all.

And I've made some more progress on Margery since last time I updated. I'm just gonna quote my own Twitter:

@vassl: Back to reading Margery Kempe. She just begged her confessor to let her kiss lepers. He says she may NOT kiss male lepers. Lady lepers ok.

@vassl: So she runs up to women with leprosy, gets down on her knees, and begs them in Jesus' name to let her kiss them on the mouth.

@vassl: Can you imagine being afflicted with both leprosy AND Dame Margery? She kisses them, cries, & splains how lucky they are to have leprosy.

@vassl: "stirred them to meekness and patience so they should not grudge about their sickness," jfc, how did this woman not get punched?

@vassl: Margery's latest wish: to be naked on a hurdle while men stare at her and pelt her with mud, for Jesus, SO LONG AS IT DOESN'T IMPERIL THEIR SOULS.

[n.b. I didn't have enough characters to articulate that "mud" is maybe not precisely what she wanted to be pelted with.]

@vassl: She follows this up with "May your wish be fulfilled, not mine," possibly aware that Jesus' imagination is way less... intense than hers.

Comics and Manga

Read the three Young Avengers tpbs from the 2013 reboot. Ridiculous in a good way. I felt like I was missing a lot, and like the creative team were really shoving the whole concept of Millennials down my throat (exhibit A: the entire page formatted like a Tumblr dash) but it was fun.


Went on a Polly/Mal (from Monstrous Regiment) kick and read nearly all of that tag in AO3. I really love the nonbinary Mal fanon.

TV and Movies

Finished the first season of Parks and Rec.


As mentioned, played CAH with friends.

Have been obsessively playing Dots.

Still sporadically playing Pokemon: LeafGreen. I got all the badges and am working on Victory Road Cave.

And tonight I did my first play-through of Hatoful Boyfriend. My character (who is a human girl aged about 15 or 16) ended up romancing her maths teacher, who is a narcoleptic button quail. I disapprove.

I'm looking forward to playing more and finding up what the sinister subtext between him and the scary patridge doctor was about.


Listened to Amy Ray's Prom (loved it, as expected), Men Make Music's Labor (too dance clubby for me, but still good,) and CN Lester's Ashes (liked, think it will grow on me with more listening.


Mainly have been listening to Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men and Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap.


Got around to setting up the sewing machine and sewing the new cushion covers I bought the fabric for late last year. I was incredibly sloppy about it and just used white thread for everything and called it a feature, because I'd been procrastinating all year and was too inertia-less to do it if I had to stop one more time.

And tried again with the glitter stencil journal thing, and this time succeeded. For a slightly Pyrrhic value of "succeeded" in that I'll never, EVER stop finding little bits of green glitter around my flat.

pics )


Repotted the lavender (which is still alive but only barely,) planted the tulip bulbs and some of the daffodil bulbs. Ran out of potting soil, will need to go get more so I can plant the rest of the daffodil bulbs and repot the catnip, which is flourishing. Parsley also seems happy enough. Basil is barely alive - it's a cold autumn.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

  • In 2008, inflation in Zimbabwe was 100,000%. A hundred thousand per cent. Or rather, that's what my accounting lecturer says. I looked it up on Wikipedia and found that the official inflation rate in July 2008 (the last date before they stopped even trying to give an official inflation rate) was 231,150,888.87%. This link is to a scan (sharpened up in Photoshop but not otherwise changed) of a real Zimbabwean $100 trillion dollar note.

  • At the Royal Festival Hall, the recorded voice that tells you to make sure your mobile phone and watch alarms are switched off and to keep coughing to a minimum, is Sir Ian McKellen.

  • Another Sir Ian McKellen story: in 1988 he was lobbying against Section 28. Michael Howard, the Environment Secretary at the time, was still in favour of Section 28, but asked for an autograph for his children. McKellan got out a piece of paper and wrote "Fuck off, I'm gay."

  • In the 19th century there was an American gang leader and river pirate (there were river pirates in 19th century America!) named Sadie Farrell, who was known as Sadie the Goat because she liked headbutting people. Seriously, she flew the Jolly Roger. She MADE PEOPLE WALK THE PLANK. Also she lost an ear in a bar fight: the bouncer, Gallus Mag, bit it off.

  • According to Gallus Mag's own Wikipedia page, she bounced people by dragging them to the door by the ear using her teeth. This was a human being, not a cat. If they objected, she bit their ears off and kept them in a jar of alcohol behind the bar. This is not George from Tamora Pierce's Alanna quartet, she was a real person.

vass: Dykes To Watch Out For: Janis, pre-transition, singing Britney Spears (happysingingjanis)
Imperial Radch, Breq/Seivarden, 465 words, violence, spoilers for Ancillary Sword.

Response to [ profile] otpdisaster's prompt: "Person A being held hostage in a fortress and Person B violently leaving a mess of carnage in their wake in order to get to them. Covered in blood and questionable pieces of enemy remains, Person B finally makes it to Person A in the center of the wreckage and gives them a gentle peck on the forehead before apologizing for the wait."

(edited to change the link from my Tumblr post to the AO3 version)
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
From the website that sells those songs composed for cats:

"Terms and Conditions
The following Terms and Conditions apply to the use of this Web site as well as all transactions conducted through the site."

That's it. That's their entire terms and conditions page. There are no terms and conditions following.
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
I think Beatrice has been reading about disruptive innovation. She wanted to supersede "using a laptop computer as a graphical user interface" with "using a laptop computer as a combination warm bed and petting booth for a cat."

I am impressed with her grasp of technology. I had no idea that if you press hard and long enough on the printscreen key, it will keep generating instances of the screen capture program for like five minutes after you stop pressing it.

Now I know. And I also have a better grasp on Ctr-Alt-F1 and Ctr-Rt and the proper deployment of killall. It took just over an hour to get my workspace back how it was before she innovated.

I will be changing the keyboard mapping to make printscreen require a combination of keystrokes.
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
I tried installing HTTPS Everywhere. What I'm learning is how badly many sites implement HTTPS.

LiveJournal, for example, doesn't let you post comments if you force it to use HTTPS, not HTTP. Weeping Goat Error: Your Comments Are Insufficiently Insecure. Unfair to men in the middle!
vass: A sepia-toned line-drawing of a man in naval uniform dancing a hornpipe, his crotch prominent (Default)
Very belated edition. It's been a rough few weeks.


Finished Why Does He Do That?. It was hard.

Read Max Gladstone's Two Serpents Rise, which like other people already said, is not as good as Three Parts Dead, but it had its moments. I definitely still want to read the third one.

Also reading my accounting textbook, which may not exactly be culture, as such, but I find it interesting.

For example, the chapter on accrual accounting, maybe the most important fundamental skill in accounting, opens with the bold assertion "Accrual accounting is not the work of the devil." I think this is the first university subject I've studied where they had to state, in the textbook, "this thing you are here to study? It's not pure evil designed to torment you." Reassuring.

Comics and Manga

Reading the hardback collection of Benjamin Dewey's Tragedy Series. It's very pretty, but the humour is a bit hit and miss -- sometimes it's exactly the right sort of funny-poignant, and sometimes it just upsets me. I think I'll give the book to my brother or my sister. It'd probably work better for them.


Really liked [personal profile] wisdomeagle's vid Untouchable Face (Jesus Christ Superstar, Jesus/Judas, Jesus/Mary Magdalene.)

TV and Movies

The second episode of Parks and Rec. As you can see, I'm tearing through it at lightning speed.


Still playing Pokemon: LeafGreen. Currently at Pokemon Mansion.

Got sucked into the Kittens Game. That was a terrible decision. Down with kitten industrialism!

Started playing Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be. Didn't really love it. His take on Ophelia pissed me off: okay, I get it, you think she'd be cooler if she was a scientist. Science girls are way cooler than girls who do boring things like grow up in a dysfunctional family in Renaissance Denmark and have no self-worth or reason to believe anyone will back them up if they make the choices you'd prefer them to make. But can you TRY to empathise with canon Ophelia? Because I promise you, there are girls today who would make the same choices she did, and I promise you, it's not because they're stupid and annoying.


The new Mountain Goats album, Beat the Champ. I love it instantly, and am bopping around the room to 'Foreign Object'. Am I the only one who feels oddly flattered that John Darnielle is offering to personally stab us in the eye with a foreign object?


Listened to an episode of 'The Adventure Zone', which is Justin McElroy and his brother and father playing D&D. He's less annoying in this than he is in 'Sawbones'.


Did some modular origami, inspired by [personal profile] toft's activities and her primer.

I made a sonobe cube.

And I tried to make this, but couldn't get any further than the end of the second row - it just kept falling apart when I added more units.

picture )

And I did a few more squares of knitting while watching accounting lectures.


Bought some daffodil and tulip bulbs. They're in the fridge now. While I was at the nursery, I also bought a parsley seedling, a small lavender plant and, on a whim, a catnip seedling.

Beatrice has never been a catnip fiend before, but I'd been wondering if she just never got the good stuff. I brought a single fresh leaf in for her, and her reaction was very entertaining. She didn't get high, as such, but she did smell it, become very interested, accidentally drop it off the couch then grab my hand with her claws and chomp it because I smelled like catnip, then rub her face back and forth on the couch where the catnip leaf had been.

I would love to repeat the experiment with Cyril, but I think that's probably against the medical foster rules even if I didn't let him eat it.


I made caramel and chocolate tartlets one very sleep-deprived morning. When I say 'made', really I just assembled them - caramel sauce in a can, chocolate from the fridge, a pack of premade mini tart cases from the supermarket bakery section, stick in the oven for a bit. They were all right, considering. Better after an hour or so in the fridge.

pic or it didn't happen )

Also tried to make buckeyes (sweet peanut butter balls coated in chocolate.) They turned out ugly, oversweet, weirdly crunch in texture, and worst, I keep perseverating "Buckeye Barnes" in my head.
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
Beatrice was born on April Fool's Day, 2007. So today she is 8 years old.

She is celebrating her birthday curled up in my lap, where she's had a good long wash and is now sitting still and meowing in protest if I move at all.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
Gulliver's Travels Souvenir Jewelry. Tiny little people climbing all over your ears and hair!

Assistive and Augmentive Communication
The Human Speech Bank. Great idea, marred in my opinion by some really exploitative licensing. Like Ursula the Sea Witch made a tech startup. Volunteer by giving them four hours of hard work plus unlimited rights to do anything they want with your very personal intellectual property! For nothing! In return, they might use it to help people with disabilities. Or they might just sell it to a GPS company. Who knows? I would love an open source version of this, or at very least a version with some compensation for the volunteers, or real assurance that they will make it available to people who need AAC at affordable rates, not whatever the market will bear.

What Colour Is It? Shows the time as a hexadecimal colour.

Ex-council worker who attempted to poison homeless people in Townsville, Queensland is jailed. They buried the lede: he was poisoning them because they were Indigenous Australian and for that he wanted them to die. And for this he was found guilty on both counts and sentenced to 12 months in jail, suspended after six months. HALF A YEAR, THAT'S ALL HE SPENT IN JAIL.

Curse of the Ghost Pills: would make a great Nancy Drew adventure, is also a great title for a journal article. (Content note: feces.)

How To Talk To Babies About Post-Structuralism. I love that this time the author is pleased with the baby's progress.

On being punched in the face

Ann Leckie: It’s not a real heart, it’s a real artificial heart.
. (Don't read the comments.)

Lighten Up, by Ronald Wimberly, an essay in sequential art form about being asked to whitewash a character in the comics art he was doing.

Home Genetics Reference

Happy Animals
Dog and Owl are friends
vass: Psychoanalysis comic book c over: an analyst watches a woman recount her dreams (psych the third)
My subconscious would like to thank Tumblr, Canada, Customs Australia[*] and my parents.

dreamspam )

[*] Why Customs Australia? Because I've been looking into ordering my vitamins from iHerb instead of buying them locally, but I would rather stay on the right side of legality while doing so, and this led me to this rabbithole of reading Customs Australia's list of prohibited and restricted imports, and some of them are obvious, some make sense if you know about the trade stuff with bananas or the history of ANZAC biscuits, and some make no sense at all without context, and now I really need to know why novelty erasers are restricted. I'm sure there's a story there, and I want it.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Reading Lundy Bancroft's Why Does He Do That? about the motivations and common features of abusive men. Not a fun read.

Reading Bearllionaire by the brilliantly-named Terry Bolryder. It's a bestseller m/f bear shifter billionaire romance. I'm not very far in, but (with all respect to the author, who is clearly successfully filling a need for many readers and having a whole lot of fun in the process) alpha males are not my kink, and I should really not try to read alpha m/f romance/porn at the same time as a non-fiction guide to domestic violence. So I might put it aside until I finish the Bancroft.

Still reading The Book of Margery Kempe. Back on page 77, Margery was deathly ill, and was sad that she wouldn't get to go to Saint James of Compostela and suffer more shame there for Jesus' love, but by God's grace she recovered and was able to go on her shame trip after all.

Along the way, she was slighted by a rich shipmaster, and had the satisfaction of condemning him to eternal damnation: "Sir, if you put me out of the ship, my Lord Jesus will put you out of heaven, for I tell you, sir, our Lord Jesus has no delight in a rich man unless he will be a good man and a meek man."

Since then, Margery has been arrested and imprisoned as a heretic, which is tremendously exciting. She's interrogated about her beliefs, with cunning tactics like asking her questions in Latin to see if she'll accidentally answer and thus confirm that she knows Latin. She's thoroughly catechised, but gives perfectly orthodox answers. Perhaps... too perfect.

In York, she's arrested again, on the charge of bringing the lolz I mean of being a Lollard. This means she could be burned for heresy, but Henry Bowet, the Archbishop of York, would be satisfied if she'd just go away.

Margery: Can I say goodbye to my friends here first?
Archbishop: [sighing] You can have one or two days.
Margery: Let's not be hasty. I want to go talk to people about Jesus first. Also I need to go see my confessor.
Archbishop: [is getting a headache] Will you promise not to go around prosletising and chastising people?
Margery: NO. [quotes Luke 11.27-28 as evidence of God's approval of women going around in public talking
about God.]
Clerks: Uh-uh-uh! She's talking about the gospel. THIS IS THE WORK OF THE DEVIL!
[they are mediaeval Catholics. Getting your religious information direct from the Bible (or direct from God, for that matter,) not from your divinely ordained priest, is deeply suss.]

One of the clerks: [quotes 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 at her]
Margery: I'm not preaching! See how I'm not in a pulpit? I'm just... communicating. About Jesus. In a beneficial and totally not disobedient to the Catholic Church way, and YOU CAN'T STOP ME. EVER.
A learned clerk: She told me the worst story about priests I ever heard. I was traumatised.
Archbishop: [rubs his temples again] I could use a laugh. All right, Margery, hit me.

Margery: By your reverence, it was just the one priest, and it was just an example. Once upon a time there was a priest wandering in a wood, and he stumbled on a lovely garden with a beautiful pear tree in it, with flowers growing all over it. And he lay down under the pear tree and went asleep. And then up came a great big ugly bear, who shook the pear tree and knocked down the flowers and ate them all and then turned his tail end on the priest and... excreted them out again on the priest. The priest wondered what it meant. So he asked a pilgrim, and the pilgrim, who was a messenger of God, told him "you yourself are the pear tree." He's the pear tree because as a priest he does God's work, so he makes flowers. But he does it half-heartedly, and then when it's not Sunday he goes around sinning, and his sin is the bear. So he destroys his own flowers and turns them into... manure, and this will continue until he mends his ways.

Archbishop: Cool story.
Learned clerk: NO, NOT a cool story. That's horrible.
Margery: He who smelled it dealt it.
Learned clerk: [looks down, shuffles his feet]
Archbishop: Can someone please take Dame Margery away from here? I will pay cash money.
[several people raise their hands]
Archbishop: [points at one guy] All right, you. Five shillings.
That one guy: I want hazard pay. One noble.
Archbishop: Oh, come on.
Margery: [cheerful] God will reward you!
Archbishop: Five shillings, and that's my final offer.
Margery: [kneels] Will you bless me before I go?
Archbishop: Ugh, okay. [blesses her]

Where things stand now: it's page 97. She went and hung out with Sleightholme, her confessor, in Bridlingham, and since then has still been in York. The Duke of Bedford has arrested her, again for heresy.

Jesus: [visits her in prison] Daughter, it is more pleasing unto me that you suffer despites and scorns, shames and reproofs, wrongs and troubles than if your head were smote off three times a day every day for seven years.
Margery: Oh good. Because I've been fantasising about that for a long time now, but I'm still not sure on the practical details of how to arrange it. But I can get people to say nasty things about me, no problem.

And now Henry Bowet's just shown up again.

Archbishop of York, to Margery: YOU AGAIN?

TV and Movies

Watched the episode of My Cat From Hell in which Jackson Galaxy is faced with a condescending douche who won't neuter his cat because "As a man, I feel bad about it." But not about making very graphic threats of violence against the cat, or being determined to send the cat to a shelter (a kill one, presumably, and even if not, surely they'd neuter him) if there's no improvement.

Why doesn't he want Vincent spayed? Because it stifles the cat's natural urges. Why is he consulting Jackson Galaxy? Because Vincent is spraying everywhere, and escapes every day and gets into fights. "I just don't see how neutering him would help with that," says this walking Onion article, who is literally wearing a fedora the entire episode.


Still playing Pokemon: LeafGreen. At 7:38am, after staying up all night studying and cleaning and Tumblering, I'm flipping through a walkthrough for LeafGreen, and I suddenly notice that Ekans is Snake spelled backwards. THIS FUCKING GAME.

Levelled Hillary the Bulbasaur up to 35; she evolved again and is now a beautiful, powerful Venusaur. Spent most of a 2 hour 20 minute introductory accounting lecture levelling up my Magikarp (creatively named Goldie,) to level 20, at which point the totally useless Magikarp becomes a useful and awesome Gyarados. He was level 6 at the start of the lecture.

I love online learning. In a traditional classroom, it would be completely unacceptable to attend a lecture a week and a half after it happened, while lying on my back playing Pokemon while my cat licks my hair. But in online learning it's fine. Which is just as well, since I would be totally wrecked after commuting to uni then sitting two hours and twenty minutes in a normal chair while trying to approximate socially appropriate and therefore not moving around or looking away, and then driving back home.


Tried decorating a notebook with glitter paint, inspired by something I saw on Tumblr. Results not satisfactory: next time I'll try clear glue and loose glitter. Or I might try multiple coats of the paint, maybe.

Returned to the mitred square blanket, now the weather's cooling down a bit (thank $DEITY.) Did I tell you guys about how hilariously I fucked it up before putting it aside for the summer? I'd finished another row of squares, and was casting on the next square by picking up the stitches on one side of one corner square, but I had a brain fart and picked up the stitches on both sides of the corner, resulting in a strangely three dimensional blanket. It gave me an idea for how to do a soft knitted cube one day if I want to, though. And then I got fed up and cut it instead of unpicking it, except that I brain-farted then too, and cut through two squares instead of one. So I had to re-knit the corner square.

picture )
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
Me: Truly, Beatrice, you were born in a merry hour.
Beatrice: [says nothing, waits for me to move the laser pointer again so she can chase it]
Me: No, my lord, for my mother meowed.
Me: [sends the red dot racing across the room]
Beatrice: [chases it, leaps up and hits the fridge door triumphantly with her two front paws]
Me: But then there was a star danced, and under that you were born.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Finished reading The King of Attolia. Can't decide which I like better, this one or The Queen of Attolia. I think Queen, but it's a close thing.

Read A Conspiracy of Kings, and now I'm out of Queen's Thief books to read. Oh Eddis. I love her so much. She's the best. (Except in certain parts of The Queen of Attolia, in which she and the war minister were the worst and I wanted Eugenides to go to university and never come back.) I'm a little bit disappointed that Sophos never apologised for the right thing. He was an ass, yes, but that's not very specific. He should have apologised for not listening to her, and talking over her. Spoilers after the cut.

cut )

Read Courtney Milan's Trade Me, almost in one bite. Will definitely be buying and reading the sequel. Contemporary billionaire m/f romance. She's a compsci student who's working to support herself and giving more money than she can afford to keep her parents and younger sister afloat, he's the son of the founder and CEO of a tech company that's a lot like Apple. The really strong, wonderful thing about this book is the family relationships, the ways in which people can have relationships with their parents that are loving and worth keeping but still deeply hurtful and fucked up and not okay. The good people in this book are still sometimes assholes, and the assholes are still sometimes good people. The romance part didn't grab me nearly as strongly as the characters as people (I can't put my finger on why. And I just came out of the Queen's Thief books, where the romance was super compelling. Eugenides/Attolia, anyway - I found Eddis' reaction to parting with Sophos in A Conspiracy of Kings a little pastede on, even after enjoying their low key correspondence up to then. But I loved her reaction when she first saw him in Conspiracy. That was wonderful.)

If you like stuff about the intersection between public and private identities, and people packaging and reselling their personal relationships as part of their public life, and acknowledging that that's fucked up but still doing it, there's lots of that.

I really love Tina's mother's cooking.

ROT13 for spoilery trigger warnings: ureb unf na rngvat qvfbeqre. Ur haqrerngf naq birerkrepvfrf. Guvf vf fubja ba-cntr. V guvax vg'f frafvgviryl unaqyrq, ohg lrnu, qrsvavgr cbgragvny gevttre. Nyfb, gur urebvar unf genhzn eryngrq gb ure sngure, n Snyha Tbat cenpgvgvbare, univat orra gbegherq va Puvan. Ure cneragf ner genhzngvfrq gbb, bs pbhefr. Gur gbegher vf arire qrfpevorq rkcyvpvgyl, ohg gur genhzn vf cebzvarag, nygubhtu ntnva frafvgviryl unaqyrq.

The sequel's going to be about Tina's roommate Maria, who was going to be a med student but gave up after organic chemistry because the memorisation was too boring, so she decided to be an actuary instead. Also she's trans.


Read a huge pile of Queen's Thief stories. Have run out of the energy to review them, but yeah... the sort of fandom that gets a steady trickle of really good stuff in December each year.


Have been playing Pokémon: LeafGreen. It's my first time playing Pokémon. I started out with a Bulbasaur named Hillary (now an Ivysaur) and have since acquired 5 other Pokémon, and have been wandering around the map leveling them up. Three of them have evolved.

Hillary's my strongest Pokémon, so my strategy right now is mostly "work on levelling up one of the smaller fry, and when it's about to lose, send Hillary out to sit on the opponent."


Have been trying out Stop, Breathe, Think, a mindfulness/meditation app. I love the visual design, and it's very easy and fun to use. And I like that there's a non-binary gender option. But I don't like the guided meditations.

tl;dr )
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
Leigh Sales interviews Tony Abbott. It does not go well for him. Clearly the concepts of "introspection", "navel-gazing" and "who are you?" are edgeplay for him. He can't stand to look at himself.

How To Become A Robot In Twelve Easy Steps (suicide tw) *sobs*

Ancient Languages
Lexicity: "The first and only comprehensive index for ancient language resources on the internet." (Not all of the languages they list are what I would call ancient, but they're still cool.)

My Little Feminequist Pony Lesbian Separatist Fan Fiction. (n.b. Not TERF. Trans people can read this safely.) What made me actually squee aloud was that the photo is of a G1 pony.

Myths of Human Genetics, or: why to teach cat genetics in high schools, not human earlobes and tongue rolling and arm folding and stuff.

Artist spends 7 years on incredibly detailed maze; his daughter wants to know why he couldn't have done something more useful. He's a janitor in his day job, and this somehow makes it astonishing that he's able to create something intricate and beautiful.

Tech and Arts
do ALL things! arts, tech, and not having to choose just one as a young girl by Creatrix Tiara. Made me think "OMG, with her skillset and interests, she should SO be writing interactive fiction."

Much Obliged: the concept of 'mutual obligation' and how fucking horrible the rhetoric around social services in Australia is.

Black American History
Civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer's speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention

What it's like for a woman to send a job rejection to a man.

Photo portrait series of trans elders. Warning: may make you weep.

Really looking forward to the new Jem and the Holograms comic
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

Read The Queen of Attolia, started The King of Attolia. I don't know, man. Well, I mean, I do know one thing: Attolia/Eugenides just moved higher up on my I Ship It, But This Is A Really, Really Bad Idea For All Sorts Of Reasons list of ships than Breq/Seivarden, and is now in first place.

And Eugenides doesn't have to. He saw that train wreck coming and jumped aboard of his own free will. Attolia, though... she is kind of in a hard place. Nearly the same sort of hard place as one of my longest-standing favourite murderous queens, Turandot.

Except that the problem with Turandot has always been that she could have resolved her marital problem by running away rather than by killing her suitors, and the main reason she doesn't is her ginormous privilege (and, to be fair, her lack of coping skills and ability to adapt to any other way of life... insert rant here about Seivarden, by the way, and how the whole concept of aristocracy produces people who are less fit for any other area but the one niche they've been raised within, thereby unfitting them for survival in a changing world and unfitting them to be the good leaders they tell themselves they are. I mean, yes, she is a privileged asshole, of course she is. But equally, her efforts to become anything else are naturally going to be fraught with more failure and setbacks than most people's, because she lacks most of the basic tools and knowledge that would help her, and she's an average person not an extraordinary one like Breq, and fine, no, she doesn't deserve as much sympathy as the people she's hurt, the people who had less than she did and lost it all too, but she is still deserving of some empathy. End rant.

Turandot, now... Turandot, if she had fled, would have been in the same position as Liu, but even less protected/supported than Liu was, and with fewer survival skills (although with more self-worth and self-preservation, she has that going for her.) And look where it got Liu. I still think she should have fled, but yeah, I can see why she didn't.)

The difference with Attolia is that she isn't just staying because she couldn't survive running away (and one way or another, I think Attolia probably could survive and manage on her own, actually. Although the 'another' would be very ugly) but because she does actually care what happens to her kingdom and the neighbouring kingdoms. She's trying to hold the line.

But still, massive, awful trainwreck of a relationship. Magnificently awful trainwreck.

Comics and Manga

Read another few early Hawkeyes.


Read The Convergence of Genetics and Quantitative Analysis by [ profile] ryfkah (Jupiter Ascending, about Jupiter's mother and aunt meeting Caine.) Went "awwwwwwwwww".

TV and Movies

Watched Jupiter Ascending. I loved it. It was everything I'd been told. Russian janitor astronomy buff destined space queen! Bee royalty! Werewolf on antigrav roller skates! Half-naked semi-incestuous court intrigue! And SUCH pretty, pretty landscapes.

It did have the slight problem, though, that I recently read this article and COULD NOT UNSEE IT. Very orange, much blue, wow.

Watched the first episode of Parks and Rec. Yeah, I'm a wee bit behind there. :D I liked it. Embarrassment squick value alarmingly high, but it's counterbalanced by how I know all these people, I've worked with them, I had no idea there was a camera in those meetings I've been to. (I had the same reaction to The Vicar of Dibley the first time I watched that.)


Listened to Dessa's Parts of Speech. Loved it. Definitely putting it into rotation in my general purpose playlist.

Listened to Mary Lambert's Letters Don't Talk. Not as much of an instant fave as Parts of Speech, but good music for moping to.


Today I learned that the German equivalent of the card game 52 Pickup is called 32 Heb Auf. It uses a German Piquet deck, which doesn't have 2s through 6s. The rules are otherwise the same as 52 Pickup, although presumably slightly shorter in duration.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[for the last two weeks]


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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TV and Movies

Watched a couple of episodes of Galavant.


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

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

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


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

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

This isn't the weirdest passage, that's just the part I was up to tonight.


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

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