Wednesday reading, and linkspam

Oct. 1st, 2014 07:07 pm
cofax7: Landry Clark reading (FNL - Landry Reading)
[personal profile] cofax7
It's Wednesday, so it's time for a reading update.

Recent reading: I burned through Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis for book club last week. It was suprisingly good, although a bit repetitive. It's also surprisingly modern: I guess the use of religion for monetary and political gain is hardly a new thing in the US, or really anywhere, anytime.

Currently reading: For some reason I decided I needed to reread the Montmaray novels by Michelle Cooper. So right now I'm about halfway through FitzOsbornes at War, and girding myself for tragedy. These are so good, though. I love them all, even Aunt Charlotte. And the Colonel, who has no first name!

Frankly, I don't understand why nobody has optioned these for a movie or miniseries: they have great characters and a vivid, dramatic setting.

Next up: Probably Locked In by John Scalzi, which I got from the library. I've had only middling success with his stuff in the past, but I'm hearing good things about this one. I shall report back!

*

Oh, cool: how to make homemade ginger beer. That might be a fun thing to experiment with...

I may have to try this homemade noodle soup cup thing.

Stumbled across this in a thread on MeFi about food. I don't know whether Wodehouse would be chuffed, or appalled.

Ah, the advent of slow tv.

Diana Athill on being 96 and not fearing death. (link via the Toast)

The New Yorker has a depressing explanation for why we don't have cures for many tropical diseases. Of course, it's all about the money.

*

In other news, I was just told that the organization where I am employed as a contractor has just gotten approval to begin the hiring process for the position I am filling for them. Which means that, one way or another, I will be changing jobs at some point. Either they hire me directly and cancel the contract, or hire someone else and cancel the contract. But possibly not soon: it can take them months and months and months to get through the approvals to post the announcement, and then more months to decide who to hire. I will probably apply for it, but I'm glad I'm already sending out applications for other positions. At least I won't be caught off-guard (this time), and if I get another offer before they make a decision, well that's just too bad for them.
peoppenheimer: Photo of interesting tree stump in forest. (Default)
[personal profile] peoppenheimer
As I have mentioned, I told Eric Schwitzgebel that I would give him a list of ten philosophically interesting items of speculative fiction. This will be one of the lists he will post to his blog, The Splintered Mind. Each item is supposed to be accompanied by a philosophical teaser that might motivate someone interested in philosophy to read, listen to, watch, or play the item. The context for all this is Anglophone academic philosophy. Approximately thirty people will be contributing lists. All of them either hold positions in departments of philosophy or hold post-graduate degrees in philosophy. An edited combined list will be submitted for inclusion in the second edition, now in preparation, of Susan Schneider's anthology Science Fiction and Philosophy.

Because my circle and network on Dreamwidth are among the most informed people concerning speculative fiction with whom I have any communication, I would like to discuss this list, including its teasers, with you. I've told Eric that my final list will be informed by this discussion. I've already sent him my list as it stands prior to writing this post. At this point, I don't envision giving public credit to any of you who help me with this, because most of you insulate your Dreamwidth life from your life outside Dreamwidth to a greater or lesser degree. If you help me with this and wish me to include an acknowledgment to you in my future communications with Eric and the rest of the list makers, please let me know.

I post this with some trepidation. This is absolutely not meant to be a “ten best” list, nor even a list of my ten favorites, or ten most interesting philosophically. It's more like the first ten I thought of! Nevertheless, making such a list public, and even more than the simple list of items, making the teasers public, will inevitably reveal my blind spots, my biases, and even my stupidities. Furthermore, some of the items on this list are items I have not read or watched in a very long time. If you are generous enough to comment, please don't pull any punches. This isn't squee—not even anywhere in that emotional-critical neighborhood. It's an attempt to bring philosophy faculty and philosophy students who may have had little or no exposure to fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction, etc. into serious philosophical engagement with writing and other media that will challenge their biases, blind spots, and stupidities. The better I can make this list, with its philosophical teasers, the better it will serve that purpose.

~ Takes a deep breath. ~


  • Edwin Abbott Abbott (writing pseudonymously as “A Square”). 1884. Flatland. Novella. Conceptualization and visualization; imaginability, conceivability, and possibility; social class structure.

  • Peter S. Beagle. 1990. “Sarek”. Screenplay. (Star Trek: The Next Generation. s03e23, May 14, 1990). Dementia, social role, telepathy, telempathy, Stoicism, pietas, duty, honor.

  • Peter S. Beagle. 1993. The Innkeeper’s Song. Gender, gender swap, revenants, romantic love, nature of true love, laws of magic and costs of performing magic; do things and people have essential natures? Loyalty and power.

  • Stanisław Lem. 1961. Solaris. Novel (Polish). Communication with aliens. What, if anything, is real? Politics of science and exploration. (Andrei Tarkovsky. 1972. film.)

  • Ursula K. LeGuin. 1974. The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia. Novel. Anarcho-syndicalism vs capitalism; scarcity and abundance; co-operation and competition; sclerosis of a revolution.

  • Doris Lessing. 1980. The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five. Novel. Gender: are gender characteristics inherent?; gender essentialism; communication among genders. (Philip Glass. 1997. Opera.)

  • China Miéville. 2011. Embassytown. Novel. Philosophy of language! semiotics! impossibility of falsehood! simile vs metaphor!

  • Cordwainer Smith. 1962. “The Ballad of Lost C’Mel”. Novella. Galaxy Magazine (October 1962). Sex work, multiple grades of citizenship, civil rights, animal-human spectrum.

  • Charles Stross. 2005. Accelerando. Novel. Uploaded minds; post-humanism; the singularity. What is a person, anyway?

  • A.E. van Vogt. 1940. Slan. Novel. Astounding Science Fiction (September–December 1940). Transhumanity/superhumanity, telepathy, genocide. Meta: fandom: “Fans are slans.” The other. Mutual contempt and fear. (Hardcover 1946.)

SF lists

Sep. 30th, 2014 11:11 pm
peoppenheimer: Photo of interesting tree stump in forest. (Default)
[personal profile] peoppenheimer
About a month ago I foolishly volunteered to contribute one of these lists of ten works of philosophically interesting SF. Each work is supposed to be accompanied by a brief pitch pointing toward the work's philosophical interest. It's proving surprisingly difficult, not only to get down to ten, but also to craft the 8–30 word pitches.
umadoshi: (Ahiru determined (fritters))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Out of bed. Have had tea and a muffin. Have read the paper (meaning "skimmed Twitter, DW, LJ...").

Twenty minutes until my bus, in which time I must get dressed (for dreary weather) and fill the travel mug with tea and get out the door.

Go.

...

...it's dark outside.

But for real this time, self. Onward!

New fic! For everyone!

Sep. 29th, 2014 09:52 pm
cofax7: Lantern Waste in the snow (Narnia - Lantern)
[personal profile] cofax7
Hey, folks!

So the Narnia Fic Exchange 2014 just opened, and you all should check it out. There are over two dozen stories posted, including stories about the Pevensies, and Polly and Digory, and Eustace, and Bacchus. There are AUs, and there's some porn, and some awesome world-building, and even a few crossovers.

Go read!n

(There are also two stories by me, at least one of which is really obviously by me. But I won't say which.)
umadoshi: (headache (skellorg))
[personal profile] umadoshi
...but it's September 29, and since I do seem to have posted at least once a day all month so far, I'm posting this despite the lack of thrills/chills/particular info.

This morning I successfully dragged myself out of bed hours earlier than I have been (still not early by most people's standards, I know), after a badly broken sleep, and went and got my B12 shot. (I would have gotten my flu vaccine while I was at it, but it's not available yet. So I guess I just have to remember to call periodically to see when it'll be available.) And then, through a haze of grogginess, I got the script that's due on Wednesday essentially polished up and ready to go.

Being tired doesn't seem to make me prone to mistakes; it just makes everything take significantly longer. But hey, at least "that took forever because I was tired" is a change from "that took forever because I couldn't focus"--a change that Casual Job is going to make uncomfortably familiar in short order. ^^;

In other "news", my desktop's system clock is incredibly messed up. No idea why, and [personal profile] scruloose's tinkering yesterday didn't fix it. :/ I know it started when I adjusted the time by two minutes a few days ago, which somehow turned into it now running nearly two hours fast. (It was more like an hour and ten minutes fast when I got up this morning.) Mystery.

[ETA: Oh, that could be a useful data point: as always, I ticked off "use the time when entry is posted", and this posted with the correct time, not the one displayed in the system tray. And yet emails more recent than a couple of hours ago still all claims to have arrived zero minutes ago, and all recent tweets in my Twitter feed continue to give "Now" as their posting time.]

AOS fic rec (spoilers for 2x01)

Sep. 29th, 2014 11:20 am
astridv: (ward 5)
[personal profile] astridv
Game Over by [archiveofourown.org profile] Matarreyes
Gen; Grant Ward (and Coulson, Syke mentioned); TW suicide attempt, self harm, implied child sexual abuse; 4057 words
Summary: Coulson didn't tell you? I went through a rough stretch.
(Stream of consciousness fic dealing with Ward's suicide attempts. For the love of all that is holy, heed the warnings.)

A Kickstarter I just backed

Sep. 28th, 2014 11:55 pm
umadoshi: (mermaid (roxicons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
There are only about fourteen hours left on this long-since-funded Kickstarter (I had it open in a tab long enough that I missed the early-bird version of the lowest level, which is all I wanted--oops!), but hey, that's still fourteen hours, in case anyone wants to check it out: "Fantasy Coloring Books for (so-called) Grown-ups".

The Kickstarter is the only way to get PDF versions of any of the coloring books (not all are available in PDF, I don't think? Not sure). Each support level includes one, and at each level you're also able to add additional ones for $5 each.

One of the options is a mermaid coloring book. Of course I became a backer. *g*

Yuletide nominations close really soon, and since I know I'm not signing up, I'm still opting not to nominate anything. But I'm sad that both The Lynburn Legacy and The Turn of the Story remain un-nominated (The Demon's Lexicon is there, but while I have a soft spot for that trilogy, I love SRB's other work more).

This pair of post topics reminds me of how early in The Turn of the Story Elliot's love of mermaids is mentioned. (Like, within the first few pages of the first chapter; the prospect of seeing real live mermaids is a key motivator in his decision to stay in the magical land with its lack of either modern technology or the amenities he's used to.) Soon after I finished reading the first chapter, I made delighted noises about that at [personal profile] wildpear, who, on my behalf, had been quite pleased in advance by Elliot's interest in merfolk. *g*

Have I mentioned that I finally decided to name my no-longer-so-new ereader "Elliot"? It took me forever to settle on a name, because I loved "Maggie" as a name so much for my Sony and kept trying to convince myself I could reuse the name. (I couldn't.) And after that, the name I kept coming back to was "Sloane", from Indexing, and that would be bad luck just waiting to happen. I adore Sloane, but given her nature, naming tech after her seemed...inadvisable.

After thoroughly borking my sleep schedule this weekend by accidentally sleeping until about 12:30 BOTH days, I have to get up at 8:30 tomorrow for an appointment. My past self very carefully booked a morning appointment on the extremely unlikely chance that work might start at 2 PM (the earliest we ever start on Mondays, and it basically never happens this early in the game).

My present self is quite annoyed with past!self's caution, since the appointment is at 9:45 AM and work doesn't start until 7 PM. *sighs* Oh, well. It'll mean I'm awake for many hours between the two things, which gives me plenty of time to work on polishing my My Love Story!! rewrite and/or start my next rewrite for Seven Seas.

An off-kilter day

Sep. 28th, 2014 12:36 am
umadoshi: (sleeping on a book)
[personal profile] umadoshi
I overslept badly today (on top of accidentally napping yesterday evening *facepalm*), and the day never quite made it back on track. It wasn't a wasted day, as such; I proofread and turned in the short story for Sparkler, and read through the translation for my next Seven Seas rewrite, and watched last week's episode of Haven, and read Gayle Forman's If I Stay. But I'd hoped to get more work done than I managed, and had theoretical plans to go out and see people tonight, which resoundingly failed to happen.

For possibly the thousandth time, I'm very grateful that my local friends are understanding about how often I fail to turn up when I could reasonably be expected to. [personal profile] scruloose was there, so he could relay hugs and greetings and all, but still.

The closest thing to excitement today was getting my new keyboard connecting to Mahir. It's so wonderfully clicky and solid! (And thus loud. [personal profile] scruloose got one too and says he's able to type more lightly with it than with his old one, since there's a distinct little "click" when a key depresses and makes contact, but so far I have not acquired this knack.) I do so love a solid keyboard. Buying keyboards has been an exercise in frustration for so many years now, as they get all squishy and shallow. :/ I assume this is meant to translate into "quiet" and "low profile", which sounds reasonable. It just isn't what I want, personally.

(This one came from Monoprice. I'd link to it, but I'm not seeing it in the product listings. O_o Possibly I'm too groggy to find it...? Anyway, it's a Cherry MX "blue" mechanical key switch keyboard.)

*clacks happily-if-groggily away*

yuletide noms

Sep. 27th, 2014 05:35 pm
bessemerprocess: Elder duckie Ursala Vernon (acid-ink) (Default)
[personal profile] bessemerprocess
I put in Yuletide noms this year, since not Yuletiding last year made me very sad.

I nommed: Killer Women (Molly, Dan, Billy, Lulu), Caper (Alexia, Penny, Captain Southpaw, Sam Clarke),
Sentinels of the Multiverse (The Wraith, Unity, Ermine, and the Iron Legacy).

For those of you who missed past Killer Women enthusiasm, it is a show about Molly Parker, Texas Ranger. The conceit of the show was that she deals with crimes that end up being committed by women. It's on Amazon, and there only a few episodes, so its an easy watch.

Caper is an amazing web show about second line superheroes. Penny, who fights crime wearing a machine (it's sort of like Iron Man, except she's just really smart, not a millionaire, so she spends a lot of time scrapping up the cash to keep it working), lives with a bunch of other up and coming crime fighters. Its a fun little show, and it only has a few short episodes, so it is fast to catch up on.

Sentinels of the Multiverse is actually a board game. Here is its Wiki. It's a game which is set in the universe of a comic book. The Wraith is Maia Montgomery, CEO of Montgomery, a Batmanesque hero--martial arts and supersmart--and part of the Freedom Five. Unity is Devra Caspit, a technopath from Israel, who builds golems to fight crime, and sometimes with the Freedom Five. Iron Legacy is a universe hopping ex-hero who was driven crazy by grief and is now out killing people. Ermine is a high-society cat burglar, and ex-friend of The Wraith. There are a lot more heroes and villains all with back stories and it is a really fun universe.

Iris on Mars

Sep. 27th, 2014 07:35 pm
juliet: (waveform tree)
[personal profile] juliet

Mirrored from Twisting Vines.

Current writing news: Iris Wildthyme of Mars (in which I have a story) is now out from Obverse Press in ebook form and available for preorder (pub date 30 Sept) in dead tree form. The cover art is awesome.

Iris Wildthyme of Mars FrontCover

I haven’t read my copy yet (I am in the throes of a Dorothy L. Sayers re-read; previous evidence suggests that it is useless even trying to extract myself before I reach the end) but am greatly looking forward to it. There are plenty of fine authors in there.

Philip Purser-Hallard, the editor, is also editor of another new Obverse collection, Tales of the Great Detectives (ebook or dead tree pre-order (30 Sept again)). So you might do well to read that one too (as I will be doing) (dammit, I need to read faster).

Chocolate fudge cake

Sep. 27th, 2014 03:38 pm
rydra_wong: Close-up of the moulded design on a bar of Grenada Chocolate Company chocolate. (food -- grenada chocolate)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
Following up on the previous entry, here's my recipe for egg-free, dairy-free (and thus incidentally vegan) soy-free and nut-free chocolate fudge cake.

Note: I have an actual cup which is about 250 ml, roughly an American cup measure.

This makes a small cake, about 6 inches by 6 inches.

Chocolate cake (basic recipe stolen from here, thank you so much everyone who pointed me at "Depression cakes")

3/4 cup plain flour (not self-raising)
1/2 cup golden caster sugar (or coconut/palm sugar)
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use the Green & Black's stuff, which is very good)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water

Mix the dry ingredients, then add the wet ones, stir it all together and spoon into a baking tin.

Bake for 30 mins at 180 degrees C.

Mysteriously, it will smell/taste distinctly of olive oil when fresh out of the oven but this dissipates after a few minutes.

Chocolate fudge filling/icing (invented all by me in a sudden flash of inspiration):

4 generous tbsp Nutiva coconut manna (this is just pureed coconut, oil and flesh together; I'm giving the brand name in case there are differences in consistency)
circa 1 tsp coconut oil -- adjust as needed to get the right richness and gloss
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup caster sugar, whizzed in a blender until it's turned to icing sugar (I am too lazy to buy icing sugar specifically) (note: you can't do this with coconut sugar; I tried, and it heats up and clumps itself back together again in angry little pebbles)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Depending on the weather, you may need to warm the jar of coconut manna by putting it in a saucepan of hot water so it's smooth and stir-able instead of crumbly.

Mix, then stir a lot until it hits the right consistency.

I sliced the cake horizontally with a bread knife, layered in about half the mixture as filling, then put the top back on like a sandwich and spread the rest on top.

The BPAL Hallowe'en update is live!

Sep. 27th, 2014 12:37 am
umadoshi: (autumn pumpkins 01)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Oof. My workday was not long by any standards--I was in the office for six hours, all told--but given that it was the first Friday of this round of Casual Job, we sort of all figured that Those Who Speak would do so for...I don't know, maybe an hour? But no, it was three and a half hours of audio. Not at all bad in its own right (and if the days averaged only six hours of work my wallet would be unhappy!), but it could be an alarming indicator of what's to come.

On the freelance front, I have a short story to proofread by Sunday for Sparkler Monthly, a rewrite due next Wednesday that's maybe 2/3 finished, and a rewrite due in just under two weeks that I haven't started yet.

Given that, I'd planned to do some freelance stuff this afternoon/evening, but then I got home later than expected due to Casual Job, and once home, I watched the Person of Interest S4 premiere with [personal profile] scruloose while I had dinner, and then...fell asleep on the couch soon after he left for yoga, and napped for well over an hour, leaving myself groggy and spacey when I woke up. *facepalm* What a weird day.

And then the BPAL Weenies went live! Weirdly, I found this out by opening my reading list and seeing the post for the decant circle I'm going through. Still no email, although the link has since gone by on Twitter.

In 2013 I got four Yule decants. Prior to that, I'm pretty sure the last time I got any imps was in 2011 (both the Hallowe'en and Yule updates).

...and I just ordered twelve imps from this update (plus one from the recent Lilith update). Oops? Or something?

I was hoping Dia De Los Muertos would make a reappearance, and no luck on that front, but both Devil's Night and Samhain are available. And there's a new Pumpkin Patch, and a whole whack of single notes.

what I opted to get! )

PSA and linkspam

Sep. 25th, 2014 10:41 pm
umadoshi: (Frozen - groggy Anna (herbskillz))
[personal profile] umadoshi
I don't think I've said this yet in the lead-up to this round of Casual Job, but as a general FYI: for however many weeks it lasts I'll be more erratic about commenting than usual--either slower or simply not managing it. I generally do a decent job of keeping up on reading my flists (and DW/LJ are my top priority in terms of keeping up with social media), but the combination of weird (and sometimes alarming) hours at the office and keeping up with my freelance deadlines makes it hard to juggle everything else in my life. :/

Have some only-vaguely-sorted linkspam!

Night Vale Girl Scout patches!

Via [tumblr.com profile] sean-gaffney, this Buffy the Vampire Slayer vid: "Giles gets knocked down".

Via...um, Facebook, I think?, "Writer Creates “Color Thesaurus” To Help You Correctly Name Any Color Imaginable".

A week or so ago, [personal profile] recessional posted some writing advice: "No seriously, PRACTICE MORE.".

Okay, I both forget who linked this and haven't read it closely yet, so this is not inherently an endorsement, but: "Why X-Files fans owe it to themselves to check out Person of Interest". (The "title" in the URL is more interesting to me than the one actually on the article.) (And note that I still haven't seen the S4 premiere, so please don't spoil me!!!) "Person of Interest, which began its fourth season on CBS last night, is one of the most successful Trojan horse series in television history. What began as something that seemed like just another CBS detective show — albeit one with a pretty cool premise, in which two mysterious men hunted down people who were either about to become criminals or the victims of crimes, based only on their Social Security numbers — has slowly and steadily grown into a sustained critique on the American security state and a musing on a post-human future, where acolytes of various godlike artificial intelligences offer their worship and supplication."

Via [personal profile] next_to_normal, production stills from the upcoming Into the Woods movie.

Via Twitter, "Stunning Nude Photo Series Will Make You Think Twice About The 'Ideal Body' (NSFW)".

Via Twitter, "Eight Things Every White Person Should Know About White Privilege".

Via several people, "Feminism’s ugly internal clash: Why its future is not up to white women".

Via [personal profile] jinian, this Tumblr post on what men seem to think women want from/look for in female characters: "my issue here is: this is not what women want, but it is what men believe that women want, because it is what they have been told by other men that women want. / Once again, what women want is ignored (or, more accurately, invisibilized— in that men deny or are oblivious to its existence) in favor of the ideological construct of 'what women want,' which is determined and enforced by men. Men genuinely believe that they know what women want, and are earnest in their attempts to explain 'what women want' to women. They are deeply confused, because of course they know what women want! Right? They are unable to see that they are selling a version of 'what women want' is essentially 'what it would be attractive to men for women to want.'"

Jim Hines posted about Milo Manara’s Spider-Woman #1 cover art, which has had a fair bit of controversy in the last while. He compares it to another cover featuring Spidey himself, which Some Dude Online says is actually the same, just with a guy, so no one complains! "What his point seems to mostly come down to is the fact that J. Scott Campbell did a Spider-Man cover just like Manara’s, and you didn’t hear the Social Police converging on Tumblr for an outrage-fest then! Total double-standard and made-up non-controversy. So there! Let’s take a look at both covers, shall we?"

I'm conflicted about this news: "Aubrey Plaza is Grumpy Cat for Lifetime holiday movie 'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever'". On the one hand, what possible need does the world have for a live-action Grumpy Cat movie? OTOH, if such a thing has to exist, Aubrey Plaza is perfect...

Via Twitter, "The Books That Made Me Who I Am" is a response to the whole "list ten books that had a formative influence on you!" meme (or however that goes at any given time).

Via [personal profile] cofax7, The Toast's post about the creation of Christian denominations. *g*

Via Jodie at [community profile] ladybusiness, "What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Catch Your Own Typos".

hitting the trail

Sep. 25th, 2014 04:36 pm
ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
[personal profile] ilanarama
Well, I did it. I signed up for the Deadhorse 50K (yikes! Baby's first ultra! I AM EXCITE but also NERVOUS!) which will be in three weeks!

So I've been doing my long runs on the trails, in an attempt at preparation. (I would feel a lot more prepared if I'd been running more, aie!) I have been bringing my phone/camera so I have an excuse to stop and breathe - I'm not resting, I'm taking pictures!

See? )

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