This finishes up the "literary relationships" tag groups. I have two sub-categories of poetry to cover and then it will be back to a new publication.

This multi-month interlude putting together the tag exploration pages has been, in part, a breathing space while other projects took priority. But the more practical aspect has been to add brief descriptions to each tag (so that viewers have some notion what they're following up on), and to do housekeeping on the tags themselves. I've identified a number of duplications or inconsistencies, and in some cases I have a tag listed that isn't linked to any publications for various reasons. This can be the problem with projects that grow organically! All of this housekeeping may not matter in the least to my readers. (I do have readers, right? People do actually click through?) But getting things sorted out now will help me be more consistent going forward.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
([personal profile] rmc28 Feb. 27th, 2017 01:19 pm)
I opened a form letter from my children's school this morning, informing me that "Frederick"'s attendance is at 90%, significantly lower than the government target of 95%. It included this particularly threatening paragraph:

"You should be aware that regular attendance is a legal requirement and the Education Welfare Officer may become involved if there is no significant improvement in Frederick's attendance."

Now, I am absolutely a stroppy middle-class parent, whose response to bureaucratic threats like this is "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough". I am not at all concerned about seeing this off myself.  But that this is the system, that letters like this will be going out to parents without my resources and confidence, that the very first contact to parents on this issue contains implied threats of legal action and bureaucratic interference - that appalls me.

On closer inspection, it is not actually possible for me to "improve" my child's attendance in the remainder of the school year: they've calculated that 90% threshold assuming he has perfect attendance between now and July.  He cannot physically have any better attendance than he does now, the way they've calculated it.  So that threatening paragraph is also setting me up to fail.

My child has a 90% attendance record, because I keep my children at home when they are ill, and he has been a bit more ill than usual this past school year.  It's stupid to pressurise parents to send ill children to school.  It doesn't benefit the sick child and it puts the rest of the school community at risk. Any children with lowered immunity will be much more at risk, and will then presumably have even worse attendance records. Lowered immunity is correlated with disability, chronic conditions, and poverty, so this is an access issue as well.

I know this is a system problem: government policy enforced under threat of poor Ofsted results.  I can't fix the system.  But I can try to make my local part better.  So I've got letters to write:
  • specific response about my child's attendance record 
  • letter to headteacher and governors about the wider issues of access, and the way parents are contacted
  • ... and then see what those result in, I suppose
andrewducker: (Default)
([personal profile] andrewducker Feb. 27th, 2017 12:00 pm)
We gave out the wrong award (twice) long before Hollywood thought of it.

Thanx to File 770
supergee: (reclining)
([personal profile] supergee Feb. 27th, 2017 05:42 am)
Tom Perez scares the Republicans, and Keith Ellison is staying in Congress.

Thanx to Charles P. Pierce.
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
([personal profile] solarbird Feb. 27th, 2017 01:14 am)
Okay, so editorials and background mostly for you this morning.

I include the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial because that is not a liberal town. Item two makes it look to me like Steve Bannon has not just bought into the cyclic theories of Neil Howe's, but is trying to short-circuit them to get them to a desired position - and certainly adds another layer to his desire for massive war in the mideast. And there's another round of Jewish cemetery desecration, in a new city.

Leakers continue to leak, 'cause leakers gonna leak, even when it's a memo about leakers. Six and seven are about the vote coming on Tuesday to more or less shut down Trump investigations in Congress. Eight has the new EPA head talking about how awful the EPA is - as he's done his entire career, of course.

Item 10 is important because it charts together some of the previously-murkier people involved at the high-money/high-data levels of the rightist/authoritarian movement. It's long, but worth reading.

11 - Trump may have more secret loans, but no proof - just curiously inconsistent data. 12 - meet the 16-year-old Canadian girl known only as "Julia" who got the NeverTrump Republicans attention on the Milo videos. And finally, the current candidate for Secretary of the Navy withdraws.

Good luck.

It's February 27, 2017; this is the news )
steepholm: (Default)
([personal profile] steepholm Feb. 27th, 2017 07:09 am)
"If you think we don’t care because I don’t tell you much about her you only show that you do not understand people at all."

It's been a rather chaotic few days. The other morning my mother dismounted her stair lift, somehow fell as she turned, and broke her femur. Luckily she didn't hit her head (or anything else) on the way down, so she was able to press the button round her neck that summons help, and a neighbour duly arrived to call the ambulance.

So, she's now in Southampton General. Apart from giving birth, it's the first time she's stayed in hospital in 92 years - and the first 24-hour period without a cigarette since I was born. Naturally, at her age they were nervous about operating, but it went fine, and she seems to be making a good recovery, now plus one steel rod in her leg. I'll be up and down to Southampton quite a bit this week.

Now we're beginning to think, if they can do that for her leg, perhaps they can give her a new hip after all? The only reason they haven't is because they were worried about the anaesthetic, but if it weren't for her hip she'd basically be physically fine, and good for another decade of independent living...

But let's not totter before we can hobble.

In other news, Bristol's first cat cafe is now officially open. I'd put off going because my daughter (who despises my weeaboo-ness) was going to be here, but then she got invited there by one of her friends, much to my chagrin. But, broken legs permitting, I should be there a week today.
archangelbeth: Face with glasses and large red horns. Looking blah and-or grumpy. (DjinnBeth)
([personal profile] archangelbeth Feb. 27th, 2017 12:05 am)
With a long drive in the earlier morning part so we can be there in the earlier afternoon. Or something. Time is not my forte right now. I only got to bed at around 4am last "night," and then my only food till dinner was an apple (medium-small) and a mini peanutbutter cup.

Naturally, for those reasons and some hormonal ones, I hate the world.

The puns will continue until morale (mine) improves.

Havva Quote
S_____ shakes his head at the Ancestry DNA commercial where the woman thought she was Hispanic, and then discovered to her astonishment that her ancestry was . . . well, by the charts they put up, exactly what you'd expect a Hispanic to have, if you knew the history of Spain and its colonization in the Americas.

INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )
yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
([personal profile] yhlee Feb. 26th, 2017 08:00 pm)
My website now has a section for Appearances; the one that's up there is a reading/signing at Borderlands in San Francisco on April 15 at 3 p.m. It would be lovely if anyone who's not my sister showed up. XD I may even make hexarchate cartoon handouts for people who show up; we'll see!

Meanwhile, I have taken up tatting!

So the weird twisty helix-looking part of the beginning of the strand is because I had forgotten that you have to do two half-hitches in opposite directions to get a tatting double stitch. Then the light dawned (I'm slow, okay?) and the straight-cable-looking section is where I figured it out and practiced that for a while. It's hard to see in the photo, but I'm using two different colors of thread (yellow and orange, both colors I hate [1] so I don't mind using up lots of it making ugly practice tatting, I'm weird) so that I can tell what the working thread is.

[1] My favorite color is black. Which reminds me, I need to write up The LEGO Batman Movie, which Joe and I saw together.

I was introduced to tatting by [profile] lshelby, who generously set me up with basic supplies and some instructions. I struggled with it for a while (to master the double stitch, you have to figure out how to "flip" a loop, which is apparently the big stumbling block when most people try to learn tatting) then set it aside. The kit didn't survive the flood but I remembered how intriguing it was (also, she sent me the most GORGEOUS tatted dragon pendant, which also didn't survive the flood, and I want to make some of my own! she has the pattern online), and it's cheaper than knitting. Tatting thread is, like, basically thread, so it's much cheaper than fancy yarn. (Also I divorced knitting because I can't knit lace to save my soul.)

I use two shuttles to do tatting, although there are other ways. I picked Aerlit shuttles because they seem to be reasonably well thought of and were reasonably priced [2]; some people like the tiny crochet hooks for unpicking stitches gone wrong, some people hate them for catching in thread. I don't have a strong opinion yet. There's also a kind of tatting you do with needles, but I don't know how that works at all.

Also, the shuttle doesn't come with a cat sticker on it, I just stuck it on for decoration and to help me tell the two shuttles apart (because you have a working thread and a non-working thread). The smart thing to have done would have been to buy shuttles in two different colors but I didn't think of that. Whoops!

[2] You can even make your own tatting shuttles out of cardboard or plastic. But at a few bucks apiece I figured I'd rather have the kind with a bobbin. There are super fancy shuttles carved of the bone of unicorns or whatever the hell, but I'm not making that kind of investment in a new hobby I don't even know yet if I'll stick with it.

ETA: Tatted Treasures has a lot of great tutorial videos and posts on shuttle tatting, if you're interested.

ETA #2: Tatting the double stitch would have made so much more sense so much earlier if people had explained it to me in terms of KNOT THEORY.

ETA #3: I sent this pic to my mom, who reports that when she was in school, she had a friend who made tatted lace, but that at school they learned crochet and knitting, not so much tatting. She also reports having heard of or seen books on tatting in bookstores, although again, not as popular as knitting or crochet. And that she's seen Japanese shuttles that have pointy ends but not the crochet looks like on my Aerlit shuttles.
siderea: (Default)
([personal profile] siderea Feb. 26th, 2017 08:22 pm)
In which country should one host a website, for maximal privacy and free-speech rights?

Obviously, there are different pros and cons – one country may have very free speech but the government reads everything, another country may have no government censorship but a civil law that makes it trivial for randos to intimidate your hosting company into dropping your site – so it would be interesting to hear in more detail what precise social/legal advantages different countries have for website owners. (I'm ignoring for the moment, "Great sociolegal environment, but the whole country's internet connection is a T1 with a kink in it.")

Is there some handy reference for concerned prospective site owners, shopping jurisdictions to plant their servers in?
voleuse: Mulan (cartoon | mulan)
([personal profile] voleuse Feb. 26th, 2017 07:09 pm)
So I took it upon myself to watch as many of the Oscar nominees as were legal (no torrents) and available (smack-dab in Iowa) to me. I didn’t manage all of them--the foreign films were especially tricky, but I did pretty well, I think.

Since I’ve started to write mini-reviews of movies, I won’t go into detail here. But here are the nominees. Bold indicates my pick for the category, and italics indicates I didn’t see the film in question.

Best Picture
Hell or High Water
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Hidden Figures

Best Director
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Kenneth Longergan (Manchester by the Sea)
Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Best Actor
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Denzel Washington (Fences)

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Emma Stone (La La Land)
Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)
Ruth Negga (Loving)

I remain offended that Emma Stone and Meryl Streep made the list; Annette Bening (20th Century Women) and Amy Adams (Arrival) were both more impressive.

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)
Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
Dev Patel (Lion)

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis (Fences)
Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Original Screenplay
Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Best Adapted Screenplay
Hidden Figures

Best Foreign Film
Land of Mine (Denmark)
A Man Called Ove (Sweden)
Tanna (Australia)
The Salesman (Iran)
Toni Erdmann (Germany)

It’s A Man Called Ove by default, really, but it was a decent movie that I enjoyed.

Best Documentary Feature
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
OJ: Made in America (I watched the first part, but haven’t yet seen the second and third)

Best Animated Feature
Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle

Best Film Editing
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land

Best Original Song
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling!,” Trolls (Didn’t watch the film, but we’ve all heard the song)
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story (Didn’t watch the film, but listened to the song)

Just give Lin-Manuel Miranda his Oscar already.

Best Original Score
La La Land

Best Visual Effects
Deepwater Horizon
Dr. Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Best Cinematography
La La Land

Best Costume Design
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Best Production Design
La La Land
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail Caesar

Best Sound Editing
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land

Best Sound Mixing
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Thirteen Hours

Best Short Film, Live Action
Silent Nights
Ennemis Interieurs
La Femme et le TGV

Best Short Film, Animated
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Blind Vashya

Best Documentary Short Subject
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Wantani: My Homeland
The White Helmets
ng_moonmoth: The Moon-Moth (Default)
([personal profile] ng_moonmoth Feb. 26th, 2017 04:21 pm)
Ganked from [personal profile] kyrielle :

Ask me for my top five favorite [blank] — any subject (but bear in mind that if I'm not comfy with it or it doesn't apply, I may get creative), and I will do my best to answer.

Ask me for my top five favorite [blank] — any subject (but bear in mind that if I'm not comfy with it or it doesn't apply, I may get creative), and I will do my best to answer.
cofax7: Moya: go go go go  (FS - Go Go Go -- Sabine101)
([personal profile] cofax7 Feb. 26th, 2017 03:35 pm)
I don't know about you all, but I have had the hardest time concentrating for the last few months. Funny, that. ;-)


In case you need some distraction, I cannot recommend strongly enough [profile] ursulav's Summer in Orcus, which is a simply lovely portal fantasy in which birds engage in Regency banter and you will never think well of "house-hunters" again. It's on the children/YA boundary, but with rich characterizations and sensible psychological underpinnings. Plus Vernon's brilliantly creative world-building. Run out and get it!


And now on to the linkspam:

Courtesy of Linda Holmes at PCCH: this essay on hiking the Appalachian Trail as a black woman. Just lovely. A thing I found myself repeatedly explaining to hikers who asked about my books and my experience wasn't that I feared them, but that there was no such thing as freedom from vulnerability for me anywhere in this land. That I might be tolerated in trail towns that didn't expect to see a black hiker, but I'd rarely if ever feel at ease.

I know Reddit can be a sty, but every once in a while you find something like this summary of all of the Trump-Russian issues.

Here’s a guide from Wired about US Customs and digital privacy. And another essay on the same issue.

Holy crap this is awesome.

I believe this is a church-related group working to protect immigrants.

You’ve probably already seen this link: Welcome to the America black people have always lived in.

This migrant workers’ rights group does good work.


This is some deep subtweeting: how to identify the Hunger Games districts by using federal government statistics.

Noted for later reading: an essay on the political philosophy of Winter Soldier.

This potato-leek soup looks really tasty.

Old-school X-Files folks may find this Tumblr entertaining. I have to admit that I mostly subscribed to it to see if I was ever going to get recced there (I was, eventually :D ), but it's also fun seeing both classics from old friends get name-checked, and work from relative newbies I'd never heard of. If I were much into fic these days, I'd be reading (and re-reading) a lot of this!


I've been doing a lot of baking recently. Two successes: a batch of Mexican-chocolate-and-cherry brownies, and a batch of ginger oatmeal cookies. One only moderate success: yet another attempt at macarons. These were both flat and undercooked, although they tasted fine. I'm now 0 for 4 at macarons: I may give them up and try my hand at choux pastry instead...

Happily, the rain appears to have stopped for a bit, so I may be able to get some more running in, which will be healthier than baking.
yhlee: Amber Tarot Knight of Swords: Benedict (Tarot d'Ambre: Benedict)
([personal profile] yhlee Feb. 26th, 2017 05:22 pm)
Le Tarot d'Ambre par F. Nedelec, cont'd

Toward the Pattern

Now with bonus numerology! And Douglas Adams references! And chess!

Read more... )
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
([personal profile] hawkwing_lb Feb. 26th, 2017 10:46 pm)
Books 2017: 32-34

32. Erika Lewis, Game of Shadows. Tor, 2017. Copy via publisher.

Read for review. Er. Eeep. WTF.

33. Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin, eds., The Djinn Falls In Love & other stories. Solaris, 2017.

Read for review for Really excellent anthology.


34. Ibn Fadhlan, Ibn Fadhlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North. Penguin Classics, 2012. Translated with an introduction by Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone.

Ibn Fadhlan left an account of his journey from Baghdad to the court of the Bulghar khan in 921 CE. (The account of his return journey doesn't survive.) Full of precise observations and surprisingly little judgment - and a certain amount of what comes across as good-humoured honesty - this is really lovely medieval travel writing. It includes the only eye-witness description of a Viking boat funeral in the lands of the Rus.

Ibn Fadhlan's account takes up a little less than half the book. The remainder is given over to extracts from other Arabic travel writers (or compilers of geographic information) who deal with the far north or with people from the far north, such as Vikings. These are usually far less self-aware and precise than Ibn Fadhlan, but fascinating in their own right.

(I really like the Arabic literature of the medieval period, at least as much of it as I've been able to read in English translation. It'd be really cool to have a good translation of Ibn Hayyan, you know. Or ibn Rusta. Hell, Mas'udi.)