Apr. 23rd, 2019 10:43 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I remember liking Oldfield's Tubular Bells when I was a teen but now I can't listen to more than a minute of it.

Links and Update

Apr. 23rd, 2019 08:05 am
marthawells: (Manly Hug)
[personal profile] marthawells
Here's some links:

* Subtle Forms of Racism to Avoid in SFF by Blackfemgeekery
This is a transcript of a talk given at EasterCon in the UK on April 20, 2019.

And here's some lovel fan art for the Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy by Worldsentwined:


I'm closing in on the end of Network Effect, about mid to 3/4 of the way through the climax, and deep in decision fatigue and stress.

That's about all I've got right now.
lisa_goldstein: (pic#11299236)
[personal profile] lisa_goldstein
This review contains SPOILERS for the TV series Game of Thrones as well as for A Song of Ice and Fire.  Read at your own peril.

What’s going on with these new episodes of Game of Thrones?  Everyone is so understanding, so goddamn nice.  What happened to all the treachery, the back-stabbing, the hatred and secrets and vindictiveness?

Look at Jaime, for example.  Enough people bear grudges against him that they should be standing in line to attack him: he killed Daenerys’s father, he pushed Bran off a tower, he imprisoned Sansa and Arya’s father, he constantly made fun of Brienne.  And yet every one of them ends up accepting him.  Some of these scenes are truly affecting, especially the one where he makes Brienne a knight, but they can’t all be so forgiving.

The Hound shrugs off the fact that Arya left him to die.  Samwell Tarly is unhappy that Daenerys killed his father and brother, but nothing seems to come of it.  (Unless the fact that he told Jon the secret of Jon’s birth is his revenge, but if so it seems awfully passive-aggressive.)  Sansa even hugs Theon, after everything he’s done.  When Tyrion suggests they sing a song, I almost expected someone to start up with "Kumbaya."

I don’t know why this bothers me so much.  It’s certainly a pleasant change of pace to see everyone working together, and to watch people who have been separated for years finally meet up again.  It just seems too rational for Westeros; it’s as if, to take an example from the real world, everyone suddenly decided that Climate Change is a real threat and banded together to do something about it.  I kept expecting something more in keeping with what’s gone before, like, I don’t know, Arya getting orders from the House of Black and White to kill Jon, because someone knows about Jon’s claim to the Iron Throne.  But nope — they meet and talk about weaponry.  Yeah, it works, but I don’t know if it’s as interesting.

But as I said, I don’t totally hate all of this good feeling, and I did enjoy a lot of Sunday’s episode.  And there’s still Cersei left.  Thank god for at least one vindictive person.

Update - Today Looking Up

Apr. 22nd, 2019 12:43 pm
heron61: (hopeful cat)
[personal profile] heron61
I haven't been awake that long, but things are definitely looking up. I woke up after 4 hours of sleep, but managed to get back to sleep for a total of almost 7 - I'll see if I can manage to get to sleep earlier tonight, but definitely a step in the right direction. Then, my email contained a note about my book out for approvals:
"A few more small comments, but consider this approved!"
So, that's a vast load off my mind.

Then my mom called, which filled me with terror and anxiety. She was in tears, and apologized profusely - I think this makes something like the 4th or 5th time in my entire life she has apologized to me. She wants me to come out on June 3 - June 7, which I'm not eager for at all, but I'll do it. It's troubling and strange to realize that because she's entirely alone (my parents have no local friends and both are only children, so they also have no other remotely close relatives), that she can no longer afford to abuse me w/o consequences.

Also, I just called back the counselor that left me a voice mail on Friday, and I have an appointment tomorrow at 11 am - it's a bit early for me, but I'll schedule the others later.

Hopefully, the day will continue well.

General Update + Parent Stress

Apr. 22nd, 2019 01:12 am
heron61: (Heron - About Me)
[personal profile] heron61
I’m so tired I’m slightly dizzy. On Friday, I made my plane tickets to see my parents from June 3 - June 7, amidst conflicting messages from my mother about how I needed to come visit, but that coming to visit that far after my dad’s birthday (May 11) was completely unacceptable, and I should visit earlier. I didn’t mention [personal profile] teaotter and I visiting our dear friends in Oakland from May 16-22, and I will need to lie about this during my daily phone calls to my mom then, because that wouldn’t serve as an excuse, but simply as another reason to attack me, just as she had attacked me for wanting to spend the time around Mother’s Day with [personal profile] teaotter due to her mother dying last year at that time.

In any case, early Friday evening, I was just about to call my mom back and ask her straight out if I should cancel the tickets, and just before I picked up my phone, she called me and complained more about the tickets, so I cancelled them (in time for a full refund, yay). I have no idea when I’ll be visiting either around then or in August, since one of my mom’s threats was saying that I couldn’t come out in August if I didn’t visit in May, meaning I’d need to foot plane flight to GenCon myself, rather than flying to see them and then flying to GenCon and heading home. Flying from Portland to Indianapolis rather a lot of money for me - more than I can currently afford. At this point, I think I’m willing to miss GenCon. I have friends that I like among the various gaming industry people, and I get work there, but I get work in other ways too, and I’m simply not sure that going it worth the emotional stress with my parents, unless that’s the only visit I do this Summer. OTOH, that may work, we shall see.

In any case, I was a complete mess on Saturday, and my awesome partner [personal profile] amberite figured out that handling stuff with my parents, and the fact that I effectively have a separate persona/interaction mode for dealing with them, that had been getting increasingly frantic was the reason I was so messed up. That provided me with much needed clarity.

Then, today, I went over to see my amazing new friend [personal profile] alatefeline, and kept them company as they cleaned and organized their space. After that, I talked about my parents with them, and they were utterly drop dead amazing at providing insights and most of all, much needed comfort. It was a lovely and wonderful visit, and then the two of us went out for ice cream with [personal profile] amberite, which was also wonderful. [personal profile] teaotter was writing fanfic and has been erratic in a variety of ways trying to get her supplements to all function together, and seemed slightly better tonight, but also far from full functionality, which is stressful to her, me, and [personal profile] amberite. Among other things, [personal profile] alatefeline helped me realize that while if my parents weren't rich, and thus an upcoming source of money needed money, I'd cease letting my mom try to control me, and I'd also only call every few weeks and would visit a Christmas and no other time, but that I wouldn't cut them out of my lives, which is not a comfortable thing to realize about abusive parents, but is very useful to know.

I often think of myself as rather morally "flexible", I know that the rules that I live by are rather eccentric, and I often do not consider myself a good person, but after that conversation with [personal profile] alatefeline, I wonder if I actually am.

In any case, I got home many hours ago, and have done little, until recently when I realized exactly how exhausted I am, which I hope is a good sign. My mom has been exceedingly vicious for more than a week, and during that time I haven’t managed to sleep more than 5 ½-6 ½ hours a night – regardless of when I go to bed, I wake up that many hours later and can’t get back to sleep, along with having something resembling hot flashes when I wake up (many medical tests, combined with observation clearly showed there’s nothing going on with me except stress). Both of these serious stress symptoms that first showed up more than a year ago, after I became exceptionally upset about our semi-nazi government, and they got worse whenever I visited my parents and when Becca’s mom died and Becca went to the funeral.

In any case, what was different this time was something I haven’t had for well more than a decade – before now, I wasn’t tired despite not having nearly enough sleep for more than a week. I didn’t feel good, but I felt completely alert, and that’s over. Between help and comfort from [personal profile] amberite and [personal profile] alatefeline, I’m at long last completely exhausted (or am at least aware of this fact). I’m a bit scared to get to sleep because I worry about waking up too soon again, despite what I’ve been taking to help me stay asleep, and I’m also deeply troubled that I need to talk to my mom again tomorrow, but I’m also taking my tiredness as a very good sign indeed.

On the positive side, I’ve been looking for a counselor, and after several places having no openings or no opening for someone taking my insurance, I finally got a call back on Saturday, to call someone tomorrow to set up an appointment, so that makes me nervous too, but it’s also a very good thing (I hope).

Also, not only is one book back for approvals again (crosses fingers), but I also both got my writing on my current project done for this week, as well as ¼ of my writing on that books done for next week, so I’m close to finished, and don’t need to work very hard next week. One ability I’m deeply thankful I possess is the ability to turn extreme stress into solid productivity – I don’t end up any less stressed, but I do at least get necessary things done. In the coming week, I shall work and read novels next week, and attempt to relax.

Done Since 2019-04-14

Apr. 21st, 2019 06:02 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

BAD week. Colleen is in the hospital again, with damaged kidneys and multiple severe drug-resistant infections. She slipped getting back into bed Monday morning, after getting weaker all the previous week. It's pretty dire this time. V and I have been there every day.

N came up Thursday afternoon, and the kids and their SOs came up yesterday. It's that serious. See updates. I'm redacting almost all of the medical details in the notes; it'll go into the next Colleen update, with a content warning. Look for that tonight or tomorrow.

She's been delirious and mostly non-verbal from the infections and her wacked-out blood chemistry; the last coherent thing she said yesterday was "I want my Bear." All I could do was hold her hand, but that seemed to be enough.

N and I have decided to make this year's Rainbow Con a celebration for Colleen. She will almost certainly still be in rehab at that point, in which case we'll record and/or stream it. Come, if you can.

Notes & links, as usual )

I should post this.

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Ander: Human cleric
Dorritt: Human warlock
Himo: Wood Elf rogue
Kokai: Gnome Mage
Milo: Human Ranger

Alas, my notes seem to be incomplete. Well, no doubt I can reconstuct the missing material at some future date. Suffice to say we have descended into the city and had a few inconclusive encounters with locals.

There are far too many large dinosaur footprints in this city. Read more... )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

Today's song is one I wrote as a Valentine's Day present for my wife, Colleen. I don't seem to have audio up on the web; I considered singing it to her earlier today, but one look at the lyrics told me I wouldn't be able to. It's hard to sing when you're crying.

Here's Eyes Like the Morning. Audio at the link, or [ogg] [mp3]

lyrics, if you don't want to click through )

Do I know anyone

Apr. 20th, 2019 05:22 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Who can turn a few reviews into epub books?

Tolkien bibliography

Apr. 20th, 2019 10:47 am
calimac: (JRRT)
[personal profile] calimac
That's what I've been working on for the last couple days: the annual bibliography of Tolkien studies for the journal of the same title. This year we're covering 2017 (just long enough in the past to let the references settle down).

First thing is to go through all the specialty indexes and known Tolkien-related journals, and then turn to more general indexes. This is my first time using Google Scholar, which I added to my list of sources last year. I like it a lot. Its article listings are more detailed than WorldCat's, and it has a lot more material, though there's a lot of scholarly sources it omits, and there's plenty more work to be done. It's a very high-recall index, which means there's lots of dross to sort through, and despite using a relevance ordering there's no obvious spot where the dross entirely takes over; that comes from the intensity and depth of the recall. It's a good thing I'm working on an author with an exceedingly rare surname; if I were working on Charles Williams, I wouldn't be able to proceed this way.

Biggest problem is: what possibly relevant items to omit? I omit anything about the movies that isn't directly about comparing them with the books: this is Tolkien Studies, not Jackson Studies. Similarly with other derived and inspired material. Accordingly, I also omit an article about tiny neopagan groups who've modeled their religion on The Silmarillion: it's fascinating, but it turns out to have nothing to do with Tolkien's book, just on what these people did with it.

Theoretical linguists seem to be taking to using Tolkien to provide examples for their airy discussions. There's an article on the difference between the truth values of "Frodo lives in the Shire" (which is a fictional statement already) and "Frodo lives at 221B Baker Street," and what happens if you add "Imagine that ..." to the front of either of them. I decided this was just N to fill the space and had nothing to do with Tolkien.

Equivalently, I've decided to stop listing the trickle of articles, mostly from Eastern Europe, that use translations, usually of The Hobbit, as source material for usually rather vague analyses of how particular forms of expressions or types of words are translated from English into Bulgarian or some other such target language. Any Tolkien content has been sucked out in the process.

There are a lot of things, however, that I add as tentative because there's no full text accessible online and I can't figure out from the citations if they're relevant or not until I can get to a library and figure them out. Already out, from a view at the public library, is a book of tales of famous authors' childhoods whose story of Tolkien and the tarantula is full of made-up detail, because there isn't any that isn't made up. It also says he remained terrified of spiders, which he wasn't.

Besides topic, there's also nature of publication. We don't list unpublished theses. I'm trying to be chary of undergraduate term papers stuck without additional formatting into their school's online journals. Self-published books can go in if they're substantial. Something with no library holdings, no proper title page, and a single Amazon customer review saying it's a worthless ripoff of Tolkien fans' money, no. Frantic e-mails to obscure Tolkien publications: why does your website not list an issue from you, but WorldCat says there is one?

Now to spend the rest of the weekend thinking about making food - there's visits to both a Pesach seder and an Easter dinner on the calendar; that's what comes of being an interfaith couple - and I'm bringing food to both of them. Come Monday, it's down to the trenches of the university libraries for a couple more days' bibliographic work.

The Goblin Emperor e-book deal

Apr. 20th, 2019 10:09 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Tor is running a promotion where The Goblin Emperor e-book is $1.99. (Even though Macmillan's site still says $8.99, all the links have the right price.) Obviously this is a golden opportunity. :)

Books to Savor - Paladin of Souls

Apr. 20th, 2019 02:00 am
heron61: (Books)
[personal profile] heron61
Most books I read quite fast. In college, I discovered that I could read novels so fast that I swiftly forgot what happened, although I enjoyed the process of reading. I remember reading Patricia McKillip's Harpest In The Wind, and realizing at the end of it, I had little memory of what had occurred. So, I taught myself to read a bit more slowly and retain what I read better, but I still read most novels quite rapidly - just not as rapidly as before. However, that's not how I read all books. Some few, like [personal profile] graydon's brilliant Commonweal novels are for slow and careful reading, as I attempt to extract all the complex wonder and fascinating ideas from them.

However, there's also a rarer pleasure found in some books, I read them slowly to savor them and fall into them. Nina Kiriki Hoffman's The Red Heart of Memories and Past the Size of Dreaming are novels like this, and so is Lois McMaster Bujold's Paladin of Souls. My awesome new friend [personal profile] alatefeline loaned me this book, and told me it was one of their favorites - I now see why.

Although this week had too much work, with both writing about dragons and revising the book I'm developing, I found a bit of time for reading, and read the last third of the book tonight. It is a lovely book. It's not one of those with brilliant new ideas, and I was familiar with the setting from Bujold's quite good Penric novellas. Instead, it a book that focuses on its characters and their choices, and above all on the protagonist and her choices and her life. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

The Beard

Apr. 19th, 2019 07:52 am
calimac: (Default)
[personal profile] calimac
The most light and enjoyable topic to come out of a day spent releasing the Mueller report was the obsession with The Beard: the one on the guy standing behind Attorney General Barr at his press conference.

Here is both the answer to "Who is he, anyway?" (he's a deputy AG) and a collection of various tweets and comments about his appearance, of which the second best is
“This is going to be tough. Get me a guy with a cool beard to stand behind me.” -William Barr
and the best is
Breaking News: Attorney General Barr brings former President James A. Garfield to press conference in order to distract reporters with his magnificent beard.

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