oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
([personal profile] oursin Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:57 pm)

Well, not literally.

But I have finally managed to have a discussion with the editor at the Very Estimable and Well-Reputed Academic Press whom I had hoped to get together with during the Massive Triennial Conference the other week, which did not happen for, reasons.

And they are very keen about a book I have been thinking about for ages, which is not the Major Research Project of the moment, though somewhat tangentially related, and I'm hmmmmmm about it.

Because it's a book where I haven't done more than research rather a small part of one angle of the bigger picture, but on the other hand, I do know what has to be in there and where to look.

And unlike the Major Research Project, which is large and contains multitudes, this would be a discrete project that wouldn't (I hope) keep starting yet more hares for me to go baying after.

*Wibble*

musesfool: Kermit the Frog (can't look clowns will eat me)
([personal profile] musesfool Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:55 am)
Last night, we had dinner at Joanne's, the Lady Gaga family restaurant. The food was fine, but for the prices they charge, I expected at least two meatballs with my spaghetti and meatball dinner. To be fair, the one meatball was of decent size, but still, it's listed as spaghetti and meatballs on the menu so it's not ridiculous to expect there to be more than one meatball on the plate. I am just saying.

It's warm and clammy today, which is my second least favorite combination (cold and clammy is worse), but I'm looking forward to the weekend, as this week has seemed endless. It was so hard to get out bed. Sigh.

I did just get off the phone with 1. the realtor and then 2. the lawyer, so things are progressing there re: the negotiation of a slightly lower price due to the low appraisal (all thanks, apparently, to the fact that while the seller lists the apartment in Forest Hills, it actually exists in Rego Park which is one - slightly less expensive - neighborhood over. And if you are from Queens, you know what I mean). The question is whether this affects the lender in any way, but since the loan amount is the loan amount regardless, I'm not sure why it would? but what do I know? As per my lawyer's instructions, I am playing dumb (I mean, on this topic, despite all the info from Uncle Google, I actually am kind of dumb? so it's not hard! *hands*) The lawyer and mortgage broker are on top of that.

When I spoke to the realtor this morning, I was like, it's been a week since they received my application but I shouldn't expect to hear from them before the Fourth of July weekend? and he was like, "they don't like to disclose their schedule but I'll ask for an update," and then he just texted me to say that the board has received and is reviewing my application so EEP! That, more than the bank or the seller or the more normal processes of home-buying is what is freaking me out. I have more to say about this but probably not until it's all over, and even then, probably only in a locked post. Mostly what I want to say is EEP! At least I found my black dress (and my mom's pearls *snerk*) so I'm prepared!

I feel like I should have something fannish to say, and I'm sure I did before these phone calls all started happening, but I guess for right now, this househunting business is my main fandom. Sigh.

***
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:32 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] bessemerprocess and [personal profile] libskrat!
muccamukk: An orange life ring floating in the sea. (Lights: Lifering)
([personal profile] muccamukk Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm)
I ended up signing up for [community profile] fandomgiftbox, which is sort of [community profile] fandom_stocking in the summer with slightly different rules. I had fun treating it last year, so why not.

Wish there were more people in my fandoms in [community profile] multifandomdrabble fest. Sign ups open for another day!

I know people have been looking for nice Bill icons from this series of Doctor Who. Here are a bunch made by [personal profile] luminousdaze, along with 12, Missy, Clara and a bunch of the gang.

I really like this essay by [personal profile] lydy: The Rules: A Memo for Every Man in My Life.
Instead, I want to address something that comes up over and over in these conversations, and always from men. "What are the rules?" "How can I know how to behave if you won't clarify what you want?"

Dear men, please do not ask me to provide to you something that I have never had. I cannot provide you the rules. I do not know what they are, and I never have.


Pitssburgh Queer History project has some great archival material here.

ETA: For those who like Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells is doing an AMA here, and here's a quote from the next one.
[R]ed tape also means regulations that protect citizens, at a certain cost to companies that otherwise have little incentive to sacrifice some profit to mitigate risk. It is because of red tape that you cannot buy a flammable sofa, and that you are very unlikely to die in an air crash.

Much red tape, indeed, is the frozen memory of past disaster. Modern regulatory regimes as a whole came into being in the late 19th and early 20th centuries because of public outrage at the dangerous practices of unrestrained industry.

This is perhaps partly similar to the phenomenon that having effective infrastructure and ongoing regular maintenance of same is not as dramatic a story as horrendous accidents.

It's possibly also analogous to people becoming anti-vaxxers, because vaccination programmes have been so successful that there is no notion of the risks there used to be from common diseases of childhood.

For the first few years of 'there were no new cases of polio in the last twelve months' this is news. And then that becomes the default setting.

For those who decry 'Elf and Safety, I recommend a salutary reading of the London Medical Officer of Health reports from the C19th, freely available digitised and searchable online.

There are some Victorian values one can get behind, and the rise of public health is one of them.

On other Victorian values, however, and those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, this person seems unaware that providing tied housing contingent upon working for a particular employer is nothing like a 'welfare state':

it was recently reported that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is spending is around $30m to provide short-term, prefab housing for 300 of its employees because Silicon Valley housing is in such short supply. Tech giants helped cause a housing crisis in Silicon Valley, now it seems they are becoming landlords. It’s feudalism 2.0.
Not so much feudalism as C19th model towns, e.g. Saltaire, founded by businessmen to keep their workers contented and (I hypothesise) spurning the trades union movement (having had to do with a late C19th enterprise with some of the same elements of benevolent paternalism towards the workforce).

And, looking at that article, was New Lanark really quite the same thing? Enlightened capitalism not quite the same as utopian socialism.

Also had the thought that people who are 'regulation BAD' seem to reverse this opinion when it comes to panic measures against terrorism that are often symbolic rather than proven efficacious.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:40 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] woldy!
hannah: (steamy drink - fooish_icons)
([personal profile] hannah Jun. 21st, 2017 10:56 pm)
I met a friend for coffee after work today. That's it, that's the big Solstice news. It's something new to me, and it turns out that even though it cut into my evening writing time, I really liked it, and I'll have to try it again sometime. Just not soon, given the aforementioned writing time. But definitely before August.
nilchance: Picture of a pomegranate with spilled seeds, text "I think you're confused, I'm not Persephone" (Default)
([personal profile] nilchance Jun. 21st, 2017 04:20 pm)
Oh, I should also officially say that I'll no longer be crossposting to LJ. It's pretty bittersweet, but. Yeah.
nilchance: actor jeremy sisto grinning (sisto in plaid)
([personal profile] nilchance Jun. 21st, 2017 01:46 pm)
I'm gonna try to use DW more often. I've been on tumblr a lot the last several months because it doesn't require me to word good, so I'm a little rusty.

1) Today is [personal profile] beanside and I's 14th wedding anniversary. We got hitched the same weekend that the Supreme Court struck down the sodomy laws, which is cool. For our honeymoon we ended up visiting my (homophobic) parents and sleeping on separate sofas, which in retrospect is that flavor of sad/hilarious. Sadlarious. It seems like both yesterday and forever ago, and I'm so grateful that we got hitched.
2) I discovered Japanese milk tea, the kind where the non-dairy creamer and sugar are already packaged in the teabag. The Earl Gray flavor is like a London Fog latte from Starbucks, and it is great.
3) Fuck, I don't know what to put for number 3. Um. T and I went to see wrestling live for the first time in like a decade for the last WWE PPV. I'd forgotten how uncooperative MD crowds are. It's like herding cats. WWE had to pipe in a lot of audio on the televised version to cover up the fact that the audience was, at one point, so bored by a match that we started fighting over which section got to bounce around a beach ball. It was a lot of fun.
musesfool: text icon: O swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon (swear not by the moon)
([personal profile] musesfool Jun. 21st, 2017 10:53 am)
In the ever-exciting news of the long slow process of co-op buying, late yesterday afternoon, I received a revised version of the appraisal - the one I got on Saturday had one number on the cover page and then another within the body of the document, and when I pointed that out to the lawyer, and he was like, "They're gonna go with the number in the document." Which was the lower number. But as of yesterday, the apartment is apparently worth the number on the cover page, which is $5000 more than the other. It's still $10K lower than the asking price, but it's proof that appraisers are human and make mistakes, so. We'll see what happens. I'm also still waiting to be contacted to set up the board interview. Sigh. I did find my black dress, though, so I'll be able to wear that when the time comes.

*

Last night, I made formulation #2 of anti-itch lotion and it doesn't have salt in it but it does have baking soda, so the unfortunately slightly gritty feel continues and also it didn't work (not to mention being an unappealing-for-a-skincare-product gray in color), so I think I'm just going to stick to more tried and true methods going forward.

*

Wednesday! Books!

What I've just finished
The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan. I enjoyed this - the action is a lot of fun and Leo got more to do - but oy, Apollo as narrator is annoying.

What I'm reading now
Despite an endless TBR pile, how could I resist Joan Aiken's The Five-Minute Marriage after reading amazing reviews by [personal profile] rachelmanija (here) and [personal profile] skygiants (here)?

I have especially fond memories of both The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Black Hearts in Battersea, though I haven't read either since I was a kid (I probably should reread at some point, and I did not know there were like five other books in that series), plus it's about a fake but real marriage set in the Regency era, so it was like five of my bulletproof narrative kinks in one book.

And boy does it deliver. Not so much on the actual romance, but with the hilarity and the fake marriage that turns out to be legitimate (in the sense of they are actually legally married rather than it being a fraudulent ceremony as they expected) and will likely turn into a real (as in they actually care about each other and stay married) marriage by the end of the book, grand romance notwithstanding, as well as the apparent alpha asshole hero who turns out to just be really stressed about babysitting his sister's TEN kids.

Anyway! I am enjoying it a lot and if that sounds like your cup of tea, you probably will too!

What I'm reading next
I do not know! However, I did want to give a heads up to anyone who doesn't know that Frances Hardinge has a new book coming out in the fall: A Skinful of Shadows. I am excite! And maybe I will read The Lie Tree next. I was saving it because it's the only Hardinge I haven't read yet, but if there's a new book on the horizon, I don't have to hoard it anymore. *g*

*

What I read

Finished Binti. Reminded me a bit of other things I have read over my sff reading life, but well-done, may well go for the next one.

Sarah Gailey, River of Teeth (2017). Okay, everybody mentions the hippos, but isn't it, underneath that, a combination western/caper tale where an unlikely team is brought together and has its own tensions besides the issues with what it has to do? (not that that isn't a good armature). Enjoyable, but ended abruptly and cliffhangingly, and is the new thing (see Binti above) of issuing novellas which are only the beginning of a longer story arc the new allotrope of serialised fiction? (but hey, it worked for Middlemarch, though at least Ms Evans indicated that it was an ongoing story.)

Dana Stabenow, Bad Blood (2013). Not quite as good as the last one I read, I think, but ended with A Thing that makes me want to go on to the next quite shortly to see how that pans out for Kate Shugak.

Two short pieces of Barbara Hambly's 'Further Adventures': Hazard (2017) (Sunwolf and Starhawk) and Elsewhere (2017) (Darwath).

Picked up in booksale, Arthur Ransome, Missee Lee (1941). I remembered very little about this, even though I later discovered I already had a copy on my shelves. I don't think it was ever among my favourites of the Swallows and Amazons books; but I've found, on re-reads of these books, that somehow they do not do for me what they did in youth - something about the style? I don't know. Also, early C20th rendering of Chinglish, sigh.

On the go

Elizabeth George, A Banquet of Consequences (2015). I was considerably off these when they were turning Lynley's Epic Manpain up to 11, but this one was very cheap in a charity shop and promised mostly Havers. And really, do we not want more of the scruffy maverick with constant disciplinary issues who is also a woman? - the 'top brass not pleased' is massive at the beginning of this one. Okay, it's got a standard E George riff on 'all unhappy families are different in baroquely complicated ways, and there are no happy families' (the misery handed on is not so much a coastal shelf as the Mariana Trench), but I have stuck with it, though have just been irked that over 500 pages into the narrative they are only just looking into how anyone might have got hold of the somewhat unusual toxic substance involved.

Also, on the ereader, because I don't want to tote around a damn great fat paperback, from the romance bundle, Ivory Lei, How to Wed an Earl (2013) - not got very far, but seems as, 'be betrothed in infancy by respective parents' is how...

Up next

Well, in another charity shop found the preceding volume by Elizabeth George, Just One Evil Act (2013), which, I daresay, will reveal what got Havers into the deepest of disgrace and quite possibly the depths of depression, but I'm not sure I really want to commit to going straight on to another of these. Or maybe the next Stabenow in the series.

Or I could look through my tbr piles, actual and virtual.

oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Jun. 21st, 2017 10:09 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] adrian_turtle!
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen Jun. 20th, 2017 11:03 pm)
Last week's F winner was Journey to the Center of the Earth! K was Malevil, which means another giant tome I no longer have to shelve, yay.

I am still behind on reviewing stuff because I had Six Wakes and All Systems Red and A Close and Common Orbit all in at the library, plus All The Sedoretu, and sometimes you just have to priortize?

But in honor of the Tiptree anthology I picked up for the sedoretu story in it (and Pride), this week's theme is LGBT& content! (Most of these are Tiptree or Gaylactic Spectrum finalists, in fact.)
How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

Poll! Bear, Chabon, Doran, Gerrold, Lackey, Monette, Orlando & Rebelka, Scott, St. Clair )
Tags:
hannah: (steamy drink - fooish_icons)
([personal profile] hannah Jun. 20th, 2017 09:15 pm)
Last Thursday, I brought some key lime cookies from Trader Joe's to work, because I didn't have much in the way of impulse control. The cookies were eaten up fast, with a lot of powdered sugar left over. So I took the key lime-infused sugar, poured it into a mug, mixed it with instant coffee, and made myself a key lime flavored latte.

Last Sunday, it was the last day of my long-standing part-time telecommuting job. It's not quite completed - I've still got one last paycheck coming - but all the work and responsibilities are now gone. Over and done with. At thirty-six months, it was the longest I've ever had a job in my life, and it'll be the new measurement for employment length. The work was sometimes annoying and petty, and I really only had to put a lot of effort into it during the first couple of months to make everything easy enough to sustain my responsibilities on an average of ten minutes a week for the rest of things. Still, I liked it well enough. On Sunday, as I've done about a dozen times in the past three years, I went to my boss' house in Jersey City, except this time it was to wrap everything up. I sent out a few emails, completely cleaned out the organization's email inbox and got it to zero, put every related file I had on a USB drive and handed it over, and that was pretty much it. She gave me tea, a mug with a giraffe on it, and the two of us and her husband went out to lunch together.

Today I would have liked to have gotten more stuff done, and I don't even have reasons for it, just excuses.
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen Jun. 20th, 2017 07:02 pm)
So instead of an FMK review this week you get more talking about sedoretu (not the moiety post yet, that's coming. Probably.)

The opinions on the poll about bookmarking were interestingly split - pretty consistently 2-1 in favor of bookmarking, but the anti-bookmarking people seem to feel more strongly about it. I guess the only solution is for more people to start adding stuff to that collection so mine don't stand out as much!

I also finally read Another Story, or, a Fisherman of the Inland Sea, which is the first and longest of Le Guin's O stories. Or possibly I had already read it and then blocked it out. I am... not sure how I feel about it? It is definitely the most SF-based of them, with quantum physics and interplanetary travel and so on (and probably the most useful for people who want to think about sedoretu in the context of a much larger and more cosmopolitan society than we see in either "Mountain Ways" or "Unchosen Love".)

blehhhhh )

Anyway, I still really really like the worldbuilding!

I have managed to narrow it down to ten prompts in the Sedoretu fest that I probably *could* write. (As opposed to the ones I most want to see written, which includes many that I am definitely not the person to write.) They all have pros and cons, which I shall now ramble about here:

Discworld, HP, Sagas, O, LM, Nimona, SW:TFA, Barrayar )

...this is weirdly stressful compared to a prompt meme community where I can just blather on in comments without committing to anything until somebody else either writes the thing or I know exactly what I am doing
musesfool: girl with umbrella (rainy days and mondays)
([personal profile] musesfool Jun. 20th, 2017 02:04 pm)
I spoke with my lawyer yesterday afternoon and he said that the appraisal coming in low shouldn't affect the loan because I'm putting 50% down, but that it can affect how much I have to pay, and he's going to ask the seller's lawyer what they're willing to do regarding bringing the price down a little to align with the appraisal (or explain why the appraisal is wrong). We agreed that I would still pay the full asking price if necessary, but he's going to see what he can get since this happened. We'll see!

*

Last night, I met up with [personal profile] chicklet_girl, who is visiting NYC, and we had steak dinner and fannish conversation and it was lovely. I managed to mostly avoid getting soaked too, right up until I was half a block from the restaurant, at which point the skies opened and I got drenched from the knees on down (I was wearing a dress so it didn't bother me that much). And then later, as we left the restaurant, the sky was a weird yellow color as the storms had moved east. I didn't see any rainbows, but I've heard from various people that they were all over.

*

So I made some anti-itch lotion, but I don't find it particularly effective, and also it has salt in it, which makes it gritty, which is not a sensation I want in something that's not meant to be an exfoliant. I mean, maybe if I mixed it up with a mixer it wouldn't feel that way, and but I'm not ready to commit my handmixer to non-food-related items. And since it doesn't really work any better than any of the other million different things I've tried (and it works significantly less well than a few of those methods), I can't see using it again. I do have a couple other formulations to try out, none of which contain salt, so that at least shouldn't be a problem.

The bug repellent lotion bar seems to work, or at least I haven't gotten any new bites since I started using it. I guess we'll see how that goes. it's a good thing I don't mind the scent of citronella.

*
cyprinella: Greta looking at the camera with a very serious face (serious greta)
([personal profile] cyprinella Jun. 20th, 2017 10:50 am)

Greta close upHemangiosarcoma.

Hemangiosarcoma.

Hemangiosarcoma.

I keep repeating the word in my head. It’s especially bad when I walk Greta in the mornings. It’s kinda weird when it happens when I’m doing a power press in weights class. Luckily when my eyes water there it just looks like sweat.

It’s a particularly nasty canine cancer of the blood vessels that shows up in middle aged large breed dogs the most. Most people find out their dog has it because it’s popped like an aneurysm and their dog goes into shock or dies suddenly. I got “lucky” in that I found it while rubbing her belly and noticed the lump.

People who follow me on twitter were treated to a fine rant about how when I called up my vet to make an appointment to get it checked, I was subtly mocked for calling up to say I had found a mass in her abdomen. My husband (who ended up taking her to the first appointments because I had a major work project launching that week) said the vet was actually really impressed I had found it because most owners wouldn’t have.

I’m still debating if discovering it did her any damn good. There’s not really good treatment for this particular cancer. Most of the first page of google results are the 1-3 month survival period after discovery with organ involvement. Of course, most of these cases are from animals that had spleens involved and it’s discovered due to the extreme internal bleeding. We lucky in that there’s wasn’t any organ involvement initially and we caught it before severe bleeding happened. However, chances are very high it will recur in a very short time period. We could do chemo. We haven’t talked to the oncologists yet because we’re both kinda like, why? This isn’t a cancer where they fade away and in a lot of pain. It’s a lot like living with a known weak vein. It’s gonna kill her and soon but we don’t know when.

And of course the killer (ha) is that post surgery, she’s in great shape. We had a crap week where she was in recovery, a frustrating week where she felt a lot better but was still on restriction and then this week where she’s back to her old self. Is she putting weight on because the tumor was removed or because we’re spoiling her? No idea. Is acting slow because it’s hot and humid or is it because she’s got a slow bleed? No idea.

So we’re spoiling her rotten and she gets walks without Zille so she can sniff all the things to her heart’s content. And I keep living on knife’s edge wondering if this is going to be the day I come home and she’s gone or, worse, going poorly.

This fucking sucks.

oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
([personal profile] oursin Jun. 20th, 2017 12:34 pm)

I was responding to someone else's post and saying that I'm actually quite hesitant about recommending some of the writers/works that I love, because I can see that they have very individual and distinctive styles and that these may not work for everybody.

Some while ago (but failed to save the link) read a post somewhere pointing out that if you write a book or make a movie or [whatever], that people really really LOVE it is pretty much certain that there will be some people who really really HATE it; and that people who are aiming to make something that will appeal to everybody end up with a bland mush* that nobody HATES perhaps but nobody goes raving enthusiastically about either.

For some people, and maybe in some genres, this is a feature and not a bug: I have lately been reading various romance authors and a lot of them seem fairly interchangeable to me, i.e. I would not pick up a work and immediately know it was by YX rather than XY. See also some of the comments I have made about the reissued 'Golden Age' mysteries I have been sent as freebies and made myself read. Sometimes e.g. Allingham may irritate me intensely, but you know that you're reading a book by her and not Any Old Person.

Me myself I am a sucker for a distinctive voice provided that it is fresh rather than derivative (suspect this may account for why I like the Flashman books but not the various works that have tried to do the same thing, without, I depose, anything like GMF's abilities).

Though I am also generally twitchy about people who proselytise for authors/works/movies; possibly the flipside of that is people who diss on something you're reading or have on your shelves, which is rude. (Plus, if you a person who reads ALOT, you are going to have books about that are not favourites of your heart or indeed anything but something you are reading, because reading is what you do, they are at least a step up from the back of the cereal packet.)

As I have heretofore remarked, there is no book that everybody SHOULD read.

*Though is there not a proverb about porridge and no danger of world shortage of oatmeal?

.

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