Nerds on a Boat

Dec. 19th, 2014 02:07 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

Over at Wired there’s a piece on the JoCo Cruise, the annual pilgrimage of nerds and geeks to the Caribbean, via a cruise ship, whilst they are being entertained by nerd celebrities like Jonathan Coulton (for whom the cruise is named), Paul & Storm, and, this year at least, me (I’m running a writing track on the ship). The piece is written by Adam Roberts, an editor at Wired, who in the interest of disclosure I met and became friendly with during the cruise (I’m quoted a couple of places in the piece).

It’s an interesting piece, in part because a significant thread of the story is Adam’s personal reaction to the cruise, which is filtered through the process of grappling through his own personal nerdiness. Adam is both attracted to and unsettled by the community and dynamic of the JoCo cruise — he considers the idea that the cruise both constitutes a  “victory lap” for geek culture and may suffer from epistemic closure — and of course he has to spend time digging into both.

On balance I think it’s pretty fair to the cruise and the people on it. It’s easy but not quite correct to say that Adam’s overthinking what is, at the end of the day, just a cruise — one, because overthinking is what geeks and nerds do, after all, and two, because while it is a cruise there really is a community dynamic to the thing that makes it more than just a cruise, and that community is in fact specific to the cruise, not just an extension of the larger geek community. I don’t know if people who go on, say, the National Review cruise think of themselves as a specific community in the same way Seamonkeys (JoCo cruise attendees) think of themselves as one, but I have a feeling that what’s going on with the JoCo cruises really is its own specific thing.

I will say it’s the reason this JoCo Cruise will be my third one, however. I honestly don’t give a crap about the trip — either the ship or its destinations; cruise ships are like hotels with malls dropped on top of them, chucked out to sea, and while it’s nice to be in the warm sun in early February, it’s not as if the cruise destinations give you an authentic island experience. I like the people on the cruise and the nice little world they create on the ship. It’s the feature that keeps me coming back.

In any event, the article is a good read and I can recommend it. It does make me feel a little sad for Adam, though. As a journalist he had to spend a lot of time thinking about what the cruise meant, which speaking from some experience meant standing outside of it. I think he might enjoy it from the inside next time.


Censored letter

Dec. 19th, 2014 01:43 pm
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Posted by Victor Mair

A current cause célèbre in China concerns a letter that was supposedly written by a little boy to the President of China, Xi Jinping:

"‘Not as skinny as Obama, like Putin is okay.’ China censors schoolboy’s suggestion that Xi lose weight" (12/18/14)

"A 9-year-old told China’s president to lose some weight—and censors shut him down" (12/18/14)

Here's the letter, first in Romanization, then in characters, and after that in translation:

PINYIN

Nín hǎo!

Wǒ shì Hénán shěng Zhèngzhōu shì de yī míng xiǎoxuéshēng. Jīntiān wǒ shì xiǎng gēn nín shuōshuō tàikōng de shì. Dàjiā dōu shuō tàikōng shì wèilái de tiǎozhàn chǎngsuǒ, wǒ yě zhème rènwéi. Yuèqiú díquè yǒu fēngfù de kuàngwùzhí, kě yuèqiú bìng méiyǒu dàqìcéng yǔ shuǐ, bìng bù shìhé rénlèi shēngcún. Cǐ tiāndì bùyí jiǔliú, Zhōngguó hángtiān gāi zhuǎn fāngxiàng le.

Wǒmen zàilái kàn Huǒxīng, tā jì yǒu dàqì yòu yǒu bīngchuān, shìgè bù yǎ yú dìqiú de hǎo dìfāng. Měiguó yǔ Èluósī yǐhòu bù zài yòng Éluósī, Měiguó gòngtóng dǎzào de guójì kōngjiānzhàn, quánmiàn cèhuà shàng Huǒxīng, lián Ouméng hé Yìndù dōu lái còu rènào, zán Zhōngguó yě kuài diǎn dòngshǒu ba!

Hǎole, wǒmen gāi tán diǎn qīngsōng de huàtí, Xí dàdà, nín kěyǐ jiǎnjiǎnféile, bùyòng xiàng Àobāmǎ nàme shòu, xiàng Pǔjīn yīyàng jiù kěyǐ!:)

Jìng zhù

shēntǐ jiànkāng

Niú Zīrú

ORIGINAL LETTER

敬爱的习近平爷爷:

您好!

我是河南省郑州市的一名小学生。今天我是想跟您说说太空的事。大家都说太空是未来的挑战场所,我也这么认为。月球的确有丰富的矿物质,可月球并没有大气层与水,并不适合人类生存。此天地不宜久留,中国航天该转方向了。

我们再来看火星,它既有大气又有冰川,是个不亚于地球的好地方。美国与俄罗斯以后不再用俄罗斯、美国共同打造的国际空间站,全面策划上火星,连欧盟和印度都来凑热闹,咱中国也快点动手吧!

好了,我们该谈点轻松的话题,习大大,您可以减减肥了,不用像奥巴马那么瘦,像普金一样就可以!:)

敬祝

身体健康

牛孜儒

TRANSLATION

Dear Grandpa Xi Jinping,

Greetings! I’m a pupil from Zhengzhou, Henan Province. Today I want to say a few things to you about space. Everyone believes the next big challenge is space. I think so too. The moon, for sure has rich minerals, but it doesn’t have air and water and is definitely not suitable for human life. This is not a good place for a long stay. It’s time for China’s aerospace program to change directions.

Let’s have a look at Mars. It has both air and glaciers, so it is not inferior to Earth. Eventually, the United States and Russia will no longer use the international space station and they will land on Mars. Even the European Union and India will join in the fun. Let’s hurry up!

Okay, we should include some lighter topics. Xi Dada, you could lose some weight. You don’t have to look as slim as Obama. It’s all right to look like Putin! :)

Best regards,

Wishing you good health

Niu Ziru

Dec. 12

After reading only two or three sentences, I became suspicious.  It just didn't sound like something a nine-year-old boy would write.  He dives right in to international space policy, about which he is unusually well informed.  His diction is too polished and formal — including some classicisms, his characters and sentences extraordinarily well constructed.  Furthermore, near the end he abruptly becomes very cheeky, presumptuously addressing the president in the first person plural inclusive, discourteously calling him Xí dàdà 习大大 ("Xi Bigbig" or "Big Daddy Xi" [apparently dàdà 习大大 means "father" in Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces]), and comparing Xi's body weight unfavorably to that of Obama and Putin.

This letter contrasts starkly with another child's diary entry concerning President Xi that circulated widely on the Chinese internet before it too was erased by the censors:

"A child's substitution of Pinyin (Romanization) for characters" (11/9/14)

Written by a little girl a few months shy of eight years, it presents a completely different picture.  She begins by saying that she wanted to invite Xi to McDonald's and describes his appearance and manner ("He's too shy!").  Furthermore, the little girl is unable to write many characters for words that she knows how to say, and substitutes Pinyin in their place.  This is much more what would be expected of a child who is still in elementary school.

To check my own reaction to the little boy's supposed letter, I asked several graduate students from China what their reaction to it was.  Rebecca Fu's analysis is typical:

This is a well-written letter, too well-written for a 9-year old boy — no grammatical mistakes, no wrongly written characters (either phonetic or orthographic), perfect transition words and sentences, accurate selections of adverbs and verbs, perfect collocations, well-organized structure, etc….

This manuscript is definitely not improvised. It cannot be the first draft. No omissions, no deletions, and no corrections, right?

Unrealistic for a 9-year old child!

Whether the letter was written by a nine-year-old boy or not, the question of its being censored by the authorities is another matter altogether, one that I shall not go into here on Language Log.

Incidentally, the bit where the little boy suggests that "Daddy Xi" lose a few pounds reminds me of a NYT reader comment on the music video, "'Xi Dada Loves Peng Mama':  "If he really loved her, he would go on a diet":

 

[Thanks to Anne Henochowicz, Fangyi Cheng, and Sanping Chen]

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The clinical failure rate for disease-modifying Alzheimer's therapies remains perfect, unfortunately: a flat 100%. The latest news is from Roche. Their in-licensed amyloid-targeting antibody (gantenerumab, from MorphoSys) came up empty on an interim trial analysis. Other trials are apparently continuing, but with what hopes?

Roche's rationale seems to be that these other trials are targeting milder and/or earlier forms of Alzheimer's. And it's true that if an antibody approach is going to show something, those are probably the patients where it will. (There are a number of such trials going on now). But the odds are very long. And the situation is complicated by companies wanting to get something, anything, out of these extremely expensive drug development efforts - and by many scientists who have committed their research careers to the amyloid hypothesis. Add in the terribly slow clinical readouts in any Alzheimer's trial and the large and desperate market for anything that works, and you have a tough landscape indeed.

(no subject)

Dec. 19th, 2014 08:36 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Yesterday morning, I spent my usual three hours at the school in the library. The librarian was there, but she was working in her office while a substitute took her classes. The Scholastic book fair raised more than $4000 for the library, and the librarian was figuring out how to spend it.

Cordelia and I donated a book to the library-- She had me buy her the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book so that she wouldn't have to wait months for a library, but once she'd read it, she had no interest in keeping it. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are incredibly popular, so I knew the library could use another copy, so I suggested donating it. The librarian was quite pleased to get it as that was one copy she didn't have to buy.

I think we have finally finished the barcode sticks for the kids. I worked on a couple of first grade classes yesterday when I wasn't checking books in or out or shelving. When that was done, I did some shelf reading. The 500s really needed it badly. I got through about 2/3 of the 500s.

This morning, first thing, I spilled coffee down the front of my dress. I think-- I hope-- I got the stain out, but it wasn't at all the way I wanted to start the day. I need to do a mid-week load of laundry. The extra dress and the half a dozen or so new shirts Scott got adds bulk to the laundry waiting to be done. I don't think I can fit it all into two loads on Sunday, and we don't have enough laundry baskets for me to wash three loads of our stuff on Sunday. We usually wash two loads of our clothes and one load of Cordelia's. Scott's uniforms are on a more irregular schedule, depending on if he's worked overtime. We wash our sheets every other week or so and the towels tend to get washed mid-week when I think of it.

Although, come to think of it, the first thing that went wrong today was before I was truly up. When Scott's alarm goes off at 5:10, I go into the bathroom and take my thyroid medicine. This morning, I came back to bed and suddenly realized that I'd been so asleep that I wasn't sure if I'd taken the dratted stuff. We had to check to see if the bathroom sink was wet or not. As it was bone dry, I took my thyroid then. I'm glad we thought of that way to tell. I really don't want either to miss my thryoid med or to double up. Neither would be good for me.

I've gotten comments back from one beta reader. I'm waiting on one other who may not get to it until tomorrow or even Sunday. She was talking about trying to review the canon before doing the beta read. Rather than address the beta comments first thing this morning, I'm planning to make chocolate chip bars. I'm a little worried about making them so early. I'd like to have some left on Christmas, and I don't trust that they'll last that long unless I hide them. But this is a good opportunity to bake something, and I've only got ingredients for chocolate chip bars. Well, I've got a brownie mix, too. Maybe I have time for both this morning. I don't think Cordelia would accept brownies when there are chocolate chip bars to be had, however.

I have to improvise some sort of container in which Cordelia can carry the gingerbread she decorates tomorrow. I think my best bet is one of the many Amazon boxes we've got in the study. If I line one with waxed paper, it ought to be perfectly adequate. We haven't got many largish containers, and I don't want to ask Scott to brave the stores to buy some when we'll only use them once a year. I want to reserve the one large container we do have for getting the stuff I plan to bake this week to Scott's sister's place on Christmas.

Cordelia is very angry at Scott's employer. We've explained to her that it's entirely possible that he'll be working on Christmas Eve (the last two or three years, he's gotten all or most of the day off, but we can't count on it). That means we can't do the entire Christmas Eve ritual. That involves going up to Scott's parents' place (an hour away), having pizza and birthday cake, the kids opening one present each, and all of us going to a church service. I'm not fond of this because it pretty much guarantees that it will be 10:00 by the time we get home and nearer 11:00 by the time Cordelia's actually in bed and Scott and I can start wrapping presents.

If Scott works until 3:00 or 4:00, it's a half an hour for him to get home and an hour for him to get showered and changed (minimum). The church service Scott's parents want to attend is at 7:00. We can probably get there in time for that if we go straight there. It just seems like a lot of rushing for not very much benefit.
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Tyler Edlin Art Chewbacca

Tyler Edlin is an artist with a vision. And that vision, in this case, included Chewbacca wasting Nazzies from the back of a rampant squirrel. This is the sort of vision the wins wars, people. And hearts. And frees squirrels from the shackles of fascism.

Morning Roundup is feeling inspired by righteous Wookiee rage! But rather than riding off on a squirrel, we’re bringing you links! James Gunn talks about the difficulties of writing for a dude who pretty much just sits in a chair. Amber Benson talks about her writing process. Neil Gaiman talks about Christmases Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come.

[Plus, the fastest possible way to ingest the Silmarillion!]

Read the full article

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Posted by Shrill

dear leader plz don't steal our emails

dear leader plz don't steal our emails

The power drunk, sadistic, and unstable Dictator for Life of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un — who executed a dozen members of his own family to consolidate power, starves his own people while pumping them full of propaganda, and is armed with nuclear weapons — surprisingly does not have a sense of tolerant equanimity about a film that roundly mocks him and assassinates him in effigy.

We know, we’re just as shocked as you are. Hollywood, which apparently has Googling skills as weak as their password security, didn’t realize this until he sent a squadron of amusingly named nerd goons to steal some old emails, has quickly changed tactics, abandoning their tactical retreat in favor of haphazard, preemptive, and unconditional surrender.

Having already allowed theaters to back out of showing the Rogen & Franco vehicle The Interview over threats from hacker group Guardians of Peace that screenings of the film would be met with violent retribution, Sony Pictures announced that the film has been permanently shelved and would not be released in any form. A few enterprising movie theaters had planned on replacing screenings of The Interview with 2004′s Team America: World Police, a grossout-marionette-action-comedy (a real subgenre that exists, and we definitely did not make up six seconds ago) from the makers of South Park, which also pokes fun at North Korea. Paramount, which hasn’t been threatened, hacked or even mentioned, ordered these theaters to cancel their screenings of the film.

Three movie theaters say Paramount Pictures has ordered them not to show Team America: World Police one day after Sony Pictures pulled The Interview from release. The famous Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, Capitol Theater in Cleveland, and Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta said they would screen the movie instead of The Interview but Paramount has ordered them not to do so. (No reason was apparently given and Paramount hasn’t spoken.) Team America of course features Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il, as a singing marionette.

If that isn’t pathetic enough, DEADLINE is reporting that Gore Verbinski & Steve Carrell psychological thriller has been cancelled for having the audacity to choose North Korea as its setting.

The chilling effect of the Sony Pictures hack and terrorist threats against The Interview are reverberating. New Regency has scrapped another project that was to be set in North Korea. The untitled thriller, set up in October, was being developed by director Gore Verbinski as a star vehicle for Foxcatcher star Steve Carell. The paranoid thriller written by Steve Conrad was going to start production in March. Insiders tell me that under the current circumstances, it just makes no sense to move forward. The location won’t be transplanted. Fox declined to distribute it, per a spokesman.

Let’s be clear: we’ve not seen the film, but The Interview appears to be a tasteless & quite possibly racist film that uses the misery of the North Korean people as fodder for an extended joke and the assassination of their leader as that joke’s punchline. If the film had been canned because of that, it’d be totally fine and even good. But the film’s insensitivity didn’t bother Sony when they greenlit and funded the film. They didn’t have an attack of conscience when they filmed, finished, and previewed it, nor when they scheduled its release or poured money into a multiplatform marketing campaign. And maybe it would be a little much to ask low-paid theater employees to risk their lives over a movie currently hovering around 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Nobody wants to die over The Interview.

But to cancel movies because they’re simply set in North Korea? To suppress screenings of a film that has been available for a decade because the terrorists won’t like it? When the only proof that this organization is operationally capable of carrying out coordinated terrorist attacks on American soil is that they stole emails? For an industry that publicly congratulates itself on having the courage to fund and give awards to films that take such bold stances as “slavery was bad,” “racism is also pretty bad,” and “dying of AIDS is sad,” this kind of mewling cowardice is, quite honestly, incredibly embarrassing. And for a country that makes so much of its legacy of freedom of speech and expression to, to use an oft-misused and derided expression, let the terrorists win, is shameful too.

We at Wonkette think it would be a shame to let an ambulatory bad haircut who regularly attempts to fellate missiles and masturbates into nuclear launch tubes stop America for releasing its crappy movie. That’s why we’re offering to show The Interview at the Secret Wonkette HQ on Christmas Day, the day the film was originally scheduled to be released, although we can’t promise that we’ll all sit there with the audience and watch the thing. But we WILL pass a hat around at the screening to raise money for an as yet unnamed charity, and at least some of us will liveblog it. If any of our bold readers want to pass along our information to the powers that be at Sony Pictures, we’d be much obliged and eternally indebted. Let’s do it for us. Let’s do it for freedom. Let’s do it for America.

[The Daily Beast/Deadline]

Missing scenes

Dec. 19th, 2014 08:19 pm
yifu: (// hermitsoul)
[personal profile] yifu

Miyamoto Musashi (2014): 2-part TV movie based on Yoshikawa Eiji's novel Musashi, with Kimura Takuya as Miyamoto Musashi and Sawamura Ikki as Sasaki Kojirou. Knowledge of the original canon is required - in fact, the movie takes it for granted that the audience is familiar with the novel. As a result, side characters like Akemi and Iori come across as a little tacked-on, since the script isn't interested in exploring them further.
A few differences from the novel: Yoshioka Seijuurou is a much better swordsman, and the final duel on the island has no spectators. Musashi and Kojirou's interaction illustrates their rival status more vividly. I don't remember having ever read Musashi being approached by a retainer from Date Masamune's castle? Did the translation cut out that part?
(The novel was translated here in 1986 and I first read it in 1990 or 1991)

Legend of Korra series finale:
Hollywood - evacuating a big city is not a quick job! Or an easy one! Okay, now that that's out of the way...
Spoilers )


And yes, Korra and Asami in the end are reminiscent of Katara and Aang in the A:TLA finale. Being on a Tumblr break, I can only imagine the number of gifs and memes.
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Posted by Fred Clark

According to Left Behind, the clothes of true believers will, like heathens and liberals, be left behind. This means both a sudden influx of nudity in Heaven and the sudden appearance, here on Earth, of billions of piles of unoccupied clothes.

If you saw a dozen people instantaneously vanish, leaving only a pile of clothing where they formerly stood, you would probably take a look at those piles of clothing to try to figure out what just happened. But then you’re not a character in Left Behind.


 

Left Behind, pp. 21-25

Here we read with greater detail — although less detail than we might like — of how LaHaye and Jenkins envision the bodily rapture of believers, but not of their clothes. Thus:

Harold’s clothes were in a neat pile on his seat, his glasses and hearing aid on top. The pant legs still hung over the edge and led to his shoes and socks.

L&J seem to envision a great gathering in the clouds of all the believers in their born-again birthday suits. At the very least, this invites a rewording of some of the old gospel hymns about heaven: “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be bare.”

There’s a logic to this idea, I suppose. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve are described as going about naked and unashamed. So if the shame of nudity is a temporal, this-worldly consequence of fallenness and sin, then one could argue there’s no need for clothing in heaven. (Admittedly, it’s difficult for me to imagine this without also imagining the redeemed frolicking about, playing volleyball.)

This heavenly disrobing also seems a bit suspect coming from the writers who created Rayford Steele — poster-boy for raging lust and repression. There’s a whiff, perhaps, of something lascivious in this unexpected promise of heavenly nudity.

L&J may also be missing a cross-promotional marketing opportunity. Back in the 1840s, William Miller made a nice profit selling his followers white “ascension robes.”

The news that Harold’s eyeglasses and hearing aid are left behind along with his clothes follows the same logic about the restoration in heaven of all that is fallen, broken and less than whole. The heavenly Harold angel will hark without need of a hearing aid.

But reading this about the hearing aid and eyeglasses makes one want to know more. You want Rayford or Buck to examine these piles of abandoned clothes more carefully. Isn’t that what you would do? If someone vanishes leaving only their clothes, wouldn’t you want a closer look at those clothes?

And if the hearing aid is left behind, what about fillings, pacemakers, prosthetic limbs, toupees and silicon implants? In heaven, one imagines, teeth and hearts are healthy, missing limbs are restored, bald head’s bloom like Rosenzweig’s desert, and breasts are, well, everything that breasts are meant to be.

Yet it doesn’t occur to any of the characters on the plane to take a closer look at the rumpled piles in any of the empty seats. Even Buck, the GIRAT, remains steadfastly incurious in the face of this sudden mystery.

Consider again the description of Harold’s clothes and see if it doesn’t remind you of something:

Harold’s clothes were in a neat pile on his seat, his glasses and hearing aid on top. The pant legs still hung over the edge and led to his shoes and socks.

Somehow, no one on the plane is reminded of having seen this exact scene in dozens of “shrinking man” movies. My favorite such example is in the Beatles’ Help, the scene titled “The Exciting Adventure of Paul on the Floor.”

Paul accidentally gets injected with the shrinking serum that was supposed to shrink Ringo’s finger so that he could remove the ring of Kaili. The others look away, then look back, and Paul’s clothes are in a neat pile on his seat. The pant legs still hung over the edge and led to his shoes.

Paul meanwhile, has been miniaturized, slipping down his pantleg and onto the floor where he dons George’s discarded gum wrapper, and bathes in orange soda in an ashtray.

ExcitingAdventureofPaulontheFloor

We readers know, of course, that Irene had been right, and Left Behind is a rapture story — not the story of the fantastic voyage by an adventuresome band of microscopic airline passengers. But it seems strange that the characters should know this as well.

Confronted with the bewildering sight of all these Pauline piles of clothes, you’d think it might have occurred to the folks on that plane to tread carefully. If I were on that plane, I’d be checking my shoes on the off-chance that Harold and the others missing were now on safari among the harsh, tree-like strands of the plane’s carpeting, fashioning its microfibers into crude weapons with which to battle gargantuan, monstrous dust mites.

I’m not saying that the shrinking scenario (whether via the filthy eastern ways of Kaili, or via a shrinking ray from some trite hackneyed mad scientist) is the most plausible explanation for the passengers’ disappearance. But it’s no less fanciful than any of the other suggestions that might quickly spring to mind.

These would include, among others: mass hallucination/insanity, alien abduction, rapture/Enochian assumption, spontaneous human combustion, rapid-acting flesh-eating bacteria, wormhole in the space/time continuum, the return of D.B. Cooper and his extended family, and/or an evil sorceror from an alternate dimension plucking away slaves to work in his sulfurous mines. You can probably think of others.

Sherlock Holmes famously said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Confronted with the apparent impossibility of the mass disappearance, it ought to occur to the people on that plane to begin speculating on the possible, if improbable, explanations.

What’s bewildering is the characters’ lack of bewilderment, their lack of curiosity. No one inspects the piles of clothes. No one seriously attempts to consider who disappeared and what else they might all have in common.

If you were on a plane, and 50 or so passengers suddenly disappeared shortly after dinner, wouldn’t it be good to find out whether or not they all had the salmon?

Cabin Pressure Advent: Rotterdam

Dec. 19th, 2014 12:33 pm
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[personal profile] tealin


I wanted to draw Herc and Carolyn, but the lines I most wanted to illustrate didn't have them together, so you get a nice diptych instead.

1. You simply must have the most awfully lovely super-scrumptious flight.

The voice-off between Roger Allam and Tony Head has to be one of the classic moments in radio comedy. Glorious. And it brings us one of my favourite descriptions, 'like Stephen Fry's favourite uncle' – a lesser writer may have been proud to show off the word 'avuncular' but Mr Finnemore evolves it two or three steps into something even more illustrative and also hilarious. avuncular < Stephen Fry < Stephen Fry's uncle < Stephen Fry's favourite uncle = the epitome of avuncularity. Brilliance.

Herc's design was inspired by one of the crowd characters Shiyoon designed for Frozen, who I had to turn around when this series was airing. I have no idea if he made it into the final movie, but he was a perfect Herc. I deliberately did not look to see if I still had his rotation on file before drawing this, so how close the similarity might be after a few years is anyone's guess.

2. Do you have anything less ... sharky?

A good friend and former landlady is the most wonderfully saintly woman with the most sinister smile, so I tried to do some justice to that with Carolyn. Inspiration also, more obviously, from Bruce the Shark. I attempted this drawing a few months ago and failed miserably so I'm pretty happy it showed up when it needed to.
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Posted by elodieunderglass

Season’s felicitations, Awkward Army! Elodie Under Glass here with two letters about accommodating your loved ones during stressful celebrations. Goodness, could this be a TIMELY POST? Here’s Letter #1.

 

 

Dear Captain,

 

I have a weird situation going with my dad. There’s a lot of history here so I’ll try to be brief.

 

When I left for university, mom took that as her chance to quit the soul sucking job she hated and move her and dad to the other side of the country for a job she loved. Five years later, a couple months after I graduated,  she went to sleep and never woke up. It’s been three years since then.

 

I’ve spent every holiday and Christmas with my dad since, including one where he joined us at my in-laws place, because I don’t want him to be alone. But he’s got it in his head that I should be adjusting my life to accommodate for him more. The first time he bitched the entire time about our apartment not having a guest room or an elevator to the top floor where we lived. He’s got MS and walking is hard, stairs are worse, and a lumpy couch is a crappy bed even if you’re healthy, so I sympathized. But he complained every other time too even though I warned him that nothing changed.

 

We recently bought our first house, and he came to see it. Because we’re kind of poor, it’s a real fixer – upper with three floors and no railings. I warned him and he said it was fine… but then complained constantly about how we keep getting these places with all these stairs. I spent the whole visit basically carrying him up and down between floors.

 

I work in construction so I’m not allowed to take time off. The two weeks I get over Christmas are the only rest I get for the year. This year, I really want to spend it just me, husband and cat. But when I suggested I wanted a quiet Christmas he just assumed he was part of that. How do I tell him I don’t want him here all the time, that it’s not quiet and restful for me when he’s here, without hurting him? I already feel super guilty for thinking of him as a burden.

 

Sincerely, 
A Terrible Daughter

 

Dear Terrible Daughter,
I want to say that I know how hard it is to open your home and your heart to parents who seem to take pleasure in criticizing your adulthood.
I know what it’s like when you clean up to the best of your energy, groom yourself to the point of snapping a proud selfie, and cook with the finest things you can afford… and instead of appreciating these gestures of love and respect, your parents comment that you’ve ruined your hair, that they don’t like your weight, and they don’t see why you live in this dump. I know that this stings like a slapped face, and that for days afterward you’ll be probing this hurt, feeling around its edges like a bruise, unable to let it go. “This little world you’ve built for yourself is total crap!” is never going to be something you’re grateful to hear.

 

So I know that when you strive and struggle and spend energy to be with your father at Christmas, when you’re at the end of your money and energy and your ability to take blows, and he shows up like “Your house. I don’t like it” …

 

 
[Image: an animated gif of David Tennant as the Doctor, making an unappreciative face at some interior decor]

“Only the most terrible of daughters would do THAT with a throw pillow.”

 

… Well, it’s not exactly easy to go “Wow, thanks for that totally constructive criticism, Daddy, gosh, I will absolutely take all of YOUR feelings on board when I just casually BUY MY NEXT HOUSE.”

 

I know. I get it.

 

I get how hard it is to move past “being fucking pissed off” into the sphere of “calm, generous and forgiving daughter.” And I know, that with our societal narratives of daughters being pressured to be all-forgiving and all-loving and never-outraged, that this anger is something that insulates and protects your boundaries. I am not angry with your anger.
So we need to talk about how you are being kind of a jerk about your father’s disability. He isn’t being disabled at you. When he complains about your house having stairs, he isn’t complaining because you’re The Worst Daughter Who Bought A Bad House and Should Feel Bad, he’s complaining because your stairs hurt him and cause him pain.
There’s a thread of ableist thinking in your letter that will improve your life to examine. There’s this idea that disability is a burden, that accommodating disabilities is “extra work,” and that disabled people are being deliberately annoying by existing in the same spaces as you. It’s a very common form of ableism in our society, and it’s insidious. When you read LW #2’s letter, I hope that it’ll be a kind of lightbulb moment for you, but for now, addressing your ableist thinking is something I’d like you to take on as homework.
If this is a completely new set of thought for you, please start with a nice 101-level thought exercise about how our concept of “disability” is societally defined. A “disabled” person isn’t an inherent scientific definition; they’re someone who isn’t “able” to conveniently use the world we’ve constructed. But we, people, have deliberately constructed a world that excludes people. And we’ve done it rather thoughtlessly.

 

Think about how nice accessibility ramps are for anything with wheels – whether you’re trying to move wheelchairs or walkers, or baby strollers, or mop buckets, wheeled luggage, bicycles, paramedics with stretchers, hand trucks, wheely shopping baskets, heavy pieces of equipment or whatever. Nice rampy slopes are a preferable alternative to stairs for huge swathes of society doing diverse amounts of things – and we’re not even talking people with canes, injured people, toddlers, even Elodies who are afraid of heights…!

 

Yet society acts like accessibility ramps are this massive obstruction to the “normal” flow of life, granted to those ungrateful disabled people by the Politically Correct Police, at the expense of the happiness of Normal People. So that’s something we need to learn here, Terrible Daughter. Ableist culture can take something as universally pleasant and useful as an accessibility ramp, and get angry about it because it reminds us that some people don’t use stairs. Meanwhile we’re apparently forgetting that we invented both ramps and stairs for our own convenience, and there is no natural evolutionary reason why we should be so obsessed with the Righteous and Proper Use of Stairs. See also: disabled parking spaces. See also: most forms of accessibility and accommodation that remind able-bodied people not to make assumptions.

 

Basically, I want you to realign whatever justifications you’re using for giving a lumpy sofa bed to an older person with chronic pain, and understand that accommodating disabled people is not a cause for glorious martyrdom, but a simple part of living in this world.

 

[image: a comparison photograph showing a Mayan stepped pyramid next to an Egyptian sloped pyramid.]

THE MAYAN PYRAMID IS CLEARLY MORALLY SUPERIOR TO THE EGYPTIAN PYRAMID BECAUSE IT IS MORE DIFFICULT TO CLIMB UP.

If you want your dad to visit you, LW, you have to accommodate him, and you have to let go of this idea that accommodating him is an inconvenience. Just like you ought to feed your guests and let them use your toilet, you ought to make sure that your dad can move around your home. If you want your dad to sleep in your house, you will have to provide him with a comfortable bed on the ground floor, even if that means moving your furniture around and sleeping on the couch yourself. If you see “Dad visits” as an important part of your future life, you will have to make sure that he can access the bathroom. If you want your father in your life, you will have to help him up the stairs.

 

Otherwise: go visit your dad instead. Otherwise: put your dad in a bed and breakfast. Otherwise: build a comfortable yurt in the backyard. Otherwise: sell the house. Otherwise: don’t see your dad.

 

The problem here is not your father’s pain. Carrying your father up stairs is not a burden. It is the job of one who has both stairs, and a loved one who cannot use stairs.

 

When Dr Glass and I were buying the narrowboat that we now live on, we went into every potential boat with our hands held high over our heads, fingers brushing the ceilings. Many narrowboats have low ceilings, and as a charmingly travel-sized couple, we were aware that all boat ceilings would work for us – but that we would also like to have our awkwardly tall friends and family be able to visit our future home. We bought an expensive futon that would sleep a six-foot-plus person, because the other bunks are for Glass-sized folks, and some of the people we love are over six feet tall. We measured the narrow and awkward corners to see if our wider-hipped friends – and possibly future pregnant people – would be able to walk around our boat. We wondered, “what if a baby happened? How could we accommodate a baby on this boat?” and “If one of us broke a leg, could we still get through the engine room?” and “if one of us died, could the other single-hand it?”

 

This is what you ask yourself, when you’re making big decisions like marrying, purchasing homes, planning degrees, making babies, moving to different places, getting pets. “Will this choice be good for me now – and will it be able to accommodate the ways in which my life will change?” And your life will change, Daughter. Your dad will certainly die, just as it is certain that your job will end, that your cat will get sick, and your husband will age and one day become infirm. You bought your house, knowing all of these things, because you believed it was the best choice for your life.

 

Your dad is right: knowing that he has chronic pain and limited mobility, you consistently offer him really bad houseroom.

 

And LW … you really don’t seem happy about doing it. You’re making pro and con lists of having him in your house. You complain about helping him up the stairs. I kind of wonder how much of a loved one the man really is – and that’s okay.

 

So I want you to take apart your ableist thinking, sit with your pain, feel your feelings, run around the block with your Rageasaurus, admit to yourself that you really did choose a home that hurts your father and admit that you don’t seem to like his company very much.

 

[image: a lovely little rageasaurus holding its leash in its mouth and begging for a walk.]

“I’m here to protect you, but let’s be honest, I also think Beggin’ Strips are real bacon. Maybe I’m not the best one to steer our household decision-making?”

I want you to sift through those feelings and whatever they bring up – even if they make you feel terrible – and see what you come up with.

 

It’s very possible that you will come up with the option where your dad just doesn’t visit you any more.

 

See, I’m approaching this letter with good faith, and I’m not seeing a lot of warmth and affection for your dad here – just your weariness. It could be that you wrote this on a really down day, but it sounds like you feel like your dad isn’t worth the effort of accommodating him. And you know what? He could be a massive jerk. His critical comments could come from him being a tired man in pain who gets things wrong when he’s hurting, or they could come from a nasty man with a long history of emotionally abusing you. I genuinely do not know. That’s your “lot of history,” that’s something that only you know.

 

Disabled people are allowed to be jerks too, because disabled people are complete people, not a monolith. And you’re allowed to draw boundaries about jerkish behavior. It’s very possible that your dad is a difficult person to be around – someone you genuinely don’t like, someone whom you find draining and upsetting, someone who disrespects you and exhausts you.

 

After you sit with your feelings, you might go “Actually, looking at everything – yeah, I do sound exhausted. Maybe my job is terrible for me, and it’s drained me to the point where I can’t even love my loved ones. Maybe it’s time to make changes.”

 

Or maybe you’ll say: “Actually, I just don’t want Dad in my home. I’d rather do a flying visit at his place in January.”

 

And you know what? That will be fine.

 

You don’t have to love everybody.
But you do have to make room for the ones you love.

Dear Captain Awkward

I feel like my partners family is choosing to exclude us from family events because we are disabled. Unfortunately, I very much doubt they see it that way, believing that my partner and I are ‘choosing’ not to attend family funerals that are five mile ‘memorial walks’ with no wake, Christmases that require us to drive for twenty hours within three successive days and holidays centred around long beach walks.

Due to careful management of our health and what often feels like a constant juggling act not to ‘overdo it’ and make ourselves (more) ill, my partner and I have a relatively good quality of life, and to casual acquaintances probably don’t appear disabled. Nonetheless, we are both disabled and often housebound, and have to spend days or even weeks resting ahead of something we want to do, like having friends over or going away for the weekend.

My partner deals with my in-laws on my behalf most of the time, but he is exhausted by them and increasingly alienated by the way they so rarely consider his health needs before making plans. This has lead to his parents accusing him of being kept from his loving family by me, and when he stands up for himself, he is told that it is my words coming from his mouth.

Now, my brother-in-law is getting married, and every idea I have heard related to the wedding sounds like something my partner physically can’t do – from the paintballing bachelor party to a full two-hour long Catholic mass to a destination wedding in a castle. Weddings are a lot of effort at the best of times, and high-energy event with a family with such a long history of minimising or ignoring both of our disabilities, I just know it will negatively effect my health for weeks or even months. My husband feels the same, but feels like the inevitable Drama and Friction of our not attending will be unbearable.

Have you any scripts for letting the family know in advance that if they book something we can’t do, we won’t do it? It feels like such a pathetic thing to ask, but they have well-and truly steam-rollered all my attempts to set boundaries.

Yours

Excluded by necessity, avoiding you by choice

(See, society? This is what excluding your disabled loved ones looks like. It looks like people deciding to give up on you FOR THEIR OWN HEALTH. Is it so fucking hard to think about other people? Is it so hard to believe them about their lives? Because your choices are fucking deliberate, and you seem to think you shouldn’t suffer any consequences for them, and I am calling bullshit on that. ANYWAY.)


Dear Excluded,

I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you this, and I regret that it has to be said, but you have literally married into a family of aliens. I’m really sorry, because this must be very difficult for you. BECAUSE LITERALLY NOTHING ABOUT THEIR ALIEN ACTIVITIES SOUNDS FUN.

And I can’t believe that you are the only person your in-laws are totally failing to accommodate, because the mental image I’ve received from their idea of Fun Family Celebrations is like that strange British tradition where people throw themselves down a cliffside in pursuit of a rolling cheese?

Like,

“And this Christmas got off to a great start when the cheese immediately brained a babe-in-arms – welcome to the family, kid! Aaaand we’re off! First to fall out is our weak-ass niece Pleura, who seems to be complaining about having just had a C-section. If you weren’t prepared to go hard on Christmas, then you shouldn’t have had major abdominal surgery, PLEURA. And there goes Aunty Moanie, who has stage three colon cancer but isn’t letting that stop her from enjoying healthy outdoor pursuits! Also doing well is Cousin Dave, whose prosthetic leg has flown off into the distance after the cheese, but good ol’ Dave is rolling down the hill anyway.

[image: an animated gif of cheese-rolling activities.  People are throwing themselves down a cliff.]

“Everything about this seems like a great ideeeeeea!”

“Eighty-three-year-old Grandma Camela has always known how to participate in family adventures – look at her just fall down that hill in a tangle of brittle limbs! Oh, she says she’s fallen and she can’t get up. Well, that makes our inheritance problems a lot easier! Props to my brother Sarge, who is just straight-up punting toddlers down the hill – oh, shut up, Excluded, toddlers BOUNCE, they’ll be fine. What do you mean, it’s inappropriate? FAMILY EVENTS ARE ALL ABOUT INAPPROPRIATE AMOUNTS OF DANGER AND PERSONAL INJURY. God, Excluded, you’re such a negative person. It’s like you hate Christmas.”
[Image: an animated gif of grown adults flinging themselves down a hill in pursuit of a cheese, with predictable injury."

“If you weren’t prepared for this, then why did you marry our sooooooooon!”

 

SERIOUSLY, WHAT MAGAZINES ARE THESE PEOPLE READING? If you were seeking validation that these events sound AWFUL, then you have come to the right place. Alienating? I don’t even know these people and I’m uncomfortable sharing a planet with them.

 

Here’s some things that you already know, Excluded, because you seem to have a good read on these people:

 

    • A lot of this mess is your husband’s job to clean up, and when you say that he handles this “on your behalf,” it sounds like he’s generally trying to do it.
    • He seems to be the one concerned about the consequences of stepping back from the family –  possibly because he’s more informed than you about what the fallout will be? Because the catching point here seems to be his anxiety about the possibility of “DRAMA” and “FRICTION,” which seems to override his apprehension about the pain/exhaustion that will definitely happen. (I’m a pretty conflict-avoidant person myself, but I’d have to be VERY anxious about people’s feelings before I drove for twenty hours for them, and I am able-bodied. I am feeling like there is some stuff happening in your husband’s head, there.)
      • It is slightly possible – I don’t know your exact situation so I’m just spitballing here – that setting boundaries with your family makes your husband feel terrible. It takes at least two surfaces to make Friction.
    • I think you know all of this, and I bet you’re being a really supportive spouse.
    • His family may never GET IT.  And your husband probably knows this on multiple levels.
    • The thing that you have to do, Excluded, is figure out exactly how much of the Household Energy Budget is going to be spent on this, and how much of your portion of the Energy Budget you can commit.
    • Because all members of the household contribute to the Budget and draw upon it, you have some say in how your husband spends/uses his portion of it. But if he’s genuinely saying to you that “I have to spend a lot of our Budget this week on my family, because the alternative is spending all of the Budget to cope with my resulting anxieties” then that could actually be something that is Best For Your Husband … even if you hate every second of Catering To His Alien Family.
    • If he decides to spend his Budget on his family, it is totally okay for you to say “hahaha have fun with that (you won’t), but I have to sit this round out.”

 

Right. Scripts.

The only script I’ve found that work for willfully obtuse aliens are the ones where you drill down, robotically and clearly, until you have all of the information. Then ask them how they’re going to accommodate you. Ask how they’re going to make their weird-ass plans work. Ask how they’re going to have you there. Ask “What will you be doing to fix this?” and “How will you make this work?” and “Where will the rest area be?” Like:

 

Alien: So for the wedding we’ll all be throwing ourselves off a cliff in the pursuit of a cheese! Isn’t that great?
You: Oh. Please describe exactly what this entails.
Alien: It will be literally flinging ourselves off a cliff.
You: Please describe exactly how tall the cliff is and how long we will be expected to do this.
Alien: … It’s a cliff? We’ll do it until we drop?
You: Please explain your plan for transporting the party to this cliff.
Alien: … walking?
You: Please explain how long the walk is.
Alien: … I don’t know, far?
You: Describe what hard standing there is, what seating arrangements there are, and what the people who are not jumping off the cliff will be doing. Will we be having a knitting bee?
Alien: Uh? This is an outdoor activity?
You: So you haven’t planned any other activities. Thanks for this information. Unfortunately, as you know, I am not able to walk “far” or jump from cliffs, and as you know, Husband needs to be able to sit down or use a wheelchair after long periods. What will you be doing about that?
Alien: Oh, come on, it’s not that bad, you guys can WALK.
You: Information received is: walk for unspecified distance, run down cliff. We can offer: walks for short distances. How will you make this work?

 

This might force the issue where the Aliens go “Oh, fine then, DON’T COME if you hate your family.” But then you (and your husband) will have had the benefit of knowing that all you did was ask where the bathroom would be.

 

If they have a family culture of being conflict-avoidant, this might make them so frazzled that they pick simpler activities to make you stop asking questions.

 

It could be that your husband goes “God, it just feels like they don’t care about us at all, doesn’t it? It’s just not worth it.”

 

Drill-down scripts might wake them up to the fact that they’re being extremely obtuse about activity-planning. It’s vaguely possible that they’re actually that useless and unreliable. After all, we all have That Friend. The one who says “come over, I’ll cook dinner” and you say “Ok, but remember that X has a nut allergy” and they’re like “yeah, yeah” and then when they serve the dinner they go “Oh, wait… are almonds nuts?”

 

And you’re like:
[image: a Tibetan fox slinking away, looking really suspicious]

“WHAT THE HELL MAGAZINES ARE YOU PEOPLE READING?!”

Hey, maybe that’s a happy ending for your household, Excluded. I’d like you to have a happy ending at Winterval.

 

I’m truly sorry about these aliens. I hope that as your household develops, you’ll be able to rely on other sources of Family Togetherness.

 

Awkwardeers, any suggestions for more scripts for Excluded?

 

Happy Holidays, Awkward Army. I wish you every flavor of joyful houseroom.
Hearts,
Elodie

Miscellania at large

Dec. 19th, 2014 09:31 am
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
So farewell then, Mandy Rice-Davies . Apart from supplying the basis for a vast number of Flanders & Swann's jokes ("There's no smoke without fire. Nil combustibus pro fumo.") she also supplied my father (the fourth anniversary of whose death was on Wednesday) with his favourite habitual saying, "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?"*

(My mother's favourite saying was, "She was a good [ ] as [ ]s go, and as [ ]s go, she went." It was not for some considerable time that I realised this was Saki and I'm not sure if Mum knew the source or not.)

Anyway, it's a great shame she had to die so comparatively young.

In other news, the silly season seems to have come out for people being loudly and aggressively Wrong about Writing on the Internet. First, someone over at fanficrants went off on one about how
Over many years of reading fanfic, I've come across my fair share of authors who misuse words to various degrees. Mostly not even to the point where I can't hit the backbutton fast enough, just to where I can't help wondering whether they've ever paid attention at all in language class -- specifically, when they were told about Dictionaries, And How To Use Them.

Sometimes, it's simply a case of confusing homophones (eg. "rein/reign"), or not listening closely enough to the proper pronunciation (eg. "dominate/dominant"). At other times, an author may just want to impress their readers with their Mad!Skillz of vocabulary (aka Thesaurus Abuse©) and just succeeds in looking exceedingly foolish because quite often they're getting it oh-so-wrong.

However, when the word in question only has a passing acquaintance (at best) with what the author means to say, and isn't even a real word ... then I start looking for fat hardcover dictionaries to throw at said author's head. Repeatedly.

Oh, the word that sparked this rant over an otherwise decently-written fic? Was "dubitatively". For "dubious"**. *sigh*


Of course, when various people pointed out that if the fat hardcover dictionaries in question included the OED, say, "dubitatively" could be found to be a perfect genuine word with a clear Latin root, from which it had not fallen far over the centuries, she swapped quick as lightning into automatic "Thesaurus Abuse" mode and accused the author of using a word they didn't need to use, just to show off. It reminded me rather of the occasion when having had a rather frustrating argument with someone in comments to someone else's journal I expressed my exasperation as "Frankly, I've met less viscous pig-shit" and she then ragged me (to the point of creating a specific icon to do it) about how ignorant it was not being able to spell "vicious".

But that paled into insignificance besides the story of the poor bloke who had his book taken down from Amazon on the basis that it contained hyphens:
“As quality issues with your book negatively affect the reading experience, we have removed your title from sale until these issues are corrected ... Once you correct hyphenated words, please republish your book and make it available for sale.”


How some fuck-witted jobsworth can unblushingly use a phrase like "negatively affect the reading experience" while criticising someone else's use of English boggles the mind. Also, since when has the hyphen been outlawed? First they came for the semi-colon...

Put it this way, anyone proposing to write about the African-American experience or books set in Guinea-Bissau, Baden-Württemberg or, for that matter, Ankh-Morpork had better avoid doing it via Amazon Kindle. And no doubt the platform would get its finks in a nottle with Wodehousian surnames, let alone anyone out of the Almanach de Gotha.

Of course, they're blaming an over-zealous text bot. They would.

But Amazon Kindle don't even manage to get the "To Err is Human, to really fuck it up requires a computer" award of the week, let alone of 2014. This goes to Sony , who have been complaining bitterly that they've been hacked by North Korea but have somewhat belatedly had to admit that, by including a large number of files in a file marked "Password" it was possibly a bit less James Bond and a bit more Johnny English when it comes to espionage.




*I do know - as this makes clear - that the form my father preferred is a slight misquotation, but it sounds better. When the aphorism sounds better than the truth, print the aphorism.

** Given that so far as the OP let on, the original use of "dubitatively" in "he said dubitatively" (we don't get the full context so I'm hoping for the full-blown Tom Swifty: "I'm not entirely convinced by your argument," he said dubitatively.) she was flat wrong about "dubious" being the correct word, also. Dubiously, maybe.

(no subject)

Dec. 19th, 2014 03:00 am
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
- I think I'm packed and ready.

- I baked cookies tonight for my dad. Sigh.

- Worms seem to be doing okay. I covered them with their cloth and I'm confident they'll be okay while I'm gone.

- Went out for dinner at Sushiya with some friends.

- Looks like the only reasonable train to Los Angeles is at 3pm, which means leaving the house around 2pm with my luggage. Bah! I'll get to the airport around 6pm. So unreasonable! I wonder if LAX has anything decent to eat. Maybe I should wander around Union Station for food first.
rydra_wong: Lisa Rands' chalky hands on the sloper on the route Gaia (climbing -- hands)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] disobey_gravity
The Friday post of glee is where you get to tell us about your climbing-related happiness this week.

It can be a new achievement or adventure, or just that you climbed and had fun; it can be that your favourite climbing wall is expanding or that you bought new rock shoes or that you found a cool ice-climbing vid on YouTube. No glee is too small -- or too big. Members are encouraged to cheer each other on and share the squee.

N.B. Please feel free to post your glee on any day of the week; the Friday glee is just to get the ball rolling.

To enhance this week's glee: The Gritual, Guy Van Greuning's full-length chronicle of a gritstone year.

December Meme: Augh, missed a day

Dec. 19th, 2014 01:45 am
finch: a smirking young white man (Epsilon: Picker)
[personal profile] finch
Not like I've actually assigned days, but still. Some day DW will finally get its post scheduling option done!

[personal profile] settecorvi asked: Which characters are the easiest for you to write? Which are the hardest? (And why?)

Some people dictate, and they are by far the easiest ones for me to write. They are exactly the ones you might expect them to be - the ones who get written in first person POV whether I start in that POV or not. Robin, Akane, Dan, Dylan, Wyatt, Garcia. They also tend to be the ones who take over stories that were not originally theirs. (Wyatt, I'm looking at you.)

The hardest characters are the ones who need to be POV characters for whatever reason but I associate with other people, because I worry about getting them 'wrong'. This is particularly true in Epsilon, with characters like Ray and Alex, but can happen in any universe if I end up associating a character with someone in particular.

[personal profile] here_within asked: What songs did you discover this year that you liked?

Um, I'm gonna do artists/albums instead, with songs we'd be here all day.
I loved Fall Out Boy's new album and I'm not going lie about it. I like everything I've heard off Taylor Swift's 1989. Hozier, the Brothers Bright, ZZ Ward, KONGOS, Carbon Leaf. Probably others. Probably I'll think of something else in like two minutes.

(no subject)

Dec. 19th, 2014 01:50 am
coyotegoth: (Default)
[personal profile] coyotegoth
The Justice Department will now interpret the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as protecting transgender government employees from discrimination, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday.

In a memo, Holder wrote that the "best reading of Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status." Holder said that while Congress "may not have had such claims in mind when it enacted Title VII, the Supreme Court has made clear that Title VII must be interpreted according to its plain text."

In other news

Dec. 19th, 2014 12:43 am
sholio: (Avatar-upbeat attitude)
[personal profile] sholio
Steam is having a holiday game sale, so I treated myself to Sunless Sea, and started playing it tonight.

So how is it going, [personal profile] sholio, you ask?

HAHAHAHAHA *cries*

Let me put it this way: I've stopped naming my captains and picking out backstories for them, because it's like naming feeder mice.

My biggest problem thus far is that my weapons don't seem to do anything to sea monsters. What are you supposed to DO once a sea monster gets after you? Because it seems like all I can do at that point is get attacked until I sink.

I was delighted with myself for figuring out how to dock on Hunter's Keep, after helplessly running into a number of smaller islands because I couldn't figure out that you need, y'know, docks.

But then I set sail and a sea monster ate me, so it was back to square one.

White Collar series finale

Dec. 18th, 2014 08:39 pm
sholio: Made by <lj user=foxglove_icons> (Tea)
[personal profile] sholio
And so White Collar is officially over. Last episode. No more.

I figured that, since a couple people on my flist have mentioned they were on the fence about watching the last season and wanted to know what I thought of the finale, I'd give you a nonspoilery reaction under a cut, and then do the spoilery, more in-depth discussion under another cut. So, emotional reaction with no direct spoilers under the first cut, then all the spoilers under the second one.

The non-spoilery emotional reaction )

The spoilery reaction )

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