Podcast Interview

Mar. 4th, 2015 12:00 pm
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Sherwood and I were interviewed on the Outer Alliance podcast by Julia Rios. Please feel free to ask follow-up questions here. (Spoilers are clearly stated in the interview, in "skip ahead a few minutes" format.)

Thoughts on deaths of parents

Mar. 4th, 2015 07:18 pm
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Posted by Jed

Although this entry was partly sparked by the recent deaths of several friends' parents, it's going to be focused specifically on me and my reactions. If that's going to be distressing for you, best to skip this one. (To be clear: I mean that in a friendly and sympathetic tone; I'm trying to avoid the thing where someone who's grieving is bombarded by other people talking about their own feelings.)

Another spark for this entry is that the tenth anniversary of my father's death is going to be this coming Saturday, March 7, and I'm not coping very well.

As I noted in my previous entry, quite a few of my friends' parents have died recently.

I feel weird even putting it in those terms. Aggregating those losses together makes them sound like some kind of a trend, rather than individual loss. Each of those deaths is a hole in someone's heart; each is a cause of grief.

And in some sense my referring to those deaths together is a false pattern. If you look at all humans, I doubt that there've been more deaths of parents in the past month or two than at any other time. Seeing this as a pattern is inherently imposing my own lens on things; the only thing some of the pteople who've lost parents have in common is that they're Facebook friends of mine.

But although I acknowledge the inherent selection bias of looking only at my own friends, I think that the appearance of patterns or waves can nonetheless have a strong effect, and life events do sometimes appear to come in waves. For example, there was one year a while back when, iIrc, I was invited to weddings on five consecutive weekends. And various of my friends' kids were born within a few months of each other.

Of course, a lot of what's going on in all of these apparent patterns is age. A lot of my friends are within a few years of my age, in either direction; it's thus not surprising that a lot of them would go through similar life stages at roughly the same time.

And it's also the passage of time. If you look at any given group of people over time, the number of them who are alive will inevitably go down.

So, sure, it's not surprising that there would come a time in someone's life when their friends' parents die more often than was once true. As I get older, chances are pretty good that more and more of my friends' parents will die. But even though I don't actually know most of my friends' parents, it still hurts to see my friends hurt.

It feels weird to talk about all this as something that's had an effect on me, because it was my friends who were experiencing the hurt; nothing actually bad has been happening to me. It could be argued, in fact, that my life is objectively ridiculously good in most ways.

But I'm hoping that I can do both: that I can acknowledge that my vicarious sadness is nothing compared to my friends' grief and loss and pain, while also acknowledging that my friends' losses have made me sad.

When my mother died of leukemia, when I was twelve, I don't think I knew any other kids who'd lost a parent. (Aside from my brother, of course.) I've always tended a bit toward the melodramatic in my emotional reactions, and I felt that my mother's death put me in a special category. I was a member of a very exclusive club, and not one that I would've wanted to see anyone else join. When I made new friends, there was eventually always a tricky moment, when they would ask about my parents and I would have to tell them about my mother. And although I mostly didn't want them to make a big fuss about it (saying my mother had died was so unusual that it kinda made it hard to continue whatever conversation we'd been having), part of me also felt that it did merit a big fuss, that this was something terrible and unusual and extraordinarily bad. “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.” It was a huge and awful thing to me, and I wanted some acknowledgment of that, while at the same time not wanting people to go on and on about it or to put me too much in the spotlight.

Over the years after that, I met other people who'd lost parents when they were kids, and other friends of mine lost parents as or after they grew up. The wider my circles grew, of course, the more people I knew whose parents had died.

And by the time I was in my thirties, it was no longer a conversation stopper. Still unusual, but the fact that I was talking about something that happened twenty years earlier took the immediacy off it. I would still get sympathy for it, people acknowledging that it's hard for a kid to lose a parent, but it was harder to convey the hugeness and awfulness of it without kicking up a big fuss. And, too, it had become somewhat less huge and awful for me. Still a tremendous loss, but not overwhelming. Time doesn't heal all wounds, but it does often lessen pain. And sometimes someone's reaction wasn't just “Oh, how awful,” but “Oh, yeah, that's rough, mine died when I was a kid too,” which sometimes was hugely comforting—to know that I was not alone in this experience—but sometimes threw me a little off-stride, because I was expecting that the next part of the conversation would be focused on me and my pain, and suddenly I had to adapt to also expressing sympathy toward someone else. But, but, hey, what about me and my tragedy?! a small pouty part of me would sometimes say, in my head. There is a great tragedy in my life! We should be focusing on that! We have no room to focus on some other person's sadness! But the kinder and less selfish parts of me would overrule that, and sometimes I would get to hear other people's stories, and they would listen to mine, and we would be sympathetic to each other.

And then, in 2005, my father was murdered. And I once again felt myself to have become a member of some special category. Friends of mine had lost parents, yes, but very few had lost parents to violence. This was a ridiculous reaction for me to have; almost all deaths are hard for the dead person's loved ones to take, and almost all deaths of close family members are especially hard on people. Intellectually, I understand that it's silly for me to try to compare the pain of one kind of death to the pain of another kind; pain doesn't work that way. Every death is different, and every death is important. But my gut emotional reaction was nonetheless that this was a particularly awful way to die. Even though he probably died very fast.

And in some ways, my reaction to my father's death was the opposite of my reaction to my mother's. When someone in her thirties dies of leukemia after a long period of illness, leaving behind two young children and a husband, that's pretty widely recognized as tragic, and pretty easy to get unadulterated sympathy for. But when someone in his sixties is murdered by his sort-of wife, who tried to set fire to the house afterward in order to commit suicide, because of depression partly related to financial concerns over a child-support lawsuit and fears of losing their house—that just sounds sordid. It sounds like tabloid news, like the kind of thing where people read the news story and then congratulate themselves for not having lives that messed-up. And so instead of being able to say Woe is me, look at how tragic my life is, and how nobly I have borne this tragedy!, I felt a little ashamed of the manner of my father's death, as well as heartbroken at the fact of it.

...To be clear: please don't tell me whether you did or didn't have that “how sordid!” reaction; I assume most of my friends didn't, but that doesn't matter, because the point isn't about how people actually reacted, it's about my gut reaction regarding how I expected people to react. Partly because I've had that kind of reaction myself when reading news stories about people I don't know. I suspect there's a certain amount of classism built into that reaction—“that isn't one of the socially acceptable ways for our kind of people to die,” an ugly little voice in my head was muttering—but I'm not really up for going into that right now either. Really this whole sordidness issue is a side note, not part of the main thrust of what I want to talk about here.

One other difference between my mother's death and my father's: in 2005, when my father died, I was active in what passed for social media, which for me at the time meant my blog and Livejournal. And so I could post a note about what happened, and could immediately get sympathetic responses from friends far and wide. Telling people in person about important or difficult stuff has always been hard for me (I feel the same way about coming out as bi or poly to someone in person); partly because it means I have to deal with their own emotional responses as well as my own, partly because it's exhausting to tell the same story over and over, partly for other reasons that are less easy to tease apart so I'm not going to bother right now. So being able to tell people en masse, and being able later to tell people by just sending them a link, made things a lot easier. (Although it also meant that there were people who I assumed would know but who for various reasons missed the posts about it.) And it meant that when I wanted to read sympathetic responses, I could, and when I couldn't cope with them, I could just not read them. There was still the danger of people reacting inappropriately, but that's a lot easier to step away from online than in person.

I think that my point in all this, if I have one, may be that each death is different, and each person's reaction to each death is different, and our reactions are embedded in a social matrix—a combination of the actual reactions that others have, the things that others tell us, and the reactions that we imagine others might have. Approval or disapproval, sympathy or silence, remembering or forgetting. Death is hard to deal with; sometimes telling other people about it can be an additional burden; sometimes shared pain is lessened (as Spider Robinson puts it); sometimes the social interactions around death and pain are more complicated and nuanced than that.

And sometimes it can all be too much. Words always seem inadequate to me in a time of loss and grief; all the more so when I find myself writing the same inadequate attempts at sympathy and comfort over and over, when what appears to be a wave of deaths hits and it feels overwhelming, when it feels like nothing you say can do any good. But sometimes it's all we have. Words and hugs and other expressions of sympathy; they're not much, but sometimes it helps, even if only a little; a gathering of little human lives around the campfire, holding off the vast darkness of the night.


Mar. 4th, 2015 07:30 pm
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
TW suicide

I posted recently about why I had to give up HabitRPG-- a combination of playing on my anxiety, guilt trips, not being able to think of appropriate rewards, and so on. I said at the time that this is a problem I have with games in general. But Debbie mentioned a computer RPG earlier and it made me think about why Habit is one of the RPGs in particular I have great problems with.

I don't mind AD&D-type things where you're a collaborative part of a team and you can fade into the background as necessary-- it's not much different from roleplay irl. And I don't mind single-player games where they're a large directed puzzle to solve-- it's not far different from a crossword. But competitive roleplaying makes me want to cause my character's suicide early on to save trouble. Even worse are large open-ended games with no particular goal, the sort of thing where you can say, "Oh, lovely! A whole new universe for me to fail in!"

I think if Elite were released today I probably wouldn't enjoy it much.

The year in movie soundtracks, 2014

Mar. 4th, 2015 06:42 pm
[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

For the New Yorker, Alex Ross writes about movie soundtracks, with an emphasis on the scores for the 2014 crop of films.

This year's Oscar nominations for Best Original Score did the field few favors, overlooking some significant work. Jonny Greenwood, increasingly known as much for his film music as for his contributions to Radiohead, has yet to be acknowledged by the Academy, despite his idiosyncratic, imaginative collaborations with the director Paul Thomas Anderson, most recently in "Inherent Vice." Jason Moran deserved a nod for his "Selma" score, which oscillates between subdued moods of hope and dread, avoiding the telltale gestures of the great-man bio-pic. (The Aaron Copland trumpet of lonely American power is in abeyance.) Most baffling was the omission of Mica Levi's score for "Under the Skin," which, like Greenwood's work for Anderson, moves from seething dissonance to eerie simplicity and back again.

I listen to movie soundtracks quite a bit; they're good to play while working. Here are a few I've enjoyed from 2014:

Tags: Alex Ross   movies   music
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Posted by Maia Remez McCormick

I’ve been working with SPARQL a bunch for my OPW project, and found it very slow going at first. SPARQL is apparently one of those little-loved languages that doesn’t have much in the way of tutorials or lay-speak-explanations online—pretty much all I could find were the language’s official docs, where were super technical and near-impossible for a beginner to slog through. Hell, I didn’t even understand what the language did—how could I read the technical specs?

So, I decided to take a step towards remedying this problem. This post won’t actually teach you how to use SPARQL—others do that better than I, and I provide some links at the bottom of the post—but it’s intended to be a primer on how SPARQL works, and what the data you might use it on looks like. (This is a blog-ified version of a Hacker School Thursday Talk presentation given on 2/5/15.)

What is SPARQL?

It’s like SQL, but with extra unicorns. Sparkly Unicorn

No really, what is SPARQL?

Besides a query language with a really ridiculous name?

SPARQL is a (recursive) acronym standing for: SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language.

It’s a query language, like SQL, that you use to poke around in your data and find the bits of it that you want. Unlike SQL, which queries tables, SPARQL queries data stored in a different way: a Resource Description Framework (or RDF).

What is RDF?

SQL expects data to be in tables, like this: SQL Table

But SPARQL works with data organized like this: RDF Web

A single row in the SQL table is a collection of bits of information about that one entity (in this case, a person); the web below is another way of visualizing that information. Each bit of information is contained in a subject/predicate/object triple.

Subject/Predicate/Object Triples


This convention plays off of English grammar constructs [fn: and probably lots of other languages too, but I don’t know enough linguistics to make any sort of comprehensive claim] grammar constructs. In English, we can make a sentence like this:

The humanthrowsthe ball.

The human is the subject, throws is the predicate (verb-like thing), and the ball is the object. Likewise, we can express any cell from a SQL table in the same way:

Maiahas favorite color equal torainbow.

Where Maia (the thing we’re referring to—the row in the SQL table representing an entity) is the subject, has favorite color equal to is the predicate (think of this as the property name, or put another way, the column header), and rainbow is the object (the value of that property for the given entity). In diagram form, it would sort of look like this:

RDF in color #1

Only, this is not quite accurate. Maia is not its own entity; it’s a human-readable identifier (what we mortals call a first name) for some entity stored in your computer. This entity hasFirstName Maia just like it hasFavoriteColor Rainbow. So in reality, the visual representation would look more like this:

RDF in color #2

<aabbcc>—the alphanumeric string we give to our entity to represent it and so we can track all of its associated properties and value—is called a Uniform Resource Identifier, or URI. (Not to be confused with Uniform Resource Locators, or URLs. A URL tells you the location of the entity in question, where as the URI is the name the computer has given to our entity; think of a URI as a name and a URL as an address.)

What Does a Query Look Like, Anyway?

The first thing to know is that SPARQL objects and properties aren’t invented at random. When you’re using SPARQL, you work with a predefined set of classes (e.g. contact, email address, etc.) and properties (e.g. hasFirstName, dateAdded, etc.), collectively called an ontology. Generally, systems will use a combination of the standard ontologies floating around the web (GNOME Tracker, for instance uses this collection of ontologies, someone putting together a contacts list might use foaf). I also assume you can make your own, though I’ve never experimented with this. Ontologies are identified by a prefix (and if you’re writing your own queries from scratch, you’ll have to set the prefixes with a link to the ontology on the interwebs)… The point being, in English, you might get confused between “has first name” and “has name” and “is named” and “has given name”… but in SPARQL, there will be only one name for that property (presumably something like foaf:givenName).

Anyway, what does a query look like? It looks something like this:

SELECT ?a ?b ?c

Basically, you select some stuff (SELECT ?a ?b ?c as specified by the conditions in your WHERE clause—possibly including some FILTER statements) which you can then do a handful of operations on: ordering by one or more of the values, capping the number of results you want, etc.

But that was (obviously) an extremely sketchy description, and as I warned you, I’m not going to go into any more detail in this post. Others have tackled this material better than I—I learned most of what I knew about SPARQL at the very beginning from Dr. Noureddin Sadawi’s Simple SPARQL Tutorial, in which he plays around with Bob DuCharme’s sample code. Check out their stuff to learn what queries actually look like, and all the cool stuff you can do with them. I hope this has been at least somewhat enlightening; thanks for tuning in!

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Posted by admin

There’s no “rule” for book titles. Not a single one. They aren’t copyrighted, so you can call your book whatever you want. Call it WAR AND PEACE or WIZARDS OF EARTHSEA or THE CLOUD ATLAS or whatever. You can do what you like.

Got that out of your system?

Now let’s get to work.

Titles are easy for folks to confuse. Ask the guy who wrote this THE CLOUD ATLAS how many more sales he got when this THE CLOUD ATLAS got a movie deal. Not a bad problem to have! But when you have two midlist books BOTH called SWORDSPINNER, all you’re going to end up doing is frustrating and confusing people. We live in a world of lazy instant communication, of the one-click purchase, of Google and Twitter hashtags and all the rest.

I don’t want to sift through 8,000 books called NOVEL to find yours (if you’re famous already, this post isn’t really for you. People buy a Stephen King book because it’s by Stephen King. He can call a book MADAME BOVARY if he wants. You might have more trouble. Here’s why).

There’s no other book called GOD’S WAR, which is nice, but there are plenty of INFIDELs and plenty of RAPTUREs. Worse, when I titled these books this way it left a lot of readers thinking they were Christian religious fiction (the covers help dispel that, but in casual conversation or status updates all they’ll hear/see is the title).

UK covers bel dame

Yes, really.

The titles were perfectly resonant for the works, but didn’t help those books find their audience. In fact, those titles actively turned people away. Titles tell us all sorts of things, just like covers. And like covers, it’s not about making a title literal. It’s about telling readers what kind of book you’re selling.

Ever since the mess of titling I experienced with my first trilogy, I’ve been spending a lot more time thinking about titles. I want titles that are unique and easy for me to track during my marketing efforts. I want titles that are easy to remember, easy to spell, and easy to plug into a social media update. As I learned when I wanted to tweet about the movie “Edge of Tomorrow” a meaningless, overly long title wasn’t any fun to share with people. I called it “Live. Die. Repeat.” instead, as did many others. And lo, by the time the DVD of the film came out, that’s the title the marketing folks were using for the film. It was evocative of the type of work it was, it said something, it was easy to type up and easy to track. It didn’t sound like a James Bond movie, but an actual science fiction film.

What genre are you writing? What genre does your title evoke?

When it came to titling THE MIRROR EMPIRE, I went through about a bazillion titles. THE DRAGON’S WAR. THE MIRROR WAR. Here was the list I sent my agent:

• Shade Empire
• Shade War
• Dusk of Empire
• By the Bloody Gate
• The Blood Conjurer
• The Shade Ward
• Dark Ward Rising/ Shadow Ward Rising


TheMirrorEmpire-144dpi-forrevealIt was my agent who suggested THE MIRROR EMPIRE, which I loved. Because it said what the book was: fantasy (see: empire) and implied the central conceit of the book (parallel universes invading). We also passed it through the Amazon machine, ensuring that no other book had the same title.

For the sequel, we went round and round again, with DARK STAR RISING and DARK STAR ASCENDANT. But I felt that both of those felt like SF titles (see: “Star” anything). We settled on EMPIRE ASCENDANT, which I have since had some reservations about, as most people can’t spell ASCENDANT correctly the first time (I sure can’t) and it makes it difficult to search for. It passed the Amazon test, though – it’s the only book with that title.

We went through a similar round-robin with THE STARS ARE LEGION, which started out being called, LEGION which is bad in so many ways. There are a billion other books called LEGION. It also didn’t code as any type of genre. It could be anything from historical fiction to fantasy.

I wanted something that included “Legion” but that coded SF, which was tough. I threw around some ideas with my editor and agent that included:

• Legion Born
• Lord of the Legion
• Legion Bound
• Blood of the Legion
• Legion Among the Stars

Once again, it was my agent who put all the pieces together and suggested THE STARS ARE LEGION, which gives us the SF “Stars” and the word “Legion” which was integral to a title, for me. And, once again: it passes the Amazon search test. There’s no other book with the title, currently.

I’d like to say that choosing a title makes no difference, but to be frank: no fantasy reader confuses THE MIRROR EMPIRE with religious fiction or a cozy mystery novel and says, “That’s not for me.”

Titles can turn casual readers off. I had people turn up their noses at GOD’S WAR for years, thinking it was not something for them, until there were enough people they knew telling them to try it that they finally gave in despite their reservations. It’s far easier to convince people to read THE MIRROR EMPIRE, let me tell you.

If I had to go back in time, I’d make it clearer that the GOD’S WAR books were SF, or an SF/Fantasy mashup, right there in the titles. There were certainly other things that contributed to their rather poor showing (lots of publisher issues), but what I’ve learned since then is that this business is tough enough that you can’t afford to slip up in even one aspect of it. Every single thing has to be perfect to position the book at its best. We’re all competing for readers’ time and attention, and if you can’t capture it, you’re lost.

I remember thinking, the week after the Hugos when THE MIRROR EMPIRE came out, that I’d done everything I could think of right. My publisher, Angry Robot, had done everything right – from cover to table placement to positioning to pitching the book to booksellers. We had done the absolute best we could for that book at every step of the way. If it failed, then it was just a bad book, or maybe the market just wasn’t ready for it. But every single part of the process I could control – from words to title to cover to promo – I had done to the absolute best of my ability. So if it failed, then, OK, it would fail, but I could sleep easy knowing I’d done everything I could.

This is a hell of a business. It’s competitive because it’s so noisy. There are roughly 300 traditionally published books coming out every month just in SFF, depending on the month. There are video games. There are movies. There’s TV. There’s board games. There’s sports. There are a million other ways that human beings have to entertain themselves, and our work somehow has to pop to the head of the line.

I don’t like the idea that there’s something I can control that I didn’t consider. Something I let slip. So I pay a great deal of attention to my titles; the same amount of attention I pay to the other words I put on the page. People ask all the time if it makes any difference and I want to shout, “It takes an hour of your time. Who cares? Wouldn’t you rather go to sleep every night knowing you did everything right? Knowing you gave the book you’ve been working on for years a good sendoff, coding it for the right audiences?”

I do. And I have. And I’ll continue to work toward launching books even more successfully in the future. Because this is a long game. And I have miles to go yet.



Ye olde hip hop

Mar. 4th, 2015 03:47 pm
[syndicated profile] kottke_org_feed

Posted by Jason Kottke

There are only a dozen images so far, but this Tumblr comparing art from before the 16th century and contemporary images of hip hop is fantastic. My favorites:

Hip Hop Art

Hip Hop Art

Tags: art   music

linkspam is lazing about the house

Mar. 4th, 2015 08:29 am
cofax7: grasshopper bounce (Bounce)
[personal profile] cofax7
I ran across this webcomic and really enjoyed it. So noted so I can stick in my feed.

Oh, this is right on point. (Must email N for drinks!)

The Hairpin stands up for Lina Lamont.

I'm sorry, I am not trading in my hefty tea mug for a delicate china cup.

This story reminds me of Otter. Hope she's doing okay!

Crows are amazing, yo.

Hollywood Reporter has a nice long interview with Kyle Chandler. "I couldn't coach my way out of a paper bag." (He's still asked to speak to coaches and teams and politely declines.) Also he has a new show coming this spring, on Netflix!

Great article about exercise, particularly for women. Nice & straightforward, myth-dispelling.

Woah: a privately-funded slavery museum in Louisiana. Forty-eight years after World War II, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opened in Washington. A museum dedicated to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks opened its doors in Lower Manhattan less than 13 years after they occurred. One hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, however, no federally funded museum dedicated to slavery exists, no monument honoring America's slaves.

Ursula LeGuin comments on Kazuo Ishigiro's new novel. I heard him interviewed the other day, and didn't catch that exchange, but the local paper reviewed the book and used the T-word (transcends) in referring to its relationship with the fantastic. So. I do like Ishigiro, but LeGuin's commentary does put a damper on my enthusiasm.
[syndicated profile] antenna_feed

Posted by Charlotte Howell

Lost's Last Supper
One of the most compelling trends in American television programming at the moment is almost never even seen as a trend. A variety of shows in various stages of development or production that feature religious topics and imagery include: Constantine on NBC, Dig on USA, A.D. on NBC, Preacher on AMC, Lucifer for Fox, Black Jesus on Cartoon Network, a Ten Commandments-based series for WGN and another for NBC, American Gods on Starz, Daredevil on Netflix, Hand of God on Amazon the list goes on and on. Across broadcast, basic and pay cable, and online streaming platforms, there is a wealth of series dealing with spiritual stories, using specific religions’ dogma, featuring Biblical characters and translating religion into mythos.

So why are these elements ignored in trade news and minimized in promotional materials? Have the press and industry failed to recognize this as a trend or are they deliberately downplaying this widespread development across the TV landscape? With religion on fictional television growing, why is it so difficult for press and PR to acknowledge this shift within the industry?

We regularly hear talk of television’s greater edginess—its willingness to engage with more explicit language, sexuality, and violence. Yet when it comes to religion, things get more complicated. Since the neo-network era, “edge” has been a leading logic of the television industry: a way to gain the attention of desirable, affluent, niche audiences who are thought to seek programs distinctive in some way from the mediocre mainstream. Since the 1980s, the concept of “edgy” has found many additional markers for distinction. From NYPD Blue’s notable nudity and curse words to South Park’s free-for-all offensiveness, the taboos of language, representations, violence, and sexuality have faded. Religion, however, remained a vagary. When religion appeared, it was in general, sanitized terms or single-episode sensational stories that nevertheless avoided faith-based specificity.

In 1990, Horace Newcomb described religion represented on television as “the deeply, powerfully embedded notions of the good that must come from . . . somewhere” but that avoided specifics of belief. Little changed from that description of how religion is featured on television until the mid-2000s, when Battlestar Galactica, Lost, and the long-arm of The Passion of the Christ’s success enabled a period of multiple attempts at religiously-themed television shows. At that moment, the press noticed the pattern: For instance, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter both ran articles examining the “hot topic” of religious content for television, putting shows like Wonderfalls, Joan of Arcadia, Miracles, and Revelations in relation to each other and wider industrial vicissitudes. However, aside from a few successful shows with multiple seasons, this mid-decade trend died, and so too did the industry’s willingness to discuss religious content as a programming trend. It’s unclear why the industry that was able to make these links chose to stop explicitly drawing these connections and preferring to ignore the trend, but the big gamble and big loss of Kings seems the turning point toward skittishness.

Significantly, whereas Deadline has no problem identifying new trends pertaining to romantic comedies, movie adaptations, and medical dramas—regardless of how many of these series get greenlit or survive for longer than a handful of episodes—few articles appear regarding the increasingly widespread presence of religious series across the television landscape. If such series are discussed, as in this TV Guide article, Biblical series are foregrounded while most science fiction series are left out. (Whither the Sleepy Hollow mention, TV Guide?)

Religion may be perceived as “edgy,” or at least risky, in a business sense in that it is cast as somewhat dangerous in an industrial context. Many industry workers don’t want to talk about it or deflect to bigger “spiritual/humanist” questions. Even if writers use Revelation in a specifically Protestant iteration as the key to a show’s ongoing mythology, they remain careful to couch it among other mythologies that appear once. But religion on TV is the wrong kind of edgy for how the shows, studios, and networks conceive of their target audience. As young Americans and wealthy Americans (as well as coastal Americans) are identified as more and more secular, spiritual, or non-religious by Pew research and through anecdotal encounters, religion—particularly Christianity, which is the main wellspring for this content—continues to be thought of increasingly as belonging to old, poor, Heartland Americans, (i.e., not the desired consuming audience for many of these shows). Moreover, appealing to such an audience is cast in opposition to “edge.” Thus, the industry straddles a fine “edge”: On the one hand, networks use Biblical adaptations to get the ratings of Heartland viewers, on the other hand, they make the case to advertisers that the “right” kind of audience can be attracted to view their other shows by downplaying the religious elements while maintaining they won’t alienate viewers.

MV5BMTc4OTcyOTc2M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODE2OTU1MjE@._V1_In this recent spate of shows, the only notable example of a series that is exploiting its religious content to foreground its edgy bona fides is on Amazon. Continuing to cast itself as the place to go for television that could not appear anywhere else, Amazon Studios picked up Hand of God during its August 2014 pilot season. The series wins at edgy bingo: the main plot of the pilot features a corrupt judge who becomes born-again Christian following the brutal beating of his son and the rape of his daughter-in-law by an assailant that he then discovers via “visions” from God. The judge then conscripts a violent disciple to kill in the name of God. The characters curse freely, the violence is graphic, and drug use is commonplace. Yet it is the exploration of corruption in religion that sets this show apart from others in this recent trend. In bucking the industry’s insistence of downplaying religion as a key narrative element, Hand of God found the “edge” in religion. But you wouldn’t know it from trade press coverage of it.

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Posted by Annalee

Carrie Patel

Photo courtesy of Carrie Patel

Carrie Patel writes both prose fiction and video games. Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and her first novel is out this week from Angry Robot books. She’s also a narrative designer for Obsidian Entertainment, a game studio known for story-driven games.

I caught up with her via email to chat about how writing for video games compares to writing prose fiction. This is what she told me:

Storytelling in games is so varied – you have some (like Journey) that are beautiful and fabulous without telling their stories through words, and you have others (like Pillars of Eternity, the game I’m working on) that do most of their storytelling through text dialogue. To more directly answer your question, both media force you to examine and incorporate story structure in slightly different ways.

Books are completely linear and games, to varying degrees, are less so. With an RPG in particular, you need to strike a balance between giving the player agency and telling her a cohesive narrative that still hits interesting beats. You’re also free to define the protagonist of a novel in a way that you often aren’t with story-driven RPGs where the goal is to allow the player to define (or become) the protagonist. As a result, a lot of RPG companions and key NPCs tend to be pretty colorful–as a writer, your pour most of your big, bold characterization into these individuals. It’s fun, and it helps you provide certain reference points for the player–which NPCs do they find most sympathetic, and which do they tend to align themselves with? To sum up, working in both media has given me a greater appreciation for story structure–structure comes out differently, but it’s still critical to both media.

Her novel, THE BURIED LIFE, is a science fiction thriller set in the post-post apocalyptic underground city. Fans of steampunk, mystery, and awesome lady detectives should be sure to check it out.

Pillars of Eternity, her first complete computer game, is coming out from Obsidian in a few weeks. It’s an RPG in the style of Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment.

You can catch up with Carrie on her blog, Electronic Ink, or on Twitter as @Carrie_Patel.

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Mar. 4th, 2015 03:08 pm
[syndicated profile] mamohanraj_feed
Cancer log 35.

Time and money, money and time. There are so many ways in which my upper-middle-class economic status has eased this medical process for me; someday, maybe I'll make a long list. It'd include the little chai lattes I buy to cheer myself up at the hospital between uncomfortable procedures, the fact that I can pay the $5 parking fee without wincing, the tech I bring along (laptop, smart phone) to keep all the long waits from being too onerous, etc. and so on. The fact that I didn't and don't feel like I need to hide my diagnosis for fear of losing a job my rent money is dependent on. I'm certainly not experiencing cancer the way a poor person would, and I'm so grateful for that. But I'm also not experiencing it quite the way a really rich person would.

Kevin and I have been kicking ourselves, a little bit, that we got the HMO insurance our jobs offered, rather than opting for the more expensive PPO. We didn't care that much about which doctor we went to, and there were plenty nearby who took the HMO. We were young(ish) and healthy(ish) -- we were figuring we'd probably switch to the PPO in a few years, when we were older, and serious issues were more likely to come up.

It's now been almost a month since diagnosis, and today I meet my new primary care doctor at Loyola, and next Tuesday I have the last of the biopsies, and next Wednesday I meet with the radiation oncologist to schedule the start of chemo. So let's say 5-6 weeks from diagnosis to start of actual treatment. And some of that time I have to put down to my waffling; if I'd stuck with my original doctors OR gone directly to Loyola, I could've shaved perhaps 2 weeks off the whole process. (I'm mostly not blaming myself for that, because this stuff is hard and complicated and some of it takes time to figure out.) But that still means 3-4 weeks left, from diagnosis to start of actual treatment.

(It would have been longer, except that at various points in the process I pushed, hard, for them to get me in sooner for procedures. They said how about next week Tuesday? I said, "I have to go out of town for four days for a conference -- can you PLEASE fit me in this Tuesday instead?" They said, the referral came through so late (half an hour after the MRI appointment time), and now you've been waiting two hours -- we don't know if we can fit you in, why don't you come back next week? I said I have my book, I'll wait, PLEASE (slightly teary) fit me in if you can. Half an hour later, they fit me in. Pushing helped speed the process -- but having the class privilege that let me feel entitled to push was essential, and that's probably its own entry all by itself.)

3-4 weeks may not seem like a lot of time. But as a doctor friend of mine told me, when *her* friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, *she* went to her fancy doctor, and started chemo the next week.

That's what money buys you -- it buys you the doctor's time, and the hospital's time. (And better MRI machines, etc.) The facilities aren't as crowded, they're not trying to see as many patients (the patients they do have pay more), the doctors are being paid well enough that they're willing to work on their lunch break or come in early or stay late if needed to squeeze you in. An extra measure of service, your money for their time.

Fair enough -- I wouldn't complain about it if I were just buying curtains. I can get behind the free market in most things. I would expect better service at Anthropologie than Target, and better quality curtains too. I don't even mind it for routine health care -- if having HMO insurance means I have to spend an extra forty-five minutes in the doctor's office waiting for my annual exam, or in the pediatrician's office getting my daughter's pink-eye looked at, then fine. I don't have the money (or wasn't willing to spend it), so I'm paying in time (which is also money, in another sense). But it's not urgent, it's not critical, so it doesn't grate at me too much.

But cancer is certainly critical. And it may not be urgent -- after all, if my routine mammogram had been scheduled for April instead of January, I wouldn't even know about the cancer yet. But the little monster will have had an extra month to grow by the time we start chemo. Probably not a critical month -- the doctors and hospital staff don't seem to have nearly as much sense of urgency about all this as I do, and I'm assuming (hoping) that if I had a more dangerously aggressive cancer, even with the HMO insurance, they would all have pushed harder to get me into treatment much faster. Doctors do try to take care of all their patients as best they can, even the poorest ones, and all the doctors I know would move heaven and earth to try to save a life. So probably it's all fine, as far as my particular cancer is concerned.

But maybe it's not. And I would rather not live in a country where people with more money get treated faster for their life-threatening illnesses. As long as America has this kind of insurance system, that equation is what we're buying with our money, our time.

iMagnet Phone Mount

Mar. 4th, 2015 09:00 am
[syndicated profile] cooltools_feed

Posted by mark

You don’t want to mess with your phone much while driving, period. But because we depend on our phones for driving directions, music, calendar appointments, etc… and, oh yeah, talking on the phone, this car mount provides the most straightforward way to keep your phone accessible in an environment where you really don’t want to pay much attention to your phone (mount).

It holds your phone, securely, where you can see it – and without fuss and fidgeting to get it in our out of the mount. Hold it up to the magnetic surface and it grabs and holds firmly (I’ve been down some pretty bumpy dirt roads without a single slip).

Need to remove your phone quickly? Just lift it off – no clamps or clips to mess with. The mount face swivels and tilts easily for view adjustment and the sticky-cup suction has stayed firm on my dashboard for nearly a year (and still going). The only downside for me, is that my phone case now has a thin, rectangular metal plate stuck to the back of its case for the magnet to contact. This plate hasn’t caused any phone usage issues – it still slips in my pocket fine – it’s just not as aesthetically pleasing. Another option is to try to place the thin metal plate between your phone and its case, and if the case is thin enough the mount face can grab it. The package includes two of the rectangular stick-on plates and another smaller round plate for the under-case option.

-- Janna Kryscynski

iMagnet Phone Mount

Available from Amazon

ugh, so behind on these

Mar. 4th, 2015 04:14 am
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Some of these are "quick hits", since I've gotten lazy about taking full notes, but still.

Behind the cut: Thorns, Event Horizon, The Bloody Sword (*), Relics of Herself (*), Midnight Mass (*), Hagiophobia (*), Yellow Metal With Mingled Purple Blushes (*), Gingerbread Sin (*), The Fruit of Paradise (*), 13 Ad Lunam (*), The Lotus Tree, Shining Beak of Pure Horn (*), Delicate Ambrosial Dews of Heavenly Nectar (*), The Antikythera Mechanism, Thieves' Rosin, Libertine, The Phoenix In Summer (*), In Templum Dei, Creeper Dragon (*), Minamoto no Yorimasa and the Lotus Root Flower (*), Mars Alator (*), Ruined Roses (*)

now you smell it, now you don't )

Stay by John Clute

Mar. 4th, 2015 08:00 am
[syndicated profile] strangehorizons_feed

Posted by Matthew Cheney

Watching other people wield Clute’s idiolect is like watching toddlers play with sex toys: at once funny, gross, and embarrassing.
[syndicated profile] bookmaniac_feed

Posted by Liz Henry

Some of the things I read today. Sometimes you look at the news and, damn.

Famous dude doxxes some trolls

* Former MLB pitcher, 38 Studios founder doxes his daughter’s online abusers
* Curt S.’s blog post about it all
* Daily mail article about the same thing

I would like to add to Gabby Schilling’s statement that ‘No one should be able to get away with saying those things to a father about his daughter.’ OK I can roll with that if I translate it 8 different ways in my head, but no one should get away with saying those things to anyone about anyone. And this should happen to exactly no one, nowhere, ever, in public or private.

Plenty more to say about how Curt Schilling handled this. Short version: Compare what happens when this dude doxxes people who say misogynist shit, to what happens when women report harassment against themselves. Extra bonus, all the framing of ownership and protectiveness and patriarchy and threats and jokes just makes it worse in some ways, even though I appreciate anyone fighting misogyny and harassment, it’s like, oh did the entire history of women defending themselves and each other just never happen? And I’m supposed to care more about this girl more than other girls because she has a dad and a boyfriend? Oh ok. OK whatever man.

Oh also noting that news article give the real names of two of the harassers, and it should not be hard at all to find the names of the rest of them. It isn’t like they tried to be anonymous or anything, it was just routine behavior for the lot of them.

University health records aren’t private

* University of Oregon doubles down on a rape survivor who sued them for mishandling her case. Educational institution medical records aren’t covered by HIPAA. I had no idea. Horrible on top of horribleness.

Students: Don’t go to your college counseling center to seek therapy. Go to an off-site counseling center. If, God forbid, you’ve been sexually assaulted, try to find a rape-crisis center.

So that pissed me off.

Ferguson Police Department are horrible

* Surprising no one, Ferguson Police dept. shows some very racist patterns of behavior and sends some stupid racist emails.

Smokin’ in the Girl’s Room

Some a-hole named Michael Rosner (who has not heard of the Streisand Effect) in Baltimore has apparently started a civil liberties complaint. Not sure what this means. An actual lawsuit? If so then I look forward to reading this ridiculousness in PACER and putting it straight into RECAP. He seems to be part of Baltimore Node, a local hackerspace, and is one of those people who are the self-appointed photographers of tech events. In a sadly now deleted post on some Baltimore tech group’s Facebook page, he compared himself to Rosa Parks. A+ drama and ludicrousness.

The repugnant thing of course is the chilling effect this kind of thing can have on other groups who want to hold events. I have certainly spent years hearing people say in meetings, “Oh but what if someone sues us for being reverse sexist/racist” etc. and not only can they fuck off, the people who actually get to the point of litigation can fuck right off and go start their own damn coding club.

First prize for douchebaggery goes to a poet

You would think that is enough for one day. And yet we have more!
* Poet Greg Frankson sues peers for more than $300,000 for libel and defamation
Dude, Ritallin, this isn’t how it works. You aren’t supposed to piss off the bard because the bard can write a scornful poem about you. Go write a scathing spoken word piece! Lawyers? Really?! Weak. Oh well! This is why the 21 women wanted to be anonymous in the first place. So that your punitive and extra harassing lawsuits wouldn’t screw up their emails with subpoenas from now till forever. So, apparently he was banned from some poetry organizations and events because 21 different women reported incidents of sexual harassment and assault. Frankson is now suing some of the people involved, and they’re now fundraising for their legal defense.

Politics and policy

I strongly think that reporting and witnessing harassment and sexual assault is political speech and should be protected as such. Anti-SLAPP law should protect us from these punitive defamation lawsuits. At the least it seems a reasonable defense. There is a long history, not over obviously, of violence against women and in particular sexualized violence against women, and backlash against reporting it. (Or prior restraint stops anyone from publishing it for fear of being sued, even when it’s true.)

It is extremely important that we fight on a legal and policy level against chilling effects to our free speech. I also see these lawsuits as having an effect on our ability and right to organize politically. If we can’t tell each other who raped us, how can we fight? In order to protect that right I think we also will need organizations and legal help that will keep our right to communicate privileged information to each other. But that is not all since we also need public disclosure for our activism. The legal definitions of harassment are centered around work environments and the responsibilities of employers to protect their employees.

While I am ranting, I see this as part of a horrible trend to privatize all the functions of a civil society. Having a job in a particular way should not be the precondition for having health care, a hope of a sustainable life in old age aka “retirement”, other basic needs of life, or, legal protection from abusive behavior. Our right to participate in public spaces should be protected. Not just in “workplaces”.

India’s Daughter

Let us look at one more spectacularly hideous example of pushing women out of the right to public life. All the content warnings or trigger warnings possible on this one….

I also read Leslee Udwin’s statement about interviewing some of the men from Delhi who raped and murdered a woman on a bus. There is heartening protest and activism against this sort of attitude as you can see in the many other articles about “India’s Daughter” but it is clearly also not just the rapists who think this way about their right to do whatever they want to women.

I am not trying to equate harassing people on twitter with rape and murder, I am saying that they are facets of the same oppressive attitude and power dynamic reflected. And that one underpins the other. We need to fight all of it.

A good book if you like books

On that note I have a book recommendation: Framing the Rape Victim: Gender and Agency Reconsidered by Carine M. Mardorossian. About the book:

Contesting the notion that rape is the result of deviant behaviors of victims or perpetrators, Mardorossian argues that rape saturates our culture and defines masculinity’s relation to femininity, both of which are structural positions rather than biologically derived ones.

And a bit I highlighted from the book:

We need to understand that the will to dominate is not an expression of free will or of a subject bound to gendered expectations that have turned the will to dominate into identity itself. Indeed, the failure to dominate produces a “terror machine” because it threatens the subject with complete annihilation: once one subscribes to the tenets of this identity-making machine, one is nothing if one does not dominate.

This book connects and clarifies sexualized violence and its role in many forms of oppression. “All violence is sexualized violence.” Food for thought.

Related posts:

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Mar. 4th, 2015 05:31 am
[syndicated profile] mamohanraj_feed
Cancer log 34.

Several people have commented to me that they've been surprised at how much my normal life has just kept going -- either they expected someone with cancer would just switch over to being someone with cancer, or in some cases, they themselves had cancer (or some other serious illness), and had found that that became the focus. And listen -- you have to do what works for you. There is no inherent virtue to the way I've been doing things.

I found the way one of my colleagues framed it tremendously helpful to me; she said I could either continue working and just take off the days I really needed to take off, or I could go on disability immediately and focus on dealing with the cancer full-on. She'd seen others go through this, and she said that for some people, it seemed helpful having other things to think about, a normal routine and activities to engage with, as much as they were able. And for me, that's so clearly what I'd prefer. But that's not going to work for everyone, and it may not even keep working for me. I'm still in the diagnosis / testing phase -- I have no real idea how the various phases of treatment will affect me.

That said -- I do have a truly terrible cold right now. And it's just a cold, but it has knocked me out (and Kevin too -- he has the same cold). I was feeling exhausted all day today; I barely had the energy to put away a load of laundry; just climbing a flight of stairs wore me out. I have a hacking cough, barely kept in check with regular dosing with cough drops. And I'd agreed to do this thing, months ago -- to go to this play tonight, that started at 7:30, and stay afterwards for a panel discussion. Keep in mind that even when I'm not sick, I'm usually asleep by 10, so you can see that doing this while sick was a stretch for me. All day, I was waffling about it, tempted to call and cancel, back out -- I even came up with a replacement for my spot on the panel, someone I thought they'd be okay with subbing in. (Angeli, you were almost a panelist.)

But...I knew that normally, even when it happens past my bedtime, art energizes me. This has happened before, pre-cancer -- I've had to talk myself into going out for evening events. Experience has made clear that being on a stage, talking about a topic I love, a topic I feel strongly about (in this case, South Asian arts and the politics thereof) is going to a) be tons of fun b) give me a chance to see colleagues I don't get to see often enough, and c) make me feel great both during and afterwards.

So at 5 p.m. I took a solid dose of DayQuil, and then I took a shower, and after both of those, I felt almost human again. Still a little wobbly -- Kevin asked if I was okay to drive when I knocked over a ketchup bottle trying to make myself a hot dog for dinner before I headed out. But I thought I was okay. And, in fact, my energy levels stayed up, even thorough the play, and the panel after was super-fun, and even though I didn't get home 'til 11, I'm still a little buzzed now.

There will likely be days when I just have to cancel, have to beg off prior commitments because I really am too sick to follow through, and I'm going to need to pay more attention to that than I'm used to doing. (I tend to just power through.) But I do think there's so much benefit to still being out there in the world, as much as you can, doing the work you love. At least for me, that's part of staying healthy too.

And now I'm going to eat something and pour myself into bed. G'night, folks. See you in the morning!

P.S. The whole time I was grading papers this weekend, there was a little voice in the back of my head whining -- "But I have *cancer*!

I sternly told it that if I wanted the fun parts of teaching to continue, I didn't get to just opt out of the less fun parts. I knew that New England Puritan work ethic was going to come in handy eventually...

What’s in My Bag? – Heron

Mar. 4th, 2015 01:43 am
[syndicated profile] cooltools_feed

Posted by elance

I work in the subalpine regions of Washington state studying high elevation amphibians.  My work schedule is usually 5 days on in the backcountry, 2 days off in town to resupply and catch up on email.

On any given work trip into the backcountry I’ll walk up to 20 miles per day, visit up to 50 wetlands, and carry 10 extra pounds of research gear.  Over the past several years the amount of research gear that I’m required to carry has increased, driving down the weight and number of other things in my backpack.

Here’s what’s in my bag:

Hyperlite Mountain Gear 3400 Porter Pack, $310 - It fits me well and its weight is reasonable at 33 oz. It’s waterproof and white so you can see the down inside.

Sleeping items:
A homemade down quilt, comparable to Nunatak Arc Specialist, $479.
A homemade shelter, comparable to Mountain Laurel Designs Grace Tarp, $120 and Serenity Shelter, $145.
Thermarest Neo-Air Small, $110 - I have had a few small holes in it over four years, but they were patched easily with Gorilla Tape.
MSR Groundhog Stakes, $16 for 6

Cooking items:
Evernew 1.3 L Titanium pot, $60 - I’ve met folks who have used this pot for 20 years. Just be sure to get the version which is NOT non-stick. The plain titanium will last much longer.
Vargo Titanium Spork, $12 - Short enough tines to not loose all your liquid when used as a spoon.
Super Cat Stove, Free or $2 - The lightest stove on earth. Make your own at home in five minutes.
Denatured alcohol for the stove in an old soda bottle.
Stuffsack for food, $10
LiteTrail NyloBarrier Odor Proof Bag, $5 for 3 - Food goes in here, then in the stuff sack, which prevents rodents and bears from being too interested in my pack.
Aquamira Bottle, $20 with Sawyer Mini filter, $17 - The most convenient way I’ve found to filter water in the backcountry. Get the Sawyer filter though, the one that comes with the bottle is awful.

Clothing items:
Arc’teryx Phase SL T-shirt, $46 - Not all polyfiber shirts are created equal. This is one of the only ones I’ve ever used which actually moves sweat away from my skin.
Gramicci Men’s Rocket Dry G Pants, $36 - Simple, light, quick-drying pants. No gimmicks.
Darn Tough Socks 1/4 Ultralight, $13 - This company will replace your socks when you wear holes in them.
Ibex Hooded Indie Wool Shirt, $80
Patagonia Capilene 3 Long Undies, $55
Feathered Friends Daybreak Jacket, $240
Arc’teryx Squamish Hoody, $150 - This windbreaker is my favorite clothing item.  I wear it for sun and bug protection.  When working with amphibians, we do not use sunscreen or bug repellent and instead must cover up our skin.  I wear this, long pants, and a head-net for bug and sun protection.
Headnet, $15 - You can probably find this cheaper off-line.

Small items
Leica 10×25 BCA Binoculars, $500 - The lightest, quality binoculars I have found.
Suunto Core Watch, $233 - Combine this with a topo map for dead simple navigation.
Belomo Triplet Loupe, $35 - The best-quality cheap loupe.
Rite-in-Rain Notebook, $8 - We use larger versions of these for work. Personal notes go in this one.
Zebralight 52W Headlamp, $64
Platypus 2L Soft Bottle, $10 - I try to never carry more than .75 L of water, but when I need to, I use this.
Aquamira Chlorine Dioxide Drops, $13 - A backup to my water filter, repackaged in smaller drip bottles.
Whistle, $1
Suunto  M-3 Compass, $25 - Adjustable declination is my guilty pleasure.
Bic Lighter $1
Leatherman Squirt PS4, $30
Kiss My Face Sunscreen, $7 - Used occasionally on my nose.
Canon S100 Camera, $400 - I have had three of these. It’s my favorite camera.  The most current version is the S120.
Skilcraft Pencil, $27 for 6 - My favorite pencil. It’s very hard to find though.  The steel lead sleeve fully retracts into pencil body to avoid breaking the tip or punching holes in your clothes/pack/body.
Skilcraft Ballpoint Pen, $13 for 12
Maps printed from CalTopo.com, Free - A free alternative to topo map software. No account necessary. The advanced features are there if you need them but don’t get in the way.

-- Heron

[Cool Tools Readers! We will pay you $100 if we run your "What's in My Bag" story. Send photos of the things in your bag (and of the bag itself, if you love it), along with a description of the items and why they are useful. Make sure the photos are large (1200 pixels wide, at least) and clear. Use a free file sharing service to upload the photos, and email the text to editor@cool-tools.org. -- Mark Frauenfelder]

writing march etc day 3

Mar. 3rd, 2015 08:42 pm
inlovewithnight: (Default)
[personal profile] inlovewithnight
Geno/Ekblad pt 3: ~500 words

As I said on Facebook: Freezing rain (again), sidewalk a sheet of glass (again), slipped and fell while walking Carden (again), hit my head (new!). I'm fine, just tired of this and wondering if C is trying to kill me.

But it means I'm going to stick with the 500 words for today and not push it. And go to bed early.

Work is still good but this afternoon I realized whom my supervisor reminds me off, and it's Robin Thicke, and that's weird.

The Year So Far

Mar. 3rd, 2015 07:34 pm
jjhunter: Watercolor of daisy with blue dots zooming around it like Bohr model electrons (science flower)
[personal profile] jjhunter
JANUARY: moonlight; cold; busy.

FEBRUARY: snow; winter piled on winter.

MARCH: melting (i hope)


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