shyfoxling: (campbell (she'll think i'm a loony))
([personal profile] shyfoxling Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:20 am)
Would anybody reading this be willing to nominate Takin' Over the Asylum for this year's Yuletide? (Nominations open on Sept 8th - see schedule here) I wheedled [personal profile] elf into doing it last year, but it didn't get any takers, and it's not on her list of fandoms she's considering for this year (I don't really blame her).
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([personal profile] purplecat Aug. 23rd, 2017 06:22 pm)
Reading: I finally finished Crime and Punishement which was interesting but very monologuey. I've moved on to Unshapely Things by Marc del Franco, which seems quite good but I have a feeling I've exhausted my patience for wizards in garrets brooding about their tragic pasts.

Listening: I just listened to the first of the David Tennant and Catherine Tate Big Finish audios which I enjoyed more than I expected to - although they paired Donna up with another London temp and I actually, on audio, found them quite hard to tell apart.

Watching: A mixture of Wallander, Killjoys, Yuri on Ice and classic Doctor Who. We're doing quite well for choice of viewing options at the moment.
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([personal profile] miss_s_b Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am)

Posted by Andrew Rilstone

Yes, the Slave Trade was awful, an I am as much in agreement with that as any of the minority of people living in Bristol, who want the name of Colston Hall changed. However...

P. Collins

Who are these name changers? Are they Bristolians, born and bed here of Bristol families, educated in Bristol Schools, worked hard to buy their own houses, and pay council tax? How dare they come here from other cities and countries and tell us what to do?

also P. Collins
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([personal profile] white_hart Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:44 pm)
I spent my weekend staving off depression by immersing myself Caprice and Rondo, the seventh of Dorothy Dunnett's eight House of Niccolò novels, and only took until today to finish it because Scales of Gold scared me off sitting up late to finish Dorothy Dunnett novels and I forced myself to put it down at 81% complete on Sunday and 90% yesterday. I'm not completely sure that Dunnett-immersion is really a good long-term antidepressant, but in the short term it seems to have worked and I am feeling a bit better now anyway.

This volume takes Nicholas from Poland to Persia, via the Crimea, and then finally back to Bruges via a sojourn in Russia which echoes The Ringed Castle. Cut off from his friends and colleagues by the revelations that ended To Lie With Lions, he originally seems bent on self-destruction, but the events of this book build on his experiences in the desert and Iceland until, by the end, it truly feels as though he has grown up and is ready to begin building a life with roots, rather than seeing everything as a game to be played and won. The plot is typically twisty and compelling, the characters flawed and human and so very real, and I think I'm finally starting to understand why some people prefer the Niccolò books to the Lymond Chronicles. (I may even end up that way myself, although I might also just start re-reading Lymond and fall for him all over again.)

Caprice and Rondo resolves enough of the series' many subplots that I had a definite feel of approaching the end of the series; although it leaves some major plot threads unresolved, it felt as if enough had been tied up that the series could almost have ended there, and I do wonder if that was deliberate - Dunnett was 74 when it was published, and although she did manage to complete Gemini and publish it the year before she died, if this had been the last book it wouldn't have been an entirely unsatisfactory ending in the way ending with any of the previous three books would have.
strange_complex: (Dracula Risen hearse smile)
([personal profile] strange_complex Aug. 22nd, 2017 10:24 am)
I am communing with the ur-text at the moment (i.e. reading Dracula), and was tickled to notice last night that it contains a reference to Leeds - though not a very complimentary one! It's no great surprise, of course, given that a substantial chunk of the novel is set in Whitby, and indeed it is in the mouth of old Whitby fisherman Mr Swales that the reference comes. He is complaining about people being altogether too credulous about legends of bells ringing out at sea and White Ladies and such like:
Them feet-folks from York and Leeds that be always eatin' cured herrin's and drinkin' tea an' lookin' out to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder masel' who'd be bothered tellin' lies to them, even the newspapers, which is full of fool-talk.
I'm not terribly sure what 'feet' means in this context, and Google isn't helping, even when I put the phrase in quotation marks to rule out ordinary references to feet. Maybe it just means foot-passengers who have come to Whitby on the train? Or might it be Bram's attempt at spelling a local pronunciation of 'fit', and perhaps means something more like 'fine folk' (in a sort of 'fit to be Queen' kind of sense)? If any genuine Yorkshire-born chums have a clue, let me know. If it's a proper dialect word, it will have been something Bram got out of a book on Whitby dialect which we know he used in his research.

[ETA: apparently I wasn't Googling very effectively before. I've found the answer now and my first guess was right: feet-folks are foot-passengers.]

Anyway, I will be going to Whitby myself in just over a fortnight, along with the lovely [personal profile] lady_lugosi1313, to join a long weekend event marking the 40th anniversary of the Dracula Society's first official trip to that location. I don't have any particular plans to eat cured herring or drink tea (which I hate), but I won't turn down any nice cheap jet, and I will make a particular point of believing any and all legends of the macabre and supernatural which anyone tells me for the entire weekend - just to annoy Mr Swales.
...considering that I've got tickets to head back to Japan in three months, I should probably finish my trip report from last October. -_-;; Forth, into the North.

Previously:
Day 0/0.5 - Planes and trains
Day 1 - Akita and Aomori
Day 2 - Osorezan

I'd moved my trip to Osorezan to Sunday because the northern Japan weather forecast for Monday was not promising: constant drizzly rain with some heavier showers possible. At dinner on Sunday, Friend J and I discussed our plans to cross the Tsugaru Strait via the underground train tunnel and get to Hakodate, the northern terminus of the Hokkaido Shinkansen line, and see if we could go elsewhere in Hokkaido if weather permitted.

(Note: Hakodate is pronounced as its individual syllables indicate -- Ha-ko-da-te -- and not "Hako-date" as in "month and date.")

Since we had only one day to work with and didn't want to stay in Hokkaido much past 6 PM, we looked over our options and decided that a trip to Sapporo as well would be out of the question -- too far to go without an overnight stay. On the off-chance that the weather was nicer than expected and we really wanted to go off the beaten path, we stopped by the train station and got the friendly (albeit somewhat perplexed) JR employees to issue us with tickets for the shinkansen from Aomori to Hakodate, and then for the Hokuto Limited Express to the city of Muroran further down the coast. Muroran is a old steel-and-shipping town, the kind of decaying industrial city that I'm familiar with from my Rust Belt childhood, and J and I selected it as a possible excursion point because we literally knew nothing about it and wanted to become less ignorant about a part of Japan that most people almost certainly would not think to visit. The JR employees were very helpful in getting our tickets in order and did not show any confusion as to what on earth might have prompted these two giant foreigners to want to visit the Japanese equivalent of Steel City or Wigan Pier.

The following day, however, the weather forecast looked wet and dismal enough that we decided not to go to Muroran after all, and instead chose to stay in Hakodate until our return train. (I was still struggling with a head cold, which at this point had progressed to a constantly dripping nose and a near-complete loss of taste and smell.) However, the rain and the head cold were instrumental in leading us on an interesting, uh, adventure.

Hakodate in the rain, and an unexpected museum visit. )

So that was the adventure of Hakodate. The next day, we'd be heading south for the second leg of the trip. Onward to the onsen town!
1, Brian Aldiss passed away in his sleep, after celebrating his 92nd birthday. May he rest in peace. He wrote “more than 80 books and was editor of 40 anthologies.”

Unfortunately, I have never read anything of his. I have always meant to read Frankenstein Unbound, since I enjoyed the 1990 adaptation. So I’ll have to try to do that sometime soon. He also wrote Dracula Unbound, which I was never certain about reading, having not heard the best reviews--but it’s on my list, too, now.

2. Today is Fanfic Writers’ Appreciation Day.

3. [personal profile] wyld_dandelyon is doing a tarot card reading, and the first card is free.

4. Whedonesque is shutting down after 15 years. I think I’ve followed that site via feed (first on LJ, and then here on Dreamwidth via [syndicated profile] whedonesque_feed; I’ll unsubscribe to it shortly) for at least a decade, if not longer.

Were it not for the Buffyverse, I never would have ventured into writing, in both fanfic and RPG's (I think Willow was the first character I wrote for in any RPG).
aedh: a plushie triceratops (Default)
([personal profile] aedh Aug. 20th, 2017 09:07 pm)
Apparently, I really wanted to draw comic book storyboards today. I want to pretend this is a new urge, but more accurately it's been awhile. However, this was vastly more successful given I now have a whole ten-page story mapped out. It's a bit beyond what I feel is my ability to execute, but I'm bad at knowing what I can successfully draw anyway. I was replicating some manga yesterday and was astonished to find it basically showing up as a decent match to what I was copying.

I also had a go at arm-knitting, which is a lot more like actual knitting than I think the name implies. It does have the advantage of being super fast, and the disadvantage of you must start and finish the project at the same time. Also, the golden rule of knitting called don't stop in the middle of a row still applies. There's a pic of the scarf I made on twitter.

Still prevaricating on signing up to a nano prep-course. I hate it when I end up in this spiral of indecision, but the course is supposed to start tomorrow so I need to make up my mind.

Also, need to work on my coding for my game, which aargh. Actual programs are a lot harder than parts of programs. What a surprise.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
([personal profile] rmc28 Aug. 20th, 2017 07:46 pm)
Both children love swimming. Charles is a competent casual swimmer, Nicholas is still in beginner swim lessons and needs the full-time attention of an adult whenever out of his depth. So I like to take them swimming whenever possible, and made sure to pack swimming things for this holiday.

So far we have managed 2 pools in Helsinki, 1 on the ferry, and 2 in Stockholm.
Read more... )
Today we arrived in Copenhagen and our current airbnb in Fredericksberg is a very short walk from another local pool, plus there are a number of others I am investigating in case we have time for a second one ...
nineveh_uk: Illustration that looks like Harriet Vane (Default)
([personal profile] nineveh_uk Aug. 20th, 2017 07:41 pm)
I would have paid a chauffeur to drive me the hundred miles to Chichester to see Fiddler on the Roof yesterday*. As I'm not, I had to do it myself. Fortunately the strong reviews of the production didn't let me down and it was excellent. Omid Djalili was terrific as Tevye, Tracy-Ann Oberman moved Golde beyond cliché, and the younger generation could all sing, act, and dance, the first of which is regrettably not always guaranteed in musicals. The production/direction did an excellent job of conveying not only entertaining song and dance, but a story of some weight, and I ended up finding it very moving. I have seen it before, but about 25 years ago so I couldn't say which I thought was better. But I remember scenes from that West Yorkshire Playhouse that struck me then, and I'm sure I'll continue to remember this. I'm tempted to read the original stories it's based on for a comparison.

Have the trailer:



*I am aware that there are countries, indeed parts of the UK, where I'd be lucky to drive only 100 miles to the theatre, but this involved the M3 on a summer school holiday Saturday.
miss_s_b: (Default)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Aug. 20th, 2017 11:00 am)
shyfoxling: (doctor who (ding when there's stuff))
([personal profile] shyfoxling Aug. 19th, 2017 10:21 pm)
Extinguished by [livejournal.com profile] shivver13
Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing/Characters: Ten, Donna
Rating: G
Words: 550

Author's summary: Another day, another alien vulnerable to common household objects.
Author's notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] who_contest's drabble challenge, "Eyes".
white_hart: (Default)
([personal profile] white_hart Aug. 19th, 2017 09:12 am)
In The Vor Game, Miles Vorkosigan has graduated from the the Imperial Military Academy and is taking - or trying to take - the first steps in his military career, steps which are seriously hampered by Miles's tendency to be the best strategic mind in the room and to know it. Instead of managing to fit in to life as a junior officer, Miles solves a mystery, joins a mutiny and ends up stopping an interstellar invasion fleet.

Having taken several tries to actually get into Bujold, I'm now very much enjoying working my way through the Vorkosigan saga; so far, they've all been enjoyable and entertaining and comforting without being fluffy. They may have many of the trappings of standard military SF, but they're really character-driven novels whose military setting is almost incidental. Bujold's characters are delightful and well-rounded, likeable but realistically flawed and sometimes exasperating; in this novel, Miles is continuing to grow and learn from his experience and his fairly frequent mistakes and misjudgements (despite an amazing talent for turning every situation to his advantage he is clearly very young, very inexperienced, and far from perfect), and I particularly loved Gregor, the young Emperor of Barrayar, resenting the weight of the crown he has worn since early childhood and trying to work out who he is and how to be his own person within the limitations of his role. The exploration of what makes a leader, and what it means to be Vor - a member of Barrayar's hereditary military/aristocratic class - is a big part of what makes these books not-fluff for me; they may be fun, but they're also interesting and thought-provoking.

I note that The Vor Game won the Best Novel Hugo*, which surprised me a little, as although I enjoyed it a lot the plotting isn't terribly tight and it doesn't have the "doing something new and interesting" feel I tend to expect from Hugo winners (even if "new and interesting" in 1990 was rather different from "new and interesting" now, it isn't doing anything very different from The Warrior's Apprentice). It's still great fun, though, and probably more enjoyable than many "new and interesting" but more serious books.

*"at the time when good writing and plot were more important than political leaning", says one Goodreaders reviewer, who has clearly failed to spot that the novel has a disabled protagonist, at least two prominent LGBT characters (to be fair, Aral's bisexuality is pretty much blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but Bel Thorne isn't) and more than one woman in typically male command roles.
Marks and Spencer and the National Autistic Society have launched a school uniform range aimed at the parents of autistic children. Note that I say aimed at the parents of autistic children, rather than aimed at autistic children. All the blurb is to do with how easy it is to put on, and how hardwearing it is. The subtext is that it's designed for kids who can't dress themselves. This is clearly aimed at parents.

The other way you can tell that actually autistic people were not involved in this is that if you ask any autistic person what is most important for them in clothing they will tell you it's the fabric it's made of. Many autistic people have comorbid eczema, and a lot of those that don't have sensory issues, which mean that fabric and texture are hugely important in clothing. Something that is in contact with your skin all day needs to be made of something non-irritating; that almost always means 100% natural fibres. Cotton, or bamboo, or silk, or modal. Sometimes wool, but sometimes not. NEVER SODDING POLYESTER. And some of the clothes in that M&S range are 65% polyester. And of course it's very wearying that the only clothing specifically designed to be worn by autistic people is school uniform, because nobody of above school age is autistic, and no autistic child ever wears non-uniform clothing. AND they've "removed pockets for comfort". I have never known an autistic person who didn't want MORE pockets, as long as they are made from 100% natural fibre too.

So what would clothing for autistic people actually look like? Well, from the conversation on twitter today:
  1. Clear, obvious fabric labelling on the rack/shelf. While most of us just want everything 100% cotton, some of us prefer other natural fabrics like linen, and some actively prefer viscose or modal. Some of us can cope with silk or wool, some can't. Every single one of us, though, would like to see fabrics clearly, obviously labelled on the rack, without having to go hunting through the clothes for a tiny illegible care label.

  2. No polyester. Not even a little bit. Not ever. No, not even in linings.

  3. Linings are important! Linings are the bit that is actually in contact with your skin, so they need to be all natural fibres too. Note, though, that this does not mean you can take a garment made out of something horrible and line it with cotton and it will be OK - outer fabrics need to be touchable too.

  4. Care labels to be made of the same fabric as the clothing, not scratchy plastic.

  5. Elastic to be covered with the fabric the clothes are made of, not left to be in contact with your skin.

  6. Flat seams! Or even NO seams!

  7. For Cthulhu's sake, SOMEBODY make some bras we can wear! It is really, really, incredibly difficult to get hold of cotton bras, to the extent that I have considered making my own. And even if/when you DO find them, they are covered in non-cotton frills and lace and fripperies. And have stupid care labels made of plastic right in the middle of your back.

  8. Comfort and fit are much much more important than being on trend. I saw an article the other day that low slung waist trousers are coming back into fashion and actually cried.

  9. Moar pockets, on everything, especially women's clothes - but again, made of the same fabric as the actual clothing

  10. Stop saying things are "cotton touch" or "cotton feel" or "cotton rich". All this does is bugger up searching for cotton things. And actually, make your website searchable by fabric. That would be amazing.
And a clothing store for autistic people?
  1. Would be lit sensibly, not with migraine-inducing lighting.

  2. Would have the afore-mentioned obvious, clear clothing labels on the shelf/rack.

  3. Would sort by size and colour as well as style.

  4. Would have assistants that wait to be approached rather than badgering you the second you enter the shop.

  5. Would not have music at all (many many autistic people love music, but find music that they don't like intensely irritating; whatever music you play some of us will like and some won't) and would ideally have sound baffling so that other people's conversations are not intrusive.

  6. Would open from (say) 12 till 8, rather than 9 to 5. Autistic people are more likely than others to have odd sleep patterns and/or working hours.
Now, if some kind banker or venture capitalist would like to give me a wad of cash to make this a reality... And to M&S and the NAS... I do appreciate that you're trying, and I don't wish to appear ungrateful, but if you consulted any actually autistic people in fomulating that clothing range it's not immediately obvious. Please, please, bear in mind the priorities of actually autistic people, not the parents of autistic children, when making clothing that the autistic people are actually meant to wear. Remember the phrase: nothing about us without us. Thank you.
Earlier I blogged my thoughts about attending this year's Worldcon science-fiction convention in Helsinki. Since they may be of interested to some of my friends here who've attended Worldcons in the past I thought I'd link to them from here too.
([personal profile] theandrewhickey Aug. 19th, 2017 12:22 am)
Spent much of the day trying to sort out [personal profile] hollymath's clearing application (she's going back to university as a mature student next month to do a linguistics degree) so didn't get much writing done til late, but managed to get 1252 words done -- a blog post on what Liberalism means to me and why it bears no relation to the straw-liberals regularly being attacked on Twitter at the moment.
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([personal profile] hollymath Aug. 18th, 2017 02:27 pm)
I've deleted the post I wrote this morning when I was certain I wouldn't get on the linguistics course, because it would look stupid now that I have been offered a place!

It still has to be sorted out but I'm making Andrew do all that stuff because I don't actually understand how clearing works. But I had a phone call with a nice person from the department who seemed surprised when I was surprised she said she would like to offer me a place on the course, heh. I don't think I composed myself very well during that conversation, but she didn't change her mind anyway!

Holy shit, you guys, they're letting me do linguistics at Manchester University.

Starting in a month!

I've already enlisted the help of [personal profile] barakta who knows a lot about financing and disability stuff, which is awesome, but really I have no idea how to go to university in this country.

I was pretty sure this wasn't going to work. Not for impostor-syndrome kinds of reasons, real ones. They didn't hide how hesitant they were about me: because I didn't take AP classes (my poor rural school didn't offer any, though I spent all my high school life being told I should have been taking them and I think that'd have worked far better for me anyway), I didn't take the SAT because I'm from the Midwest and was looking at colleges in the Midwest, I didn't have the grades in college because I was so fucking mental but still years away from realizing it.

I was sure this wasn't going to work. Because that's what happens to me: I can do things but can't prove I can do the things. Same with job interviews all the time.

Everyone on Twitter is happy, bless them all, but it still hasn't sunk in for me.
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