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Amazon Prime Video

Jul. 26th, 2017 02:11 pm
alias_sqbr: Asterix-like magnifying glass over Perth, Western Australia (australia 2)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Prime Video Now available in Australia with a free 7 day trial!

A different 'Amazon Prime' site that seems to list the same stuff if you want to check it out without signing up

I signed up, poked through the fairly limited database, could only find one thing I really liked the look of (American Gods), watched a bit, got bored, and cancelled the trial. So, not a ringing endorsement from me. But hey, it was free and filled some time.

(People outside Australia may not understand how exciting it is to have streaming tv here at all. Thanks for the tip [personal profile] lilysea)
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Thanks to an audience poll for the general fund and [personal profile] ng_moonmoth chipping in the remainder, "A Hope and a Promise" is now complete.  Aidan and Saraphina explore the roof garden.

Good News

Jul. 26th, 2017 12:27 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good. It can be personal or public. We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone. It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently? Are you anticipating any more?

Tuesday Yardening

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:31 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is sunny and mild.  I went out and picked a few blackberries.  My partner Doug mowed grass, and I walked around to see where it was done. 

EDIT 7/25/17: We went out and picked up a pile of grass.  Then I did some weeding in the septic garden.

EDIT 7/25/17: I finished weeding the septic garden.  *goflopnow*

The academic tic, then, is puzzling

Jul. 25th, 2017 05:12 pm
jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

I've just finished an anthology written by folks who work in higher education. I've noticed an ubiquitous and peculiar stylistic fillip that didn't appear in my textbooks when I was in college.

It appears most often as the bridging sentence between paragraphs, in the form:

[Things concluded & proven] comma then comma [introduce this new concept/approach/fact]

Where did this come from? Does this "comma then comma" replace an earlier rhetorical move I didn't notice?

How can I make it go away?

Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, August 1

Jul. 25th, 2017 02:47 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, August 1, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "rites / rights." I'll be soliciting ideas for adolescents, parents, heroes, villains, fools, clergy and other officiants, explorers, travelers, ordinary people, outcasts, facing thresholds, questioning, debating labels, traveling, accepting the call, refusing the call, getting lost, losing everything, hiding in the closet, coming out, finding your power, speaking truth to power, telling your own story, discovering new places, bedrooms, classrooms, counseling offices, churches, government buildings, the wilderness, cliffs, trails, self-discovery, self-awareness, birth, puberty, getting a job, marriage, sex, parenthood, death, rebirth, radical transformation, the hero's journey, birth control, reproductive freedom, alien transitions, self-sacrifice, disruptions, adventures, legal rights, famous geographic passageways, and poetic forms in particular.

I have a linkback poem, "Rewriting the Narrative" (9 verses, standalone). 

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.  I am now.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. 

New to the fishbowl? Read all about it! )

Poetry Fishbowl Themes for Late 2017

Jul. 25th, 2017 02:13 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The poll has concluded. These are the upcoming themes:

August 1
Rites / rights of passage

September 5
Families of Choice

October 3
Otherkin and Other-nesses

November 7
Outlandish Occupations

December 5
Hearth and Home

January 2, 2018
Do you believe in magic?

Culture Consumed Tuesday

Jul. 25th, 2017 10:50 pm
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Books

Read Ann Leckie's Provenance (in ARC. It's coming out on the 26th of September.) Spider mech, spider mech, does whatever a spider mech does. (Disconcert people, mainly.) This is in the same universe as the Radch trilogy, but in a different region and with different characters, voice, and tone. I have some friends who couldn't get into Ancillary Justice, wanted to like it but found it too hard going, and I would be curious if this one worked better as an entry point for them.

Leckie's repeatedly cited Cherryh as an influence, and if you think of the universe the Ancillary books are set in as like Cherryh's Alliance/Union universe, a big canvas covering a lot of territory in time as well as space, then this book in relation to its universe is a bit like a railway junction. It opens some new routes, introduces some new important players, but the most important universe-scale historical events (as opposed to system-scale or planet-scale or individuals) are offstage.

To say more about voice and tone: the Radch books are in first person, and that person is Breq, who is... Breq. Over two thousand years old, and even if you consider the destruction of Justice of Toren as a kind of rebirth, by the point we meet her she's a hypercompetent badass who's been surviving on her own in her single body for nineteen years. Also she's not a human, so there's that.

Ingray isn't Breq. She's very much human (and has an entirely reasonable terror of AIs,) a lot younger (I don't think her exact age is stated, but early twenties would be my guess,) and infinitely less sure of herself. She's also spent her entire life to date having her head messed with by her shitty family. My first two impressions, right from the first three chapters of this book, were: one, you can really tell the author was spending a lot of time in airports when she wrote this; and two, Ingray has the sort of family life where the closer your geographic proximity to your relatives, the more difficulty you have with being a decent person. The rest of this book bore this out (I mean the family, although there were definitely more airport-equivalent scenes too.)

If you're one of the people who disliked Breq because she was "too perfect" (I disagree with you about her being perfect, but) you might find Ingray and her smaller scale problems (compared to entire empires and species) more relatable.

If the Radch trilogy is about personhood and the fight to be recognised as a person when you don't fit a society's definition of who counts as a person, then Provenance about growing into oneself not as a person (that was never in question for Ingray) but as an adult (a coming of age that, by contrast, Breq never had the luxury of needing.) And if the Radch trilogy is about resisting societal/systemic forces, Provenance is about resisting social, personal pressures (family and peers.)

Finished Aliette de Bodard's The House of Binding Thorns. And after this and Provenance I'd like a short break from books about difficult family situations, please! I liked this better than The House of Shattered Wings, but the tone was still bleaker than I usually go for. Characters I particularly liked: Madeleine, back from the previous book; Thuan the dragon prince, and Berith and Francoise the Fallen/human couple trying to manage outside the Houses. Grandmother Olympe, the elder of the community where Berith and Francoise live, was also pretty great. And I warmed more to Asmodeus than I did in the first book.

Unfortunately, I think I'm the wrong audience for this. The things The House of Shattered Wings and The House of Binding Thorns do well (decayed elegance, gothicism, Paris, fallen angels), they do really well, but they're not things I particularly love (I don't dislike them, they're just not my catnip.) So, like, I can't actually rave about these books, but I do want to wave them really hard at people who do love those things.

Comics

Some zines I ordered from Rooster Tails's Etsy store showed up, and he kind of threw in a bunch of queer fanart glossy note cards (maybe to make up for a delay, idk, I'm not complaining!) and they're so beautiful and I didn't know I needed a picture of Daria holding Jane's hand and saying "I hate you the least," or adorably cartoony Finn smooching Poe, or cartoony Gabrielle climbing Xena like a tree, but I definitely did need those things. Now I'm trying to decide whether to keep or send to people.

The zines are #my gender is..., three tiny A6 cardbound volumes made in response to answers people gave the author when he asked people to fill in the blank.

Mainlined 17776, which is web based multimedia rather than comics, but I'm putting it in this category because what everyone's comparing it to is Homestuck. It's about satellites watching football in an unimaginably future, but also post-scarcity/post-singularity anxiety and Millennialism (as in epochs, as well as as in snake people) and play as the ultimate point of human existance, and it's funny and elegiac and cool and reminds me of David Foster Wallace in some ways.

That said, it is worth talking about who's at the centre of this narrative. No, not robots. No, not humans. Americans. White, suburban, minivan-driving, 80s-and-90s-born Americans. So conflated with the essential nature of humanity that they don't even notice they're doing it. Even the probes are two American probes and one European (but not Russian) one. I mean, Mangalyan does exist, you know? And so does Chang'e 2 and Kirari. And Libertad I and Fajr and... I mean, not all of those are still in space, or left Earth's orbit, but they could. Not to mention that it's science fiction and at the present date JUICE is still in development, why not a future Ghanaian or Iranian satellite mission? Which is not even my point, my point is that the regressive fantasy that the humans fall back into when faced with the crushing boredom of their eternal lives is... the 1960s and 1970s but without the race riots or Stonewall or Watergate.

It's still a good story/multimedia work/thing, and I still enjoyed it. I just... that particular nostalgic fantasy makes me very tired sometimes. And no, not tired in a way that makes me want to give up on the weary work of human endeavour/struggle/progress to take refuge in looking back down at the things that are really important to us/humanity, i.e. a sport which people in my country don't play.

TV and Movies

Watched the first episode of Black Sails. Was unimpressed. I hear it gets better, though. Flint's fury at the stolen log page reminded me of this.

Music

Gave my sister the Hamilton soundtrack for Christmas last year or her birthday this year (I forget which -- my gift-giving punctuality standards are seriously slipping at the moment.) Success: she's hooked. Very hooked.

Games

Third week of [community profile] hexarchate_rpg. So far haven't panicked and run away yet (me, not my character) so that's good.

Still playing Binding of Isaac. In one especially good run, I met Isaac's mother for the first time, and defeated her! Which meant that, next time I got to that level, defeating her led to having to climb into her womb and fight more monsters there. Which... is definitely a narrative choice a person could make.

Started playing Hexcells, a puzzle game; not to be confused with Hexels, a different puzzle game. The latter is like 2048 but in three directions not two; the former is kind of like a griddler/nonogram, but in three directions and its own specific language of clues. Played all the way through Hexcells, then started Hexcells Plus. Got the Perfectionist achievement for the original Hexcells. Then Hexcells Plus. Then started Hexcells Infinite, and am at 90% of that.

The problem with me and Hexcells is not the logic. I'm not super great at the logic, but with time and effort and occasional appeals to online walkthroughs I can succeed (usually by speaking the chain of logic out loud over and over because I can't hold the branches in my head long enough otherwise.) The problem is that that one of the achievements is to do all the games with zero (or only one) mistakes, and the way my brain works (or the way my working memory doesn't work) it's very easy for me to make one stupid error too many and ruin an hour of work. Which is really frustrating and upsetting. At least Hexcells Infinite lets you save your progress. The first two games didn't, so if you need a break before finishing the level, you have to leave the app open.

Garden

The compost bin is full. That took about three months to fill a 220L bin. I had to look up what one does once the bin's full. Leave it to cure for a month or so while starting a new bin, apparently. Or alternatively, lift the bin off the compost (it doesn't have a bottom) and set it down next to the compost, shovel whatever still looks like vegetable peelings and cat litter back into the bin, and use whatever just looks like soil to grow things. (But not herbs and vegetables, because this is cat litter compost, so it's contaminated with toxoplasmosis. This compost can nourish pretty flowers and Native Plants To Encourage Local Species.)

Food

Baked scones. Also tried out a couple of recipes from my long backlog of bookmarked Recipes To Try Someday:

- Jack Monroe's Queen of Hearts jam tarts recipe. Not too bad given how seldom I make pastry. If you have fifty grams of butter and a scant cup of plain flour and some jam, this is an okay thing to do with those ingredients, but the scones were better.

- AoM Bratwurst Sandwich. This contains one thing I eat normally (mustard), one thing I've had decades ago but haven't cooked with (bratwurst), and two things I hadn't had before (sauerkraut, pumpernickel.) The bratwurst and mustard and sauerkraut were good. The pumpernickel... yeah, no, next time I make this I'll just use a dark rye.

I could have adapted to the flavour, but its lack of structural integrity meant that according to the Earl of Sandwich litmus test this is not even a sandwich. (i.e. "I pretend I am the original Earl of Sandwich. I have asked for non-bread foods to be brought to me inside bread, that I might more easily consume them one-handed while gambling. This does not enable my wretched regency habits. This is not what I asked for. I do not deign to grace it with the name of my house.")

This would fall apart in his hand, scattering boiled rye grains all over his elaborate necktie and playing cards.

Admittedly, the degree of difficulty was higher for me since I had to eat it one-handed while fending off a very interested black and white cat with the other hand.

Other

Broke my daily meditation streak at 219 days. Very pissed off about it, in a not zen at all way. The last time this happened it was at 149 days. Forming habits is hard for me. (This is not a request for reassurance or advice. Especially not advice.) Took four days off meditating out of pique.

Cats

Have been fighting a lot these last few days. At first I thought Beatrice was the main instigator, but last night while she was aggressively licking Dorian, I saw him nip her.

He hasn't learned to lift the toilet lid yet, but it's hard for me to remember to leave it down since my already established habit was to close the door but leave the lid up.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The general fund currently contains $85. Everyone is eligible to vote in this poll. I will keep it open at least until Tuesday night. If there's a clear answer then, I'll close it. Otherwise I may leave it open a little longer.

Read and vote! )

Monday Yardening

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:42 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today we picked up three piles of grass and some sticks.  It is pleasantly cool this evening, but there are sweat bees everywhere.  >_<  I do not enjoy being licked by insects. 
[personal profile] alexbayleaf

Originally published at Spinster's Bayley. You can comment here or there.

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been wanting to talk about Agile software development methodologies and how they relate to permaculture – Agile permaculture for short – for yearsandyearsandyears, and it finally seems like time to do so. Over on Making Permaculture Stronger, Dan is making an inquiry into permaculture design processes, and how much design […]

Poem: "Bulletproof"

Jul. 24th, 2017 04:47 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the July 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] siliconshaman. It also fills the "gay" square in my 5-29-17 card for the Pride Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

WARNING: This poem contains historical atrocities which many readers may find disturbing. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features the Holocaust, acts of genocide, the Schutzstaffel, mass murder, loss of families, yellow stars, ghettos, a gay man and a straight woman getting married and raising a family together, some awkward family dynamics, gay-related bashing, unplanned (but welcome) lesbian pregnancy, and other challenges. But the good guys mostly win. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether this is something you want to read. It is not a plot-relevant part of extant storylines, just an interesting piece of Terramagne history.

Read more... )

Monday Update 7-24-17

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:32 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Artwork of the wordsmith typing. (typing)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Poem: "Boston Pride"
Moment of Silence: Maryam Mirzakhani
Poem: "Chipped"
Effects of Father Loss
Listen to the Trees
Tiger Swallowtail
Gender in Comics
Hard Things


There is currently a poll for Poetry Fishbowl themes in late 2017. Vote for your favorites. I'll sort the most popular ones into a schedule tomorrow so I can post the advance announcement for the August fishbowl.


Poetry in Microfunding:
"A Hope and a Promise" belongs to Polychrome Heroics.  Aidan and Mrs. Ozenne talk more about Saraphina as she interacts with another toddler.  "The Inner Transition" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Berettaflies.  Valor's Widow finds out what Stylet has in his backpack.  "The Order of Their Stars" belongs to An Army of One.  Astin takes V shopping.

Weather has been sweltering and intermittently rainy here.  Currently blooming: dandelions, marigolds, petunias, lantana, million bells, snapdragons, zinnias, firecracker plant, white and red clover, morning glories, spiderwort, echinacea, blackberry lilies, yellow coneflowers, Queen Anne's lace, frost asters, cup plant, black-eyed Susan, torenia.  Corn ears are thickening.  I picked blackberries yesterday.  Jalapenos are getting bigger. 

Poll: Poetry Themes for Late 2017

Jul. 24th, 2017 01:35 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poll invites audience feedback about themes proposed for the Poetry Fishbowl dates in late 2017. Everyone is eligible to vote in this poll. I will keep it open until at least Monday night, and then I need to close it so I can post the advance announcement on Tuesday.

The structure uses checkboxes. There are 38 themes after condensing similar ones and dropping things we've already covered. You may vote for as many themes as you would enjoy prompting/sponsoring in a fishbowl. I recommend that you don't vote for ALL of them, so as to help narrow down to favorites.

Read and vote! )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 Thanks to a donation from [personal profile] bairnsidhe, there is one new verse in "The Order of Their Stars."  V thinks about sexuality.

Poem: "Boston Pride"

Jul. 23rd, 2017 12:06 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Two smiling women; Kelly is blonde and Dale is brunette (walking the beat)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the July 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman. It also fills the "lesbian" square in my 5-29-17 card for the Pride Bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series Walking the Beat.

Read more... )

Moment of Silence: Maryam Mirzakhani

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:28 am
ysabetwordsmith: (moment of silence)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Famous mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani has passed away.  She came from Iran and won her first medal in a
mathematics competition in 1994.

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