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Cuddle Party

Feb. 20th, 2019 12:16 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Everyone needs contact comfort sometimes. Not everyone has ample opportunities for this in facetime. So here is a chance for a cuddle party in cyberspace. Virtual cuddling can help people feel better.

We have a
cuddle room that comes with fort cushions, fort frames, sheets for draping, and a weighted blanket. A nest full of colorful egg pillows sits in one corner. There is a basket of grooming brushes, hairbrushes, and styling combs. A bin holds textured pillows. There is a big basket of craft supplies along with art markers, coloring pages, and blank paper. The kitchen has a popcorn machine. Labels are available to mark dietary needs, recipe ingredients, and level of spiciness. Here is the bathroom, open to everyone. There is a lawn tent and an outdoor hot tub. Bathers should post a sign for nude or clothed activity. Come snuggle up!

Shitposting in the living room

Feb. 19th, 2019 09:18 pm
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
[extensive conversation apropos of which]
Me: I am, unfortunately, seeing a ghost cat (actual cat) wearing a Village People leatherman cop hat.
Some Random Housemate (okay there are only two to choose from): But wouldn't it be the sailor, [apropos of previous]?
Housemate 2: They have that song, In The Navy.
Me, singing: In the Navy, you can sail the seven bees, in the Navy...
[personal profile] silveradept, unhooking the headphones from their ears: I'm sorry, what?
Me, with the aggrieved aggression of a challenged shitposter: Well, how many bees do you think there are?!
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
[personal profile] kaberett
I didn't (unsurprisingly) get the greenhouse, but looking at it did substantially clarify my thoughts and the eBays do regularly contain less fancy greenhouses that, actually, probably will perfectly well do the job now I know what I'm after.

In which I ramble about hardware and tell stories about secateurs. )

In terms of my upcoming jobs and planting...

Well, I need to spend some quality time pruning the Ribes bushes various; the plot came with a red dessert gooseberry, a redcurrant, and what-I-think-is-a-jostaberry, all of which are a little neglected and tangled. Tidying them up was on the list for Sunday immediately after the teasels, but a pair of secateurs that couldn't handle a teasel was... erstrecht not going to cope with actual wood. They also need top dressing with manure and then probably mulching, but that can wait until after I've tidied them up a little.

Next door, I've come to the conclusion that what I want to do with my ground-level bed (squash, pak choi, and failed calabrese last year) this season is set some broad beans and peas going down the middle around now, and then sow quinoa down the edges some time later. On the one hand, it's not known that this is a good idea; on the other, intercropping legumes and quinoa is a topic of active research and growing trials, and it looks to me like it ought to be sensible, so no doubt you will collectively get Running Commentary while I experiment.

At home, it's time for me to get the purple chillis and the orange bell peppers started (if I'm going to); that can't really happen until we're back full time, and while I'm happy to heat the house to a temperature that is safe and adequate for me to exist in when I'm actually there most of the time, that is... less the case when I'm away. (I'm attempting to resist the temptation to acquire a heated propagator.) Also the tomatoes, though there the thing I really need to do is work out where I want to put them -- whether I want to grow them on at home again, or if I'll be looking to plant them out at the plot.

Which is a general problem -- the working-out-where-to-plant-things. I'm dithering but probably about to come down on the side of putting the saffron bulbs in around the base of the cherry tree; I think I know where I'm going to put the comfrey once it's established itself a little better; and I'm tentatively leaning towards growing the poppies-for-seed in a patch of mixed wildflowers. (WHERE, though, Alex, you need to work out where you're going to put this. Probably also in the general vicinity of the cherry, if we're honest.)

But. Yes. Priorities: getting misc. seeds started; actually sourcing and constructing my proper raised beds so that I can plant out into them (which will inevitably involve More Weeding); pruning and dressing the Ribes; and working out what I want by way of asparagus, because my mother has offered to buy me some crowns.

So, you know, if you have asparagus cultivar recommendations, please by all means go ahead! I prefer the stems to the tips, and I am resigned to growing at least some purple...

State of the Pool

Feb. 19th, 2019 03:20 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
So far the pool by [personal profile] ng_moonmoth has enough to cover the following poems:

Iron Horses:
"As Glorious Reminders"
" Whatever You Do to the Animals"
"Reaching Out to Rescue One Another"

Shiv:
"Cut With Our Own Dust"
"How We Correct Them"
"The Courage To Admit Them"

[personal profile] ng_moonmoth adds:
Right now, we're $40 short of being able to sponsor two more poems, "That Ability to Comfort" and "What Seems Like Surrender".  "The Reality of Cruelty" is the stretch goal if more comes in.

New Books for Tuesday

Feb. 19th, 2019 10:19 am
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)


* Novella: The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djèlí Clark
Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.



* Where Oblivion Lives by T. Frohock
Born of daimon and angel, Diago Alvarez is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has chosen Los Nefilim, the sons and daughters of angels who possess the power to harness music and light.

As the forces of evil gather, Diago must locate the Key, the special chord that will unite the nefilim’s voices, giving them the power to avert the coming civil war between the Republicans and Franco’s Nationalists. Finding the Key will save Spain from plunging into darkness.



* For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones
But when squire Elenai’s aging mentor uncovers evidence that the sword in their hall is a forgery she’s forced to flee Darassus for her life, her only ally the reckless, disillusioned Kyrkenall the archer. Framed for murder and treason, pursued by the greatest heroes of the realm, they race to recover the real sword, only to stumble into a conspiracy that leads all the way back to the Darassan queen and her secretive advisors. They must find a way to clear their names and set things right, all while dodging friends determined to kill them – and the Naor hordes, invading at last with a new and deadly weapon.


* Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in IT, trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.

Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.



* Tides of the Titans by Thoraiya Dyer
In the quest fantasy Tides of the Titans, part of Aurealis and Ditmar Award-winning author Thoraiya Dyer's extraordinary Titan's Forest series, trees loom large as skyscrapers, mortals can be reborn as gods, and a young man travels to the far reaches of the land and beyond to unlock the Forest's hidden secrets...

Courtier, explorer, thief: Leaper is a man of many skills, but none of his talents satisfy the yearning in his heart for the Queen of Airakland, the ruler of a thunder-clashed kingdom.

Their affair is cut too short, however, when she is murdered. But who was the assassin? A political rival? The jealous king? Or, perhaps, the god of thunder who oversees them all?



* Cast in Oblivion by Michelle Sagara
Kaylin wasn’t sent to the West March to start a war. Her mission to bring back nine Barrani might do just that, though. She traveled with a Dragon, and her presence is perceived as an act of aggression in the extremely hostile world of Barrani-Dragon politics. Internal Barrani politics are no less deadly, and Kaylin has managed—barely—to help the rescued Barrani evade both death and captivity at the hands of the Consort.

Before the unplanned “visit” to the West March, Kaylin invited the Consort to dinner. For obvious reasons, Kaylin wants to cancel dinner—forever. But the Consort is going to show up at the front door at the agreed-upon time. The fact that she tried to imprison Kaylin’s guests doesn’t matter at all…to her.



* Cicada by Shaun Tan
From the visionary Shaun Tan, an inspirational story for older picture book readers and beyond

Cicada tells the story of a hardworking little cicada who is completely unappreciated for what he does. But in the end, just when you think he's given up, he makes a transformation into something ineffably beautiful. A metaphor for growing up? A bit of inspiration for the unappreciated striver in all of us? Yes, yes, and more.



* The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
From New York Times bestselling author Yangsze Choo, an utterly transporting novel set in 1930s colonial Malaysia, perfect for fans of Isabel Allende and Min Jin Lee. Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.

Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.

As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren’s increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes.



* Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss
In these eight stories and twenty-three poems, World Fantasy Award winner Theodora Goss retells and recasts fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Oscar Wilde. Sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, always lyrical, the works gathered in Snow White Learns Witchcraft re-center and empower the women at the heart of these timeless narratives. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Jane Yolen, in her introduction, proclaims that Goss “transposes, transforms, and transcends times, eras, and old tales with ease. But also there is a core of tough magic that runs through all her pieces like a river through Faerie . . . I am ready to reread some of my new favorites.”


* Preorder Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden
Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion.

Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void.



* Preorder The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population -- except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.



* A People's Future of the United States edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
In these tumultuous times, in our deeply divided country, many people are angry, frightened, and hurting. Knowing that imagining a brighter tomorrow has always been an act of resistance, editors Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams invited an extraordinarily talented group of writers to share stories that explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice. They asked for narratives that would challenge oppressive American myths, release us from the chokehold of our history, and give us new futures to believe in.


* Fog Season by Patrice Sarath
After the shocking events of last summer, the high society of Port Saint Frey has plenty to gossip about. Who was the Gentleman Bandit? Why hasn't he been captured? And what really happened that night when the Guildmaster disappeared? When the Guild hires Abel Fresnel, a detective with special powers of his own, to find the answers, Tesara and Yvienne Mederos have to avoid his probing questions and keep mum about their role in the events of that dark night. Everything's more or less under control until a dead man turns up in the dumbwaiter...


* The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain
When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he finds a world vastly different from what he remembers. Arrogant and bombastic, he comes down the mountain expecting an easy conquest: the wealthy, spectacular city state of Kathmandu, ruled by the all-knowing, all-seeing tyrant AI Karma. To his surprise, he finds that Kathmandu is a cut-price paradise, where citizens want for nothing and even the dregs of society are distinctly unwilling to revolt.

Everyone seems happy, except for the old Gurkha soldier Bhan Gurung. Knife saint, recidivist, and mass murderer, he is an exile from Kathmandu, pursuing a forty-year-old vendetta that leads to the very heart of Karma. Pushed and prodded by Gurung, Melek Ahmer finds himself in ever deeper conflicts, until they finally face off against Karma and her forces. In the upheaval that follows, old crimes will come to light and the city itself will be forced to change.



* Dreams of the Dark Sky by Tina LeCount Myers
The war between men and immortals that raged across the frozen Northland of Davvieana has ended. For men, the balance of power between Believer and Brethren, between honoring the gods and honoring the sword, has shifted to favor priests over Hunters.
But it is the legacy of one man’s love for his son that shapes the lives of all who survived.
While Irjan, the once-legendary immortal hunter, has saved his son’s life, he cannot save Marnej from the men who will make him a killer, nor can he save the immortal girl he’d promised to protect from the secret of her birth.
alias_sqbr: Teddy bear with purple details with a love heat. From Nameless: the one thing you must recall (nameless)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Masterlist of Dandelion posts

And now for cute little baby rabbit Jieun and his MOE TRAUMA.

I really liked it! He turned out to be VERY young, afaict he's around 16 to her 21, and it leaned into his child-like qualities a little much for my tastes. But it was still overall really sweet, the two of them helped each other grow as people, work through their trauma, and be happy.

Content notes: toxic upbringings, trauma, suicide, substance addiction (...sort of)

Also I talk about the Nameless endings right at the end of this post, but warn for spoilers first.
Read more... )

The Importance of Choice

Feb. 19th, 2019 03:04 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Free choice instills a love of reading and learning.  Force instills hatred.  I agree with the author that it would be difficult to come up with a more effective way to make people loathe and avoid books.

I love reading.  I will read the back of cereal boxes.  But I hated reading in school because it was far below my level and almost all of it was very badly written.  Now imagine that for all the kids who didn't go into school knowing that reading was awesome; they would conclude that it's always  torture.  Quite sensibly they cease doing it as soon as the force stops.  That's the problem with force; you have to keep it up or people immediately bolt.  And you can only force people to read while they're imprisoned in schools against their will.

I also designed and graded coursework for adult prison classes, where almost nobody can read.  The skill caps out around fourth grade level.  And yet I got a bunch of those guys absolutely hooked on reading -- by assigning them things by Langston Hughes and Lorna Dee Cervantes.  Up until then, most of them had no idea  that people like them could write things, or that anyone wrote about things they actually cared about.  At least one or two per class would just catch fire with it.  The others at least did the homework and learned something and had a not-terrible time exploring new things.

If you want people to learn stuff and enjoy reading, the only thing you have to do -- and the only thing that works -- is feed their interests.  Give them books about characters who are like them, and ones who are different.  Books about where they came from and where they ended up.  If they love cars, give them car books.  If they love flowers, give them field guides.  There are books on everything under the sun and everything beyond it too.  Books with pictures, with text, with pop-ups, with textures, with Braille.  Something for everyone.

Don't waste it.

::contented purr::

Feb. 18th, 2019 10:44 pm
ysobel: (Default)
[personal profile] ysobel
Monkey has just upped her cuteness level.

At some point in the last year or so she started sleeping on me sometimes at night -- sometimes I'd be in bed and she'd climb onto my stomach and snuggle down, warm and purring, and put her head tucked against or on top of my hand or wrist. Even when I was technically interrupted in the middle of doing something on my iPad, I wasn't upset at the blocking; I'd just lie there being a self-heating cat bed, like making her comfortable was the only priority I had.

(And sometimes I'd wake up in the middle of the night with her on top of me.)

Within the last week she's started using my hand as a chin rest, with my right thumb under her chin and her face kind of buried in my fingers. Which meant if she fell asleep I could feel every sleep-twitch of her whiskers, every eye flutter as she dreamed, every tiny little movement. It feels somehow special, almost sacred, having her trust me enough to fall asleep on me.

Tonight, after doing that for a while, she stretched, groomed her face a bit, and then settled down in a shifted position ... and curled her paw around my left thumb, clinging to it like a teddy bear.

February has mostly sucked, but tonight almost compensated...
alias_sqbr: Teddy bear with purple details with a love heat. From Nameless: the one thing you must recall (nameless)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
Dandelion: Wishes Brought to You is a dating sim about a depressed, lonely young woman who encounters five mysterious animals and gets to know them...only for them to become human!

Read more... )
alias_sqbr: Teddy bear with purple details with a love heat. From Nameless: the one thing you must recall (nameless)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
So I do want to finish the Code Realize DLC, but keep putting it off. And thus instead...

From Cheritz, makers of Nameless (aka "The dating sim where a girl's dolls become cute boys") comes Dandelion (aka "The dating sim where a girl's pets become cute boys"). I have been reassured that this definitely isn't about bestiality.

And indeed, instead of "human dates non-sentient animals" it feels more like "loving female dom 'owns' cute furry boys". Which I am...ok with. In fact I'm really enjoying it so far asides from some issues with the stats raising.

Masterlist of Dandelion posts

CONTENT NOTE: Speculation on potential rape plots that don't actually happen

Read more... )

Half-Price Sale in Polychrome Heroics

Feb. 18th, 2019 05:10 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics is now open.  Donors, start your engines!  :D 

Monday Update 2-18-19

Feb. 18th, 2019 02:10 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:
Refugees Then and Now
Poem: "Experience Stinks"
Community Building Tip: Community Garden
Moment of Silence: Miguel Civil and "The Scribe of the Evening"
Heating Patches for Clothes
Declining Life Expectancy
Emotional Intimacy Question: Thanks
Why Challenger Failed
Hard Things


The [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam ran this weekend.

There will be a half-price sale in Polychrome Heroics this week.


Voting is still open for the 2019 Rose & Bay Awards. Please vote for your favorites. Review the nomination posts for more information about the nominees if you need it.

Art: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate art! Vote for art!
Fiction: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate fiction! Vote for fiction!
Poetry: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate poetry! Vote for poetry!
Webcomic: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate webcomics! Vote for webcomics!
Other Project: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate other projects! Vote for other projects!
Patron: [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Nominate patrons! Vote for patrons!


Poetry in Microfunding:

There are four open epics.

"Only If It Is Embraced" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Damask and has 25 new verses. Pain's Gray has another talk with Clement about the importance of not mistreating Keane.

"A Cave Swarming with Strange Forms of Life" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Iron Horses. Kenzie goes to Pretty Ears for counseling.

"Love Unflinching" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Berettaflies." An ethical consultant arrives in Easy City, adopts a buggle, and meets Stylet.

"So Many Notes and Colors and Flavors" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Shiv. Heron and Shiv are comfort-cooking, and not everything goes smooth.


Weather here has been mild. We got a little snow, but most of it has melted off quickly. Seen at the birdfeeders this week: a large flock of sparrows, a flock of dark-eyed juncos, a small flock of mourning doves, a pair of cardinals, a yellow-bellied sapsucker, a Bewick's wren, and a squirrel.

Painting

Feb. 18th, 2019 12:26 pm
marthawells: (Teyla)
[personal profile] marthawells
For people interested in home improvement stuff, here's the before and after pictures of the painting I did this weekend: https://twitter.com/marthawells1/status/1097174389886455808

Photographs

Feb. 18th, 2019 06:02 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 Dragon aurora.  Well, that's a bit alarming.  Beautiful, but alarming.  They don't usually show themselves so boldly and it is rarely a good thing when they do.  0_o

Aromantic Awareness Week

Feb. 18th, 2019 05:53 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
... runs the week after Valentines Day.

Use this post to discuss the aromantic spectrum, share resources, recommend favorite stories or movies, etc.  You can talk about the aromantic spectrumsingle lifestylenonsexual intimacies, or whatever else floats your boat.  Here is a database of ace-aro characters in literature.

If you want to explore some of my writing on this topic, try browsing:
My QUILTBAG Characters
Sexual Orientations in My Characters
Romantic Orientations in My Characters

These series have aromantic characters and/or minimal sex/romance:
An Army of One
Clay of Life
Kung Fu Robots
The Origami Mage
Path of the Paladins
Polychrome Heroics: Dr. Infanta

These series have characters who are unmarried, with or without interest in relationships:
Polychrome Heroics: Calliope
Polychrome Heroics: Cassandra
Tripping into the Future

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jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
Ricky Buchanan