August 20th, 2017
monanotlisa: (Astrid sitting - Fringe)
:: I understand other people have social Saturdays, bing-watch The Defenders*, or combine the two; go, y'all! Me, I write a brief article for work. When I say "brief" I mean it's supposed to be two pages. I didn't write it briefly -- more like five hours for the baseline -- nor is it brief at the moment (though there's always changing the font back to Times New Roman. Which is, let me put it like that, better than Courier New).

* I ask whether to watch The Defenders on Twitter; two threads (the more Yay) here and (the more Nay) here.

:: Well, at least I can claim I had a social Friday -- my naturalized friend in Cole Valley took me in after the Worst Day Ever, got us and his two other flatmates a close-to-perfect gluten-free dinner, and I found out first-hand that Archer really is only funny to some people. I didn't want to aggravate my friend, who is extremely loving to me, always (without, I stress, wanting to sleep with me -- he has a relatively quick succession of girlfriends at all times). But Men Behaving Badly is basically my bullet-proof squick.

Too bad that...well, let's not get into that here.

:: The good thing that I consumed lately was the latest installment of Seanan McGuire's InCryptid series -- "Magic for Nothing". Finally, finally I really connected with a character of hers; Antimony Price is the first of the Price siblings I genuinely like. At first I was wondering whether the voice actress put me off (audiobook listener because of the lack of sit-down free time). But no; the same voice actress voices Magic For Nothing, and I wanted to hug Annie all the time. Or maybe shoulder-bump. She's not a physically affectionate character. Perhaps not incidentally, this was also the first book of the six where I spoilered )

:: What I have just started AND almost finished is one of those cheap offers on Audible**, namely a book called Louisiana Longshot by Jana DeLeon. I enjoy it a lot -- much more than I expected. It's grouped as "cozy mystery", which I personally take to read, "Did you like Miss Marple and her village? Try this!" There is very little cozy about characters or plot, which is really for the better. As you know, I like dragons and spaceships and ladies who kick ass...not all at the same time, necessarily. But this book made me grin, a lot. For one, it's funny. Second, in the Atomic Blonde age, I cannot but picture Charlize Theron in the main role of a basically-benched CIA field agent ending up in a Louisiana bayou. It's an enormously Bechdel-passing book, and while I can already tell the solution to one of the B plots (and you will too), I haven't solved the A Plot yet; I think the straight-up murder has to be misdirection. Weakness: Where the fuck are all the Black people? This is LA; we're talking 33% of the population. I can see small towns self-selecting, especially Sinful, LA, but not to that degree.

** I do give too much money to Jeff Bezos.
brigantine: (obrien and hoechlin)
lamentables: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lamentables at 04:43pm on 20/08/2017 under
We were keeping an eye on the time while exploring the monastery, and made sure we headed back to the festival in time for the opening ceremony. We were seated in the third row of the honoured guest area, and waited for an awkwardly long time for things to kick off. We were all being terribly British, by which I mean feeling excruciatingly embarrassed.

view from the front row

The festival was being held to commemorate the anniversary of the current Dalai Lama being awarded the Nobel Prize. It was to Tawang that he fled from Tibet, and there is clearly still a very strong connection with the town/monastery/district.

Eventually drums and trumpets heralded the arrival of monks and a portrait of the Dalai Lama, the latter provided by Shan State in Myanmar, we were told. Then the monks, actual important people, and much of the crowd came up to present offerings to His Holiness. The monks and others took photos, but I felt far too awkward to do that.

smoke and flags (bw)

so many things to photograph while we waited )

After a while D signalled to us and we sneaked out of the back of the pavilion, but we were asked to stay longer and watch the performances. To tempt us, we were plied with milk tea and plates of rice containing raisins and nuts and butter that tasted (smelled?) rather sour. (I don't know, but did wonder if it might be yak butter.) We were all happy - no, eager - to hang around, once we'd escaped the posh seats and could move around mingling and photographing.
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
spikedluv: (summer: sunflowers by candi)
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
Dear Senator Johnson:

I am very disturbed by your reaction to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, August 11-12. You made a statement condemning "hate and violence" initially, but since then, you seem determined to make everyone forget that the rally ever happened, that white men carrying Nazi flags, making Nazi salutes, and chanting Nazi slogans marched through an American city--and that a woman is dead because one of them thought he could get away with ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in broad daylight.

What's even worse is your reaction to President Trump's appalling speech. You have said you "don't think" Trump is a racist, although you can't offer any reasons for that belief, and the most negative thing you have yet said about his speech is that "it didn't move us closer. It certainly didn't put the issue behind us."

Senator, it's not clear to me what you think the "issue" is.

You have not spoken out against the racism of the rally. You have not condemned the white nationalist principles of its organizers. You haven't even gone so far as to say that you are anti-fascist. This isn't hard, Senator. "Nazis are evil" is not a complicated or difficult concept. And yet it's one you don't seem to grasp.

You want us to "put the divisive issues off to the side" and "accentuate the positive." By which you mean, you want there to be no consequences of this Nazi terrorist action. You want those of us who are not white men to, once again, swallow the insult and injury offered to us because we are being "divisive" by pointing out that these alt-right Nazis want us dead and are demonstrably ready and willing to kill us themselves.

That's what the fuss is about, Senator. That's why some of us are so unreasonable as to not yet be ready to "put the issue behind us."

Moreover, your call for unity is alarming. I'm willing to extend you the benefit of the doubt--perhaps you genuinely don't know this--but the root of the word fascism, and the concept at the movement's core, is the fasces, the bundle of sticks that is stronger together than any one stick would be by itself. Fascists are all about unity, and when you call for "unity" in the wake of a fascist attack, and when it is clear that by "unity" what you mean is that non-whites and non-males need to sit down, shut up, and stop rocking the boat, I think a person is justified in wondering what you, yourself, think about fascism.

So that's my question to you, Senator. Are you pro- or anti-fascist? It's a very simple question, requiring only a one sentence answer.

I eagerly await your public response.



[ETA: I have emailed this letter to Senator Johnson, and will send a hard copy tomorrow. Plus I have sent a shortened version of this letter both to my tiny local paper and to the Capital Times.]
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
The Witches: Salem, 1692The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


[library]

To get it out of the way, I hated the audio book reader. HATED. She sounded like a local TV news reporter doing a "human interest" story (smugly supercilious, like she finds it all too precious for words), and she had this way of pronouncing sixteen ninety-two that drove me UP THE WALL ("Sixteen ninedy-twoo" is the best rendering I can give; it made me understand why non-Americans can find American accents grating.) When quoting anyone's testimony, she over-emphasized and poured sincerity over the words like maple syrup over pancakes, making everyone sound like Gertrude, who doth protest too much. And The Witches is a VERY LONG book, so I was trapped with this woman's voice for a VERY LONG TIME. (I would have stopped, except that I sincerely wanted to hear the book, moreso than I wanted to get away from ther reader's voice, but it was sometimes a very close call.)

Okay. Aside from that.

This is really an excellent book on the Salem witchcraft-crisis. I don't agree with Schiff at all points (e.g., she's clearly following Breslaw in her assessment of Tituba's testimony, and I don't agree that that's the tipping point of the crisis), but she has done something that no one else writing on Salem has done, and it's something that needed doing. Schiff traces the relationships between the participants and she traces the history of those relationships back from the 1690s to the 1680s to the 1670s. Boyer and Nussbaum made a start at this sort of analysis in Salem:Possessed, but Schiff demonstrates how limited their analysis was, as she examines the web of relationships between afflicted persons, accused witches, judges, ministers, all the way up and down the social ladder from the indigent Sarah Good to the governor of the colony, Sir William Phips. This is a researcher's tour de force, and Schiff is a good, clear writer whose explanations are easy to follow, even when heard instead of read.

My biggest quibble with her is the same quibble I have with almost all scholars who write about Salem. She ends up making it sound like the entire thing was a series of nested frauds rather than the result of anyone's genuine belief in witches and witchcraft. I've talked about this in other reviews, how to a modern reader, it seems almost impossible that it could be anything but fraud and how hard-bordering-on-impossible it is for us to understand, much less enter into, the Puritan worldview, their sincere belief that they were at the center of the cosmic struggle between Go(o)d and (D)evil (sorry, can't resist the wordplay) and their sincere belief that the Devil was real and walking in New England. Puritanism was a culture that enshrined delusions of persecution/grandeur and in that culture witchcraft made sense in a literal way it doesn't in ours. And some of it was fraud. Some of the afflicted persons confessed as much. But fraud alone did not kill twenty-five people (19 were hanged, 1 pressed to death, 5 died in prison, 2 of them infants), and that's the weak spot in Schiff's otherwise excellent book.



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truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS JeannetteIn the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


[library]

This was extremely entertaining, and taught me a great deal about the WACKED-OUT science of the late 19th century, with its paleocrystic seas and thermal gateways. It also provides excellent competence porn, as George De Long, his chief engineer George Melville, and the ship's doctor James Ambler were all insanely good at their jobs, and had plenty of opportunities to show it in the two years the U.S.S. Jeannette was trapped in the Arctic pack ice. (There's a fabulous piece of CSI: Jeannette as Dr. Ambler tracked down the cause of the lead poisoning that was slowly killing the crew.) 20 of the 33 members of the crew, including De Long, died in Siberia after exhibiting more epic heroism than should have been allowed to end in failure (but history, unlike fiction, does not care about your heroism), and the Jeannette's voyage remains eclipsed by the Erebus and the Terror

Trigger warning: aside from the ghastly deaths of De Long, Ambler, and most of the crew, horrible and cruel things happen to sled dogs, polar bears, and innumerable Arctic birds.

The audio book reader was competent and mostly a pleasure to listen to, except for his habit of raising the pitch of his voice when quoting women's writing and lowering the pitch of his voice when quoting men. This makes all the men sound excessively MANLY, and makes Emma De Long sound like a simpering idiot, when it's clear she was anything but.



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truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
posted by [personal profile] truepenny at 07:51am on 20/08/2017 under ,
Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New EnglandDamned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England by Elizabeth Reis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I hate starting a review with "this book was meh," but . . . this book was meh.

Reis' thesis is that in seventeenth-century Puritan New England, when everyone was obsessed with scrutinizing their souls for signs of damnation or salvation, and when a central event in a person's life was likely to be their conversion testimony (you stand up in front of the church you want to join and tell the church members how you came to realize that (a) you were a sinful crawling worm and (b) God had chosen you to be among the Elect regardless), while men tended to say that their sinful actions corrupted their souls, women were much more likely to say that their corrupted souls led them to sinful actions. She talks about how this led (or might have led) to women's confessions of witchcraft--if you view sin as a continuum, and if your corrupted soul means you cannot deny that you are sinful at heart, then how can you be certain that you aren't a witch?

Reis proves her thesis, and it's a subject I'm quite interested in, but the book itself just . . . meh. It was a book. I read it. If you're researching the subject either of Puritan witchcraft or the experience of Puritan women, it's definitely worth reading. Otherwise, not so much.



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spikedluv: (ai: cook&archie - the look by daisy)
magnavox_23: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] magnavox_23 at 09:35pm on 20/08/2017 under ,
These were made for the [community profile] stargate_summer  reverse big bang which finished up a few weeks ago.

Various pairings, wacko scenarios, the usual!


 

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/19/boston-protest-free-speech-rally

Donald Trump described anti-fascist and anti-racist demonstrators who converged on Boston as “anti-police agitators” on Saturday, in a tweet that seemed destined to revive the still simmering controversy over his remarks equating the far right and anti-Nazis in Charlottesville last weekend.

“Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston,” Trump tweeted. “Police are looking tough and smart! Thank you.”

But he later seemed to back the right to demonstrate, posting: “Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!”

He added: “I want to applaud the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!”
lamentables: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lamentables at 09:17am on 20/08/2017 under
Yesterday morning was going really well: being organised, packing, having short breaks so that it didn't feel like a rush, making salad...and then I mandolined a massive slice off the tip of my finger. abrinsky was his usual calm and effective self, dressing my finger, stopping me from fainting (I don't do well with the sight of blood, especially my own), being my personal packer, and even removing the extra protein from the salad.

I wasn't able to carry any heavy stuff to the car, and I really wasn't in a fit state to drive, so he packed the car and then spent four and half hours driving to Wales. He took the scenic route and it really was full of beautiful scenes.

drive by green

view from a traffic light

We arrived safely, by the sea, and found our holiday rental to be MASSIVE and very well furnished. The entire teeny cottage we rented in Northumberland in June would fit in our bedroom here.

My brother on the other hand, spent the day waiting for his kids to arrive back in the East Midlands from a holiday in Northumberland with their mother, before he could start his four hour drive (with bad back) to Wales. They didn't reach here until almost 10pm, by which time abrinsky and I were up well past our bedtime. But we bravely coped with exhausted kids, and exhausted brother, and eventually got to sleep around eleven.

Our plan for today is something rather more restful, involving no driving and no sharp implements.

On the plus side, I spent four and a half hours sitting in a physio-approved posture in abrinsky's comfortable car, and protecting my damaged finger in my sleep prevented flexing my wrist, so my usual neck/shoulder/hand issues have abated. Drastic measures...
August 19th, 2017
hyperfocused: Graphic of a woman's head in 3/4 profile ready to lead a call and response (Announcement/ Raising Her Voice)
posted by [personal profile] hyperfocused at 05:09pm on 19/08/2017 under , , ,
Mood:: 'accomplished' accomplished
Music:: Whoever is playing Centennial Park.
location: Nashville
nightdog_barks: (Dorothy)
posted by [personal profile] nightdog_barks at 04:50pm on 19/08/2017
I keep telling myself it's only been nine days, and that it will take a while. I am feeling better, though. :-)

Discovered the other evening that I have a Housefic from 2006 (!) that somehow never made it onto AO3. It's Letters of Transit, if anyone remembers that, in which House receives postcards from an alternate universe Wilson. Here's the link to the first chapter (goes to the house_wilson community on LJ). Please ignore the Photobucket hostage notes -- I'm not paying them one red cent. I'll work on posting it to AO3 sometime soon. I can't believe it got lost, but I'm glad it got found. :D
Music:: Panthers at Titans, pre-season football on the NFL Network
rachelmanija: (Heroes: support WGA)
posted by [personal profile] rachelmanija at 01:58pm on 19/08/2017 under
The rally was fine, though quite small. I imagine there would have been a much bigger turnout if the Nazis hadn't cancelled. One of my neighbors was there!

I went with [personal profile] hederahelix. We are now heading for Clementine.

Here I am with my sign and feline fellows in resistance.



recessional: a small blue-paisley teapot with a blue mug (Default)
celli: two bears hugging, captioned "wuv" (hugs)
posted by [personal profile] celli at 02:07pm on 19/08/2017 under
* finish picking up & taking out garbage & recycling (you're so close! you can do it!)
* dishes, dishes, dishes
* play with cat
* finish first draft of PODSA/SGA fusion

* write more PODSA mpreg
* review Star Wars OT3 and brainstorm last scene
* declutter
* put up CAT TREE OMG - skipping
* laundry - skipping
* pack
* litterbox
recessional: a mouse attempts to keep hold of a human finger (personal; technical difficulty plz hold)
cofax7: Marion Ravenwood in a hat (IJ - Marion hat)
posted by [personal profile] cofax7 at 09:00am on 19/08/2017 under , , , ,
What a week, huh? So exhausting. I swear, this regime is going to ruin my liver.

Remember that guy at Google with the memo? (Seems like months ago, doesn't it?) Well, one of the MetaFilter gang decided to do a comprehensive discussion/analysis of his arguments, complete with citations. The Truth Has Got Its Boots On, which is a lovely Pratchett reference.

Here's a resource for people confused about the Trump/Russia scandal. Amidst all the racism and Nazis, there are still questions about Trump's history with Russia.

This New Yorker article also asks some questions about Wall Street Raider Carl Icahn and his relationship with the Trump regime. Conflicts of interest? Pish.

This article looks at environmental justice from the perspective of the community rather than the regulator or government. It's both devastating and hopeful.

This article from Pro Publica gives a solid historical overview of attempts to incorporate principles of environmental justice at the federal level, and how they have failed. I do love Pro Publica: they do solid investigative journalism.

Politics can make strange bedfellows, as we know: hunters are on the front lines protecting the public lands.

This Lawfare article about private military groups hints at some legal tools that can be used against the Neo-Nazis.

The New York Review of Books has dropped the paywall on James M. McPherson's take-down of the myth of the Lost Cause.

Here's a blackly funny report of a call to a Georgia Congressman's office.

*

Alton Brown's fruitcake recipe. It looks tasty, but the volume is far too small. Why make only one fruitcake at a time?!

*

I am working on my NFE story, but argh, just realized that book club is this coming Wednesday, and I haven't read the book yet! Argh. Also it took me 4 tries to get started on the story, and then I had to do some background research and realized that I had [redacted] wrong, and also [redacted], and now I have to research [redacted]. I'm not sure if I'm going to get done in time...

*

In other news, Help!. Is anyone else using Chrome and having trouble logging into DW? I turned off HTTPS Everywhere, but that didn't make any difference. I simply cannot log in.

And now off to dog class where once again we will fail on the weave poles...

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