The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

Jun. 30th, 2016 11:23 am
lea_hazel: Don't make me look up from my book (Basic: Reading)
[personal profile] lea_hazel
Last night I finished The Cloud Roads, which I had intended to read for I don't know how long. Capped it off by downloading the preview for the second book of the trilogy, The Serpent Sea. I was reminded of it recently -- I had thought it was from a Writing Excuses cast with Martha Wells, but apparently they never had her on and I was confusing an episode about writing inhuman characters with the one where they recced the book. Probably because Ellen Kushner is another fantasy author I probably should have read years ago.

I enjoyed the book tremendously. The protagonist is male, which is usually a thing that would tamp down my interest. Because of the xenofic aspect, though (his species has about five biological sexes), there are aspects of his arcs which are.... Put it this way: you know how some people use slash fic as a way of examining vulnerability in detachment from femininity, to make it less personal? That. I am definitely working on a full review, but I was hoping someone in my circle had read it. Book's been out long enough that someone must have written on the subject, but I think I must be using the wrong search terms.

The Pink Tax Poll

Jun. 30th, 2016 12:53 am
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

This is an anonymous poll; no one's name or identity will be known to me. Anon commenting is also available if you wish to expand upon your answers.

If you're not familiar with the topic this poll explores, it's the pink tax. Poll creator identifies as a tomboyish-feeling but feminine-presenting cis female (nope, I'm not mixed up or anything, not at all) and welcomes answers from people of all gender identities.

Poll #17546 Using Men's vs. Women's Styling Products
This poll is anonymous.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 3

Do you use the opposite gender's styling products?

View Answers

Yes, all the time
2 (66.7%)

Nope, never
0 (0.0%)

Yes, but only sometimes
0 (0.0%)

Hmmmm...I've considered it, but not yet
0 (0.0%)

What is a styling product (*ticking this will count as a No)
1 (33.3%)

If "Yes, all the time" to Question #1, which opposite gender styling products do you use?

View Answers

Shave cream (any kind)
0 (0.0%)

0 (0.0%)

1 (50.0%)

Razors/razor blades/razor refills
2 (100.0%)

1 (50.0%)

Perfume/cologne/body spray
2 (100.0%)

Body lotion/hand lotion (moisturizers)
0 (0.0%)

Facial care (astringents, face wash, toners, acne pads, etc.)
0 (0.0%)

Hair care (dyes, hair spray, mousse, waxes, pomades, gels, etc.)
0 (0.0%)

If "Yes, but only sometimes" to Question #1, why haven't you used the opposite gender's styling products more often?

View Answers

Tried, didn't like the formulation/effect/outcome/smell
0 (0.0%)

Didn't work as well as my gender identity's formulation
0 (0.0%)

Cost too much as compared to my gender identity's products
0 (0.0%)

I feel funny or don't want to be seen using stuff marketed to the opposite gender
0 (0.0%)

I haven't thought about it too much
0 (0.0%)

How do you feel about women's styling products costing more than men's?

View Answers

I think it's bs (I identify as a woman)
2 (66.7%)

I think it's bs (I identify as a man)
0 (0.0%)

I think it's bs (I identify as another or no gender)
1 (33.3%)

I think it's justfiied - women's products are formulated differently/use more expensive ingredients/make me feel more pampered (you may clarify in comments below)
0 (0.0%)

I haven't noticed a price difference
0 (0.0%)

I don't care about the price difference
0 (0.0%)

If you identify as a woman, does the fact that men's styling products cost less convince you to begin buying them?

View Answers

I'm aware of the price difference but don't plan on trying men's products to save money.
0 (0.0%)

I'm aware of the price difference, I just feel unsure about switching to using items made for men.
0 (0.0%)

I have already switched to using at least some men's products to save money (comment!).
2 (100.0%)

I am not other gender's products curious.
0 (0.0%)

Why do you think women's styling products cost more than men's? Is this fair? Why or why not?

marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

...get email from them because apparently their account got hacked by some asshole in China (or hacked by an asshole using some website in China to redirect their email) after you haven't heard from that person in years. I could almost feel, like, stalked, I guess, or be stupid enough to hit "reply" because I have simply *never* learned how to view source in emails...and yes, if I am being stalked, then this very post is confirmation, is it not, that that was who I was writing about, right? No. It's confirmation that I don't like assholes. That's what it confirms.

Jun. 29th, 2016 01:14 am
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

I was typing URLs into my browser's address bar about an hour ago (I'm into domain flipping, though I've never done it; I just do this URL-typing thing once in a while, usually after checking Google Trends for any good domain names I might have missed in the news) when on a lark I typed in Guess where it lands?

In a wild coincidence, when a new book went on sale yesterday at Amazon began redirecting to it. The book in question is Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate. This is a very long title. Long titles are in these days, but I don't know if they'll work for selling books. I would not like to find out.

Bill Clinton's a presidential wonder to me (if it had been put to a vote, I would have voted to abolish eight year term limits just to keep him in office forever) so this title, merely on sight, has no impact on how I feel about him, and little on how I feel about Hillary (I don't like her and never did, though I have tried to, I guess, over the years; but I do think she's the best we're getting this year, unless Sanders pulls a rabbit out of his hat real soon). But I imagine this title will make conservatives and Republicans slobber on themselves. Hey, whatever I can do to help the economy along...

I just thought that for being on a domain flipping mission tonight, this was an interesting find. I also found a site called, another interesting find if you're into, uh, domain-flipping.

ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
Today's office. Nice and green, and the food is tasty.

It was a dark and stormy night.

Jun. 28th, 2016 10:38 am
ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
[personal profile] ursamajor
It was a dark and stormy night.

I haven't written poetry...

Jun. 28th, 2016 01:41 am
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie years. I was thinking the other day that most of my poems, like most of my posts, kind of suck, then trying to think which was the best of them, being this is a pretty low bar to cross.

Most of my poems are not online...some are just not good enough to withstand sunlight, others are hard to format for HTML because of the formatting I chose (From A-Z is written in the shape of a Z, and while I think I've posted that one before, I shouldn't have; circles is written in a concentric circle working from the outside perimeter into the center) and others are, I guess "too personal" (I don't know; in light of the relationships some of them were based upon, I could always revisit that question).

Given I don't feel like going upstairs to find the book that holds most of my writing, and haven't felt like it since this question first occurred to me a few days ago, I'd have to guess Daniel might be my favorite. I've probably told this story before but you won't find that online, either...Daniel was a German/French neo-Nazi who fell in love with me. If you know me as well as he did, then you know this is hilarious, because I have a lot of Jewish blood. He was involved with someone else at the time and so was I (this was between 2008-2009) so nothing came of it. He was my co-worker, then we both got promoted (he became my supervisor), then he made me watch him break his own heart...toward the end of my time there, he had to go work somewhere else and when I found out I said, "Oh that sucks! We won't work together anymore" and he started crying. And couldn't stop. I never doubted how he felt about me again.

I didn't find it as surprising as I guess I thought I would that a neo-Nazi fell in love with me. Then again, I never in a million years considered such a thing. Then, about a year ago, I came to find out one of my co-workers was Jewish and a Nazi. I walked into his section of the building one night shouting, "What the FUCK is wrong with you?". He was in his early 20s, taller and stronger than me, and also had a bit of a crush on my ass, and none of those facts stopped me for one second.

"What? What???" he said, sheepish, half-smiling, acting not at all surprised that I was yelling at him. "You're a Nazi?" I spat. He started laughing and me and like five other people in the room did, too. When I could finally breathe again, I was like, "Damn it, you should know better". He went into how upset his parents were over it and yada yada yada until finally I said, "OK, whatever", then sort of dismissively hand-waved him and walked away because I didn't know what else to say or do. We still spoke after that, but then it turned out he was sort of crazy (he threatened to blow the whole place up one night after a fight with his boss or something; I forget the details but know he hasn't blown the place up - at least, not yet).

I mean, I want to hate people for shit. For their beliefs. And value systems. Which don't always align with my own. But then I meet people like this and write poems like Daniel - because even their most basic beliefs aren't set in stone; sometimes a seemingly cohesive person can be more mixed up - and unsure of what they should believe - than you can ever imagine them being.

Briard family reunion

Jun. 26th, 2016 09:17 am
batwrangler: Just for me. (Default)
[personal profile] batwrangler
Shine and I visited her breeder yesterday and had a mini-reunion with her sister Taize and her brother Cai. We did some clicker shaping for free-stacking and took the dogs on a couple of long walks* between training sessions. It ought not to be a surprise, but it's remarkable how alike the three of them are.

*As a result, I can barely walk myself, though at the time my hip was not particularly painful.

Braxit (The Great Britain Brain Exit)

Jun. 25th, 2016 11:40 pm
marahmarie: Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell (Default)
[personal profile] marahmarie

To my UK friends - including my fellow Dreamwidthians and deep inner Dwirclers - I have news you might not like. According to US media, there has been a vote in favor of a Braxit - that is, a total brain exit of vast numbers of people in the UK. While our media has found no source of possible infection that makes this complete exit of a brain from Great Britain possible, the contagion does seem confined for now to the "English countryside" and whatever part of Ireland which does not face North.

I will stop far short of calling the disease vector being somewhat confined by mere location "a relief".

I think everyone who voted in favor of brain exit supports Trump and is a racist xenophobe. Am I making myself clear? The brain exit is driven by the same thing driving whatever remains of Trump's disastrous popularity: refugees. The word "refugees" is the bogey man who represents: 1) blacks, 2) Muslims, 3) women, 4) the poor, 5) people taking our guns away, which is ALL the people who are not like "us" and 6) any other group the racists tend to dislike (and believe me, with racists, there are HUGE overlaps; you're never "just" a bigoted jerk).

That said, the send up y'all are getting across the pond is sort of hilarious. I'm not saying I support the overall mean and sniffy tone, but it has given me a few pauses as I consider how a country stupid enough to even allow Trump to run for President can dare to suggest the population of any other country might also be sort of ignorant and uninformed. So much so, that many of you are even calling for a do-over. Seriously, the last time I heard of doing anything over was when I last begged (yes, this happened more than once, clearly because I'm a jerk) my mom to speak to me again because my mouth? Can work waaaaay faster than my brain, sorry about that, so yes, can we do that moment over, please? I didn't know this was also a legitimate form of politicking.

But I gotta say it: if you read these articles in the order I'll present them in, which is pretty much the same order I found them in on my MSN News app, this does look a bit more like a Braxit then a Brexit, for the following reasons...

Your Googling.

The British are frantically Googling what the E.U. is, hours after voting to leave it. From the above link: "At about 1 a.m. Eastern time, about eight hours after the polls closed, Google reported that searches for "what happens if we leave the EU" had more than tripled". Have you folks considered researching this stuff BEFORE you leave? Or is it just that important to flounce off in a (totally uninformed) huff? Please stop making my country look maybe not quite as stupid in comparison. (It is just as stupid, perhaps more so, so the last laugh's definitely on us: half the people over here just don't Google because "the media lies" and they KNOW they're right, so why bother Googling?)

Your polls.

We can screw up some polls over here, OK? Mistakes were made. Polls were screwed up. Of course it's never any specific group's or person's fault because that's how lack of accountability actually works. I'm a member of YouGov, Ipsos-Mori and other national polling institutions so I've got some background on this. But what the UK can do to some polls is fucking breathtaking.

Your Prime Minister.

This guy had the balls to bluff the entire UK but to his surprise and probable eternal mortification, enough border-loving xenophobes called him out on it to lose the bet he made on you. Then he sent himself packing, apparently because he lost his mandate. He didn't lose his mandate. He lost his fucking bet. I'm not sure if I should give him mad props for sheer cojones or chalk him up to an idiot. He felt pressure from a minority political party to prove, mostly to them, that no one else wanted what they did. And he lost. I'll bet he never in his wildest dreams could see that coming, but I can only wonder why.

Your referendum.

It is, after all, just that. But now that a tiny majority of you have voted to leave, at least some brilliant or at least quite efficient exit plan will immediately go into place, right? You don't have one, you say? Wait. What? Oh, that's right, you...don't.

OK, what the fucking fuck? Invoking Article 50 - the only thing remotely resembling a plan you folks ever had? Isn't something Cameron wants to do now, though it was his own idea, because it will hurt the UK far more than it will hurt the EU in a ton of myriad ways.

Seriously, this is from my heart...

Hold a second referendum to nail down the first one. You've all reacted - and voted - rather brashly and don't understand what's going on. FIND OUT before you vote again, should you be given the chance to.

You don't want your country to turn into what we've got over here now that Trump has risen. He doesn't need to get elected to have already turned the US into a dark and dreary place. It's a mood - and it's not going away, because most of us against him imagine if his tyranny does take effect in November our country as we know it will be over with. You folks don't want this. And as much as I've teased Cameron, I do think he made an honest, genuine, unsuspecting mistake, which just happened to be, like, a huge freaking mistake. Hold him accountable. Vote again. Don't let him resign if Remain wins this time; hold a recall vote if possible and get him back, too.

OK: why do I feel so strongly about this? I've seen the world going down around issues of race, tribe and xenophobia since the much-vaunted and totally disastrous Arab Spring. If you really want to call it, I've seen it going down since my country "freed" Iraq from its tyrannical rule, which I hate to say was much less awful than what it must endure now thanks to our, um, help.

We had no plan in place for Iraq to carry on successfully, so we should have left them alone. The Arab Springers thought, "Ah, freedom, democracy" but with no plan in place what they wound up with was war, displacement, millions of refugees and whatever is going on in Syria. You folks in the UK? Shout, "Ah, freedom from tyrannical EU rule" but again there's no plan in place, and if you think I'm being "ridiculous enough" to quite frankly suggest factional and regional infighting will result in YOUR country from this Brexit, then please roll your eyes - first toward the southern tip of Ireland, then over to Scotland and then back around to the entire city of London, and get back to me on that.

Y'all scare me.

fringe stuff (when september ends)

Jun. 25th, 2016 06:20 pm
jmtorres: (uncertainty)
[personal profile] jmtorres
so the vid I turned in for vvc premieres (I'm going to vvc this year, shockingly!) and it's a Fringe vid (I recall there is a culture of anticipatory secrecy around Premieres, but I forget how much of it was my own habit of making vids that I wanted to surprise people with. anyway, not saying anything more about the vid than the fandom) so I've been rewatching bits of Fringe the last few weeks trying to pull it together, and I'm sort of contemplating a full rewatch for purposes of it turns out I ship Walter/September sort of a lot, and kind of want to write fic about them, but I'm afraid if I do that I'll end up finding the PERFECT SHOT for that one line in the vid I already turned in, it's done gdi.

The main thing that struck me about Walter and September is I was trying to put together a mental map of the time jump between seasons 4 and 5. Because there's like 5 years between the end of season 4 and the Observer Invasion (the time in which Olivia and Peter have a kid, maybe even get married I honestly forget), and then there's like a twenty year gap of they got ambered and didn't get pulled out until the occupation had been ongoing for a while, which allows them some brief anonymity in fighting the Observers bc the Observers have assumed they were dead.

During the 5 yr gap, Walter and September were working on a plan to stop the invasion, apparently without Peter or Olivia or Astrid's knowledge. Walter's brains are scrambled to prevent the Observers from getting the plan out of him with telepathy, but no one else on the main Fringe team has any idea what the plan was. They have to follow tapes they dig out of the amber in Walter's lab to collect all the plot coupons--one of which is actually September. Because they figured out early on Walter was working with someone named Donald on this ~secret plan~, but no one, not even brain-scrambled Walter, knew who Donald was or how to find him, until it turned out that Donald was September, but with hair.

So my question was--how did Walter, who (to his own chagrin) requires pretty much constant babysitting, commonly coordinated between Peter and Astrid, manage to not only travel to work on a plan he was keeping secret from them, but avoid ever introducing anyone to his co-conspirator?

One of the things I want to rewatch for is to figure out how many of them have actually met September face to face. Peter had a brief interaction with him in 104 that went rapidly to an "Apples, bananas, rhinoceros" place because the Observer plan for avoiding action is apparently use their telepathy and unusual relationship with time to mirror at people. He then shoots Peter with a futuristic stun gun and makes his escape. There's also, September bleeding out foretold Olivia needing to die to prevent Bell from collapsing the universes at the end of season 4. Also Olivia studied September's face pretty thoroughly when she was trying to figure out why he was stalking her crime scenes. I'm less sure of Astrid, but in general I think this means September would have had to keep out of everyone but Walter's sight to maintain secrecy. I can imagine he would want to, like, the Observers ID'd Peter and Olivia as important, he should never be anywhere near them to avoid them realizing he's meddling, right? Although how he can then get away with hanging out with Walter I don't understand. Maybe, hand wave, the Observers discounted Walter from importance when they wiped Peter out of the timeline. And figured that held even when Peter stubbornly refused to cease existing, since Walter didn't remember Peter, so whatever, not important anymore.

I'm kind of imagining Walter telling Peter he needs his own place because he, ahem, met someone, and anyway Peter will want more space in his own house when Olivia has the baby; and both Peter and Olivia being like, excuse me what? because that was totally something September mentioned in passing, not something that's like, happened yet. I also feel like if Peter's only interaction with September pre-hair was apples bananas rhinoceros, he might be able to see him, be like "I know you from somewhere" and be satisfied with September admitting they met once in passing before but Walter hadn't introduced them so he (September) was rather flummoxed and rude, so sorry.

I also have been pondering September seeking Walter out after the whole de-observerfying. Like, it's not just that now he has hair, he also has physiologically driven emotions and the inability to stalk people through time and space since his implant has been removed. So he has to get from wherever the Observers dumped him to where Walter is, probably has to do some more traditional stalking to figure out when he can approach him without other people being there to see, has to somehow come up with like, money or a job or something for clothes and a place to live, or find Walter fast enough that his lack of such doesn't impede him too much until Walter can help, although I am continually laughing at Walter trying to convince Peter and everyone that he should be able to live on his own with his boyfriend why won't you let me mortgage a house.

Maybe Walter can argue his way into living in one of the properties he already owns; the Reiden Lake house, for instance.

But the idea of September skulking around trying to figure out when to talk to Walter suddenly made me wonder--when he shows up to talk to Walter in the lab at the end of season 1, and they end up at Reiden Lake and Walter is Missing and Peter eventually finds him out there--like, did September hold hands with Walter and jump him through spacetime from the lab to the lakeside, or did he lead Walter out to the parking lot, pull a key fob out of his pocket, and make a car beep and unlock for them? Like, we know September can drive; he was driving Walter's car in 1985 when Walter woke up from the dunk in the ice. So September could have driven them to Reiden Lake. But like. Is it his car? A car he randomly "borrowed" that he knew its owner wouldn't be looking for it for a day or so? What kind of car does an Observer drive? or--what kind of car does September drive, he's not exactly standard Observer temperament in all things. Does he cram Walter in a Smart, because the future has taught him to conserve resources as much as possible? Does he revel in some kind of classic gas-guzzling boat, because nothing of the sort is available in the future? Does he have a Camry or a Civic or something, because it's a common car that won't stand out and attract any attention? What did they talk about on the three hour drive from Harvard to Reiden Lake? Did September let Walter pick the music? Did September drive off and leave him there after the dramatic handover of the coin? Did Walter say, "Wait, where are you going?" and September enigmatically assure him someone would find him soon?

But, back to the future (starring Eric Stoltz), the few years of recently humanized September and Walter managing to hide all their adventures from everyone else. And like. When they find him in season 5, he totally brushes off what happened to him as he always admired the time period, it wasn't much of a punishment to strand him there; but like. Imagine how much crap he was going through, going from having no feelings of his own, just weird echoes of feelings from Observing a society where everyone had them, to suddenly having all of the biochemical mechanisms of feelings flowing in his veins. And not having any experience with moderating anything. Like, I'm imagining him throwing something in frustration, and being shocked by the sound of it shattering, and admitting, I don't know why I did that. I think Walter would glibly offer to take a blood sample and synthesize something pharmaceutical to help September out, he certainly uses chemicals to induce moods and states of mind he wants for himself; I'm not sure what September would think about that.

And then, also, pants feelings. September comes from a society where no one has romantic relationships, let alone sexual ones; all offspring are grown to maturity in tanks; and they don't seem to have gender delineations, I'm not even sure they have any expression of sexual characteristics at all. The lack of hair might have pointedly been genetically added in to mark the lack of secondary sex characteristics. So here's September, who's been adult but neuter for an entire waking life, who now has suffered what the Observers term biological reversion to turn him into a standard 21st century human male, so he's dealing with both the feelings and the anatomy for the first time in his life. It's like puberty, but worse. And he has no models from his own society on how to or when it's appropriate to act on his feelings; he's been Observing the world he's been dumped in for a while, but he has no experience of his own, and he's so lost, and he doesn't even know if he wants to act on his feelings, like the society he comes from seems to have all kinds of like, cultural suppression and disapproval at anyone who seemed like they might be feeling things. Even though he's not there anymore, he spent a long time pretending that he was unaffected by Observing, that feelings were not at all catching and he certainly had none, sir.

And--it struck me in the episode where they find "Donald," that even though he's emotionally open, he's astounded that Walter is still alive and so glad to see him again, he's not tactile. At the moment where I totally expected him surprise everyone and embrace Walter, he didn't. He was so effusively happy but he didn't reach out, at all. And of course nothing in the society he's from would encourage touch at all. No one is a parent in the sense of raising a child, genetic donors do not hold their offspring and the offspring are not children, they are fully matured in tanks and enter the world as adults. No one has intimate relationships outside of the families they don't have. No one has any reason to touch anyone else. And it's not that I think September might not want to, more that, from that background, he doesn't know how, doesn't trust himself to do it in a way that conforms with social expectations, and honestly, might be overwhelmed. Even the smallest touches, Walter's hand on his shoulder, evoke so much emotion in him. And he's so ill-equipped to handle emotion at all.


Heralding the end

Jun. 24th, 2016 03:16 pm
yourlibrarian: Merlin and Arthur among the trees (MERL-MerlinCopse-ninneve)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian
1) Condolences to all UK readers following the Brexit vote. I'm thinking the results ought to be a giant wake-up call to Americans who are thinking of sitting out the coming election because surely there aren't enough Trump voters out there to get him elected...

2) CBS/Paramount has released "guidelines" for fan film makers which, while containing a few reasonable items, goes so far in dictating everything about a production that practically anything could be a violation. And then there are the completely ludicrous bits. Read more... )

3) Huh, so apparently this is what Microsoft plans to use LinkedIn for Read more... )

4) I couldn't help but be amused by the following because, by not having a customized ringtone capable phone for the longest time and then leapfrogging to a smartphone, this never applied to me. Some interesting musings about the nature of the Internet though Read more... )

5) I wouldn't be surprised if this story about the Orlando shooter's motives is true. Self-hatred is usually behind a lot of violence.

Zombies Run

Jun. 24th, 2016 02:22 pm
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)
[personal profile] cesy
My current physio regime includes a certain amount of walking each day, which is slower than usual and therefore less interesting, but also hard work. So I've dug out Zombies Run again to keep me company. I'm only half-way through Season 1, but it's fun. Jack and Eugene provide occasional unintentional hilarity in radio mode, though. For example:

Shuffle: Plays Adam Lambert's Master Plan
Jack and Eugene: Talk about how they're getting misty-eyed at that last song and teared up a bit.

Jack and Eugene: This next one's a happening tune.
Shuffle: Plays S Club 7.


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