Brian Aldiss (1925 - 2017)

Aug. 21st, 2017 11:14 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
David Langford reports that Aldiss died in his sleep.

travels

Aug. 20th, 2017 05:28 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Went on an overnight trip thing Fri-Sat.

We camped! In a tent! That I pitched! At the beach!!!

Back. Today am very tired, not feel great today; restaurants are dangerous.

Tomorrow is Eclipse Day. Need to go very early because everyone will be go place do thing!

Should repack car. Keep going flat instead. Flat cat. Mrrrr... zzzz...

Sunday Yardening

Aug. 20th, 2017 06:08 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is sunny and hot, ugh.  I made it out to water plants and pick a pepper for Doug's supper. 

Poem: "To Appreciate Small Victories"

Aug. 20th, 2017 02:01 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the March 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kyleri, [livejournal.com profile] rix_scaedu, and [personal profile] sweet_sparrow. It also fills the "anxiety" square in my 3-1-17 card for the Disability Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings. It features prison inmates, group therapy, a show soup with some goat features including syndactyly and prey instincts, references to adaptive equipment, vulgar and intrusive talk, spitball leading to a prey reaction, refusal to apologize, speciesist language, discussion of disabilities, adoption issues, learning to compensate for a lost hand, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )

One Last Drop by Nicole Field

Aug. 21st, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

One Last Drop, Nicole Field, Less Than Three Press, Earl Grey Editing, books and tea, tea and books

Published: August 2017 by Less Than Three Press
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Genres: Romance, LGBTQIA
Source: NetGalley
Available: Publisher (electronic only)

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rory is a university student — and she’s just a little too fond of drinking and partying. But when she woke up with no memory of the evening, or the person beside her and what they did, that was the last straw.

Getting help seems the obvious first step, but it’s still hard to walk into the AA meeting, and harder still to stick to her goals.

But if she wants a chance to make things work with the beautiful Michelle, and further explore the submissive side she’s ignored, she’s going to have to commit to recovery and pull her life together, no matter how difficult that seems.

One Last Drop is a f/f romance that tackles some big issues but ultimately left me unsatisfied.

The primary focus of the story is Rory’s alcoholism and her ongoing recovery. It starts at Rory’s first AA meeting which gives a pretext for the skillful delivery of a traumatic backstory without making the reader experience it directly. As a teetotaler, I appreciated the way the story highlighted the alcoholic culture not only of university life but of society more generally. There were also some poignant moments examining shame and the way this manifests–particularly in Rory’s desire to keep her problem a secret and how this undermines her by depriving her of a support network.

However, the latter point was weakened somewhat by shallow characterisation. The close third-person perspective allows us to see what’s going on for Rory, but the characters around her felt flat. Michelle in particular came across as less of a character to connect to and more as a role: that of love interest and mature role-model for Rory to potentially grow into. When the trauma in Michelle’s background came up, it caught me by surprise, as there hadn’t been any foreshadowing. Perhaps this was by design–people don’t foreshadow their traumas in real life–but it left me feeling ambivalent.

The story takes a positive stance towards support groups and therapy, which I appreciated. I also liked the interplay between addiction and BDSM; Michelle is quite firm in not allowing Rory to avoid taking responsibility for her addiction by hiding in her new role as a submissive. Readers should not expect much in the way of onscreen sex. Instead, as is common for Field’s stories, the scene fades to black.

All in all, One Last Drop had some elements I liked, but I feel it ultimately failed to live up to its potential.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

40 Years Ago Today

Aug. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The United States of America, then an independent nation, launched Voyager 2

I wonder if any of the people involved realized it would still be going two generations later?

Read more... )

Heroic Action

Aug. 20th, 2017 01:35 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Three drag queens save a gaybashing victim.

"Growing up gay, I’ve been picked on and bullied and there comes a time when you fight back and you don’t care if you’ll get hurt or what happens to your wig."

<3 heroic speeches.

Making Muesli

Aug. 20th, 2017 08:24 am
mtl: Me as a POP! figure (Default)
[personal profile] mtl
 I'm finding that soft tissue damage heals a LOT more slowly than bone. My left wrist is still very achy & I can't use it for much, which means I can't bake--which sucks.

To fill the baking gap, I started making my own muesli. I like muesli, but don't like raisins (which most brands include), plus, it's pretty expensive. A box of no-sugar-added Mi Familia is $6.29 at Natural Grocers. I dislike paying that much and then having to endure ingredients I don't like.

So, I looked for recipes online. There are a LOT of variations, but it pretty much boiled down to:
  • Some sort of rolled grain (oats, spelt, etc)
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts/Seeds
  • Other stuff if you want
I could totally do that!

My first batch turned out well. I had rolled oats, dried cranberries, dried unsweetened coconut shreds and other things on hand, then went to Whole Foods bulk bins and got some more stuff. Bulk at WF is pricey, so I skimped on a lot of the fruit and made it up with the on-hand cranberries.

A couple of days ago, I decided that a trip to H.E.B. Central Market was in order. I hadn't been there since before I moved to DC in 2000, but did remember they had a pretty nice bulk bin section back in the day. Because I had my physical scheduled at 11, we went afterwards. BIG MISTAKE. Never go there during lunchtime. The place was beyond Bedlam. And the store is really badly laid out. My dad couldn't find most of the things on his grocery list and I very quickly became fatigued. 

That said, I did score some amazing bread. The bakery is to die for. I got some olive loaves, batard loaves and a dark, seedy bread similar to the WF Seeduction bread, along with a half-dozen assorted rolls. Picked up a pound of serrano ham at the deli and then fought my way over to bulk...which was less impressive than I remember. Not only crowded, but the selections were limited. Admittedly, there was a whole wall of bins for candies, but I was looking for grains, seeds, dried fruits. I got most of what I came for, but I was rather disappointed.

This morning, I mixed up the muesli.

Used:
  • rolled oats
  • wheat germ
  • dried coconut (unsweetened)
  • dried fruit (sour cherries, blueberries, goji berries, cranberries)
  • cacao nibs
  • hemp hearts
  • raw pumpkin seeds (unsalted)
  • slivered almonds


Bowl with muesli mix

Storage: airtight mason jars

Muesli storage

Serving: with yogurt (in this case, Almond Dream Vanilla. I usually use So Delicious, but the Central Market did not carry that.) + fresh blackberries (another disappointment, nearly half of them were moldy :( ) I have also used chopped apples in the past.



Muesli brekkie


LOL!

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:51 pm
jolantru: (Default)
[personal profile] jolantru
Apparently, it was a day of deja vu when I sliced off a bit of my left finger while pruning my butterfly pea plant. Shock, followed by pain and a bit of half-laughing, half-crying, and off I went to my general practitioner who dressed it, said it was a clean wound ("shaving accident") and gave me a booster jab.

Why I said deja vu was that I did something similar to the same finger a long time ago while I was still studying in Australia. :D

No painkillers, just the ache of my bruised ego

Traveling: Visions

Aug. 20th, 2017 09:57 am
[syndicated profile] alpennia_feed

Posted by Heather Rose Jones

Sunday, August 20, 2017 - 02:57

Just a quick note this time. Yesterday we did a little more wandering around Durham. Checked out the stalls in the Old Market Hall looking for gifts, but didn't see anything that really grabbed me. Went off to look at Sara & Joel's new house that they're gradually getting fixed up for moving in and had serious Old House Envy. (18th century beams! 0.5 meter thick back wall (now an interior wall of the house)! Cute postage-stamp back garden with sheds!) Had lunch and a pint in the pub right around the corner from the new (old) house.

Spent the afternoon resting up for the jaunt to York today, plus doing a bunch of exporting, formatting, and annotating of my files from the Great Welsh Name Database which I'm handing over to Sara for use in the DMNES project (Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources). This is, to some extent, an acknowledgement that I'm unlikely to do more work on the database in the near future. But I've always meant to ask if she wanted the data to use and this was a chance to talk about how the current files are structured and what some of the analytic data was trying to do.

Major category: 
annathepiper: (Blue Hawaii Relaxing)
[personal profile] annathepiper

The one major thing I was sad about re: our trip to Quebec–other than the saga of Dara’s lost luggage, and I’ll get to that–was that I got to spend only a few hours in Montreal. And that was only because the travel plans meant I had a bit of buffer time between when I arrived at the hotel, and when I needed to rendezvous with the shuttle going to Camp Violon Trad.

Because, fortunately, there was in fact going to be a shuttle. The camp’s staffer in charge of communicating with campers, when she sent out a notice in June telling us what to expect, mentioned that they’d be running a shuttle from downtown Montreal up to where Camp Violon Trad actually happens. I was quite happy about this news, because this meant I didn’t have to try to rent a car and navigate my way northward through a French-speaking province.

(Note that the street signs at this point probably wouldn’t have given me a problem. I’m good enough with reading French at this point that I can figure out roughly where I am, if I need to. The tricky parts would just be not being familiar with any specific traffic laws in Quebec. Or if I had to pull over for directions, or got pulled over by a cop or something–because then I’d have to try to communicate and my conversational French is not up to speed yet. But that was also part of why I wanted to go to Camp Violon Trad. More on this to come, too.)

What amused the hell out of me about the camp shuttle was this: the designated pickup point was right by the Berri-UQAM Metro station. Which, as it turns out, was about the only part of Montreal I knew anything about, because when Dara and I had spent our weekend there in 2012, that very corner was right by the hotel we stayed at, the Lord Berri.

This meant that I also knew that there was an Archambault there, and I knew there were a lot of shops and restaurants and things within immediate walking distance. So, that gave me at least a bit of buffer time, long enough for running errands and having a brunch, between “leaving the hotel” and “rendezvousing with the shuttle”.

Getting out of the hotel

Getting out of the hotel was a bit of a challenge. I knew that in theory there was a bus I could take from the airport to the aforementioned Metro station, and I remembered that on the way in the night before, I’d walked past a kiosk that looked like it had information for the bus in question. But I got a little lost walking around with my luggage through the airport–which, now that it was a much saner morning hour, was a lot busier than when I’d arrived the night before.

Turned out I’d come down onto the wrong floor. I had to backtrack a bit, but ultimately, found that kiosk. And determined that I had to buy a pass that’d cost me ten bucks (Canadian). This struck me as expensive. But on the other hand, it was still significantly cheaper than paying for a taxi.

The bus in question, the 747 (not to be confused with the jet, lol), had a stop not far from the ticket kiosk. So I got out there and soon enough was on my way.

It was awfully bright that morning, so I had my sunglasses on. This impacted my ability to look at things en route, but I did notice that Montreal was undergoing a lot of construction. Rather like Seattle, in that respect.

Once I was off the bus

The bus route was very straightforward: get on the bus at the airport, and get off the bus at its very last stop. So there was no risk of confusion or anything in that regard.

There was a bit of confusion as I was turned around regarding what street I was on once I was off the bus, but that was easily corrected. I found the Archambault (and the Lord Berri right beside it) as landmarks quickly enough. And that let me orient myself on the plan I had for the morning: go to a pharmacy a couple blocks north of the Archambault, then go to the Archambault, then go find something to eat, and finally, rendezvous with the shuttle.

On the way to the pharmacy (and back again, for that matter) I got panhandled in French. Or at least, one active panhandle and one attempt to see if I spoke French, but which I suspected was a panhandle. I was rather amused by that, just because being panhandled in a different language was at least a bit of a switch.

I was also deeply amused by this, which was not something I expected to see in Montreal.

Apparently, at least one Elvis impersonator is a big deal there. Ha!

The Archambault was the major errand I wanted to run (the pharmacy was just for necessities). And what I wanted was Tolkien things in French! I nabbed a French translation of The Silmarillion: this one, to be specific. And I bought the Blu-ray set of The Lord of the Rings movies again, but this time because this set actually had French dubs of all three movies. The US releases we’ve already bought–both the DVDs and the Blu-rays–do not have French dubs, which baffles the hell out of me. Portuguese, yes. French, no. To this day I do not for the life of me understand that particular marketing decision!

I amused the clerk at the counter telling him I wanted to practice my French by doing the reading, and by watching the French dubs of the movies. He tried to warn me that The Silmarillion is not exactly an easy book to follow. I assured him that I had read it repeatedly in English, so yes, I was very, very aware. ;D

I’m pretty sure I provided at least a bit of amusement of my own to passersby on the street, just because I was dragging my suitcase around behind me, with my backpack on top of it so I wouldn’t have the weight of it on my back. And of course, I also had my fiddle, which was what I was carrying on my back instead, since it was lighter than the backpack. This led to multiple conversations with people about how I was in the middle of a lot of travel and was on my way north for the next leg of my journey.

Finally I did make it to Juliette et Chocolat, which had been recommended to me on Facebook as a good source of brunch. And which, in fact, I was pretty sure I’d remembered going to in 2012. The brunch was in fact excellent. So was the dessert, a thing called “petit pot fleur de sel”, which was all chocolate-mousse-y and salted-caramel-y and gracious that thing was tasty.

Eventually I wandered around as much as I felt I was up for wandering around. Half of me really wanted to go to the Café des chats, one of Montreal’s cat cafes, but it was just a bit too far of a walk when I was hauling luggage around with me. So I finally just parked for a bit at the corner, sat in the shade, and hung out playing Gummy Drop on my iPad; while I was doing that, I had another random conversation with a gent amused by my stack of luggage.

That didn’t kill enough time, so I got up and wandered off again to go into a nearby coffeeshop for a cold beverage and a visit to a ladies’ room. And that accomplished, I came back again and finally found some folks waiting in a little cluster with violin cases and other luggage.

I’d found the Camp Violon Trad crowd!

Waiting for the shuttle

I discovered to my surprise that I was not actually the only person from the extended Seattle-area session crowd. One of the other ladies waiting for the shuttle was another Seattle person. So that was awesome to discover. 😀 Turned out we had a bit of a wait on our hands, once we greeted one another and exchanged names and such. None of us were particularly sure which corner the shuttle would be showing up on, or even what kind of vehicle we were looking for.

It was a good thing for me that there was public municipal wifi available, though, because that let me check my mail–and find an update sent out by the camp coordinator, Ghislaine, warning us that there had been a bit of a mixup as to vehicle rentals, and that there would be two drivers coming, but one was running late. Which ultimately meant that there’d be two cars for about six passengers, so we had to divide up who would ride with which driver.

The driver I rode with was a fellow named Luc. Who, as it turned out, is André Brunet’s cousin! He was very nice, and told me and the other two ladies riding with him that he taught English. The route he chose to take northward was a bit random, since he wanted to avoid the tunnel that runs underneath the St. Lawrence river, which is often very crowded. None of us minded, as it was a pleasant drive. I amused myself practicing reading signs we went past, as well as keeping up with the bilingual conversation going on in the car.

Once we made it to St-Côme, I was able to observe that it is a) tiny, and b) kind of adorable. The same applied to Plein Air Lanaudia, the site of Camp Violon Trad. There was a lovely lake there, a bunch of trees, and assorted chalets that we were all staying in.

But more on this in Part 3 of the trip report!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
[personal profile] yhlee
A couple friends let me know that talking about composing for orchestra is, in fact, something that might be of some minor interest and also I am taking a break from working on Dragon Pearl while the Dragon borrows my laptop (which is my writing machine), so.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional composer! I did not go to conservatory. I am an interested amateur. My background is seven years of more or less classical piano, including a few years at the Houston Music Institute (relevant because they taught some theory and basic composition), a few years of viola, and years of screwing around on basically every instrument I could get my hands on, including three summers of classical guitar, mandolin, soprano recorder, pennywhistle, ocarina, and diatonic and chromatic harmonica. (Harmonicas actually get pretty complicated, more complicated than I personally can deal with--different tunings, cross-harp, slant-harp, etc. I only know the basics. [1]) This kind of jack-of-all-trades-ism is not great if you want to be a performer, where you really ought to become expert in your chosen instrument(s), but it's not awful if you want to compose.

[1] To anyone who doubts that the harmonica is a "real" classical instrument, I present to you Villa-Lobos' Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra with soloist Robert Bonfiglio [Youtube], which is the recording I used to have before the stupid fucking flood. That's a chromatic harmonica, BTW; you can tell because of the use of the chromatic slide in some of the ornaments. More information. I will FIGHT anyone who tells me the harmonica is not a REAL INSTRUMENT.

Further caveat, I am only discussing Western music. I don't know enough about non-Western traditions to tell you anything useful about them. I compose more or less neoclassically because that's what pleases my ear and I feel no need to be innovative in a technical/theoretical sense. (Schoenberg's twelve-tone system is brilliant from a technical/theoretical sense but I cannot usually stand listening to it except in the limited context of certain kinds of film/TV scoring. I wouldn't listen to it for fun.)

And for yucks, I have perfect pitch, which in almost all contexts is either useless or an active hindrance (I am a suck liar and let's just say that I avoid a cappella performances and first-year string players like the plague--there's such a thing as good a cappella, but unless you are Carnegie Hall good I don't want to risk it), but has limited applications in the realm of music, ahahaha. For most applications relative pitch is hell and away more useful. (I actually get interference between relative and perfect pitch, which sucks.)

Anyway, let's talk a little about the fundamentals of music from the standpoint of composing.

I keep telling people that composing for orchestra is not hard. Composing for orchestra well is hard. Because it's true! It's a lot of things, true, but you can break it down into components. I'll talk a little more about this below.

Music is about patterns--creating tension with different dimensions of pattern, then resolving it. In terms of pitch, you only have twelve of them repeating across various octaves to work with! But because you can combine the pitches in different ways, you can come up with different melodies. Speaking in terms of standard music notation, that's the "horizontal" dimension. And pitch is combined with patterns of rhythm--units of time. cut for length and tl;dr )

Okay, I am out of brain and I'm not sure any of this even makes sense to anyone who is not me. :] I am happy to answer questions (or, if you compose music yourself, talk shop!).

Poem: "The Bamboo That Bends"

Aug. 19th, 2017 06:05 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the August 1, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] siliconshaman and [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "family portraits" square in my 7-1-16 card for the Winter Fest in July Bingo. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Officer Pink thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )

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