Travellin' Man

Jul. 22nd, 2017 11:32 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
James Nicoll just posted a retrospective on the old SF role-playing game Traveller. That brings back some memories of my own... When I was a student at Chicago, I got involved in a D&D group. At one point, our GM suggested we try out this new SFnal answer to D&D; we were all game for it, so he set up a scenario and let us loose.

At the end of the first session, our party was aboard a submarine, hiding from the Imperial Space Navy, who were hunting us on charges including poaching, assault (several counts), hijacking, kidnapping, trespassing on government property, theft of government property, destruction of government property, and extortion. We were, in fact, not guilty of poaching. We meant well, though...

(The GM later suggested that we had gone into a game set in civilized places with the mind-set appropriate to the barbarism of D&D. Nicoll's pet phrase for D&D adventurers is "murder hobos". (I think that was Nicoll, at least.))

Ah, me. Haven't played any of those games in decades; video games are a poor substitute.

Advantages of a two-house household

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:36 am
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
For those who don't know, we live in an up/down duplex. Marna, Ian and I live upstairs and Lorayne has the downstairs, with two spare rooms for any guests of upstairs or downstairs.

Lorayne also has two window AC units. One of which is in her big spare bedroom. We do not have any AC upstairs, just a lot of fans.

It's been hot and humid as fuck in Ottawa for the last week. It's finally starting to cool down, but the heat is really lingering upstairs. Last night I couldn't fall asleep because of it.

So, I said fuck it and am sleeping downstairs tonight.

Dreadful followed me downstairs and was staring forlornly out the screen door, so we invited him in. So, Dreadful's sleeping downstairs too tonight.

Rayne's cats, Kina and Chakra, are less than impressed.

They've met Dreadful before, and even lived with him for a week when we stripped the wainscotting in the kitchen several years ago, so we're not worried it'll come to blows overnight or anything. They'll cope. And I think Dreadful is enjoying the change of scenery.

Also, the lack of dog.

Oh yeah, we got a dog. We've had him for about a month. Our intent was to foster him, but Marna fell in love, so now he's ours.

His name is Bogart, we think he's some sort of pointer cross, but he was rescued from the Everglades, so we can't be sure. He's about 18 months old and weighs about 40 pounds. He's a sweetheart, but he has some behavioral issues we're working on.

And Dreadful has NOT reconciled himself to this new family member yet. He's never lived with a dog before, and he's not sure he wants to now. They're cohabiting relatively peacefully, but Dreadful is still keeping his distance.

ETA: and then Kina and Dreadful got in a fight in the hallway. So much for not coming to blows. So, now they're locked on opposite sides of the dog gate for the night.

*sigh*

Forget alternative history.

Jul. 21st, 2017 09:31 am
ironed_orchid: painting of woman sleeping (Sleep)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid
I want an alternative evolution where humans hibernate in winter.
fairestcat: naked woman reading. vintage (Reading)
[personal profile] fairestcat
As promised, some books I've read:

Point of Hopes (Astreiant, #1) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett -
★★★★

Complicated mystery plot in a fascinating, intricately-crafted fantasy universe.

I really appreciated the casually mainstreamed queerness in the worldbuilding. read more )

The Ruin of a Rake - Cat Sebastian - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This book has everything I loved about Sebastian's previous books. Complicated, flawed and messily human characters, a clear-eyed and intelligent class analysis and a refreshingly unapologetic queerness. read more )

Point of Knives (Astreiant #1.5) - Melissa Scott - ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

A satisfying mystery with an even-more-satisfying beginning of a romance between the main characters as they transition from people who sleep with each other occasionally to people who'd like to have a romantic relationship with each other. read more )

Peter Darling - Austin Chant ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

An amazing queer, trans reimagining of the Peter Pan story. read more )

The Horse Mistress: Book 1 - R.A Steffan - ★ ★ ★

Enjoyable poly fantasy with a genderqueer protagonist. read more )

A Boy Called Cin - Cecil Wilde - ★ ★ ★ ★

I'd describe this book as an aspirational romance. It's a delightful, cozy fairytale of an idealized relationship. And that's not a bad thing. I think there's value particularly in queer aspirational romances. read more )

There Will Be Phlogiston (Prosperity, #5) - Alexis Hall ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I picked this up because it was free and I'd heard good things about the author, but honestly I was mostly expecting a smutty, poly diversion.

What I got was so much more. read more )

Chasing Cameron: the complete series - Hanna Dare - ★ ★ ★ ★

A series of m/m novellas with a lot of sex, not all of it between, or only between, the two protagonists.

I was really pleasingly surprised by how non-mononormative this series is. read more )
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Default)
[personal profile] fairestcat
One of the benefits of the new mood-stabilizer is that I'm reading again. After reading my way through a shit-ton of fanfic, I'm now switching between fanfic and pro novels.

I'm mostly only interested in reading queer stories at the moment, which has meant a lot of queer romances and also SF/F with queer characters and relationships.

I started with everything ever written by KJ Charles and OMG was that a good choice. Her stuff is AMAZING. Highly, highly recommended. She writes m/m historical romances, some straight historicals, some fantasy. One of the things I love historical queer romances because I love reading about queer people in history being happy, and Charles' books totally fill that desire.

A lot of queer historicals, or at least a lot of the ones I've read, are really interested in class and the intersection of class and sexuality and how that impacts relationships. Class differences are at the heart of almost all of Charles' books and it makes for a great lens through which to look at the various historical periods she writes in. The other thing that makes me happy about her books is that very few of her protagonists are uncomfortable with or tortured about their sexuality, which is again really refreshing to read about.

Then I moved on to Cat Sebastian's regency romances which I also highly recommend. Again with the queers being happy and not angsting about their sexualities and again with the class and anxiety about class differences being a significant factor in all the relationships.

I also highly recommend Joanna Chambers' Enlightenment series, in which one of the characters is quite guilty about his sexuality, which is possibly more realistic, but doesn't appeal to my id in quite the same way.

It was at about this point in my dive into books again that I got myself a Goodreads account, which is here, and started actually reviewing stuff as I read it.

Several people I read here regularly post reviews of the books they've read on their journals, and I think I'm going to start being one of them, I'm not going to commit to any specific schedule, but expect semi-regular book posts (the first going up directly after I finish writing this post).

The other thing I'm loving about Goodreads is having a place a list of books I've been recced that look interesting. I'm almost entirely reading digitally these days, mostly on Kobo. So, when I want to read something new I can go to my Goodreads to-read shelf and see what strikes my fancy. There are a lot of books with poly relationships in there right now, because I specifically solicited recs for queer, poly stories on twitter.

If you're curious my to-read shelf is here, and I'm always taking recs. Nothing too serious or dense right now, I'm still easing my way back into this reading gig.

SFF Binge-Reader Bundle

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:12 am
filkferengi: filk fandom--all our life's a circle (Default)
[personal profile] filkferengi
https://storybundle.com/bundle

Just a couple of these things, & it pays for itself. For example, the Fiction River anthology alone [nearly 800 pages!] is 8.00 on Kindle. The Uncollected Anthology Year One [490 pages] is only available as a $24 paperback. Afaik, this is the only e-book edition. The Grayson trilogy is excellent, romance-with-woo-woo fun; the Rusch Diving series has great buzz. The Faerie Summer is a 20-book e-book set.

Throw in the others, & that's a lot at an excellent deal. Squee!

filkferengi, off to buy it now

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 11:11 am
mmegaera: (Default)
[personal profile] mmegaera
Well, I have an appointment for the lung biopsy to check out the nodules they found when they did my MRI. Friday. At 6:45 in the *morning.* They'll keep me for six hours. They're going to go in through my skin, not down my throat. And this determines whether I have stage 1 or stage 4 uterine cancer, with everything that implies. And thus how my treatment goes. More good thoughts, please? Boost the stream? I'd be grateful.

That Damned, Elusive Pimpernel!

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:43 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
I'm currently reading Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel. (I downloaded it from Project Gutenberg when I was on an adventure-novels kick; The Prisoner of Zenda, Captain Blood, and one or two others were also part of that haul.) Three thoughts come to mind.

1) Spoilers. Going into the novel knowing the identity of the Pimpernel probably diminishes its effect. (I would quite possibly have guessed - the trick Orczy played has become common since her day.) Fortunately, apart from the broad context, I know nothing more. I can foresee some of what will come - I just finished the scene where Marguerite is blackmailed by the French agent - but no more than in outline.

2) Reigns of Terror. Orczy, of course, makes an effort to get the reader to sympathize with the poor persecuted aristocrats, and I try to let that happen; but I keep remembering the bit by Twain, comparing the several-months-long and bloody Reign of Terror with the slow-motion, thousand-year Reign of Terror, in the opposite direction, which begat it. Lavoisier was certainly not the only unjustly condemned victim, but the whirlwind doesn't really care who sowed the wind. (I also find myself remembering the next-to-last paragraph of Lincoln's Second Inaugural; but that's another issue altogether.)

3) Typography. There are, naturally enough, numerous French or French-derived words and phrases in the text: entr'acte, coup, and the like. I would prefer to believe that Orczy wrote them, in the original, as I just did, and some blunderer, transcribing it for the Project, interpreted the italics as indicating emphasis and thus replaced them with ALL CAPS. If the Baroness herself is responsible, all I can say is QUEL DOMMAGE!

First flight of the Janusaurus

Jul. 17th, 2017 01:00 pm
submarine_bells: K-13 glider performing aerobatics (k-13)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
As regular readers may have observed, my gliding club owns a number of gliders, most of which are vintage wooden birds. These aircraft are great and I love them to bits, but they're not terribly shiny. They're old-fashioned and relatively low performance, and so it was decided that we needed to aquire a high-performance two-seater to use for advanced training and cross-country flying. A promising contender was located - a Schempp-Hirth Janus B that a club in Victoria was selling - and the club exec commenced negotiations... at which point, a miracle occured!

Well, not a miracle exactly. But a wonderful event. There's a fairly high-profile South Australian tech entrepreneur who's been in the news a fair bit recently: Simon Hackett, the founder of big South Australian ISP Internode, who has also been on the board of the NBN, and has been most recently in the news for his company Redflow, the local pioneering makers of zinc-bromine flow batteries. Anyway, my gliding club has a long history with Simon - we taught him to fly, and he's been a generous supporter of the club over the years. But he's really outdone himself this time. We'd worked all the numbers and figured out that we could just afford to purchase this aircraft if we maybe removed another one from service, or rearranged the insurance setup we had on the other aircraft, or some such thing... anyway, it was tight but just do-able, with a bit of luck. And then as the purchase was about to go ahead, Simon stepped in and paid for the Janus. All of it. As a donation to the club.

Like, wow.

This all happened very fast. Last week a couple of club members went to Victoria to look the Janus over - and they returned home with it in a trailer. It arrived at the airfield on Saturday, to our very great delight. And so may I introduce to you our very own Janus B high-performance advanced training glider!

Here we are after removing the Janus from her trailer, in the process of rigging it prior to flight. As a fibreglass two-seater, she's the heaviest aircraft we own. Given that rigging a glider involves several people holding the wings up in position while connections are made in the fuselage, one wag started referring to her as "the Janusaurus", a name which seemed to stick.

rigging the Janusaurus



And here's the Janus in all her glory. Quite something, isn't she?

moar Janus
Janus beauty shot

I was thrilled to get a flight in the Janus. Here I am just before launch, with instructor Derek in the back seat:
ready to launch
It's definitely going to take a bit of training and practice before I'll be able to fly the Janus solo. She's a very different bird to the ASK-13s and Ka-8s that I'm used to. My initial impression was that she felt a bit like a very shiny polished barge to fly - heavy, smooth and stable. The stick was heavier than I expected, and the rudders really require assertive stamping-on to be useful - no delicate little rudder nudges for this plane! It has a completely different feel to the vintage gliders I've trained on, and is more complex as well, being a flapped glider that also has water ballast tanks (good for racing). There's going to be quite a learning curve here, I can really see that.


Here's a few more pics of the Janus taking off and landing. Isn't she pretty?

the Janusaurus takes flight
VU in flight
Janus on final

The Janus is going to be such a wonderful asset for my club. Not only is she beautiful to look at (which does tend to attract new folk more than our vintage fleet) but she's a modern-style high-performance aircraft that will make it so much easier to train pilots for the transition between our old trainers and fast fibreglass single-seat aircraft, which thus far has been difficult to do. Also she'll be perfect for the regular club soaring camps in the Flinders Ranges and Blue Mountains, as she's got the performance to be able to easily handle those more challenging flying environments, and as a two-seater it'll be possible for less-experienced pilots to join in the fun with an instructor teaching them how to fly in unforgiving mountain terrain. But best of all, she's perfect as a high-performance cross-country trainer. I'm hoping to learn how to soar cross-country this coming summer, and it'll be so much easier and better to do so in an aircraft like the Janus. I can't wait!
sraun: first picture of ziggy (Shih Tzu Ziggy)
[personal profile] sraun
He stopped eating overnight Friday / Saturday. He ate over half his dinner Friday, and has been pretty much ignoring any food since then. We put scrambled egg - a real delicacy! - in his mouth on Saturday, and he just let it fall on the floor and ignored then. Since then, any food we put in front of him might get sniffed at, and then he turns his head away.

I'll be calling the vet as soon as possible after they open at 7:30am, and seeing when we can get him in.

Connections

Jul. 14th, 2017 09:23 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
One of the phenomena that so excited Charles Fort is that of the vitrified forts, crude stone buildings which at some point were subjected to intense heat.

I'm currently reading Sir Walter Scott's journal, and just ran across the following paragraph: "Will Clerk says he has a theory on the vitrified forts. I wonder if he and I agree. I think accidental conflagration is the cause." (Dec. 11, 1825)

Just an odd coincidence...

They Lurk Within

Jul. 14th, 2017 08:44 am
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
Note to self: just because a frozen dinner is labeled "Honey Balsamic Chicken" doesn't mean it doesn't contain Brussels sprouts.

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 02:57 pm
mmegaera: (Default)
[personal profile] mmegaera
Home. Exhausted. But home.

27 days till surgery. After healing from that I may start feeling human.

We have a diagnosis on Ziggy

Jul. 12th, 2017 10:10 am
sraun: first picture of ziggy (Shih Tzu Ziggy)
[personal profile] sraun
It's not Addison's. It's third-degree {something something} - I think the second word was arrhythmia?

Basically, his nerves are not communicating well enough with his heart to tell it to fire.

The treatment is a pacemaker. That's not in the cards. The veterinary cardiologist gives him maybe a month left to live.

I Aten't Dead

Jul. 12th, 2017 10:52 am
ironed_orchid: two tabby kittens lying with their heads on each other's shoulders. The one on the right is looking at the camera (Tabbies)
[personal profile] ironed_orchid
It's just winter and my motivation is low.

Also I have finally, over the years, tweaked my settings on facebook so I see more posts and less ads and less "so and so liked this" and so that's where I tend to be active these days. It still shows the same popular posts over and and over and misses other stuff and has many frustrating idiosyncrasies which are no doubt adopted in the quest to create more revenue, but despite all that it's were I get my easy online interacting with humans fix most days.

I'm so ashamed. Except not really.

Also my laptop had a crisis and I had to reset it, but fortunately was able to use the "keep my files" option. I've reinstalled most of my programs, but can't find my MS Office license - because my filing system consists of "open draw, drop item into draw, close draw" which is good if the goal is to superficially tidy before visitors arrive but not for retrieving things. But laptop is functional enough to use browser and watch videos, which is 90% of what I do with it.

Here is a photo of Mason who discovered the insulating and cushioning properties of bubble wrap and proceeded to make a nest out of it on top of some cardboard boxes right after bedtime on Monday night.
click )

Low Bar

Jul. 11th, 2017 08:56 pm
stoutfellow: Joker (Joker)
[personal profile] stoutfellow
I'm just going to leave this passage from Polybius, about King Ptolemy Philometor, here.
If any king before him ever was, he was mild and benevolent; a very strong proof of which is that he never put any of his own friends to death on any charge whatever.

whee!!!!!

Jul. 11th, 2017 07:59 am
mmegaera: (Default)
[personal profile] mmegaera
I haz a normal white blood cell count!!!!!

Oh, and I get to go home tomorrow! (I am having an MRI today -- this is prep for the surgery next month). I'm not well as such, obviously, and won't be until I start recovering from the surgery next month, but at least I can go home and wait the four weeks. Still bloated. Hope the heck that goes away, and I don't have to live with that for four weeks.

As of today, I have been in the hospital a bloody *week*. I don't begin to want to know what state my apartment is in, given the disaster it was when I left it (I was sick enough that a *lot* went by the wayside for the last three days or so before I went in the hospital).

Kill it with fire...

Jul. 10th, 2017 03:24 pm
submarine_bells: (Get Stuffed)
[personal profile] submarine_bells
And in today's news, which will likely surprise nobody, I still hate iTunes with the heat of a thousand suns.

Astute readers may have noticed that iTunes and I do not always get on well. Ahem. During my last iTunes-related episode, things got so bafflingly disastrous that the Apple support phone chap from the US, who I'd been trying to resolve the issue with for some time at that point, bounced me across to one of the devs who actually wrote the damned thing. Said dev (who was exceedingly helpful and useful, I hasten to add) seemed genuinely surprised that I wasn't a huge fan of iTunes. It was clear that he was awfully proud of his work on it, and baffled that anyone might not be thrilled to use it. I described a couple of the many many frustrating moments that iTunes and I had shared, and he conceded that maybe my difficulties were due to the fact that I was using an outdated 32bit OS (WinXP). Apparently iTunes was a world of different and shiny when running on a modern PC under an OS that it worked well with.

Sounds plausible, right?

Well, having just replaced my antiquated Frankenputer-O-Doom with a new (albeit cheap) PC running Windows 10 (64bit version), I can confirm that iTunes does in fact still misbehave. In the process of performing the apparently simple procedure of ripping a couple of audio CDs (using iTunes) and syncing them with my iPhone, this intellectually-deficient, several-bits-short-of-a-byte, kludged-together, graceless hunk of bloatware ate all of my carefully hand-crafted playlists, both from my phone and my computer.

We Are Not Amused.

I tell ya, there is not one single time that I have fired up iTunes and it has done exactly what I wanted, no more and no less, and not destroyed, deleted or buggered-up something. NOT ONE.

and some good news for a change!

Jul. 9th, 2017 12:19 pm
mmegaera: (Default)
[personal profile] mmegaera
Short but filling.

Item the 1st: I'm down to about 14,000 on the white cell count now (I was at 22,000 when I got here, and I need to get to around 9500, but since I was at 16,000 yesterday morning, that's very doable apparently)

Item the 2nd: I get to have more than liquids now (for the first time since Tuesday the 4th ) I just ordered salmon, rice pilaf, green beans, and a vanilla milkshake [g]. Which is probably too much, but oh, well. The best part of this? It actually sounds appetizing, which is *not* something I could have said until a couple of days ago.

Item the 3rd: I have a tentative date to blow this joint!!! Not till Tuesday or Wednesday, but still. I don't feel like I'm in limbo anymore.

Hallelujah!

Profile

trixtah: (Default)
Trixtah

January 2016

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
2425 2627282930
31      

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags