altamira16: Tall ship at dusk (Default)
[personal profile] altamira16
I just spent some time chasing down the #TweetLikeIsaiahWashington hashtag to figure out where it originated. Usually, Mashable will look these things up so I do not have to especially if technerds are involved, but no technerds were involved in this Twitter kerfuffle so I had to look things up for myself.

It started with

New vid: "In the pale dublight"

Apr. 1st, 2015 05:51 pm
brainwane: A silhouette of a woman in a billowing trenchcoat, leaning against a pole (shadow)
[personal profile] brainwane
Title: In the pale dublight
Music: "Intro movie", Syun Nakano, CC-BY
Source: Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Category: gen
Content notes: alcohol, one character striking another
Summary: Sisko's turning.
Download or stream: at Critical Commons

Today, I made my first fanvid, a 30-second Sisko study called "In the pale dublight".

Thanks to Critical Commons for hosting transformative works! Thanks to the open source software community and especially the makers of VLC, Handbrake, and kdenlive for the software. Thanks to synecdochic, Skud, and the wiscon_vidparty vidding workshop for guidance, and thanks to Syun Nakano for the CC-BY music.

Photo print circle: 24 hours to go

Apr. 1st, 2015 02:41 pm
puzzlement: (Default)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Update: we're closed now. If you already signed up, expect your assignments in the next 24 hours or so. If you missed sign ups, watch my journal for some future round. Or do your own!

If you want to be part of my photo print circle (a small group taking, printing and posting photos to each other), I'll keep sign ups open for 24 more hours. Sign up here! And here's a countdown to the close time (0400 UTC April 2).

No Dreamwidth account is required and if cost is an issue for you, I can print and post your digital photos on your behalf.

If you've signed up already, watch for your assignment email at the end of the week.
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Can you think of examples of revenge porn that are pre-1996 or so? Pre-web? I feel like there must have been stuff like this on usenet or bbses. I can't think what it would have even been *called*, since revenge porn was a term I never heard till later. Simply "blackmail".... Or seen as an internet prank, with a frat-like tolerance of "uploading nudie pics of your ex girlfriend".

On the cheery side

Mar. 28th, 2015 07:40 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Moomin is singing along to Janelle Monae songs and all is peaceful. <3

as usual....

Mar. 28th, 2015 07:21 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
I had like 3 nice days and now am weirdly ill again. Bah!!!!!

Reflux or something. allergies. i slept most of today. I keep just falling asleep. Can't walk around without coughing painfully. eating hurts. why! I hate this. It was nice out... at least I fell asleep in the sun a lot. its like i suddenly have painful bronchitis from ... stomach acid? not for the first time. Am taking Dexilant (which i've been on daily for like, a year) and drinking carafate to help with the pain. it barely helps.

Simcoe’s March 2015 Checkup

Mar. 27th, 2015 07:07 pm
pleia2: (Default)
[personal profile] pleia2

Our little Siamese, Simcoe, has Chronic Renal Failure (CRF). She has been doing well for over 3 years now with subcutaneous fluid injections every other day to keep her hydrated and quarterly check-ins with the vet to make sure her key blood levels and weight are staying within safe parameters.

On March 14th she went in for her latest visit and round of blood work. As usual, she wasn’t thrilled about the visit and worked hard to stay in her carrier the whole time.

She came out long enough for the exam, and the doctor was healthy with her physical, though her weight had dropped a little again, going from 9.74lbs to 9.54lbs.

Both her BUN and CRE levels remained steady.

Unfortunately her Calcium levels continue to come back a bit high, so the vet wants her in for an ionized Calicum test. She has explained that it’s only the ionized Calcium that is a concern because it can build up in the kidneys and lead to more rapid deterioration, so we’d want to get her on something to reduce the risk if that was the case. We’ll probably be making an appointment once I return from my travels in mid April to get this test done.

In the meantime, she gets to stay at home and enjoy a good book.

…my good book.

Originally published at pleia2's blog. You can comment here or there.

The spaces between

Mar. 27th, 2015 06:58 pm
pleia2: (Default)
[personal profile] pleia2

It’s been over 2 months since I’ve done a “miscellaneous life stuff” blog post. Anyone reading this blog recently might think I only write about travel and events! Since that last post I have had other things pop up here and there, but I am definitely doing too many events. That should calm down a bit in the 2nd quarter of the year and almost disappear in the third, with the notable exception of a trip to Peru, part work and part pleasure.

Unfortunately it looks like stress I mentioned in that last post flipped the switch on my already increasing-in-frequency migraines. I’ve seen my neurologist twice this year and we’ve worked through several medications, finally finding one that seems to work. And at least a visit to my neurologist affords me some nice views.

So I have been working on stress reduction, part which is making sure I keep running. It doesn’t reduce stress immediately but a routine of exercise does help even me out in the long term. To help clear my head, I’ve also been refining my todo lists to make them more comprehensive. I’m also continuing to let projects go when I find they’re causing my stress levels to spike for little gain. This is probably the hardest thing to do, I care about everything I work on and I know some things will just drop on the ground if I don’t do them, but I really need to be more realistic about what I can actually get done and focus my energy accordingly.

And to clear the way in this post for happier things, I did struggle with the loss of Eric in January. My Ubuntu work here in San Francisco simply won’t be the same without him, and every time I start thinking about planning an event I am reminded that he won’t be around to help or attend. Shortly after learning of his passing, several of us met up at BerkeleyLUG to share memories. Then on March 18th a more organized event was put together to gather friends from his various spheres of influence to celebrate his life at one of his favorite local pizzerias. It was a great event, I met some really good people and saw several old friends. It also brought some closure for me that I’d been lacking in dealing with this on my own.

On to happier things! I actually spent 30 days in a row off a plane in March. Home time means I got to do lots of enjoyable home things, like actually spending time with my husband over some fantastic meals, as well as finally finishing watching Breaking Bad together. I also think I’ve managed to somewhat de-traumatize my cats, who haven’t been thrilled about all my travel. We’ve been able to take some time to do some “home things” – like get some painting estimates so we can get some repairs done around the condo. I also spent a day down in Mountain View so I could meet up with a local colleague who I hadn’t yet met to kick off a new project, and then have dinner with a friend who was in the area visiting. Plus, I got to see cool things like a rare storm colliding with a sunset one evening:

I’ve been writing some, in January my article 10 entry points to tech (for girls, women, and everyone) went live on In early March I was invited to publish an article on Tech Talk Live Blog on Five Ways to Get Involved with Ubuntu as an Educator based on experience working with teachers over the past several years. I’ve also continued work toward a new book in progress, which has been time-consuming but I’m hoping will be ready for more public discussion in the coming months. Mark G. Sobell’s A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux, 4th Edition also came out earlier this year, and while I didn’t write that, I did spend a nice chunk of time last summer doing review for it. I came away with a quote on the cover endorsing the great work Mark did with the book!

Work-wise, aside from travel and conferences I’ve talked about in previous posts, I was recently promoted to root and core for OpenStack Infrastructure. This has meant a tremendous amount to me, both the trust the team has placed in me and the increased ability for me to contribute to the infrastructure I’ve spent so much time with over these past couple of years. It also means I’ve been learning a lot and sorting through the tribal knowledge that should be formally documented. I was also able to participate as a Track Chair for selecting talks for the Related OSS Projects track at the OpenStack Summit in Vancouver in May, I did this for Atlanta last year but ended up not being able to attend due to being too sick (stupid gallbladder). And while on the topic of Vancouver, a panel proposed by the Women of OpenStack that I’m participating in has been accepted, Standing Tall in the Room, where we hope to give other women in our community some tips for success. My next work trip is coming up before Vancouver I’m heading off to South Carolina for Posscon where I’ll be presenting on Tools for Open Source Systems Administration, a tour of tools we use in order to make collaborating online with a distributed team of systems administrators from various companies possible (and even fun!).

In the tech goodies department, I recently purchased a Nexus 6. I was compelled to after I dropped my Galaxy S3 while sitting up on the roof deck. I was pretty disappointed by the demise of my S3, it was a solid phone and the stress of replacement wasn’t something I was thrilled to deal with immediately upon my return from Oman. I did a bunch of research before I settled on the Nexus 6 and spent my hard-earned cash on retail price for a phone for the first time in my life. It’s now been almost a month and I’m still not quite used to how BIG the Nexus 6 is, but it is quite a pleasure to use. I still haven’t quite worked out how to carry it on my runs; it’s too big for my pockets and the arm band solution isn’t working (too bulky, and other reasons), I might switch to a small backpack that can carry water too. It’s a great phone though, so much faster than my old one, which honestly did deserve to be replaced, even if not in the way I face-planted it on the concrete, sorry S3.

Size difference: Old S3 in new Nexus 6 case

I also found my old Chumby while searching through the scary cave that is our storage unit for the paint that was used for previous condo painting. They’ve resurrected the service for a small monthly fee, now I just need to find a place to plug it in near my desk…

I actually made it out of the house to be social a little too. My cousin Steven McCorry is the lead singer in a band called Exotype, which signed a record deal last year and has since been on several tours. This one brought him to San Francisco, so I finally made my way out to the famous DNA Lounge to see the show. It was a lot of fun, but as much as I can appreciate metal, I’m pleased with their recent trend toward rock, which I prefer. It was also great to visit with my cousin and his band mates.

This week it was MJ’s turn to be out of the country for work. While I had Puppet Camp to keep me busy on Tuesday, I did a poor job of scheduling social engagements and it’s been a pretty lonely time. It gave me space to do some organization and get work done, but I wasn’t as productive as I really wanted to be and I may have binge watched the latest slew of Mad Men episodes that landed on Netflix one night. Was nice to have snuggle time with the kitties though.

MJ comes home Sunday afternoon, at which time we have to swap out the contents of his suitcase and head back to the airport to catch a red eye flight to Philadelphia. We’re spending next week moving a storage unit, organizing our new storage situation and making as many social calls as possible. I’m really looking forward to visiting PLUG on Wednesday to meet up with a bunch of my old Philadelphia Linux friends. And while I’m not actively looking forward to the move, it’s something we’ve needed to do for some time now, so it’ll be nice for that to be behind us.

Originally published at pleia2's blog. You can comment here or there.

another amusing story

Mar. 26th, 2015 05:31 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
I had forgotten this but my mom reminded me. During our trip to the Dude Ranch over 10 years ago (Moomin was maybe 3 or 4?) There was a scene where a little girl younger than Moomin had accidentally locked herself into the bathroom, sort of an outhouse dealy in between the different cabins. The little kid was screaming, and people were all crowded around freaking out and trying to tell her what to do, and suggesting different things like calling the fire department and I walked up to this scene, took out my leatherman which I was wearing on my belt, and unscrewed the hinges off the door without really consulting anyone. As I recall I muttered something in the way of informing them what was going to happen. Problem solved. My mom says it was pretty hilarious. I think now I find it more amusing than I did then. Like then I would have just felt momentarily smug at getting to use my leatherman, like, perfect opportunity. Now I see a little more how odd or maybe alien that must have looked to everyone else and it must have made them feel slightly silly. I probably didn't do the human interaction part correctly at all or defer in the proper gendered way to whatever Dudes were taking charge of what was to be done. Not making any big deal out of that just doing it swiftly before anyone could object. So, I am now extra smug. Maybe I was then too and have just forgotten it. It is nice that my mom liked it and considered it characteristic but it also felt a little like she considered it characteristic of my being able to shoot lasers out of my eyeballs unexpectedly when I was a baby.
[personal profile] mjg59
One project I've worked on at Nebula is a Python module for remote configuration of server hardware. You can find it here, but there's a few caveats:
  1. It's not hugely well tested on a wide range of hardware
  2. The interface is not yet guaranteed to be stable
  3. You'll also need this module if you want to deal with IBM (well, Lenovo now) servers
  4. The IBM support is based on reverse engineering rather than documentation, so who really knows how good it is

There's documentation in the README, and I'm sorry for the API being kind of awful (it suffers rather heavily from me writing Python while knowing basically no Python). Still, it ought to work. I'm interested in hearing from anybody with problems, anybody who's interested in getting it on Pypi and anybody who's willing to add support for new HP systems.

Photo print circle?

Mar. 25th, 2015 07:41 pm
puzzlement: (Default)
[personal profile] puzzlement
Hey all, I wouldn't mind some inspiration to take more non-portrait photographs. So! Who wants to join a photo print circle? As in, take some photos, share prints by posting them to other people.

Update: we're closed now. If you already signed up, expect your assignments in the next 24 hours or so. If you missed sign ups, watch my journal for some future round. Or do your own!


If you sign up as a photographer+recipient: You will take up to five photographs and send prints to other people. You will get up to about five (but perhaps lower, due either low sign-ups or because some people may be recipient-only) photographic prints in the mail taken by other participants in the circle.

If you sign up as a recipient only: You will get up to two photographic prints in the mail taken by participants in the circle.

Rules for photographers

  • You should post each of your assigned recipients a print of a distinct shot, newly taken for this circle.

  • Rating: general audiences. Beyond that, you have free choice of size, camera, printer, subject, composition…

  • You retain all rights to the photographs you take and may sell them, publish them elsewhere, release them Creative Commons, etc. The recipient gets a print, not any rights assignments or embargoes.

  • Subject consent: if you take a portrait or small group shot, please explain to the subject(s) what the portrait will be used for and get their consent.

All that said, warning: I won't be tracking fulfilment. If your assigned photographers default, I will not arrange replacements. (If signups are small, as they probably will be, most likely at a minimum you'll all get a picture from me.)


  • Signups close Monday March 30. NOW CLOSED

  • Assignments go out Thursday April 2.

  • Your photographs should all be in the mail by Thursday April 30 (or if I'm posting them, to me for printing by Monday April 27).

Impostor syndrome?

Honestly, this is about having fun posting things and getting things in the mail. (I'm not even sure anyone will even sign up!)

All levels of photography skill and experience welcome! The requirement is: take a photo per recipient. Print it. Post it. No fancy camera required: use your phone or your point and shoot! No fancy printing required: print them at your local place or run them off on your own printer.

International signups?

Yes please. Photographers: please expect that you may be assigned recipients anywhere in the world and expect postage costs accordingly. (Keep reading if you can't afford postage.)

Privacy as a recipient?

Your assigned photographers will be given your DW account name, if you have one, and your website link or Twitter handle if you give one.

There are two options for postage: either your name and postal address as supplied in your sign up will be passed on to your assigned photographers; or only I will know your name and postal address, and you agree to let me print and post your photographer's shots to you as 6"×4" prints from a mainstream commercial photo printing service. (In the unlikely event I get too many people asking for this, I'll update here to remove the offer.)

Privacy as a photographer?

Your recipients will know whatever you choose to put on/in the envelope, or ask me to put on/in it.

Can't afford printing or postage as a photographer?

Indicate this in your signup comment and I'll arrange for your printing and postage from your digital files. (In the unlikely event I get too many people asking for this, I'll update here to remove the offer.)

Want to send directly from a printing site?

What needs to happen is that your recipient needs to get a print of your photo in their mailbox. How that happens is up to you: if you want to use a service/app that will print the photos and send them directly to recipients (eg Touchnote, Cards in the Post, Postagram), that's fine! Check for international postage availability on your chosen tool.

If you want to print yourself or print locally and send it through your post office, that's just as fine.

Don't have a Dreamwidth account?

You can sign up to the circle, just comment as Anonymous.

Sign up

If you are a photographer+recipient, copy this into comments and fill it out:

I'd like to play!

I will (remove the line that doesn't apply)
* post photographs to my recipients myself if their address is shared with me
* send digital photographs to puzzlement to print and post to my recipients

My name and postal address is: [doesn't have to be real name, but something that will reach you if you share an address with others]

I want my name and address (remove the line that doesn't apply):
* given to my assigned photographers so that they can send me photographs directly
* kept private by puzzlement, who will print and post photos to me on behalf of my photographers

My email address is (will always be private to puzzlement, used for assignments and a small number of deadline reminders):

[optional] My website link/Twitter handle (to be given to my photographers) is:

If you are a recipient, copy this into comments and fill it out:

I'd like to receive prints!

My name and postal address is: [doesn't have to be real name, but something that will reach you if you share an address with others]

I want my name and address (remove the line that doesn't apply):
* given to my assigned photographers so that they can send me photographs directly
* kept private by puzzlement, who will print and post photos to me on behalf of my photographers

My email address is (will always be private to puzzlement, used for assignments and a small number of deadline reminders):

[optional] My website link/Twitter handle (to be given to my photographers) is:

Comments are screened.

New fic: "Spangled"

Mar. 23rd, 2015 05:58 pm
brainwane: My smiling face, in front of a wall and a brown poster. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Spangled (142 words) by brainwane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Captain America (Movies), The Avengers (Marvel Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Steve Rogers
Additional Tags: Astronomy, Wistful, Sonnets

In the 1940s, if you looked up from Brooklyn at night, you could see the stars.

I was showing my friend Elisa the "something doesn't smell right" thread and [community profile] cap_chronism, and she reminded me that also Steve Rogers would be surprised that he can't see the stars at night. So I wrote this sonnet.

Clothing is blergh

Mar. 23rd, 2015 11:00 pm
skud: (Default)
[personal profile] skud
Clothing shopping is the worst, seriously. And I swear I have the worst of all possible circumstances and tastes:

* plus size
* short
* in Australia (small market, and shipping internationally is the worst)
* regional Australia at that (so there aren't many retail choices where I live)
* tastes ranging somewhere between "classic" and "butch"; simple styles, plain colours
* large-busted (and short, as above) so actual men's clothing doesn't fit
* wide feet (5+ years of barefoot shoes is partly to blame)
* super high insteps (always been like that)
* walk and bike everywhere so stuff has to be comfortable/practical for that purpose
* strong preference for natural fibres
* strong preference for fair trade/ethically made (A HA HA LOL NO)
* oh and I'm not very affluent so if stuff's expensive it had better last a few years

Things I have tried very hard to buy this week and so far failed:

* underpants (black cotton hipster briefs, is this too much to ask?)
* black t-shirts (black cotton fitted crewneck, ditto)
* some sort of winter-appropriate shoes (since my old black barefoot boots, which have served me well since 2009, have given up the ghost)

I have favourite US-based brands/styles of all the above[1] and have tried to order them to be delivered to a friend's house for when I'm passing through SF in a few weeks' time. None of the vendors will let me order for delivery to the US unless I have a US credit card. None of the brands are available in Australia, or if they are, nobody has the particular styles and sizes. Shipping to Australia is exorbitant -- total cost for 5 pairs of undies was $120, for instance.

If I show up to run AdaCamp in some sort of lime green swirly polyester kaftan and 100% synthetic, slave-produced sneakers, you'll know I've given up, because that's all that actually seems to be available to me at this point.


[1] Someone is probably going to ask, so: Cacique cotton hipster briefs from Lane Bryant, Eddie Bauer short sleeve favorite crewneck t-shirt, and almost any of the Vivo Barefoot men's shoe collection but especially Gobi II Hopewell, Scott, and Ra II.

I Invite First-Timers To WisCon

Mar. 21st, 2015 04:15 pm
brainwane: My smiling face, in front of a wall and a brown poster. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
crossposted from Cogito, Ergo Sumana

I have been to WisCon three times (2009, 2010, 2011) and I am going again this year, yay! If you enjoy my writing, you might like WisCon, and -- especially if you've never tried it before -- you should consider joining me in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, May 22-25 (Memorial Day weekend).

Smart, funny conversations. Mary Anne Mohanraj and me at a past WisCon, photo by E. J. FischerSome of my best WisCon memories are of really funny panels (I enjoyed serving on the "Must Pleasures Be Guilty?" and "Imaginary Book Club" panels, and watching "Not Another Race Panel"). Some are of friendly semistructured interaction like the clothing swap at the Gathering on Friday afternoon. And some some are of formal and informal discussions where incisive people tossed around ideas that gave me new thoughts for the rest of the year. I expect to get all of that this year, and if you decide to come, I'll happily tell you which panels/panelists/parties/workshops/etc. look promising to me!

Relevant sessions. You can create a free account to look at programming signups and indicate your interest in attending -- the deadline is March 29. The programming committee does take those numbers (how many people demonstrate interest in attending something) into account when rejecting or scheduling specific sessions. And there's an Overflow/Spontaneous Programming (a.k.a. unconference) room throughout the convention -- for topics people want to discuss that aren't on the schedule -- where we can hold impromptu sessions about vidding, open source, self-directed learning....

Accessibility lane at WisCon, photo by sasha_feather, CC BY-NC-SAGreat accessibility. I especially love the Quiet Space to regroup, the free-flowing traffic lanes marked in the hall with blue tape, and the rule that speakers use microphones so the audience can hear better. They all help me enjoy the con more, and they help other attendees, which means I can enjoy their company. And overall, I find WisCon participants care about being intersectionally feminist and inclusive (example: discussion and renaming in the Floomp dance party). Sometimes folks make mistakes, as we all do, but we apologize, and fix it, and (although I know other people have had different experiences*) I trust in WisCon in the long term and am happy to recommend it to others, including people who have never been to a scifi con before. It was my first!

First-timers welcome. The site gives you detailed directions to the venue. There's usually a first-timers' dinner (small group expeditions to local restaurants, I think), and orientation sessions, early in the con, to help first-time attendees and first-time panelists (tips) and first-time moderators (tips). If you feel better showing up someplace for the first time if you're being useful, check the checkbox to volunteer, e.g., for a couple of hours in the con suite stocking free food for everybody. And I would be happy to help you meet folks (my credentials from a shy previous WisCon first-timer).

Another world is possible. I cannot overstate how much it has influenced me to participate in WisCon, which asks everyone to influence programming, provides accessibility and childcare and a comprehensive program guide, and nurtures and amplifies feminist voices. And WisCon communicates thoroughly with its community via blog, Twitter, Facebook, an email newsletter and printed, mailed progress reports, and more. This includes talking about really difficult stuff like owning up to past mistakes in handling harassment reports and disinviting a Guest of Honor (if you've never been to a scifi convention, think "keynote speaker").

A gateway to more. I've made friends, started watching or reading new stuff, and joined Dreamwidth to keep in the feminist fannish conversation year-round.

I skipped WisCon for years basically because I had other travel commitments for work, and this year I'm so glad to be coming back. Feminists of all genders who enjoy science fiction, think about coming to Madison in May.

* Kameron Hurley posted "Burn it All Down: Wiscon’s Failure of Feminism" before the WisCon con committee permabanned a particular harasser. As this year's cochair said in criticizing the previous decision for a temporary ban, "WisCon bills itself as a feminist sci-fi con. And compared to some others that I have attended, it is definitely better at paying lip service to being feminist than any of them."

Book reviews

Mar. 21st, 2015 01:34 pm
miko: Photo of me by the river (Default)
[personal profile] miko
Probably missed some, but here's what was still on my recently returned list (starts January).

Drift by Jonathan McGoran: This book starts with acknowledgements to some very "anti-chemical" foundations and leads with a heavy dose of pesticides-are-terrible commentary that sat poorly with me. Because of that, I had a hard time enjoying the book, because I was expecting the twist to be more heavy-handed scaremongering. It actually wasn't, though, and I relatively enjoyed the end of the book... pity it was such a struggle to get to.

It's sort of a thriller style, I guess, with a not terribly likeable main character who is weirdly oblivious to what's going on - crop duster flies by the house spraying, main character comments on not having athlete's foot anymore but has no idea what could have happened - with poor judgement (tented field next door & hazmat style people walking about? Let's cut into it and see what's going on!). I thought the villain's ideas were a lot more interesting than the main character, so it was a pity to spend so much time on him.

Memory of Water by Emmy Itäranta: I walked into this expecting historical Asian tea ceremony stuff and instead got post-apocalyptic Nordic water politics (and tea ceremony stuff). Actually pretty cool! Sad, though it tried to wrap up with hope on the horizon. I don't think I'd broadly recommend it, but if you liked other sad YA books like Code Name Verity you might like this one as well. They're completely unrelated, but for some reason struck me as being similarly enjoyable.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer: Vague recollection that this one wasn't as good as the first one. Re-reading the plot summary, I think the issue was that it spent a lot of time on Scarlet and Wolf, who I didn't particularly care about... I though the series really had enough with Cinder-the-cyborg to not need a new fairy tale every book. I just wanted to know more of her story. I will keep on with the series, though.

Underground by Kat Richardson: This was one where the library didn't have the first books, so I jumped in somewhere in the middle. Urban fantasy, set in Seattle, with a main character who can see (and sometimes manipulate) the strands that hold together paranormal things like ghosts or zombies. I enjoyed it well enough, the setting of the Seattle Underground is always a fun one for familiarity's sake and the main character was pleasantly practical. Glad to have another series to go through, since I'm getting towards the end on a couple.

Hell is Empty by Craig Johnson: I found this particular Longmire book super hard to focus on because it was made into an episode that I'd already seen, so half of it was distractingly familiar. Still good, of course, though more action than mystery.

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics [graphic novel] by Simon Oliver: Picked this up off the shelf on a whim and I was pleasantly amused. Failures in basic physics have lead to disasters and the creation of a bureau whose job it is to contain them - the artwork is good, the concept is zany, and the story was solid. Not terribly serious, but also not completely comedy.

Haunted Moon by Yasmin Galenorn: Another day, another Otherworld book. I'm up to 2013, so I probably only have... what, four or five more to go? She churns out more than one some years. Anyway, this one is about the witch, largely fighting the gross undead. It was fine, a quick read as always, but its definitely suffering from making its main characters too strong - now to be threatened, they have to literally fight gods? Seriously?

Turn Coat by Jim Butcher: This was a pretty good Dresden novel. Mostly a murder mystery with a side of tactical mage fighting (the whole island planning was amusing). A bit heavy on side-lining otherwise strong character for dramatic reasons, but generally enjoyable.

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell: Oh hey, a new series rather than just more of the same! This was a book about an ex-hitman turned medical intern at a bad hospital. What makes this book shine is the aside medical information (I liked the use of footnotes, though M thought it was a bit of a crutch for the writer) and the writing style, which had lines that actually made me laugh aloud. I wish I'd noted some of them, but here's one that someone noted on Goodreads, with the main character thinking on his students: “My medical students. Two cups of human misery in short white coats. One is male and the other one female, and they both have names. That's all I can ever remember about them.”

While I really enjoyed the writing, I wouldn't broadly recommend the book because it is crude and also incredibly violent. It also doesn't ring true at all, it's clearly an absurdist take on the concept - it reads almost more like a comic book or a movie with a self-awareness of how silly the coincidences are. I'm still going to try the next book, though, because how often does an author actually make me laugh?

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs: And back to series. This is a Mercy Thompson book, a series that I haven't read in quite a while, but it came back to me pretty quickly. It felt a bit more contrived than I remember (this one is largely about Adam's ex-wife being at their house, due to a stalker), but it didn't press unreasonably on the drama levers (she succeeded at some social manipulation, but Adam and Mercy discuss what's happening and acknowledge it every step of the way as a loving married couple). Didn't find the villain terribly compelling, though the fights were interesting.

White Heat by M.J. McGrath: Set up in Nunavut, this book was half slice-of-life and half murder mystery. I don't know what it was about it, but I had trouble reading it for long stretches - I'd pick it up, read a chapter, then put it back down. Not that I didn't like it, but that's an unusual way for me to read... it took 'til halfway through the book for me to really be able to go through it. Perhaps not coincidentally, that's when the main character sobers up again and starts really tracking down the mystery parts, so maybe that's all there is to it. I'll be looking up the others in the series, though.

Shutter by Courtney Alemeda: This is YA urban fantasy in the modern era of the world if Bram Stoker's Dracula had been real. The main characters are the youngest of the historical hunters - Helsing as the main character, a young woman who specializes in exorcism via camera lens, plus three young men who do research and destruction of more physical threats (like zombies). It was a bit too predictable and fit in the mold of a lot of other YA, other than those conceptual quirks, but it was also pretty decent. I'd recommend it as an alternative to things like City of Bones - it was much better than that.

The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver: I don't remember where this recommendation came from, but I was super confused when I started it. The blurbs made it out to be a thriller, which it sort of was, but the main character is quadriplegic. So, not exactly the usual. I had trouble getting into it at the beginning, because it does show the deaths of the first two victims of the serial killer - not from the killers POV exactly, but close enough to be really unpleasant. After that, it gets a lot more into the forensics (main character was a forensics guy before his accident and is consulting) and saving potential victims, so that was a lot more tolerable. It also spends a bunch of time on his decision to commit suicide. By the end, I liked it and was willing to look into more of the series, but it was tempered by how much I didn't like the beginning. The whole thing read a bit more like a TV show than a good mystery book.

Hidden by Benedict Jacka: I don't recall if I reviewed the book previous to this in the series, but this book continues on with the vibe of "oh shoot, I liked this series but then it went on and on about the main character's dark past and I got less interested." This one wasn't as bad, but it was still dealing with the fallout of the previous book, so... still not great. It's a pity, I remember being really pleased with the beginning of this series. It was okay, but it didn't have a lot of clever uses of his (totally interesting and awesome) probability magic, so that was a bit disappointing. It did sort of resolve the drama of the last book, so fingers crossed that the next one gets back to the joy of the original.

time zone lords

Mar. 19th, 2015 03:20 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
I am in the trippier bits of Crown of Stars book 4.

One protagonist is going through a fabulous feminist hero-journey ascending through the seven celestial spheres while taking off all her clothes, processing her trauma, and finding out some more of the Real Truth about alternate Charlemagne's descendants.

The other protagonist has been thrown back in time through standing stone gateways instead of dying, to something like 2000 BC or cave-people time and is having mega adventures saving the world from the alternate history Aztec elf aliens, encountering dwarves, merfolk, centaurs, sphinxes, phoenixes, and accidentally getting the snakebite universal translator superpower. He manages to keep his faithful hounds, Rage and Sorrow, alive through it all.

They keep accidentally having visions of each other and imparting new revelations and reinterpreting everything. Meanwhile Zond7 has just been texting me from taiwan where he is pausing on the way to Manila and I want to send him lapis lazuli rings, phoenix feathers, strange mystical fire, planetary daimones, cave paintings, and the underground marketplace where the dwarven beings hang out with their earth elevator train cars and rivers to trade with the freshwater river merfolk.

Instead I am complaining about having a cold and he is texting me photos of his breakfast and a hello kitty store.

Pretty much the same thing....

I made it through the morning at work, barely and then fell asleep for a while in the sun. taking the rest of the day off to blow my nose and nap some more.
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