(I thought I was all set to read it to the Pip, since Chad got to read it to SteelyKid! But, foolishly, since chapter 3 is pretty short, I let the Pip talk me into just a little of chapter four last night . . . without checking how much of chapter 4 was left, or asking Chad to save chapter 5 for me.)
(Last time I read even-numbered chapters through chapter 12, then Chad read chapters 13 & 14 together, so I did odd-numbered from fifteen on; which, to be fair, now that we're back on me doing even-numbered, means I get to do the spiders and Smaug again, which were great fun. Still! "Riddles in the Dark"!)
ETA: I changed my sign-up since I posted this, so if you looked early on, look again if you're interested - I added a fandom and switched out some of the Original Work ships.
Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist,
Thank you so much for writing for me! This is my first time doing FemslashEx, so I'm really excited.
(I only requested art for one fandom; however, if anyone is moved to do an art treat for me in any of them, I would absolutely love that.)
Loves, DNWs, and notes/prompts for my fandoms (Aliens, Carrie, Original Work, Star Trek: Classic Timeline, X-Men comics (Marvel 616) and X/1999 below cut). ( Read more... )
( Read more... )
Meanwhile, in happier news, guess which household's preordered hardcopy of Starfinder RPG arrived today?! =D =D =D I'm not convinced by most of the class/character artwork (some of the gun designs are atrocious--why the fuck would you make a scope design that undulates?!) but the environment/matte painting is gorgeous. I oohed and ahhed over the illustrations for the different homeworlds in particular.
One of my friends was recently talking in Slack about his role as a moderator at a Worldcon panel, and one of the things people agreed was a moderator’s role was keeping the panelists on topic.
And I wanted to put a word in for the times when that doesn’t happen.
The times when you have all sorts of keen ideas–either as a moderator or a panelist–about what this panel will be, and you get up on the panel, and it’s interesting, and it’s active, and it’s going places, people are engaged, discussion flows freely…and the places it’s going are not where you thought. Sometimes really not where you thought. And you have to use good judgment, because when you have a panelist who has already been bloviating for five minutes about book five of their own fabulous off-topic series and takes a breath to start in on book six, it’s time to jump right on in and get that panel back on track.
But when you’re having a really good discussion among lots of people, and it just doesn’t happen to be the good discussion you thought you were going to be having? Square your shoulders, take a deep breath, and wave goodbye to the panel not taken.
It might have been a beautiful panel. A lovely panel, an insightful panel. It might have been such an important panel that you can propose it again under a different name. (Or y’know, the same name. Sometimes audience members notice that there is more–or something in the first place–to be said.) But it is not the panel you are having right now. And taking a panel that is full of inspiration and ideas and energy and turning it into a panel that has been stopped in its tracks and wrenched around is not a success condition. It’s just not.
I was on a panel at Readercon where Maria Dahvana Headley was the moderator, and she asked the panelists a question, a good question, an insightful question, a question that might have taken us interesting places. And Max Gladstone said, “I’ve been reading about hyperobjects.” I think I blurted out something encouraging like, “Good!” so this is also on me. (I have been known to encourage Max. Maria has been known to encourage Max. Random passersby…well. You get the idea.) And then Max kept talking about hyperobjects, and it was interesting, and everyone in the room was interested, and…I caught Maria’s eye…and we could both see her question disappearing over the horizon. We traded little smiles as we saw it go. Goodbye, little question, goodbye! Because then we went from Max’s hyperobjects to whatever else that made the other panelists think of and then whatever questions the audience had and then the audience still had questions but the panel was over…and it was fun and everybody was talking after with thinky thoughts…and saying, “Stop, Max, stop! do not talk about this interesting thing! Talk about the other interesting thing!” would have made everybody feel stifled and weird and the total number of interesting things talked about would almost certainly have been fewer.
Sometimes there is still time to say, “Wow, cool, that was really interesting, but I wanted to get back to this idea Maria had twenty minutes ago/the panel description/that question Beth asked that I don’t think we fully answered/whatever.” But often there really, really isn’t, and that’s okay.
And this is true in less formal conversation, too. Extremely often I come home from my monthly lunch with one friend, I think, we didn’t even get to this bit, I forgot to tell him that–or I’ll be driving him back to his office and trying to quick hit the highlights of major life areas the leisurely lunch conversation missed. The Minnesota Long Goodbye is legendary in these parts, possibly because of this, possibly because it just takes us a long time to put on winter gear and you might as well catch up on how auntie is doing in the meantime, but possibly because there are always going to be The Conversations Not Taken, and oh crud now that you’re leaving it occurs to me what they were.
I think we all know about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and that’s relevant here, but there’s also not letting the good be the enemy of the other quite good. And you can tell yourself you’re not aiming at the perfect panel, you’re just aiming at the on-topic one, and that’s all very well, but writers and fans and sometimes editors and agents and artists being what they are…goodbye, panel that might have been, farewell, you were interesting, on to the panel that is and how it can be its best self.
I will keep updating but if our rally is happening, I'll still be there. I think it's important to show our solidarity and fire. Hey, just talking about showing up chased the Nazis out of LA before they even came - let's give them crowd photos to haunt their dreams and keep them out.
separated by billions of miles, light travelling years
to die in the back of an eye.
Is there a vocabulary for this—one to make dailiness amplify
and not diminish wonder?
I have been so careless with the words I already have.
I don’t remember how to say home
in my first language, or lonely, or light.
I remember only
delam barat tang shodeh, I miss you,
and shab bekheir, goodnight.
How is school going, Kaveh-joon?
Delam barat tang shodeh.
Are you still drinking?
For so long every step I’ve taken
has been from one tongue to another.
To order the world:
I need, you need, he/she/it needs.
The rest, left to a hungry jackal
in the back of my brain.
Right now our moon looks like a pale cabbage rose.
Delam barat tang shodeh.
We are forever folding into the night.
I'm loving this show, but I will say that this is pretty much the first reality TV show I've watched much of? And the part where someone is eliminated and has to go makes me sad even though I know it's inherent to the format. I turn into a marshmallowy ball of sad over this. So far I have also seen them work in teams and backbiting start due to the stress and to the fact that even if you work in a team only one person gets sent home, so people fight over this, and that turns me into a marshmallow ball of sad too.
But! Special effects makeup is something I know nothing about and that I am finding extremely cool as an art form and as a technical discipline--casting molds, working with materials, coming up with a concept, just blending body paint or makeup...so much! I'm loving that aspect of it and learning about how it works. I also often can't tell what's good or bad on aesthetic or technical merits, which is unsurprising--I know zero about this discipline, while the judges are award-winning experts, so listening to their critiques is so enlightening. :D
Episode 1.2's main challenge involved body-painting completely naked models (with naughty bits blurred out) to match/complement a preassigned painting. When the models dropped their robes on the hostess's command, I swear they were smirking at the contestants. And why shouldn't they be? They're getting paid, and they're not the ones who are getting eliminated, and they're beautiful Hollywood people, getting looked at naked by an audience probably is no big deal to them. :p
I also learned based on one of the contestant's behavior during 1.2 that I seriously judge contestants who are rude to their models! >:( I don't care how stressed you are, there's just no excuse. :(
I don't know if they changed this for S2, but I hate the S1 thing where the challenge winner consults with who gets sent home, but that may be because I hate conflict. :]
Obviously, this could be dangerous. But I am not letting LITERAL NAZIS march in my city unopposed. Besides, it could be a great opportunity:
Please let me know if you're going, so we can rideshare or try to meet up or something.
Defend Diversity: Fight to Protect Diversity Policies in the Workplace!!
Public · Hosted by Defend Movement and Build the Peoples' Democratic Workers' Party
Saturday at 12 PM - 3:30 PM
340 Main St, Venice, California 90291
- You may ask any dev-related question you have in a comment. (It doesn't even need to be about Dreamwidth, although if it involves a language/library/framework/database Dreamwidth doesn't use, you will probably get answers pointing that out and suggesting a better place to ask.)
- You may also answer any question, using the guidelines given in To Answer, Or Not To Answer and in this comment thread.
Prompt: Sejong Taewang [Wikipedia], "time travel"
Author's Note: I apologize for any infelicities in the setting; it's been some six years since I've visited South Korea and I'm not up to date on the culture, although I did, indeed, drag my mom to Kyobo Mungo as many times as she would stand for it.
Eun-hee's friend Bora was supposed to have met her at Kyobo Book Center fifteen minutes ago. Late as usual. Eun-hee tucked herself between two shelves of excruciatingly tedious-looking monographs and texted Bora, just to be sure. A harried woman glided past her, then frowned at Eun-hee until she made way for the woman to peruse the shelves' offerings.
Grumbling a little, Eun-hee gave up on lurking between the shelves. She texted Bora to meet her near the area selling stationery supplies, then strode off, dodging a giggling group of students and a couple not much older than herself. She could always use more notebooks, and she liked the cute little erasers that came in every shape imaginable.
Eun-hee browsed the notebooks on offer. Humming happily to herself, she picked out a selection with adorable drawings of flowers and fruits, or cartoon animals, and erasers to match. She was considering restocking gel pens when it occurred to her to check her purse to see if she'd brought enough money.
Frantic digging turned up her transit pass, that grotesque (and hopefully fake) turquoise-dyed rabbit's foot an English tutor from Stateside had given her, a sad assortment of loose change, a crumpled memo note from her mom reminding her to restock on ginger, that green crystal earstud she had thought she'd lost, but no wallet. Eun-hee cursed under her breath, furtively set down her pile of loot on one of the counters, and began digging again, just in case she'd missed it somewhere obvious.
"Excuse me," said a gravelly male voice.
Eun-hee looked up at the ajeossi in dark turtleneck and slacks who had come up beside her and who was rubbing his chin as if he wasn't used to it being shaved. "Oh, I'm so sorry," she said, and began to scoot out of the way.
"No, no, Miss," the ajeossi said. He was smiling at her, not in a creepy way, but like someone who had discovered a hilarious secret and wanted to share it. He dug in his pocket, then held out three 10,000-won bills. "I have more of these than I could ever possibly make use of. It's like the supply is infinite."
Eun-hee blinked. Was he offering her money? And what did he mean, infinite supply of 10,000-won bills? She was too flabbergasted to be offended. "No, it's all right," she said, as politely as she could manage. "My friend will be here soon. I can borrow some money from her."
"Please, Miss," the ajeossi said. "I can't think of a better use for a few spare 10,000-won bills. I like to see someone with a love for writing." He deposited the bills on top of the pile of notebooks and smiled again, then walked off, soon vanishing into the crowd.
Eun-hee snatched up the bills and started after him, only to be blocked by shoppers. While waiting for the foot traffic to clear, she smoothed the bills with her thumb and examined them more closely. Maybe he'd been trying to pass off counterfeits?
Her gaze snagged on the portrait of King Sejong the Great at the left of the bill. Wait a moment...Mentally, she subtracted the facial hair and reimagined him in modern clothing, like a turtleneck. The face was a perfect match.
Well, if the inventor of the Korean alphabet wanted her to have some notebooks and study hard, who was she to say no? Shaking her head in bemusement, Eun-hee retrieved her stack of notebooks and erasers and headed for the counter to pay up.
Cloud, lounging on the floor.
Ink: Montblanc Burgundy Red
Pen: Conway Stewart Churchill in Red Stardust. Honestly not my first choice of sketching pen because it's a bit heavier and larger than what I usually prefer, but man does it have a smooth nib.
Was that was the focus of the dream was? NO. I was back at some sort of school, although I was adult or young adult, and the headmistress refused to believe my story, and I spent the time attempting to convince her.
Why are brains?
Dice Tales discusses the RPGs and LARPs from several interlocking perspectives: that of the writer, that of the GM, that of the player, and that of the anthropologist. In terms of writing, Brennan talks about ways that the roleplaying experience has informed her writing and v.v., and ways in which storytelling differs between the media. There are also handy GM tips (I am all about handy GM tips, as a GM of limited experience) and exciting player anecdotes. And I have no background in anthropology at all, and Brennan was explicitly studying RPGs while doing anthropology, so it was very cool to hear about them through that lens.
Essays include discussions of what an RPG is, why the mechanics matter, the phenomenon of house rules, how GMs find leverage over their players and ways to use rather than abuse player trust, positive and negative uses of metagaming, the uses of costuming (mostly in a LARP context), when character death is appropriate, the question of consent in games, railroading and GM responsiveness...really, there's a ton here, and it's a great read all the way through.
I found this read especially timely because I am currently GMing a DW comm RPG, hexarchate_rpg. Dice Tales doesn't explicitly address play-by-email or forum formats, but a lot of the GMing advice applies anyway. I personally find text media more comfortable because I am not a fast thinker and I have a terrible memory, so text gives me time to think up responses and plot things out and refer to previous moves, notes, etc. I am also shameless--I'm okay asking players directly what plot hook they want out of X development.
The anecdotes of great RPG/LARP experiences sound great, and I find myself envious--in GNS terms, I have rarely gotten to experience Narrative-focused play, which is right now what I prefer. (I used to be a split Narrativist/Simulationist in high school and college. I legit got into Fidonet arguments over whether AC represented damage reduction or damage avoidance. *facepalm* Then I grew up and realized that if you care about simulationism, you shouldn't be using AD&fuckingD in the first place.) When Joe ran his Eberron campaign back in Pasadena (notable for being maybe the only campaign I've been in that ran through to completion, in about a year meeting weekly), my very favorite session was the one in which we didn't even do combat, and I don't think there was a single dice roll. We had been handed the magical equivalent of the plans for the atomic bomb and had to decide what the ethical thing to do with it was, and we spent the entire session as a party discussing how to deal with it responsibly.
On the other hand, I can't help but reflect that I'm not good at tabletop (and would probably be even worse at LARP). As I said above, I'm not a fast thinker. I usually end up spending all our Pathfinder Society sessions being unofficial designated party notetaker (I have fountain pens and I like to use them?) and sketching randomly until someone tells me we're in combat and it's my turn to Power Attack. I can't act my way out of a paper bag, and usually by the time I've thought of a contribution, the play has moved on. So I just have to accept that I'm never going to be particularly useful in a live roleplaying situation. This thing where advanced roleplayers stretch themselves by playing different character types is basically unimaginable to me. I usually ask Joe to design the easiest viable character, mechanics-wise, to play, which is why I ended up with a barbarian in a team feat barbarian (me) + blood rager (Dragon) + skald.
My most successful experiences GMing tabletop/in-person were (a) a one-shot using Over the Edge, a very rules-light system (and even then, I used very few dice rolls and let people freeform most interactions since with a one-shot there's no reason not to) and (b) the Hidden Emperor L5R AU campaign that Joe and I co-GM'd; I handled most of the description and Joe handled the mechanics. :]
(It's hilarious how much I hate crunchy systems. I have a B.A. in math, for God's sake. But I want the math to...mean something? And most systems just feel like they get in the way, for me, because as a writer I'm effectively used to freeforming the hell out of everything.)
Still, even if I'm not a good gamer, I like reading about gaming, and I find different gaming systems and anecdotes (my God, the gazebo story!) inspirational as a writer. :)
Anyway, enough personal maundering--this ebook is a lot of fun, and it's available from Amazon (and probably a couple other places) or Book View Cafe in mobi or epub. Recommended.
Prompt: Shuos Zehun, "assassin-cats"
It was one hour and fourteen minutes past bedtime in the Hragoshik household, and the youngest of the little ones, four-year-old Piri, would not go to bed.
Zehun had just arrived twelve minutes ago by shuttle from the starport, bringing a modest travel bag and, as usual, the friendliest and most genial of their cats, Irriz. Sometimes people looked oddly at Zehun for traveling with a cat--a cat on a harness and leash, at that--before they realized who the cat's owner was. When it came to travel, Zehun was a pragmatist. It wasn't true that they ordered retaliatory assassinations if people insisted on delaying them during their rare visits to family, but if their reputation allowed them to skip the lines, why not?
Besides, Irriz, like all of Zehun's cats, was named after a notorious Shuos assassin. Specifically, Shuos Irriz had, in an earlier century, succeeded in assassinating all of a particular Andan hexarch's children and siblings, and had been working her way through a crowd of cousins when she'd died tragically (?) young of unexpected allergic reaction. Whether Irriz the cat would die the same way was an open question, considering how much she liked to try to eat the hexarch's snacks.
Zehun's second daughter, Verissen, was one of Piri's mothers. Verissen, too, had never been particularly good at falling asleep at times convenient for parents. Zehun enjoyed a moment of delicious generational revenge as they listened to Verissen trying to bribe Piri with, alternately (1) an additional bedtime story, (2) shadow-figures against the wall, or (3) extra bits of shredded chicken in Piri's breakfast porridge. Piri wasn't having any of it. In the meantime, Zehun removed the harness, then provided food, water, and a litter box for Irriz, all of which the cat availed herself of.
Irriz made her way to a black velvet armchair on which her splendid white hairs would show up magnificently, raked it with her claws for good measure, then flopped onto it. Fortunately the velvet would heal itself. The hairs were another matter. The velvet was supposed to eat detritus, but for some reason it always choked on cat hairs.
Satisfied that their cat was content, Zehun poked their head into the room where Piri was sitting up in bed with her face screwed up and her blankets kicked to one side. "Why aren't you getting one of the household servitors to put her to bed?" Zehun asked Verissen.
"I usually do that," Verissen said, tugging on a lock of hair straggling loose from its braid, "but I thought we should spend more time together. Of course, I also thought she'd be asleep by now so I could catch up with you properly. I don't know what the problem is!"
Zehun crouched down to bring themselves eye to eye with the little girl. "Hello, Piri," they said softly. "Remember me?"
Piri snuffled. "Gran! Gran, there are too many shadows."
Zehun glanced at Verissen. "You take a break, Rissa. I'll see to the little one."
Verissen didn't even argue, just patted Piri on the head and beat a swift retreat.
Piri snuffled some more. "Gran, I looked under the bed and there are shadows there."
"That means the candlevines are no good," Zehun agreed, "since they're only on the walls. Do you want candlevines under the bed, too?" Probably a nuisance to get the servitors to do it tonight, but it could be managed with the aid of the household matter printer.
"But I won't be able to see anything under the bed," Piri said, with perfect logic, "so how will I know it's working?"
Zehun considered this. "I think I have a solution," they said. "Come with me."
The two of them emerged into the living room together. Verissen was talking to one of her wives about a dinner party she had planned for next week. She opened her mouth to protest, then closed it when Zehun looked at her.
Irriz the cat was still sprawled on the black velvet armchair, having festooned it with numerous long white hairs. Zehun scooped her up. Irriz mewed in protest, but Zehun had long practice avoiding claws.
Zehun and Piri walked back into Piri's bedroom. "You remember Irriz, too, don't you?" Zehun said to their granddaughter.
Piri nodded and reached out for Irriz's tail.
Zehun smoothly diverted Piri's hand to the cat's head, and Piri obediently began scritching Irriz behind the ears. "Irriz is a very special cat," Zehun said. "Irriz is a Shuos cat, and beyond that, Irriz is a Shuos assassin-cat."
Piri looked at Irriz wide-eyed.
"That's right," Zehun said. "And furthermore, since Irriz is a cat, Irriz specializes in assassinating shadows. She will"--this part was even true--"spend the entire night chasing shadows if you let her."
"She'll chase the shadows away?" Piri asked, her voice trembling just a little.
Irriz purred, which probably had more to do with the scritches than the promise of delicious shadows to pounce on, but who knew?
"Go to bed, Piri," Zehun said, and this time Piri did just that. Irriz clambered into the bed and curled up next to her, ready to go shadow-hunting at the slightest provocation.
I bet you get even better with Chinese and Japanese...I'd never thought about that. :D
I'm still bemused that because of the transliteration, everyone seems to assume my family name is 리. It's not! It's 이! :p Sorry, Dad...
Correctives to an article that, I admit, I shared at first: smartphones aren't destroying a generation from Slate and Psychology Today.
Oops, this mobile puzzle game Humble Bundle only has a day left: I've played and liked klocki, Hook, and Deus Ex GO, and I'm in the process of playing Zenge.
The Secret Life of the City Banana at the NYT; I love logistics-heavy looks at ordinary things like this.
Tag yourself, I'm X (that's a legible text version of this tweet).
A minute's worth of zoo animals escaping the heat; I think the last bit is my favorite.
This odd fantasy has some very beautiful, striking images and scenes, and the first fourth or so has a wonderfully spooky, dreamlike atmosphere. Unfortunately, once Dekteon is sent to the matriarchy of cold, bitchy moon women and the sun men they rule, the magic falls away and is replaced by an annoying plot in which he gets the better of the entire society just by being a manly man and not doing what the women say. I'm not objecting just because it's sexist. I'm also objecting because it's dumb and boring.
Not one of Tanith Lee's best. Though I do love the cover, which is 100% accurately taken from the book. A woman with an ivory bow riding a horned lion is what I read fantasy for; wish she was in a better book.
It was part of the MagicQuest series, a fantastic YA fantasy imprint which reprinted (or originally published some?) books by Patricia McKillip, Jane Yolen, Diana Wynne Jones, Peter Dickinson, Robert Westall, Paul Fisher, and Elizabeth Marie Pope. They had great covers and sometimes also great interior illustrations, and I haunted libraries and bookshops for them - all were reliably worth reading, though I liked some more than others. (I never warmed up to Peter Dickinson, and the Pied Piper book was forgettable.) Except for the Westall book, I read all its books for the first time from that imprint; it introduced me to Diana Wynne Jones and Tanith Lee.
I wish the imprint had lasted longer, but it only put out 18 books. Looking them up now, I see that I never saw or even heard of The Last Days of the Edge of the World by Brian Stableford.
Anyone else read MagicQuest? What were your favorites and least favorites?