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([personal profile] pumpkinkingmod posting in [community profile] trickortreatex Oct. 19th, 2017 10:47 pm)
269 images of cats will be added to the collection if every participant gets two gifts before author/artist reveals. If you would like to contribute cat images then you can email them to me at halloweenmod@gmail.com and include if you would like to be credited in the notes and if so, under what name.

Edit: Honorary Cats (aka all other pets) are welcome as well.
apiphile: tom hardy as billy prior (ha bloody fucking ha)
([personal profile] apiphile Oct. 19th, 2017 09:38 pm)
more energy due to having sun lamps on all the time while i was at home on this gloomy fucking day in which i arrived home in the dark and left in the dark.

A Success

I have finally fucking finished my outline edits, and thrown the entire document into a spiral-bound, and ordered a copy, so I can annotate it while I'm writing, but I cannot FUCK AROUND with it any more for the rest of this month. Leaving me with just research to deal with. I.E. one less thing to worry about. Achievable because I had a microwaveabl meal and rest day today. Anyway. Tomorrow is bench day and I'm already scared bskd vksdhv iahvia I don't like the bench.

Perhaps disappointingly the MAIN thing I am doing with this surplus energy is PICKING FIGHTS ON THE INTERNET but we can't have everything.

Also Holly has successfully a) found me a place that sells prescription coloured contacts in the UK, and b) drawn me some mushrooms and c) also photographed some mushrooms, somewhat adding to the pile of evidence suggesting that "leaving her terrible job and going to study something that energises her" was the right choice.

A Weird

So I switched to bulking on the 9th, yeah? I last recorded a weigh-in on the 5th, yeah? Two weeks ago? And I have dragged my calories per day intake up by about 200 so far (which I can't always meet because training myself out of that very specific number means my instincts about how much I need are off). And because I do 4 days gym a week and it's, barring a 5-8 minute warm-up, all strength not cardio, I am technically doing "less" exercise (I mean, I'm also in the gym for less time), and belly-dance is once a week and calorifically a lot less exacting than my cardio sessions. Like, a LOT.

So I remembered to weigh myself this morning, with the expectation that I would have gained weight and that I can reasonably attribute it to muscle as there has already been a miniscule but numerical increase in my chest and bicep measurements.

I have not in fact gained weight

I have instead LOST exactly 2kg (4.4lb)

Leaving me a whopping 0.6 of a BMI point "overweight".

After I lost a bunch of weight then kept gaining it back while I was *trying* to lose weight.

OKAY, METABOLISM, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE FUCK YOU ARE EVEN ABOUT. JUST. OKAY. WHATEVER.

Anyway must not use this encroaching mania to BUY STUFF as I am still fucking poor.
... and while not everybody on these two playlists fits the definition of feminist or metal (especially not metal, TBH) I would say that these two spotify playlists are the place to start:

Emma Jay Olsen's Angry Feminist Playlist
and my very own Ladies Who Rock

But in terms of feminist metal bands, you can't go far wrong with:

Hysterica (esp Heels)
McQueen (esp Not For Sale)
Wicked Wisdom (esp You Can't Handle)
Halestorm (esp Rock Show - principally because I've never heard anything capture that feeling better)
In This Moment (esp Comanche - we've took all we can and we won't take any more)
and of course
Skunk Anansie (esp Rise Up)
So, I have a (totally fine, not at all at all cancer-y) lump in my breast, and I’m going to talk about it here because:

1) Personalisation is a really important public health tool — it’s a good idea for those of us with breasts to check them regularly for lumps, and my talking about finding a lump will make many of you, the people who care about and relate to me, more likely to do so.

2) I think there’s a lot that’s scary and unknown about finding a lump, and I’d like to do a tiny bit to reduce that — I can’t make it not scary and not unknown, but I can tell you about my non-scary experience, and give you (especially those of you in the UK health system) an idea about what to expect from the process.

3) When I was thinking about writing something about this, I realised that when I speak/write publicly about my own health, it’s often (always?) with the aim of tackling stigma. So for me, it’s an interesting exercise to write about something that isn’t at all stigmatised, and I’m interested to see what I learn through doing so.

I also want to emphasise that not only is everything totally fine, not at all cancer-y, but also I’m fine. This can be a very difficult experience for people who have the exact same outcome as me, but for me, not so much.

All of which leads us to:

Cut for not-cancer )
Not much to report back, really. It was the debrief meeting. It was mostly us examining the things you lot had reported back to us.

I fed back all the things that you folks asked me to feed back in this and this post; pretty much all of them were received loud and clear. Especially popular was [personal profile] hollymath's suggestion that we put "would you benefit from step-free access" rather than "are you a wheelchair user" on Speaker's cards; this is definitely going to be done, hopefully for spring, but if not then for next autumn.

I've been given more work to do, which is mostly my own fault for volunteering to sort shit out. Nick Da Costa and I have to redesign the end of conference survey, so if you have any specific ideas about that do let me know. Is it too long, too short, too fiddly, etc? What questions do you think should be asked, and which ones do you think should be retired? As usual, I can;t promise to act on every suggestion, but I promise to at least read and respond to every suggestion.

Specifically regarding the app, which I know a few of you talked about: there was a feeling that we've sunk a lot of time and effort into the bespoke app, and it gets better every time - which it definitely does - and the developer is very responsive to requests for changes, so Grenadine is not going to fly. The specific comments about line numbers and clock hiding and too much nesting are definitely going to be fed back to the developer, so if those aren't sorted out for Spring you can take me to one side, spank me, and call me Gerald.

I'm going to go get a well deserved drink now.
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miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 19th, 2017 06:19 pm)
I'm attending this meeting right now, by dialing in to the phone conference machine in the middle of the meeting room.

It's interesting to note who has a clear speaking voice and who doesn't. No, I couldn't possibly name names :P

Will report back on actual happenings later...

ETA: Have just been christened The New Gareth Epps due to my scathing comments about real ale provision; I'm taking that as the compliment it was doubtless meant to be
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siderea: (Default)
([personal profile] siderea Oct. 19th, 2017 08:44 am)
The water pipes in my apartment have abruptly started acting weird: very noisy and comes out sputtering. There seems to be air in the pipes. This started yesterday – first noticed when the toilet tank was refilling with cold water, checked the kitchen taps, and the cold water was doing it there, too. Then the hot water started doing that too, which has me more alarmed: that comes right out of my apartment's water heater tank, so there shouldn't be any opportunity for air to get in it, right?

I called the landlord yesterday, left a message about it. There's construction going on on the floor below me, but I asked one of the guys if they're working on the plumbing and he said no.

It's still doing it.

How worried should I be? What scenarios could be causing this?
andrewducker: (Default)
([personal profile] andrewducker Oct. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm)
miss_s_b: (Default)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 19th, 2017 11:00 am)
So, my friend made a game. It's a classic point and click adventure in the style of things like Monkey Island. You click on things, you talk to characters, you solve puzzles, you win the game. Except... I thought Monkey Island was dead boring. This is not dead boring. I've even played the tutorial through three times, just to see what the different answers do, because it's so laugh out loud funny.

So yes, I'm slightly biased here because the game is made by someone I know, and is set in a fictionalised version of a town two train stops away, and my daughter voices one of the characters (look out for small child of indeterminate gender Little Bilge)... but this is the most fun I've had playing a game in ages. It doesn't try to screw you for more money, it doesn't make you do stupid repetitive daily tasks, it doesn't rely on ninja reaction times. It's happy to just make you laugh and warm your heart. In times like we are going through now, that's more valuable than diamonds.

Honestly, guys, you know I wouldn't bullshit you about anything involving money, I'm from Yorkshire.

Go buy Yorkshire Gubbins. You won't regret it.
apiphile: (i hate that thing you love)
([personal profile] apiphile Oct. 18th, 2017 10:20 pm)
Things my brain has done today

1. "I am frustrated with doing badly at the gym, therefore I will take this IOC-approved performance-enhancer known as 'a lot of caffeine', do well at the gym". I took the 200mg caffeine pill. I did well at the gym. My brain promptly decided that this was because I was doing it wrong, having apparently forgotten that "cheated by taking drugs" was an option for explaining why things went okay. When reminded of this, it peevishly shouted at me that my form is terrible and I am never going to get any better, my breaks are too long, I probably miscounted on all my sets, and that I'm fat. Reminder re: pain and workouts and life in general to breathe with the thing instead of holding my breath, gritting my teeth, and then being furious when I can't shoulder my way through powered solely with anger.
2. I got the long-awaited referral letter to St Peter's (wangdiddling clinic); hooray, a little less stress? WRONG. "You're going to be so fat by the time they see you they won't give you surgery. They're going to want to know why your choices 'evolved'. They're going to call you a fucking liar. NO SURGERY FOR YOU." Apparently the bradycardia, which is enough to merit mention again, and again, doesn't factor. For. Reasons. Following: obsessive thoughts about how much I will weigh when I go for my revision appointment over the chest surgery. "YOU'RE GOING TO GET FIRED FROM YOUR JOB FOR TAKING TOO MUCH TIME OFF FOR MEDICAL STUFF EVEN THOUGH THAT'S FUCKING ILLEGAL".
3. Having accepted that I wasn't going to have time to type up my outline edits if I got the bus, and that I need to get them recorded because my outline-printing deadline is the 20th, I took the sensible decision to take the train this once. Sat down with the lizard lamp on, did this, expanded on my edits, made some sense of my outline (as usual, days 25-27 are a chaotic mess with increasingly few plot points. generally however this is okay as by then the story is writing itself). Proceeded to beat myself up for... nothing? Literally nothing. Not spending unnecessary money. Not being complacent about my outline. Just generic stress.
4. Things that have actually gone badly today: Landlady emailed us to share her annoyance that our shitass buildings management company will indeed be building a fucking flat on top of our flat therefore making it permanently impossible for me to store my bike anywhere other than in the wardrobe, although they have just fucked off for a fortnight in the middle of stripping the stairs; IMMEDIATE STRESS AND WOE added to by Linds making absolute sure that I fucking knew about this; Tumblr introducing the same garbage algorithm that ruined every other website; everyone and his dog (all of them with family support of course) posting doomy articles about how fucked my country is. Maybe we'll all die soon instead.
5. Got the train, finished my outline edits, beat myself up about how stupid and derivative my story is and how little I know about my characters and how wooden it's going to feel and how no one will want to read it; tried not to dwell on the feeling which surfaced last night of being surrounded by complete strangers (ie, like i don't know the people i live with or the people i am friends with, that i'm completely isolated or alien to it all).
6. Weirdly, no psychological recriminations whatsoever for eating a piggy bao at 4.30am - Lindsay bought me one after we had a row about tax documents followed by him going to see Thor etc. He says he'll take me to see it next week so. That's nice I guess. https://www.instagram.com/p/BaX-48ohJik/?taken-by=derekdesanges piggy bao
7. I don't understand why even doing things successfully makes my brain drown itself with overwhelming self-loathing.

Other

I trick myself into coming into work by putting food in the fridge that HAS to be eaten the next day or it will be wasted.

Blog: https://derekdesanges.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/publishing-pick-your-poison-by-owl-hollow-press/

Uh. Oh yeah. FB reminded me indirectly that it's been roughly two years since Doug's cardiac arrest and subsequent hypoxic brain injury so fucking woo hoo.

Ugh also my stupid protein shit was supposed to be delivered today but as usual Yodel and our doorbell and night shift sleep patterns conspired to throw a wrench in the works.

Anyway if I still feel this bad tomorrow I'm calling in sick, even if my brain is screaming at me that they'll think I'm malingering because sick leave this week runs into my holiday allowance and blah blah blah

YES BRAIN I GET IT EVERYONE HATES ME SHUT UP

Who wants to sign up for the readalong of this year's stupid fucking book

I'm not in the right mindset to sell you on this atm.
rowyn: (studious)
([personal profile] rowyn Oct. 18th, 2017 03:36 pm)
This is a charming Regency romance framed around the "woman presents as man in order to do things prohibited to women" device. In her case, she's impersonating a specific man after his death, so she and her female relations won't be turned out by his heir. I normally dislike this kind of device, but it's pretty fun here. Mostly this is because Millicent is hoot: she decides she's never going to pass as a fashionable or ideal man, so she sets her persona as a rattle: unserious, continually bantering and joking and being ridiculous. She is utterly delightful. Her male love interest, Shoffer, does not deserve her. The first 2/3rds of the book are wonderful, with most of the action dealing with various social problems, most unrelated to her ruse. Most of them are lighthearted and all are resolved by wit.

The last third is somewhat marred by the romance part kicking in. Shoffer's treatment of Millicent-as-woman is just ... meh. He feels typically misogynistic towards her, and it's in keeping with the period but not nearly as fun or appealing as his treatment of her when he thought she was a man. He improves before the end, but still.

Even so, there's a lot of fun stuff in the last part of the book, so well-worth reading. This was totally going to be a 9, but I'm downgrading it to 8 for wobbling on the ending. Nonetheless, had a good time, well worth reading.

Also, I kinda want to write a trans man story using the same kind of framing, but I'm not sure I have the patience to write in a trans-hostile, misogynistic setting for long enough to do so. -_-
jack: (Default)
([personal profile] jack Oct. 18th, 2017 01:34 pm)
OK, so I actually read "Wrinkle in Time" (and book #2 but not any more). I think I'd had the impression that I'd read it at some point and forgotten, but now I think I never read it at all, it's really really different to anything I remember reading.

It's very good at what it does.

It's very shivery when they realise how far the horrible grey mist on the universe has spread.

It sets up a very convincing backdrop of angels and other beings fighting against badness with human help, in ways where this is how the universe works, and what people stumble upon is the same stuff that scientists like the childrens' parents are just starting to discover.

The characters of the children (well, mostly Meg and precious Charles Wallace at this point) are very good.

I stumbled on the narrative convention of mentor figures swooping in and saying "hey children, only you can do this, you need to go through this set of trials, when this happens, do this, you don't need to know about X, good luck". Like, that's a common narrative convention that works very well: you just don't question too hard the mentor figures have some special insight into how quests turn out. It's especially useful in childrens books because you can explain what needs to happen directly to the main character and reader. (Think of all the stories of stumbling onto the first person you meet in a secondary world who says, you need to do X, Y and Z.) But eventually you read too many books where it doesn't work like that that you start to question. Even if you don't ask if they might be lying, you wonder, could they really not spare twenty minutes to summarise the biggest risks and how to avoid them? How do they know what's going to happen? If this is all preordained, they why are they providing even this much help, and if not, and the fate of the world hangs on it, can they really not provide any more help?

This is partly me having been spoiled for some simple narrative conventions by being exposed to too many variants, and possibly (?) me not understanding theology well enough (I'm not sure how much this is something that is supposed to actually happen for real, and how mcuh it's just a book thing?) It doesn't always fail me, this is basically how Gandalf acts all the way through LOTR "OK, now we're going to do this because, um, fate" and I'm happy to accept it all at face value, even when other people quibble, but in some books it bothers me.
andrewducker: (Default)
([personal profile] andrewducker Oct. 18th, 2017 12:00 pm)
miss_s_b: (Default)
([personal profile] miss_s_b Oct. 18th, 2017 11:00 am)
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([personal profile] siderea Oct. 17th, 2017 11:57 pm)
It was just brought to my attention that per the date traditionally held to be the one on which Luther nailed the 95 Theses to a church door, this Hallowe'en is the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.
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([personal profile] apiphile Oct. 17th, 2017 10:45 pm)
Wasn't feeling the gym frankly, and decided that perhaps a rest day between sessions might be sensible. I have rejigged my week so that I now have to work out on Sunday but can have gaps between each session.

Things: big shouting match because I still can't find my fucking tax code, which concluded with banging nails into door lintels and putting up ivy. Lindsay went out to a press screening of the new Thor movies and turned up at work contrite, full of praise for the film, and with piggy-shaped custard buns from a shop I'd mentioned, so he's forgiven being a pain in the arse about not filing paperwork.

The anthology actually came out as scheduled, remarkably: this is the ebook but it's also available in print if you search the same search terms again.
rowyn: (studious)
([personal profile] rowyn Oct. 17th, 2017 12:35 pm)
Black Angel is one of the books in the SFWA Fantasy Storybundle! I was excited to read it, having heard good things about Gold's work, and my good expectations were rewarded. The novel contains a mix of genres: YA, slice-of-life, queer lit, furry, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and romance, not necessarily in that order.

I found it fascinating and immersive, a deeply believable book. Three different stories are woven together: 

* Marie-Belle, a bayou muskrat girl in 1916 whose family wants her to marry and who would rather be a vodou priestess like her grandmother.
* Hannah, a lesbian otter in a strict and grimly depressing Christian-cult future
* Meg, an struggling artist in 2013 who's questioning her sexuality and also her sanity.

The struggling artist, Meg, is compulsively and somewhat unwillingly drawing a comic about the first girl, and having vivid, life-like dreams about the second. Most of the book is about Meg.  There's also a strong supernatural element: Meg's closest friends have had experiences with ghosts and visions/life-like dreams. Meg leans heavily towards "they are crazy and so am I" when she starts having her own possibly-supernatural experiences. The setting is pretty Earth-like, with furry touches: eg, some of the otter characters have houses that incorporate pools or have submerged "floors", characters may have keener noses or ears depending on species, etc.

There is a lot else going on in the book. For example, Meg used to be on prescription anti-depressants and quit them because she felt numb of them. She now self-medicates with alcohol and weed (both illegally obtained.) It's a nuanced portrayal, which has both aspects of "this doesn't seem healthy" and "but it does help sometimes?" That goes for both the prescribed and illegal drugs.

I thought, from the blurb, that Meg was going to be "girl who thought she was straight and now thinks she might be lesbian or bi". But her starting point is more like "asexual??? straight??? Lesbian???? Bi??????? I DON'T KNOW". She is not attracted to anyone or interested in sex, but she kind of wants to be and all of her friends keep pushing her to "get out there! Experiment! How else will you knooooow?" I had the simultaneous experience of gaping at her friends ("what is wrong with you? That is a terrible plan") and also feeling like it was exactly the experience a lot of people go through. I didn't have this problem myself, even though I didn't meet anyone I was attracted to until college. But I know people who did.

The characters are vividly drawn and distinctive. Even the supporting cast has an array of different speech patterns and they're easy to tell apart. All three main characters feel like very different personalities, even when Meg and Hannah think they're each other's dreams. Most of the conflict in the book is driven not by evil or cruelty, but by people trying to do the right thing, or what they think they are supposed to do. Even the "Dangerous Spirits" of the series title feel like complex individuals who are acting rationally within their own belief system. (Which, y'know, does not make them less dangerous.)

One touch I particularly admired: Meg's part of the story is first-person past tense. Marie-Belle's story, which Meg experiences in a kind of creative fugue, is 3rd person present. Hannah's is 3rd person past. It's one of the few times where I've seen this kind of switch and not only thought "that's fine" but "oh, that works really well for conveying the differences in their narratives."

I enjoyed the book a good deal, especially the second half, where it picked up momentum and urgency. I have some quibbles with it, but most of why I give it an 8 and not a 9 is that the subject matter isn't perfectly to my tastes. Eg, the trope of "oppressed women whose society tries to forces them into marriage" is one I am pretty sick of.  Meg is prickly, defensive, and copes with problems a lot by putting them off or ignoring them, which I simultaneously relate to and also find exasperating. (Hi yes it me but it's STILL annoying.) She grew on me as the book went on, but for the first 20 pages I was iffy about her.

I am going to wrap this up with some things behind a spoiler tag, because they are spoilers but also significant to many queer readers. spoilers! )
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