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[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Whose Luck?
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 1 of 1, complete
word count (story only): 1419


:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, the Mercedes story set, and the Road Trip story arc. Kais' luck seems to be holding, but someone else points out a surprising trend in it. ::

:: Pay Special Attention: I tried to be vague about the details of Kais' injury, but I wanted to frame these events first from Kais' viewpoint, so some unpleasantness is unavoidable. (The payoff for this will happen in the next story, of course!)




Kais turned her face toward the window, trying desperately not to cry.

Willem, the young man who had taken her clothes-- every stitch she'd brought with her save what she stood in-- tried to apologize. Again. “I mean, it's called a mangler, but it really shouldn't have done...” He lifted up one torn, button-less shirt and waved at the sodden mess.

“I can check everything your size in the lost and found,” he offered. “I feel...”
Read more... )

Courtesy of Facebook's On This Day

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:30 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I just got to a series of posts from 2014 Wiscon harassment meltdown. Ah, memory lane.

So my mother had a small stroke.

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:34 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
She's talking just fine (which is great, she's a real chatterbox) and even though she has some weakness on one side, it's already improving.

And while we were gone dealing with this, the cops broke into our house to search for our escaped neighbor. Which is ridiculous - they didn't have a warrant, and they certainly didn't have probable cause, and they definitely did not have our consent to a search.

I must say, they're really pulling out all the stops here. The cops, the state troopers, a joint NY/NJ task force, a helicopter... all this for some dude who ran out of his house, handcuffed, in his undies. It's either overkill, or they're hiding something big.

Made the appointment. Read a book.

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:55 pm
archangelbeth: Oedipus confronts the Sphinx, overlaid with the words "Hubris Requests Exact Change" (Hubris Requests Exact Change)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Finished Ninefox Gambit today and bought-and-started Raven Stratagem.

Ninefox Gambit seriously harkens to older, "classic" kinds of SF (okay, probably 70s and 80s, when I was reading it...) in that it is perfectly happy to throw you into the deep end of New Terminology and expect you to keep up. You're reading SF to stretch your mind, not get spoonfed! (Honestly, Raven Stratagem is more infodumpy, it feels like. I think the editor was crying at the author.) And it has more modern concepts of worldbuilding complexity, so it's not, y'know, pulp. Even if it is high epic science fantasy universe.

I like it.

I like it despite the fact that the body-count would make the Borg mildly taken aback, or perhaps even be put to shame. Basically, do not get attached. To anyone. I mean, yes, there's a sequel so if you want to take a cautious risk or two, okay, on your head be it. (There is also the occasional bit of body-horror, because the "exotics" class of weapons are, um... ew. At times.)

Anyhoo, it's a well-written book with some seriously weird stuff going on, say I.

In other news, I have apparently gotten the kid's continuing stomach bug or something, except it is manifesting as pain more than nausea. On the other hand, it's the time of Hormones Do Stupid Things That Affect Smooth Muscle, so who knows how that might be confounding issues. O:p

BUT I DID MAKE A DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENT! For Monday.

Tomorrow, I intend to log in early and DO THE DADGUM STO MISSION. *sulk*
(Also on the to-do list: more ST: Renegades and ST Continues.)

Reminder: I have 3 free short stories at Smashwords, which are pushed to Kobo, iBooks, and B&N among a few others. Plz feel free to check them out. Reviews or stars appreciated. >_>

Havva Quote
arcangel laughs. https://smile.amazon.com/Why-Johnny-Doesnt-Flap-NT/dp/1849057214
arcangel reads the look-inside and howls happily.
arcangel | [Johnny] is never exactly on time, varies his rituals, looks directly into people's eyes, speaks cryptically, and never gets lost in his own world. But the narrator still likes Johnny, in spite of these quirks.
--(Look, the kid and I have discussed how, if autism-spectrum were normal, wars would be fought by making the opposing side so miserable and sensory-overwhelmed that they just go home, so this sort of thing is amusing to me. Neurotypicals are so weird!)


INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:46 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
apologies for TMI but I keep injuring myself in ways that leave scabs like Lake Baikal and within a few days the edges are all ready to be done but the center is still very strongly attached.
Maybe I need body armor.

Friday's comic!

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:00 am
murgatroyd666: (Default)
[personal profile] murgatroyd666 posting in [community profile] girlgenius_lair
Via Sneaky Gate: www.girlgeniusonline.com/ggmain/strips/ggmain20170721.jpg

Officially: http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20170721

I was wondering when he would show up!

Yes, we seem to be very near the end of the volume.
quirkytizzy: (Default)
[personal profile] quirkytizzy
I may need another medication adjustment, as the last two mornings have seen me leap out of bed in the middle of anxiety attack, doom and gloom pressing down every breath, ragged and grabbing me by the throat. I pace. I clean. I sit down, curl up, head on my knees, hands caught in my hair, trying to pull the thoughts out.

Mornings used to be my favorite time of the day. Now I dread them. Life at 36 is not life at 16. Simple enough concept, right? But it's one that clobbers me over the head every goddamn time I open my eyes.

The nights are easier, though as the days go, Jesse sinks and I do not know what to do to catch him. Arms can be a lifesaver, but getting out of my head seems impossible somedays.

I must try, though. My goal of having meaningful interaction (face to face) with another human being 30 minutes every other day has had some success. I don't always feel better, but I know it's necessary to get moving out of my sickness. Re-socialize to eventually back to being able to work.

I've managed to keep every appointment set in the last month. My case manager and I come up with a new goal every week. I've accomplished most of them. I've got a peer-support-specialist to call back tomorrow.

My dreams keep throwing me back to the psych ward, where no one will tell me why I'm there and no one will let me leave. It's a stark juxtaposition to how I feel WHEN in the psych ward. (Safe, protected, and somewhat scheduled with all their groups.) But I really, really want to stay out them. That helps.

I'm setting up every goddamn mental health resource available towards my outstretched hands, because it's either this or resigning myself to the 6th floor every fucking month. And while I feel safe there, it also holds my recovery back, because life ain't no psycho ward, and I've got to learn to live outside of it.

See, a person gets so many screw ups before their support group has to start pulling away for their OWN sanity. I don't want to do that. I've an AMAZING support group, both online and face-to-face. I just need to get better at utilizing it! I'm terrible about reaching out, especially when push comes to sharp objects and extra pill bottles laying out.

Gonzo, your suggestion of removing all the sharp knives and razors, the extra bottles that whisper to me to take them all at once - the easy-go-to's for destruction was taken and it has helped immensely. Not that there aren't another million ways to hurt myself (broken glass, jagged pencil edges, hell, staples and thumb tacks), but those are never as satisfying.

I don't even know where the knives, razors, and extra bottles are. I think Jesse did the smart thing and handed them off to a friend, because if there's one thing an addict will do (and cutting and making entire dinners out of a pill bottle is an addiction) is to tear apart a house, stone by screaming stone with their bare hands, to find their favorite fix.

Existential angst is in full force in the mornings. I tell myself that THAT is perfectly normal. It is the human condition. Sometimes it is enough to calm the anxiety enough for me to allow me to practice other mindful exercises to get me through.

The next step - the goal set up for this week - is to find someplace to volunteer. I'm physically well enough to do at least twice a month. It will accomplish several things at once: Developing a schedule (which has been destroyed in the last year), helping others, finding a sense of self-identity.

And for fucks sake, I need a goddamn sense of self-identity. I've been so aimless, so in my head, so completely out of my mind, I think to find things OUTSIDE of myself that help identity myself, to give good labels to apply to myself will be a life-saver - possibly literally.

I CAN DO THIS. I am not destined to sink and swim in the mud in my veins. I am not going to let all the years of building myself before mean nothing in the force of what is currently destroying me.

The demons are many, and I am in an ocean where the sharks smell the blood and constantly circle. I will fight them. Somedays will be better than others. Somedays a shower will be the best I can do. But I am finally beginning to see some light on the other side of the tunnel, and I can say with some certainty that it's not just another train barreling straight for me.

My pain didn't change me, I changed my pain. MY PAIN DID NOT CHANGE ME, I CHANGED MY PAIN." - Icon for Hire "Demons. I've done this before. I can do this again. I listen to this song every day. It is anthem. It is reclaiming power - both mine in sharing the struggle and mine in remembering my strength, my endurance, my resilience.



If God shall send a fire, so be it. I will be reforged.

Gang aft a-gley

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:57 pm
rolanni: (Default)
[personal profile] rolanni

Ah, my dear friends, I have a terrible dilemma before me.  Both Olga and Natalia wish to be my wife; each has written several times to me of their passion. They are equally attractive; both are looking for love, but neither appears to be able to do laundry.

Well.  That's really not a dilemma at all, is it?

So, today was an odd day.  One of those days where Things Got Done, but they were Entirely the Wrong Things.  On the other hand, a day that includes a milkshake and an unexpected ride in the country can't be too far awry.

At least, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

I did make it to gym and waked for miles.  My "gym book" this go is a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, and a buncha other awards, soon, I'm told to be  Major Motion Picture.  Again.

AWIT was published when I was 10 years old.  Despite this, I didn't read it (the first time) until I was an adult.  It was sitting on a table in EJ Korvette's in...damned if I remember -- Towson, probably.  Anyhow, remainder table, one among many of its own kind, and many others, not necessary of its kind.  I was waiting for my then-boyfriend to finish up doing something or another, and started to read AWIT, as the most interesting looking book on the table, and by the time he re-appeared, I'd tessered once already and wasn't about to miss the rest of the story.  It was a buck I never regretted spending.

I read AWIT a couple times since then, but not for 20 years or so -- found the sequels, but none of them held my interest beyond the first two pages. . .  So, yanno, life goes on; so many books, so little time; and all like that.

But AWIT is going to be coming out as a movie next year; this time, so the hype goes, done right, which means that lots of people who read it as kids, and who imprinted on it, are re-reading.  And some are being disappointed, and blogging about their disappointment (one more time from the choir: What an age we live in).  Now, by the time I'd read AWIT, I'd read. . .a buncha books, many of them science fiction/fantasy (Back when I started reading sf/f, you could easily read the monthly titles, and still have room left over for others kinds of books.  It just wasn't possible, if you were any shakes of a reader at all, to read only science fiction.).  I thought AWIT was a good enough book.  Certainly, the Mrs. Whatsit, Who, and Which have pleasantly improved my inner life.  Meg irritated me -- but Meg was supposed to irritate me.  Partly, after all, this was a story about Meg coming to terms with Meg, and if she could stand it, so could I.

I did have some reservations about the sudden appearance and utter acceptance of Calvin, especially the part where he liked Meg straight off.  Otherwise, he seemed like good enough kid.

Charles Wallace was being set up either as John the Baptist, or the new Christ figure, but I'd already read Perelandra, and Out of the Silent Planet and whassis -- That Hideous Strength.  Plus, I'd been raised Roman Catholic.  All of which meant I was pretty good at ignoring the God-stuff and following the story along.

So, anyhow.  I read it back then; liked it well enough.  Read it a couple times more and liked it on rereads.

This time, I'm still liking it.  Meg perhaps annoys me less, but, then I know how the story goes, more or less.  I find that I misplaced a couple things on the timeline, but no big surprises so far. . .The Happy Medium, surprisingly or not, irritates me more than Meg does this time.  Hmm.

One of the reviewers I read was saddened by the fact that AWIT didn't sing for them anymore, and blamed -- the 60s (given a 1962 pub date, and its long history of rejection, AWIT was probably written in the late 50s).  The 60s, said the reviewer are just too unbelievable to a person of modern sensibility, and the story therefore suffers from its setting.

I will go on record here as saying that the 60s setting doesn't detract from the story  at all, for this reviewer.  OTOH, I lived through the 60s.

So, that.

After gym, I ran the rest of the errands on my list -- sadly, neither CVS nor Agway had any of the bug repellents I had pinned my hopes upon, so I wound up ordering from the internet, rather than shopping locally.

Agway did provide me with a ginormous lacy yellow day lily, a hug pot of bee balm and a Jimmy hosta with white bells (the hosta on the other end of the property have blue/purple bells).  I have probably under-bought, but the wallet gets a vote, and this will at least start a Cat Garden Renaissance.

For those keeping score at home, I remain Utterly Delighted with my new fountain pen, which has scarcely been out of my hand since I bought it.  So delighted am I, that I have purchased another Pilot Metropolitan, this is the formal White Tiger color scheme, and blue ink, so I will have a fine signing pen at Confluence.

And that?  Really is all the news that's fit to print.

Everybody stay cool, or warm, as appropriate.

kore: (Orpheus & Eurydice)
[personal profile] kore
MOI: Hey I feel less soul-crushingly depressed, let's see if I can make it from the bed to the sofa.

INTERNET: GUESS WHAT ANOTHER ADDICTED ARTIST WITH A MOOD DISORDER IN YOUR GENERATION DIED, WANNA GUESS HOW, GO ON, JUST GUESS

MOI: //would set shit on fire if not glued to couch


Everybody's sharing that "Hunger Strike" duet but I can't fucking listen to that right now, although they both look so joyful, it just breaks my heart. Been listening to this on repeat instead.



One promise you made
One promise that always remains
No matter the price
A promise to survive
Persevere and thrive
And dare to rise once more



and this one made me feel a little less crap.

[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Glioblastoma multiforme killed my grandmother. And then, years later, it killed my mother. That's what this disease does. It kills people. It is, as we keep hearing today in the news, a very "aggressive" form of brain cancer. There is no cure. It is a matter of months. Perhaps a year, but not two.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:13 pm
atalantapendrag: (Default)
[personal profile] atalantapendrag


I braved the triple-digit heat to trudge out to Mango King for today's special (Thursday torta and fries - I got the beef fajita torta again) and a large pepino agua fresca. Totally worth it.

Hamilkitties!

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:09 pm
rachelmanija: (It was a monkey!)
[personal profile] rachelmanija


Curious Alex.





Erin, waiting for it.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:36 pm
skygiants: Fakir from Princess Tutu leaping through a window; text 'doors are for the weak' (drama!!!)
[personal profile] skygiants
Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age is a fairly fascinating book that's trying to do a lot of things at once: the book starts out with the dramatic recounting of MURDER!!! and then immediately takes, if not a deep dive, at least a vigorous swim through such varied topics as the history of British radio and the BBC, Keynesian economic philosophy, copyright limitations, and the founding of Sealand in order to contextualize it.

Once we get back to the story of the murder itself, however, it turns out: IT'S BONKERS. The principals in the case are two pirate radio impresarios in 1966. Oliver Smedley, An Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist, was running a station called Radio Atlanta on a boat off the coast; Reggie Calvert, A Dance Hall Impresario, had taken over an entire abandoned British navy fort called Shivering Sands in the Thames Estuary and staffed it with a rotating encampment of youths running a station called Radio City. At one point Smedley and Calvert were going to have a merger, but then they had an ACRIMONIOUS BREAKUP spurred on in part by:

- the fact that Smedley was supposed to give Calvert a shiny new transmitter and instead provided an old one that never worked
- the fact that Smedley never paid all the bills he had promised Calvert that Radio Atlanta would pay
- the fact that Calvert got sick of all this and decided to merge with another station instead

The reason for all these pirate radio stations on boats and naval forts, by the way, is because in 1966 there was no legal pop radio in the UK (as explained, extensively, via the history of radio and Keynesian economic theory etc. that makes up the first half of the book). Because the pirates were technically outside of UK territory, on the other hand, they could technically get away with doing whatever they wanted, or at least the government like "it will be way too embarrassing to launch a huge naval raid against a bunch of youths on was a fort with a radio transmitter, so let's not."

HOWEVER, the fact that everything was happening outside of territorial waters where British laws and police had no jurisdiction BACKFIRED when:

- Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist Smedley decided he was so mad that Calvert had made a deal without him that he was going to MAKE SURE that the deal could never go through
- he was going to GET BACK HIS PROPERTY [the transmitter that had never worked]
- so he sent an ACTUAL OCCUPYING FORCE composed of out-of-work dockworkers to Shivering Sands, stole a bunch of key broadcasting equipment, took a bunch of it back to the mainland, and left a bunch of toughs to hold everybody who was on the station at that time hostage!!!
- (when they met the invading force, the hostage broadcasters were like 'welp' and made everybody tea)
- ("the vessel had to return briefly to pick up [the contractor who recruited the gang], who had been left behind drinking his tea")
- and then Smedley went to Calvert and his partner, an actual professional broadcaster, and was like 'I will not let you broadcast from there again or finish making your deal unless you pay me FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS'

Naturally, everyone involved was like 'wtf????' and refused to pay Smedley a dime; Calvert threatened to involve the police but the police were like 'ummmmmm technically we can't do anything for the same reasons we haven't been able to stop you from broadcasting;' Calvert then made a whole bunch of other even wilder threats; and all the hired dockworkers sat around cheerfully charging Smedley for hostaging operations which he was rapidly running out of money for.

Anyway, in the middle of all this, Calvert drove out to Smedley's house in the middle of the night and started screaming at him, and Smedley shot him and then claimed self-defense and that his HOSTILE OCCUPATION OF A POP RADIO STATION was just a little joke gone wrong! No harm no foul if only Calvert hadn't been so UPSET about it! It did help Smedley's self-defense case that Calvert happened to be carrying A FAKE PEN FULL OF NERVE GAS at the time, which apparently, according to his family, he always carried around just for safekeeping.

...so the author's point in writing about all this seems to be that a.) this incident was crucial in getting the pirate radio boats shut down and the formation of the current BBC radio system that includes actual pop radio, b.) that this is all a forerunner of later copyright battles and offshore data centers and so on, c.) pirate-radio-on-boats in the 1960s was a WILD TIME. About the latter, at least, he is most surely not mistaken.

(This has nothing to do with the main brunt of the book but I have to spare a mention for Radio City's chief engineer, who later was hired by the mob! to perform an assassination attempt!! using a spring-loaded hypodermic needle full of cyanide!!! in what it turns out was ACTUALLY a sting operation by the U.S. Treasury department who picked the hapless Radio City engineer to act as the assassin because "he needed the fee while being clearly incapable of killing anybody"!!!! This whole incident gets two pages in the book because it's somewhat irrelevant to the author's argument but seriously, where is this guy's movie?

For the record, the same mobsters then tried to intimidate Reggie Calvert's widow into selling them the remnants of the station and she was like 'lol no' and they were like '....well, when a lady knows her own mind, she knows her own mind! No hard feelings.')

My Current Podcast Playlist

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: (Calissa)
[personal profile] calissa

Podcasts, Earl Grey Editing

I’m a podcast fiend. I find they’re a great way to keep me entertained while I’m doing housework. Over the last few years, I’ve ended up with quite a few shows to listen to. They fall into three broad categories:

Books, Media and Culture

This is far and away the biggest category. It includes podcasts featuring interviews, discussions about fandom, and reviews of books, movies and TV shows.

Fangirl Happy Hour: This Hugo-nominated podcast is hosted by Renay of Lady Business and Ana of The Book Smugglers. They review books, movies and graphic novels, as well as discuss what they’ve been reading or watching more generally. They also talk about the state of SFF fandom and often segue into political commentary and discussions of mental health.

Galactic Suburbia: This Hugo-Award-winning podcast is hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Alexandra Pierce. Much like Fangirl Happy Hour, they discuss the state of SFF fandom, albeit from an Australian perspective. The two podcasts occasionally end up in dialogue over vital issues, such as what can be classified as cake. The ladies of GS also discuss the culture they’ve been reading, watching or otherwise consuming.

Not Now, I’m Reading: A new podcast just started by Chelsea of the Reading Outlaw and Kay Taylor Rae which focuses on reviewing genre books and media. As a keen reader of romance, I appreciate that their focus is a little wider than just SFF and the way they’re unapologetic about their passions.

Overinvested: Gavia Baker-Whitelaw and Morgan Leigh Davies review movies, TV shows and comics. Most are genre, though not all. These ladies are savvy critics who really know their stuff and are also not afraid to love material they know is rubbish.

The Skiffy and Fanty Show: This Hugo-nominated podcast is headed up by Shaun Duke and Jen Zink with a large cast of co-hosts. They do multiple segments of varying kinds, including signal boosts, interviews and Torture Cinema (wherein a panel reviews a movie deemed to be awful by pop culture).

Radio Free Fandom: Another new podcast, in which Claire Rousseau interviews guests about their fandoms. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far and am still getting a feel for it.

Reading the End: I usually prefer my podcasts to be solidly genre, but I make an exception for the Demographically-Similar Jennys. Gin Jenny and Whisky Jenny do often discuss and review genre books, but are just as likely to be reviewing contemporary literature. They also discuss their favourite instances of particular tropes and occasionally delve into research on space, the sea and Arctic explorers. At all times, they remain utterly charming.

SFF Yeah: Book Riot’s new SFF podcast. Sharifah and Jenn discuss SFF news and favourite literary tropes. I’m still deciding if this one is for me.

Sheep Might Fly: A podcast of serialised fiction by Tansy Rayner Roberts. Tansy alternates between previously published work and completely new stories. It’s a delight to hear them in Tansy’s own voice.

Tea and Jeopardy: This Hugo-nominated podcast is hosted by Emma Newman. Each of the guests she interviews has a connection to SFF and each interview takes place in a different (fictional) lair arranged by her morally-dubious butler (voiced by Peter Newman). Guests often find themselves in a bit of difficulty as they leave. The fictional framework doesn’t work for everyone, but I find it fun.

The Math of You: This is a relatively recent discovery from me. Lucas Brown interviews a range of guests about the pop culture that influenced them while growing up. Not strictly SFF; this is geekdom in many flavours. Lucas is a warm and enthusiastic interviewer.

The Writer and the Critic: Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond review a range of speculative fiction. I initially picked this up due to its Ditmar nomination this year and have liked it enough to keep it on. The contrasting perspectives make it engaging. However, I’m also adverse to spoilers, so haven’t yet delved into many of the episodes.

Gaming

This is the newest category in my podcast list and focuses exclusively on tabletop RPGs (which, I’m sure, surprises no one).

The Gauntlet Podcast: Primarily hosted by Jason Cordova, the podcast interviews game designers and signal boosts RPGs being crowdfunded. The hosts also discuss the games they’ve been playing and what has been inspiring them.

The Gauntlet crew also run several other related podcasts. I’ve not yet listened to +1 Forward, but it has recently been nominated for an ENnie Award. However, I have listened to Pocket-Sized Play. I don’t usually go in for Actual Play podcasts, but I’ve been loving their Monsterhearts campaign, Mercy Falls.

Writing Advice

The last category in my list is short. While I appreciate some measure of discussion about craft and industry, I find too much counterproductive for me (it’s hard enough to mute my inner editor).

Ditch Diggers: Hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace. I picked up this one because it was nominated for a Hugo this year and I wanted to judge it fairly. Mur and Matt discuss craft, answer questions and interview other creators. It’s a solid show, though I occasionally find it abrasive in ways that weren’t intended.

Writing Excuses: These short episodes are hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Tayler. Each season has a distinct theme and guest co-hosts. I appreciate the diversity of voices (though it remains sadly US-centric). Each episode ends with a practical exercise.

 

Altogether, these make up my current playlist. Does anything catch your attention? What would you recommend I check out?

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Previous models set first occupation significantly later. Much earlier and the first humans on the path to Australia would have left footprints in the still-cooling ashes of the Toba eruption.

In Memoriam

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:42 am
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Jordin Kare.  [personal profile] calimac  posted a wonderful remembrance.  I only met him a few times.  My heart goes out to Mary Kay.  ETA:  [personal profile] wild_irises remembers his smile.
truepenny: photo of the keyboard and raised lid of a 1911 Bluethner grand piano; the inside of the lid has inlaid brass letters reading BLUETHNER LEIPZIG (bluethner 1911)
[personal profile] truepenny
So this year, after a gap of twenty-five years, I started taking piano lessons again, focusing--because I'm an adult and get to choose for myself--on ragtime. There's a bunch of stuff around this decision that does not need to be explored at this juncture, because what I want to talk about is one of the biggest fucking paradigm shifts I've ever experienced.

I learned piano very much in the traditional you-learn-pieces-and-perform-them-at-recitals-and-they-get-progressively-harder mode (also traditional is the nice Lutheran lady teaching piano in her living room), and one of the reasons I started again was that I could work with somebody who went to UW-Madison for music--somebody, in other words, who's been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings not just of music, but of teaching.

Dude rocks my fucking world, I tell you what.

Partly, this is because I'm an adult and I've been exposed to the theoretical underpinnings of teaching (I always know when a teacher is using a particular pedagogical technique on me--which interestingly doesn't always make it less effective). I learn differently now and with a different understanding of what "learning" is. This is the place where Csikszentmihalyi has been extremely helpful to me, because I can recognize how a successful learning engagement works. ("Learning experience" would be a better phrase, but it already has connotations that are really kind of the opposite of what I mean.) And the pressure to learn pieces for recitals is mercifully off, which helps, too. But partly it's because this guy approaches music completely differently, bottom up instead of top down.

But the thing that has changed my relationship with my piano is something my teacher said (and I can't for the life of me remember what it was) that made me understand--quite literally for the first time in my life--that fingerings aren't arbitrary and they aren't just put in music so that teachers can judge whether students are obeying them or not. Here's where playing the piano is exactly like rock climbing:

The notes in the score are like the hand, finger, foot, and toe holds used to set a route in a climbing gym. You work the fingerings out yourself, the same way that a climber works out her own solution to how to get to the top of the wall using the holds available. And he said, "This music is for playing." A weirdass chord progression or run is like a difficult sequence in a route; it's a game, a puzzle that a musician who's been dead for 100 years set for all the pianists who came after him to solve. You work out the fingerings (4-5-3-5 WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK) so that you don't hang yourself out to dry, the same way that a climber works out her holds so that when she has only her right hand free, the next hold isn't three feet to her left. When you make a mistake, you laugh and pick yourself back up and go up the wall again, because it isn't a pass/fail test. It's a game. You have a sense of glee that you share with the route setter about solving this incredibly intricate puzzle almost--in a weird way--together.

What that means is, (1) playing piano, which I have always loved, is now infused with a sense of fun that it truly has never had; (2) I know what I'm learning--not just "music" but the route up the wall, the game that underlies the performance; (3) when I'm fumbling through a new chunk of music, I know why I'm fumbling. It's not because I'm stupid or the music is stupid; it's because my brain is trying to process so much new information that it gets overwhelmed. That's why I miss easy chords and consistently play that damn C-sharp when the piece is written in G. Because THAT'S WHAT THE LEARNING PROCESS LOOKS LIKE.

But honest to god the idea of music as a game being played between composer and performer, and not a game like tennis, but a game like riddling--riddle set and riddle answered--is a seismic paradigm shift for me. Everything looks different now.
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[personal profile] siderea
Can somebody update me on the present legal status in the US of graphical user interfaces as intellectual property? Am I correct in believing they can't be patented (though the code can be copyrighted)?

What I really want to know: Can I rip off GVoice's old/retired web interface legally? Or more accurately, can I pay somebody else to do it for me with reasonable ability to assure them they won't go to jail or get sued into oblivion for doing it?

To be clear, there are some nifty functional subtleties I'd want to make off with, which I wouldn't even want to bother pretending I came up with on my own. For instance, there's some interesting algorithm for how texts are batched into threads which I haven't entirely reversed engineered, but make a huge difference in readability.
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[personal profile] oursin

Except some of it doesn't seem to be, o hai, I am now making an effort, it is more that various academic things (seminars, conferences, etc) that I had flagged up in my diary ages ago finally came up and were all within the space of a few weeks, I don't know, it's the 'like buses' phenomenon. And some of them I did do some social interaction at and others I just slipped in and out, more or less.

Have booked up, what I was havering about, the annual conference in one of my spheres of interest that I was usually wont to go to but have missed the (I think) last two because I was not inspired by the overall theme that year. And it's not so much that I'm not inspired by this year's theme, it's more 'didn't they do something very similar a few years ago and I did a paper then, and don't really have anything new to say on the subject', so I didn't do that, but I think that it would be a useful one to go to to try and get me back into the groove for that thing that the editor at esteemed academic press was suggesting I might write and talk to people (if I can remember how to do that thing) and hear what's going on, and so on.

Also had a get-together with former line manager, which between the two of us and our commitments involves a lot of forward planning, but it was very nice to do it.

Have also done some (long) and (a bit less) outstanding life admin stuff, which I both feel pleased about and also as if I haven't actually done anything, which is weird.

Did I mention, getting revised article off last week, just before deadline? and then got out of office email from the editor saying away until end of month. WHUT. The peeves were in uproar.

And generally, I am still working out what I do with the day when it does not begin with posting an episode of Clorinda's memoirs and go on with compiling the next one. Okay, there are still snippets to come, but they come slowly.

Good Story. Dodge the Extras

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:27 am
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 Jolene Nicole Jones.  WARNING:  DO NOT CLICK FOR THE "INCREDIBLE BODY TRANSFORMATIONS" which are weight-loss pictures, and HALT THE VIDEO halfway down the page.  (Or visit her Facebook site.  I don't do Facebook.)

Life imitates Illuminatus! again

Jul. 20th, 2017 02:33 pm
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[personal profile] supergee
J. Beauregard Sessions sez, “Don’t let them immanentize the eschaton.”

ETA: And Clarence Thomas understands civil forfeiture better than he does.

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Edmund Schweppe

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