What I'm Reading Now:
- Long Hidden, edited by Rose Fox and Daniel José Older: I bought the ebook version of this at WisCon last year, and have been slowly working my way through it, though this last week I picked up the pace. (I am somehow not very good at reading anthologies; I love short stories as a form/genre but I tend to read, like, one in between novels.) So far I have liked most all of the pieces I've read. Most recently I finished Meg Jayanth's “Each Part Without Mercy” and it's my favorite so far. I loved it so much I wanted to read it again, right away.
- Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro: I just read issue #3 last night and, oh gosh. I am loving this book a lot, loving the approach, loving the way it's so up front about everything, loving the essays published in each issue. Highly recommended. (And have heard that the essays are exclusive to issues & won't be included in the trades? So worth a trip to the comic shop.)
Other Media Consumed:
This is only a partial list (the highlights version), but of note of late...
- Star Trek: It has been a Trek BONANZA in our house lately. Were still watching DS9 together, and I had been working through an Original Series watch-through by myself, because N was not into watching it at all. But then he caught a few episodes with me, and was party to a few conversations (hey, general_jinjur, I think you might have swayed him a bit), and now TOS is all we've watched for a couple of weeks. To the extent that he is now AHEAD of me in a full watch-through, because I went away for the weekend last week. This has been really great for me, because I feel like Trek in general (particularly TOS and TNG) is really formative, probably my earliest fandom, and so to have N developing a real interest in (and genuine appreciation for) TOS has enabled a lot of really fun, interesting conversations. (Notable: N's ongoing bafflement that younger!me had a strong fixation on Chekov, b/c Chekov in the series is... kind of terrible? Sort of a Wesley? Which really explains everything, I guess, but hey. Younger!me does not have to answer for her crushes.) We also watched Star Trek IV a couple weeks ago during Friday Night Hangouts, b/c we had the right friends over & the right number of beers, and it was a goddamn DELIGHT.
- Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance): We saw this yesterday and I really, really liked it. Some difficult subject matter at times -- the film is, in many ways, about mental unraveling, and it uses that to create a tension that I found uncomfortable at times, though not in a way that was overly painful/triggery or offensive. The performances are pretty much universally outstanding, and Iñárritu has done some incredible work. Great, bold stuff, some really interesting meta-narrative stuff to think about, equal moments of giddy fun and excitement at a film doing something bizarre and real moments of emotional depth.
- Crusader Kings II: Way of Life - Yeah, so, like... maybe you've already heard about the fact that I have logged more than 375 hours of play on CK2. Perhaps you have heard the charming "spreadsheets with music" story. I've snagged every expansion for this game (most recently grabbed Charlemagne when Steam had it 75% off), and while the expansions have done things like add in more cultures/religions/map regions, expand the timeline, add various different modes of play (merchant-prince type features, etc), I had heard complaints that Way of Life didn't add anything significant. After playing *mumblety* hours in WoL this week, I can see why -- the alterations that WoL makes are entirely RP/story based. In this sense, it's not an expansion in the way CK2 has typically done them, and the way it shifts gameplay is a bit more subtle. If you are someone who is really into the military strategy part of the game, this doesn't add much but some stat boosts. For someone like me, who basically plays this game to spin out intricate dynastic stories in my brain as I go (kind of the same reason many people play Dwarf Fortress) WoL is an essential expansion. It makes those RP & story aspects more concrete, and encourages players to make determinations about what kind of person each ruler in the line is aiming to be. Really interesting stuff, and at a base price that's half what the usual price is for an expansion, well worth it.
Attention! Fans of Andre Norton
March 17, 2015
Marks ten years since the world has been without Andre Norton.
Andre-Norton-Books.com will be doing a special tribute to (t)he Grand Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy
We have a special gift to share with all of Andre’s fans.
Please honor Andre by emailing us with any words of tribute
that you wish to share with Andre and her fans.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: We will not be collecting your email address
To be included in the tribute on the 17th please send emails by the 15th
So desamo.clothing is up and running. (desamo, btw, is DEirdre SAoirse MOen. It’s an email address I thought up for myself the day I started at Apple so no one would have to spell my various names.)
At 9:23 pm, got an email about a T-shirt theme that integrates with Amazon, Teespring, and others. I first saw the theme yesterday….
At 10:44 pm, bought the theme.
At 11:01 pm, registered the domain for the theme. (I’d been thinking about it even before I heard of the theme. It’s just a lot of work without the right one.)
Then I did all the usual:
- ran a script to create a new WordPress site with my usual fluff
- tuned the plugins and theme
- created a git repository and put everything in
- created a remote git repository & pushed to remote
- created the unix user on my server (and forgot to add it to the web group, doh!)
- created the zone file for apache
- added in the SSH keys to push data in
- pushed all the data in
- activated the theme
- imported some shirts
Oops, no pics!
Because I’d forgotten to add to the web group so no write permission for the pics. Being tired, that took three tries.
Still, all done and set up and running by 1:20. With pictures, this time.
More Stuff Later at desamo.clothing
I still have to figure out how to pull in my existing designs that are in other places, too, so it’ll mix them in among other designs. Should be some fun code.
Speaking of whom, it's nearly International Women's Day. :) Is there a woman you'd like to draw to my attention, as being someone I can cheer for on the day? Just a name, or a name and an internet link, if you like, or more, if you like!
The end of the three-sentence ficathon is getting very close - and I'll be losing a day and a half on a worktrip tomorrow and Saturday. I hope I can manage a fill or two more, or a prompt or two more before the end.
Today's off to more of a mixed start. I managed to lose a block of work on a random story I started when I woke up even though I was moving it from one app that has auto save to another app that has auto save. Whoops. It was just a beginning, and it probably would have been heavily revised, but that's the sort of thing that can rob momentum.
The other thing I've done today is something I've been meaning to do for a while. I dropped the prices of the MU omnibus ebooks so they're all the same price, and all $4.99. I can't say if they'll stay at this price, or for how long. I created the omnibus project at the request of existing readers... I never expected them to appeal to people who aren't already fans, but I've found some anecdotal suggestion that 1) they are but 2) the price makes them hesitate. I could try to make a logical case for why they were worth the prices I put them at, and maybe I'd even be persuasive, but I couldn't address it to each and every person who sees it on Amazon and considers it before flinching and closing the tab.
I've often counseled other writers not to confuse the price of their work with the value of their work; I feel my work is most valued at the intersection where the most people are reading it and I'm getting the most money, not where each individual person is paying the highest possible price.
So this is an experiment. Will the lower price generate enough of a sales lift to make it worthwhile? We'll see.
Find them on Amazon here, and in my indie store here. The indie store sells multi-format bundles with formats for Kindle readers and other ebook readers, and includes two formats (HTML and PDF) that you should be able to read right on your computer just by double-clicking it. All of my ebooks no matter where you buy them are DRM free (even from Amazon). You don't just have my permission to make backups or any conversions necessary for you to enjoy them, you have my sincere belief that it's your absolute right to do so.
Cool Stuff Friday jumped the gun this week, on account of something else Jim will be announcing tomorrow.
- Russian Photographer Captures The Cutest Squirrel Photo Session Ever (Link via Cats, Beavers, and Ducks.)
- Pets Interrupting Your Reading (Also from Cats, Beavers, and Ducks.)
- Cats Using Dogs as Pillows
- LEGO TARDIS Interior, by Thorsten Bonsch. I’ve seen LEGO builds of the TARDIS before, but this takes it to a whole new level.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
This has led to the Chabad rabbi from Manchester phoning everybody he has contact details for, railing about how terrible it is to let a woman read the Megillah, the ceremonial scroll of the book of Esther for Purim. I don't know where he's coming from halachically, considering that reading Megillah is the one thing that even most gender-essentialist sources say that women can do, but there you go. He's been threatening that the community will be cursed if they do this very important mitzvah wrong, and also trying to bribe people by offering to hold a break-away service in the pub and buy everybody drinks if they come and listen to his reading instead of my gender-inappropriate one.
My lovely community were unanimously loyal to me, partly because we don't like random Chabadniks showing up and trying to cozen the community away from our synagogue. And at least in part because everybody prefers my fun dramatic reading where I do all the dialogue in silly voices and give snarky summaries in English and make Haman talk like Nigel Farage, over the rabbi's very fast mumbly chant in a thick Yiddish accent. I am so tempted to dress up as the Chabad rabbi next year, with a false beard, and offer people cheap vodka and sawdusty excessively parve cakes, but maybe that wouldn't be in good taste. But this is another chapter in an ongoing saga.
In fact I dressed up as a backwards person, wearing a mask on the back of my head and a jacket and shirt buttoned at the back, plus my hair in a ponytail over my forehead, which caused much amusement. It was a smaller purim than we sometimes have, as several of our regulars are away and most parents didn't want to bring children to a weekday evening event. We did have an Elsa and a mummy, who both found presents they wanted in my bag of kids' presents, so that was something. Reverend Malcom Weisman turned up, not particularly in his capacity as minister for small communities but just because he was on the way home from Lancaster and wanted to drop by and hear Megillah, and he was very supportive.
And then I went out for meal at the local Italian that was offering a mid-week deal, and on to Hector Garcia's for a cocktail instead of dessert. Their special was a tiramisu drink, made of kahlua and vodka and cream and flavoured with vanilla and chocolate. I like cream-based cocktails, and I liked sitting in this somewhat chain-ish but pleasant tapas bar drinking my dessert and drunk-texting people to say I love them. Some of my friends were especially lovely and said they'd have a cocktail that evening, so I was sort of virtually drinking with friends instead of by myself. And I do love all the people I said it to, and I don't have to be drunk to say so, just I was in a particularly sentimental mood, having successfully run an event and settled down to relax with alcohol.
Also thanks to kass for pointing to Purimgifts and explaining how to navigate the AO3 page for it. I've been having a lot of fun browsing through stories that are either midrash, or are in fandoms I'm familiar with. I particularly enjoyed In the citadel of Susa, a Vashti POV take on Esther.
Got in early. Was scared I'd calculated my calendar wrong, but actually hadn't. I arrived at a few minutes after 10, but the customer call wasn't until 11. The researchers did their thing, so I was off the hook as far as notes went.
Lunch was nice. There were only bell peppers in like two of the things, and those could be avoided. Thank fuck. I had a burrito.
I first got into a ticket war with, and then avoided, a helpdesk guy. (He closed it saying it was a dupe of another. I re-opened it because my symptoms were entirely the fuck different. He IMed me. I set myself to away after about 10 minutes.)
I mentioned to Purple a crush I may have started to develop, on an engineer with no known disqualifications. Purple teased me gently.
Helldesk apparently did not dump a load of ghost notifs on me today. I am sort of surprised.
I promised Carmageddon that I could come in for notes for the Thursday late-morning research. Yay.
I am so, so, so proud of fishie, who has been doing things that she might not have had the nerve to do even three months previous. Based on a little bit of experimentation with a lowball dose of her anxiolytic, she may have discovered a dose that is still effective, but she feels safe taking while in a public place.
Purple has now encountered the Men Explain Things To Me article, and IMed me with thoughts as he was reading through it. He identified the largest number of clue-averse, Pathologically 'Right' splainers in his life as 'Nutrition And Health Expert' women. We discussed Oblivious And Pathologically 'Right' Splaineyness as a cross-gender trait. Then I asked him whether he would consider me a misogynist. He wouldn't, but saw my point that hating women was not a man-only trait. Then I mentioned that despite not actually disliking other women, I had in fact discounted the technical expertise of other women, just because I am so steeped in a culture which undervalues and dismisses women's technical expertise. Hello unconscious bias! Then he hit the part where none of the men who had condescended their ignorant asses off to this woman had ever actually apologized. He was appalled, because saying sorry is his first step when he's wrong. Then he dug a bit into some of the body language based biases he has, and how that has the potential to go wrong based on other common things. I like this one and I should like to keep him around.
I told him about BJ vs. the Phone Cord. Fuckin' BJ.
Pi Day is approaching. I expressed my hope for pie. radius expressed his pie recipes. I tagged his wiki page helpfully.
Purple declared that he was thinking about escape around 7. Around 7:15, I pinged him to see where he was. He could finish that up at home, actually; he'd be right there!
Five minutes later, and no Purple. I puttered around putting little things to rights (hanging up a phone left on a conference line for two extra hours, re-doing my calendar, doing a checklist) and he eventually appeared.
I have learned that one of the inevitabilities of having a Purple in my life is that Purple has a lot of friends. Purple knows a lot of people. Despite his best intentions, he can have unexpected hallway conversations that last an hour. I am occasionally the beneficiary of these. I am lucky enough to be a person with whom he enjoys quasi-scheduled parking lot conversations. There's only so much time in his weeks. So how can I actually complain when someone else gets some time? This time it was only about 15-20. He was still sheepish.
One of my nails got a near-perfect coat of polish. Since it was some good polish, it dried before it could get scuffed, and the top coat dried before it could get scuffed either. Showing off nail polish in the low light of the parking lot is hard.
When I got home, I labeled BPAL and reviewed my step count. March 4th = bump-up. Whee!
Have feeling this has made the rounds before? Spotted on FaceBook -
You know how people buy drinks for girls in bars? Why can't people do that in book stores? Like if I'm looking at a novel in Barnes and Noble and some person walks up to me and strikes up a conversation and offers to buy the book for me there is a lot better chance of that working out in their favor. I'm going to reblog this until it's a cultural norm.
Introvert reader sez NO!
Is this not a fundamental misunderstanding of why people are in bookshops and their expectations of that space, akin to letting interior designers loose on that strange-to-them notion of books in a house?
Also, if this is seen as equivalent to the bar scene, I feel that it's not so much 'people' doing the picking up by buying drink for 'girls', as there's an implicit men-picking-up-women scenario built in, so that
a) O HAI this becomes yet another venue for men to hit on women who are going about their business.
b) I also envisage that the men don't come up and offer to buy the book the woman's reading, what they do is try and force her to read by buying it for her some book they admire rather than the one she wants, with optional dissing on what she's actually looking at.
(Especially with the sad decline of specialist women's bookshops, where, yes, one can envisage this playing out differently perhaps.)
Wot, me, cynical?