Also, the fic is incredibly awesome and the slow-burn romance is sometimes hilarious and the OC's deserve a novel of their own.
I've been enjoying Jewish Bucky in other fics; it makes a delightful contrast to Steve's well-known Catholicism, and a secret they kept together during the war, possibly along with the secret of their orientation. (Secretly Gay!Steve and Secretly Gay!Bucky are also good headcanons, but it's not like those are remotely unique to this fandom.)
Ring the Bell Backwards was in the Stucky zine from k'start, and it's sweet and achy and hard to read more than once. (In a good way.) Canon-compliant through Civil War, and exactly the kind of plot we have fanfic for - the comics could never do this.
4F by stoatsandwich is a skinny!Steve AU that's a bit darker than my taste for the pairing runs, but when I first ran across it, I slammed through the whole series. Mind the tags; don't read if you don't like that kind of content, because this fic pulls no punches. Also locked to archive accounts.
What's in a Name is shorter, very introspective, and Bucky's Jewish background is part of what helps him rebuild his identity. Says it's the first of a series, but there's no other works, and it's been a couple of years, so it's likely abandoned. But it does nicely stand on its own.
three white horses was posted yesterday, so I'm getting in on the recs game before it shoots to the top of the kudos-sorted lists. Whoa yah, I will read that again. ... Eventually. (Mind the tags & warnings, if you care about that kind of thing.) This is the one that convinced me, "oh hey... this is like a Thing, isn't it? I could go find more fics with this tag?"
And there's more highly-kudosed fics that I haven't read, so I'm looking forward to exploring all those YAAAY.
So, the LastPass blank dropdown menu and blank search results panel is very annoying. The dev hasn't updated the add-on since June and is responding to exactly zero complaints about this and other issues on his Firefox review page, though there might easily be dozens.
Which came to bite me, too, when Firefox finally let me have their latest multiprocess (e10s), 64-bit compatible version earlier this week (e10s is still automatically disabled if you install any add-on that isn't yet e10s capable); ever since I've had both LastPass problems, and saw others are having them, too [Example 1, Example 2, Example 3].
To fix these issues, just switch back to Firefox 32-bit. It's not even necessary to remove Fx 64-bit. It's actually better if you don't, so Firefox can just poke around in your profile folder and recreate the Firefox you've got in the 32-bit version you're about to get (just be sure to create a shortcut or a target that you can easily tell apart from the 64-bit icon).
32-bit Firefox runs LastPass perfectly, fixes the blank dropdown list of log-ins for each site and fixes search result panels showing up blank.
For everyone leaving bitter reviews [Example 1, Example 2, Example 3] and sharing the version number that allegedly works better [Version 4.1.62a]: I tried it in 64-bit Firefox, but it gave me all the same blank dropdowns as before.
My guess is the problems are not confined to any particular version. After I installed the May 31st version and saw the same issues it became clear the latest version is not at fault - it's 64-bit Firefox - and I'll gander that's no matter which version of LastPass going back to the earliest 56*-capable version you pick.
So if you've got 64-bit Firefox, try going back to 32-bit (here are the 32-bit installers. If you have automatic updates turned off, keep checking the directory for the latest). Run Firefox 32-bit with whatever version of LastPass you have and see if that fixes the problems.
After that sensory input, I almost feel like I need a cigarette.
The one major thing I was sad about re: our trip to Quebec–other than the saga of Dara’s lost luggage, and I’ll get to that–was that I got to spend only a few hours in Montreal. And that was only because the travel plans meant I had a bit of buffer time between when I arrived at the hotel, and when I needed to rendezvous with the shuttle going to Camp Violon Trad.
Because, fortunately, there was in fact going to be a shuttle. The camp’s staffer in charge of communicating with campers, when she sent out a notice in June telling us what to expect, mentioned that they’d be running a shuttle from downtown Montreal up to where Camp Violon Trad actually happens. I was quite happy about this news, because this meant I didn’t have to try to rent a car and navigate my way northward through a French-speaking province.
(Note that the street signs at this point probably wouldn’t have given me a problem. I’m good enough with reading French at this point that I can figure out roughly where I am, if I need to. The tricky parts would just be not being familiar with any specific traffic laws in Quebec. Or if I had to pull over for directions, or got pulled over by a cop or something–because then I’d have to try to communicate and my conversational French is not up to speed yet. But that was also part of why I wanted to go to Camp Violon Trad. More on this to come, too.)
What amused the hell out of me about the camp shuttle was this: the designated pickup point was right by the Berri-UQAM Metro station. Which, as it turns out, was about the only part of Montreal I knew anything about, because when Dara and I had spent our weekend there in 2012, that very corner was right by the hotel we stayed at, the Lord Berri.
This meant that I also knew that there was an Archambault there, and I knew there were a lot of shops and restaurants and things within immediate walking distance. So, that gave me at least a bit of buffer time, long enough for running errands and having a brunch, between “leaving the hotel” and “rendezvousing with the shuttle”.
Getting out of the hotel
Getting out of the hotel was a bit of a challenge. I knew that in theory there was a bus I could take from the airport to the aforementioned Metro station, and I remembered that on the way in the night before, I’d walked past a kiosk that looked like it had information for the bus in question. But I got a little lost walking around with my luggage through the airport–which, now that it was a much saner morning hour, was a lot busier than when I’d arrived the night before.
Turned out I’d come down onto the wrong floor. I had to backtrack a bit, but ultimately, found that kiosk. And determined that I had to buy a pass that’d cost me ten bucks (Canadian). This struck me as expensive. But on the other hand, it was still significantly cheaper than paying for a taxi.
The bus in question, the 747 (not to be confused with the jet, lol), had a stop not far from the ticket kiosk. So I got out there and soon enough was on my way.
It was awfully bright that morning, so I had my sunglasses on. This impacted my ability to look at things en route, but I did notice that Montreal was undergoing a lot of construction. Rather like Seattle, in that respect.
Once I was off the bus
The bus route was very straightforward: get on the bus at the airport, and get off the bus at its very last stop. So there was no risk of confusion or anything in that regard.
There was a bit of confusion as I was turned around regarding what street I was on once I was off the bus, but that was easily corrected. I found the Archambault (and the Lord Berri right beside it) as landmarks quickly enough. And that let me orient myself on the plan I had for the morning: go to a pharmacy a couple blocks north of the Archambault, then go to the Archambault, then go find something to eat, and finally, rendezvous with the shuttle.
On the way to the pharmacy (and back again, for that matter) I got panhandled in French. Or at least, one active panhandle and one attempt to see if I spoke French, but which I suspected was a panhandle. I was rather amused by that, just because being panhandled in a different language was at least a bit of a switch.
I was also deeply amused by this, which was not something I expected to see in Montreal.
Apparently, at least one Elvis impersonator is a big deal there. Ha!
The Archambault was the major errand I wanted to run (the pharmacy was just for necessities). And what I wanted was Tolkien things in French! I nabbed a French translation of The Silmarillion: this one, to be specific. And I bought the Blu-ray set of The Lord of the Rings movies again, but this time because this set actually had French dubs of all three movies. The US releases we’ve already bought–both the DVDs and the Blu-rays–do not have French dubs, which baffles the hell out of me. Portuguese, yes. French, no. To this day I do not for the life of me understand that particular marketing decision!
I amused the clerk at the counter telling him I wanted to practice my French by doing the reading, and by watching the French dubs of the movies. He tried to warn me that The Silmarillion is not exactly an easy book to follow. I assured him that I had read it repeatedly in English, so yes, I was very, very aware. ;D
I’m pretty sure I provided at least a bit of amusement of my own to passersby on the street, just because I was dragging my suitcase around behind me, with my backpack on top of it so I wouldn’t have the weight of it on my back. And of course, I also had my fiddle, which was what I was carrying on my back instead, since it was lighter than the backpack. This led to multiple conversations with people about how I was in the middle of a lot of travel and was on my way north for the next leg of my journey.
Finally I did make it to Juliette et Chocolat, which had been recommended to me on Facebook as a good source of brunch. And which, in fact, I was pretty sure I’d remembered going to in 2012. The brunch was in fact excellent. So was the dessert, a thing called “petit pot fleur de sel”, which was all chocolate-mousse-y and salted-caramel-y and gracious that thing was tasty.
Eventually I wandered around as much as I felt I was up for wandering around. Half of me really wanted to go to the Café des chats, one of Montreal’s cat cafes, but it was just a bit too far of a walk when I was hauling luggage around with me. So I finally just parked for a bit at the corner, sat in the shade, and hung out playing Gummy Drop on my iPad; while I was doing that, I had another random conversation with a gent amused by my stack of luggage.
That didn’t kill enough time, so I got up and wandered off again to go into a nearby coffeeshop for a cold beverage and a visit to a ladies’ room. And that accomplished, I came back again and finally found some folks waiting in a little cluster with violin cases and other luggage.
I’d found the Camp Violon Trad crowd!
Waiting for the shuttle
I discovered to my surprise that I was not actually the only person from the extended Seattle-area session crowd. One of the other ladies waiting for the shuttle was another Seattle person. So that was awesome to discover. 😀 Turned out we had a bit of a wait on our hands, once we greeted one another and exchanged names and such. None of us were particularly sure which corner the shuttle would be showing up on, or even what kind of vehicle we were looking for.
It was a good thing for me that there was public municipal wifi available, though, because that let me check my mail–and find an update sent out by the camp coordinator, Ghislaine, warning us that there had been a bit of a mixup as to vehicle rentals, and that there would be two drivers coming, but one was running late. Which ultimately meant that there’d be two cars for about six passengers, so we had to divide up who would ride with which driver.
The driver I rode with was a fellow named Luc. Who, as it turned out, is André Brunet’s cousin! He was very nice, and told me and the other two ladies riding with him that he taught English. The route he chose to take northward was a bit random, since he wanted to avoid the tunnel that runs underneath the St. Lawrence river, which is often very crowded. None of us minded, as it was a pleasant drive. I amused myself practicing reading signs we went past, as well as keeping up with the bilingual conversation going on in the car.
Once we made it to St-Côme, I was able to observe that it is a) tiny, and b) kind of adorable. The same applied to Plein Air Lanaudia, the site of Camp Violon Trad. There was a lovely lake there, a bunch of trees, and assorted chalets that we were all staying in.
But more on this in Part 3 of the trip report!
Mirrored from angelahighland.com.
But! Later Wise produced an extremely similar flavor called Mambo Mania. These were also delish, and may have actually just been the first chips with a new name. Those too, alas, went off the market.
Since then, I've spent a ridiculous amount of energy trying to find a chip with a similar flavor profile, to no avail. But if anybody ever produces one, I'm going to stock up.
Tribes hope for renewal in solar eclipse; not all will watch
How To Buy A Goat When You're Really Poor? Join A 'Merry-Go-Round'
How My Instagram Hacker Changed My Life
The Devil’s in the Details of These Dark Miniature Scenes
How one town learned to live with venomous rattlesnakes
The unlikely story of the undocumented attorneys fighting for the lives of their undocumented clients
Transgender Pakistanis Win Legal Victories, but Violence Goes On
Scorching heat, rolling blackouts: The West is changing how it does summer
Hospitals in Trump Country Suffer as Muslim Doctors Denied Visas to U.S.
What General Pershing Was Really Doing in the Philippines
The Company Behind Many Surprise Emergency Room Bills
Taking aim at China, India tightens power grid, telecoms rules
ISIS And The Middle East’s Vanishing Religious Minorities
How Syria continued to gas its people as the world looked on
Fentanyl linked to thousands of urban overdose deaths
Uganda struggles to cope as 1 million South Sudanese refugees pour in
In call to cancel debt, Cambodia asks: When war is over, who cleans up the mess?
Tracing The Dark Origins Of Charlottesville's KKK
Massive counterprotest upstages Boston "free speech rally"
Trump attacks Boston counter-protesters as 'anti-police agitators'
Trump's Racism Crisis Deepens Over His Barcelona Comments
I am not playing the "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger" game. It doesn't; it makes us injured and tired and afraid for our families. But I will say: We have endured worse; we fought back white supremacists when they had a lot more political and social pull. The must frustrating part of this whole struggle is the sense of, "weren't we DONE with this part already?"
No, we weren't. We squashed a lot of the overt oppression and racism and left it to fester, in part because we were just so damned tired, and in part with the hope that seeing a thriving nation would show how much healthier, happier, and more prosperous diverse cultures are.
Oops. We forgot that it's not really about having better lives for themselves or their children. It's all about having someone to lash out at, someone they could blame when times are hard and someone to crush when times are good.
I miss the music Leigh Ann would have made, but I am so glad to have the inspiration of the music she left: The Burning Times seems very appropriate this week.
I will not answer hate with fear;We have, sigh, been here before, and we have the tools we need to work against white supremacist poison, anti-gay poison, misogynistic poison, evangelical poison, and all the other toxins that seek to erode a vibrant, inclusive, kaleidoscopic, welcoming, joyfully celebratory society.
Nor with a smug, cheek-turning love;
I will not answer hate with rage;
By strength alone will I not be moved—
Rise up, witches, gather your strength,
And let your power spread and climb;
Earth and all her children need us,
For all face now the Burning Times.
I love the mystery of this secret. It might be a cantankerous response to the previous postcard. The next mega-exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum will be “The Great Mystery Show”. Several dozen mysterious PostSecrets will be included when it opens, however, this week is your last chance to see the current exhibit and secrets. If you have never been to the AVAM it is so worth a road-trip.
WordPress has been working with me to update and improve this blog. If you have any compliments or complaints please share them in the comments. Oh, and remember, if your suggestion is that I post more secrets, you need to mail me more postcards.
My family and I came across a picture that was hidden in my Great-Grandfathers wallet. He passed away 9 years ago. He was a solider in the Korean War and retired from the service after 20 years. The lady in the picture is not my Great- Grandmother to whom he was married to for 57 years. It has also come to light in the recent weeks, that he may have fathered a child while he was stationed in Fort Irwin.
My family and I are not sure if the woman in the picture is of his supposed child. However, there is a cryptic message written on the back of the photo that none of us can out how to go about translating it. We are unaware what language it is written in. My best friend told me to seek your help in finding out what the message is. I really hope you can help us!
The general idea, as transmitted in one of the orientation sessions I went to, was to show up, stand tall, and nnnnnot let ourselves get drawn into confrontations by the white supremacists, who would be trying their darndest to make this happen.
So I got decked out in my "I stand by my Muslim neighbors" t-shirt and wandered down to Roxbury Crossing, found fairly organized Socialists a-plenty, and got the best poster off them ever. Picture with a new friend from much later in the march, slight content warning for concentration camp imagery:
( One cuts pictures. )
They also had lynching ones, but basically I'm squicked by blood and gore, whereas the concentration camp one might well be triggering to some, but it also had people pausing to look at it, nodding to me soberly, and moving on. (I also got several high-fives for the shirt.)
Anyway, I eventually found the actual Black Lives Matter march leaders, plus Tito Jackson (candidate for mayor) doing his best preachin', and then we got started late. (Because, it is a march and it is required.) Soon enough, I stumbled onto my brother and his wife, or more accurately he stumbled across me while admiring my poster, and had marching partners. (I was going to hook up with Dedham Unitarians, but I couldn't find them.)
Since we started late, and because 20,000 marchers move slowly, we missed the so-called "Free Speech Rally" entirely, since they got shuffled off at 1:30 or so, and I wasn't even to the Common by that point, I think.
I did encounter some AntiFa-plus-BLM activists around 3:30 or so down by Park Street T stop, who had found some of the white supremacists who (for agitation reasons) had stuck around. One of them got pizza thrown at him (which almost hit me as I ducked into the convenience store), and then another one was rather literally surrounded by people *entirely* willing to argue with him until the cows came home, so I figured that was pretty much covered and bailed. As it turns out, there was a little bit of violence after that, but not much at all.
About 25 arrests for minor things, and a white supremacist arrested for carrying a gun without a permit or something similar. There were also some people throwing rocks (and bottles filled with piss, wtf?) at the police, sigh. Overall, the police were incredibly helpful during the march, and then got somewhat violent as the day progressed, but they were only slightly more pissy than I expected. Overall, worth thanking.
Link smatterings: Scale of the so-called "Free Speech Rally", as compared to counter-protestors. Roxbury Crossing area, around when things started, some Globe photos.
Continuing Harvey Dent's 75th anniversary I'm going to be posting a few comics featuring Two-Face by Greg Rucka. I don't know if I'd call him the definitive writer for the character but he gets his mindset and has written for him on several occasions. This was first try at the bat so to speak.
( Scans under the cut... )
The Yes California Independence Campaign has relaunched with a new president. Marcus Ruiz Evans, a co-founder of Yes California who previously served as the organization’s vice president, has taken the helm.Revised website | Revised propaganda book
Among the first actions Evans took in his new role was to close the doors of the organization’s embattled representational embassy and culture center opened last year in Moscow, Russia.
They need to file their revised referendum by Aug 22, which is next Tuesday; they're asking for donations for the filing fee. (I am not donating. I'm pretty sure that people with a lot more money to spare than I have support this, and if that's not the case, this is going absolutely nowhere.)
I love the idea; I am entirely certain it can go nowhere. They make a nice case for "How California could work as its own nation;" the whole thing assumes that the rest of the US would let us go. Not gonna happen.
( No way is the rest of the nation going to allow us to remove our resources. )
At length, it seemed like it was a good day to try.
My reliable source for understanding the principles behind what I'm cooking is Serious Eats. So I read through the pie crust stuff again. (Incidentally, the site is a clickbait hole for DELICIOUSNESS.)
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces; 350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85 milliliters) cold water
I looked at the amounts involved.
There was no way that I was going to be able to fit all that flour and butter into my food processor, which is an attachment to my stick blender. I looked closely at the amounts.
It so happens that the ratio of cups of flour to sticks of butter is 1:1. So I decided that I could make a test batch, one cup and one stick. The salt and sugar is less important, and in fact the sugar is kind of not what I wanted for a pasty dough.
I put 2/3 of the flour together with the butter and a bit of salt, then added a little water and more of the flour. (Probably not how I should have done it.) Then I mixed it in a larger bowl with a little more water. My hands are rather hot, so I tried to cool them down with ice.
I wrapped it up in cling wrap and let it cool off in the refrigerator. I pulled it out a few hours later, and quartered the dough. I saw that it had distinct stacked layers, like a good steel blade. I was thrilled.
I rolled it out in the best tradition of my mother, between two sheets of parchment paper. (There is no rolling pin in this kitchen. I used a glass.) I stuck it back in the refrigerator, still between the sheets, to wait while I prepared the filling. (Parchment paper and waxed paper are easier to handle than cling wrap, for this.)
This was not a Cornish pasty. wohali said something about a chicken curry pasty, and I went "Oooo!" and she advised that you can use pretty much any chicken curry recipe, just dryer than usual.
I went for it.
My basic chicken curry is chicken plus a brick of golden curry sauce plus assorted vegetables, and oil as needed. This time I decided to cook the chicken thigh meat so it would be easy to separate from the bones in my multifunction fancy rice cooker, along with some spiced oil left over from a previous recipe, and some dry onions. I cooked the vegetables and the curry brick separately, only combining them all (and some potato flakes to sop up water and oil) at the end. My partner is much better at handling chicken meat in all its phases than I am, and stripped the meat from the bones before I mixed them together.
I did roll it too thin, and I let it get too hot when filling it.
Despite the holes, I stuck the crust together with egg wash, and egg washed the outside. (I used the leftover egg wash to make a little bit of curry scrambled egg, which my partner ate on top of their salad.)
I'd wisely said that if the food was not going to be ready by 10pm, we should eat something else. The pies came out of the oven just as we were finishing chicken nuggets, but we still had enough room to test half a pie each.
I will be making these again. And the dough process is relatively simple with the tools at hand, so my partner (who can follow a recipe, but isn't yet the cocky ass in the kitchen that I am) may wind up learning the process too.
I put together a bit of sweet pie dough just now, and it's chilling in a ball in the refrigerator. I'm thinking that some fruit pies might be in order...
I wanted to repost it since it seems to equate "With great power comes great responsibility" to "Must punch bad guys in the face."
( Arnim Headroom? )
What Kind of Monuments Does President Trump Value?
Where Statues Go to Retire
The Pernicious Myth of the ‘Loyal Slave’ Lives on in Confederate Memorials
Free Speech or Hate Speech? Civil Liberties Body ACLU Will No Longer Defend Gun-Carrying Protest Groups
Robert E. Lee's Direct Descendant Denounces Charlottesville White Nationalists: 'There's No Place For That Hate' (In this, he follows in his ancestor's footsteps. Lee himself made it clear he wanted no statues. They were put up after he wasn't around to protest anymore.)
The men in charge of all the branches of the US military have denounced racism and broken with President Trump's encouragement of racists.
The Charlottesville furor is the latest example of the chaos that can result from Trump’s temper and refusal to back down.
Charlottesville Police Refused to Protect Synagogue From Nazis, so Jewish Community Hired Armed Security for First Time
In Charlottesville aftermath, Europe sees widening divide with US
The Trickle-Up Theory Of White Nationalist Thought
What if Western media covered Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations
White Supremacist Who Boasted About Being 'Ready for Violence' Cries Over Possible Charlottesville Arrest Warrant (Boo-hoo-hoo.)
Weeping Nazi started off as a “men’s rights activist,” which is no huge surprise
As he coddles neo-Nazis, Trump’s political isolation increases
Fellow Republicans assail Trump after he defends Confederate monuments
He ‘Went Rogue’: President Trump’s Staff Stunned After Latest Charlottesville Remarks
I'll work my way up to it. I just get antsy thinking people will sneer.
(And now I'm thinking people will sneer because I didn't reciprocate. I can't win.)
On the plus side, my TBR list is full for at least a month. So thanks :)
Why It’s Better to Carry Weight on Your Head
The Newlyweds and their Baby Were America’s First Comic Book Family (1907) (These punchlines could come at the end of any modern hand-wringing about helicopter parents.)
Bacteria stab amoebae with micro-daggers
Britain's female wrestlers grapple with acceptance
When Astronomers Chased a Total Eclipse in a Concorde (I'm realizing now that I should've saved up these eclipse stories and then posted them all at once. Darn.)
Your City's 'Ghost Signs' Have Stories to Tell
Finding Somaliland's ancient cave art is hard. Protecting it could be harder.
Trump Administration Reverses Bottled Water Ban In National Parks
"What's 'smog' in Kazakh?" China language mix snags environment inspectors
The Surprisingly Important Role China Played in WWI
The real revolution in NKorea is rise of consumer culture
After brinkmanship, a diplomatic opening with North Korea
NASA's ambitious plan to save Earth from a supervolcano
Iconic Plague Images Are Often Not What They Seem
What Mormon Family Trees Tell Us About Cancer
As Confederate statues fall in U.S., Russians are erecting statues for dictator Stalin
Birds cut down by kite flying on Indian Independence Day
Britain 'confident' of new phase in Brexit talks by October
In Six Years the Number of Homeless Children in New York City Public Schools Jumped Nearly 50 Percent
Florida prisons — all of them — on lockdown
Sex Workers In Alaska Say Cops Are Abusing Their Power To Solicit Sex Acts
Think it’s hard for the white working class in rural America? Try being a person of color.
Despite Escaping To The U.S., These Brothers Are Still Terrorized By The MS-13 Gang
Bangladesh ramps up border patrols to deter fresh Rohingya inflow
Meet July, the Hottest Month Yet (In NYC it was actually cool and mild... which is exactly what was predicted would happen as the ice caps melt into the gulf stream, so you can't even enjoy it.)
The New Normal of U.S. Politics
U.S. forces to stay in Syria for decades, say militia allies
Sessions makes sweeping attack on Chicago’s sanctuary city policy
Trump Is Just Six Senate Votes Away From Impeachment
Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon fired
Bannon, basically: Trump’s campaign was a fraud
As Rich Thomas revealed at GenCon, I stepped back as developer of Werewolf: The Forsaken and Werewolf: The Apocalypse developer at Onyx Path a year and a half ago.
I didn’t say anything at the time as I was finishing the books I’d started — W20: Changing Ways and the Pentex Employee Handbook — but I have not started work on any new projects.
It was my decision as the amount of work at my day-job has stepped up considerably, and I am no longer able to give the lines the attention and time that they deserve. I’m not leaving the industry, but I’m back to doing writing and game design under the guidance and development of others. I’m also going to keep working on my own games, as I can take them at my own pace. I have nothing but respect for Rich and Rose and look forwards to the chance to write on Onyx Path books in the future.
Mirrored from ZeroPointInformation.
Christopher Brown, Tropic of Kansas. Apparently two different professional reviewers described this as “the feel-bad book of the summer,” which makes me laugh and yet is not entirely wrong. (I enjoyed this book.) It’s an alternate America torn apart by climate change, a fascist government, the surveillance state, and…alternate. Yes. It is indeed alternate. But there are parts that make you wince, and the “ultimately hopeful” ending promised on the cover is a…conditionally hopeful ending. It’s the kind of hopeful ending that involves burning down institutions that need burning down. Which, depending on your personality, may be upsetting for you right now or just what you need.
Lois McMaster Bujold, Mira’s Last Dance. Kindle. This is the latest Penric novella, and I felt that it completed the arc of a previous story rather than standing on its own. It explores a bit more of what exactly it means to have all of Desdemona’s previous hosts living in Penric’s head with their own identities, but it’s at novella length, not novel, while juggling action and romance along with it, so while it seemed to me to be handled respectfully, there was plenty of room to go into more of it if she continues with this series.
Italo Calvino, Collection of Sand. This was a series of essays, all very short, very erudite, very much in the vein of, “Huh, wouldja lookit that.” If someone is not going to get intimidated by it being Calvino, it’s an ideal bathroom book, despite not being screamingly marketed as Italo Entertains You On the John or anything like that. Short attention span theater of letters.
Zen Cho, The Terracotta Bride. Kindle. Another novella, this one set in a Chinese-Malaysian hell with all the theological implications of same–with technological developments appropriate thereto, and interpersonal relationships the same. There’s a lot packed into novella length here, and I liked it.
George MacDonald Fraser, The Steel Bonnets. A history of the Scottish-English border and the wars and raids they had and the period when they settled down into not so much having them. This had been on my library list for awhile, and I thought, well, I’ll give the first few pages a chance and send it back rather than have it languish indefinitely on my list. Fraser doesn’t do what a modern historian would do with the topic, but he’s plenty engaging. I had had quite enough of the exploits of various clans and their scions by the time I was done, but it was a fast read for its size and worth the trouble of getting it from the library; I’m glad I tried it rather than thinking that anything that was on the list that long was clearly not a priority.
Seanan McGuire, Down Among the Sticks and Bones. A novella prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, and…I feel like it undermined that book weirdly. Every Heart a Doorway did the not-obvious thing, it did the “what happens after” thing. Down Among the Sticks and Bones gives you the portal fantasy that begins it all. Except that of all the fantasy worlds hinted at in Every Heart a Doorway, it picks the most obvious, least interesting one to portray–and only one–and then gives a backstory that makes the plot of EHaD feel…like it makes a lot less emotional sense to me. I don’t want to be more spoilerific than that, but people who have read both and would like to talk should email me about the experience.
Naomi Mitchison, The Fourth Pig. This is a collection of Mitchison’s retold fairy tales, done in the 1930s. It is fascinating in its own right, it’s fascinating if you’re passionately interested in the Great Depression (which I am), and it’s fascinating if you’re interested in retold fairy tales and want a look at what they looked like before Angela Carter got at them. I’m slowly working my way through Naomi Mitchison (she and Gerald Vizenor and Rebecca Solnit are the triumvirate of the moment that way–write me a joke where they walk into a bar) and I’m very very glad to have gotten to this one.
Rebecca Solnit, Savage Dreams: A Journey Into the Hidden Wars of the American West. And speaking of whom. This is not what I thought it was. It is mostly about nuclear testing. It is a bit about Yosemite and how we construct ideas of wilderness and other legends of The West. But it is really, really substantially about nuclear testing, which is something I mostly had focused on when it was interesting from a physics standpoint; what Solnit illuminated in some ways and could not illuminate in others, was not trying to, was the category of nuclear testing that occurs when the physics has been settled, and as a recovering physicist that had an extra-special horror. I think there are ways in which she made some stabs at understanding the physicists involved and got some part of the way there and some ways in which…eehhhh. I love me some W.H. Auden, too, but he is not a source of all models for everything in life maybe? I mean, maybe I’m wrong, maybe he is, but we can at least talk about this. “W.H. Auden handed me a dichotomy!” You’re allowed to hand it back I think. Uncle Wystan is dear and beloved, but so are your 6-year-old cousins, and some of the things they hand you can be deposited in the trash and your hand washed thoroughly after. I am still glad I read this. But I spent moments making faces of not-really-no.
Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Cary Pietsch, et al, Lumberjanes: Sink or Swim. What is better than Lumberjanes? Lumberjanes with a focus on water myths. Yes. For sure.
Age: 21, turning 22 next month!
Location: Hawaii, USA
Subscription/Access Policy: Mostly friends-only, but I'd love to add anyone who shares similar interests!
Interests and hobbies: Right now, my main fandom is Hey! Say! JUMP/Johnny's Entertainment groups. I also like anime (Cardcaptor Sakura, Noragami, Sword Art Online, Owari no Seraph, Kuzu no Honkai, Kimi no na wa, Sukitte ii na yo, etc.) and video games (Persona 3 + 4 + 5, League of Legends, Overwatch, Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, etc.) , but my interest in those are wavering a bit. ;w; I passively try to become more fluent in Japanese, so anything in the language has a chance of piquing my interest, haha. Other than those things though, I don't have too many prominent hobbies, as I'm a student and I have a retail job, so I don't have too much free time. :<
Looking for: Anyone with similar interests, mostly HSJ/JE groups! ;w; I used to be on LJ back in the day and had a blast connecting with others in the same fandoms, but I've been having a hard time finding friends on DW. (._.);;
Darkness Is Good is gone, though no one seems able to figure how that came to be: 1,040,000 Google results pronounce HE'S FIRED while 1,360,000 Google results suggest he resigned - twice (the first time effective Aug. 14th, but in the uproar over Charlottesville I guess he forgot to take himself out the door, though it sounds like once things calmed down Kelly reminded him to pack his bags).
Though my title invites him to switch sides and come swing from the branches with us, we're more likely to collectively win Powerball tomorrow night - without buying tickets - than for him to switch sides, so yeah, surely I jest. Anyhow, he claims he's not racist and Orangado likes to echo him on that for whatever reason (they'd poll better as avowed and even belligerent "racists" with their be-all, end-all base, don'tcha think?) but with the mouth on him he's got, he can go pound sand.
He who indirectly brought an entire right-wing, white nationalist so-called "news" agency into the Oval Office - along with the first program to ever essentially automate a president's tweets, speeches, news conferences and rally notes - surely won't be too sorely missed, and while I'll let bygones be bygones, I won't forget his every-weekend mayhem-wrecking of earlier this year, and neither will the liquor store where I get the vodka I started drinking because of it.
On "the first program to ever automate a president's tweets, speeches, news conferences and rally notes", thank Bannon for working with - and for Trump being funded by - billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah. Cambridge Analytica does more damage to the Republican electorate - as low-information, conspiracy-embracing, false-danger-sensing and Faux Noize-prone as it is - than they could do to themselves.
And Bannon used it - this is my personal belief - to shape and script Trump's every public engagement, no matter how big or small. The general gist of his words was given to him daily by Bannon, after he distilled CA's results down into bullet points which he fed to Trump along with his well-done steaks and McDonald's.
That's my theory. But I have a strong hunch - beyond a hunch, I'd say I'm almost certain - that it's so, after Bannon's last words on that (and trust me, they were on that): "The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over". Does he say why? No. Does he drop hints? Sure. Try this (emphasis mine): "[...] that presidency is over. It'll be something else. And there'll be all kinds of fights, and there'll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over" and: ""There's about to be a jailbreak of these moderate guys on the Hill" — a stream of Republican dissent, which could become a flood."
When "asked what the turning point was" he blamed moderate Republicans, but the truth is without the messaging Cambridge Analytica gave him to advise Trump with, to keep the dude "on point" with his base, Trump will be like a little boy who can't find his way back home for the lost puppy he keeps chasing after in the woods.
To see why, you need only know how Cambridge Analytica works*: it uses deep data mining and polls social media for "likes" (the ubiquitous "thumbs-up"), then matches those data points against a "predictive personality model" to find its preferred targets. Right now it prefers right-leaning targets, but it could just as easily be programmed to prefer leftists or florists or Jehovah's Witnesses. As it finds new targets, it learns what each of them wants to see, watch, read and think about, then carefully spoons them more of the same, after tailoring it to their specific interests down to the most granular level. Think a bespoke Facebook or bespoke Twitter.
Which is how just one right-winger browsing Facebook might see video of a man arrested for flying a kite over, say, his state's (Democratic) governor's mansion last week that none of his Facebook friends will ever see because he in particular has shown a strong passion for kites, a strong dislike of Democrats, and happens to live in the same state where the criminal kite-flying occurred.
What CA does is reinforce each target's existing beliefs with more of the same until their thought processes are impossible to budge...almost like learning by rote. The end result is you take the base you want, shape it into the one you find the easiest to handle with the least amount of massaging, then use what you receive from the echo chamber you've created to target it even more repeatedly from within the Oval Office, on Twitter and Facebook, at rallies and pressers, or wherever. It's a brilliant, though insidiously awful, product.
And I'm making it sort of easy to grasp (I've read between 5-10 hours worth of articles over the last year in order to distill it down this much) but the sausage-making that goes into Cambridge Analytica is actually crazy-complicated, though suffice it to say, it works. It works almost too well. It's a form of AI which Mercer money - basically endless - has built into one of the best content and message-tailoring platforms on Earth.
Without it - assuming Bannon used it to influence Trump as much as I suspect he did, and that he pulled it for use in the Oval Office shortly before he was canned or resigned - Orangado will indeed soon be up the proverbial creek without his most precise, content-targeting paddle. But just as he said of Bannon: "We'll see what happens!"
*: Updated this paragraph shortly after posting to describe a bit better how Cambridge Analytica works.
Me: NINE HOURS OF SLEEP, STEAMY SHOWER WITH PINE AND MINT ESSENCE, NASAL RINSE, SALT-WATER GARGLE, ANTIHISTAMINE NASAL SPRAY, STEROID NASAL SPRAY, CLARITIN, AGGRESSIVE TOOTHBRUSHING
My body: —look, forget i said anything, okay?
I refuse to get sick. REFUSE. R E F U S E. J has had a horrid cough for a week and is on antibiotics and prednisone (when they prescribe prednisone to the guy with insomnia, you know it's bad), X is wrapping up a course of antibiotics for a throat infection, and J had to do that for his own throat infection last month. So far I've been fighting off all the respiratory bugs Kit brings home from daycare, but I don't take my ability to do that for granted. And I can't take most antibiotics without serious mood effects because apparently I depend on my gut flora for emotional management, so I have to be extremely diligent about my preventive care.
I'm going to go have spicy curry for lunch and drink some ginger honey tea. Fuck off, germs.
"Whenever it’s that level of shocking darkness, I think it gets you in the store. But I also genuinely believe that it’s been a really rough year for everybody, regardless of what political side you’re on. It’s a rough time. People are angry at each other. There’s a lot of divisiveness and terror out there about what’s going to happen, and from all corners. Metal is a story that’s about things that keep me and Greg up. It’s about the ways in which you can find yourself in a story that you didn’t think was possible, and it’s much darker than the one that you thought was inevitable." - Scott Snyder
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