Aliya Whiteley: Brushwork

Apr. 24th, 2017 20:45
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[personal profile] bibliogramma


Brushwork, by Aliya Whiteley, is a novella set in a dystopic, climate-changed future where real food, grown in biodomes and greenhouses, is a luxury for the rich and a target for agro-terrorism.

Mel - so called because her production area is the melon section - is one of the workers at a BlossomFarms facility. Like many of the workers, she has lived in the domes for years, sleeping in dormitories, eating synthetic food, never tasting the fruits she grows for the conglomerate's wealthy customers. When agro-terrorists break into the biodome, taking the facilities hostage in the name of the people who have never tasted fruit, everything changes - except the fact that workers remain workers, and no matter who is in charge, the hierarchy never changes until the workers themselves decide what is important to them.

One thing in particular that I enjoyed about this was the age of the protagonist and her co-workers, and the acknowledgement of generational issues we see around us in the world today - older people who did everything they were supposed to do, and feel betrayed without knowing who to blame. And the youth, knowing they will not have what they think was the birthright of their parents and grandparents. Both betrayed by the wealthy and powerful, but somehow blaming each other instead.


Note: Brushwork can be found online at Giganotosaurus:
http://giganotosaurus.org/2016/05/01/brushwork/

Weekend in Review

Apr. 24th, 2017 20:44
elanya: Pensive pony (Default)
[personal profile] elanya
I...forgot to do entries. Derp.

-The kids had a birthday party on Saturday afternoon, so I had the house to myself since both their parents went with. So quiet!
-Board games at the neighbours that night! We played telephone pictionary, Dominion, and Robo Rally. There should be a rule against starting a game of Robo Rally that close to eleven o'clock at night :p
-The kids also had a sleepover, so Sunday morning was So Quiet.
-We didn't have a game on Sunday for Various Reasons. I did some writing, it was really nice.
-More writing, knitting, and Jessica Jones last night.

Work today went fine. Things got fixed, other things got set up, it was fine. The internet went out-ish for part of the afternoon. I still had slack and mirc, but everyone was quiet so I went and did some vacuuming in the repository. Wooh!

Tonight, signups for the Raksura exchange, more of Dark Disciple, and more writing. I put in for a pinch it Space Swap, and if I get it, I will basically only have tomorrow to write it, so I'm going to have to start it tonight just in case.

Monday Yardening

Apr. 24th, 2017 19:36
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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today was sunny and warm again.  In various rounds of yardwork, I sprayed weed killer on the back yard around the old raspberry patch and under the mulberry tree, and pulled weeds around the forest garden.  I also put out my flat of wildflowers to get some sun, and brought them back in again. 

The certificate and sign for my Wildlife Habitat have arrived, so I'll need to find fixtures for displaying those.

The Book of Mormon

Apr. 24th, 2017 20:38
the_shoshanna: Uther Pendragon grinning (Uther approves)
[personal profile] the_shoshanna
Geoff and a friend and I went to see The Book of Mormon yesterday. It was fantastic!

I'm not generally a person who drops $110 on theater tickets (although I do know that's a reasonable price for this level of live theater!), but when I saw that it was coming to town a few months ago, I absolutely yelped, and immediately told Geoff and other friends that I was DEFINITELY going, whether they were or not. Then, after I had actually bought the ticket, I had a few moments of "yikes, what did I just do?" But really I had no doubt that it would be totally worth it, and oh, it totally was. The staging was amazing, the actors were phenomenal, I kind of want to walk around singing "Hasa Diga Eebowai," and also at some points it genuinely made me choke up.

(Okay, that's not hard. I've been known to cry at commercials for long-distance telephone service. But -- poor abandoned Arnold!)

I laughed harder than I've laughed in ages, especially watching skim-milk-pale missionaries singing "Africans are African, but we are Africa!" (Which, also, OUCH... My church, along with five hundred other UU congregations, is about to do a service and a teach-in on white supremacy.) And now I'm looking up the lyrics to that and other songs and discovering all kinds of layers I had no idea about. I mean, I never saw The Lion King, so apparently a ton of stuff went sailing over my head...

It wasn't perfect; the second act was weaker than the first, and in particular "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream" went on a bit too long. (As the perennial advice to vidders goes: "Get in, make your joke, get out.") But nonetheless -- oh, man, that was fantastic.

LOTR: a hasty riff on magic

Apr. 24th, 2017 17:15
sartorias: (JRRT)
[personal profile] sartorias
When Galadriel first offers to show her mirror to Sam, she mentions elf-magic. I think she is kidding him in a mild way because a little later when the subject of magic comes up again, she says she is not certain what they understand by “magic.”

I found this a big whoa as a kid, then I thought, well, of course, the elves are magic, so it’s probably invisible to them.

But on later readings, I’m not so sure that that isn’t too simple.

The other day, as I was waiting for my lunch to cook, I was out in the patio blowing bubbles. As the breeze took them up and away, and I watched the shimmer of colors, I was thinking about how innocent such art can be — if you want to call bubbles art. In this instance I’m defining art as something that strikes you as beautiful, that gives you that inward lift of the heart. You see them, or you ignore them; they don't fool you, they don't influence you, except perhaps to make you smile.

Writers who create secondary universes do not have to write about magic. There are many successful other-world and/or epic fantasies that have no magic in them. But most consider magic one of the perks of secondary universe creation: it's fun to imagine dragons, or being able to fly, or shape changing, or whisking the dust out of your rooms with a snap of a magic cloth. And of course the bad guys mark themselves as bad guys by using their magic as weaponry, to destroy, or to create ugly things for whatever (or no) purpose.

It is not my intent here to slamdunk any author's magic system. Most of them are pretty clever. Others are more generic, but if they help make a rousing story, what is the harm? In retrospect, the only kind of magic that irritates the fluff out of me is the one in which women (and somehow it is always women) have to remain virgin, i.e. "pure." Nobody seems to bother about the state of male sexual experience.

Now, if any flavor of gender has to remain celibate for reasons of self-discipline or sacrifice, that is a different matter. It’s akin to magic having a cost, whether you have to use your own blood—or someone else’s—or magic-making gives you a headache, or even makes you fall down unconscious. The self-discipline of magic is comparable to going to school, high school, college, and grad school: years of study and practice. Or, magic can be gained, earned, found, or won.

There is also the gamer magic, which has precise mathematical formulae and the spells work the same every time, just as geometric rules do.

Magic in short can be the equivalent of energy, or power. I, at least, perceive these as two very different things: energy being, for most purposes, neutral, but power implies influence at the least, and at the most dominion.

Years ago, when I first read and reread LOTR, I thought that magic was part of the Elvish nature and therefore sort of invisible to them, in the way we don’t think about our autonomic systems. This prompted those repeated reactions about not understanding what is meant by magic.

I assumed that Elvish magic in action was the equivalent of sympathetic magic, only it works. At least, the way I understand sympathetic magic is this: as you make something, the energy and effort of your work is meaningful, and your thought — whatever it might be — adds virtue to the thing you make. The elves think of nature when weaving their cloaks, so that the wearer takes on the appearance of nature, and is overlooked by inimical or indifferent eyes. Lembas is simple, unleavened bread, but made by hands whose heads are thinking strength and healing into it, so it carries virtue beyond its ingredients.

But on this reading I began to wonder if I was missing something. After all, if these elves are in effect made of magic, and we know that Galadriel is powerful, then why aren't they living in gorgeous palaces, dripping with jewels, wearing fantastic clothes, and pretty much existing in states of artistically conspicuous consumption? Well, we can point to Rivendell as an example of a lovely place, maybe even a palace, although the description makes it out to be more comfortable and appealing to the eye than luxurious. Feng shui, maybe.

Can it be that the elves learned their lesson in the past? Rivendell is there as an outpost and a safehouse. It’s in the nature of elves to make that outpost as pleasing to the senses as can be.

When Frodo offers Galadriel the ring, she describes a fairly specific what-if. As I was reading at this time I thought, this temptation is not a new thing. She’s been tempted before, perhaps under different circumstances. Or maybe it’s just that she has gained such wisdom (and power) that she has become the ring’s equal, which is why she knows how many times Frodo has worn it. And she can read Sauron’s mind.

At any rate, the glass she gives Frodo, Sam's soil and the mallorn nut, the lembas and the cloaks, will indeed influence and affect, but in specific ways. One might say limited ways. These gifts, excellent as they are, from someone with great power, will not take take over the minds of the two hobbits in order to better assure their success, though their task is desperately important. Galadriel—who can read Sauron’s mind—lets Boromir go, troubled as he is, and she also lets those frail hobbits go, though their task is almost hopeless. Almost.

In contrast, the ring, with its almost-sentient piece of Sauron in it, seeks any road to dominion, including through fair intentions. Galadriel knows it, Frodo is beginning to grasp it, but Boromir is sure he knows best. He is not a villain—JRRT made sure to show him in a good light, both on Caradhras and in Moria, but he is very convinced he knows best, and of course he means well—he only wants to defend his beloved homeland.

The ring can work with that.

Which touches on Sauron, power, and the orcs. I want to leave talking about the orcs for when we meet some, but as I recollect, at the end of the battle outside the gates, when the Ring goes with Gollum into the lava and Sauron’s power is zapped to nothing, his entire force reacts as if struck by the afterwash of an atomic blast. And yet they very clearly had cognizance, and the ability to make choices before. But it’s as if Sauron’s will hummed underneath their consciousness— invited in because it made them feel powerful, too—and when it was gone, so went their sense of Yeah, this is gonna be a piece of cake, har har. and left them with the fear they hadn't known for a long time.

So, to the elves, “magic” is the power to force change, to dominate. What they do is not that—but if it isn’t magic, what is it?

Then I thought, wasn’t there something about magic in “On Fairy Stories”? The passages that I've reread the most were those on internal consistency and eucatastrophe, and on what “escape” means. (And, BTW, it is fascinating that several passages here are very close to what Vladimir Nabokov writes about on the purpose of fiction, and two writers more different in all possible ways would be difficult to find.)

But I digress. Opening my sadly yellowed, fragile book, yep, here’s some relevant stuff:

This is for them [elves] a form of Art, and distinct from wizardry or magic, properly so called. They do not live in it, though they can, perhaps, afford to spend more time at it than human artists can. The Primary World, Reality, of elves and men is the same, if differently valued and perceived.

We need a word for this Elvish craft, but all the words that have been applied to it have been blurred and confused with other things. Magic is ready to hand, and I have used it above, but I should not have done so: magic should be reserved for the operations of the Magician. Art is the human process that produces by the way (it is not it's only or ultimate object) Secondary Belief.

Part of the same sort, if more skilled and effortless, the elves can also use, or so the reports seem to show; but the more potent and especially Elvish craft I will, for lack of a less debatable word, call Enchantment. Enchantment produces a Secondary World into which both designer and spectator can enter, to the satisfaction of their senses while they are inside; but in its purity it is artistic in desire and purpose. Magic produces, or pretends to produce, an alteration in the Primary World. It does not matter by whom it is said to be practiced, fay or mortal, it remains distinct from the other two; it is not an art but a technique; its desire is power in this world, domination of things and wills.


The essay goes on about sub-creation, but I thought that worth quoting and thinking about as we begin to get closer to Ent magic, Saruman’s magic, and of course that of Mordor, after the splendid introduction to Galadriel’s benevolent authority.

our hellfuture has arrived!

Apr. 24th, 2017 20:10
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[personal profile] bluegreen17
sara,ostrich (astrid) and i were just sitting here doing our things...sara watching something on her lappy,me listening to tunes and flittin’ around the internet on my lappy,and ostrich napping in one of her ten million favorite spots...when,despite our headphones,sara and i heard a sound...

a drone just flew by our slider door window. oh boy. great to know someone in our building complex has one. oh joy!

(no subject)

Apr. 24th, 2017 20:09
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[personal profile] kayre
merganser

Merganser from a walk a week ago. The brown crest says merganser, but the body markings are unusually vivid.

green backed heron

Green backed heron from tonight. Greens keep their necks scrunched down and then magically stretch them out to strike at a fish.
[syndicated profile] notalwaysright_feed

Posted by Not Always Right

Restaurant | Phoenix, AZ, USA

(I work at a large sandwich chain. In our particular store, the back of the line is really loud, and I’m slightly hard of hearing. Usually customers are gracious about me asking them to repeat themselves and speak a little louder and enunciate so that I can understand them, but sometimes they don’t.)

Me: “What can I get you for veggies on your sandwich?”

Customer: *something I can’t quite understand*

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: *something I still can’t understand*

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: *something I still can’t understand, not speaking up or enunciating at all*

Me: “Pardon?”

Customer: *looking at the person behind him with a ‘can you believe this dips***?’ expression* “For the fourth time, how was your day?”

The post My Day Would Be Better If You’d Speak Up! appeared first on Funny & Stupid Customer Stories - Not Always Right.

Come and Join the Fun!

Apr. 24th, 2017 19:56
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[personal profile] evening12 in [community profile] harrypotter
Claiming is now open @ [personal profile] hp_drizzle



Submissions due: August 15th!
Claiming NOW OPEN
RULES
mmcirvin: (Default)
[personal profile] mmcirvin
 Disney's Hollywood Studios is about half a theme park right now, because the whole back section of the park (formerly home to the "backlot tour", among other things) is shut down for construction of both Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. What's left feels cramped and crowded, though the theming is still nice.

Anyway, pending Star Wars Land, which I think doesn't open until around 2019, they're determined to squeeze as much value as they can out of Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, and make the remainder of Hollywood Studios as Star Warsy as is humanly possible. There's a walk-through attraction with a few exhibits and character meet-and-greets called "Star Wars Launch Bay" (we met Kylo Ren). Imperial Stormtroopers occasionally stroll through the place being threatening. There are a couple of alternating stage shows that happen in the park's central plaza every half hour or so, featuring most of the good guys and bad guys in the Star Wars movies who can be played by a person in a face-obscuring costume (which is a lot of them), and another show at the south end of the park called "Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple" in which little kids in Jedi hoods can participate in defeating spectral villains with a collective Force push. Just in case you don't understand what any of this is about, there's a movie attraction called "Star Wars: Path of the Jedi" that is apparently a ten-minute condensation of the entire Star Wars saga. I didn't watch that.

But Hollywood Studios' involvement with Star Wars actually goes all the way back to 1989, with their copy of Star Tours, a motion-simulator ride that originally opened two years earlier at Disneyland. The premise is that you're on a wild, mishap-filled ride through the Star Wars galaxy in a sort of flying tour bus. The queue is themed as a passenger spaceport, much like Space Mountain, but with more droids (in fact, a lot of the decor looks similar).

The current incarnation is actually a major upgrade dating from 2011 (actually still slightly before the Lucasfilm acquisition), with 3-D video and randomized adventures assembled out of sequences of alternative scenes. In this version, C-3PO himself is the pilot, accidentally thrust into the role at the last minute. Some newer material was added to the mix after The Force Awakens came out.

Even so, compared to, say, Universal Florida's many simulator rides or Epcot's Soarin', it still feels a little behind the times. You're sitting in the interior of the "Starspeeder 1000", looking out the front window wearing your 3D glasses. The theater tilts and shakes around with good and convincing motion effects, but the screen isn't anything like the overwhelming Omnimax experience of some of those other rides. On the other hand, that may make it more palatable for some people with motion-sickness issues.

This is a jokey take on the Star Wars universe; before the acquisition, Lucasfilm tied itself into knots trying to explain how the ride's storylines fit into Star Wars canon, but with the addition of the Episode VII material all pretense of that has been mercifully dropped. This ride jumps back and forth through decades of in-universe time and we really don't care. In the sequence I got, we encountered Darth Vader, Finn and Jar Jar Binks.

All in all, it's not the most spectacular ride experience, but it's still fun and the randomized storylines probably invite re-riding if you've got the time. I think the Episode VII scene is currently locked into the sequence so you get it every time, though.

I'm sure Star Wars Land is going to feature much more amazing simulator experiences, and they may well shut this thing down then. But it's diverting enough for now.



In this video from "Theme Park Worldwide", you can hear part of the "Jedi Training" kid show going on outside the ride building at the beginning:
[syndicated profile] omgcheckplease_feed


I drew a lot of bookplates for the Year Two Kickstarter.

- Jack and Parse as kids in the Q
- Lardo and George talking about their dumb boys
- There’s a huge S in the Samwell hockey locker room for this purpose
- Parse, at home, probably on insta
- Bow before Lardo, Flipper of Cups, Ruler of Bros
- A swim (◡‿◡)

also

Apr. 24th, 2017 16:35
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
The thing about depression is that thinking too much about it puts me back into that headspace, and now is not a good time to explore that.

Which is to say: thank you for comments, and I'm reading them, and I hope to be able to respond to at least some of them this week.

Heavy sigh

Apr. 24th, 2017 16:10
gwyn: (8ball wizzicons)
[personal profile] gwyn
Back in January, during the Snowflake Challenge, I mentioned that one of the things I've avoided doing for a couple years now was taking a dead hard drive with all the Media Cannibals vid remasters and digital copies in to a data recovery service, because I couldn't really handle the cost and still do any of the things I wanted to do, like take a vacation. And I floated the idea of crowdfunding it, but it makes me squirmy, asking people for financial help when so many are in serious need. An anonymous benefactor contacted me and offered to pay for the whole thing as long as the vids would make their way online, and I was really humbled and grateful, so I finally took it in to a data recovery service because of their generosity.

It turned out the service said they could have the manufacturer repair the thing that went bad inside the drive without sending it to one of those clean facilities, so they sent it off to the drive manufacturer and it was a simple repair (that took, inexplicably, 2 months of back and forthing with the local company I worked with and driving those guys crazy because they'd ping them at, like, three a.m.), and I got it back today. I haven't hooked it up yet, but I plan to soon, and pull everything off that drive.

Unfortunately…in the meantime, I must have said something that pissed my anonymous benefactor off, or done something, because they recently unfriended me (uncircled? what do we call it on DW?) and haven't responded to the private email I sent about the update. I could contact them again, but I feel kind of uncomfortable about it, I feel like they've made it clear they don't necessarily want to deal with me anymore, although they've been cordial to me when I've commented in their journal or others' journals. (Look, there's a reason Lit's My Own Worst Enemy is my theme song.)

And I also did the commission of the art I posted the other day, which, while not very much money at all, makes me feel even weirder about crowdfund help for the cost of the hard drive repair. So I'm really feeling…stupid and embarrassed about all of this, but hey, the drive's here, yay. I figured I'd at least just float my PayPal address out here, I guess, and if anyone feels like throwing a few bucks my way toward the $300 and change the drive cost to repair, I'll embarrassedly offer you my profuse thanks and also start trying to figure a way to get the vids digitized and hosted somewhere so that people can access them once again. My PP address is gwynethr at gmail dot com, and note that r on the end of gwynethr --you'd be amazed how many times people have left that out and things vanish into the ether (or someone else's email inbox). I guess if it's sent as a gift there's no fee? I'm not sure, really, I've never done this before.
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Christopher Alderton saw this flyer on his way to work a few days ago:

The big, bold characters at the top exhort:

Qiǎng fáng la 抢房啦! ("Grab a house!")

What's most arresting is this line:

nín yǐjīng refinance le ma?

您已经refinance了吗?

"Have you already refinanced?

Christopher rightly points out that the meaning of the construction "已refinance了" is sufficiently clear, but it is striking that the English word is not inflected, and the inflection is instead conveyed by the aspect marker of completed action, -le 了.

It's hard to tell exactly why the person responsible for this advertisement decided to use an English word in the middle of a Chinese sentence.  To more readily catch the attention of potential customers?  Because there's not a precise equivalent available in Mandarin?

The next line reads:

hái zài chí bì děngdài zuì jiā jīyù?

还在持币等待最佳机遇?

"Are you holding cash waiting for the best opportunity?"

Whatever the reason for inserting that English word in the middle of a Chinese sentence, one thing is certain:  Àoliàn tóuzī 澳链投资 ("AUSCHAIN") wants you to snap up one of their houses pronto!

We've looked at examples of multiscriptalism and / or multilingualism involving many languages and scripts.  Here are some posts specifically involving Chinese:

And there are many others.

[Thanks to Melvin Lee, Fangyi Cheng, Yixue Yang, and Jinyi Cai]

Invisible 3 Update

Apr. 24th, 2017 19:20
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Invisible 3 is running a little behind the schedule I’d hoped to meet. It turns out that coordinating between two editors takes more time than one editor doing it all himself. Who’d have guessed?

Mary Anne and I have 13 essays and 3 poems contracted thus far. We’ve got one revision to look over, and two rewrites we’re waiting to receive. We’re also missing a few author bios I need to follow up about.

Cover art is mostly done, but I need to confirm those last few names before we can finalize that.

We’ve sent the contents off to the person who will be writing the introduction for this volume.

My hope is that when I get back from Buenos Aires and have had a day or two to recover, we’ll be able to announce a tentative release date (I’m guessing May or June, but I reserve the right to be wrong in that guess) and move forward with the cover reveal.

I’m very happy with what we have so far, and I can’t wait until we’re able to share it with you.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Bad things can cause the brain to start looping, endlessly repeating the same thought or memory. This is fundamentally a failure of the sorting-filing function of the memory processes. When it gets stuck long term, that's post-traumatic stress. So the way to fix that problem is to get the memory filed properly. Some things that people have found useful include...

Read more... )

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