james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I have owned this ever since that day long ago when I didn't remember to send back in the little SFBC card, which was one of my standard ways to diversify my library. Perhaps the success of that method explains why I am so comfortable letting other people choose my reading material now?

My copy is missing its dust jacket but the art is on isfdb and I wonder if the lackluster cover is why I passed this over for 30+ years?

RDDLFSTRSA41979

I prefer the art on this this later edition but it's still not quite right.

THRDDLMSTR2001

I am not sure I actually ever read Riddle of Stars (I have a number of late-1970s SFBC books set aside for a rainy day). In fact a detail at the end of the first novel suggests strongly that I did not read it because it's the sort of detail that is quite memorable and I did not remember it.
Read more... )

Not a honeybee

Jul. 31st, 2014 00:10
[syndicated profile] dubious_prospects_feed

Posted by Graydon

I believe it to be some sort of bee

Some sort of halictid, sweat-bee, since green and metallic and quite small would fit with that clade.  There was this one, and maybe another, and a bumble bee, on a stretch of flowers four meters long.

(no subject)

Jul. 30th, 2014 20:39
ysobel: (easily distracted)
[personal profile] ysobel
I have lost most of this afternoon / evening to a (NSFW) series of blog posts mocking Cosmo.

I am not sorry.

At all.

Happiness is --

Jul. 30th, 2014 23:25
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
-- realizing that your back is hurting horribly from having spent too much time in your desk chair this week, so picking up your laptop and moving to the hammock on your front porch.

(It's a balmy 72 degrees outside right now.)

Scanlation: Yasha ch. 21

Jul. 30th, 2014 18:55
torachan: sei and rin from yasha (yasha)
[personal profile] torachan


Title: Yasha
Author: Yoshida Akimi
Publisher: Flower Comics
Genre: Shoujo
Scanlator: Megchan's Scanlations feat. Molly
Status in Japan: 12 volumes, complete
Scanlation Status: Ongoing
More Info: Baka Updates

Summary: Twelve-year-old Sei lives a normal, quiet life on a small island in Okinawa until one day a strange man who seems to know his mother shows up and tries to kidnap him. After that, nothing is normal or quiet in this sci-fi thriller from the author of Banana Fish.

Chapter Summary: While Toichi and the others worry about what's become of Sei, Rin gets ready to meet Mr. Goldberg.


Chapter 21

Tor's publicists are swift indeed

Jul. 30th, 2014 16:54
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Three Max Gladstone novels in hand, mere days after my request. Even better, via a shipper whose office is a few minutes away by iExpress, not lost out in the wilderness so even if I not happened to be next to door and able to hear the tap, I could have just nipped over to snag it.

Media consumption Wesnesday

Jul. 30th, 2014 13:44
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
Movies

The Tuskegee Airmen
1995 made-for-HBO movie (supposedly very lavish for its time). Stars Laurence Fishburne. Historical film about the first African-American fighter pilot squadron in WWII. Supposedly fairly historically accurate.

Fiction

Rhys Bowen, A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness series #2)
Audiobook narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Light historical mystery / romance series set in England and Scotland in the 1930s. Lady Georgiana is 34th in line to the throne and has a family mansion in London but no money, so she puts on a disguise and cleans people's houses for a living, while the Queen involves her in matchmaking schemes. The Lady Georgiana character is a foil for the more broadly comic characters she interacts with. Many of the characters are kind of stereotyped and Kellgren's voices are sometimes a little forced so I am not quite sure why I like this, but when it came time to pick a new audiobook I felt like downloading this one instead of starting any of the ones I already have.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Captain of the Pole Star"
Not a Sherlock Holmes story, more of a ghost story. I love Conan Doyle's writing and the way he draws characters so I thought the story was fun, although it's not as intricate as many of the Holmes stories. However, the audio version I had, narrated by Walter Covell, was awful.

Tananarive Due, The Good House
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Robin Miles. Due's second novel uses classic horror tropes about haunted houses and dysfunctional families with secrets and voodoo and multi-generational curses and small towns. But what's different from other horror stuff I've read is that every single one of her human characters is at least a little bit sympathetic and at least a little bit flawed. The protagonists are a mother and son, and there are occasional shifts to other characters' POVs. Race and racism are part of the their world but not constantly in the foreground. The horror comes from bad things happening to characters I care about, and characters making poor choices (either on their own or under outside influence) much more than from, e.g., the inherent ickiness of bodies (dead or alive). For example, mud and leaves aren't inherently scary, but when they show up in places they shouldn't be with no explanation, that is scary. The novel was longer and more rambly than I would have preferred, and there are a couple of plot points that I really disliked (one of these is a pretty big spoiler: (animal abuse, and a woman lying about having been raped [the "woman" is actually a demon in disguise, but it still bugged me]). But overall I'm glad I read it and if more horror were like this (making me feel "I really hope they figure a way out of this" instead of "everything is dooooomed for all time") I would read horror more often.

By the way, Due wrote a wonderful eulogy of Octavia Butler here: http://www.tananarivedue.com/octaviaebutler.htm

Rex Stout, The League of Frightened Men
Second book in the Nero Wolfe series. A while back, a fraternity hazing prank went wrong and resulted in a young man losing his leg. Now members of the fraternity are dying and it seems as if the man with one leg is murdering them, but nothing can be proved. The main plot was pretty easy to figure out but there were a couple of subplots that were more interesting. I really liked a lot of the Wolfe–Goodwin byplay in this one, but I don't think it's one of the best in the series.

Games

Pure Hidden
This is a hidden object game with puzzles, but it has no plot laid on. It's kind of like an adult's activity box (many of the puzzles would also be suitable for children). You open boxes that grow on a vine and interact with what's inside, which include searching for different objects, searching for many of the same object, picture-assembly puzzles, pipe-fitting puzzles, apps that create music or pictures (one of them was that typing on the keyboard caused different kinds of flowers to grow on the screen). You're also occasionally decorating a bathroom. The images you put together or search inside are beautiful and come in many styles. Once you've finished an image, it becomes part of a gallery and you can set it as desktop wallpaper if you want. Different ambient music goes with each hidden object game, and the music also comes in many styles. You can play in an easy mode, with copious hints and the ability to skip many of the puzzles if you want; or you can play in a point-scoring mode (I didn't try this). The hints come in handy because at least on my non-Retina screen a few of the images were impossible to see. But otherwise this is a really great casual game.

I do not have a pet squirrel

Jul. 30th, 2014 16:31
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
But I think the opportunity offered itself this afternoon.

All the lonely people

Jul. 30th, 2014 19:49
liv: Composite image of Han Solo and Princess Leia, labelled Hen Solo (gender)
[personal profile] liv
This is liable to be controversial, and I should emphasise that I'm trying to work out what to think here, not proclaiming the right answers.

So it happens that the latest Captain Awkward discussion is about loneliness and how it can be a vicious cycle, if you don't have enough fulfilling social contact you can become miserable and self-hating and push people away or think everyone's out to get you.

The Awkward Army are being very good at firmly squashing the idea that all problems are just caused by bad attitudes, and pointing out that plenty of people have disabilities or external circumstances meaning they can't "just" make more friends. But still, loneliness is one of those types of suffering that people seem to treat as mostly the sufferer's own fault; the most comparable example I can think of is physical fitness. Like somehow, if you're likeable enough, whatever likeable means, in a fallaciously just world you should have as many friends and lovers as you wish. But that means it's very common to assume that anyone who complains about being lonely must in fact be an obnoxious person. And problems which are stigmatized like that are particularly hard to tackle!

The other thing is that "lonely" means two related, but to my mind different, things. Sometimes it means not having enough social contact, but sometimes it means not having a romantic partner. Or perhaps more precisely, the feelings of sadness and inadequacy that come from not having those connections. A really striking example is the guy in the Captain Awkward comments who says
The article is bull. I am horribly lonely. I shoot pool with friends once a week. I go to church every week. I go out to a party every month. I am active in two local communities. I have hundreds of friends [...]
I mean, sure, it's possible to be lonely in a crowd, but it's clear from the rest of the comment and subsequent thread that what's eating this guy is that he's middle-aged and doesn't have and never has had a romantic partner. And being stuck without a partner but wanting one means being perceived as a failure, to an extent that really worries me.

I think loneliness is a very serious problem, and from what I can understand a pretty widespread one. Some people are lonely because they're obnoxious, yes, but it's still a problem; you have to be a lot worse than just obnoxious to deserve how miserable it can be to be deprived of meaningful contact and emotional support. Anyway, lots of entirely lovely people are lonely because they have other stuff going on making it hard to make friends, or because they're just plain unlucky. That includes the not having a spouse-type partner side of being lonely. It's easy enough to say that marriage isn't everything, that people should be able to manage without that specific type of relationship set-up, but the fact is that lots of parts of society are set up so that it's really hard to function at all if you're not in a romantic dyad. Also, it's perfectly reasonable for an individual to want that in their life, even if it's not necessarily the only road to happiness for everybody.

This issue also intersects with gender stuff; people of all genders can be lonely, and people of all genders can be excluded because they don't have a spouse or aren't romantically "successful" as society measures it. But I'm getting the strong impression that there are aspects of this problem that affect men specifically, and that there are very few sensible conversations covering male experiences of loneliness. I doubt we can magically fix this, but I'd most certainly like to start some discussion if I can.

One thing that prompted me to think about related issues is Lis Coburn's essay Anatomy of a scar, which has an original and really insightful take on what's sometimes called the Nice Guy™ phenomenon. In some ways Coburn is much more sympathetic than a lot of the folk on the internet who use the term Nice Guy™, while she also buys into the idea that Nice Guys, men who are upset because they don't have a girlfriend even though they do their best to behave decently and treat women well, are potentially dangerous misogynists.

wild speculation about gender and relationships )

Tomatoooooooo!

Jul. 30th, 2014 09:59
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase


Now to see if it can get to size and ripen before the birds find it. Somehow I doubt that'll happen. :D

Cut for pic of our Gardening for Dummies-type garden, taken last week )

Kindle iOS 4.4

Jul. 29th, 2014 22:26
[syndicated profile] mobileread_feed

Posted by Loosheesh

The latest Kindle iOS app update has some interesting new features (I think they've been getting ideas from Marvin :)):

Quote:

Kindle for iOS Version 4.4 provides several customer-requested features that make sync and navigation easier.

Sync to the most recent page read - Any books you are reading on Kindle for iOS will now sync to the most recent page read across all Kindle devices and/or reading apps registered to your Amazon account. Customers can still manually sync to the furthest page read from the left navigation menu.

Kindle Placeholders - Allow customers the freedom to explore other areas of the book without losing their current place. Jump directly to previous locations with "placeholders" on the progress bar.

Notes Export - Studying for the next exam or writing the next term paper just got easier. Students can now export notes, highlights, and more to e-mail from their "Print Replica" textbooks, giving students easy access to their information.

Wikipedia Smart Lookup - Select a word and learn more from Wikipedia in the Info Card at the bottom of the page.

Performance and stability improvements.
(Above text copied from: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/07/29/...-improvements/)
hestialuna: (Hikaru no Joe)
[personal profile] hestialuna in [community profile] hikarunogo
Hikaru no Joe

Chapter 6: Closing Time


Summary:

Long strands of dark hair had escaped from Touya’s ponytail and fell around his face haphazardly, but he didn't seem to notice. This time, he was looking right at Hikaru. Not Sai.

Genre: Coffee shop AU
Word Count: 3,700
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply

Read it on AO3

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