Wednesday

24 May 2017 07:33 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
I don't have a New Book Wednesday yet, but here's some good stuff that happened:

* We got a new mattress! Our old mattress was sagging on each side and had a hump in the middle and was getting increasingly painful. The new one was delivered yesterday and so far, so good. At the store we looked at a fancy one that sucked the heat out of your body while you were sleeping, but it was more than twice what ours cost and I did wonder how comfortable it would be in the winter.

* The paperback edition of The Murderbot Diaries is back in stock at Barnes & Noble, Powells, Indigo, BooksaMillion, Book Depository, and Amazon US, if you were still looking for a copy.

* I cleared out our guestroom closet and my office and got rid of a lot of random crap.

* I've been trying to get Murderbot 4 started and for about two weeks and finally got the first scene written. It and Murderbot 3 are not sold yet, so keep your fingers crossed.

* I got a Raksura Patreon story started and about halfway finished.

* When we were at Comicpalooza, we walked past the end of the row where one of the big Star Wars cosplaying groups had their booth, and they had a full-size backdrop of a Death Star corridor for people to take pictures in front of. One of the people in a stormtrooper costume was standing in front of it, and as we slowed down to look at backdrop, and the stormtrooper did the voice-synthesizer "Move along, move along" bit. It was pretty hilarious.

* We also saw a full-size Taun-taun with rider costume.
bronze_ribbons: Sveta kissing her French Open trophy (Kuz kiss)
[personal profile] bronze_ribbons
In the course of thanking Bishop for some Brazilian champagne that helped rescue a party with thwarted matchmaking and sullen guests:


I sound like notes for a Mary McCarthy novel. Have you read her last in which Mary (divorced and remarried) is seduced by Wilson (divorced and remarried) after a Wellfleet reading of Racine's Berenice? In the last chapter Mary driving to Boston for an abortion is run into and killed by a red-headed Millay-like Cape poet driving on the wrong side of the road. Who can doubt that Mary really lives in her books? If she ever loses her mind, she'll never know which parts of her life she lived and which she wrote. She is somehow rather immense without her books ever being exactly good form or good imagination.

*bows to Brancusi*

23 May 2017 10:57 pm
zirconium: medical instruments @High Point Doll Museum (medical instruments (miniature))
[personal profile] zirconium

There's a funny story in John Richardson's biography, A Life of Picasso. Pablo Picasso was notorious for sucking all the energy out of the people he met. His granddaughter Marina claimed that he squeezed people like one of his tubes of oil paints. You'd have a great time hanging out all day with Picasso, and then you'd go home nervous and exhausted, and Picasso would go back to his studio and paint all night, using the energy he'd sucked out of you.

Most people put up with this because they got to hang out with Picasso all day, but not Constantin Brancusi, the Romanian-born sculptor. Brancusi hailed from the Carpathian Mountains, and he knew a vampire when he saw one. He was not going to have his energy or the fruits of his energy juiced by Picasso, so he refused to have anything to do with him.

-- Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!
umadoshi: (mermaid (roxicons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
What with it being (#)Mermay, I keep thinking "maybe I'll post a standalone chunk of my mermaid (currently-)fic under lock" and then feeling anxious about it. These days I'm so tangled up about writing and the lack thereof that I'm not even sure where, exactly, the anxiety is rooted. Maybe in the fact that it'd mean actually opening a writing file for the first time (;_;) in a few months?

Or maybe I feel uneasy because the story is in such a weird place: it's an AU WIP that's so AU that I've basically decided that I'm going to take the serial numbers off and let it breathe as its own thing...except that'll mean rewriting absolutely everything I've already gotten down. So "sharing a chunk" would mean "sharing words that I already expect will never see the light of day even as part of a complete draft". (But I love those words.) (But it's a weird thing to post.) (But I've already shared swaths of it with [dreamwidth.org profile] ushobwri on workshop days, if not for quite a while, so what's the big deal, self?)

Community promotions! [dreamwidth.org profile] china_shop just created [dreamwidth.org profile] nanodownunder, which will run in June and offer daily check-in posts. I've signed up in another attempt at getting an external kick in the pants; I haven't made it anywhere near as far as trying to figure out what I might attempt to work on.

Anyway, [dreamwidth.org profile] china_shop is lovely, and it sounds fun. Do come join!

Also, prompt claims are now open at [dreamwidth.org profile] smallfandomfest! (Complete spreadsheet of prompts here.) The prompt list accrues new prompts with each round, rather than discarding the list of unfilled prompts and starting over, which means it's fairly long. ^_^ And there's a new Newsflesh prompt. Made by someone I don't know. (My fandom is small enough that wholly unfamiliar names literally always startle me for a second.)

And it's a smutty prompt for my ship, so clearly I should try to write something for it, because a) how often does that happen? and b) it's a prompt that meshes perfectly with my headcanon.

Tomorrow we're signing some Very Grown Up (and uninteresting, alas) money-related paperwork, which always feels intimidating. One nice thing is that our lawyer friend (formerly of Casual Job, who passed the bar just last year) is doing the necessary lawyerly things; if we must spend money on getting paperwork extensively handled, I'm glad (some of) it's going to a friend.

I'm waiting on such dull things, guys. For one, an email notifying me that my ancient email account that I never use but don't want to let go of has been renewed for another year (it's with the local freenet, and they require you to say "please renew my account for another year" annually, which is kind of annoying, and I did it a bit late. And I really wish the damn "okay, that's done!" reply would turn up so I can forget about it for another year.

For another, when I was out erranding with my mom last Thursday, we stopped by a library branch I don't usually go to, and since she was going in and I otherwise didn't need to, she dropped a book of mine that was due that day into the returns bin. Great! Except my online account still thinks it's checked out (and thus overdue). I've been logging in once or twice a day to see if it's been checked in, and tonight (after business hours) I finally tweeted to the library system's account to ask "um, when should I start worrying?"

These are small, boring things, and since I'm not wired to put stuff like that out of my mind, I can't stop thinking about them. >.< I've hit the point of actively resenting the amount of mental real estate they're taking up between them.

Misc. linkspam

23 May 2017 11:05 pm
umadoshi: (Newsflesh - First Lady (kasmir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
"How Pink Heels Became Harper Watters' Signature". [Dance Magazine] "When Houston Ballet demi-soloist Harper Watters first posted a short video of himself in bubblegum pink heels, he went to sleep with 4,000 Instagram followers. He awoke to more than double that, and 500-plus comments. Now at nearly 65,000 followers, Watters knows he (and his partner in crime, fellow Houston Ballet dancer Rhys Kosakowski) struck a fun chord with a new audience."

"Drag Queen Story Hour Puts the Rainbow in Reading".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] deifire, "George A. Romero Is Planning a NASCAR Zombie Movie".

"If You're Under 16, You Won't Believe What The Internet Used To Be Like". [Buzzfeed, in case the title didn't give it away]

"'A Kingdom On Wheels': The Hidden World That Made The Circus Happen".

"Nevertheless, He Persisted: Tales of Masculine Perseverance". [McSweeney's]

"13 Real AF Situations Every Anxious Person Has Experienced". [Buzzfeed]

"The need for urgent collective action to keep people safe online: Lessons from last week’s cyberattack".

"Exclusive: Could the legend come true? Tower of London raven allowed to fly free".

"On the radar: receipts". [OxfordWords Blog] "How and when did ‘receipts’ come to mean ‘proof’?"

"Surreal Pencil Drawings Look Like How Repressing Your Emotions Feels". (Really neat; also frequently disturbing.)

"Exploring Yugoslavia’s Mysterious Abandoned Brutalist Monuments: Serbian photographer Jovana Mladenovic photographs forgotten post-World War II sculptures".

"Dear Media: Please Stop Simply Saying the Rape Charges Against Julian Assange Were “Dropped”". [The Mary Sue]

"Why you should never ever feed bread to a duck".

"Coming Up Aces: What does asexual mean?" [Queership]

At Baking Bites: "A Visit to The Museum of Ice Cream, Los Angeles".

"Presenting…The Freelance Writer’s Rebuttal Guide!" [Matt Wallace]

"A Brief History of 'Squee': The word has its fans". [Merriam-Webster]

"The Hot New Millennial Housing Trend Is a Repeat of the Middle Ages: Communal living is hardly a departure from tradition—it's a return to how humans have been making their homes for thousands of years".

The Last Line Meme

23 May 2017 12:29 pm
calliopes_pen: (54 IJ Edith candles corridors)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Because I think we all need some mindless stuff at the moment, have a meme that I took from [personal profile] musesfool.

Cite the final line of five of your fics – your favorites, or the most recent ones.

1. There was still happiness yet to come...for both the living, as well as for the undead. Wrap The Cloak Of Night Around His Shoulders. Dracula (1968), following the wedding between Seward and Mina.

2. With this bittersweet chapter concluded, they would see to the rest of their lives. Let The Shadows Become Your Shroud. Crimson Peak (2015). That’s basically Alan and Edith limping off to see to their wounds, mourn Thomas, and just live, in the aftermath of a massive exorcism of a ghost from reality itself.

3. There was solace in the shadows, for both young and old vampires alike. Give Your Soul To The Night. Fright Night (1985). Jerry is revelling in winning as quietly as he can, while settling down for a nap, surrounded by turned teenagers, in his coffin in the basement.

4. Only the dead remained. Blood Begets A Curse Anew. Legend (1985). It probably is as grim as it sounds, as Darkness basically teleported a changed Lili (help me; I keep writing Lucy) out of the dining hall, after teleporting the goblins away to somewhere presumably unpleasant. Oh, and should anyone be curious about this story, do beware of a bit of animal sacrifice at the beginning, and references to torture in the middle.

5. And we gladly feast on those that would subdue us. Because We’re Addamses. Wednesday Addams is thinking, and thereby reiterating a statement made in the first Addams Family film.

Doctor/Jack: Summer Hols!

23 May 2017 06:07 pm
trobadora: (Utopia smile)
[personal profile] trobadora
Anyone up for a little Doctor/Jack? Our annual Summer/Winter Holidays fest is just starting up again ...

What's this about? Every year in July, we've been throwing a Doctor/Jack party at [livejournal.com profile] wintercompanion - and this year we'll be at [community profile] wintercompanion too! On July 1, we start posting new fic and art created to a prompt list kept secret until the month starts, and then all of the prompts are opened to everyone. Here's what we're looking for:
  • writers willing and excited to write at least 500 words of Doctor/Jack based on specific prompts, to be finished and submitted by 25 June

  • artists interested in producing a Doctor/Jack-centric work (wallpapers, icons, banners, drawings, vids, etc.) based on specific prompts, to be finished and submitted by 25 June
(Prompts can be interpreted as strictly or loosely as you like.)

Interested? Sign ups are open right now here at LJ or here at DW.

We'll send out prompts over the course of the week for everyone to pick their favourites, and final prompt assignments will go out no later than the 31st.
umadoshi: (Newsflesh - not a pessimist (kasmir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
I haven't sorted these, but here's a smattering of what I think are the best of the US-politics links I've read via Twitter/RTed from [twitter.com profile] ysabet_m. 10 links )

Better Call Saul 3.07

23 May 2017 05:35 pm
selenak: (Jimmy and Kim)
[personal profile] selenak
Yep, Saul Goodman has most definitely arrived.

Read more... )
calliopes_pen: (fab_jupiter Never Forget Tara)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
This is not in order of importance, but in order of how recently I heard of it.

1. Sir Roger Moore has passed away at the age of 89, following a “short but brave battle with cancer.” He will be best known for his role as James Bond, over the course of seven films. Sherlock Holmes fans may also remember that he was Holmes in the film Sherlock Holmes In New York (1976).

2. My condolences must also go out to Zack Snyder, his wife, and the rest of his family in the wake of a family tragedy. Snyder will be stepping down as the director of Justice League as he mourns the loss of his daughter, and requested that Joss Whedon direct additional material for him.

3. And lastly, but certainly not least: as the numbers confirmed to be both dead and injured continue to rise, my thoughts are with the families affected by the suicide bombing at Manchester yesterday. It just didn’t feel right to post condolences and not mention this one as well. Here’s James Corden’s message to Manchester.
sineala: (Avengers: Tony Fucking Stark)
[personal profile] sineala
The People Who Would Keep Us on Our Knees (2451 words) by Sineala
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel (Comics), Marvel 616, Avengers (Comics)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Characters: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Hydra Steve Rogers, Mind Control, Implied/Referenced Dubious Consent, Implied/Referenced Rape/Non-con, Rape/Non-con Elements, Implied/Referenced Alcohol Abuse/Alcoholism, Non-Consensual Drug Use, Angst, Not A Fix-It, Civil War II (Marvel), Secret Empire (Marvel), Avengers Vol. 7 (2016), Community: cap_ironman, Cap-Ironman Bingo
Summary: Tony wakes from his coma and finds a very different world than the one he remembers. Steve's in charge now. And Steve has missed him.

La la la, I was sad and grumpy and couldn't sleep so I wrote Hydra Cap fic, la la la, everyone on Tumblr's going to unfollow me, la la la, I spent half an hour staring at the Post button on AO3 because everyone's going to unfollow me, la la la.

(My Cap-IM Bingo line had the square "mind-controlled sex." Hydra Cap is the only iteration of Steve who I thought would ever be up for that.)
andraste: The reason half the internet imagines me as Patrick Stewart. (Default)
[personal profile] andraste
A bit more than twenty-five years later: finally, more Twin Peaks!

I have been preparing myself since November by slowly rewatching the previous twenty-nine episodes. You know, I don't think it was until I was watching the first few in the wake of horrible US election news that I really understood the emotional appeal of horror. I've read/watched various horror things over the years because they had some aspect that interested me, but I've never been that interested in the genre itself. And yet, I was somehow deeply relieved to be watching a show where all kinds of awful things happen and many of them are scary but none of them have anything to do with federal elections. (Not that Twin Peaks isn't deeply political, in the sense that it shines a light on a lot of American ideals. But it's not political in a way that's really connected to who's sitting in the White House.)

Having dragged myself through the back two thirds of Season Two over the course of several months, I finally got around to watching Fire Walk With Me on Saturday. I thought it was great while also seeing why it was panned on release - the people who liked the TV show obviously wanted it to be like that, and people who hadn't seen the TV show must have been completely bewildered. It's a very different beast to the TV episodes, entirely without the charm that relives the horror there - because this time we see the town through Laura's eyes, and why the hell would she be charmed by Twin Peaks, given what it's allowed to happen to her? I've long thought that the big problem with the later part of Season Two is that we lose Laura as a character once the question of her murder is resolved, and despite being dead she was the most complex and interesting person in the show. So I appreciated seeing this story that puts her back at the centre of things, even though it was extremely harrowing to watch. I don't know that I'd say I enjoyed it, exactly, but I certainly admired the hell out of both Lynch's direction and Sheryl Lee's haunting central performance.

My only real problem with it was spoilers for a movie that's more than twenty-five years old. )

So all this brought me up to yesterday, and the first two episodes of Season Three. And make no mistake, this is Season Three, not any kind of soft reboot. The first two episodes are a magnificently weird (almost) two hours of television - maybe weirder than the original show, maybe the weirdest television I have ever seen. To quote someone on Reddit, "I don't know what the fuck I just watched, but I want more of it."

(But not for another week. I've decided to stick to stealing the episodes that have actually been on TV, so as to follow the proper schedule and not have to wait three weeks for more. I'll be trying to dodge spoilers for Episode Three and Episode Four for a bit.)

I have no idea what anyone who last watched the first two seasons a couple of decades ago will make of any of this, let alone anyone who hasn't seen them at all - but it's obvious that Lynch and Frost have decided that they don't care. I hope Showtime knew what they were buying, but I guess you don't let David Lynch direct eighteen episodes of anything if you expect it to have mainstream appeal?

Anyway, a few specifics from those first two hours.

Meanwhile ... )
umadoshi: (Newsflesh - check this out (kasmir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
--I updated [tumblr.com profile] jinksyandthebrain for the first time in a couple of months. Have some pics [dreamwidth.org profile] seolh took in March. (I especially love the three of Jinksy!bear sprawled on his back on the sofa. The belly is not a trap.)


--I promise not to get in the habit of signal boosting lots of [dreamwidth.org profile] aftertheendtimes posts over here, but [dreamwidth.org profile] cantarina is trying to gauge interest in a fanworks exchange covering all of [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire's worlds.


--[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose, Ginny, Kas, and I went to Happy Veal for lunch, and we're forced to conclude that while the food ranges from "tasty" to "AMAZING" (hello, green onion pancakes), the service is just always either mediocre or awful, so we're always going to have to calculate if we're up for dealing with that. TL;DR, the food arrived SLOWLY. No, more slowly than that ) And yet I can't swear off the place. The green onion pancakes are so good I could cry.


--Garden: [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose dug out the rough shape of the flowerbed, and it looks like getting that ready will be trickier than we'd hoped. OTOH, transplanting our six tiny Lemon Boy tomato seedlings into their interim pots was quick and simple. And in between those things, when Kas and Ginny dropped me and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose off, they came in to borrow a spade and see the breathtaking new openness of our small back yard. Ginny got a look at Neighbor L's dandelion ripper, and then [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose brought our shiny new one out...and Ginny proceeded to spend something like half an hour, in her Fluevogs and cute dress, merrily massacring dandelions for the sheer delight of using the thing.

It's remarkably satisfying. [/understatement]
meganbmoore: (girl k: training)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
12 Monkeys: How to write a season finale with a brilliant and unexpected twist that adds layers to character and reinforces your ongoing themes and leaves your fandom going “Whhhaaaaaa.....?

spoilers )

Into the Badlands: How to write a season finale with a twist guaranteed to piss off the majority of your fanbase, displays bad and lazy writing, and tosses themes that you get praised for and season long character arcs into the garbage for shock value, leaving your fandom going “WTF HATEHATEHATEHATEHATE.”

spoilers )
sineala: (Avengers: Sign it)
[personal profile] sineala
So the Stony Trumps Hate auction is proceeding apace and I currently have high bid on a couple vids because I want aaaaall the comics vids. But we will see how this goes. *crosses fingers*

What several people have come up with, endorsed by the auction mods, is the idea of forming bidding "pods" -- basically, people who want the same thing pooling their bids to try to win one of the people who would otherwise go for more than they can afford separately. For example, a bunch of people are going in on Kiyaar to get her to finish Sins of Omission, which sounds great to me. A lot of people seem to want to use this to get sequels and/or WIPs completed, which is kind of fun. I am excited about it, anyway. And I think the idea of cooperatively pooling bids is great.

The hilarious thing is, I personally seem to have broken the cooperative bidding. Because, there are, by my count, at least four groups that all want different things from me:


  1. Some kind of sequel to Like a Comet Streaming On (the psychic wolves AU). I don't personally know the person interested in this, so I don't know what they want, but I assume wolfy fluff?
  2. Kiyaar has started a pod bid for a sequel to Straight on till Morning (the Star Trek AU). I actually have a novel-length sequel outlined that I have had no time to write (it involves Don Blake's other identity, mysterious kidnappings of several people including Tony, Section 31, Bucky's fate in this universe, and a ton of angst) and Kiyaar definitely wants this, so provided that bidders are okay with waiting possibly a long time, I would be happy to write that.
  3. There is also interest in a sequel to Double Time (you remember, that Civil War fixit). You will probably be unsurprised to learn that I have had also a novel-length sequel planned out for this -- this outline is a little sketchier (and honestly probably shorter) than the Trek one, but it is all 616 and involves Director/Commander, the Secret Invasion, and a lot of yelling at the Illuminati. It's been a while since I've thought about it. Again, it's one of those things I haven't had time to write, but I could! It would also take a while.
  4. And finally, someone (*significant look at Magicasen*) wants a Kimi no Na wa/Your Name AU. Which is not a sequel to anything I have written, but would also be great.


No pressure or anything, right? Right. *looks at WIP list* I have seriously just mapped out my writing commitments up through December.

But that's not the most hilarious thing. The REALLY hilarious thing, to me, which Sparrow pointed out, is that being in multiple bidding pods for the same creator actually has no conflict. Since the creator is only making one thing (I mean, I am, anyway), only the winning bidder or bidder group actually has to pay. So you can put your name in for me writing two or three different things, but since I'm only writing whichever one wins, you're only paying for whichever one wins, assuming you're in on the one that wins. Like, if you put $20 in every pod bidding on me (say, because you like the sound of all four of those stories and you want to give to charity), you're only going to be out $20 no matter what. Awesome. Weird, but awesome.

Anyway, if you personally wanted to bid on me and you want to get in one or more of those groups -- or create your own, for me or anyone else, there's a post on Imzy (currently missing details for the last two of those pods but they should be going up shortly) where the groups are organizing themselves, and there's a Discord chat where participants are convening. I think a lot of the coordination is going on privately over Discord and/or Tumblr; I think people are PMing the pod organizers with their bid amounts and so on.

I guess I should post about this on Tumblr, though for that I will wait until all the details are up.

world-machine

22 May 2017 06:19 pm
queenlua: (pic#7912258)
[personal profile] queenlua
At the Ginko Petrified Forest in eastern Washington, there's a little spot of lawn at the campgrounds, by the visitor center. As you stand there, on one side the land plunges down into canyon—the Columbia River stretching vast between those ancient rocky walls. On the other side is broads stretch of shrub-steppe, scraggly little desert-grasses and bare desert-bushes, curving slowly a distant ridge.

But at that little spot of lawn, those unkempt beautifully-twisted shrubby bushes turn, all at once, over a stark line, into bright-green short-cut suburban-as-hell grass. There's four enormous revolving sprinklers going off all the time, because when you're in the goddamn desert you have to do that kind of aggressive maintenance to keep anything so mundane as grass alive.

And even though I'd seen sights like this before, even though I'd been to this exact spot before, when I stood there Saturday morning I felt a flash of hot, unbridled anger. Perhaps the shrub-steppe just struck me as particularly beautiful that morning, or I was feeling particularly temperamental, or something else. But I thought, how stupid and wasteful and ugly seems. How stupid and wasteful and ugly lawns everywhere seemed—here we were in the heart of sagebrush country, the last untamed bit of the American West, and instead of respecting that for what it is, even in the grounds of a state park, we've got four damn sprinklers going off all at once just to preserve some perverse purity, some symbol of civility.

Read more... )

re: my family's slave:

22 May 2017 05:10 pm
queenlua: (Default)
[personal profile] queenlua
i found it quite curious to see "My Family's Slave" percolating through the facetwitsocialsphere. it has "slave" in the title. it is about a slaveowner. and yet the comments accompanying the article weren't outraged so much as awed.

i read the piece. and it is written quite tenderly & beautifully. i had two major impressions of it: first, i was quite gripped by the author's pained relationship with his mother, the pain and complexity of it, her legitimate sacrifices just as obvious as her casual cruelty. second, i was bothered that the author never seemed to do much to help Lola. or rather, really, i guess, the author didn't seem troubled enough by his failure to help Lola. it's hard for a twelve-year-old to turn on their mom; i get that. it's easier for a young twentysomething to just avoid contacting a family that's doing a horrible thing than to turn in your own mom for doing a horrible thing; i get that. when mom dies and she's left behind a slave who's ill-equipped to get a proper place of her own, taking her in may seem benevolent; i get that.

but none of those choices should rest easy. none of those were the only choice, much as the author tries to imply that. the relationship with mom is hard, sure, but Lola had it hard too, and the author found it easier to stay distant and yell at mom rather than truly help. and i was especially bothered at the very end—the author didn't try to help Lola get a place of her own, or learn to read, and so on. even if the author was benevolent, it was a relationship based on a hideous imbalance of power; if the author couldn't repair or make moves to amend that then at least they could've tried.

so yeah, i found it quietly troubling.

and yet all the generally urban-lefties i know on the facetwitsocialsphere seemed to love the piece. "wow" and "so powerful" and so on. i couldn't quite grok what exactly they meant by "amazing read!" without further qualifiers.

so when a friend directly linked it to me, i shared my thoughts with him directly: it's a nice piece, but, isn't it kind of fucked up too? don't you find the author's actions, even if understandable, still troubling? isn't it messed up that we're only hearing about this after both the author and his slave is dead?

Read more... )
queenlua: (Default)
[personal profile] queenlua
Last summer, my boyfriend and I stopped by Swakane Canyon on the way to a cabin in eastern Washington. Very few eBird checklists had been submitted for the place, but luckily, the dead-tree book Birder's Guide to Washington had a nice writeup, which gave us a better idea of what to expect. We picked up a lovely variety of eastern species—Bullock's oriole, black-headed grosbeak, yellow-breasted chat.

Last weekend I went to Umptanum Road, a very well-known birding spot that I'd never actually been to before. I was surprised to discover that the habitats there are almost exactly the same as Swakane Canyon—dusky canyon entrance, mountain stream, ponderosa pine. Geographically, the two aren't very far from each other—a few hours' drive—and you'd expect the same diversity of birds in both. And yet one is crawling with birders, and in the other, I saw nary another soul. Why?

Some of it's probably reputational—people know Umptanum has good birds, so if they're planning a trip, they'll go for the sure thing rather than the unknown quantity, and then they'll report more birds, so more people know Umptanum has good birds, and etcetera etcetera the cycle continues.

Some of it's access—the roads in Swakane Canyon are not quite as nice, and it's an hour further from Seattle, which is a hugely concentrated birding population.

But it's not lack of good bird habitat. So here's this whole undiscovered, underbirded canyon; if I visited tomorrow, I'd be the first birder in the whole past month, according to eBird. Who knows what might be hiding there?

* * *

When we made that trip out to Swakane, we saw a very strange blackbird. Instead of the red-and-yellow you see on a red-winged blackbird's wing, there was a single stripe of pure white. It was far away, across a marshy field, so we squinted through our binoculars for a long time and crept closer and closer, trying to see if it was a trick of the light. Just the white. It made some weird calls I didn't recognize—not any classic red-winged blackbird calls, but not any classic tricolored calls either. When it finally flew, I saw a tiny flash of red, and alas, I didn't have any equipment to take a picture of the darned thing.

I wrote a long description of the encounter and sent it to my Elite Birding Cabal* mailing list. Several folks said that indeed sounded not-red-winged-blackbird-like, but tricolored blackbirds are quite rare in Washington in general, only flocking around some ponds in Othello, two hours southeast.

* that is not the actual mailing list name :P

I shrugged, and figured it was just a weird red-winged blackbird. I wasn't very good at birding Washington yet, and I didn't want to be overeager to shout "RARITY!" where there was none. Surely, if it were rare, someone else would've noticed it?

Except, this past weekend, I went out to those ponds in Othello, and I saw a whole flock of tricolored blackbirds, and God if they didn't look just like the weird bird we saw in that canyon.

I'm now quite certain what we saw was one very lost, confused tricolored blackbird, and given what I now know about how underbirded the Swakane is, I think maybe we were the only ones who saw it.

Unfortunately I didn't have a decent camera on me, and it was a year ago, so I doubt I'd be able to convince the wider birding community. No way the bird's still there.

But I know what I saw, and that's plenty for me.

And even better: I know there's this little patch of bird-territory that barely anyone goes to, and who knows what I could find there next?

I can't wait to go back.

American Gods 1.04.

22 May 2017 02:29 pm
selenak: (Illyria by Kathyh)
[personal profile] selenak
In which it becomes apparant why Bryan Fuller delayed a certain reveal as much as he did.

Read more... )
st_aurafina: Shaw's face, caption: you beat the devil's tattoo (POI: Shaw devil's tattoo)
[personal profile] st_aurafina
Title: Five Birds Harold Has Never Been, Part 1: Muscovy Duck
Fandom: Person of Interest/Elementary
Rating: PG
Words: 6318
Characters/Pairings: Root/Sameen Shaw, Harold Finch, John Reese, Bear, Joan Watson, Sherlock Holmes, Jaime Moriarty, Clyde
Warnings/Content: Show-level violence, crossover, Shaw/Watson flirting, Watson/Moriarty flirting
Notes: Thanks to [personal profile] lilacsigil for the beta.

Summary: Sherlock thinks there's something peculiar about their new neighbour, Mr Muscovy.

Also at the Archive

'There's something peculiar about our new neighbour,' said Sherlock )
umadoshi: (Yotsuba&! at play 1 (ohsnap_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Continuing the theme of "what's a plan?" in terms of gardening, we're not venturing out to Eastern Passage next weekend after all--turns out Étoile Estates isn't able to have the scheduled second week of veggie plant sales (the owner has to work), although apparently we can order and have things delivered. Not sure we'll do that; there's only tomato variety I was specifically already interested in on their list, and I mostly wanted to go for the experience of looking around. But we'll see.

Today's plan to dig out a small flowerbed was set aside when the board emailed to take us up on our offer (us and Neighbor G, who'd been planning to take our unwanted shrub) to just dig the plant up ourselves. The landscaper they'd consulted didn't think it was worth it to try to transplant the shrub, which worked out, because G had realized that it wasn't actually a good fit for him after all.

So G and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose spent a while digging the poor unwanted thing up, which went pretty fast once we thought to truss it up like a Christmas tree (getting its branches out of the way) and our neighbor remembered he has a pickaxe to go with our pair of spades. ([dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I spent a chunk of yesterday shopping for garden supplies and equipment.) The combination of a pickaxe and not attempting to save the plant made it go very fast indeed, although then there was another hour or so of digging roots and rocks out of the hole, plus ripping dandelions out of the vicinity--thanks to Neighbor L, from our other side, who'd come outside and, when she heard me sadly mention our lack of a dandelion ripper, ducked in to lend me hers. (And now we have one too--I had to get some work done, so [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose made another shopping run to get one of those, some grass seed, and some spray-on sunscreen. I keep forgetting the latter is a thing; I hate most sunscreen, but G said he actually uses the spray-on stuff, and let me use some to protect my outer-arm tattoo. And lo, I didn't hate it.)

In our shrub's death, I finally learned its name, because its tag was still attached at the base. It was a Tor Spirea/Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor'. I do feel bad for its fate, but I really did try to at least not mind it for seven years. (Or eight. Whichever.) And honestly? As soon as it was gone, while there was still just a big gaping hole where it'd been, I already felt so much better about the space.

Or, as [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose said, "Suddenly it feels like being outside."

In honor of the occasion, I'm using Dreamwidth's image hosting for the very first time. Have a pic of the trussed spirea and one of [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose dealing with its roots: I embedded thumbnails, but I'm still cutting the pics in case you don't feel like actually seeing the poor spirea's fate. There's also a bit of explanation of how much of what's visible in the second picture is space we're allowed to work with )

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow we'll get the little flowerbed dug out so we can plant...next weekend? Or the week after? And I'd like to get the Lemon Boy tomato seedlings settled into their compostable interim pots.

But I also have a half-volume of manga due tomorrow, which until Saturday night I'd somehow thought was due Wednesday. >.> So the amount of garden work we accomplish will depend a bit on that, too.
umadoshi: (Totoro hurrying along (going_in_motion))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Fannish/Geeky Things

Blade of the Immortal trailer. [~2 min., subtitled]

"Supernatural Is Crossing Over With Scooby Doo Next Season".

"Lin-Manuel Miranda Joins the Cast of DUCKTALES Reboot".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] erinptah, an FFA thread on what kind of fic summaries do or don't entice people.

"65 ‘Wonder Woman’ Images Highlight Amazonians, Allies, and Antagonists".

"Hugh Jackman didn’t know wolverines were real animals".

"On Captain America and the Spirit of Story". [Kiya Nicoll]


Writing/SFF

Over at [dreamwidth.org profile] ladybusiness, Ira and Anna have teamed up "to present you with two ways to skim the highlights of [The Vorkosigan Saga] in 5 books each". "This post is intended for two audiences: (1) People who have never encountered a Vorkosigan book in their life, or maybe have read one or two but don't really know the full series, so we can suggest a subset of the series that is readable by the Hugo voting deadline; and (2) Fans of the series so they can come argue with us about our picks. BOTH ARE SO WELCOME." (I'm in the former camp, so I've only skimmed the post and haven't gone into the comments.)

"What Will Sink Our Generation Ships? The Death of Wonder". [Kameron Hurley at Boing Boing]

"A Hot Steaming Sack Of Business Advice For Writers". [Chuck Wendig]


Miscellaneous

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] telophase, "New WannaCry Ransomware and How to Protect Yourself". ([dreamwidth.org profile] telophase's summary is "In short: if you're on Windows, make sure you're updated to the latest OS version. If you're on an unsupported version (XP, 2008), there's a patch you can load. Make sure your antivirus is updated.")

Signal boost: via [dreamwidth.org profile] 2017revival, I see that [dreamwidth.org profile] transandnonbinary is a newly-created community.

"The Ingenious Way TV Logos Were Made Before Computers".

"Ancestry.com takes DNA ownership rights from customers and their relatives".

ETA: [dreamwidth.org profile] juniperphoenix linked me to Ancestry.com's response: "Setting the Record Straight: Ancestry and Your DNA".

"An AI invented a bunch of new paint colors that are hilariously wrong".

"The Skeletal Structure of Japanese Horror Fiction: Digging into the Guts of Japanese Folklore". [2014]

"Japanese Finally Comes To Duolingo".
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
*


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




*


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?




*


"The High Seeker surely could not know in full what Vito was thinking and planning. If he'd known, he'd have ordered Vito strapped to a rack."

It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?

When Vito de Vere is assigned a prisoner who is not quite what he appears to be, Vito must penetrate the mystery of his prisoner's unexpected appearance in the Eternal Dungeon, arrested for a crime that is no crime.

But Vito himself is hiding a mystery from the other members of the dungeon. Increasingly filled with tenderness toward his vulnerable prisoner, can Vito accomplish his secret mission without sacrificing his prisoner?

duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
"You can't archive on tumblr, can't find anything later, and it takes to serious discussion rather like airplanes take to lakes: Sure, it can be done, but even when it works, it's pretty damned obvious to everyone that it's not how things were intended to happen."

--Elf.


What I've been up to )

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