August 17th, 2017
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
posted by [personal profile] sartorias at 08:29am on 17/08/2017 under
Everything they have worked toward is . . . here.

Mei Changsu's reason for existence is just about to be completed, but what about Lin Shu? The man wearing Lin Shu's body is not a nineteen year old battle wizard impervious to cold and pain anymore. The mask is less a defense than a wall.
Read more... )
jennaria: Woman with mask, as drawn by Brian Froud (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jennaria at 09:09am on 17/08/2017 under ,
03 - which anime made you laugh the hardest?

I don't watch much 'comedy' as a genre - not even outside of anime. Way too much either hits my embarrassment squick, or else the cast are assholes. Or both! (See also: OSOMATSU-SAN and EXCEL SAGA, both of which I saw recommendations for as OMG FUNNIEST THING EVER, and no. I managed all of one episode each, and then noped out hard.) I'm more likely to laugh at manga.

But after rummaging through my past catalog, I found a couple OVAs that did make me laugh! DRAGON-HALF (heroine is half-dragon! unfortunately, her love is a dragon hunter! whoops, nothing for it but to enter an enormous tournament for reasons that I don't remember and may not have been explained), and SHINESMAN (loving parody of super-sentai e.g. Power Rangers - I've only seen the dubbed version, which is glorious).
August 16th, 2017
chickenfeet: (mew)
posted by [personal profile] chickenfeet at 05:25pm on 16/08/2017
 A wise man once said "the second rat gets the cheese".  I think my problem is that all my life I've been typecast as first rat.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
posted by [personal profile] jimhines at 05:05pm on 16/08/2017

I was testing the solar filter for the camera, in preparation for Monday’s eclipse. We won’t be seeing the total eclipse, but I’m hoping to get some good shots of the partial.

As I was processing the results, I realized I’d captured sunspots!  (Those dark spots in the upper left.)

Sun with sunspots

Click to embiggen.

For those who wonder about such things, this was taken on the 100-400mm lens, fully zoomed to 400mm. ISO 640, f/10, with a 1/3200 shutter speed. I had to set everything manually, because the camera overexposed the shot if left to its own devices.

I think next time I’ll try to reduce the ISO down to about 100 and see if that gets rid of the minor graininess.

Processing involved cropping the shot, noise reduction, and an orange overlay.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

flick: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] flick at 09:11pm on 16/08/2017 under
While weeding the back garden (this time with gloves on), I found another mystery plant, this time with white flowers, and Mike identified it as self-seeded nicotiana, the sap of which the internet confirms can cause skin irritation.

Fortunately, my diagnosis of the blisters as big but minor was correct: they've come off, and the skin underneath is undamaged. I'll have to remember that in future!
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
posted by [personal profile] sartorias at 09:30am on 16/08/2017 under
This is the second climax, as tense and emotionally powerful as the Hunting Lodge battle--and there is a third to come.

One of the many things I love about this series is that now, so near the end, it could easily have descending into all grim all the time, but first there was Nie’s surprise reappearance, and then Lin Chen strolls in, and proceeds to tease absolutely everybody with his insouciant wisecracking and unruffled competence.

The result is, the serious scenes still hit with resonating impact, carrying all the emotional velocity of the storyline so far, but we get these delightful moments of relief and delight that keep emotional reaction swinging from bright to dark and back again.

Read more... )
chickenfeet: (resistance)
posted by [personal profile] chickenfeet at 11:24am on 16/08/2017
Much of what I've been working on or reading or watching lately seems to turn on what homeland means to the colonised and how relationships between occupiers and indigenous people play out both in practice and ideology. Who would have thought that there were common threads between Rossini's Guillaume Tell, Scott's Ivanhoe, Tovey's Ancestral Voices and Current's Missing?  For some people writing about opera is all high notes and pretty dresses.  For me it's reading Franz Fanon and John Ralston Saul.
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
posted by [personal profile] oursin at 03:53pm on 16/08/2017 under , , , , ,

What I read

Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.

PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)

JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.

On the go

Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.

Up next

Dunno, really.

moon_custafer: (Default)

eep

posted by [personal profile] moon_custafer at 09:43am on 16/08/2017

Literally one week left on my probation, and this morning I overhear them talking about a new hire. I really hope this is just me being paranoid.

jennaria: Woman with mask, as drawn by Brian Froud (Default)
02: Has an anime ever made you cry?

Yes.

This isn't actually all that impressive? I cry easily. You can have the most blatantly obvious, string-pulling, 'At least I got to see you - one last time!' tear-jerking moment, and I'll still be there crying my eyes out.

Tangent! Among the reasons why it took me a Really Long Time to get into anime: back when I was in college - late 90s - one of my friends was talking about a movie/OVA, where they had gone in with the assumption that the characters on the front cover of the DVD would live, and instead every single one of 'em had died. This, combined with an attempt to show me anime which featured the last few episodes of the first season of MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH (see the descriptions of episodes 17-20 on that link) and the first episode or two of KEY THE METAL IDOL - well, it left me with the impression that anime, as a genre, was hella depressing and why would I want to watch it. This impression did not get fixed for :ahem: a long time.
moon_custafer: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] moon_custafer at 08:35am on 16/08/2017

From a comment on this thread: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2017/08/14/paula-deen-charlottesville/

 

“The closest fictional counterpart to Donald Trump is the female lead's boyfriend. You know the one. The guy who is such a fucking asshole with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, that you don't feel bad for wanting the movie's protagonist to break them up. But, because the writers assume the audience are idiots, they make him so over-the-top horrible that you can't understand how a nice, sweet girl like the female lead would ever tolerate dating this asshole. And then because you are bored, you start to wonder if maybe she isn't so great, maybe because she is presented as just a cipher with just a few symbols of being someone that the protagonist should be dating... what if she is actually just as much of an asshole as her boyfriend? Yeah, that's Trump and America right now.”




In lighter news
, I wonder whose job it is to tweet on behalf of the sharks.

nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
Fish
Keiki squats down to look at the fish in the polar bear enclosure at the Vienna Tiergarten.

The Schoenbrunn should definitely make the top ten of every visitor attraction list of Vienna, if not the top three. It’s the gigantic former summer palace of the Hapsburgs, and the grounds alone merit at least a half-day stroll to explore fully. There are gardens, fountains, hidden playgrounds, an enormous glasshouse full of palm trees, and even a zoo.

Despite having visited the Schoenbrunn grounds many times, I’d never been to the zoo, which is allegedly the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1752). Now, with two small children, one of whom is animal-obsessed, I had good reason to go. The children and I set out early one morning to travel via the Viennese underground to the palace.

Humuhumu was keen to learn how to navigate the transport system. She got very good at spotting the way to the correct train lines, and proudly announced when the next train would be arriving after we got to the platforms.

It took us 45 minutes to get from our temporary abode to the Schoenbrunn and, conveniently, it was just about Cake O’clock when we arrived. We detoured around the palace entrance and stopped off at an Aida Konditorei, a chain of inexplicably pink cafés that serve extremely nice cakes, coffees and hot chocolates (apart from the one near the opera house – avoid that one; everyone who works there is sick of tourists and very grumpy).

We walked into the Aida and chorused “Guten Morgen” at the round-faced, unsmiling woman behind the counter. She broke into a beaming grin and showed us to the table next to a tiny play area containing toys and books, which the children pounced upon. (Throughout the trip, I encouraged the children to greet everyone we met in German, to say please and thank you in German, to order their food using the German words and, when I felt confident in my knowledge of the right phrases, I coached them to make requests in German. I was astonished at the abundance of goodwill toward us that this produced.) Humuhumu ordered her hot chocolate and cake in German, and was rewarded with an additional pink meringue, which she received with an unprompted “Danke schoen”. When we left, Keiki crowing “Wiedersehen” over my shoulder with his dimpliest smile, the server came out from round the counter and gave each of the children an extra biscuit, which, to be honest, they didn’t really need after all that sugar!

Full of energy, we bounded into the grounds of the Schoenbrunn and raced around whilst waiting for the grandparents to join us at the entrance to the Tiergarten (Zoo). As vast as the Schoenbrunn grounds are, they are not big enough to house a comprehensive collection of the world’s animals, so cleverly the Tiergarten is focused on a limited number of species and provided them with luxurious accommodation.

Keiki and Humuhumu loved the place, particularly Keiki. Once he spotted the meerkat enclosure, we couldn’t get him to finish his lunch. Neither could we readily tear him away from the penguins. In fact, Granddad had a bit of a job keeping Keiki from clambering into their pond to join them. We communed with the seals. We watched a polar bear chewing meditatively on a traffic cone. And, of course, Humuhumu found a climbing wall and had to try everything.

It was a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon, and we will certainly return to the Tiergarten on our next trip to Vienna.

Further photos beneath the cut.
+++ )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 12:28pm on 16/08/2017 under ,
Recently read:
  • Dzur by Steven Brust.

    I didn't love this; I'm not sure how much it's a weaker member of the series and how much it's me. It is book 10 in a set of 19, of which the last five are still to be written. I may have left it too long since I read the previous volumes, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I decided I couldn't be bothered following all the complex allusions to the meta-structure of the whole series, and as a single novel it's never more than just ok. I didn't find Vlad's voice or Loiosh's asides witty, and the pacing dragged, and I didn't care about the mystery. Because I hadn't been following the chronology properly, the twist at the end wasn't a delightful surprise, it just unsatisfyingly didn't make sense.

    When I was reading 50 books a year, I intended to read the whole series, because both the individual novels and the way they fit together into a complex whole appeal to me. Now that I read more like 15 or 20, I'm thinking I may drop this. Not sure; one weaker book doesn't mean the whole series isn't worth bothering with.

  • A taste of honey by Kai Ashante Wilson. This was a Hugo-nominated novella, which meant that several of my friends read it, and were enthusiastic about it. So I ended up reading the copy from my Hugo packet on the way back from Worldcon, which is not exactly in the spirit of things. And I regret not reading it in time to vote for it, not that it would have made much difference since McGuire's Every heart a doorway (which I wasn't keen on) won by miles.

    Anyway, this is a really amazing fantasy romance story. It's beautifully written, great characters, twisty, thought-provoking plot. The worldbuilding is really deep; looking it up it turns out this is a companion novella in the setting of a novel, which I'm now definitely going to seek out. I had dismissed Wilson's Sorcerer of the Wildeeps mainly because the name is so clunky; I assumed it was parodic or just really generic swords and sorcery.

    It's hard to describe exactly what's so great about AToH without spoilers, but it's a really moving romance, and has a lot to say about choices and sacrifices made for love. [personal profile] jack thought it maybe needed some content warnings; some of the content is about homophobia and abusive parenting. To me it didn't feel like misery porn, it felt as if it centred its variously Queer characters and described some of the bad things in their life as well as the good. But I can imagine some readers finding it hard going.

    Up next: The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin. I'd been meaning to read this, though I'm a little scared of what I've heard about it, and I've now bumped it up my list since the sequel won a second Hugo.
  • location: Olorum
    Mood:: 'okay' okay
    Music:: Enya: Orinoco flow
    autopope: Me, myself, and I (Default)
    August 15th, 2017
    flick: (Default)
    posted by [personal profile] flick at 08:59pm on 15/08/2017 under ,


    Sigh. And the early tomatoes have blight (although the later ones, farther from the polytunnel door, seem clear so far).

    Home now, all well (other than Mike coming down with a cold). Will catch up on email over the next day or so....

    Slightly worryingly, just after coming in from picking veg I noticed a couple of big-but-minor blisters on my fingers. I did pull a couple of weeds (without gloves) while I was out there, but I'm now wondering which of them were noxious.... There was something unfamiliar with purple flowers. Hmm.
    oursin: The stylised map of the London Underground, overwritten with Tired of London? Tired of Life! (Tired of London? Tired of Life!)

    London garden bridge project collapses in acrimony after £37m spent.

    And I can't help wanting to say to Boris J that in Ye Bygone Days when people built follies they did so on their own estates and with their own money (though on reflection this was probably ill-gottens from the Triangle Trade and dodgy dealings in India) and didn't ask the nation to pay for them.

    (And aren't there already memorials to Princess Di? How many do we need?)

    And, you know, it's a pretty idea and in theory I am there with Thomas Heatherwick that 'London needs new bridges and unexpected new public places': except that that is not a part of London that required Yet Another Bridge, there are so many that taking the boat journey along that stretch of river is more like going into a tunnel.

    Also, it was not properly a public space:

    a link that would be privately run, would be able set its own rules for access, and would close at night and be available to hire for private events.
    Not dissimilar from those gardens in London squares to which access is by residents' key. I do not think that is a definition of 'public' that would have been assented to by those urban planners and reformers creating parks and spaces for the benefit of the inhabitants of the metropolis.

    I am also boggled by the suggestion that the river is not already pretty much 'centre-stage' in our great city.

    I think Mad William would have had things to say along the lines of

    I wander thro' each charter'd street,
    Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
    and whether if crowds flowed over the bridge, so many, common and routine usage would have meant that
    Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
    And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

    I might go along on the line suggested by this to comment that what good is a garden bridge if the land lies waste?

    jennaria: Japanese kanji (with a heart) saying 'I heart yaoi!' (Generic Japanese)
    Semester starts next week, which means work will become Work, and my free time will involve mostly decompressing from Work (and maybe hopefully writing). I have not been great about posting here, and current world news is mostly making me grind my teeth and ratcheting up my anxiety, so! An anime meme, as borrowed from [personal profile] kalloway, as adapted from Taichara.

    01: What is your #1 favorite anime?

    Right now? Probably Yuri!!! On Ice. (Do I have a post burbling about YoI? Apparently not, the closest I have is here. Huh.) But really, I do agree with [personal profile] kalloway that this should be the last question, not the first, so I'm going to put a pin in this and try to remember to come back to it at the end of the six weeks.
    sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
    At this point, it is impossible to stop watching no matter how many times I view this story.

    Prince Yu is so much like a cracked diamond, brilliant but flawed. But he goes out as he came in, on his own terms, however morally suspect they might be.

    Then there is Prince Jing determined to discover the truth. He does discover the truth. But.

    Amid all the emotional strife, there is an awesome surprise . . .
    Read more... )
    nanila: (me: art)
    posted by [personal profile] nanila at 01:26pm on 15/08/2017 under , , ,
    In early July, the bloke & I went to Amsterdam for a couple of days for my (very) belated birthday celebrations. His parents kindly looked after the children so we could have our first holiday alone together since they were born.

    One of the things we did was go to an art museum and wander around for a couple of hours. This is not a thing you can do with small children, unless you have imprisoned them in a pram, and then there would (not unreasonably) be screaming.

    I’d previously been to both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The bloke had never been to the latter, but as it was the height of summer, it was not a good time to go. The place cannot cope with the number of visitors it receives, and unless you book days in advance, you can’t get in. When you do, you still have to queue, and you end up shuffling in a slow-moving crush of people past all of the artwork. It’s not a great experience. We opted, therefore, to go to one we’d never been in: the Stedelijk Museum, which is dedicated to modern art.

    I really enjoyed the collection. It was well curated and I now have a little list of new (to me) artists to keep my eyes peeled for in the London exhibitions.

    Photographer Zanele Muholi takes photos of LGBTQ+ community members in Africa. I definitely want a book of her work. It was a little irritating to find, at the end of our visit, that of all the special exhibitions on display, hers was the only one without a corresponding product available in the shop. No books, no postcards, nothing. Hmph.

    20170711_123055
    From her “Brave Beauties” series.

    +++ )
    beeswing: (Default)
    posted by [personal profile] beeswing at 11:19am on 15/08/2017
    “On their last night together, Tilo and Musa slept with their arms wrapped around each other, as though they had only just met.”

    — Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

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