little moments of alienness and not

25 September 2017 09:10
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Years ago, when Leonard was writing Constellation Games, he named the various alien species after different human words for "alien" or "foreigner". So there are Aliens, Foreigners, Farang, Gaijin, Extraterrestrials, the Others, and so on. One species of them is the Auslanders; later a German-speaking friend told us the spelling of the plural ought to be Auslender.

Today I was rereading a little chunk of Lake Wobegon Days and came across Keillor referring to Ausländers, and was reminded of that moment years ago. And then just after that was the passage about Flag Day, and I was catapulted far further back, to fourth grade and the first time I read (or was read?) any of this book. I was in a Gifted and Talented class in an elementary school in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, with that teacher who had a chunk of the Berlin Wall in her classroom. Did she read that to us or did I read it by myself?

Saturday I was on the 7 train back home from Maker Faire and I was sitting near some girls who -- as they happened to say aloud, in their conversation with each other -- were 12 or 13 years old. I am about three times their age. Yet I wanted them to look at me not as an alien grownup but as someone they might be like. They all have smartphones and evidently deal with boys sending them dick pics. And they act blasé about it; I don't know how they actually feel. The next day I talked about this with the people staffing the table next to mine. One of them suggested that boys have always done sort of body-part-display to girls less as a sexual come-on and more as a thrill-of-the-forbidden act, with dick pics as analogous to mooning. We joked about the dedication of an imaginary man from a previous century who worked in rotogravure or lithograph or woodcut. Or at least, like, Matthew Brady or someone using silver nitrate film.

cue "Ashokan Farewell"

My dearest Elizabeth. Tonight the Union Army rests. We know not what battle the general will order us to tomorrow. But know that my love for you is the wind that calls your name through the trees. Here's a dick pic. I had to sit for five hours for the army portrait painter boy to make this.

Sergeant Cowling was killed at the Battle of Bull Run.


I was laughing pretty hard by the end of this.

Maybe one reason I like laughing with others, and making others laugh, is because it is a kind of proof that we are not entirely aliens to each other.

I would have thought lawful

24 September 2017 23:59
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Paladin/Sorcerer (4th/3rd Level)


Ability Scores:

Strength-13

Dexterity-8

Constitution-16

Intelligence-10

Wisdom-8

Charisma-7


Alignment:
Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.


Race:
Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.


Primary Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin's special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.


Secondary Class:
Sorcerers are arcane spellcasters who manipulate magic energy with imagination and talent rather than studious discipline. They have no books, no mentors, no theories just raw power that they direct at will. Sorcerers know fewer spells than wizards do and acquire them more slowly, but they can cast individual spells more often and have no need to prepare their incantations ahead of time. Also unlike wizards, sorcerers cannot specialize in a school of magic. Since sorcerers gain their powers without undergoing the years of rigorous study that wizards go through, they have more time to learn fighting skills and are proficient with simple weapons. Charisma is very important for sorcerers; the higher their value in this ability, the higher the spell level they can cast.


Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Just Breathe

24 September 2017 22:49
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
The last few days we've had a record-setting heat wave, with temps in the high 80s and low 90s (right now it's 25 C/ 77 F AT NIGHT). My asthma is acting up and I have been feeling more sad than usual. I get this burning pain in my ribs and sternum and mouth. I've been napping during the day and staying up late, but I haven't been doing much with my time.

To get some good AC I went to the cheap seat movie theater tonight and saw "Step." This is a documentary about a Step dance team at a girls' high school in Baltimore. The film focuses entirely on black girls and women. Recommended.
fairestcat: naked woman reading. vintage (Reading)
[personal profile] fairestcat
I've been doing less book bingeing and more reading of fic over the last month, which is probably, ultimately a happy balance for me.

Liberty and Other Stories (Prosperity, #2-4, 6) - Alexis Hall - ★ ★ ★ ★

A diverse series of stories expanding on the Prosperity universe, both before and after the events of Prosperity. read more )

The New Born Year - Kris Ripper ★ ★

I love this series, and I really liked getting to know Ally better, but I found this a difficult and unpleasant read. read more )

Full of Briars (October Daye, #9.3) - Seanan McGuire ★ ★ ★

I'm several books behind in this series, and figured this was a good way to dip back in. Because Quentin. Who is awesome. read more )

Gun To My Head - Dira Lewis ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reread. First read April 5, 2017. Second read April 6, 2017. Third read now, by which you might infer that I really fucking love this book. read more )

The Mystic Marriage (Alpennia, #2) - Heather Rose Jones ★ ★ ★ ★

I continue to adore this series. This second installment continues to follow Barbara and Margerit's lives, while expanding the focus to two characters who played a supporting role in the first book. read more )

The Element of Fire (Ile-Rien, #1) - Martha Wells ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reread. I think I first read this sometime in 2010.

This is a secondary-world fantasy set in the approximate equivalent of 17th Century France only with both sorcery and Fae creatures.read more )

Point of Dreams (Astreiant, #2) - Melissa Scott & Lisa A. Barnett ★ ★ ★ ★

In some ways the murders are the least interesting part of this book. They matter, and they drive the plot, but it's the thematic stuff going on around and in cause of the murders that I found most interesting.

This is a book about relationships, and the ways they are seen and controlled by society and societal pressures. read more )

Seven Summer Nights - Harper Fox ★ ★ ★ ★

This was not the book I expected it to be, but I quite enjoyed the book it turned out to be.

This is, as the cover copy stated, a just-post-WWII historical romance between an archaeologist and a vicar, both of whom came back from the war changed. It's about two men trying to fit back into roles and ways of life they no longer fit. read more )

Bound to Be a Groom (Regency Reimagined, #1) - Megan Mulry

DNF.

It's queer, kinky, poly, historical erotica. I'm pretty much THE target audience for this book. And I gave up at 13% read. read more )

Death by Silver (Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey, #1) - Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold ★ ★ ★ ★

This was a rougher read than I expected from the ad copy. Good, but at times decidedly difficult.

This is a queer, steampunk murder mystery, but that's not really what it's about.

What it actually is is a book about institutionally-sanctioned bullying and abuse and the different ways in which adult survivors of childhood trauma cope with their past. read more )

the common or garden anti-semite

24 September 2017 18:37
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I'm rereading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers for the first time in maybe a year, since I just switched my Audible membership over to .ca instead of .com, and the Canadian website has the rights for the book when the American website has just been promising to have it for ages but never actually being able to sell it.

In that time I've read Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism, which very closely details the rise of anti-Semitism in Western Europe between the French Revolution and the Second World War. Sayers is an awkward novelist in that her writing in the 1920s and 30s is sparkling in many ways, but soured a few times a book by discordant notes whenever "those people" are mentioned--Sayers seems to think that she is being very liberal-minded by mentioning Jewish people at all, much less having her characters vaguely tolerate them and discuss how a Jew might be as moral as the next fellow. (She had an unhappy early affair with a Jewish writer that seems to have affected her strongly)

I can see no situation in which they might ever have met, but still, the whole thing solidifies mentally for me into a unified whole if I imagine them at some evening party full of urbane and witty literary people, drinking and smoking and sounding clever, where Sayers is holding forth and being pleased with herself and Hannah Arendt is smoking in silence and taking down extensive mental notes for an essay later. She smiles when Sayers passes her an ashtray, but she's already plotting her revenge.

Weekly Pull 9/20/17

24 September 2017 16:42
lurkerwithout: (comics)
[personal profile] lurkerwithout
Bitch Planet Triple Feature #4: Marc Deschamps & Mindy Lee, with colors by Leonardo Olea "Life of a Sportsman", Sara Woolley's "Bodymod" and Vita Ayala and Rossi Gifford's "To Be Free..."
Mirror #8: by Emma Rios and Hwei Lim.  Refugees from the Izrah colony, both human and animal, begin to search for a new potential home.
Invincible #140Writer Robert Kirkman, Penciler Ryan Ottley, Inker Mark Morales, Colorist Nathan Fairbairn & Letterer Rus Wooton.  Countdown to the finale continues, with Mark & Thragg's final battle in the Sun.

Bug! the Adventures of Forager #4: Storytellers Lee & Michael Allred, COlorist Laura Allred & Letterer Nate Piekos of Blambot.  Bug teams with Deadman (trapped in a robot body) and Manhunter to go after a criminal auction.

the Damned: Ill-Gotten #4: Written by Cullen Bunn, Illustrated by Brian Hurtt, Colored by Bill Crabtree & Lettered by Crank!  Demonic deals, regrets and double-crosses.

A leaf

24 September 2017 16:57
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Taken from a couple of angles over about a minute.

Read more... )

I am taking care of someone's cats

24 September 2017 16:45
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
As one does, I keep a log of my visits.

The cats expressed their appreciation for my record-keeping.

Read more... )

Of things past

24 September 2017 12:52
ink_13: (juggler)
[personal profile] ink_13
Drove to KW the "long way" yesterday, up Highway 25 and across Highway 7, which is considerably more scenic than the 401. I had vaguely intended to carry northwards along the escarpment towards Orangeville, but traffic was unusually poor and ate up all the time I had set aside for that.

The purpose of the drive was to head to UW to rehearse a bit I said I would do in celebration of 50 years of the Faculty of Mathematics and 60 years of the University. I parked at Renison (which still raises their parking gates on the weekend, unlike St. Jerome's) and enjoyed a nostalgic stroll across campus in the direction of the plaza via Science and Engineering, whereupon I indulged in a classic order from my undergrad days at Harvey's: a veggie burger with cheese and bacon.

I headed back to the MC along the traditional DC-CEIT-C2 route and entered via the southeast stair, the first time I think I've been back in the fortress that was my home for five years in quite some time (2013 I think?). It looks a little different in some places, but it still smells the same, which was very affecting. I was little early for my meetup, so I headed to the third floor, whereupon in what I can only describe as a cosmic joke, MathSoc wound up needing my help. They lost the keys to the photocopier cash box some time ago, and no one can even remember what they look like, but I can. Alas, we were not able to locate them, but I was able to tell them who to call (whatever Graphics is called now).

I think MathSoc is sick. Quite a lot has been forgotten that I worked hard to remember, and even stuff that was common knowledge before is mysterious to them now. Not mine to fix, though.

Anyhoo, the rehearsal happened, and then some fortuitous texting got me invited to a campfire at Laurel Creek, where I was able to make blue comments with FASSies of times past ("I don't think we have enough wood to last all night" "Yeah, I've said that before"/"I saw it coming and wasn't particularly impressed" "I get that a bunch, too") and hold a three month old baby.

Then it was a nice easy shot across the 401 home. Glad I used Waze to determine that down the DVP was the faster option. Apparently it saved me 25 minutes!

That'll be the last long drive in the Abarth, I think. It was a good one.

"Yay, I'm a Sheep Again! ...Wait."

24 September 2017 08:38
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
Kihai the Grandiose

I was supposed to run D&D last night but for various reasons (mostly related to insomnia) I hadn't had time to finish prepping. My game is at a particularly lore-intensive moment right now, and while monster encounters and action scenes are fairly easy to run off the cuff, getting the world right requires a little thinking ahead.

Luckily [personal profile] inkblitz stepped in with a fun little side-trip adventure for his game. Following last week's goblin-and-dragon-hunting jaunt, the party was in Greenfork, flush with cash. Kihai, raised in the desert by his semi-nomadic Tabaxi kinfolk and now a wandering monk, had never had as much as a hundred and thirty REAL gold pieces and immediately bought himself a fancy hat, a statue of the Cat Lord (actually just a cat-motif doorstop), and a bunch of other useless junk... most of which his Aunt Graycape immediately forced him to return, although she did insist he keep a platinum earring. (Little did he know that she was using the earring as part of a warding bond spell.)

The otherwise-placid morning was interrupted by... )

It was a fun session! Kihai is such a lovable little doofus that he's just as much fun when he fails at things as when he succeeds, although I still get frustrated at the way the dice tend to hobble things I should be good at. (Kihai has a high Dex and Wis, but rarely rolls higher than 6 or 8 on checks involving those. On the other hand, when asked for Investigation checks, at which he has -1, he rolls 18s. Go fig.) Blitzy has a good eye for a fun scenario, and the group did a little better at working together instead of at cross-purposes this time. The detail of the apprentice recognizing the bear's cloak, which I was just going on about for RP silliness, was a nice touch.

So, good game. :) And, as Blitzy has officially set his campaign in Orbis Leonis, it gave me some fodder for next week's session as well. I'll be back in the DM saddle then, by hook or by crook.

-The Gneech

[1] Immediately mangled to "Sheepbright," because Kihai seems to have difficulty getting people's names right.

[2] "It goes with the hat!"

[3] Kihai, being an elemental monk, can create small flame/air/water/earthy effects, but he has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to arcana, so he just made up a bunch of nonsensical junk. He's also a very bad bluffer. "I am the Great and Powerful Kihai! Kamazotz! Yakka-maraca!" But they never really expected the deception to last. They made it past the guards and got the door open, and that was a success.

[4] Which she actually managed to roll almost the minimum damage on (4d6 for 1, 1, 1, 2), but it was still enough!

VNV Nation

24 September 2017 09:02
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
[personal profile] sabotabby
 Dammmmn I needed something like that, just losing myself in music for a few hours and dancing like an idiot. For reasons, they decided to play the Garrison. Like, on purpose. For reference, I have seen VNV Nation a bunch of times at larger venues, and it's not like they have a problem drawing a crowd. The Garrison is tiny. They drew a crowd. It his 40°C yesterday, and the place doesn't have air conditioning.

So I don't think I've ever evaporated at a concert before. It was like dancing in soup. But anyway I guess that is good for depression 'cause I'm feeling slightly less shit about life this morning.

They played songs from "Empires" and "Automatic" only, which are two of their best albums. Some folks brought glowsticks and were quite generous in handing them out, so it had the ambiance of a 90s rave and Ronan seem very much amused by this.

Trip to Spain

24 September 2017 11:30
trailer_spot: (Default)
[personal profile] trailer_spot
I'm back from a trip to Spain. I visited Barcelona
BarcelonaBarcelona


and Madrid.
Madrid


I'm now in the process of catching up with everything that I missed in the last two weeks. Normal trailer service will resume in a couple of days.

A travelogue will follow once I make it through the far too many pictures that I took. That may take a while.

Prompts from [community profile] thefridayfive

23 September 2017 23:04
sasha_feather: Big book of Lesbian Horse stories book cover (lesbian horse stories)
[personal profile] sasha_feather
1. What's the happiest thing to ever happen to you?
Getting a horse for Christmas when I was 11. Penny and I were soul-friends and I had so many good times with her. Here is a photo of us the next summer: https://flic.kr/p/63nL6f

2. What's the saddest thing to ever happen to you?
Maybe when my 2 best friends broke up with me when we were 11-ish (6th grade). In therapy, I determined this to be a watershed event for learning to shut down my emotions; and also the ringleader probably sensed something gay about me, and that is why she decided to stop talking to me. Also, the way they did it! They just stopped talking to me one day. I was bewildered more than anything.

3. What's the thing that got you the most angry in your life?
Probably at a therapist. I was about a day or two into a hypo-manic episode (?) after coming out and I thought she could help me. She didn't. I did write about it at the time http://sasha-feather.dreamwidth.org/375687.html (post was filtered but it's so long ago I will unfilter it, temporarily. Many of my older posts are locked down to private).
I got so angry about the Vivid Con ableism stuff in 2010 that I made myself ill. But, that anger has faded. I don't really feel it anymore.
I didn't get angry a lot before I came out; and then I was angry *all the time*; it seems better now a few years on.

4. What's the most frightening thing to ever happen to you?
Scary situations don't really "happen to me" so much as arise from my anxiety. I have gotten super anxious in totally mundane situations. It seemed like the only way out of the problem was to speak, and I was so anxious I could not speak, so I was stuck and frozen. Also, I didn't know why this was happening. Everyone else seemed to have no problem in these ordinary situations, like speaking to a teacher or knocking on a door. Then having random panic attacks sent me to therapy.
In a more traditional sense of frightening-- there was some scary-to-outsiders stuff with the horses, like getting bucked off. But it never seemed scary to me. Animals are easier than people, and that basic fear is easier to deal with than anxiety.

5. What's the most unbelievable thing to happen to you in your life?
a. Getting scholarships that paid for my college education
b. Getting a horse for Christmas!!!11!1!!!
c. Not realizing I was queer until age mumblety
d. getting facial pain that has no real diagnosis
e. Being on the State Champion poutlry quiz bowl team!
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which is creating the Amazon and Chapters links for the book being review, I know one particular book is $19.19 if you buy it from Kobo and $11.71 from Kindle....

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