firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
[personal profile] firecat
One of the best AMAs I've ever read, featuring Guillermo del Toro.
I think that we live or die under the tyranny of perfection. Socially, we are pushed towards being perfect. Physically, beautiful to conform to standards that are cruel and uncommon, to behave and lead our lives in a certain way, to demonstrate to the world that we are happy and healthy and all full of sunshine. We are told to always smile and never sweat, by multiple commercials of shampoo or beer.

And I feel that the most achievable goal of our lives is to have the freedom that imperfection gives us.

And there is no better patron saint of imperfection than a monster.

We will try really hard to be angels, but I think that a balanced, sane life is to accept the monstrosity in ourselves and others as part of what being human is. Imperfection, the acceptance of imperfection, leads to tolerance and liberates us from social models that I find horrible and oppressive.
I don't agree with a lot of the recommendations about online shopping carts in this Oatmeal cartoon from 2011 (no, I NEVER want to check in to an etail store via Facebook!!!) Also, since it's The Oatmeal, there is gratuitous sexism including references to harming people's reproductive body parts. But it's pretty hilarious.

This is one reason I was writing a lot of notes during my recent jury duty (I got questioned and dismissed).

Like it says on the tin.

For information addicts: The Museum of Online Museums (MoOM)

This "spoon shortages explained" poster is good, but I'd prefer a poster that also mentions that any of these activities could randomly develop a spoon leak.
In fact, I am going to generally ponder thinking about disability-related energy shortfalls in terms of liquid rather than discrete entities like spoons. Some liquids evaporate/freeze/boil/expand/contract at different rates depending on conditions. Some liquids interact with their containers. It's easy to spill liquids of the containers aren't handled properly. And so on.

One of the best descriptions of how health fads work, including the fact that for any given fad (such as gluten intolerance), a few people probably are helped by some of the treatments.

And speaking of fads, let's have a cross-cultural look at the current fad of "happiness"/positive psychology. I like a lot of what's said here, but I think that saying non-Western cultures "fear" happiness might be going too far, and the article also suffers from the fact that "happiness" means about a billion different things and it's conflating a bunch of them.)

Weird Al tweeted that he didn't realize "spastic" was a disablist insult and he was sorry.
So I finally watched "Word Crimes" and I absolutely love it. Not so much because it's judgemental about language—I'm an editor but not a prescriptivist. I love it because of the dancing typography and the proofreading marks.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield writes a hilarious article about some of the challenges of living in zero-gee.
Before anyone asks, no, sex in space is not part of our downtime. We're a small group of focused professionals working in a zero-gravity enclosed environment without a lot of privacy -- even if we wanted to, it would be challenging, to say the very least. As space travel becomes more common and sophisticated, it will probably happen, but it's not happening at the moment, so please don't write any fan fiction about me.
Various authors write about the suck fairy.

If you let your camera geotag the photos you take of cats, and you upload the photos publicly, this site may show a photo of your cat in its approximate location. If you think this is a good project you can back it on Kickstarter.

Some people can't cook because they lack privilege. Others, like me, have no excuse. [Actually I can cook when I put my mind to it, but I have some anxiety around cooking.]

Fig has a special meow

Aug. 1st, 2014 12:59 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
With which he can summon Ibid from anywhere in the house. From many activities, too: Ibid scampered off from a tummy petting when he was called.

Daily Happiness

Jul. 31st, 2014 09:22 pm
torachan: charlotte from bad machinery saying "oh the mysteries of the moth farm" (oh the mysteries of the moth farm)
[personal profile] torachan
1. The grocery store we usually shop at has a good clearance section where we've found a lot of gems over the years, and earlier this week Irene found a bunch of jars of Indian sauces for 99 cents each, just slightly sticky because apparently one had come open. We had one tonight and it was so good! (And as it happened, we even had some chicken in the freezer already, so all I had to buy was an onion and bell pepper to go with it.)

2. Tomorrow I find out whether or not I get the promotion at work... Either way things shake out, at least I won't be waiting and wondering anymore.

here, have a happy vid

Aug. 1st, 2014 12:05 am
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
My car's being totaled, I can't find my passport, and the weather's looking dodgy for SteelyKid's outdoor birthday party on Saturday. This calls for a re-watch of an adorable and well-structured Leverage vid: "Parachute" by [personal profile] thingswithwings.

(Everything will be fine, plans are in place to deal with it all, it's just a lot of hassle all at once. Thus, a happy thing before falling into bed.)
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

I used to have two rules: always read books by people named Sean and always try books by Australians US publishers went to the trouble of acquiring the rights. Like a lot of arbitrary filters, those worked until they failed catastrophically [1] but I was well pleased with discovering Australian author Sean McMullen.

Lights up on a world much like Earth but with crucial differences and the siege of the city of Larmentel by the glorious imperial might of the armies of Emperor Warsovran. Unfortunately for Warsovran's soldiers, their grand skills at siege-craft were learned from the scholars of Larmentel and the scholars kept their best tricks for themselves. Things are not going well but they are about to become much worse.

Read more... )
umadoshi: (kittens - Claudia - pensive)
[personal profile] umadoshi
I'm all packed to go! And despite the alarming quantity of clothing I'm taking (I can do laundry at Ginny's, but still, it's a two-and-a-half week trip. Also, I'm told Toronto's on the cool side for August lately, but who knows how it'll be in a couple of weeks?), my main suitcase weighs under 40 lbs, which is good, since that's the maximum weight for it on the train unless I want to pay extra fees. (Why the train's baggage weight allowance is lower than the plane's, I do not know. >.>)

I'm not planning on buying much while away, so hopefully I can keep from adding too much weight to my luggage other than the pair of shoes waiting for me at a Toronto Fluevog store. (I had my eye on these for months and months, and then they went on sale so conveniently close to my trip, so I didn't have to pay for shipping! Also, I tried them on in May, so I'm as sure of my size as one can be without wearing shoes for an extended period. Here's hoping, since sale items aren't returnable if they're not shipped out.)

My to-do list still has plenty on it, but all of the vital pre-trip things are done, other than the rewrite that I have to turn in on Monday. (Eep.) My bags are packed, my clothes are laid out for tomorrow, my hair is freshly dyed, the final Feed discussion post is up (as of only about half an hour ago), the rewrite due tomorrow is finished although not turned in...

One very annoying thing: I took my Swiss Army knife off my keychain to put it in my to-be-checked suitcase,'s gone. Poof. [personal profile] scruloose figures it has to have wound up in said suitcase, somewhere, because I can't find it anywhere at all (and hadn't packed my carry-on bag yet, which I now have, mostly). ;_; I know it's in the house somewhere, since I haven't left the house, but I'm irrationally worried that it won't turn up. :/

It was a gift from K (the friend I'm staying with in Ottawa) before we even met each other, so I've probably had it for fifteen years or so. :/ She got it for me in Switzerland while visiting there--and had to argue with the person engraving it over the spelling of my name, which was funny because at that point we only knew each other at all in a text medium--and it's exactly my favorite shade of purple, and I will be very sad indeed if it's inexplicably gone forever.

And now I should really get to bed, since I want to get some work done before I head to the airport, but both kittens are here in the office with me. Jinksy is sprawled on the floor by my desk asking for belly rubs. I'm going to miss them horribly. (I'll miss [personal profile] scruloose more, but I can at least talk to him every day. Hail the cell plan!)

So here, have just a few more links that have accrued since I posted earlier:

A cut scene from the season 1 finale episode of Penny Dreadful.

Over at [community profile] ladybusiness, [personal profile] renay posted "'Who Speaks Chinese, Anyway?' and Other Mortifications from Luc Besson's Lucy". The second half of the very last line sums up why I went to see the movie (although before going I hadn't realized how dire it is on many fronts): "The moral of this story: [...] probably wait for VOD/DVD unless you want to make a political statement about women action leads being able to put bodies in theater seats."

(More specifically, I went in the name of "LOOK! I WILL PAY YOU TO SHOW ME SCARLETT JOHANSSON HEADLINING AN SF/ACTIONY MOVIE! LET ME DO IT AGAIN!", AKA my contribution to the "Where the hell is my Black Widow movie?!" fund.)

[personal profile] kaberett posted "A quick nerdy note on wardrobe decisions in Elementary", with spoilers for episode 2x01.

[personal profile] skygiants posted about Operation Mincemeat: "The amazing true story of one REALLY DETAILED hoax perpetrated by the British upon the Germans. The initial idea seems to have gone basically like this:

Step 1: Obtain corpse
Step 2: Cover corpse with fake British war plans for the Germans to find and be confused by

Then more and more in-between steps began to proliferate[...]"

Reading Post, 7/31/14

Jul. 31st, 2014 09:43 pm
likeadeuce: (writer)
[personal profile] likeadeuce
It's not Wednesday but it's the end of the month so I figured I should get another of these updates in. I also have some memes to answer and a lovely (last) weekend to update about, but one thing at a time.

• What are you currently reading?

I was a bit bogged down in multiple good but long-and-dense books so I asked for some fun/fast rec to get me out of a rut. A friend suggested the Bartimaeus trilogy, a middle grade (I think? I'm not very good at these categories) series by Jonathan Stroud, which turned out to be just the thing. Right now I'm in the middle of the second book, The Golem's Eye, which improves on the first book (which I quite enjoyed) by adding a smart, streetwise female protagonist to the mix (who is named Kitty but who I'm having fun picturing as Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones). The premise is a pretty severely AU version of modern England, where wizards run the government, by forcing djinn and other spirits to do their bidding. It feels like sort of a mashup of Harry Potter with Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, with a touch of modern dystopia, and one of the main POV characters is a djinni who has been summoned against his will and is not very happy about it. So this is a lot of fun as well as being very smart and subversive in an interesting way. (The first book in the series is The Amulet of Samarkand).

I've also started While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell, for my book club. This is a reimagining of Sleeping Beauty as a sort of historical romance (in the old fashioned sense, not the 'love story' sense of the term.) The narrator is a ladies' maid in the royal household and while the start is pretty grim (miserable childhood and plague and deaths in the family), the narrator has now made it to the royal court, and I'm enjoying it. I'm not sure how the fairy tale elements will be incorporated but I'm interested to find out.

Also, I bought a month's trial of the Marvel Unlimited app, which gives access to a lot of back issues and it doesn't work great on my laptop, but it's pretty good on my phone. So I've been scrolling around looking at various things, and have settled into the Lee/Kirby Captain America run (which starts in 1968 at issue 100 although issues 1-99 are NOT the cap solo title). So I'm not really READING these per se, but looking at the pages and reading the speech bubbles that look interesting (so far mostly when Steve talks to Fury or to Sharon; I mostly skip the dialogue on the villain-only pages altogether.) So I'm not sure which parts of this I'm going to cover but this is fun so far. If there are any back runs you think I should check out, let me know; there's a lot of stuff missing (like I was hoping for the issues I'm missing in the Simonson run on X-Factor, but no luck). Cap seems to be pretty well covered, though, which is nice.

• What did you recently finish reading?

As I mentioned above, The Amulet of Samarkand kept me entertained during my road trip last weekend.

On the other hand, I picked up Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson know when there's a series author whose work you remember enjoying 10 or 15 years ago, and then you happen on a description of his most recent book and think, "Oh that sounds interesting," and you pick it up even though you've missed the last 6 or 7 books in the series. Only now it's 2014, and the author is trying to act like he knows stuff about the Internet and having appallingly inaccurate and outdated views about sexual harassment on college campuses and you keep reading against your better judgment in the hopes that it will get better and...yeah, not so much. This book was really bad, and it mostly made me want to reread Reginald Hill, who covered a lot of the same ground (Yorkshire cops and what happens to campus radicals when they grow up, not inaccurate opinion about campus harasment, thank God; I can't even imagine what Ellie Pascoe would have to say about that) and did it with a lot more nuance and humanity.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

I'll try to get back to finishing some of those thick, complicated books (like Hild and A Stranger in Olondria). Plus I'm about ready to tackle Vanity Fair. And of course the third Bartimaeus book. And comic.

Fic - Listen to the Earth

Jul. 31st, 2014 09:02 pm
damkianna: Fanart of Katara in the Avatar state. (Only Waterbender in the South Pole.)
[personal profile] damkianna posting in [community profile] white_lotus
So it's been a long time (years! multiple years!), but I've finally managed to complete the second work in my ongoing Avatar!Katara AU.

Title: Listen to the Earth (Book Two)
Rating: Somewhere between PG and PG-13 - some violence, mostly inexplicit, and eminently SFW.
Spoilers: In a general sense, for all of S2. However, this story is pretty AU.
Characters/Pairing: Moments of Sokka/Suki. Katara-focused overall. Includes some original characters.
Summary: "Prince Zuko," Yin said, and bowed without awkwardness. Avatar!Katara AU, Book Two.
Wordcount: Around 200,000 words. (!)
Content Notes: none.
Other Notes: As with Book One, more thanks than I can possibly express to my sister, [personal profile] idriya, who was my cheerleader and beta throughout this ridiculous epic.
Links: Fic @ AO3 | Series @ AO3

This Month in SocImages (July 2014)

Jul. 31st, 2014 08:29 pm
[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Call for Papers:

  • I’m looking for recommendations for fantastic blog posts addressing gender and its intersections for a book project.   Self-nominations are welcome!  Please send ideas to

SocImages News:

Elsewhere on the Web:

You like!  Here are our most appreciated posts this month:

Thanks everybody!

Editor’s Pick!

Social Media ‘n’ Stuff:

Finally, this is your monthly reminder that SocImages is on TwitterFacebookTumblrGoogle+, and Pinterest.  I’m on Facebook and most of the team is on Twitter: @lisawade@gwensharpnv@familyunequal, and @jaylivingston.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at


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