Session #67: Peaceful Serenity

Oct. 22nd, 2017 02:54 pm
schneefink: Parker grinning, from First David Job (Parker smiling before jumping off a buil)
[personal profile] schneefink
I love playing D&D.

After our unexpected fight and victory against our enemy's head spy, we were looking for the gem with the soul of my undead minion.

The next sessions were so much fun that I wrote fic about it :D
Surviving Caterpillars
Featuring, among other things, my undead cat familiar fighting a dragon. I don't know how much sense it'll make for anyone not familiar with our campaign, but I enjoyed writing it a lot.

After that came the attack on the city occupied by enemy forces. Details )

Orthodoxy in Oxford

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:55 am
naraht: Orthodox church in Romania (art-RomaniaPantocrator)
[personal profile] naraht
One of the things that I loved most about Russia was being able to pass any random church – usually a beautiful Baroque church – and know that it was an Orthodox church. And the fact that there was usually a service going on, which meant that I could go in, light a few candles and stand for a few minutes to enjoy the architecture and the singing before going on with my sightseeing. (There's no expectation that you'll arrive on time, or indeed stay till the end, as long as you know the points of the service during which you're not meant to leave.)

Back in Oxford, I'm really missing it. I would go to church much more if it could be this simple - if I could just pop in between the farmer's market and the cafe as part of my weekend routine. In the week and a half I was in Russia, I went to more church services than I've been to in years. (Not to mention wore a headscarf more than I ever have... it was a good chance to use all the scarves I have lying around.)

Really I shouldn't complain. I know there are places, like in the American South, where you have to drive for hours to get to an Orthodox church. I grew up in a town with one, and I've just discovered that we have four here in Oxford, not two as I'd originally thought.

• the Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox one, the oldest Orthodox church in Oxford and the home of Kallistos Ware, which is unfortunately a long walk from my house
• the other Russian Orthodox church (Patriarchate of Moscow), which is also a bit of a hike
• a Romanian Orthodox church
• an Indian Orthodox church (Malenkara Orthodox Syrian)

Whether or not I manage to get off my couch within the next half an hour to go to church this morning, I must definitely plan to visit the latter two sometime - particularly the last, as I've never been to an Oriental Orthodox church before. We shall see...

ETA: I ended up going to the other Russian church, which I hadn't visited before in its new home, and turns out to be only 20 minutes walk. Not too bad.
typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
A few weeks back I started this series (part 1, part 2, part 3) referencing a running gag from the movie Throw Mama From the Train, where one writer is hung up on his opening line, trying hundreds of variants of “The night was…” instead of just concentrating on the story itself, then fixing the opening later. The opening is important, of course. When your story is published, you won’t be there to whisper in the reader’s ear “It gets really good once it gets moving. Keep reading and scroll down. It’ll be worth it.” Your opening line (and paragraph, and scene) must do that for you.

The three classic openings are...

(the rest of this post about opening lines in fiction is at FontFolly.Net.)

In Elin's comfy chair

Oct. 21st, 2017 12:28 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
That's where I am today, and lovely it is. She asks a good question, does our Elin. Like what commemorative event has most encapsulated the tragedy of WWI for me. Pop across to find out the answer to that.

CountTheShells_400x600

Query

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:04 pm
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
All my life I've been niggled by the worry that the Egyptians were right about the afterlife, and that everybody we've excavated is now wandering around naked and hungry.  Anybody else? 

The Adventure Zone

Oct. 21st, 2017 02:04 am
schneefink: (FF Kaylee excited)
[personal profile] schneefink
I just finished listening to "The Adventure Zone" (and by that I mean I literally finished it ten minutes ago, I was typing this up during the last two episodes) and it was amazing and I need to ramble about it. I started it and it didn't really draw me in, I only kept listening because I saw so many people recommending it. Eventually it got better, then around The Eleventh Hour I started to actually enjoy it (finally some character stuff), The Suffering Game wasn't my favorite but that arc's end and the following Lunar Interlude is where the overarching arc got really interesting, and then The Lost Century was really great, and Story and Song was fantastic. It took a long time, but in the end it was worth it. So many feelings. Especially about Taako and [spoiler] *flails*

Spoilers )

I bet it would be fascinating to listen to the whole story again, see how it all looks different now that I know the background, especially because I listened to most of it at work and definitely missed some details. (Not sure I will, at least not right away, because there's a lot of other stuff I want to listen too (live session and Q&As from TAZ alone), but I'll see.)
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
My main feature spot on the blogtour today is at Book Reviews and More - the post is inspired by a question from Elin Gregory. What research didn't make it into Count the Shells? Nip over there to find out.

Dreadnought by April Daniels

Oct. 19th, 2017 09:29 pm
lightreads: a partial image of a etymology tree for the Indo-European word 'leuk done in white neon on black'; in the lower left is (Default)
[personal profile] lightreads
Dreadnought

4/5. Danny is fifteen and trans and very, very closeted. She happens to be present for the death of a superhero, and when his mantle passes to her, it transitions her.

A lot of this is great. Though in the case of Danny’s deteriorating relationship with her parents, “great” also means scary and infuriating. See also: the greatest transphobic threat to Danny’s safety and happiness in this book is arguably from someone who is supposed to be on her side and who claims the banner of feminism, which is painfully spot on.

I kind of wish this wasn’t a superhero book though? Which is not relevant, I realize, since this book is really just what you’d get if you reimagined a Marvel superhero’s origin story to include transness and queerness then wrote it in prose. That’s not a bad thing! But I am 0% interested in the extended – seriously, lengthy – descriptions of all the punching and kicking nonsense. And only minimally interested in superhero tech. And only a touch more interested in the ethics of superpowers conversation. Been there, done that.

So I guess what I’m saying is that this is a great book from a purely representational perspective – yay straight-faced superhero origin story about a transgirl – but I am not interested in straight-faced superhero origin stories these days.
cahn: (Default)
[personal profile] cahn
I was going to wait until I had time to go into Seventeen and get the textual backup for everything I'm saying, but I have gradually come to realize that if I wait until then it will never happen until possibly after Yuletide which isn't acceptable. Also I guess it would be even longer than it actually is. So. Here you go.

This is long even without quotations. )
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Today I'm at Dog Eared Daydreams, discussing the way that authors have to get their minds around being edited.

Then at Two Chicks Obsessed I'm considering how best (IMO) to research the Great War.

You know the form; comment at any (or all) stops to be in the virtual hat to win the goodie bag prize.

Coffee and tea and the raining and me

Oct. 18th, 2017 08:27 pm
typographer: Me on a car in the middle of nowhere, eastern Colorado, age four (Default)
[personal profile] typographer
I drink coffee in the mornings and usually switch to tea in the afternoon. At least when I’m in the office. When I’m home (whether it be a work from home day or simply a day off), I’ll make a pot of coffee in the morning, and since I’m the only coffee drinker in the house, that’s usually more than enough for me for the day. Most of the time...

(The rest of this post about beverages, weather, life, and inspiration is at FontFolly.Net.)

Things

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:31 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
It seems like it's been ages that I've posted anything substantial and non-FMK here (which I knew was a risk; I have enough social media XP (extroversion points) to keep up with approx. 1 DW post a week, that is well-established). So here is a 5 things to break the monotony:

1. Pokemon Go will not let me install the latest update (It gives an error message that says "we hates your phone, precious" [paraphrase] and then won't install.) So instead I have been playing Magikarp Jump, which the app store always tries to tell me pokego players will enjoy. So far:

This is my fish. There are many like it, but this one is mine. )


2. Also I finally won the last boss level in Alphabear, so until I got my fish game, I was totally at loose ends for mindless phone games, and started looking for ports of the ones I played as a kid. HOW IS AN ANDROID PORT OF GODDAMP CATERPILLAR 11 megabytes? I coded that from scratch on my TI83 when I was a kid! In, like, about 100 lines of code! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

(I also coded a text adventure with a gender-ambiguous protagonist on that calculator, actually...)


3. I finished cleaning my bathroom yesterday! It only took me about two weeks! It is so nice to go in there and have it be clean! clean ALL the things )


4. So last November I kind of went into power-save mode for awhile, quit using Habitica and also quit a bunch of the things I had been doing on a regular basis (tag wrangling, practicing piano, working on Spanish and Icelandic, writing on a regular basis, using Tumblr...) But my sister got me back onto using Habitica again, and now that all the cat-related tasks are gone (and I trimmed some other stuff) it's a much more reasonable list of dailies.

I had forgotten how very motivating it is to get to tick the thingy. Now I am debating whether to use my Orb of Rebirth and start over or not (And whether to try to get together an active party with more than just me and my sister and a bunch of inactive accounts.)

And I'm trying to get back to doing some of the other things I stopped, too. I gave Tag Wrangling an un-hiatus notice, so I'm committed to trying to be less fail at that, and I pulled out a piano book for the first time in months (I found a copy of the very first one I learned out of, The Joy Of First-Year Piano, to warm me back up) Og ég er að læra íslensku aftur. Þótt jurtabókin er erfitt. Það er of mikið um illt kaffi í bókinni. Y yo hablé español a una clienta hoy! Un poco español, pero un poco es más que nada.

The only thing I gave up that I haven't missed at all is Tumblr. *shrug emoji* (even that's not true, I have a secret backup tumblr to which are added a couple people who post mostly personal stuff and also a bunch of nature and solarpunk and library special collections photos, and no politics or fandom, and it's still fine.)

5. One of the things on my habitica dailies is to post an AO3 comment once a day. Another one is to do something with politics once a week. I got my wires crossed in there somewhere and realized that if I don't feel up to actually engaging with politics I can just send one of my (excellent) congresspeople an email that literally just says, "Hi staffer who reads these, you are fighting the good fight, keep holding the line, thank you", just like when I want to leave an AO3 comment but don't know what to say, and it STILL COUNTS.

Also, people are trying to get public outcry going toward Congress passing the nonpartisan bill Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) which would make it so the US President could not launch a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war. TBH I can't think of ANY reason why that should ever have been possible, but ESPECIALLY now. So write your congresspeople or spread the word to #PULL THE FOOTBALL

/me crosses off "do politics" for this week

Wednesday

Oct. 18th, 2017 11:07 pm
schneefink: (FF Kaylee in hammock)
[personal profile] schneefink
On the one hand there's a ton I want to post about, but on the other hand it's mostly unfinished thoughts, so I haven't posted anything, which seems very reflective of my current state of mind. But I'll get better! I also have flatmates who bake me stuff.

There are many things I read/watched that I want to write about but then somehow I don't get around to it (books, Critical Role, Bright Sessions, The Good Place etc.) and other stuff that I can't mention right now because it's for Yuletide. Yuletide will be fun! DD signed up for the first time and we'll do writing sessions together. We started today, writing stuff we should finish before we get started on our Yuletide stories. Quote by DD: "Instead of cannibalistic torture they're now going to drink a glass of wine and I'm very confused what happened." Meanwhile I'm writing awkward hugs. We balance each other so well. And Sunday all three of us are planning a day of baking/cooking/eating/studying/writing/playing boardgames together, it'll be fun.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Have you ever considered the way the writer's sub-conscious can influence their stories? Am talking about that at Love Byte Reviews.

Over at Open Skye, I'm telling again the story of how a set of timbers at a mill inspired me to write,

And you know the drill - comment here, there or everywhere to be in with a chance of winning.

Book review(s): Steinbeck

Oct. 18th, 2017 08:35 am
gfish: (Default)
[personal profile] gfish
I just finished a Steinbeck binge, working my way through Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath, and East of Eden. I think I had read Of Mice and Men before, sometime in high school? I certainly knew the story, anyway. Still good. The dog shooting part was hard, since I experienced exactly that as a kid, waiting to hear the shot. The dog ran under the truck one day, so my dad had to deal with it. I had been in the truck when it happened, and I didn't handle it well.

East of Eden I enjoyed, but it didn't really feel finished. The biblical parallels might be more interesting to other people, but it wasn't enough for me. I liked the people and the stories of their lives, I just wanted a meatier backbone to the whole thing.

The Grapes of Wrath blew me away. I was utterly hooked from the very beginning. The socialism/anarchism/questioning of capitalism that is a steady background for the story was a pleasant surprise. Many of the points it brings up are every bit as relevant today as they were then.

I found myself so engrossed in the story that I experienced a certain amount of culture shock. After one day of listening to several hours as I drove down to Tacoma and back, I walked into a grocery store and felt disoriented by the amount of food available. The contrast was just too great.

It helps that I have some personal ties. My dad's family were Okies, oil field workers who moved to California just a few years later than the book. I never knew them, but from all the family stories, they sounded much like the Joads. I even managed to inherit a minor linguistic quirk from them: I pronounce and hear "pen" and "pin" as the same word. /I/ and /e/, before a nasal consonant, are non-contrastive for me. If I focus, I can certainly hear the difference, but it's like hearing the difference between a short and long vowel in Japanese. Turns out that is an Oklahoma thing, and my dad does the same thing.

I grabbed a copy of the movie, because I was curious how it could have been adapted, and I was pleasantly surprised. It was very faithful, in a respectful kind of way, and I really liked Henry Fonda as Tom. It kept a lot more of the socialism than I expected, and stuck the ending pretty well, given that there was no way they could have kept the original ending.

He definitely gets added to my list of authors I'll read more of in the future, as I happen to find their works on sale.

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