"You can't always get what you want"

Jul. 19th, 2017 01:31 am
rosefox: A Victorian woman glares and says "Fuck's sake, what a cock"; someone out of the frame says "mm". (disapproval)
[personal profile] rosefox
Archiving some Twitter threads here regarding cons and congoing.

Thread 1: You are not entitled to be a panelist at a convention.  )

=====

Thread 2: Cis People Please Don't Do This. )

Comments are off because I'm on vacation and don't feel like moderating them. Feel free to share the link to this post.

"R&R"

Jul. 18th, 2017 04:26 am
rosefox: Me looking out a window, pensive. (relaxed)
[personal profile] rosefox
Once more unto the vacation to-do list/wishlist. A whole week of vacation when I'm not ill! Such luxury!

Things with deadlines:

* NONE AT ALL

Things without deadlines (fun):

* Watch Voltron: Legendary Defender and do some knitting
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (needs to happen today if it's going to happen, because the weather's going to be too hot and unpleasant the rest of the week)
* Maybe steal the baby from daycare early one day and get extra baby time
* Read
* Cook
* Lunch with my mom
* Sleeeeeeeep

Things without deadlines (productive):

* Shower and dress in real clothes every day
* Tidy room enough for vacuuming
* Unpack
* Vacuum (or ask J to if my arms are sad)
* Catch up on laundry
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Finish setting up Tinybeans
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem

DW mobile-friendly style, update

Jul. 17th, 2017 09:04 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I went with Practicality on [personal profile] jesse_the_k's suggestion; technically the theme is "Calculated Risks" but I changed all the colors and a lot of the decorations so I'm not sure it counts as the same theme any more.

Here's the custom CSS, which is largely ditching a lot of small-caps and extra lines, and making it more boring color-wise. (Edit) Though, if anyone wants to fiddle, there's a thing that's been commented in the code.

CSS )

Thanks for the feedback, all!

DW mobile-friendly style

Jul. 17th, 2017 08:18 am
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I cannot figure out how to navigate the DW style chooser thing at all.

Is there an out-of-the-box DW style that has comment pages with bigger usernames on the comments listing than Tropospherical? Or, are you using an out-of-the-box style, and does it play nice on small screens? If so, which one?

(This is part of my project of trying to be on DW more.)

"The travel-model baby"

Jul. 17th, 2017 02:29 am
rosefox: A zombie from a Nintendo game. (zombie)
[personal profile] rosefox
We are HOME. I have rarely in my life been so tired, and I have spent much of my life being tired. This is non-Euclidean tired that collapses in upon itself. I'm sort of impressed by it.

As usual, Sam was thrilled to see me, Sophie was thrilled to see X, and Alex pretended to have entirely forgotten our names until we ordered pizza and he decided he wanted some. Tili took very good care of them. She also pointed out that our inexplicably huge basil plants grew enormous flower spikes during the three days we were gone. The leaves are yellowing a bit; might be time for more fertilizer.

I cannot overstate how tremendously lucky we are to have such a good travel-bean. They were really clearly Done With Everything around 2 p.m. yesterday, and very polite about our inexplicable failure to take them home right then. They didn't nap much on the train today, though they did sleep on me for about half an hour—it's such a pleasure to be slept on by a baby, and we were all jockeying a bit to be the one that Kit napped on; I only won because J needed to get up to get something and I snagged the sleepy baby and the blanket—but they were generally cheerful and amenable to distraction nonetheless, and as soon as we got home they chugged a bottle and sacked out. They even signed "train" while we were waiting for the train, and they made friends with another toddler who was riding in our car, trading many high-fives and handshakes. They really liked the train trips; we should do more train travel with them.

Next year, more and better planning. Definitely. But on the whole it was a very good con.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I made a couple long comments elsewhere and I should archive them somewhere less ephemeral, for reference.

on defining fanfic )

on deciding whether to become a parent )

on forcing a Kindle Fire to my will

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:21 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I bought the cheapest 8" Amazon tablet on sale this week for $50, because my fairly-new unloved tablet had problems and I had determined to save it only for reading comics and watching video, but it was getting worse and worse, and it was only $50. [*]

So far it's about what I expected--lousy screen, flimsy (the door for the SD card is not going to last the week--but it works. I will report back in more detail later.

The real point of this post is to link to two things:

1) how to install the Google Play store, so you can keep your paid-through-Google apps, which works just fine and does not use require use of adb or anything more complex;

2) how to install a launcher of your choice (I'm using Nova Launcher). I believe I had to power the device off and then back on before the home button detection option came on, but now it works just fine.

[*] It was a NVIDIA Shield K1, which has recently been discontinued; though old, it got good reviews across the board even in current roundups, and so I suspect I got a lemon, because it was a piece of shit from day one. Rebooting itself nearly daily during ordinary use, this exciting nonsense on a system update, etc. etc. Then a hairline crack on the screen edge dramatically expanded, rendering the area containing home and recent buttons unresponsive in the ordinary orientation, so use required constantly flipping, plus once you've got that much of a crack it's just a matter of time. I'll be putting it up on eBay for parts soon.

"Gonna fall down any day now"

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:11 am
rosefox: The Readercon logo flipped to read R F. (readercon)
[personal profile] rosefox
We are at Readercon! We are having a very good time.

We took the train up instead of driving. There was a mess leaving Penn Station—we had to get off our broken train and get onto another one at the last minute—and a friend couriered much of our luggage, so that was all a bit of a logistical headache, and it's stressful being bound to an external schedule. But I actually haven't missed having a car (or even thought much about leaving the hotel) and I definitely haven't missed being the only licensed driver for a long trip. Maybe the train again next year; maybe not.

Me being sick for the crucial two weeks (two full weeks! June 26 to July 10! let's never do that again!) when we would usually do all our planning led to many hilarious planning failures, including not packing enough underwear, packing the wrong bra, not bringing enough warm clothing for a freezing cold hotel, never getting around to going swimming (after much fuss about making sure we all had swim gear—though of course we forgot Kit's swim diaper!), not bringing toothpaste, not bringing enough cash for housekeeping tips, forgetting that my new eyeglass prescription means my hoarded last pair of contact lenses was useless, and not scheduling enough babysitter time. Rarely has my behavior.planning.agley tag been so apt. X and J did their very best to make up for my incapacity, but we're all used to me being the primary planner, and at this age Kit is very distracting and makes it hard to focus on planning. I suspect that we're going to go home, sleep for a week, and then plan out our entire schedule for next year in advance.

I gave a talk on habit reversal training for writers that was extremely well received. That was very gratifying and enjoyable, and set a good tone for the rest of the weekend. I attended a few panels, was on a couple more, read none of my book and knit none of my knitting, had a really lovely time hanging out with friends, stayed up very late—the usual.

Some of it has been a bit strange. I'm now at the age where my friends tell me about their divorces; I was not quite aware I had reached that age, but it's happened twice in two days, so here we are. (To be clear, I am very glad I could be there for those friends. I just wasn't expecting it.) No one's slept much except Kit, who remains an absolute champion traveler and has taken a solid two-hour nap every day we've been here, including on the train on the way up (and will ideally do so on the train home). But we're coping.

I was nearly falling asleep during my own room party, and then after it was done I went out to the patio because 1 a.m. Readercon patio conversations are a superb vintage I only get to taste once a year. We talked about consciousness upload and replication, which led to digressions on neuroscience, parenting, and karma. Good times.

I must go sleep a lot now. A whole lot. Tomorrow: home.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
My Tweets for this panel were 50% despair at being unable to catch the names of things, as I said in the prior placeholder version of the post. However! Robert Killheffer put together this very thorough list, with links, of stuff mentioned at the panel, and gave me permission to share it! I have tried to revise my panel notes into something with minimal overlap with the document, so please do consult both.

S.A. Chakraborty, Haris Durrani, Robert Killheffer, Darcie Little Badger, Susan Matthews (leader)
Discussions of "genre classics" tend to focus mainly on modern Western works. This panel will discuss proto-genre narratives from antiquity and the pre-modern and early modern era in the world beyond Western Europe, including not only myths and legends but early authored works such as the Hamzanama (The Adventures of Amir Hamza), the Baital Pachisi (Vikram and the Vampire), and Fengshen Yanyi (The Creation of the Gods).

Read more... )

There, that's better. Thanks again to all the panelist, and especially Robert for compiling the list.

Readercon: Life, Love, and Robots

Jul. 15th, 2017 10:05 pm
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I have a little bit more notes for this! Still not a ton, though.

Jeffrey A. Carver (leader), Glenn Grant, Kate Nepveu, Sonya Taaffe, Sheila Williams
Robots, golems, and other living machines appear human but can never become human, which makes them perfect vehicles for exploring concepts of sentience, emotion, and human nature. Many robots long to be human; it's much more rare to see one that loves being what it is. Far more fictional robots have gender identities than national or ethnic identities. They are often programmed to feel sexual desire but rarely designed to eat a meal or sniff a flower. How do our depictions of robots reflect our changing understandings of what it means to be alive?

I said in my intro that I'm fairly sure my signup for this was just "Murderbot!" and then a bunch of heart symbols, and rather that recap my rec from the panel, I wrote it up for booklog.

Read more... )
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I was really not awake for this panel and so took almost no notes; this is extremely sketchy as a result, but better than nothing.

Phenderson Clark, Greer Gilman, Victoria Janssen (leader), Kate Nepveu, Naomi Novik
Guest of Honor Naomi Novik's Temeraire books take a slow and clever approach to a common issue with alt-historical fantasy: if magic has always existed, why have historical events gone essentially the same way that they did in our magicless world? Her focus on the familiar territory of Western Europe during the Napoleonic Wars gradually broadens to include other regions that look very different. This panel will examine this and other techniques for integrating magic into history, including using the appearance or reappearance of magic as a timeline divergence point, limiting magic or paranormal entities to a particular region of the world, portraying paranormal communities or magic-users as hidden and secretive, and entirely reinventing history from the Neanderthals on up.

what I can remember )

Annnd that's all I can remember. Feel free to comment, either if you were there or if you want to continue the conversation!
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
NOW the last one. Can I get to bed before 1 a.m. before the day with three programming items? Why am I doing this, anyway? (Because if I don't know it won't get done and I have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility. Alas.)

Erik Amundsen, David Bowles, Rosemary Kirstein, Naomi Novik (leader), Nnedi Okorafor
Specialized and secret fields of knowledge create barriers to understanding and can become mechanisms of cultural control. They can also be foundations for resistance. They can support or destroy communities and instill gratitude or resentment. All these things could be said of both magic and science, and the wielders thereof. The tradition of pitting magic and science against each other goes back to Tolkien's anxieties about industrialization, but today's speculative works have moved beyond it to recognize that the two can coexist and are often used similarly as metaphors. We'll examine Guest of Honor Naomi Novik's mix of historical technology and dragons, Guest of Honor Nnedi Okorafor's mix of futuristic technology and sorcery, and other successful amalgamations and integrations.

more collated tweets )

Just under the wire before 1 a.m., go me!

Readercon: Terrible... but Great

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:35 am
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I was going to say, last one for night, and then I remembered I went to three in a row but four total for day. Whee.

Lila Garrott (leader), Bart Leib, Natalie Luhrs, Sonya Taaffe, Vinnie Tesla
Our panelists muse on books that are really bad but in an amazing way! Genevieve Valentine's term "shitmazing" may be appropriate here. What makes something both terrible and great? Are these works worth analyzing and perhaps even emulating, or do they exist simply to be enjoyed (if that's the word) on their own merits (if that's the word)?

more tweets, getting less cleaned up as we go )
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I am very very tired but I also need to hydrate and then remain upright for a while, so let me see how far I get in cleaning up my live-tweeting of panels.

First up:

Classic YA Book Club: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
Victoria Janssen (leader), Sandra Kasturi, Miriam Newman, Sonya Taaffe, Tamara Vardomskaya

panel notes )

If anything was insufficiently unpacked, or if you want to talk about it, come into the comments! (You don't need to have a DW account, just comment anonymous and sign your name or nickname or something at the bottom so we can have continuity of conversation.)

FMA/B rewatch: FMA 1-2, FMA:B 3

Jul. 12th, 2017 11:31 pm
kate_nepveu: Ed in profile, pulling away cloak to reveal automail arm (FMA (voila!))
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Spoilers for all versions of Fullmetal Alchemist.

So the Toast-commenters-in-exile have a Slack, and some people there proposed a Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood watch, which of course is entirely my jam. We're actually interleaving early episodes of FMA as an experiment, since FMA:B shortens some of the opening and does it in a weird order. Specifically:

episode order )

So tonight while waiting for laundry to go into the dryer, I had no brain for anything but some rewatch and live-blogging. Here, therefore, are notes about FMA 1 & 2 (and then I got sucked into semi-watching FMA:B to compare).

live-blogging of FMA 1 and 2, and also FMA:B 3 )
gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
[personal profile] gridlore
Well, we're 26 years late for that, but should we ever renew our vows, I'd love to hear this.

gridlore: Doug with Kirsten, both in nice clothes for a wedding. (Me - with Kirsten)
[personal profile] gridlore
Fair warning, this will contain so minor spoilers for Spider-Man: Homecoming. No major plot points, but some notes about characters and setting.

So, Spider-Man has finally come home to the Marvel Cinematic Universe where he belongs. Thank Odin! Because this is the movie that makes everyone's favorite wall-crawler the awkward kid he was for so so long in the comics. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is a brilliant kid living with his hot Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) in Queens, NY. He attends a magnet school for science and technology, and, oh, is secretly the Spectacular Spider-Man.

The movie opens with Peter recording a video blog of his trip to Germany to take part in the airport battle scene from Captain America: Civil War. Despite being told repeatedly that he can't show anyone the footage, he keeps shooting. Because he's a kid. And that's what he is through most of the movie. He's what every 15-year-old boy is: eager to prove that he's an adult, and able to take on the world while not being ready. Having picked up a mentor/father figure in Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr., who has played this character enough times to have bought Rhode Island on the residuals alone) Parker keeps waiting for the Avengers to call him for his next assignment. His only confidant is his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) a fellow geek outsider who thinks Spider-Man nearly getting vaporized is just the coolest thing ever.

What really makes the film work is you believe that these are all high school kids attending a science immersion school. Long-time nemesis Flash Thompson has gone from alpha male jock to arrogant academic jerk, for example. Which works. The writing is painfully accurate on just how awkward this age can be. Seeing Peter stumble with the girl he likes, trying to focus in class, it all works! Which makes the more fantastic elements work as well. Everyone is well directed and written, even a minor hood that Spider-Man tries to interrogate, but ends up getting helpful advice from.

But no superhero film can work without a great villain, and Spider-Man does not let us down. In the comics, The Vulture was a ridiculous figure, a senior-citizen with a flying suit. Here, Adrian Toomes (Michael Keaton) is a wronged everyman who takes his revenge on the system by selling weapons based on alien technology to criminals. He is a deep character with a clear motivation and his own set of moral codes. He also has the badass flying suit. In Keaton's hands, the Vulture nearly steals the movie. You believe in him, and oddly, sympathize with him.

The producers managed to stick in enough Easter eggs to supply the White House egg roll. From the classic comic book theme to the Spider-Signal, old fans of the character will have plenty of moments that make them grin. Captain America makes several appearances narrating videos shown to the students, which tie into one of the two post-credits scenes.

The action set pieces, big and small, work, although some are a little too busy. We saw it in 2-D, which I suspect has something to do with that problem. But there were a few moments where the screen was just a mess of flying objects. Spider-Man's advanced, Stark designed, Spider-suit is a character in its own right.

Problems? There were a few. Some of the jokes fell flat, Aunt May was critically underused, and Flash Thompson was never given the moment of humanity needed to make him more than an aggressor, though that they may be saving for the next movie.

As I said above, there are two post credit scenes. The first, coming in the middle of the credits, gives us a view of Adrian Toomes that raises a lot of questions. The second does nothing to tease the next Marvel movie or tie-in Spider-Man to the larger Cinematic Universe, but at our showing it drew one of the biggest laughs of the show.

One of my metrics for how much I enjoyed a movie is how well do I remember the trailers. Since trailers are designed to catch your interest and lodge the film in your head, how well you can recall those trailers shows how deeply you were involved in the feature presentation. In this case, I couldn't tell you what trailers we saw. Spider-Man: Homecoming was just that fun. I give it 4.5 Penguins out of a possible five. Go see it.

The only bad thing about the day was as we were leaving my right ankle decided to remind me that I have hypokalemic periodic paralysis. That was no fun, even though it loosened up pretty quickly.

Bitten by the Costume Bug HARD.

Jul. 8th, 2017 08:47 pm
kshandra: Anthony Ainley from the Classic Doctor Who serial "Survival." Text: "Why, yes, I AM plotting your demise." (Ainley - Demise)
[personal profile] kshandra
As those of you who follow us on the Book of Face already know, [personal profile] gridlore and I went and saw Iron Maiden at the Oakland Coliseum Arena Wednesday night (yes, Oracle, I know, I'm a purist). Opening for them was Ghost, a doom-metal band out of Sweden.

I fell in love with their theatricality almost immediately.

Ghost

Somewhere in the midst of all of this I got it into my head to cosplay their frontman, Papa Emeritus* - or rather, to cosplay as Mama Emeritus, as I'm never going to be able to hide my chest, no matter how shapeless a costume you put me into. I found some amazing reference photos from an eBay listing (including a photo of the costume maker with the band, showing just how good the recreation was). I even found an EtsyStudio listing for a brocade in the same pattern as Papa's chasuble, only worked in black-and-purple instead of black-on-black to make it a little more me. I'm also planning to add bright purple lipstick to the facepaint to highlight the feminine aspect.

What the fuck sort of monster have I become?!

* Officially, the band remain anonymous, though a recent lawsuit has pierced that veil.
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