sovay: (Default)
([personal profile] sovay Jul. 27th, 2017 08:15 pm)
We have a couch! We finally have a couch! It is grey-green and comfortably springy and fits into the space between the windows at the front of the apartment and there was an exciting hour when we weren't sure if it had been lost in transit because the tracking website listed it as delivered and it was definitely not in the apartment and the warehouse couldn't get hold of the drivers to ask where on earth either they or the couch were, but it arrived and was carried upstairs by two very pleasant and competent people who took all the packaging away with them afterward and then I sat on the couch in my living room and talked with Matthew until he had to leave to catch his train, although he took a picture of the couch first:



Hestia set the first claw in it, of course. Now she crouches on the back like a demon rabbit, staring out into the world with wide gold eyes. Autolycus leapt onto the cushions, prowled, sniffed carefully all around, and then took possession of a stack of displaced boxes of slightly greater elevation. I am sitting on it with my computer like a sensible person. I could sit on it and read books. I could drag the coffee table over and watch a movie without being at my desk. I could, some afternoon, fall asleep.

Yay, having furniture.
alisanne: (Snarry hug)
([personal profile] alisanne Jul. 27th, 2017 01:51 pm)
Title: Making Decisions
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Pairing/Characters: Severus Snape/Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley/OFC.
Word Count: 100 x 10
Rating: R
Challenge: Written for [community profile] snarry100/[insanejournal.com profile] snarry100/[livejournal.com profile] snarry100's prompt# 586: Special.
Summary: Harry's plans run into a roadblock.
Part Twenty-One of the Wisdom Series (LJ/IJ/DW).
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Making Decisions )
oursin: Photograph of a spiny sea urchin (Spiny sea urchin)
([personal profile] oursin Jul. 27th, 2017 07:45 pm)

No, really, if you return to me a copy-edited article for my attention, and mention that you have made changes to the text (as well as changing the title to one that I think is misleading), please to be sending it to me with your changes tracked and marked up.

For if you are going to insult my ability to write English prose, I think I should be able to see how you have 'improved' my text without having to compare it line by line with the text I sent you.

I may possibly have dumped my bibliography on this editor's head...

jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
([personal profile] jimhines Jul. 27th, 2017 10:11 am)

Doctor to Dragons - CoverI met G. Scott Huggins almost twenty years ago. We were both published in Writers of the Future XV, and we ended up in a writing group together for several years. He was one of the folks who helped me grow and improve as an author. I published one of his stories in Heroes in Training a while back.

In April of this year, his humorous fantasy novelette A Doctor to Dragons [Amazon | B&N] came out.

I love the premise and setup. Dr. James DeGrande is a veterinarian in a land that’s been taken over by a Dark Lord, and the whole thing is written with a kind of tongue-in-cheek humor. The book is made up of several distinct but related stories, showing the growth of James and his partnership with his assistant Harriet (a physically disabled almost-witch).

Here’s part of the publisher’s official description:

Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord covered the land in His Second Darkness.

As far as I can tell, it wasn’t that much better. Even then, everyone cheered the heroes who rode unicorns into combat against dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. Of course, that was when dragons were something to be killed. Today I have to save one. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because today I have to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client. I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old bag with the basilisk might show up.

The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t get each other killed first.

I appreciate writers who take traditional fantasy and flip things around to present a different perspective. Just as I enjoy clever protagonists, like James and Harriet. (And while this may come as a shock, I also like fantasy that tries to have fun.)

There’s one bit I need to talk about. About 80% of the way into the book, we meet Countess Elspeth Bathetique, an incredibly neglectful pet owner and generally unpleasant person, and we get this exchange:

“Dammit, my lady, you’re not even a vampire!”

“How… how dare you? I identify as a vampire, you filth! You cannot dream of the tragic destiny which is ours!”

“What? Suffering from vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, keeping out of the sun for no damn reason, and torturing your poor pet basilisk? If I dreamed of that, I’d seek clerical help!”

I don’t believe it was intentional, but seeing language generally used by transgender people played for laughs by a wannabe vampire threw me right out of the story. I emailed and chatted with Scott, who confirmed that wasn’t the intention. The Countess was meant to be a darker take on Terry Pratchett’s Doreen Winkings. But he said he understood how I or others might read it the way I did.

One of my favorite parts of these stories are the veterinary details. Huggins’ wife is a veterinarian, and there’s a sense of real truth to the protagonist’s frustration with neglectful pet owners and the various challenges of keeping all these magical animals healthy. It helps to ground the book and acts as a nice counter to the humor.

I couldn’t find an excerpt online, but there’s a promo video on YouTube.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
([personal profile] oursin Jul. 27th, 2017 01:46 pm)

While I was away I noticed on, I think, Twitter, which I was scrolling through while waiting at a bus stop/train station/whatever, somebody getting into a froth over somebody deleting their tweets upon mature reflection, and how this was The Death of History.

To which my own reactions were:

a) Archivists have been thinking about the problems posed by the fragility of the digital record for a good couple of decades plus, this is not something no-one has noticed before. (Wasn't the Library of Congress archiving Twitter, and presumably there are some measures against tampering, if so? - hah, I see that there have been problems of processing and it's not actually accessible, or wasn't as at last year.)

b) Quite apart from the dangers of fire, flood and insect or animal depredation to which records in the more traditional forms have been exposed, there has been a fair amount of deliberate curating of the record over the centuries, by deliberate destruction or just careful concealment (whether it's the Foreign Office secret archive or the concealment of Turner's erotic drawings under a misleading file title).

c) While you can delete or destroy a particular record, you cannot always get rid of the information that it did exist - presumably it was other people commenting on the now-deleted tweets or retweeting them that led to the decision to delete them, but that doesn't eradicate the fact of their existence. This may even draw attention to the deleted record: this is why when I was still being an archivist we used to persuade donors not to ask for closures apart from those mandated by Data Protection, because the idea that something is *CLOSED* causes some people's ears to prick up in a supposition that there will be *HIDDEN SECRETS* (this was very, very, seldom the case).

I might also invoke the case that came up in Prince of Tricksters, where Netley Lucas under one of his identities was communicating with different officials and departments, possibly, it is suggested, as a means to confuse his trail: but, due to the growth of bureaucracy, as well as the social networks they belonged to, could also communicate among one another to discover that this was all the same guy.

There is also the phenomenon that I have mentioned to researchers, that yes [organisations of a certain ideological bent] have been very coy about placing their archives anywhere where people might do research in them; BUT the organisations and people they were against kept tabs on their activities, collected their literature, etc.

Also that if person/organisation's own papers do not survive, you can find out a good deal from the surviving records of those they interacted with.

madfilkentist: Scribe, from Wikimedia Commons (writing)
([personal profile] madfilkentist posting in [community profile] ebooks Jul. 27th, 2017 08:35 am)
I've posted an article on the tangle of Amazon ebook formats to my Mad File Format Science blog. Corrections or other comments are welcome either there or here.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Jul. 27th, 2017 09:23 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] fjm and [personal profile] wildroot!

Sandy wakes up to the aroma of coffee and the sounds of someone moving about the dressing-room. Hector comes out and says, they sent to Jerome at Raxdell House to send over some fresh clothes, and he confides that he himself is still quite able to shave and dress a gentleman. Sandy would protest that he is quite able to shave himself and then looks at the trembling of the coffee in the cup from the tremors in his hand. He asks Hector what time it is.

Nigh on ten of the morning, says Hector, consulting the watch that Clorinda gave him those many years ago in Surrey.

What! He has slept the clock round and more.

When he descends to the parlour, and finds Clorinda at her desk, he asks what was in that posset?

My dear, do you accuse me of drugging you? There was a little brandy, but 'twas mostly milk and spices, quite entirely sanitive. You were quite entire exhausted, my dear.

Euphemia comes to set a substantial breakfast before him: he does not think he can possibly eat, until he starts, and discovers himself quite ravenous.

When he has finished, he says, well, he has slept, he has eaten, now he should return to Raxdell House.

Indeed not, says Clorinda, I am in the very act of writing to the new Lord Raxdell to say that, after you had convey’d me home, 'twas quite apparent that you were in a state of extreme exhaustion and I am like to fear a brain-fever do you not rest. I am in considerable concern that I should send for a physician.

He snorts and says, 'tis very kind of you, dear sibyl, but you do not need to lie for me.

Alexander MacDonald! snaps Clorinda, sure there has been a certain amount of equivocation and masquerade over the years, but this is quite the entirest truth. Sure if you endeavour leave, I shall have Hector lock you up. I will not have you work yourself into illness, sure, how can you suppose that Milord would have wanted any such thing? He left you that fine independence entirely so you should not need to. I confide that 'twould be carrying out his wishes to prevent you.

My dear, she says in gentler tones, you appear incapable of manifesting your dour Calvinistickal glare, 'tis the surest of signs that you are not your wont’d self.

His chest starts heaving and he finds himself entirely overtaken by the physical manifestations of grief. And finds himself being held by Clorinda, and when thought begins to return, has fleeting considerations about the very comforting nature of female softness, and then comes to realise that Clorinda is weeping herself.

O, he cries, I am the most selfish of fellows! As if you too do not mourn a dear friend of many years.

Why, 'tis something that we may grieve together, for who else besides ourselves would know the inwardness of the matter? She hands him a large handkerchief, while dabbing at her own cheeks with a delicate lacy affair.

And after your other losses, he goes on, conscience-stricken, remembering walking across the lawns at Raxdell House with Josiah Ferraby, smoking cigars and talking of some matter going forth in Parliament, and the other man suddenly putting a hand to his chest with an expression of startlement and crumpling to the ground. And the agonizing long illness of Eliza Ferraby, Clorinda’s pretty house become a house of sickness for those many painful months, the finest physicians and surgeons in London called upon, crack nurses in attendance, nothing to be done but to try and keep her as comfortable as possible.

O my dear, says Clorinda with a tearful laugh, sure 'tis no matter upon which one may make mathematical calculations of degrees of infelicity. But sure I hope you will remain here at least for a little while.

He looks down at his hands. It would be quite infinitely more agreeable, or at least less painful, to be here rather than at Raxdell House.

But – he begins –

O, fie upon your buts!

It is entirely too kind –

Fiddlesticks! Have we not been the dearest of friends this long while? Unless there was some other course of action you preferred – travel, or return to your native soil, or to go stay with one of your philosopher friends – sure I am a thoughtless Clorinda –

No, no, indeed no, silly creature. He sees that Clorinda is trying, with less success than usually attends, to conceal tearfulness.

Sure I should ask before going contrive, she says, blowing her nose. But I saw that fellow, quite desiring bind you to his interests, the wretch, as if you were some automaton, and – but I daresay you had your own plans already, o, I confide that behind my back I am known as that Meddlesome Marchioness –

No, dearest Clorinda, had he had time I am sure Gervase would have instructed you to kidnap me before I was beguiled by some false sense of duty into remaining. 'Twould be exceeding agreeable to me to find refuge here, but will there not be gossip?

She laughs somewhat immoderate, nigh unto hysterics, and says, my dear, we have been gossiped upon these many years, 'twill entirely be a matter of knowing tapping of noses. Sure scandalmonging tongues have had us abed together this long while.

Well, he says, was that tedious journey across France with the masquerade of marriage, and that time in Scarborough -

- The one room left in any hostelry that we would have cared to sleep in, sure I had not consider’d how popular a watering-place 'twas -

- awake half the night arguing about a device for some Gothick tale of yours!

They look at one another with affection.

I confide, says Clorinda, that Jerome would be the one to apply to about your trunks –

There are, he says, some matters of papers in the office that are to do with my own business –

Sure, says Clorinda, 'twould be a shocking thing was it discovered upon you that you were that savage critic, Deacon Brodie; and I daresay there is a philosophical treatise or so that you have never had the leisure to prepare for publication, that you might wish take in hand now –

Dearest Clorinda, you have ever read me like a book; so I will go to Raxdell House and pack them up myself, and make various commendations of the clerks to the new Viscount, and advance the interest of those that might suit as secretary –

Quite excellent ton!

So the next day he goes to Raxdell House, and the new Viscount displays excellent ton himself in saying that now he considers upon the matter and sees Mr MacDonald’s condition, indeed he realises that 'twould be an entire imposition to ask him to take on this task, but would be exceeding grateful of his advice. He also remarks upon the sanitive benefits of sea-voyages.

So Sandy says that Mr Cartwright has a very fine understanding of the general business of the Raxdell interests – His Lordship will surely know that for many years he himself acted very much in the capacity of a political advisor to the late Viscount, rather than having the day to day administration of affairs in his hands. Cartwright he confides would give entire satisfaction was he promoted to the entire oversight of the estates, the management of Raxdell House &C.

Why, says His Lordship, does not suppose he will follow in the late Viscount’s political footsteps – Sandy confides not, for just the mention of these makes the fellow look uneasy – although of course will take his seat in the Lords.

He then opens a drawer in his desk and says, sure these legal fellows take a deal of a time about settling all the matters of the will, but he and his dear lady have been looking into some of the personal matters themselves, and they confide that these are the items that the late Viscount wished Lady Bexbury to have.

There is the snuffbox – he knows that there was some private joke 'twixt Gervase and Clorinda about the snuffbox – and the various pieces of jewellery, including the famed pink diamond parure and several fine rings.

The Viscount clears his throat, and says that the Viscountess finds herself quite translated into this new and unanticipated sphere, has no connections in Town Society, is at somewhat of a loss as to how she should proceed. Has heard that there are certain ladies of fine breeding and understanding of ton that alas find themselves financially embarrassed and may be hired as advisors, but –

Sandy has not spent these many years as confidante to the exquisite Dowager Marchioness of Bexbury to misunderstand what the Viscount reaches at. He indicates that, does Lady Bexbury suppose she will be welcome, she will certainly call and her understanding of the usages of Society is everywhere most highly esteemed. (He cannot imagine that Clorinda will not relish the task.)

The Viscount looks exceeding relieved.

After they have taken civil leave of one another, he goes to the office to be about packing up his things. Cartwright comes in and says, there are a deal of letters marked for his personal attention have lately come. He frowns, spreads them out upon the desk, observes the franks and the seals and realizes that these are from members of their coterie and wider circles, and that though he is sure they have writ condolences in entire formal fashion to the new Viscount, they convey the messages of sympathy from long friendship to himself. Treacherous tears come to his eyes, even as he thinks that Clorinda would laugh and point out that he is not an antient mariner alone upon the waves with a dead seagull about his neck but has a deal of social connections.

He pushes the letters into a tidy pile, blinking as he does so, and manages to compose himself sufficiently to say, he will take them with him to Lady Bexbury’s where he may peruse them at leisure, and do any more come, should be sent there. But he dares say it gets about that he may be found at that direction.

Cartwright asks, with a trace of anxiety in his tone, whether Mr MacDonald does not intend remain in the service of the Viscount?

Sandy can tell from the change of Cartwright’s expression that his own has become dour and Calvinistickal. He blinks again and says, hoping that his features show more amiable, that he confides that the present Viscount does not have the same political interests, and in respect of all the quotidian matters of administration, Mr Cartwright is eminently fitted to carry them out; he has spoke to the Viscount already to that effect. Is there any matter of advice on particular questions required, he is quite entirely at their service.

But, he says, did His late Lordship trouble to leave me an independence, I think it shows respectful of his wishes to go enjoy it.

(Though the notion of enjoyment seems some wild fantastical opium dream, a phantasm.)

Hector’s fine strapping son Ben comes to say, the boxes are all stowed in the carriage, was there anything more needed put in?

Sandy says that he confides that Jerome has the matter of clothes well under hand and he has enough at present to serve, 'tis not as though he intends going about in Society. He picks up the letters, shakes Cartwright firmly by the hand saying he will do most excellently, and follows Ben out to the carriage. Ben goes sit beside Nick on the box after closing the door upon him, and they drive off.

I made a new icon. I'm not sure how much I'm going to use it, but something about the ongoing politics seemed to call for it. I believe I have [personal profile] choco_frosh to thank for introducing me to the original context in Questionable Content. Anybody who finds the icon useful should feel free to abstract it.
In today's political news, I would like to introduce the man in the White House to the Greek hero Kaineus (m.), born Kainis (f.), whom it took the entire Centaur side of the Centauromachy to defeat, his invulnerable body hammered all the way down to Hades with stones and piled pine trees. We can argue about what the United States should be doing with its armed forces, but not about who counts sufficiently as people to continue serving safely in them.

1. On the very crowded Red Line around five-thirty this afternoon, I saw two girls—late high school, early college, one white-looking and one not—practicing what they called "subway surfing," keeping their balance without recourse to poles or hangers or fellow passengers as the train rocked and bucked between Harvard and Davis. I appreciated what they were doing; the car was so sardine-packed that I couldn't get near a handhold myself, plus I was carrying a couple of books from the dollar-sticker carts outside the Harvard Book Store (I sense a theme) and a halva brownie from Tatte's that was trying to melt through its paper bag. It was a miserable commute experience and they were making the best they could of it. I did not appreciate the male commuter about my age who turned around as he got off the train at Porter to yell at the girls for "screaming in [his] ears." They stopped subway surfing after he left. They separated and found different poles to hang on to and did not try to talk to one another across the thinning space of commuters between them. The thing is, the guy had not even been their neighbor. He'd been standing right in front of me the entire time, holding on to the pole I couldn't find room on. He could legitimately have yelled at me for breathing into the nape of his neck, but even had the girls been shouting at the tops of their lungs, thanks to our respective positions their conversation would still have had to travel through me before getting anywhere near his ears. So when the train ground to a halt between stations—because there was another train on the line, because the T never has enough money, because Charlie Baker would rather privatize public transit than allocate it any reasonable amount of public funds and incidentally fuck the unions—and there was a brief lull in the racketing noise, I attracted the attention of the nearer girl and told her that she and her friend were great subway surfers, that I'd seen and appreciated them, and that the guy had been completely out of line. I hope it didn't weird her out. I wanted to give them a reality check. The guy annoyed me. Congratulations, you don't like being on a sardine car at rush hour—neither does anyone else, but at least those girls were getting something fun out of it. They weren't losing their footing and banging into people. They were laughing. Don't yell at people when they're trying to make the world better. I feel this lesson can and should be generalized.

2. I did not expect to find myself explaining the technicalities of 70 mm to a completely different set of kids at the door of the Somerville Theatre, but they all bought tickets for Dunkirk (2017) and showed interest in the upcoming 70 mm festival—they wanted to know not just about the format itself and whether it would look different from a DCP of the same movie (spoiler: yes) but the system on which the film would be shown, which I could at least explain was not a Hateful Eight retrofit but a pair of Philips Norelco DP70s designed for just this format, installed in this theater well before Tarantino started shooting in Ultra Panavision, lovingly maintained, and capable of magnetic rather than digital sound. Then I got asked how it was possible to show 70 and 35 mm on the same machines and at that point my knowledge of down- and upconverting degenerated into "I'm not the projectionist! I don't even work here!" (After the conversation was over, I promptly went upstairs and bugged David the projectionist about the specifics just in case this ever happens to me again. I hate being asked technical questions for which I have only partial answers; it makes me feel worse than having no answers at all.) Mostly they seemed concerned that they wouldn't be able to appreciate the beautiful information density of the format if it was filtered through a system that wasn't built to handle it, the same way the high fidelity of a recording is immaterial if all you can play it back through is some crackly laptop speakers. I could reassure them that was not going to be the experience at the Somerville. I realize that programs for movies are not so much a thing anymore, but I'm thinking for this one maybe it couldn't hurt.

3. I like the photograph of this person who looks like they are wearing a spell of the sea: Taylor Oakes, "Rhue."

4. I am delighted that I have now read multiple poems employing Wittgenstein's concept of language-games, also specifically this ambiguity: Veronica Forrest-Thomson, "Ducks & Rabbits."

5. In unexpected and welcome writing news, Clockwork Phoenix 5 is a finalist for a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. I have a story in it, so obviously I hope it wins, but the rest of the list is full of extremely cool people and the extremely cool things they have written and I wish everyone luck!
killing_rose: Baby corvid, looking incredibly fluffy and adorable (fluffy raven)
([personal profile] killing_rose posting in [community profile] knitting Jul. 26th, 2017 05:29 pm)
So I am currently working on the Wonder Woman wrap (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wonder-woman-wrap) that's been making the rounds. It's a solidly written pattern. I do freely admit that I am only partially using the pattern; making substitutions and changes is my prerogative and also something that I do on most projects because I can't work with fingering and thus have to make changes to almost any pattern.*

It's also fairly easy, relying on garter, M1, and kfb for most of the shaping. The points of the Ws are made by double decrease. However, it does use short rows. This is, apparently, a reason many people I know do not want to make it.

This is like my at least fifth short row project in a year. I really love short rows. I was, thus, exceptionally confused a couple months ago when someone at the knitting table said, "I don't do short rows. They're difficult and fiddly and I don't like them."

So I poked at them to explain this. And this is when I discovered that this person was under the assumption that there's only one technique for short rows. Guys, here is where I admit: every person I know who likes short rows has their own personal favorite technique. But most people who have met short rows and run away screaming have never said, "I hate this technique, but maybe I won't hate another technique." Mostly because there are like five different ways to do it, but since they evolved in different places, not everyone's heard of them. So, this is me, giving resources in case you want to knit the above project (or a different one) and you just really cannot bring yourself to like short rows.

I loathe wrap and turn with every fiber of my being. It doesn't work for me. It just doesn't. My first couple projects used the yarnover technique. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for all projects. So the first project I made that used wrap and turn I dropped in a heap and said, "NOPE" at very loudly. And then I got a book from the library and studied all the different options to try and figure out what might work for my brain.

And when I found one that worked for me, I hung out at the knitting table, checked my phone a couple dozen times to make sure I was doing it right, and clung to it like it was the best thing ever. Now, I use that particular technique any time there's a short row project I'm doing. It saves my sanity. (It also means I've never had to use safety pins in my work; there was a project where I may have, in frustration, snarled out the words who the hell thought that the Japanese short row technique was the fastest technique on the planet and or their favorite. However, there are people who do so, and this is fine. [When I am not being introduced to new and fun ways to torture my brain mid-project setup. I am not at my best mid-project setup.])

For me, German short rows are my very favorite thing. This is a good tutorial for them: http://www.lamaisonrililie.com/knittingtherapy/german-short-rows

This is a good instruction for wrap and turn: http://knotions.com/techniques/how-to-knit-short-rows/

This is a free class by the author whose book saved my sanity: https://www.craftsy.com/knitting/classes/short-rows/35255

And this is the book in question: https://www.amazon.com/Short-Row-Knits-Workshop-Learn-as-You-Knit/dp/0804186340/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

As an important note, for patterns like the Wonder Woman wrap, where they use w&t, you knit the stitch you're supposed to wrap, flip around to the other side, and do the german short row technique on that side.

So, what's your opinion on short rows? Or Wonder Woman? Or both? :)


*This is, I note, not a "I don't like fingering" but "I have two projects in fingering right now, and even on size five or six needles (let's not talk about the idiocy of the size 4 project), it still makes my poor, abused hands [thank you chronic illnesses] make me nauseated and need more pain meds." But some yarn is really pretty, so I do about three projects a year in fingering and the rest in medium, chunky, or bulky yarns.
([personal profile] martianmooncrab Jul. 26th, 2017 02:49 pm)
Got New Books aquired... my Precious.

Checked on the sister creature and she is convinced that taking the cough syrup will slow her healing process because she needs to cough up everything in her lungs, even if it might be her liver or pancreas. I would argue with her about this, but, I would have better luck convincing a wall or a cat that I have value.

I got things to do today here in the house. I should do them.
alisanne: (Snarry Tender)
([personal profile] alisanne Jul. 26th, 2017 01:47 pm)
Title: Star Bright
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Severus Snape/Harry Potter
Challenge: Written for [community profile] harry100/[insanejournal.com profile] harry100/[livejournal.com profile] harry100's prompt 316: Star
Rating: R
Length: 100 x 11
Warnings: None.
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Star Bright )

What I read

Finished Moonbreaker.

A novella by Heather Rose Jones, Three Nights at the Opera (2014), prequel to Daughter of Mystery.

There was indeed a new Catherine Fox, Realms of Glory, delivered to my Kobo well in time to beguile my journeyings. Very good.

Alex Hall, Glitterland (2013): m/m contemporary romance, which was an absolute page-turner and I will even give it a degree of pass on the phonetic rendering of Estuarine speech, on the grounds that this might be down to the first-person narrator's attempt to depict Difference.

Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky (2016): I had a bit of a problem with the rather gender-stereotypical allocation of science vs magic, and also with the way that both of them, in particular Patricia, are shown as coming to their powers as a result of familial dysfunction and school bullying (are US high schools really quite so generally toxic as literature would have me believe?), which is not that dissimilar in its rather Spartan overtones to the ethos of the military school to which Laurence is briefly sent. But I read on.

Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Djinni (2013) - there were parts where I thought this was a bit slow, and possibly about showing off the author's research, but then it all came together with all the threads meshing at the end.

On the go

The end is almost in sight with Prince of Tricksters. Also continuing with Rejected Essays and Buried Thoughts, as and when.

Up next

Well, I have lately had delivered to my Kobo Kate Elliott's Buried Heart (2017), conclusion (?) to the Court of Fives series. But I've also, finally, received Monica Ferris's cozy mystery, Knit Your Own Murder (2016), at last a) out in paperback and b) actually in the mailer received from the seller.

angrboda: A pile of opened books (Books)
([personal profile] angrboda Jul. 26th, 2017 04:42 pm)
It's been ages since I've done this. Again.

Still slowly but surely making my way through The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. I've taken to listening while ironing instead of watching Netflix, so I can get a chapter or two in that way. About 75% of the way through now.

Also still reading The Scarab Path, but I'm quite close to the end. After that, this series will no longer be re-read, because this is as far as I ever got. I do remember the stuff that's going on in the book right now, but I'm quite pleased to not being able to remember what the big mystery was or even if an answer was given yet. I've got a suspicion, but on the other hand rather doubt it can be that simple. Also, more than ever I want to firmly whack a specific character over the head with a shovel. I remember growing to disliking that character over the course of this book the first time around, and it has happened all over again. Very much hope they will get over it. Soon. Soon would be good.

Finally, I've found myself suddenly picking up the first book of the Belgariad series by David Eddings and proceeding to chew through three more and half of a fourth. So actually nearly finished with the series. Again x many. Intend to power straight through the Mallorean series as well afterwards. Familarity = good de-stressor.
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
([personal profile] oursin Jul. 26th, 2017 08:59 am)
Happy birthday, [personal profile] el_staplador and [personal profile] mrissa!

The final volume of the AMacD commonplace books ends abruptly halfway through. Between two pages are inserted a large number of loose cuttings from assorted periodicals, reporting the death of Gervase Reveley, Viscount Raxdell, in a street accident which only his own skills as a whip prevented from being a far worse disaster, but leading to his being thrown clear of his own curricle and fatally injured. There are also a number of obituary notices. On the following page is written three times I must be philosophical with a heavy line drawn underneath.

Alexander MacDonald, MA, locks the volume away with the others in the secure press, and looks down at his hand. The effects of grief upon the physical body are surely a topic suited to the philosopher, he murmurs as he observes its faint persistent trembling.

But, he thinks, no-one will imagine it to be anything but the natural effects of his efforts over these past few days: no-one will suppose that the signs of lack of sleep upon his face due to anything but the business of organising the funeral, arranging for the succession of the new viscount, writing or causing to be written the vast number of letters that have been necessary, and having all in order for this present morning’s reading of the will.

At least he had been there to the last: it had been considered not in the least remarkable that Gervase desired to communicate last wishes to his dedicated secretary, when they brought in his broken body.

He bites his lip. The new viscount, a fellow of nearly Gervase’s own years that had never expected to inherit, any anticipations in the matter falling upon his son, shows considerable signs of wanting him to stay and steer an obscure country squire through the new paths he suddenly finds himself set upon. But to stay at Raxdell House, when there is no Gervase –

But first, the reading of the will. The servants were well instructed beforehand, but he should be there with His new Lordship to greet the lawyers as they arrive.

The relatives and the household have assembled. Jerome, Seraphine and Roberts all sit together. Old Fosticue – demonstrating respect for the ancient association of the firm with the Reveley family, it is Old Fosticue comes creaking about this ceremony – picks up the document.

There is a little – not quite a gasp, more the sounds of breaths being drawn in among the assembled company – and Old Fosticue looks up as the drawing-room door can be heard opening. A late-comer to the reading? He cannot think of anyone who should be there and isn’t - mayhap some family black sheep in hopes of some small legacy –

A rustle of silk. He turns to look.

Still able to glide like a swan into a room, though in this instance, a black swan, Clorinda, Dowager Marchioness of Bexbury, advances down the rows of chairs, clad in the deepest of mourning, and, gracefully resisting any efforts to direct her anywhere else, comes to sit beside him.

How could he have not known she would come? One must play the comedy out to the last act and the final bow, she has said in respect of so many stratagems and contrivances over the years. Of course she would be here. Under concealment of the full skirt, she takes and squeezes his hand.

A deal of the property is entailed but there was still a considerable amount entirely within Gervase’s disposal. In the will he has carefully detailed numerous minor bequests to various members of the household, distant relatives, and friends. Jerome is well-provided for, as he should be. His dear friend, the Dowager Marchioness of Bexbury, comes in for several pieces of his mother’s jewellery, a valuable snuff-box, and a painting by Raoul de Clérault: doubtless everyone will speculate that Gervase made some settlement upon her years ago, and guess that these are merely sentimental tokens of his esteem. And after all, she is known a well-left widow with no need to hang out for legacies

And to my devoted secretary, who has served me so well and so faithfully - of course, he had expected some remembrance –

- but not that it would be what could only be described as a generous independence, along with something about enabling him to devote his abilities to philosophy -

- at which he finds himself feeling quite the reverse of philosophical, but Clorinda grips his hand again and he does not faint or fall into a fit of weeping.

Afterwards, His new Lordship says all that is proper, but looks as though he is about to lead to the possibility of Sandy's remaining; but a weight leans upon his arm, a voice says in die-away tones, o, Mr MacDonald, I feel quite overset - no-one can apply a dainty handkerchief to her eyes as Clorinda can – might you see is my smelling-bottle in my reticule, sure I thought I had put it in – o, Your Lordship, I am indeed sorry to break in upon your conversation, but I find myself so exceeding faint I would prevail upon Mr MacDonald's kindness to escort me home.

Clorinda’s hair under the cap may be silver-gilt rather than golden these days, she is no longer a young woman, but she still has only to enter a room to draw a bevy of men, old and young, to her side. The new viscount swallows and says, indeed, he would not wish to detain Lady Bexbury here –

O, thank you, breathes Clorinda, and they leave the room quite as if he is rescuing her from the press rather than the reverse.

Once they are in her carriage, and driving away, she says, really! solicit you at such a time to remain about Raxdell House! shocking ton.

But -, he begins.

O, but me no buts, Sandy dear. Are there not young men among your connexion would jump at such a place? You need only say to Lord Raxdell that you have become so entire used to Milord’s particular ways that you confide you would find it hard, at your time of life, to have to change to suit his, but that you will ever be entire at his disposal and that of any secretary he appoints to give advice.

It is entirely true, utterly sensible, quite proper: and something that he had not even managed to begin to think in his frozen state.

My dear, she says, I confide that these past days you have barely slept, have been about all matter of arrangements and perform’d them all exceeding well, and 'tis entirely that consideration should prevent Lord Raxdell from approaching you until you have had time to think of what you will do now. In particular as you do not need to be hanging out for preference.

No… he says, wondering if having something to put his hand to would at least be a distraction, keep him from thinking, from remembering –

They arrive at Clorinda’s pretty house, where they have hatched so many plots and sounded so many mysteries. Hector makes exceeding civil condolences to him, and shows them into the pretty parlour. He goes sit in his accustomed chair.

Vaguely, he hears Clorinda give some instructions to Hector, then turn and say, and Hector, when you have spoke to Euphemia, send up someone with more coals to stir up the fire.

He thinks it might be one of Hector and Euphemia’s offspring that comes lay more coals and stir up the fire into a fine blaze.

Why, dearest C-, do we need a great fire? (For the weather has of a sudden become a deal milder than that cold snap, with ice upon the ground that contributed to the accident.)

Because, dear Sandy, you are shivering.

So he is.

Quite shortly afterwards comes Euphemia herself with a mug in her hand. He had been expecting coffee, has not coffee ever been almost immediately served whenever he comes here?

'Tis a posset, says Clorinda, a most sustaining thing. I daresay you have not eat a thing these several days. You cannot live upon coffee.

He wrinkles his nose but indeed, he cannot remember eating anything, though surely Seraphine must have been leaving food for him.

A little while later comes some excellent soup.

And then he remembers nothing more except for some faint remembrance of being conveyed upstairs by Hector.

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([personal profile] thistleingrey Jul. 25th, 2017 10:39 pm)
Gil McNeil, The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club (2009), orig. pub. as Divas Don't Knit in UK (2007): I pulled it off a library shelf without breaking stride, while following Reason to the checkout machine. It's light yet unexpectedly sincere-sounding given its rather typed cast. It begins right after Jo's husband, Nick, has declared his intent to leave her for a younger woman, then crashed his car into a tree and died accidentally. Go! Mrs. Go, in a next-door subgenre if not the same one, makes the protag's change in circumstance the centerpiece of her journey; this novel moves mid-thirties Jo and her two young sons immediately from London to seaside Kent, where she turns her life experience as a tv producer towards running her grandmother's yarn shop. (The narrative knows its knitting and its knit-shop vagaries.) It's hard work to float that light tone all the way through 400odd pages of "nothing" while setting up the narrator's view on single parenthood, which is quite practical, and while establishing a neighborhood's worth of characters and interactions at school, and while not becoming a completely vapid, precious froth. At the same time, it's so light that I slid through it during digestive flare #1 in May, at a time when I couldn't even read fic---so I kept going )
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So, yes, we got home tonight and saw that John McCain waited to take life-saving advantage of the ACA before he voted, along with fifty other Republican senators whose careers I hope will be even shorter-lived than it seems they want their constituents to be, to proceed with killing it and quite a lot of other people. These are highlights of the day I had before that.

1. [personal profile] spatch met me after my doctor's appointment this afternoon; we walked up the Esplanade to Back Bay (willows, cormorants, a blue reflected hollow in the overcast rippling in the river's wind-waves; I climbed a tree and developed a hole in my sock) and had dinner at the Cornish Pasty Co., where the chicken tikka masala pasty was approximately half the size of a human head and the toffee pudding with crème anglais arrived in a crucible. These are both endorsements. We had not planned on a book-gathering trip, but first there were the book sale carts at the West End Branch of the BPL and then there was Rodney's. I now appear to own Jack Weatherford's The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire (2010), Jean Potts' Home Is the Prisoner (1960), Derek Jarman: A Portrait (1996) edited by Roger Wollen, and Cicely Mary Barker's The Lord of the Rushie River (1938), which I freely admit I bought because "Traveller's Joy" appears in the text as a folk song. The clouds had broken up by the time we were walking back over the Harvard Bridge and the Charles was full of white and pink sails, including a small flotilla circling one another and then crocodiling back to the MIT boathouse. Rob took a couple of pictures of me on the Esplanade. I am not all right with photographs of myself right now, so I am trying to make a point of them.

And the gunner we had was apparently mad. )

2. [personal profile] yhlee and [personal profile] telophase have developed a hexarchate Tarot. Specifically, a jeng-zai deck of the era of Machineries of Empire. You can ask it things. There are no illustrations as yet, but I ran two spreads from different factions and even allowing for the pattern-making capacity of the human brain it gave me scarily decent readings both times. Fair warning: it comes from a dystopia. I'm not sure it knows how to advise on light matters.

3. Courtesy of Michael Matheson: from the archives of Robot Hugs, Gender Rolls. I'm not sure why we don't seem to own any dice, but fortunately the internet provides. I got non-binary femme-type dandy. I . . . can really live with that, actually.

We bought food for the cats. We bought ice cream for ourselves. I guess tomorrow I make a lot more calls.
([personal profile] martianmooncrab Jul. 25th, 2017 01:15 pm)
Yesterday, instead of lounging about the house in my jammies, I had to get dressed to take the sister creature to the ER .. she has a viral chest infection.

I got home right before ten, so I got to watch Midnight TX on tv.

Today, New Book Tuesday, and I am already tired. But, things to do...
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