Positivity meme (day 7/7)

Sep. 15th, 2014 11:44 pm
umadoshi: (Newsflesh - couple time (kasmir))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Last day of the meme! Still not specifically tagging anyone, but do feel free to take it up if you want!

Today I'm thankful for:

1) [personal profile] wildpear and Pumpkin stopping by for a visit tonight. They were a mobile tea party! They arrived with chocolate chip cookies and tea! *g*

2) Getting my and [personal profile] wildpear's copies of Unmade (the third Lynburn Legacy book, due next Tuesday) ordered! Now to hope Amazon ships them in that window of time where the books count appropriately for first-week sales but arrive on the release date, since Casual Job goes back two days later and I desperately want to have the book read before then. (We paid Amazon's fee for "two-day shipping", which claims to mean it'll arrive on the release date; I feel a bit silly about it, but I know that this time next week I'd be kicking myself if I hadn't.)

(The downside to the above is that the reason we had to order online is that apparently NONE of the local stores have ordered store copies. ;_; I made phone calls to try to reserve copies, but no luck. [Kas, if you see this, by definition it means that we appreciate your offer to pick our held copies up, but there is no need.] I assume this is due to the sales numbers on SRB's previous books, and it breaks my heart, because I love her writing so much.)

OH HEY, LOOK! [twitter.com profile] Reader_Fictions just wrote a shiny new review of Unspoken, the first book in the trilogy! In case, you know, you were possibly thinking about checking these books out. Which you should. Because awesomeness.

3) Getting beta notes back from [personal profile] wildpear on the "Shaun gets kicked out of bed" fic, which amused her. Whew. Amusing my first reader makes me feel much better about it actually being entertaining than I did when I only knew it amuses me. *g*

(no subject)

Sep. 15th, 2014 07:10 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
Missed the Riverside train by a goddamn hair! Had to catch another train t Orange County and wait forever. I was going to be so good, and just use public transit instead of shuttling it, and in the end I caved and got a taxi for the final leg home because I could not STAND either moving my luggage further or waiting another hour. I spent two hours in immigration alone, ugh.

On the plus side, my new Asus travels really well. On the con side, I really need to get another AC adapter for it.

I am sure I've been traveling some 45+ hours and only slept properly for 6 of them. Going to turn in early tonight.

I watched Belle and Snowpiercer on the plane(s)! What great movies. I don't think I could watch Snowpiercer again anytime soon; it's so intense! Belle is a really satisfying movie tho. I killed time with X-Men Days of Future Past and I DID NOT KNOW BLINK WAS ASIAN.

I did one of those "cultural experiences" art and crafts things at Incheon airport; seems they switch it up every month or so. This time they were offering lacquered pendants; you put on the abalone pieces yourself with a toothpick. I'll selfie with it later.

I'm feeling pretty glad I volunteered for the MA grad orientation rather than insist on doing the PhD one, since that's on Wednesday and not tomorrow because I am feeling kind of rotten right now.

so many books

Sep. 15th, 2014 04:13 pm
applewoman: (Default)
[personal profile] applewoman
I have 49 unread library books on my Kindle. I never take it out of airplane mode, so they continue to pile up, even though they've already been "returned" to the library. Even considering how fast I read—say it would take three days each—that's still 147 DAYS of reading. At least when I check out physical books I'm required to return them eventually, which lets me off the hook.

The list, in case anyone's curious )

I also have a stack of physical books checked out, too. IT'S A PROBLEM. Albeit a nice problem. I'm not complaining.

***

I like buying most of my clothes from consignment and thrift stores. This works pretty well usually—quality clothes at a fraction of the retail price—but for one huge irritation: Disgusting perfumey detergent smells embedded in the fabric. I’ve tried lots of methods to get rid of the fumes, but the best way I’ve found is to actually wear the item a few times. The jeans I wore this morning made my eyes smart and my nose itch, so I sneezed all the way to work. But the fumes have decreased substantially after 8 hours of wear.

I loathe the smell of most laundry detergents. I don't understand how people can smell anything else when they're walking around in a cloud of perfume outgassing from their clothing. If my kids leave an item of clothing at my mother-in-law's house, she'll usually return it to me washed, but she uses something horrible like Tide, so if they wear that item of clothing they don't smell like my kid (and it gives me a headache and makes me sneeze).

I would love a Febreze-type spray that actually sucks out offending smells without leaving behind a perfume of its own. I’ve heard of a product called Nok-Out, but it's expensive and only available by mail-order. And for clothing you have to soak the thing in Nok-Out, let it air-dry, then launder and repeat until the smell is gone. It’s just not worth the work and the expense. So I wash and wear, and eventually the smells wear out.

Sadly, the world is full of horrible chemical perfume smells and loud, intrusive music almost everywhere people congregate. Why so much noise and smell pollution, people?

(no subject)

Sep. 15th, 2014 07:50 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

[tumblr.com profile] amemait linked to [tumblr.com profile] sunshinedorkface, who has Keratoconus, a genetic eye condition which is interfering with her sight. She is raising money through commissions and donations to her paypal for expenses and possibly non-insured costs for a new procedure that will help with this condition. You can read more about her work and commissioning art here.

[tumblr.com profile] linneawrites linked to a friend and Crossfit coach, Will Lanier, who is undergoing several surgeries for colon cancer. You can read more about his diagnosis and treatment and donate here, and also bid on fundraising items for sale here.

[livejournal.com profile] ashbet linked to [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling, an author, artist, and blogger about mental illness, who along with her partner Sargon has just taken a massive food benefits cut, from $250/mo to $50/mo. You can read about their situation and donate here, and you can also purchase Sargon's adventurotica fiction here.

[livejournal.com profile] facecat linked to MDA Lockup, a national campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. You can read more and help them "make bail" here.

Amba has information and awareness-raising tweets about the recent Kashmir floods posted here; they've had very little coverage and could use the boost. You can also give here or here to help support recovery post-flooding.

[personal profile] brainwane linked to Growstuff, an open data platform for gardeners which is crowdfunding to pay software developers to work on an open database for food growers, with a stretch goal that includes supporting an intern at the project. You can read more and support Growstuff here.

Anon linked to a fundraiser for Wayne, a cat in need of emergency surgery. You can read more and support the fundraiser here, but Wayne's human also has handmade soap for sale here.

Housing:

[tumblr.com profile] priscellie is looking for a fannish roommate in Los Angeles' Thai Town: 2BR/1BA, $900/mo plus utilities. Gorgeous 1920s architecture, in-unit laundry, lush garden, parking included, and LGBTQ-friendly. Walkable to metro red line. You can view photos and read more here; email priscellie at gmail.com if interested.

[livejournal.com profile] off_coloratura is looking for a third roommate in a Rogers Park apartment in Chicago. $750/mo plus utilities; a private room with shared bath, in-unit laundry, and two cats, close to the red line and grocery. You can view pictures and get more information here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form or via email at copperbadge at gmail dot com. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!).

Positivity meme (day 6/7)

Sep. 14th, 2014 11:54 pm
umadoshi: (Tutu/ItW "charm for a prince" (bookelfe))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Today I'm thankful for:

1) Claudia coming and snuggling this morning. Before you say, "Yes, but you're ALWAYS thankful for something about the kittens"--which is true!--here's the thing: Claudia is not snuggly. At all. She's very affectionate and loving, and she often loves being petted, and she purrs readily...but I think this was literally the first time she's ever hopped up, entirely unprompted, and settled in to be cozy with me and get scritches. She and Jinksy were both pretty clingy while [personal profile] scruloose was away camping for the past couple of nights, so I don't expect a repeat anytime soon, but it was wonderful.

2) Getting to see Into the Woods (one of my favorite musicals) on stage for the first time ever, and in the process hanging out with a friend from high school who I rarely see, and who's one of the people I shared a love of the musical with back then. I didn't love the production wholeheartedly; in particular, I had a very difficult time with anyone other than Bernadette Peters playing the Witch, but I expected that going in. I imprinted so hard on the original Broadway cast via the video of that production that all of those performances are definitive for me, but Peters in particular is SO iconic in the role that it would take a truly brilliant performance to please me. That said, this Witch was perfectly solid in the role.

Actually, I think that overall I'd have to say the production was solid but not inspired, but I'm more okay with that than it sounds. I actively enjoyed about 90% of it, and I'm very glad I went.

3) [personal profile] scruloose being home from his camping trip! (And several other friends now being back too, since a small group went.) He even got home early enough that there was time to hang out before I went downtown to see the show. ^_^

Positivity meme (day 5/7)

Sep. 13th, 2014 11:54 pm
umadoshi: (perfume 01 (elfin))
[personal profile] umadoshi
It's been a very low-key and unfocused day--not a bad one, but uneventful to the point that I feel kind of dazed thinking back on it.

Today I'm thankful for:

1) The fact that there weren't very many ants in the kitchen throughout the day, if ants there had to be. (We'll get more traps in there soon.) This is a grim thankfulness, but sincere. I don't do well with creepy-crawly things in my space.

1b) The fact that the shared common yard space has been re-sodded after a bunch of work being done out there. With any luck, future ants will feel no need to invade our house to get away from the upheaval.

2) Snuggles with Jinksy while I slept in.

2b) Kitten photos! Which I note because it lets me link to the post I made today over at [tumblr.com profile] jinksyandthebrain.

3) Getting nearly 1000 words written late last night (hence how late I slept in).

Project Wear All the BPAL Weenies!, day 4: Bite Me (2009), "Croquembouche with almond silk and a drizzle of caramel". I put it on last night an hour or two before bed. It didn't make much impression beyond "vaguely sweet", and now my impression is even fuzzier, so we'll file it under "unmemorable on my skin". On the one hand, I'm a bit sad that I didn't get the almond/caramel notes a lot of people on the forum seem to have; OTOH, at least my skin didn't amp it up into a wall of booze, since I don't like alcoholic smells much.

(no subject)

Sep. 13th, 2014 11:06 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
Wow, I slept at 2am last night winding down from the party, and then woke up at 5am for whatever, and got out of bed at 7 because my brother was told to take me to Gasing Hill for a hike. We had to send the maids downtown first, but yeah. Then I showered, we went to eat, and then I headed straight to Jaya One for my meeting with my dad's friend. She wants to develop a kind of kids' camp that would give youth a space to express themselves as freely as possible, to give them their own platform and community with which to exchange ideas in a somewhat safe space. She's been doing little "unity" projects of encouraging little kids to say nice things about people from other races. I told her that I've studied critical race theory and critical multiculturalism, explained to her a bit of what that entailed, and she was very interested in knowing if it could be taught to teens. I told her I could run it seminar format, assign readings, come up with a syllabus. Three weeks, two seminars a week, two and a half hours each seminar, run as an intensive course, just to give then a start in talking about these issues. She asked me for a quote, I calculated real quick how much I get paid by the hour in the States and just gave her an estimate of what that might sound in ringgit.

Then I went to a nearby cafe to futz around and have some cheesecake on my own, and write maybe 30 more words on my prospectus which has been sadly neglected. I will have to really get back to it when I get to California. Kat came to get me, and then we drove to Taman Paramount's LRT to pick Zarrah up, and the three of us went to Hop Hop Cafe, which is a bunny cafe in my town! Then around 8pm I went to have dinner with my family and another family.

So yeah. Still socializing. I have to pack all day tomorrow BUT in the morning I'm meeting Nin Harris, of Delinquent's Spice!!! SO EXCITED.

Positivity meme (day 4/7)

Sep. 12th, 2014 11:44 pm
umadoshi: (riceball love (snowgarden))
[personal profile] umadoshi
(Missed a day! I've seen a lot of people posting two or three days' list items at once when that happens, but I'm opting to tack a day on at the end.)

Today I'm thankful for:

1) Finishing the main read-through on the novel I'm proofreading. There's still work to be done before it's ready to be turned in, but I'm going to let it sit for the weekend and get started on my next rewrite.

2) Getting my copy of the Monstrous Affections anthology in the mail and getting to read "Wings in the Morning" (the story that follows The Turn of the Story. "Wings" was approximately nothing like I expected, plot-wise, but I loved it and felt it was a very satisfying resolution of some things SRB had introduced in The Turn of the Story, particularly in terms of the relationships. Elliot remains my favorite character (TotS is from his POV; "Wings" is not), but seeing him through other eyes was delightful, and I adore all of the main characters. *^^*

3) Getting to hang out with [personal profile] wildpear for a little bit this evening and geek out/squee with her about it all. *^^*

Day 3 of Project Wear All the BPAL Weenies! brought out Autumn Cider (2011), which is "fermented apple juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, lemon zest, butterscotch liquor, and orange slices". It was very warm and spicy and played beautifully with my skin chemistry.

(As you might guess from these "write-ups" of each scent, I don't have a terribly discerning nose when it comes to picking out individual notes. The Dead Mouse Incident at Casual Job a few years ago demonstrated that I apparently have a keen nose, but that's a rather different thing. ^^;)

Some nice things about SPIRITS ABROAD

Sep. 12th, 2014 08:32 pm
qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

There’s been some nice things said of SPIRITS ABROAD of late! I retweet the links as I come across them in my feed, but it’s nice to have them somewhere more permanent as well, so here’s a collection.

 
A review of SPIRITS ABROAD in The Star by Subashini Navaratnam

My book is in The Star! ^_^ So cool la. Reviewer says: “These stories refreshingly reimagine the idea of home and tradition and family without offering tidy or pat resolutions.”

 
Another long, thoughtful review by kamo

I’m too shy to dive into the post to pull out a summary line (since unlike a newspaper article it doesn’t have one at the top), but it was quite odd because I read this and Subashini’s article on the same day, and they have interesting parallels and distinctions.

 
The very cool Sunil Patel commissioned the very cool Mark of Mark Does Stuff to read two of my stories! I think they’re each spread over three videos, but I’ll just post the first part of each la.

PRUDENCE AND THE DRAGON

ONE-DAY TRAVELCARD FOR FAIRYLAND

Edited to add: I didn’t even know he’d done The Perseverance of Angela’s Past Life as well! This isn’t in the paperback version of SPIRITS ABROAD (I am going to put it in the ebook, just so it and Prudence are together), but you can read it online, of course. Thanks to hebethen for the tip.

THE PERSEVERANCE OF ANGELA’S PAST LIFE

 
And this doesn’t really fit in a list of things about SPIRITS ABROAD, but the second of Rochita Loenen-Ruiz‘s two most recent pieces for her Strange Horizons column mentions the book in passing:

At Nine Worlds, I purchased a copy of Zen Cho’s beautiful collection entitled Spirits Abroad, published by the Malaysian press Buku Fixi. I was struck by the publisher’s manifesto, which appears on the back of the flyleaf. In this manifesto, the publisher states:

We will not use italics for non-American/non-English terms.

The publisher then goes on to say: “Nasi lemak and kongkek are some of the pleasures of Malaysian life that should be celebrated without apology; italics are a form of apology.”

So if I have done nothing else with my writing, I have been instrumental in ensuring the appearance of the word kongkek on Strange Horizons.

You can read Rochita’s articles here:
Translations, the Mother Tongue, and Acts of Resistance (Part 1)
Translations, the Mother Tongue, and Acts of Resistance (Part 2)

 
Details of how to get SPIRITS ABROAD are here, and an ebook will be available soon. SOON!

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

On a happier note:

Sep. 12th, 2014 02:20 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
I am thirty today! I was officially born at 9.27am (I saw my birth cert the other day for some reason) so it's been a while. Roy and I have been marinading things all day. I have a bucket of chicken sitting in Coca-cola because I thought it would be a good idea but now Roy wants me to re-marinade the chicken and use honey instead. He's going to start up the grill around 6pm and I have to figure out drinks and salad appetizers. Also plates. Haha. I have such trouble in a house where I know nothing of its contents.

I have a few Tumblr friends coming over, KKJ mates, an old schoolmate, a Twitter friend, and my little cousin (who is baking me cake!). Around a dozen of us. My brother's BBQing lamb, chicken wings, and I convinced him to try stingray.

Hopefully we'll have enough food (Roy thinks we've got too much) and hopefully everybody will get along (I am usually more discriminatory about who I choose to invite and have mix together) (but we are mostly all nerds so it should be fine).

Woo woo!

EDIT: Thanks for the birthday wishes! Party was great. Ray came earlier to drop off the cake because she couldn't make it. (She also brought her new car! It's tiny just like her!) The cake was marvellous. The company was marvellous. We played a round of Politico. It was great fun! Possibly because I won. It was so much fun that I forgot to take pictures! For drinks I pulled out a really nice bowl and bought several things of juice and mixed them up, just because I could. (I used to do it with soda when I was younger.)

Stingray is also an amazing fish and I wish I had more of it.

Vidding meme: Difficult vids

Sep. 11th, 2014 09:44 pm
starlady: David 8 holding the holographic Earth in wonderment. (when there is nothing in the desert)
[personal profile] starlady
[personal profile] juniperphoenix asked, Which vid was the hardest to make?

Part of me wants to answer, "The last one," but realistically…I've had a pretty easy time of it in general, and none of them stand out to me as especially difficult. Most of the AMVs I made were technically pretty easy, partly because a) I was using Windows Movie Maker and b) I had no idea what I was doing. I got slightly better when I switched to iMovie, but I had no idea what I was doing still, which is why so many of them are teeny tiny file and picture size, because I was using the files I'd converted to play on my iPod because they converted to mp4. Oh, self.

In some ways one of the hardest to make was actually my very first one, "Yuna's Vertigo," which I am still very proud of, partly because it was the first time I'd done it and partly because I was working with FMV clips that I'd downloaded from web sites after they'd been ripped by other people. This was back in the dark ages when getting cut scenes off a PS2 involved black magic and about $100 worth of cables and only a few people actually did it (so if you did, your AMV automatically stood out). One of the unique clips I downloaded had some kind of progressive file corruption in it where it froze at the point I tried to cut it, and kept freezing no matter where I cut it. I wound up solving it with a diamond transition, which worked pretty well if I do say so myself. In many ways that AMV is the epitome of beginner's luck; I still like it a lot.

"Starman" was also kind of a pain in the ass, partly because that was when I started using After Effects for the titles, and After Effects is its own kind of special hell (I spent five hours trying to make an effects preset work before googling and finding out that preset didn't work for anyone), and also because the vid fell pretty far short of what I wanted. It was my first time working with cam rips, and I kind of wish I'd waited, but also, irony is kind of hard to get across in a vid unless it's pretty heavy-handed. I was trying for eviscerating sarcasm, and I didn't get there. If I did it over again, I'd definitely go for longer/more obvious intro titles, not to mention recutting the whole second half of the vid. Oh well.

Getting source for my last vid nearly did drive me to tears over trying to demux an MKV Blue-Ray rip that allegedly didn't have hardcoded subtitles. I wound up cutting my losses and just using the DVD rip, partly because I'd wasted nearly a month downloading the Blue Ray rip and then trying to demux it for clipping. MKVs are Satan's file type of choice, IJS.

Review: The Mirror Empire

Sep. 11th, 2014 12:36 am
starlady: David 8 holding the holographic Earth in wonderment. (when there is nothing in the desert)
[personal profile] starlady
Hurley, Kameron. The Mirror Empire. New York: Orbit Books, 2014.

The Mirror Empire is the fantasy novel that everyone is talking about this year, and right at the beginning, let me say that it will almost certainly be on my Hugo ballot, and that I think it deserves to be there. But as much as I enjoyed the book (and I did), I didn't love it, and even more so than usual, I have Thoughts.

It's gotten to the point where I feel like I've seen the plot of The Mirror Empire described a million times, or maybe I've just been obsessively reading other people's reviews to crystallize my own thoughts. At any rate, the book is set in a world--one of many--in which magic is linked to the ascent and descent of various satellites in the sky; those who can channel these wanderers can do so only in accordance with the altitude of their relevant moon. Most of these satellites are predictable, but one, Oma, only appears every 2000 years or so, and when it does it brings chaos, because those who can channel it can do just about anything, from unmaking the world to opening gates between worlds to raising the dead. Even more alarmingly, it becomes clear over the course of the novel that forces are massing in at least one other world with the unmistakable intention of killing everyone who remains in the world of most of the protagonists, so that the invaders themselves can inhabit that world--you can only cross over if your double on the other side is already dead, or never existed. If this sounds like genocide to you, it does to Hurley and her characters too.

I haven't yet read Hurley's God's War trilogy, but I'm willing to bet that the brutality of the world and the people in this book, as well as the sheer weirdness of some of the elements (mobile plants! who knew they could be so terrifying?), are shared by her previous novels. The Mirror Empire is an excellent epic fantasy, and I enjoyed the fact that so many of its protagonists are female, or of genders other than male, and that the novel depicts a host of matriarchal cultures, as well as the oppression that comes along with unchecked power. The book is fast-paced and interesting, although at times, as other people have said, it did get a bit challenging to keep who was doing what, and who knew what when, straight, which is not helped by doubles often having the same names. But there's no mistaking that it's a truly epic fantasy, whatever that means (wide scope? lots of worldbuilding? multiple POV characters?) and that Hurley is swinging for the fences here. Based on this book, it looks like she's going to clear them.

I liked it, but I didn't love it: POV characters and genocide )

I bought this book from Barnes & Noble because I wanted to support Hurley, who deservedly won two Hugos in London this year, and because I wanted to support the reinvigoration of epic fantasy via the promotion of new and existing voices within it. I don't regret my purchase at all, but as much as I'm curious to see how it's all resolved, some of the author's artistic choices have definitely dampened my enthusiasm for the sequels.

Positivity meme (day 3/7)

Sep. 11th, 2014 12:46 am
umadoshi: (fangirl (bisty_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Today I'm grateful for more than three things, although the first couple are...backhanded examples of gratitude?

So here they are!

1) I'm thankful that [personal profile] scruloose was home when I found a GIANT FUCKING SPIDER in the upstairs hallway (it wasn't even a familiar species, never mind something I'm used to seeing in my home! MEEP), and that he dealt with it.

2) I'm thankful for how good and gentle our kittens are even when they're upset. Poor Jinksy!bear had an awful mat in his britches when we went to groom his belly tonight, and our schedule isn't going to be conducive to working it out gradually over the next few days--it was pretty much tonight and then not getting back to it until Sunday or so. Jinksy hates being groomed at the best of times, and he was SO unhappy, poor kitten. He squirmed and made pitiful little noises, but he didn't bring out his claws at all until many minutes had passed, and when he did, he was as gentle with them as is possible with claws. I have a couple of scratches, and they're so minor I had to really look to even find them just now.

3) I'm thankful for having a co-worder!friend who a) is fun to hang out with, b) uses the word "headcanon" in conversation, c) appreciates the fictional couple that has completely taken over my heart, d) is happy to discuss logistics of world-building... Etc. *g*

4) Directly related to the above, I'm thankful for having had a factual error caught before it made it into any fiction that's actually been finished and made it off my hard drive and out into the world. Close call!

5) And on the story-sharing front, I'm thankful--or maybe "delighted" is a better word, but work with me--for not one but two people reading and loving The Turn of the Story due to me (and [personal profile] wildpear, directly in one case and indirectly in the other) being all excited about it. Sharing the love! *^^*

Day 2 of Project Wear All the BPAL Weenies! continued today with All Souls (2006, incense and sugared currant). On my spreadsheet the limited edition collections are sorted by year first, and then alphabetically, but in my bullet case they're just alphabetical, and alphabetical is the way I'm opting to go. All Souls is too perfumey for my taste when it's wet, but as it dried, the incense came out more. Filed under "I like it fine, but I'm not in love".
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