year in music

Dec. 18th, 2014 05:15 pm
applewoman: (Default)
[personal profile] applewoman
It's nearly time to make the year-in-music mix I give my Dad every Christmas Eve. I didn't listen to a lot of new music in 2014, and most of it came from my husband adding songs to our shared iTunes library. His workplace has music piped in, so he hears a lot more of the popular songs than I do.

One song that really stuck to me this year was Hozier's "Take Me to Church." My daughter made up her own version that she sings along to the actual song, but with lyrics almost entirely of her own creation. They're mostly sort of phonetic, made-up words that resemble the actual lyrics, with some real words mixed in.

My favorite lyric she's ever made up was to Katy Perry's "Roar." The line that goes, "'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar," my daughter sings "'Cause I am a genius..." which cracks me up every time.

What's the song (or songs) you couldn't live without in 2014?

(no subject)

Dec. 18th, 2014 02:35 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
If "postcolonial" becomes the sexy new catchphrase to replace "multicultural" I may well kill a puppy.

No, just because a POC does it doesn't make it postcolonial, ffs.

skud: (Default)
[personal profile] skud
I'm afraid I'm going to have to mostly bail on [personal profile] liv's question, asking me to talk about "when mainstream feminism goes around reproducing lots of other hierarchies and oppressions", because I've been turning it over for a few days and I'm really not sure what to say.

I guess the short answer is: this is something I've been learning about and working on for the past 5 years, and I've been trying to improve my own practice around it, and to speak to people when they do faily things and I think I can usefully help out as an ally. The other thing, I suppose, is that I don't really engage much with "mainstream feminism" if by that you mean the sort of institutionally established liberal feminism that's out there; my feminism is Internet feminism, informed by fandom and geekdom and twitter and tumblr, and I'm not very involved in the stuff that actually gets covered in mainstream media or gets funding from mainstream bodies or whatever. And the feminism I am involved in is pretty aware of "other hierarchies and oppressions" most of the time, I hope.

Anyway I think this answer crosses over a bit with what I wrote for [personal profile] transcendancing under how my feminism has changed over time so I'll just point you there as well.

Sorry I couldn't write more :(

eyes under the prize

Dec. 18th, 2014 07:52 am
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Okay, [personal profile] gabbysilang has got me concerned. Eyebrows? Of all the bits of my body that I have wasted my life fruitlessly wishing were smaller, higher, smoother, less painful, more functional, less hairy or stronger, eyebrows are like the one thing it never occurred to me to wish were otherwise than they were. They...uh, do their job, I guess? They sit on my forehead between my eyes and my hairline. I can raise the left one by itself, sort of! Is that not enough? Should I be demanding more of them? Is there a way to get them to pick up wifi?


Dec. 18th, 2014 03:49 pm
qian: Tiny pink head of a Katamari character (Default)
[personal profile] qian

I tell a lie. My agent Caitlin Blasdell sold my book to Ace/Roc Books in the US, and they sold it to Pan Macmillan/Tor in the UK. I didn’t do any selling myself, just fingernail-biting and jumping around in excitement. The book’s called SORCERER TO THE CROWN, and I’m to write two more in the same world.

The book

SORCERER TO THE CROWN is set in London in the early 1800s and it’s about Zacharias Wythe, England’s first black Sorcerer Royal. (As in, he’s a black guy. Not as in black magic. Zacharias is very virtuous!) But his life sucks. England is running out of magic, his colleagues are mean and racist, and everyone thinks he killed his predecessor.

When ambitious (and inconveniently magical) orphan Prunella Gentleman demands that he take her away from the school where she’s drudged all her life, Zacharias refuses, of course. But Prunella’s stumbled upon English magic’s greatest discovery in centuries, and things are about to get a whole lot more complicated for the both of them.

This is, of course, postcolonial fluff for book nerds (made-up genre of my heart!). It’s what happened when I mashed up Wodehouse and Heyer and my childhood puzzlement about people in books who were described as “dark” when they were clearly white. It’s got secret dragons and schoolgirl hijinks and confrontations at balls and bossy witch aunties. It’s even got pontianak, because why not.

My feels

What can I say about this?

It will be my first published novel. It’s due to release in autumn 2015.

It feels like I’ve worked harder on this book than I’ve worked on anything else in my liiife, but that’s probably not true. I probably worked harder in Chinese school. (Nothing in my life so far has managed to beat Chinese school. If you wish to make your children traumatised strong, send them to Chinese school!)

Anyway, I am SO READY to do more of this work. I was thinking about something I saw on my dwircle yesterday — “the reward for good work is more work” — and gosh, if I could be so lucky! The best thing would be to be able to work hard on dragon hijinks forever.

To be able to share those dragon hijinks with other people is the next best thing. I hope the book comes out. (I am of course convinced that the Earth is going to be hit by an asteroid just in time to prevent actual publication.) I hope people read it and like it. :O

My new release mailing list

If you would like to receive an email notification when the book is out, you can sign up to my brand spanking new mailing list! I’m planning only to send out emails when I’ve published a new thing that you can buy and/or read. So you’ll get an email when this book is out, and also when other projects I’ve got in the works are published.

I’m also considering possibly sending out mailing list extras in future — the occasional free short story, say, or deleted scenes from the book. But otherwise I will be silent! I won’t spam you or give your address to anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

The official press release(s)

ETA: Press releases from the publishers!

Ace Books to publish an all-new historical fantasy trilogy from John W. Campbell nominated author Zen Cho

Pan Macmillan buys new trilogy in the tradition of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

(Though I should say that my book can only suffer from juxtaposition with the incomparable JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL. Clarke was definitely an influence (and Stephen Black and Arabella Strange, MY FAVOURITES), but SORCERER is, let us say, an homage. Though it’s also a lot of other things!)

Mirrored from Zen Cho.

(no subject)

Dec. 18th, 2014 07:58 am
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
You know, normally I'm not one to complain about winter weather. I like cold and rain and snow, because I am a backwards, strange man.

But it is so dry in Chicago right now that for the first time in my life I'm considering anti-static spray. I have now literally, twice, stood up from my chair at work and generated so much static electricity that the in-ear headphone I wear in my left ear has SHOCKED MY EARDRUM.

You know what is unpleasant? SHOCKING YOUR OWN EARDRUM.

I gotta learn to take my headphone out before moving.

(no subject)

Dec. 17th, 2014 09:58 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
- I tried to go to sleep early last night but it didn't take.. I tossed and turned until 1am.

- Went to campus today, and just as I was getting started, my prof popped in to collect the exams. I graded them all (she was expecting to do half) and so now she gets to do the fun part of calculating grades. I also brought home my mini-rose from my office and recruited a few worms from the outdoor bin (which were huddled into a ball) into the rose pot, where I hope they will do some good work rejuvenating it.

- It was my friend Eric's birthday today! I had meant to wait until I saw him again to mention that I got an extra print of Afua Richardson's illustration of "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" but I thought, since it's his birthday, why not tell him now. He was super pleased with the present! We went to Back to the Grind to hang out, then went for a dinner at a nearby restaurant.

- Tomorrow I intend to do laundry and pack, and then meet some friends for drinks.

working WITH the Man

Dec. 17th, 2014 10:55 am
metaphortunate: (Default)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
I now live and work in such a way that I have little to no professional contact with men; I can go entire days without having to consider what a man — any man — thinks of my work.
See, that's what kills me about this The Toast/The Butter thing. Mallory Ortberg wrote that but it's not true. Nick Pavich is the guy running the money behind the site. She's hasn't escaped working for The Man.

That's why Roxane Gay has to post these humiliating tweets about how she's doing what she can.

Oh Mallory, you told us you were the Queen of Misandry but you were sitting on a throne of lies. ;___;

ETA: thanks [personal profile] kate_nepveu for pointing out that Ms. Ortberg is not working for Mr. Pavich: they are co-founders, with equal ownership in the company.

Still. When you're a business owner but you can't alter your contracts without a man's buy-in, it is not true that you've substantially escaped having to care about a man thinks of your work.

Books on Wednesday

Dec. 17th, 2014 04:06 pm
starlady: (heaven's day)
[personal profile] starlady
What I'm Reading
Silver Spoon vol 4 by Arakawa Hiromu - It's still great. Also I'm really jealous of all their fresh vegetables.

The Maker's Mask by Ankaret Wells - After the disaster of The Three-Body Problem I wanted some sci-fi that was about as different as possible. I've only just started, but I'm quite enjoying the book so far. Ladies! Pseudo-medieval post-planetfall politics! Genderqueerness! Assassins!

Razorhurst by Justline Larbalestier - I bought this while I was in Australia, and it's just been short-listed for an Australian literary award, so I'm hoping to finish it soon!

What I've Read
Clariel by Garth Nix - I think the best thing to say is, it was worth the wait. I'm really impressed at how many writerly tricks Nix pulled off here, and how a book written 11 years after its predecessor but set 600 years before can so effortlessly set up the next book in the series. I also was impressed at how suspenseful I found the book to be, given that I knew the ending going in. MORE OLD KINGDOM NOW PLEASE.

Stranger by Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown - At long last the #YesGayYA book is available in the world, and I quite enjoyed it, which to be honest is no less than I expected. The book is set in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, but it's a very animanga kind of livable, quotidian postapocalypse, and the society it portrays is interesting and believable, with just enough vampiric plantlife thrown in to keep things interesting. Honestly I think this book may appeal to fans of X-Treme X-Men, as it really is "the X-Men in the Old West" in some ways, even as it's also one of the most LA books I've read--not Hollywood, but actual LA with actual people. The food descriptions alone nearly made me want to book a flight back to California; I did go out to the best Mexican restaurant in Tokyo because of it. And, of course, I also found the characters interesting, and wasn't fussed by the switching between multiple protagonists, or by what happens to them.

Essentially, I disagreed with the [community profile] ladybusiness review on basically all points, and in particular, I wanted to mention that I don't think that queer characters in books should be treated like they're made of glass. A story in which being gay and suffering for it in whatever way is not the only story that should be told about gay characters, but at the same time, it's not like nothing bad that isn't about being gay ever happens to gay people, and what some of the gay characters in this book have to deal with in terms of parents and family is stuff that everyone has to deal with. I think it's just as important to represent those kinds of things in fiction because they are universal, or the next best thing to it, and gay readers deserve to have that chance just as much as straight audiences. (I also appreciated that gayness isn't just for white boys. Indeed, most of the protagonists are people of color, which was refreshingly realistic for a book set in future!Los Angeles.) I will say, however, that if you haven't liked Sherwood Smith's other books, I don't think you'll like this one. She has a very distinctive close third person POV style that, quite frankly, took me a while to get used to when I first started reading her books, and though obviously this is a co-written book and the style isn't "strictly Sherwood," if you will, there's enough of it in the prose that I'm confident in this prediction. All that having been said, I loved it, and I'm very excited to hear that Hostage, the sequel, is coming very soon!

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison - I was not expecting to sit down and devour this book in less than a day but readers, I did. IT'S SO GOOD. It follows Maia, the despised youngest son of the elf emperor who unexpectedly inherits the throne after most of the rest of his family die in a suspicious airship accident. I'm still bitter about The Mirror Empire and grimdark, and I really appreciated a fantasy novel with goblins and elves and airships and bridges in which the struggles are about how to overcome one's own ignorance and how to enact good policy for one's realm. Maia is deeply sympathetic, and his relationship with his mother's family--he is essentially biracial, being half-goblin and and half-elf--was particularly interesting. I'm not sure I should even mention that Katherine Addison formerly wrote books under the name Sarah Monette, but I do think that assertions that this book is totally out of character with her previous work is somewhat wrong. It's true that this book is in many ways the polar opposite of something like Melusine and those books, but in some ways Maia's struggles to figure out how to interact with the world reminded me very much of my absolute favorite of Monette's works, namely the Kyle Murchison Booth stories. I do think there are subtle continuities between this book and Monette's earlier work, but I would also say that if you bounced off any aspect of the Melusine novels, I would heartily recommend giving this one a try. Her prose is a delight in and of itself.

Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones - I read this because [personal profile] littlebutfierce mentioned it in a December meme post, and I devoured it. It's a masterpiece and if you haven't read it you must do so now--I especially recommend it to those of you who, like me, are rather over the whole Tam Lin thing or never even got into it in the first place. (Ironically, I've read a lot of Tam Lin books and will read more. But as Jones herself says in this book, if you can't find things worth reading in fairy tales that is your problem.) It is not very Tam Lin-ish even though it's a Tam Lin novel; there's far more of T.S. Eliot in here, which makes me happy because Four Quartets is my absolute favorite Eliot. That said, I am not ashamed to admit that I relied quite heavily on [personal profile] rushthatspeaks' two essays explicating the ending to understand what happened, and to those who may have found it confusing, I highly recommend those posts: We only live, only suspire/Consumed by either fire or fire and The way upward and the way downward are the same.

Silver Spoon vol. 3 by Arakawa Hiromu - Still excellent. I appreciate the peeks into Arakawa's philosophy, which was an aspect of FMA that was de-emphasized as things went on, understandably.

What I'll Read Next
Probably the book after the Wells one, since I'm given to understand that they're a very tightly knitted duology. Also more Diana Wynne Jones! And more Silver Spoon of course.

A few time-sensitive links

Dec. 17th, 2014 01:41 am
umadoshi: (hands full of books)
[personal profile] umadoshi
Well, if I can't be on top of anything but my work deadlines, the least I can do is go fishing in the Sea of Tabs (...that was accidental, I swear, although notice how I'm not rewording) and find some of the things that are time sensitive.

There were a couple of actual non-work accomplishments today, too: we got the Zacharys packed up tonight (and [personal profile] scruloose and Kas kindly mailed them off on their way to rock climbing tonight), and I baked the season's first batch of cookies for the Casual Job holiday party on Thursday. (The "lemon coolers" from this post, which are not actually Christmas cookies, technically, but I felt like doing something lemony. Alas, the finished product, while tasty, is not all that lemony.) I'm also planning to make Rice Krispy squares tomorrow evening (first time ever!) with the pumpkin pie-flavored marshmallows that Nico brought me from her last trip to the US, since I can't think of anything else to do with them but want to try them. (I may have to do the same with the candy corn-flavored ones, but the season for that taste has definitely passed.)


Via [personal profile] kass, "Advent Calendar for Depressed People". I haven't read through it much yet, and Advent is well underway, but linking in case anyone else also wants to check it out despite the late date.

YA blogger [ profile] mizgillianberry is holding "Best of 2014: Debut Darlings Giveaway". (Rafflecopter giveaway.)

Via [personal profile] rachelmanija, Andrea K Höst, an indie Australian sf/fantasy/YA author, has all of her books available for 99 cents (USD) each for the rest of the year through a number of ebook retailers. I, uh, may have bought the lot. (I'm pretty sure I have a hard copy of And All the Stars, too. La!)

I've yet to actually read any of Höst's work, but she's been on my radar since [personal profile] skygiants' post about the Touchstone trilogy. The post (which has a few spoilers) opens with "While we're talking about tropetastic self-published books, I've spent the past few days racing my way through Andrea K. Host's Touchstone Trilogy, which features at least three awesome YA tropes rolled into one." The trilogy also has a follow-up book that's actually called Gratuitous Epilogue, and to be honest, that fact is a large part of why Höst went on my radar. I respect that many things that go on in fanfic don't necessarily belong in a novel/series, because novels are full of all this "plot" stuff (as they should be!), but the idea of getting to know what happens afterwards etc., the things we usually have to rely on fic for, is delightful and I love that Höst made it available.

(no subject)

Dec. 16th, 2014 09:11 pm
jhameia: ME! (Default)
[personal profile] jhameia
I finished my blouse! My whole outfit is done! I added an elastic into the hem in order to create a floofier effect.

Stayed home all day today. Tomorrow I'll go to campus, finish calculating grades, hand it off to the professor, bring home my rose plant so that it doesn't wither in my office while I'm gone.

why I am going to hell today

Dec. 16th, 2014 08:54 pm
metaphortunate: (uncanny kubrick creamsicle)
[personal profile] metaphortunate
Why I am going to hell:

The Junebug has a child's umbrella, and I have an adult umbrella, which is bigger when it's opened but folds twice so it's smaller when it's closed. Today the Junebug was crowing that his umbrella is the biggest, so I explained to him how my umbrella was a grower and his umbrella was a shower.

done dids for wednesday

Dec. 17th, 2014 03:00 pm
skud: (Default)
[personal profile] skud
Structured procrastination du jour

* sent email to someone who's involved in a large seed-sharing project in India, to talk to them about their data use etc
* sought an introduction to someone who founded an open food project centred on nutrition data
* talked with some people on IRC about Growstuff values and with another set of people about attracting and onboarding designers in open source projects
* finished writing up report for work I did last month (project X woooot!)
* phone meeting re: work for the first quarter of next year
* sent out emails about next year's work (being vague on purpose!)
* womanfully avoided getting into a heated discussion about trigger warnings as an accessibility measure (and thanked someone who stepped up to say the thing I wanted to say, but said it much more calmly)
* made a decision about dropping some work I don't seem to be able to do effectively, and made some steps toward finding a replacement (a different project X potentially off my plate! also woot!)
* arranged time with lawn mower (for vague definition of "arranged" as the time seems to be constantly being pushed back)
* went to shops/ATM to get cash for lawn mower person (and also snacks and gin)
* ate snacks, drank gin
* phonecall with project X that I'm dropping, let them know I'm dropping them, offered to help find replacement, chatted a bit with friend who is my contact there
* improved Growstuff's README to have more information on contributing for designers, writers, etc (it previously only had information for coders)
* wrote fairly epic Get involved page for Growstuff wiki
* decided that since I've been enjoying the December posting meme, I might do a monthly blogging plan thing for the future; set up google spreadsheet for this
* read interesting blog posts about UX and design and stuff

(to be updated as I do stuff)
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