Thinky Thoughts Time

May. 23rd, 2017 03:21 pm
robling_t: (Default)
[personal profile] robling_t
Apropos of... nothingtoseehereguv, I've been thinking that there are basically three possible societal responses to variance:

  1. Society tries to help you be the best you that you can be, with accommodations intended to bring your individual functioning in line with where you want it to be

  2. Society tries to "help" you to be in line with the functional level that it expects... or demands... of any other of its citizens

  3. Society says to hell with it, if you can't keep up with the implied rest of us it's Not Our Problem


Thoughts? Thinly veiled screeds against the bureaucratic system of your choice...?

Trumping Math

May. 23rd, 2017 03:30 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I'm lucky if I can get the same answer three times running on a calculator.  But on college entrance exams, I scored 66% nationally.  That means 2/3 of people are worse at math than I am.  Somehow.

I'm often appalled at how many of those people seem to work in economics and government.  I mean really.  I could do better than this.  >_<
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower

If you’re like me, the phrase “Orpheus myth in space” gets your immediate attention. Here’s Jessica Reisman to tell us about the spark that brought Substrate Phantoms to life!

*

cover to SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS by Jessica ReismanSubstrate Phantoms had a long road to publication, so I’ve had to cast my mind back to remember the original writing and when the fire seemed to catch. I already had my far future science fiction universe, the Aggregate, in which I’ve had several stories and my first novel (so long ago now that Substrate gets to be a new debut), and had been playing around with the idea of the Orpheus myth in space, a kind of ‘don’t look back’ when a character is fleeing a space station, trying to save a loved one.

That was all very well, but things weren’t really taking any compelling shape. It was with the haunting of the space station that the first sign of heat flared up. A kind of film reel unfurled in my mind, of powerful images and feelings having to do with the intersection of technology and futurity with superstition and our need for the kind of possibility inherent in the more inward, arcane, and irrational side of our natures. Where these elements—often set in opposition—cross is a deep vein of story for me.

It was a pretty potent unfurling of image and feeling, that film reel. It had what felt like the whole story—and more—within it. My writing process is what we sometimes call “organic.” The initial phase of image, feeling, and story arc is like a seed for me, a tiny, dense ball of potential in which the story exists. To maul the metaphor, note-making, research, background work, and world building are all preparing the ground, planting, and fertilizing; the actual searching march of words onto page is when the growth begins and the story stretches toward its shape.

So there was the spark of the haunted space station—a usefully compelling elevator pitch, but what now? I think it leapt into full conflagration when I found the opening of the first chapter:

Revelation deck rested currently in station shadow, spangled in reflections off the solar collectors. Long glimmers cut through the high dim space in a slow dance. Revelation deck was a big space with open gridwork, gridwork being the bones of station superstructure hidden on other decks. Tall viewports and a lack of adult traffic made it a favorite haunt of station kids, four of whom sat clustered under a twenty-foot span of the grid arch. Likely there was someplace they were supposed to be, and strict regulations said they shouldn’t be there, but it was a regulation never enforced.

Jhinsei, two-thirds of the way through sitting a shift at the automated shuttle monitors, liked the murmur of voices. He had been such a kid himself, not too many years past, listening to tales on Revelation; besides, they lessened the loneliness of the cavernous deck.

Revelation deck, far future space station, kids telling stories, future and past: it makes friction for me and, voila, sparks!

*

From the cover copy:

The space station Termagenti—hub of commerce, culture, and civilization—may be haunted. Dangerous power surges, inexplicable energy manifestations, and strange accidents plague the station. Even after generations of exploring deep space, humanity has yet to encounter another race, and yet, some believe that what is troubling the station may be an alien life form.

Jhinsei and his operations team crawl throughout the station, one of many close-knit working groups that keep Termagenti operational. After an unexplained and deadly mishap takes his team from him, Jhinsei finds himself—for lack of a better word—haunted by his dead teammates. In fact, they may not be alone in taking up residence in his brain. He may have picked up a ghost—an alien intelligence that is using him to flee its dying ship. As Jhinsei struggles to understand what is happening to his sanity, inquisitive and dangerous members of the station’s managing oligarchy begin to take an increasingly focused interest in him.

Haunted by his past and the increasing urgent presence of another within his mind, Jhinsei flees the station for the nearby planet Ash, where he undertakes an exploration that will redefine friend, foe, self, and other. With Substrate Phantoms, Jessica Reisman offers an evocative and thought-provoking story of first contact, where who we are is questioned as much as who they might be.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo | Publisher

*

Jessica Reisman’s stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. A three-time Michener Fellow, she has been writing her own brand of literary science fiction and fantasy for many years. Jessica has lived in Philadelphia, parts of Florida, California, and Maine, and been employed as a house painter, blueberry raker, art house film projectionist, glass artist’s assistant, English tutor, teaching assistant, and editor, among other things. She dropped out of high school and now has a master’s degree. She makes her home in Austin, Texas, where well-groomed cats, family, and good friends grace her life with their company. Find out more at her site.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

WisCon 41 Schedule

May. 23rd, 2017 03:11 pm
tbonejenkins: (Evil smile Izumi)
[personal profile] tbonejenkins

This weekend is WisCon and as usual, I'll be there. I'm keeping my schedule super light this year for reasons, but here's where you can officially find me:

Friday, May 26, Caucus Room 4:00 - 5:15p
Love Love Peace Peace: What Makes a Fun Story?
As opposed to beautifully-crafted stories that tell powerful tales are funtime stories that we tell to amuse ourselves. We don't always talk about them because they are "low-brow," and we're afraid we'll be seen as less intelligent somehow. But while fun stories that make people laugh and give readers a joyride might not seem relevant, they are still important. Let's talk critically about what makes a story "fun" while considering the perspective of the marginalized for whom these stories are often laid with landmines of microaggressions and stereotypes.

Sunday, May 28, Conference Room 4 10:00-11:15a
Reading Group: Personal Demons
What haunts us, what scares us, what makes us tick. Works that deal with metaphorical and actual demons. I'll be reading from my yet to be published novella "Memphis Minnie and Sister Rosetta Tharpe Sing the Stumps Down Good".

Either Saturday or Sunday at some point
Spontaneous Programming: Gaming for Janet Elle Plato
I am putting together a short DnD game to honor the memory of Janet Elle Plato, who attended WisCon numerous times and died last summer. If you gamed with her or knew her at some level, connect with me either through social media or at WisCon. I'll post final details on the Spontaneous Programming board in the lobby.

Yes! I'll be at the POC Dinner on Friday night. Outside of that, you can catch me either in the lobby, the ConSuite or the parties. There may be times though that I'll need to introvert, so I'll disappear for a bit. Again, if you want to hang, message me on FB or Twitter. I should be around.

Bond. James Bond.

May. 23rd, 2017 04:05 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Farewell, Roger Moore, my favorite James Bond because he played the role with charm and humor and humanity. And here, answering the Proust questionnaire for Vanity Fair a few years ago.

Partly De-Hedged

May. 23rd, 2017 07:38 pm
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon
There's been a constant whirr of powertools from my neighbour over the past few days. I was talking to him yesterday and he's taking the 'opportunity' of being made redundant to refurbish the porch on his house - our houses are the two halves of a semi but his is a larger three bed and has a porch where my two bed doesn't. And while the houses are brick, the porch is wooden.  Apparently he'd already used £100 worth of sanding discs stripping down the wood prior to re-treating it (and I must say he's done a lovely job of it).

When he started up again today I decided I might as well be out there as suffering the noise in the house or back garden and headed out to do something about my front garden. My back garden is big by modern British standards, but my front garden is a bit of a postage stamp, and noticeably sloped. There is, in theory, a hedge at the front, with planting behind,  and then about a yard of grass before you get to the path to the front door. I've deliberately set things up not to need a great deal of management, but I might have overdone the not managing it.

I'd intended to strip back the hedge where it fronts onto the road, there's about a foot of growth at ankle height overlapping onto the footpath, but then I took a close look at the planting. Holly is not exactly a shy and retiring plant, nor is a rhododendron, nor christmas rose, yet they'd all been swallowed up by overspill growth from the hedge - apparently it's reaction to me cutting off all the branches on the streetside last summer was to make a determined effort to swamp the planting area. So I spent the afternoon snipping off branch after branch of hedging. You can at least find the holly now, you can't find the christmas rose because I trimmed back the flowering heads (see 'christmas') and the rhododendron was always tall enough to be seen, you can just see rather more of it than you could before. And I'd completely forgotten about the irises.

I think I'm about two thirds done. There's still stuff to come out, but I can at least get in to work now. The only problem is I've completely filled the garden recycling wheelie-bin, and that's not picked up until Thursday morning, so progress is at a temporary halt, Which is probably just as well. I had planned to work from the chair, I trimmed the hedge that way last year, but the slope meant that wouldn't work for the planting - I kept slipping out of the seat! So work consisted of spurts of standing and trimming, followed by sitting on the chair on the path while I recovered. And the periods of standing were getting shorter, and the periods sitting recovering getting longer and longer. When it got to the point I was doing two snips and having to go sit down again that seemed like a good sign I should stop. I think it was a mix of disability related fatigue, plus the temperature, I slurped back almost a litre of pineapple juice while I was recovering - it was a relief when it clouded over and a slight breeze kicked in.

And when I'm done there's still the hedge proper to do, and then the back garden....

It could have been worse, I could have been my neighbour, who'd reached the peaked roof of his porch, and discovered the corners were completely rotten due to sloppy workmanship. So he's spent the day replacing that, including sourcing material and cutting new bits to shape. From what he's said his simple couple of days retouching the porch is now headed toward £500 and at least a fortnight of effort.


Knitting project!

May. 23rd, 2017 02:57 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
I finished knitting my first sweater! It's a lopapeysa (= sweater knitted out of loosely-spun unplied Icelandic wool, usually knitted bottom-up in the round with a circular yoke and patterned stranded colorwork.)

Here are pictures of my beautiful models!

a very grumpy cat wearing a beautiful wool cat sweater

a different cat in the same beautiful cat sweater flopped over with her legs straight out like she is petrified

(Sorry about the photo quality, I promised them they would only ever have to wear it long enough for one good picture each and then my camera's phone app kept freezing and I felt guilty.)

Is it future or is it past?

May. 23rd, 2017 07:37 pm
naye: gif of creepy road in the dark (twin peaks)
[personal profile] naye
I am still reeling from the four new episodes of Twin Peaks last night, and have spent the day immersing myself in reactions and reviews and just glorying in the feeling of being here, now, to see it all happen as I didn't the first time around. (Look, I was 10. Twin Peaks scared the living daylights out of me at 16 - I don't even want to know what it would have done to me younger than that!)

It's been great fun to see how everyone else is similarly having their mind blown and turning to the internet to ask the question what the fuck did I just watch? Some people don't like this experience, of course, but I've picked out some of my very favorite reviews. Mostly because I'm still to a-flail and agog to write anything this nice and coherent myself!

Under the cut for those who want to know nothing about The Return, but I promise none of the review excerpts will have spoilers! The reviews themselves have plenty, though, so click through at your own risk.

This is Peaks TV )

Also! If you're curious about Twin Peaks: The Return but haven't watched Fire Walk With Me? Do. There's a lot of stuff going on that makes (relatively) more sense if you know what happens in that movie. (I don't think the Missing Pieces/extended cut is necessary, though I haven't seen that one myself.) If you want more details just ask me I am literally struggling to think/talk about anything but Twin Peaks at the moment!

Feeling somewhat better

May. 23rd, 2017 12:48 pm
zulu: Karen Gillam from Dr. Who, wearing a saucy top hat (Default)
[personal profile] zulu
Trying to come to terms with a difficult critique. After talking it through with [personal profile] bell, [personal profile] troutkitty, and [personal profile] daemonluna, I'm beginning to be able to see how I can address the issues. Some are more difficult than others. The problem, of course, remains how much time I can afford to devote to it. Meeting with my supervisor on this topic this afternoon.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Apparently, people are looking up: Suborn, nutjob, collusion, counsel, and witch-hunt.

*giggles*

Now, class, I want you to write out the entire list three times, and then use each word in a sentence.

stuff.

May. 23rd, 2017 12:33 pm
lireavue: A long shot of a queen-sized bed, unmade, with pillows in mild disarray. (very ravelled sleeves)
[personal profile] lireavue
1. I am sufficiently fucking done with Tumblr at the moment that I may... I don't know. Investigate better ways of handling notes and potentially shut down people's ability to contact me? Is that a thing new-xkit can do? today's bullshit )

2. Actually I'm pretty close to done with everyone and everything who isn't like maybe 5-10 people. now cut for panic attack and cat being weird and upsetting! )

3 is cut for dental adventures! )

4. All of which is to say that I cannot with the news right now but it's almost more terrifying to know Shit's Going Down and NOT know what the shit is THIS fucking time.

5. I finished the current cross stitch Sunday night and if my body would like to fucking cooperate I'm gonna go work some more on making my bathroom the nerdiest collection of cross stitch ever.

6. The boy, due to an assortment of meeting/annual crap, is stuck at work today and yesterday until 5.30. For those playing along at home, this means he's working 11-hour days. So I have WAY less support at home RIGHT when I seriously need it.

and last but by no means least 7 is cut for IPV )

...I'm gonna go eat lunch and try not to bite anyone's head off.

Bone palace

May. 23rd, 2017 10:40 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)
[personal profile] pjthompson

Random quote of the day:

“You only really ever live in 1 place: a single occupant apartment made of bone, 22 centimeters by 18. You want furniture, you have to read.”

—Joe Hill, Twitterfeed, August 13, 2012

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

The Last Line Meme

May. 23rd, 2017 12:29 pm
calliopes_pen: (54 IJ Edith candles corridors)
[personal profile] calliopes_pen
Because I think we all need some mindless stuff at the moment, have a meme that I took from [personal profile] musesfool.

Cite the final line of five of your fics – your favorites, or the most recent ones.

1. There was still happiness yet to come...for both the living, as well as for the undead. Wrap The Cloak Of Night Around His Shoulders. Dracula (1968), following the wedding between Seward and Mina.

2. With this bittersweet chapter concluded, they would see to the rest of their lives. Let The Shadows Become Your Shroud. Crimson Peak (2015). That’s basically Alan and Edith limping off to see to their wounds, mourn Thomas, and just live, in the aftermath of a massive exorcism of a ghost from reality itself.

3. There was solace in the shadows, for both young and old vampires alike. Give Your Soul To The Night. Fright Night (1985). Jerry is revelling in winning as quietly as he can, while settling down for a nap, surrounded by turned teenagers, in his coffin in the basement.

4. Only the dead remained. Blood Begets A Curse Anew. Legend (1985). It probably is as grim as it sounds, as Darkness basically teleported a changed Lili (help me; I keep writing Lucy) out of the dining hall, after teleporting the goblins away to somewhere presumably unpleasant. Oh, and should anyone be curious about this story, do beware of a bit of animal sacrifice at the beginning, and references to torture in the middle.

5. And we gladly feast on those that would subdue us. Because We’re Addamses. Wednesday Addams is thinking, and thereby reiterating a statement made in the first Addams Family film.
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

"Heya, Winston!"

"Lena! It's been weeks - it's so good to see you," he replied, with a three second delay. "Are you okay? At least you're on the ground this time - where are you?"

"Brighton! Can't you hear - oh, I've got background noise filtering turned on, let me fix that." And the sound of the ocean appeared around her in Winston's feed. "It's cold, but I'm on the beach. Look!" She aimed the camera to the sea.

"It's March and it's not even raining! How about that," came Winston's voice, clearly, over the small speaker. "Is Amélie there? Or any of her friends? "

"Nope!" she chirped, turning the transmitter back around and walking with it. "It's just me, all by myself, kicking around old haunts."

"You're... out, then?"

"Yep. Entirely on me own, footloose and fancy free, walking the earth - or at least this beach - with no way to be found. Nobody even knows who or where I am - except you, I s'pose."

She didn't mention the retrieval beacon in her bag.

"I'm staying a couple of nights in a hostel, a few blocks in. It's cheap! And nice. But mostly, cheap."

"Off-season like this, I'd hope so." The scientist discreetly zoomed his viewscreen and scrolled around, looking for anything out of place in the background. Nothing obvious. "So... Talon just let you leave."

"Sure did. Helped me arrange my story and flew me out."

He leaned forward, and said, conspiratorially and low, "You haven't assassinated anyone yet, have you?"

Tracer laughed. "Only because I can't catch a shuttle to the moon, y'big ape. Which way do you want to go - pummellings or too much peanut butter?"

"Oh, peanut butter, definitely." He put on his best, big, toothy grin, which he let drop to a more genuine smile as a small popup window confirmed, Signal origin: south coast of England (probability 93%), Brighton Beach (probability 77%). "They really just... let you go."

"Yep. I said I needed to go find my old life, and Amélie made it happen." She bit her lower lip. "It's like she even agreed."

"Are you... alive again? Legally, I mean? Do you have money? Did they re-activate your commission?" Location probabilities climbed as more signal data arrived, and Winston dismissed the window. Good enough, he thought.

The smile Lena had been keeping propped up fell. "I'm... still working on that. After they cleared me at the consulate and helped me hitch onto a cargo flight home, I thought it would be easy. I kind of thought I'd be snapped up at Heathrow for debriefing, really. But... I wasn't. I just can't seem to get anybody's attention."

The pilot sat down on the top of a breakwater, propped up the transmitter, picked up a rock, and threw the latter towards the waves. "It's like I'm some kind of ghost."

"That's very strange," he granted. "Overwatch has been out of the news for a couple of years now, but - take it from me - the governments are still keeping tabs on everyone."

"Yeh. But it's fine, honestly!" It wasn't fine, but she managed to mean it through sheer sunny determination nonetheless. She turned back to the camera. "I've got enough money to live on for weeks - a few months, if I'm careful. So I thought, well, I just need to get out of London, right? Take a few days by the ocean, get some of that sea air. Get my head cleared up."

Partial retina image capture, said another, discreet popup. Image quality acceptable. Match probability 96%, margin of error +/-35%. "That accelerator they built you - how's it holding up?" He pursed his lips and shook his head. "I wish they'd used mine," he grumbled.

"Oh, it's absolutely wizard! Once I got the swing of it? Natural as breathing. I'll show you some time, I promise!"

Far away under the surface of the moon, in the research station now again his home, Winston the scientist studied Tracer's face for any hint, any sign, of the kind of programming he believed had been implanted into Amélie Lacroix. Face and voice analytics ran over and through every frame of vision and every millisecond of audio, searching for some hint, some breath of change, and found nothing.

Of course, they'd found nothing with Amélie either. But they'd had less reason to look.

I need someone actually there, he decided. "Lena, would you let me tell Angela you're back, and safe? I'd feel better if she checked you over herself. In person."

The pilot nodded enthusiastically, throwing another stone into the sea. "Let's! I'll be back to it on Monday, trying to get someone to listen to me. It'd be great to have someone from the old crew around to chat." She picked up a little stick of driftwood, and poked at more beach rocks, turning them over, seeing what was underneath. Generally, that meant more rocks. "To be honest, it's been kind of lonely. Funny, innit? Me? Lonely?"

"Haven't you looked up any old friends?"

"Oh, I've looked 'em up all right. It's a military life, though - most everybody I can find's been all moved 'round. Katarina's back in Norway, my graduating class have completely dispersed - a lot of 'em are in Greece, but I don't have the money to fly anywhere. The only one I found still in London was Imogen."

"That's too bad. I'd transfer you some money, if I could. But at least you found her."

"Yeah..." she said, sadly.

"uh oh."

Adequate data received to begin deep analysis, said the popup. Winston deactivated additional notifications.

"It was..." She looked for other words to describe it, and came up with nothing better than, "...it was weird, big guy. We were great friends in flight school, and we kept in touch when I jumped to Overwatch. And now, I'm... I'm literally back from the dead, least as far as she's concerned, and she won't even talk to me."

"That's awful!"

"She recognised me, I'm sure of it. She said she didn't, but I know she did. She said she didn't even remember knowing anyone who joined up with Overwatch." Tracer looked off to the side, not liking where her thoughts went. "She looked scared, Winston. Of me."

I can understand why, he thought to himself. The woman whose death brought down Overwatch is back from the grave, hasn't aged a day, and nobody is talking about it - who knows what you are? But out loud, he said, "I'm sorry," and meant it.

"It's been five years, the world's a different place - it feels like wheels are flying off everywhere, it really does - but now look out everyone, Tracer's coming to town! I thought..." her voice trailed off.

"Those missing five years didn't sink in, did they?"

They really hadn't, she knew. Not until then. "I really miss you, big guy," she said, sad and quiet.

"I've missed you too, Lena," he answered, softly. "I can't get off this rock, but you can always - any time of the day - radio me, and I'll listen." He reached over and touched a few points on a console. "I'm sending you my 'wakeup' prefix code. It will get me up, if I'm here, and I will answer."

Her padd chirped. "Got it."

"And don't wait 'till you're back in Brighton. Any time. Day or night."

"I will, I will! But maybe not tomorrow." She shook her head, brushing off the sadness. "There's a bar just a bit down the way, and it's also just hit me that I haven't picked anyone up in a bar in over five years, and that can't be helping. I think I'm gonna fix that tonight."

Winston howled with laughter, big honking bellows. "Now that sounds like the old Tracer," he said, merrily. "But... how're you going to explain the accelerator?"

"What, you think I've got some bulky ring in my chest, like yours? These are posh, mate!" She grinned. "I figured it out on the flight north. I just call 'em bioluminescent tattoos, and all the girls will want their own."

"Heh," he chuffed. "I believe the traditional Air Force benediction is, 'Good hunting?'"

"Rwrar." She winked.

"Go get 'em, pilot. But promise you'll radio me from London on Monday."

"I will, Winston. I promise."

Winston waited 'till Lena shut down her transmitter, and then threw the whole conversation - sound, vision, raw signal, transmission detail data, everything - into deep computational processing, to send along to Dr. Ziegler. If they've done anything to you, he thought, I will find it. And one way or another, somehow - they will pay.

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