Harry Potter Lootcrate!

Jul. 20th, 2017 07:26 pm
alisanne: (Default)
[personal profile] alisanne
You guys!
So I signed up to receive Harry Potter Lootcrates, and the first one arrived today!

Clicky to see mah loot! Warning, pictures are GIANT (not sure how to fix that) )
Anyway, all in all, I liked the loot. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Book #47: Sovereign, by April Danvers

Jul. 20th, 2017 06:19 pm
grav_ity: (books)
[personal profile] grav_ity
This book comes out next Tuesday, and is the follow up to Danvers' book last year, called DREADNOUGHT, about a trans superhero in a future, but recognizable, world.

OMG, I LOVED IT. It was funny and engaging and heartbreaking and good. It contains possibly my favourite line in any superhero story ever. It manages to pick at the awkward spots in superhero stories without making you feel bad for liking them. I love all of the characters.

Highly, highly recommend this book (and the first one!). They are more hard proof that we don't have Superhero Fatigue, we have Straight White Dude Fatigue.

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 05:36 pm
skygiants: Fakir from Princess Tutu leaping through a window; text 'doors are for the weak' (drama!!!)
[personal profile] skygiants
Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age is a fairly fascinating book that's trying to do a lot of things at once: the book starts out with the dramatic recounting of MURDER!!! and then immediately takes, if not a deep dive, at least a vigorous swim through such varied topics as the history of British radio and the BBC, Keynesian economic philosophy, copyright limitations, and the founding of Sealand in order to contextualize it.

Once we get back to the story of the murder itself, however, it turns out: IT'S BONKERS. The principals in the case are two pirate radio impresarios in 1966. Oliver Smedley, An Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist, was running a station called Radio Atlanta on a boat off the coast; Reggie Calvert, A Dance Hall Impresario had taken over an entire abandoned British navy fort called Shivering Sands in the Thames Estuary and staffed it with a rotating encampment of youths running a station called Radio City. At one point Smedley and Calvert were going to have a merger, but then they had an ACRIMONIOUS BREAKUP spurred on in part by:

- the fact that Smedley was supposed to give Calvert a shiny new transmitter and instead provided an old one that never worked
- the fact that Smedley never paid all the bills he had promised Calvert that Radio Atlanta would pay
- the fact that Calvert got sick of all this and decided to merge with another station instead

The reason for all these pirate radio stations on boats and naval forts, by the way, is because in 1966 there was no legal pop radio in the UK (as explained, extensively, via the history of radio and Keynesian economic theory etc. that makes up the first half of the book). Because the pirates were technically outside of UK territory, on the other hand, they could technically get away with doing whatever they wanted, or at least the government like "it will be way too embarrassing to launch a huge naval raid against a bunch of youths on a fort with a radio transmitter, so let's not."

HOWEVER, the fact that everything was happening outside of territorial waters where British laws and police had no jurisdiction BACKFIRED when:

- Ardent Free-Trade Capitalist Smedley decided he was so mad that Calvert had made a deal without him that he was going to MAKE SURE that the deal could never go through
- he was going to GET BACK HIS PROPERTY [the transmitter that had never worked]
- so he sent an ACTUAL OCCUPYING FORCE composed of out-of-work dockworkers to Shivering Stands, stole a bunch of key broadcasting equipment, took a bunch of it back to the mainland, and left a bunch of toughs to hold everybody who was on the station at that time hostage!!!
- (when they met the invading force, the hostage broadcasters were like 'welp' and made everybody tea)
- ("the vessel had to return briefly to pick up [the contractor who recruited the gang], who had been left behind drinking his tea")
- and then Smedley went to Calvert and his partner, an actual professional broadcaster, and was like 'I will not let you broadcast from there again or finish making your deal unless you pay me FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS'

Naturally, everyone involved was like 'wtf????' and refused to pay Smedley a dime; Calvert threatened to involve the police but the police were like 'ummmmmm technically we can't do anything for the same reasons we haven't been able to stop you from broadcasting;' Calvert then made a whole bunch of other even wilder threats; and all the hired dockworkers sat around cheerfully charging Smedley for hostaging operations which he was rapidly running out of money for.

Anyway, in the middle of all this, Calvert drove out to Smedley's house in the middle of the night and started screaming at him, and Smedley shot him and then claimed self-defense and that his HOSTILE OCCUPATION OF A POP RADIO STATION was just a little joke gone wrong! No harm no foul if only Calvert hadn't been so UPSET about it! It did help Smedley's self-defense case that Calvert happened to be carrying A FAKE PEN FULL OF NERVE GAS at the time, which apparently, according to his family, he always carried around just for safekeeping.

...so the author's point in writing about all this seems to be that a.) this incident was crucial in getting the pirate radio boats shut down and the formation of the current BBC radio system that includes actual pop radio, b.) that this is all a forerunner of later copyright battles and offshore data centers and so on, c.) pirate-radio-on-boats in the 1960s was a WILD TIME. About the latter, at least, he is most surely not mistaken.

(This has nothing to do with the main brunt of the book but I have to spare a mention for Radio City's chief engineer, who later was hired by the mob! to perform an assassination attempt!! using a spring-loaded hypodermic needle full of cyanide!!! in what it turns out was ACTUALLY a sting operation by the U.S. Treasury department who picked the hapless Radio City engineer to act as the assassin because "he needed the fee while being clearly incapable of killing anybody"!!!! This whole incident gets two pages in the book because it's somewhat irrelevant to the author's argument but seriously, where is this guy's movie?

For the record, the same mobsters then tried to intimidate Reggie Calvert's widow into selling them the remnants of the station and she was like 'lol no' and they were like '....well, when a lady knows her own mind, she knows her own mind! No hard feelings.')

(no subject)

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:39 pm
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[personal profile] the_rck
I'm feeling so very, very overheated right now. I know that part of the problem is that the only way I can get caffeine right this moment is by making and drinking hot tea (cold brewed will take about twenty hours, so it's not an immediate option). Well, I could spend a couple of hours going to the store to buy something. Decidedly not worth it to.

I'm at home alone right this moment. Cordelia had a volunteer shift at the downtown library this morning and plans to meet up with friends at the Traverwood library in the afternoon. She'll go home with them, and we'll pick her up at 9:30, after movie night with her friends. Their current plan is to watch Grease.

A couple of nights ago, I cooked the remaining ground turkey in the instant pot with some great northern beans and turkey bacon. I added chicken broth and some herbs/spices. I think I misjudged that because it almost gives me reflux. It doesn't actually; I can just tell that I'm near the tipping point.

I've managed the two most urgent phone calls, but neither matter is resolved yet. The second call is almost certainly going to end up with me having to call a different doctor's office about parameters/limitations for Cordelia's knee in high school gym. I was hoping not to have to because that's the doctor that wanted us to do surgery. The first call went to voicemail, so nothing's resolved until I actually manage to talk to the person.

The other call I should make is to Shar Instruments to ask about buying a viola and whether or not we can do it on installments. Of course, buying a viola kind of requires us to be fairly sure Cordelia's done growing. She's only grown half an inch in the last year and a half, and she's in the height range where all the women in my family tend to fall (5'1 to 5'3"). It's just that everyone in Scott's family is tall, so Cordelia's still hoping she'll get taller.

I'm trying to decide whether filling out insurance forms is more important than starting to write right this moment. My procrastination levels are set to 11 at the moment. The forms are important, very much so, but would there be any harm in having Scott fill the dratted things out this evening?

I have given our old crock pot to our cleaning lady. She'll actually use it, and we haven't touched it in years. The stoneware inserts are really too heavy for me at this point. I don't think this is the sort of thing that's worth holding onto for the years until Cordelia moves out and might want it. Plus, I'm pretty sure she'd rather have an Instant Pot instead.
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Can somebody update me on the present legal status in the US of graphical user interfaces as intellectual property? Am I correct in believing they can't be patented (though the code can be copyrighted)?

What I really want to know: Can I rip off GVoice's old/retired web interface legally? Or more accurately, can I pay somebody else to do it for me with reasonable ability to assure them they won't go to jail or get sued into oblivion for doing it?

To be clear, there are some nifty functional subtleties I'd want to make off with, which I wouldn't even want to bother pretending I came up with on my own. For instance, there's some interesting algorithm for how texts are batched into threads which I haven't entirely reversed engineered, but make a huge difference in readability.

awake! awake!

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:17 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Remember the 17th Amendment, the one that made it possible for you to elect your Senators instead of having them chosen by power brokers and current Senators? ALEC -- the American Legislative Executive Council, a far-right pressure group designed to influence legislation their way -- and the Koch brothers want this changed. They want to go back to having Senators chosen by other Senators. Which is not a good thing for any of us. This is a Bill Moyers story -- read it.

Okay, this next one needs a little history. In the Constitution, war powers are given to the Senate: only the Senate, on majority vote, can declare war. George W. Bush managed to get war powers transferred to him, I think in the Patriot Act. A Dept. of Defense appropriations bill was approved that included removing war powers from the President, giving them back to the Senate. After it was approved, Paul Ryan took that wording out of the bill, which had been given bipartisan approval.

ETA: A scientist blows the whistle on the Trumpists moving scientists to non-science jobs in the hope they'll quit, while leaving their previous useful positions unfilled.

***

A Friend from my Meeting is walking, biking and rowing/paddling the US. Here's his blog, about his journeys.

The finding of a 14,000-year-old settlement verifies the land claim of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Canada.

Armed redneck lefties fight fascism.

Marble helped scholars whitewash ancient history.

DD ruminations

Jul. 20th, 2017 10:19 am
alisanne: (Default)
[personal profile] alisanne
As many of you know, I've been participating in [insanejournal.com profile] daily_deviant since 2007. And, with the exception of the year of cancer, I haven't missed many months.
So I thought I'd compile some wacky statistics and see how that all has shaken out so far.

For me, the big draw of DD is to be able to write pairings and kinks I normally wouldn't. Things like The Fat Lady/Molly Weasley, or Wormtail wanking while in rat form (LMAO). And yes, I even managed copraphagy (scat) once.

Anyway, I figured I'd do some calculations and see just how much I rely on my OTP for DD.
And since I consider Harry/Draco my secondary OTP, I figured I'd throw them into the calculation, too. ;)

Out of 113 total posts, I have written 23 Snarry fics, 9 Harry/Draco, and 4 Drapery. Which means about 20% of the time I write my OTP, H/D is 7%, and Drapery is 3%. That puts me at around 30% overall.
And, considering I often write my OTP for DD when desperate (I call it committing emergency Snarry *g*), that's not too bad, IMO.
FYI, I left out fics with background Snarry (where they are just mentioned as couple, but not the focus of the story).

Writing 70% 'other stuff' counts as being adventurous as far as I'm concerned. *g*

Right, how about you guys?
Especially those of you in DD, let's see your stats. I'm curious!

Who's your hero?

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:57 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am reading The Geek Feminist Revolution, and it is making me think about heroes. Kameron Hurley, the author, has an essay about societally-based-in-the-1950s ideas of heroes (male, straight, white) and about how the only women who are killers and who could be considered heroes in movies are Thelma and Louise and Aileen Wuornos (in 'Monster'). She talks about Charlise Theron's Furiosa from the last Mad Max movie separately, and well, but Imperator Furiosa is not, overall, a killer. She may be one of the few women heroes who isn't propelled by rape -- once you look around, that trope is everywhere -- but her story starts with maintaining the status quo and ends with her having entirely overturned it.

(She isn't dealing with race here -- yes, of course, Luke Cage is a hero, how could he not be? And Falcon, and T'Challa. And many others whom I see on cable but whose names I don't know. But the field of combat/discussion is sexism here.)

So. Who are the women I see as heroes in movies, not as 'women heroes'? Not as sidekicks, or (forgive me, Rosalind Russell) as equal-to-men-but-in-a-men's-world, such as Hildy in 'My Girl Friday' (which was originally a man's role)? (I am exempting comedies from this, overall, because being a hero can be largely humorless. If someone has a hero who is female and in a comedy, I'd really like to know about it.) And what is a hero? For purposes of this post, I'm defining a hero as someone who goes up against impossible odds to achieve a goal that generally include keeping 'self and/or one or more other people alive, whether or not they are people the hero personally knows. (There are variations -- achieving an impossible goal can be heroic, but isn't always presented as such.) Another requirement is that the hero is someone with agency who chooses to use it to change the status quo for the better. By the end of the movie, something has to be different because of what the hero did. The stakes must be high, the difficulties many and the resources limited.

(Sexism example: Nobody complains about the Sundance Kid shooting people. They complain about Thelma and Louise blowing up the rude sexist trucker's truck. There's only one shooting in that movie, of a rapist, and I don't even want to hear about how he 'hadn't done anything yet' when he'd brutalized Louise in a way that made it clear that she's not his first victim.)

(Yes, Buffy and Faith are heroes -- but I'm thinking movies here, not tv, and the movie of Buffy was not so much about heroism as about overturning high-school and prom-night-movie tropes.)

Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, in Alien, Aliens, etc. My favorite is the second movie, because I went to see it with a really horrible boyfriend I was trying to break up with, and it gave me the courage to dump him. Ripley is a killer because of circumstances -- self defense and protecting the girl -- and her targets are the enormous aliens that are trying to kill them. Does it not count as being a killer if you use a spaceship to do it? Or if the victims are trying to kill you and are aliens?

(Ripley was originally a man's role -- it was written for Paul Newman, as was Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. The name -- Axel Foley -- is a give-away, half Swedish and half Irish. I can come up with a few reasons why a black character would have that name -- but I seriously doubt that many black kids were named Axel until after the movie came out.)

Sally Field, in both Places in the Heart and Norma Rae. Neither of them has rape involved, present or past. This is steadfast, plugging, get-it-done heroism, not flashy. What changes is that through her hard work and steadfastness, and befriending outcasts (Danny Glover and John Malkovich), she keeps her home. It probably helps that Sally Field looks like a fluffy bunny in Places, and is sweaty and ungroomed in Norma Rae. I've worked in a factory without AC in the summer -- she looked like I felt on the assembly line. And that scene where she is dragged away to the police car, fighting for her life? She broke two ribs on one of the guys carrying her that day; she was dead serious in that fight.

Leia Organa, whether princess, freedom fighter, or general, is a hero. She's also a killer, unless all those dudes in white plastic armor don't count when she shoots at them and they fall down. She's also the Hutt-slayer and a liberator of planets. Over the first three movies (they will always be the first three for me, not the prequels) her character grows and develops. What we have lost when Carrie died was the rest of the story for her -- at least we have Movie 8 coming, with more of General Leia. (I have no idea why The Geek Feminist Revolution didn't include her as a hero, unless she's in an essay I haven't gotten to yet. I mean, she's the one with the two male sidekicks who think it's all about them.)

Karen Silkwood, played by Meryl Streep, is a hero, killed for trying to tell people about workplace safety violations in a plutonium factory. Meryl Streep also plays more of an action hero in The River Wild, and there are no rapes there -- and she does kill Kevin Bacon's character, who richly deserves it. However, Meryl Streep can play anything except a doormat; the closest she came to that was in Sophie's Choice, early on, where she is powerless to save both of her children from murder by the Nazis and never completely recovers afterward. It's a powerful role and amazing acting -- but she is not a hero, she's a survivor, and the two aren't necessarily the same.

Arwen Undomiel, one of two named women characters in Lord of the Rings (seriously: Rosie Cotton is a walk-on so Sam will have someone conventionally female to come home to) is a hero, and a swordfighter, when she rides down to the ford to bring Frodo up to Rivendell. I have fantasized at times about a version of LOTR from her viewpoint -- being the witness, seeing what's happening but not able to change the war, then choosing mortality over immortality because with Aragorn she had found something she could not find with another elf. There are hints in the books of their marriage being considered miscegenation by Elrond and others, but it can't be said overly strongly because he is Elrond Half-Elven, after all. What would her story look like, from her viewpoint? She wasn't Eleanor of Aquitaine, riding bare-breasted toward Jerusalem with the Crusades -- "the troops were dazzled" -- because sexuality barely exists in Tolkien's writing other than bromance. If anything, she is stuck being more like Katherine in Henry V -- outside the "men's discussion" of war and tribute and appeasement, but she escapes being the property that must be exchanged for the treaty to take place. But to get back to Arwen, heroes are people who act, and Arwen does act, in the scenes we see -- that is her choice. The book and movie show us the aftereffect, the willing bride and queen -- they don't show the inner struggle she went through to get there. (FWIW, I have a hard time not reading Merry and Pippin as kid sisters to Frodo, but that's me. Tomboy kid sisters who get into scrapes and out of them.)

Eowyn, also LOTR, is certainly a hero -- gets into armor, rides into battle, kills the Witch King --"No man can kill me." "I am no man." She also shows 'womanly' virtues by caring for the ailing king, her uncle, and mourning her brother. I would dearly love to see a story in which she and Arwen are hanging out and talking, since they are the co-rulers of neighboring countries. Peter Jackson has much to answer for in not having Faramir's courtship of and marriage to Eowyn in the movie. Yes, it was three hours long. It could have been three hours and five minutes.

I don't see Galadriel as a hero. Yes, she turns down the Ring. But that's it. Nothing changes for her after the movie -- she goes into the Weat, where all the elves were going anyway. She's a queen, a wise woman, a visionary -- but not a hero in these terms. And -- JRR Tolkien, why could you not have put Arwen and Galadriel in the same room *once*?

Speaking of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katharine Hepburn plays her as a hero in her own eyes who is stuck in a proscribed women's role and trying her best to get out of it at times by manipulation and scheming (traditionally considered women's weapons). But she also brings knives to her sons when her husband has imprisoned them, so they can fight their way out --"It's 1183, and we're all barbarians." Much as I love Kate's movies, it's hard for me to call her a hero. A strong woman, yes, but in that narrative (play or movie) not heroic. She does not change anything. At the end of the story she's going back to her own prison, and everyone who was alive when the movie started still is, though their relationships have shifted a bit. Hepburn played the roles that were available, and women-as-equals or women-as-partners were her forte. But not heroes. But Kate Hepburn's movies could be an entire other post or three.

I am not sure whether Celie, in The Color Purple, could be considered a hero. She does not overturn the status quo as much as go along with it for her own survival. Much of the time she doesn't have agency, and when she does it's fairly minor -- designing women's trousers is not quite like going over a waterfall in a raft with your son and two murderers (The River Wild).

Regardless of Hollywood's prejudices, Black Widow is a hero, as well as a survivor. I would like to see a movie in which we see both of those -- the agency she has is to change herself after Hawkeye refuses to kill her. And yes, she's a killer -- it's her job. I'm not sure she's written as well as she deserves. Fanfic does better by her than the movies do, at this point, much of the time.

What women are your movie heroes, and why? (Y'all are forgetting to tell me why...)

ETA: It's a series, not a movie, but all the major women in Black Sails are heroes, in particular Eleanor Guthrie (who singlehandedly tries to keep the village of Nassau profitable), Max (who goes from slavery and prostitution to managing businesses, owning land, and not employing anyone enslaved), and Anne Bonney (who is a pirate, no excuses, no arguments, and who takes down a murderous thug who had already killed several men -- she noticed the shards of broken glass over to the side, and once she had them, it was as if she had her swords again.) They are all complex, complicated characters, who love and hate and make deals and make compacts and agreements and understand how their world works when many of the men around them don't.

Some is Better Than None

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:01 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
My schedule, during the workday and during the evenings, is pretty busy this week, but I did go to the gym last night. I did alternating sets of push-ups and squats, some tricep and upper body stuff, a tiny bit of "bicycle" leg works and a great deal of stretching.

I've been very lazy (also injured) this summer, and I could really feel it as I exercised. But as usual, the first set of push-ups was the worst, and they were less painful after that. I even did one set with my hands close together, which is the hardest for me. My wrists are no worse than usual this morning. My fingers are pretty swollen and not very bendy this morning. The high humidity today might be contributing.

Today is the staff luncheon, and then my group is leaving to do a team-building thing. Tonight, dinner at Kabobeesh. I don't think I will get much done.

Review: Kingdomino

Jul. 20th, 2017 01:46 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
When I saw that it had won the 2017 Spiel des Jahres I took a look at Kingdomino. On discovering that it was only £15, and that games could be played in about 15 minutes I decided to pick up a copy.

So far I've played games with both [personal profile] swampers and [personal profile] danieldwilliam and both of them picked it up quickly and enjoyed playing it.

It's based (surprisingly enough) on the idea behind dominoes - or, at least, the part of dominoes where you have tiles with two ends and need to match them against each other. In this case the different ends are different terrains (grass, mountain, etc), and you score by forming areas of the same terrain*. Each turn you have to make a judgement between going for the tiles that score the highest, versus going for lower-scoring tiles which allow you make the first move the next turn.

I enjoyed it, and I'm definitely taking it on holiday. If you're looking for a filler game then it'll do a great job of that.



*It's a bit more complex than that, but not a lot.

Interesting Links for 20-07-2017

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:00 pm
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[personal profile] andrewducker
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