yhlee: Flight Rising Spiral dragon, black-red-gold (Flight Rising Jedao baby Spiral)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 22nd, 2017 02:23 pm)
For [personal profile] storme.
Prompt: dépaysement.

The Statue Beneath the Sea

Once upon an ocean, a statue dwelled beneath the waves. In days past the statue had been brightly painted and crowned with gilt, with jewels for eyes and jewels set in its magnificent wings. It remembered dancers crowding its plaza and lovers exchanging promise-poems beneath its benevolent gaze, parades of helmeted youths and prophetesses giving speeches in the sinuous language of time unwound.

It had never met the general whose victories it was meant to commemorate, although it knew that some statues had that privilege. But it had their smooth face and their smile, and even though the jewels of its eyes had long ago been stolen by treasure-scavengers, it had something of the general's vision. It knew the stories of the general and their honored lover the lady scholar, and how they had built the old city to a precipice of grandeur.

Those days had passed long ago, however, and the wars of weather-mages had sunk the city below the sea. No one now living remembered the city's name the way it had been spoken by its inhabitants, although it lingered in distorted whispers and siren-songs that wound through the tides. The statue remembered its people and yearned for whatever scraps of myth it could gather from the gossip of gulls and sailors.

The fish and the anemones, mindful of the statue's melancholy, spoke with it little. In truth it would have welcomed their chatter. But when it asked them for stories of war (in honor of its general), they could only share tales of cannonades and blood staining the foam, so different from the swift chariots and dust-clouds it knew of, and its melancholy only deepened.

At last an entourage of dragons, distant cousins of the Dragon King Under the Sea, visited the sunken city. One of the dragons, hardly more than an eggling as dragons reckon time, especially liked to explore vanished civilizations. She was particularly taken by the statue's eroded marble surfaces, seeing in them the litany of years gone and years to come.

The statue told the dragon of its vanished city, and its general's victories--more fable than truth by this point, not that there was anyone to correct it--and the dragon listened eagerly. She began telling the statue's stories to the sharks and the seahorses, the terns and the turtles. Soon the creatures of the sea came to listen to the statue as well, and to honor it with their tribute.

It wasn't long before the statue's old plaza was surrounded by nets woven of pirates' beards, and strands of coins marked around the rim with praises to octopus gods, and bits and pieces of filigree armor snatched from soldiers fallen overboard. The creatures of the sea, not to mention the dragons, began frequenting the statue's plaza, and carrying out their own ceremonies there.

While the statue knew that the people it had once known would never return, and that the old city was dead in truth, it found some comfort in seeing a new one arise where the old had been.
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:02 am)
Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2nd ed.) has been on my wishlist for something like the past five years. I picked it up recently by ordering it through my local game store (which is technically also a bookstore and is in the process of signing on with distributors or however that goes). It is an absolute delight.

I'm glad I sprung for the hardcopy of this for two reasons: one, I like to mark up my nonfiction, and two, its formatting! The left-hand page in every two-page spread is text; the right-hand page has an illustration related to the material on the left-hand page. While the illustrations are not technically the most accomplished, they are generally extremely effective communicative cartoons or diagrams.

This book comes with a ton of blurbs, and Cory Doctorow's--"Does for games what Understanding Comics [by Scott McCloud] did for sequential art"--pretty much sums up how I feel. I've read other game design books that were insightful, or thorough, but the Koster is accessible and very interesting in its approach to what makes games games, and how to make them fun (in the instances where that's a thing--cf. Brenda Romero's Train).

One of Koster's arguments is that "with games, learning is the drug" (40)--a game that interests us is one that strikes the necessary balance of not too easy (Tic-Tac-Toe, for most adults) and not too hard (multiple failure modes possible, depending on the individual--witness me and chess or go [1]). He suggests that games (and play, which is common in a lot of young animals!) are an artifact of how we try to learn survival skills, and moves forward into making suggestions as to how to move the form forward into values/skills more suitable for the modern era than "kill things" or "jump over things" or "search for all the things."

[1] Joe gave up on teaching me go when I told him I have severe difficulty with visual patterns. In fact, I am starting to wonder if aphantasia just screws me over for this kind of game in general. :p

There's also a particularly interesting chapter on ethics and entertainment where he discusses the difference between the game system and the flavor/dressing:

The bare mechanics of a game may indeed carry semantic freighting, but odds are that it will be fairly abstract. A game about aiming is a game about aiming, and there's no getting around that. It's hard to conceive of a game about aiming that isn't about shooting, but it has been done--there are several gmaes where instead of shooting bullets with a gun, you are instead shooting pictures with a camera. (170)

The bare mechanics of the game do not determine its meaning. Let's try a thought experiment. Let's picture a mass murder game wherein there is a gas chamber shaped like a well. You the player are dropping innocent victims down into the gas chamber, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are old ones and young ones, fat ones and tall ones. As they fall to the bottom, they grab onto each other and try to form human pyramids to get to the top of the well. Should they manage to get out, the game is over and you die. But if you pack them in tightly enough, the ones on the bottom succumb to the gas and die.

I do not want to play this game. Do you? Yet it is Tetris. (172)


In general, Koster has a background in game design AND writing AND music, and he draws on all three in his analysis of games, as well as other disciplines (e.g. psychology). It makes the book a scintillating read. I can't believe I waited so long to read this--but it was exactly what I wanted to read last week, so hey. Highly recommended.
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 21st, 2017 10:21 pm)
Read more... )

Also, now I have an incredible desire to watch the Clone Wars cartoon so I will have to save up for the DVDs. Maybe Christmas? XD
yhlee: Sandman raven with eyeball (Sandman raven (credit: rilina))
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 21st, 2017 09:13 pm)
For S.B.
Prompt: hexarchate, "calendrical sword."

Ajewen Cheris and her girlfriend Linnis Orua paused outside the shop. A banner of ink painted onto silk fluttered in the flirtatious artificial breeze. Orua had grown up on a station with less naturalistic ideas of aesthetics, and found this dome-city with its aleatory weather nerve-wracking. She still spooked whenever there was a wind, which entertained Cheris because Orua also had long, luxurious waves of hair that rippled beautifully. "We were always told to be aware of strange air currents as a possible sign of carapace breach!" Orua had protested when Cheris teased her about it.

"Blades for All Occasions," Cheris read. She had been saving for this moment throughout the first two years of academy, and practicing for it besides. Orua didn't understand her fondness for the sport of dueling, but she had agreed to come along for moral support.

"Well, no sense in lingering outside," Orua said. She grinned at Cheris and walked forward. The door swooshed open for her.

Cheris followed her in. A tame (?) falcon on a perch twisted its head sideways to peer at her as she entered. The falcon was either genetically engineered or dyed or even painted, although she wasn't sure how she felt about any of those alternatives: its primary feathers shaded from black to blood red, with striking metallic gold bands toward the tips. It looked gaudy as hell and quintessentially Kel.

Orua was busy suppressing a giggle at the falcon's aesthetics. Cheris poked her in the side to get her to stop and looked around the displays, wide-eyed. Her eyes stung suspiciously at the sight of all those weapons, everything from tactical knives to ornamented daggers with rough-hewn gems in their pommels and pragmatic machetes.

But best of all were the calendrical swords. Deactivated, they looked deceptively harmless, bladeless hilts of metal in varying colors and finishes. Cheris's gaze was drawn inexorably to one made of voidmetal chased in gold, with an unusual basket hilt. It was showy, extremely Kel, and an invitation to trouble. Only a cadet who had an exemplary record and was an excellent duelist would dare carry such a calendrical sword. And besides, the lack of a price tag told her there was no way she could afford it even if she could, in honor, lay claim to such a thing.

Cheris sighed, then looked up into her girlfriend's eyes. "I wish," she said, her voice soft.

"Let me help you pick," Orua said, ignoring the sales assistant who was watching them imperturbably with his arms folded behind his back.

Cheris blinked. "I thought you didn't know anything about dueling?" she teased. Orua paid more attention to the special effects and makeup on dueling shows than the actual dueling.

"I don't know anything about dueling," Orua said, as the sales assistant radiated disapproval. "But I know a lot about you." Her eyes turned sly, and Cheris hoped that Orua wouldn't get too specific here of all places. She grabbed Cheris's hand and tugged her along to a completely different display. "Look!"

At first Cheris wasn't impressed by the calligraphy-stroke plainness of the calendrical swords on display. Then she saw that that the metal evinced a faint iridescence, like that of a raven's feather. She particularly liked the one whose textured design incorporated the first digits of the base of the natural logarithm.

Orua stooped to whisper right in Cheris's ear, "Tonight I'm going to see how many digits of that number you can recite before I get you to--"

"I'll buy this one," Cheris interrupted, very loudly, and pointed.

Unseen, the sales assistant and Orua exchanged winks.
yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 21st, 2017 06:01 pm)
I'm not going to do it but I crave to someday write a training cruise/school/dance academy/conservatory/??? mashup disaster story.

Alas, I have this novel to work on. :p 2,000 words on Dragon Pearl today! (I'm doing revisions, but I had to rip out a few chapters that weren't working and replace them with all-new ones, always thrilling.)
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to see the shitty Confederate statues finally start coming down. Took the death of a white woman to do it, and rest in power Heather Heyer and strength to your mother and the rest of your family.  (Funny how seven murdered black folk in a church wasnt enough but a dead white woman though, doesnt it say so much about the value of lives in this country?)  But the terroristic statues are coming down and that right soon.  I would like for humans to be less fucking stubborn though and not require literal blood sacrifice in order to change their ways.  Hope in the Dark indeed.
They have been and still are targeted by CIA FBI and the police every single time they try to say ya'll need to stop killing and exploiting us, white folk. But i never hear white folk have a goddamn thing to say about our right to freedom of expression. As a matter of fact, you motherfuckers passed laws to jail us, beat us and were about to pass some more to make it legal for us to be run over by cars. And lets not even talk about Muslim freedom of expression. Or Native American. Or Latino, especially if you are an undocumented immigrant.

But now when white terrorists are out and about and saying clearly that they want to murder everyone who is not them; folks who have been violent and are STILL violent to goddamn day, I see a freedom of expression community pop up on dw. And the first thing they defend is the motherfucking confederate statues, you know, those statues deliberately built to terrorise the black community during the Civil Rights movement. Funny how that works. Statues built to terrorise black people wfor daring to demand their liberty is freedom of expression. White terrorism is freedom of expression. Meantime the Black Penthers got stamped out, Martin Luther King was murdered by the CIA and everytime BLM tries to hold a demonstration the same police who somehow were outgunned by the white militias in Charlottesville can find military equipemnt and riot control shit and sound cannons to hurt and maim and beat the everliving fuck out of black protestors.
And NOBODY defends the freedom of expression for the Muslim community let alone Muslim terrorists. There is a strict line of thinking Muslims can utter or else they'll have law enforcement real hard for themselves and their communities for the rest of their lives. Hell, even when they toe the line Law enforcement is up their asses anyway.

Further, the fact that Nazi's and Confederates and the KKK are proven violent ass mass murdering motherfuckers who had to be resisted violently to be put down (YES there was violent black resistance before and during and after the Civil Rights movement there are about 4 books on Amazon chronicling that shit look it up) and in the case of the Nazis and Confederates it required literal wars to stop them, is conveniently ignored and swept under the table for ahistorical lazy ass white supremacist favouring propoganda about freedom of speech. Its real nice to pretend that your stance is highminded when if you are affected at all it will be collateral damage. But our lives and liberty are on the line for this fuckery. If the Nazis and Confederates get what they want, and you pieces of shit are hellbent on giving it to them, then we will the the ones murdered and raped and put in concentration camps. And your surprise  at the predictable result of allowing self identified murderous fuckwits to come to power will be useless to our survival. So I hope the worst for you. I hope the venomous snakes you are cuddling to your bosoms turn around and bite them. You folks are literal enablers and collaborators with mass murdering fuckwits and though the world is unjust and unkind, if the worst comes to the worst I hope you too get fucked.
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([personal profile] rushthatspeaks Aug. 20th, 2017 11:51 pm)
I went to the Boston counterprotest against the so-called 'free speech' (actually Confederates and neo-Nazis) rally on Saturday for a couple of hours. The energy was good, and there were a lot of people-- the radio said maybe fifty thousand counterprotestors and fifty or so Nazis, so we may literally have outnumbered them one thousand to one. The common was about as full as it was during the Womens' March, because people weren't as spread out marching; there were areas that were elbow-to-elbow and then areas where nothing much was going on and you could walk around.

There were of course many, many signs. I took one Ruth made with a graphic we got off Twitter, one of those red barred circles that mean NO over a glyph that combines a swastika and the number 45 so you can read it both ways. The person next to me on the T on the way over was also carrying a sign, so we started talking, and it turned out, completely coincidentally, that she is presently enrolled at the small liberal arts college my wife and I both went to, which is several states away. She had come up for the occasion. It was nice to have somebody there to have my back, since none of my family could make it.

We had been worried on the train about how things would go, but there were thorough barricades and we basically couldn't even see the actual Nazi types, let alone physically interact with them. Every so often one of them would break out a Confederate flag or something like that, at which point the police would immediately confiscate it. One of them got perp-walked away while I was there, but I didn't see what for. The police presence was huge and, while I was there, generally polite to us counterprotestors, although I understand they got more annoyed later. I have to say, the sirens that bike cops use are among the silliest things I have heard in quite a while, like putting a real police siren through a filter marked 'Yakkity Sax'.

There was one dude wandering around shouting about how he wanted to [insert violence and sexual profanity] Trump and Trump's children, but everybody he came near was shouting back at him to just shut up and go home. I couldn't tell his ethnicity beyond 'not white', but he was also wearing a hat with the Washington Racists' logo-- I mean their real logo-- and the crowd was not having with that either. So it was uncomfortable when he wandered by, but the crowd very clearly was not on his side and was not going to let him harass any individual people.

The most intense things got is that somebody set fire to a swastika flag, I believe with a blowtorch. It burned very hot and fast, to intense cheers, and produced a lot of smoke, but I think it had gone out entirely by the time the cops arrived-- it had clearly been timed for when the bike patrol was circling around the other end of the Common. At any rate, I don't believe anyone was arrested in connection with that.

I am proud of my city about this one. A lot of people in the crowd were worried about violence, I was worried about violence, my train-met friend was worried, and that worry was explicitly why we had to be there. Because no. We refuse to give up when things get scary.

It was a good counterprotest.
jhameia: ME! (Default)
([personal profile] jhameia Aug. 19th, 2017 10:53 pm)
Well that's another day gone by lost to Pokemon Go.

I woke up late again and struggled to think of what to eat for about two hours straight. It's not that I don't have anything in the house to eat--I have a lot of food... I just couldn't decide what to eat. I groused about it on Facebook but this started a barrage of suggestions on what to eat and of course people are suggesting foods I can't eat and I just.... I give up. On the plus side I have learned that hardboiled eggs last forever in the fridge, and that egg salad is a thing I can make myself.

Anyway, I was going to go to Target right after lunch but instead joined a couple of raids around the university with the couple of people I met yesterday. They wandered off after the second raid and I stayed behind to chat with a couple of people who had just arrived, and had also just moved to Riverside.

I took a Lyft to Target because I cannot be bothered to take the 40-min bus ride. Found Pokemon Go Plus tucked away in the corner, and continued to shop for some other stuff.

Got home, set up Pokemon Go Plus, and then went for a swim.

There were a LOT of people in the pool today. At one point, I had just lifted my head out of the water for a breath of air. In general I keep my head low so I can duck it under right away, but today, as I did that, a kid jumped into the pool.... and inadvertantly shoved water into my mouth. WHO KNEW CHILDREN COULD BE A MENACE IN THIS WAY.

Nonetheless, I achieved my 4 sets of 6 laps and skedaddled out of there immediately. I can definitely feel the consequences of slacking off though; my arms were burning by the time I hit the last few laps. I'm going to have to figure out an alternate exercise during fall and winter because I hiiiiighly doubt I'll be braving the pool when the temperatures go down.

I went shopping for groceries. I bought sugar-free stuff! Blackberry jam and brownie mix! Also sucralose. I, uh, made a mistake of buying a box of small packets of sucralose, when I really wanted to buy just the granulated stuff for baking. I have no idea what to do with all these sweeteners now. I also bought more extract when I had bottles of the stuff already, whoops. I'm pretty excited about the sugar-free brownie mix... will try making it tomorrow and see how it is. I also got more canned foodstuffs like sardines (SARDINES!) and tuna. I bought bread, too. Sourdough bread. I saw some gluten-free baking flour, too, so I'll get some of that next time once I've figured out baking with sucralose.

I'm really liking the Pokemon Go Plus doohickey. I'll go to campus tomorrow and walk around a bit to replenish my Pokeballs, and then see if I'm up for a run at some point.
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yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 19th, 2017 07:51 pm)
A couple friends let me know that talking about composing for orchestra is, in fact, something that might be of some minor interest and also I am taking a break from working on Dragon Pearl while the Dragon borrows my laptop (which is my writing machine), so.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional composer! I did not go to conservatory. I am an interested amateur. My background is seven years of more or less classical piano, including a few years at the Houston Music Institute (relevant because they taught some theory and basic composition), a few years of viola, and years of screwing around on basically every instrument I could get my hands on, including three summers of classical guitar, mandolin, soprano recorder, pennywhistle, ocarina, and diatonic and chromatic harmonica. (Harmonicas actually get pretty complicated, more complicated than I personally can deal with--different tunings, cross-harp, slant-harp, etc. I only know the basics. [1]) This kind of jack-of-all-trades-ism is not great if you want to be a performer, where you really ought to become expert in your chosen instrument(s), but it's not awful if you want to compose.

[1] To anyone who doubts that the harmonica is a "real" classical instrument, I present to you Villa-Lobos' Concerto for Harmonica and Orchestra with soloist Robert Bonfiglio [Youtube], which is the recording I used to have before the stupid fucking flood. That's a chromatic harmonica, BTW; you can tell because of the use of the chromatic slide in some of the ornaments. More information. I will FIGHT anyone who tells me the harmonica is not a REAL INSTRUMENT.

Further caveat, I am only discussing Western music. I don't know enough about non-Western traditions to tell you anything useful about them. I compose more or less neoclassically because that's what pleases my ear and I feel no need to be innovative in a technical/theoretical sense. (Schoenberg's twelve-tone system is brilliant from a technical/theoretical sense but I cannot usually stand listening to it except in the limited context of certain kinds of film/TV scoring. I wouldn't listen to it for fun.)

And for yucks, I have perfect pitch, which in almost all contexts is either useless or an active hindrance (I am a suck liar and let's just say that I avoid a cappella performances and first-year string players like the plague--there's such a thing as good a cappella, but unless you are Carnegie Hall good I don't want to risk it), but has limited applications in the realm of music, ahahaha. For most applications relative pitch is hell and away more useful. (I actually get interference between relative and perfect pitch, which sucks.)

Anyway, let's talk a little about the fundamentals of music from the standpoint of composing.

I keep telling people that composing for orchestra is not hard. Composing for orchestra well is hard. Because it's true! It's a lot of things, true, but you can break it down into components. I'll talk a little more about this below.

Music is about patterns--creating tension with different dimensions of pattern, then resolving it. In terms of pitch, you only have twelve of them repeating across various octaves to work with! But because you can combine the pitches in different ways, you can come up with different melodies. Speaking in terms of standard music notation, that's the "horizontal" dimension. And pitch is combined with patterns of rhythm--units of time. cut for length and tl;dr )

Okay, I am out of brain and I'm not sure any of this even makes sense to anyone who is not me. :] I am happy to answer questions (or, if you compose music yourself, talk shop!).
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yhlee: Drop Ships from Race for the Galaxy (RTFG)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 19th, 2017 06:04 pm)
Returned books to library. Got these from the booksale shelves for 5 cents apiece (they were 1 cent apiece but I told the librarian to keep the 8 cents of change):

- Star Trek tie-in novel Ishmael by Barbara Hambly--I read this a long time ago and like Hambly :)
- Star Trek tie-in novel Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan \o/ I read this a few years back and also thought it was lovely! I'm really thrilled to own my own copy, in decent shape for a library discard even, although it means the library didn't want it anymore. -_-

What are some of your favorite recent libraryspoils/loanspoils/bookspoils?

ETA: Oh, and while I'm at it, I'm sad I woke up from a dream involving an animated TV series of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath. I'm several books behind in that series (at this point I might as well wait until it's all out before rereading the whole thing from the start) but would that not be awesomesauce?!
cofax7: Marion Ravenwood in a hat (IJ - Marion hat)
([personal profile] cofax7 Aug. 19th, 2017 09:00 am)
What a week, huh? So exhausting. I swear, this regime is going to ruin my liver.

Remember that guy at Google with the memo? (Seems like months ago, doesn't it?) Well, one of the MetaFilter gang decided to do a comprehensive discussion/analysis of his arguments, complete with citations. The Truth Has Got Its Boots On, which is a lovely Pratchett reference.

Here's a resource for people confused about the Trump/Russia scandal. Amidst all the racism and Nazis, there are still questions about Trump's history with Russia.

This New Yorker article also asks some questions about Wall Street Raider Carl Icahn and his relationship with the Trump regime. Conflicts of interest? Pish.

This article looks at environmental justice from the perspective of the community rather than the regulator or government. It's both devastating and hopeful.

This article from Pro Publica gives a solid historical overview of attempts to incorporate principles of environmental justice at the federal level, and how they have failed. I do love Pro Publica: they do solid investigative journalism.

Politics can make strange bedfellows, as we know: hunters are on the front lines protecting the public lands.

This Lawfare article about private military groups hints at some legal tools that can be used against the Neo-Nazis.

The New York Review of Books has dropped the paywall on James M. McPherson's take-down of the myth of the Lost Cause.

Here's a blackly funny report of a call to a Georgia Congressman's office.

*

Alton Brown's fruitcake recipe. It looks tasty, but the volume is far too small. Why make only one fruitcake at a time?!

*

I am working on my NFE story, but argh, just realized that book club is this coming Wednesday, and I haven't read the book yet! Argh. Also it took me 4 tries to get started on the story, and then I had to do some background research and realized that I had [redacted] wrong, and also [redacted], and now I have to research [redacted]. I'm not sure if I'm going to get done in time...

*

In other news, Help!. Is anyone else using Chrome and having trouble logging into DW? I turned off HTTPS Everywhere, but that didn't make any difference. I simply cannot log in.

And now off to dog class where once again we will fail on the weave poles...
jhameia: ME! (Default)
([personal profile] jhameia Aug. 18th, 2017 10:21 pm)
So today was going to be a bit more productive. I absolutely meant to go to campus and finish clearing my office, bring home some stuff, and then turn in keys. And swim in the afternoon.

Instead, turns out the Pokemon Worlds Championship in Anaheim was happening so Niantic released Kangaskhans and Unowns in downtown Anaheim. Someone in the Pokemon Go Riverside FB group was offering to drive folks out. This is how I ended up in a car with three white Americans who did normal things like listen to metal music and go to baseball games on the road to Anaheim... a young couple and a dude who's probably closer my age, possibly older, jumping in even later than I did.

We parked in the convention center around 2.30-ish? and walked around trying to catch things until maybe 6.30. There was a lot of walking. We left around 7-ish, stopped by In-and-Out on the way, and yeah.

So. Got a lot of walking done!
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I've been zigzagging between S1 and S2 because the Dragon didn't want to watch S1 (too much interpersonal drama for her taste) so I was watching S2 with her up till her bedtime, and going back to finish S1 with Joe.

cut for spoilers? )

(ahahahaha my husband gets the joke in my moodicon tonight but I wonder how many other people will get it?)
siderea: (Default)
([personal profile] siderea Aug. 18th, 2017 11:44 pm)
(h/t [personal profile] fiddlingfrog)

UrsulaV bats it out of the park:

https://twitter.com/UrsulaV/status/898201836800364547/photo/1

(Note, this requires clicking through to see two images.)
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 18th, 2017 10:45 pm)
The conference is over, and I am super tired and omg why do my feet hurt? I didn't do that much walking, and indeed spent most of the last three days sitting. The physical spaces the conference was held in were agreeably compactly laid out, so I didn't have do a lot of hiking down halls to go from one session to the next. But I feel like I've walked for miles.

I'm being cagey about the identity of the conference because of reasons. Suffice it to say I spent three days getting my radical on with people who, hmm, could be said to identify as "psychiatric survivors" – people whom the mental health system has done profound harm and violated their human rights – from around the world, many (most?) of whom might be described as activists and there in that capacity, some of whom are also clinicians or ex-clinicians or psychology researchers. Lots of very explicit intersectionalism and inclusivism. Very emotionally intense, super intellectually stimulating, enormously morally compelling.

Since the default assumption at the conference was that attendees were psychiatric survivors, I was "out" about not being a psychiatric survivor myself but a mental health professional and there as an ally. That was... a very hard experience to describe. To do such a thing, and do it ethically, is extremely demanding of energy, because it entails such a high level of self-monitoring and attention to others, at literally every second. Yet at the same time, it was so wildly validating of my ethical values as a person and a clinician, in ways I hadn't even realized I was hungry for, it felt very spiritually nourishing and emotionally supportive. I realized after the second day that just in the program book and in the presentations I'd attended, that I'd heard the word "humanistic" more times in those two days than I'd heard it used by anybody not me in the previous five years. Or maybe more. I'm a humanistic therapist, and I'm literally welling up again just reflecting on that, and how clinically-philosophically isolated this reveals me to have been. And, my god, the first, like, three times the term went zipping by I thought, Hey, do they know what that means, technically, to a therapist? Ah, they're probably just using it as a synonym for "humanely", as lay people usually do. And it became clear that, no, at least some of the people using the term really did mean it clinically. And I was like Oh. They don't need me to explain it to them. They already know. Which, is, like, the fundamental unit of being understood. Talk about your being called in from the cold.

I went to this conference thinking of myself as an ally, someone there to support another people as they do their thing – an in a really important sense, that is exactly right – but to my surprise, I discovered that these people, despite not being clinicians, were clinically my people. I wound up doing a hell of a lot more personal sharing than I would ever have expected – certainly vastly, vastly more than I have ever done in a mental health professionals context. It was like, I suddenly realized I was in an environment in which I could talk about how furious I am that I am forced to use diagnoses on patients without their consent, how frustrated I am by how the bureacratic systems in which I must work compromise the integrity of the treatment I try to provide, how disgusted I often am by the conduct of colleagues and mental health institutions (I discovered the wonderful expression, "psychiatric hate-speech"), how indignant I am at all sorts of idiocy and injustice and unfairness in the system – all the things I am so careful never to say because of how poorly my colleagues may take it. (Not my imagination: The last session I attended drew quite a number of clinicians, who were all "AND FOR ANOTHER THING!"; the presenter afterwards told me she had presented the same talk at a conference on the philosophy of psychiatry for an audience that was half psychiatrists, and, in contrast, they were furious with her for her temerity.)

I got to have conversations about capitalism and disability, culture and identity, the history of psychiatry, the history of nationalism, what you can and can't do inside the health care system, other countries' nationalized (or not, where mental health is concerned) health care, and how money affects mental health care; I heard a slew of what I would call "mental health radical coming out stories". I met someone who is as into the history of the DSM as I am, and someone who has written an academic article about the ethical and clinical problems of diagnosis. I got politely chewed out once, early on, for using oppressive language, and then immediately apologized to for it, them saying ruefully that they have "a chip on [their] shoulder" about mental health care professionals and shouldn't have talked to me like that, and I assured them I was there to be chewed out and have my vocabulary corrected and was fine with it; I'm pretty sure they were way more upset about what they said to me than I was, and I feel bad about putting them in that position by my ignorance – but we've exchanged phone numbers and I'm hoping I might yet make it up to them.

There was a point where somebody asked me something like whether I had been learning a lot at the conference so far, and I thought a moment and replied that I had, but, "I am at this conference not just to learn things. I am here because, as a person and a clinician, these are my values."

So it was an experience that was weirdly simultaneously hard and easy. If you had asked me four days ago I would have said that it's probably impossible for an experience to require a very high level of scrupulous self-monitoring and yet feel welcoming of and safe for emotional vulnerability and risktaking. Yet that was precisely my experience.

It was demanding and beautiful and powerful and huggy and astonishing and uplifting and I'm exhausted and weepy and have like twenty new best friends.
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I did not finish this book not because I thought it was poorly argued or poorly written, but because, despite it being very interesting, I just cannot brain this right now. (I'm under deadline for a novel.)

Heath Fogg Davis is a trans man and associate professor in political science at Temple University, and his book, Beyond Trans: Does Gender Matter? suggests that there are many situations in which clinging to gender categories is not necessary and even counterproductive. The context appears to largely be USAn, although I only got a little way into the book so that might not be true of later chapters.

The book opens with the case of a public transit system in Philadelphia that used to issue passes in both male and female variants. It begins with the dilemma of a trans woman who bought a female pass, only to be bounced off the bus because the bus driver judged her not to be a "real" woman, so she bought a male pass, and was bounced off the bus for not being male. At that point, she's screwed--what does she do? But trans people weren't the only one hit by this--a lot of cis people who didn't match certain bus drivers' preconceptions of gender presentation/appearance were also sometimes denied passage.

Davis then goes on to examine the reason why bus passes even had this designation to begin with. Apparently the stated intent was to reduce fraud--basically, each person was supposed to buy their own pass, and they were trying to prevent husbands and wives from sharing a single pass. Except, of course, if you look at the problem and the "solution," it makes no sense--you could easily still have fraud with two people of the same "sex" (whatever that means, a topic Davis takes up later) sharing a pass. So basically the "solution" screwed a lot of people, was intrusive and humiliating, and didn't even solve the problem.

The chapters in this book are:

Introduction: Sex Stickers
1. The Sex Markers We Carry: Sex-Marked Identity Documents
2. Bathroom Bouncers: Sex-Segregated Restrooms [1]
3. Checking a Sex Box to Get into College: Single-Sex Admissions
4. Seeing Sex in the Body: Sex-Segregated Sports
Conclusion: Silence on the Bus
Appendix: The Gender Audit: A How-to Guide for Organizations

[1] I lived for two years in a dorm in undergrad that had co-ed restrooms. Nothing bad happened. My dad would have blown a gasket if he had found out, though. :p

I only got through the intro and the very beginning of chapter 1 and what I saw looked encouraging and thought-provoking, but please don't ask me what's in the rest of the book because I genuinely don't know. I'm going to return this and hope to check it out later when I have more brain so I can think about the issues properly; it's good knowing the book exists so I can return to it at some later point.
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([personal profile] magid Aug. 18th, 2017 02:49 pm)
  • 10 ears of corn
  • two pounds of summer squash
  • two and a half pounds of pickling cukes
  • half a pound of carrots
  • a pound of tiny red onions
  • four Asian eggplants
  • two bunches of flat leaf green kale (traded for more eggplant, since I had another bunch still at home)
  • three pounds of heirloom tomatoes
  • three pounds of field tomatoes
  • five large green peppers
  • six ounces of oyster mushrooms
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jhameia: ME! (Default)
([personal profile] jhameia Aug. 16th, 2017 10:41 pm)
Man I need to get to bed earlier tonight. I went to bed last night at 2, woke up at 10am, which is enough sleep, but by the time I got going, it was afternoon, blergh.

I took a Lyft over to Cellar Door Books, and picked up some books. Linda, the owner, asked me for help getting Latin@ YA and I was like "UH" and had to rack my brain for some names, and asked Twitter. Went to KFC to have lunch, and remembered about WNDB's resources, so I went back to the bookstore.

Anyway, because I was so helpful, Linda told me I was welcome to any of the ARCs in the back room, so I went round the back, and picked up Justina Ireland's Dread Nation, which I'm pretty excited about.

I walked to campus to pick up some more books and clear out my mailbox. Vonnie and I spoke a little--I guess the weight loss is SUPER visible to some people. IDK, I think I look mostly the same.

Walked home with my tea set and water filter, and tomorrow I'll grab the kettle, and then have to figure out how I'm bringing home the posters.

I went to swim later than usual--5pm. Did 4 sets of 6 again, and it got cold again, so I sat in the hot tub again. IDK, I'm not a fan of it. I bought a swim cap and new goggles last night and wish I'd thought about it sooner. I should have also bought a lap counter, too, now that I think of it. But as September rolls in, it will probably get colder? So I'll be at the pool less, probably. I'm gonna see if I can push my laps up to 30 before fall officially gets here, because that would be nice as a personal best. Then I gotta figure out what to do next.

I went to MacDonald's again tonight, this time with a coupon for a Happy Meal. I actually liked it! Four nuggets, half a small fries (SO SMOL!), a chocolate milk, a thing of yogurt (yogurt!!!) and I was actually quite full after. I think that might have been the combo of the yogurt and the milk. I had tummy issues after, which I'll chalk up to the milk, so next time I'll get it with the small orange juice and see how my stomach plays with that, and hopefully it's not the yogurt.

I was thinking of walking to campus to put away some books I'd strewn across a table which was not mine, because Brittany has office hours tomorrow (I think?) so I really shouldn't have all that stuff there. But I thought I'd go home and try to get some sleep early instead, and try waking up earlier.
optioned by tnt Its gonna be a TV SERIES!!!

I am SO happy!
yhlee: hexarchate Andan blue rose (hxx Andan)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 16th, 2017 11:47 pm)
Note: I've been spoiled for the winner of S1 because I started with 2.1-2.2, both of which I rewatched tonight because the Dragon wanted to watch the show with me, and she wanted to skip S1 because she couldn't stand the backbiting. The Dragon loves art (she's in Talented Art in school) and I think it's really good for her to be exposed to this show since she's enjoying it, and I hope she finds the discussion of aesthetics inspiring. But mostly we're watching it for fun. =)

Read more... )

Meanwhile, in happier news, guess which household's preordered hardcopy of Starfinder RPG arrived today?! =D =D =D I'm not convinced by most of the class/character artwork (some of the gun designs are atrocious--why the fuck would you make a scope design that undulates?!) but the environment/matte painting is gorgeous. I oohed and ahhed over the illustrations for the different homeworlds in particular.
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 16th, 2017 09:23 pm)
I have made a heap of all my spoons and then set the heap on fire.

Which is to say, I am at a conference. So far it's been a really good conference.

Imma gonna fall over into my bed momentarily.

ETA 8/17/17 21:16: Still conferencing. I move that henceforth anything called a "BBQ" must serve something cooked with barbecue sauce; absence that criterion, it is a "cookout".

Someone at the conference gave me copy of this drawing which I hadn't seen before, and which made me tear up.

Bootstrapping problem: I still have to decide whether or not to try to get there in time tomorrow for the morning talks, or catch some additional Zs; the problem is I am now so exhausted my judgment is not just impaired but kind of non-functional. Normally, I'm pretty good at blowing things off to get more rest. This is, however, effectively a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, of which I would like to make the most.
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yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 15th, 2017 11:30 pm)
I have watched Face Off 1.1-1.2 and 2.1-2.2 and plan on watching more. It's a SyFy reality? show in which special effects makeup artists are given challenges, and one is eliminated each week/episode until there is a winner.

I'm loving this show, but I will say that this is pretty much the first reality TV show I've watched much of? And the part where someone is eliminated and has to go makes me sad even though I know it's inherent to the format. I turn into a marshmallowy ball of sad over this. So far I have also seen them work in teams and backbiting start due to the stress and to the fact that even if you work in a team only one person gets sent home, so people fight over this, and that turns me into a marshmallow ball of sad too.

But! Special effects makeup is something I know nothing about and that I am finding extremely cool as an art form and as a technical discipline--casting molds, working with materials, coming up with a concept, just blending body paint or makeup...so much! I'm loving that aspect of it and learning about how it works. I also often can't tell what's good or bad on aesthetic or technical merits, which is unsurprising--I know zero about this discipline, while the judges are award-winning experts, so listening to their critiques is so enlightening. :D

Episode 1.2's main challenge involved body-painting completely naked models (with naughty bits blurred out) to match/complement a preassigned painting. When the models dropped their robes on the hostess's command, I swear they were smirking at the contestants. And why shouldn't they be? They're getting paid, and they're not the ones who are getting eliminated, and they're beautiful Hollywood people, getting looked at naked by an audience probably is no big deal to them. :p

I also learned based on one of the contestant's behavior during 1.2 that I seriously judge contestants who are rude to their models! >:( I don't care how stressed you are, there's just no excuse. :(

I don't know if they changed this for S2, but I hate the S1 thing where the challenge winner consults with who gets sent home, but that may be because I hate conflict. :]
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
([personal profile] melannen Aug. 15th, 2017 10:46 pm)
No FMK this week, because I am way behind on reading, and also because I am going eclipse-hunting over the weekend! I will be bringing eclipse-related books on that trip. And thinking about this xkcd strip which was the main thing that got me into the new year, anyway.

Probably it will rain all day, but at least I can say I tried.

So instead of books, since I will be doing a lot of driving in the middle of nowhere, my question this week is: What songs are on your eclipse playlist? "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "The Sun Is A Miasma of Incandescent Plasma", obviously. But what else?

I have been working on the book collection, though! I went through and re-did my to-read lists, of which there are three: one on the library website, which has 300 books on it, of books the library has; the Goodreads one, which includes only books my library doesn't have and has about 250; and ~2500 owned-but-unread, so that's totally doable at my current rate as long as I never add any more to any of the three lists.

(Anybody want to be goodreads friends, by the way? if we aren't already, drop me a line. my gr is connected to my rl so I don't link it here but I will def. add people.)

Me and Mom also cleaned out the cookbooks over the weekend, which was fun! We both agreed on keeping the ones that had some kind of sentimental value to the family, of course. food, cooking, and diet as expressed in a collection of second-half-of-twentieth-century cookbooks. )

We got rid of about fifty cookery books. There's only about 200 left. That't TOTALLY reasonable for a family of two that cooks an actual meal at most twice a week, and usually from recipes we know by heart, right?
jhameia: ME! (Default)
([personal profile] jhameia Aug. 14th, 2017 09:42 pm)
So I've been reading in bed, on my phone. That's going pretty okay.

Today, I went to campus, and joined a Moltres raid on the way there. On the way back home, Lewis texted me, saying he was done teaching, so I told him I'd be down to go raiding some more if he had a car. He does, so, we go downtown, we join a Lugia raid, then move over to a Zapdos raid. We wander around spinning stops, come across a couple who had raided with us, and decide to head down to Jurupa Valley for a Moltres. We have to hang out a while, because people are taking time to get there, but with 8 people, we get the Moltres. Then as a group, we head out to an Articuno raid, where we join another group, and make it a raid of 19 people.

I got 4 out of 5 legendaries. Pretty good streak thus far. Lewis finally has a couple of legendaries in his 'dex, too.

When I got home, I decide, well, the sun's going down, but the water might still be warm, so I head out for a swim (this is around 6.40pm). And, well, not only is the sun going down, but the air is WINDY, and the temperature's dipped under 30'c, so the water is warmer, and just, brrrrr.... it's cold enough that I decide to do three sets of 6 laps, which brings my personal best up to 24 laps. Someone else also swam, he came in later, but left earlier. I was gonna skedaddle home right after getting out of the water but it was SO COLD I leapt into the hot tub nearby instead to warm up. It's kinda awkward being in a hot tub with someone else there who you're not talking to!!!

So, yay personal best, but, dammit, my dinner is so fucking late as a result =/ I really must get my day moving earlier so I can eat at actual meal times.
Local clinicians: I just got the mailing for this fall's Harvard Med Psychiatry Dept CE trainings, and at the Dec 1 & 2 session "Treating Couples", kinda buried in the list of presenters are Esther Perel and Terry Real. It's astronomically expensive, like all Harvard Med's stuff, but if you're a sufficiently hardcore fan, there you go. (Some of the other names on this list may also be famous people I don't recognize.)
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yhlee: Korean tomb art from Silla Dynasty: the Heavenly Horse (Cheonmachong). (Korea cheonmachong)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 14th, 2017 08:54 pm)
For M.J.D.
Prompt: Sejong Taewang [Wikipedia], "time travel"

Author's Note: I apologize for any infelicities in the setting; it's been some six years since I've visited South Korea and I'm not up to date on the culture, although I did, indeed, drag my mom to Kyobo Mungo as many times as she would stand for it.

===

Eun-hee's friend Bora was supposed to have met her at Kyobo Book Center fifteen minutes ago. Late as usual. Eun-hee tucked herself between two shelves of excruciatingly tedious-looking monographs and texted Bora, just to be sure. A harried woman glided past her, then frowned at Eun-hee until she made way for the woman to peruse the shelves' offerings.

Grumbling a little, Eun-hee gave up on lurking between the shelves. She texted Bora to meet her near the area selling stationery supplies, then strode off, dodging a giggling group of students and a couple not much older than herself. She could always use more notebooks, and she liked the cute little erasers that came in every shape imaginable.

Eun-hee browsed the notebooks on offer. Humming happily to herself, she picked out a selection with adorable drawings of flowers and fruits, or cartoon animals, and erasers to match. She was considering restocking gel pens when it occurred to her to check her purse to see if she'd brought enough money.

Frantic digging turned up her transit pass, that grotesque (and hopefully fake) turquoise-dyed rabbit's foot an English tutor from Stateside had given her, a sad assortment of loose change, a crumpled memo note from her mom reminding her to restock on ginger, that green crystal earstud she had thought she'd lost, but no wallet. Eun-hee cursed under her breath, furtively set down her pile of loot on one of the counters, and began digging again, just in case she'd missed it somewhere obvious.

"Excuse me," said a gravelly male voice.

Eun-hee looked up at the ajeossi in dark turtleneck and slacks who had come up beside her and who was rubbing his chin as if he wasn't used to it being shaved. "Oh, I'm so sorry," she said, and began to scoot out of the way.

"No, no, Miss," the ajeossi said. He was smiling at her, not in a creepy way, but like someone who had discovered a hilarious secret and wanted to share it. He dug in his pocket, then held out three 10,000-won bills. "I have more of these than I could ever possibly make use of. It's like the supply is infinite."

Eun-hee blinked. Was he offering her money? And what did he mean, infinite supply of 10,000-won bills? She was too flabbergasted to be offended. "No, it's all right," she said, as politely as she could manage. "My friend will be here soon. I can borrow some money from her."

"Please, Miss," the ajeossi said. "I can't think of a better use for a few spare 10,000-won bills. I like to see someone with a love for writing." He deposited the bills on top of the pile of notebooks and smiled again, then walked off, soon vanishing into the crowd.

Eun-hee snatched up the bills and started after him, only to be blocked by shoppers. While waiting for the foot traffic to clear, she smoothed the bills with her thumb and examined them more closely. Maybe he'd been trying to pass off counterfeits?

Her gaze snagged on the portrait of King Sejong the Great at the left of the bill. Wait a moment...Mentally, she subtracted the facial hair and reimagined him in modern clothing, like a turtleneck. The face was a perfect match.

Well, if the inventor of the Korean alphabet wanted her to have some notebooks and study hard, who was she to say no? Shaking her head in bemusement, Eun-hee retrieved her stack of notebooks and erasers and headed for the counter to pay up.
yhlee: kitty using bullet journal as pillow (bullet journal)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 14th, 2017 07:42 pm)
It's been a while but I decided to try to resume doing daily sketches...



Cloud, lounging on the floor.

Ink: Montblanc Burgundy Red
Pen: Conway Stewart Churchill in Red Stardust. Honestly not my first choice of sketching pen because it's a bit heavier and larger than what I usually prefer, but man does it have a smooth nib.
Via [personal profile] conuly, Why Medicaid Matters to You, by Prof. Sharona Hoffman, of CWRU. tl;dr: Because Medicaid is not just for poor people, it's how old people (and younger disabled people) pay for nursing homes. So it's for you, too, unless you plan on dying young and healthy.

The article has some interesting stats in it.

(I'm morbidly curious to know where you can score a private nursing home room for only $92k/yr. I presume it's somewhere very rural and far away from here, with terrible care, because by Massachuetts prices that's an incredible bargain.)
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yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 13th, 2017 05:50 pm)
I was delighted when I heard that Marie Brennan ([personal profile] swan_tower) was releasing her series of essays on storytelling and RPGs (tabletop and LARP) in ebook format. I've enjoyed these essays, but I am rather terrible at keeping up with essays on websites/blogs, and having them all in one place where I can read them in one fell schwoompf--to say nothing of being able to pay the author to encourage her to write more ;)--was very appealing.

Dice Tales discusses the RPGs and LARPs from several interlocking perspectives: that of the writer, that of the GM, that of the player, and that of the anthropologist. In terms of writing, Brennan talks about ways that the roleplaying experience has informed her writing and v.v., and ways in which storytelling differs between the media. There are also handy GM tips (I am all about handy GM tips, as a GM of limited experience) and exciting player anecdotes. And I have no background in anthropology at all, and Brennan was explicitly studying RPGs while doing anthropology, so it was very cool to hear about them through that lens.

Essays include discussions of what an RPG is, why the mechanics matter, the phenomenon of house rules, how GMs find leverage over their players and ways to use rather than abuse player trust, positive and negative uses of metagaming, the uses of costuming (mostly in a LARP context), when character death is appropriate, the question of consent in games, railroading and GM responsiveness...really, there's a ton here, and it's a great read all the way through.

I found this read especially timely because I am currently GMing a DW comm RPG, [community profile] hexarchate_rpg. Dice Tales doesn't explicitly address play-by-email or forum formats, but a lot of the GMing advice applies anyway. I personally find text media more comfortable because I am not a fast thinker and I have a terrible memory, so text gives me time to think up responses and plot things out and refer to previous moves, notes, etc. I am also shameless--I'm okay asking players directly what plot hook they want out of X development.

The anecdotes of great RPG/LARP experiences sound great, and I find myself envious--in GNS terms, I have rarely gotten to experience Narrative-focused play, which is right now what I prefer. (I used to be a split Narrativist/Simulationist in high school and college. I legit got into Fidonet arguments over whether AC represented damage reduction or damage avoidance. *facepalm* Then I grew up and realized that if you care about simulationism, you shouldn't be using AD&fuckingD in the first place.) When Joe ran his Eberron campaign back in Pasadena (notable for being maybe the only campaign I've been in that ran through to completion, in about a year meeting weekly), my very favorite session was the one in which we didn't even do combat, and I don't think there was a single dice roll. We had been handed the magical equivalent of the plans for the atomic bomb and had to decide what the ethical thing to do with it was, and we spent the entire session as a party discussing how to deal with it responsibly.

On the other hand, I can't help but reflect that I'm not good at tabletop (and would probably be even worse at LARP). As I said above, I'm not a fast thinker. I usually end up spending all our Pathfinder Society sessions being unofficial designated party notetaker (I have fountain pens and I like to use them?) and sketching randomly until someone tells me we're in combat and it's my turn to Power Attack. I can't act my way out of a paper bag, and usually by the time I've thought of a contribution, the play has moved on. So I just have to accept that I'm never going to be particularly useful in a live roleplaying situation. This thing where advanced roleplayers stretch themselves by playing different character types is basically unimaginable to me. I usually ask Joe to design the easiest viable character, mechanics-wise, to play, which is why I ended up with a barbarian in a team feat barbarian (me) + blood rager (Dragon) + skald.

My most successful experiences GMing tabletop/in-person were (a) a one-shot using Over the Edge, a very rules-light system (and even then, I used very few dice rolls and let people freeform most interactions since with a one-shot there's no reason not to) and (b) the Hidden Emperor L5R AU campaign that Joe and I co-GM'd; I handled most of the description and Joe handled the mechanics. :]

(It's hilarious how much I hate crunchy systems. I have a B.A. in math, for God's sake. But I want the math to...mean something? And most systems just feel like they get in the way, for me, because as a writer I'm effectively used to freeforming the hell out of everything.)

Still, even if I'm not a good gamer, I like reading about gaming, and I find different gaming systems and anecdotes (my God, the gazebo story!) inspirational as a writer. :)

Anyway, enough personal maundering--this ebook is a lot of fun, and it's available from Amazon (and probably a couple other places) or Book View Cafe in mobi or epub. Recommended.
yhlee: sleepy kitty (Cloud)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 13th, 2017 05:04 pm)
For: [personal profile] vass
Prompt: Shuos Zehun, "assassin-cats"

It was one hour and fourteen minutes past bedtime in the Hragoshik household, and the youngest of the little ones, four-year-old Piri, would not go to bed.

Zehun had just arrived twelve minutes ago by shuttle from the starport, bringing a modest travel bag and, as usual, the friendliest and most genial of their cats, Irriz. Sometimes people looked oddly at Zehun for traveling with a cat--a cat on a harness and leash, at that--before they realized who the cat's owner was. When it came to travel, Zehun was a pragmatist. It wasn't true that they ordered retaliatory assassinations if people insisted on delaying them during their rare visits to family, but if their reputation allowed them to skip the lines, why not?

Besides, Irriz, like all of Zehun's cats, was named after a notorious Shuos assassin. Specifically, Shuos Irriz had, in an earlier century, succeeded in assassinating all of a particular Andan hexarch's children and siblings, and had been working her way through a crowd of cousins when she'd died tragically (?) young of unexpected allergic reaction. Whether Irriz the cat would die the same way was an open question, considering how much she liked to try to eat the hexarch's snacks.

Zehun's second daughter, Verissen, was one of Piri's mothers. Verissen, too, had never been particularly good at falling asleep at times convenient for parents. Zehun enjoyed a moment of delicious generational revenge as they listened to Verissen trying to bribe Piri with, alternately (1) an additional bedtime story, (2) shadow-figures against the wall, or (3) extra bits of shredded chicken in Piri's breakfast porridge. Piri wasn't having any of it. In the meantime, Zehun removed the harness, then provided food, water, and a litter box for Irriz, all of which the cat availed herself of.

Irriz made her way to a black velvet armchair on which her splendid white hairs would show up magnificently, raked it with her claws for good measure, then flopped onto it. Fortunately the velvet would heal itself. The hairs were another matter. The velvet was supposed to eat detritus, but for some reason it always choked on cat hairs.

Satisfied that their cat was content, Zehun poked their head into the room where Piri was sitting up in bed with her face screwed up and her blankets kicked to one side. "Why aren't you getting one of the household servitors to put her to bed?" Zehun asked Verissen.

"I usually do that," Verissen said, tugging on a lock of hair straggling loose from its braid, "but I thought we should spend more time together. Of course, I also thought she'd be asleep by now so I could catch up with you properly. I don't know what the problem is!"

Zehun crouched down to bring themselves eye to eye with the little girl. "Hello, Piri," they said softly. "Remember me?"

Piri snuffled. "Gran! Gran, there are too many shadows."

Zehun glanced at Verissen. "You take a break, Rissa. I'll see to the little one."

Verissen didn't even argue, just patted Piri on the head and beat a swift retreat.

Piri snuffled some more. "Gran, I looked under the bed and there are shadows there."

"That means the candlevines are no good," Zehun agreed, "since they're only on the walls. Do you want candlevines under the bed, too?" Probably a nuisance to get the servitors to do it tonight, but it could be managed with the aid of the household matter printer.

"But I won't be able to see anything under the bed," Piri said, with perfect logic, "so how will I know it's working?"

Zehun considered this. "I think I have a solution," they said. "Come with me."

The two of them emerged into the living room together. Verissen was talking to one of her wives about a dinner party she had planned for next week. She opened her mouth to protest, then closed it when Zehun looked at her.

Irriz the cat was still sprawled on the black velvet armchair, having festooned it with numerous long white hairs. Zehun scooped her up. Irriz mewed in protest, but Zehun had long practice avoiding claws.

Zehun and Piri walked back into Piri's bedroom. "You remember Irriz, too, don't you?" Zehun said to their granddaughter.

Piri nodded and reached out for Irriz's tail.

Zehun smoothly diverted Piri's hand to the cat's head, and Piri obediently began scritching Irriz behind the ears. "Irriz is a very special cat," Zehun said. "Irriz is a Shuos cat, and beyond that, Irriz is a Shuos assassin-cat."

Piri looked at Irriz wide-eyed.

"That's right," Zehun said. "And furthermore, since Irriz is a cat, Irriz specializes in assassinating shadows. She will"--this part was even true--"spend the entire night chasing shadows if you let her."

"She'll chase the shadows away?" Piri asked, her voice trembling just a little.

Zehun nodded.

Irriz purred, which probably had more to do with the scritches than the promise of delicious shadows to pounce on, but who knew?

"Go to bed, Piri," Zehun said, and this time Piri did just that. Irriz clambered into the bed and curled up next to her, ready to go shadow-hunting at the slightest provocation.
yhlee: Korean tomb art from Silla Dynasty: the Heavenly Horse (Cheonmachong). (Korea cheonmachong)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 13th, 2017 03:04 pm)
I'm looking at some Twitter account Tweeting about me in Hangeul for whatever reason (it's nothing bad) and realizing that Korean cheats on Twitter! Because Twitter has that 140-character limit...but each syllable-block of Hangeul is apparently counted as a "character"! So Korean can fit more actual words into a Tweet! That's hilarious.

I bet you get even better with Chinese and Japanese...I'd never thought about that. :D

I'm still bemused that because of the transliteration, everyone seems to assume my family name is 리. It's not! It's 이! :p Sorry, Dad...
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and I am here for it. Ava Duvernay is adapting one of Octavia Butler's books "Dawn" for tv and I am here for it. And "Black America" is coming from Aaron MacGruder and I am here for it. And there will be wine this evening and I am here for that too.
the_future_modernes: (Default)
([personal profile] the_future_modernes Aug. 13th, 2017 03:44 pm)
pretty good on the personal front, if a bit busy. But on the world front there be nazis marching and that nitwit in the white house trying his best to fuck us over and a general ramp up of fear and loathing. I need to read hope in the dark again.  A big thank you and strength to all who are resisting the rise of fascism in our country. may those efforts prevent us from falling off the cliff. there has got to be a country that stopped this shit before the genocides right?

I did some writing this week. havent counted it yet, but  there were words. i need to learn to manage my time more effectively now so i will be getting the seven habits of effective teens workbook as soon as i have some cash.
yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
([personal profile] yhlee Aug. 13th, 2017 02:29 pm)
Dragon: "Since you already have all these readers judging you, Mom, I'm gonna judge you too."
Me: -_-

The joys of raising a snarkebeest Dragon. ;)
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siderea: (Default)
([personal profile] siderea Aug. 13th, 2017 12:00 am)
1) I feel the need to share that the lamp in question, I got from Aunt C – who spent her entire working adult life making lightbulbs for Sylvania. The fact that I can't manage to find adequate working replacement LED bulbs his is either the most ironic or most appropriate thing ever.

2) Okay, I'm now in correspondence with the manufacturer of one of the sets of 5W bulbs that didn't work. They asked about the competitor bulbs that worked, and said they will scare some up to compare with their product. ETA 8/13/17 11:10PM: I have just got a full refund and a thank you note for supplying such detailed information, which is being passed on to the R&D team.
siderea: (Default)
([personal profile] siderea Aug. 12th, 2017 03:03 pm)
I am frustrated with how my writing has been going of late. It's been difficult. I find myself having trouble keeping my focus on what I'm writing.

As you may have noticed, I tend to write about whatever I'm thinking about. Normally, that's (1) my psychotherapy clients and the issues that come up when working with them, (2) minds, more generally, and (3) the larger world around me, i.e. current events, politics, sociology, anthropology, economics, etc.

In an important sense, what I write about is my reaction to what I encounter in my life.

Right now my life is very rich in contact with the healthcare industry. There's D's health issues, my health issues (nothing new and alarming), my clients' health issues, and current events having to do with health insurance and medicine. So I have about a million and one things to say about healthcare.

Except that even I am getting bored of healthcare.

And, perhaps more importantly, I really have other topics that it feels to me would be much better use of my time. In this day in history, I don't think tackling problems in the US healthcare system is at all the best use of myself – as important as these things are, it feels a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

This is not a general sense of futility. I have a huge amount of things in my head that I think sharing could be a very useful contribution to the Very Long Game. I understand what is going on in the US right now very, very, very differently than almost every other commentor. This is what I ardently want to be writing about.

If I could – ugh! – just get my head clear of all this incredibly boring healthcare stuff.

So what's been happening on the back end here, in Siderealand, is that I am oscillating rapidly and not at all profitably between the previously alluded to monster healthcare post (or series) and tackling some of the Very Long Game topics – interrupted by the occasional hot take on current events (you have no idea how badly I want to respond to the Sexist Googler Memo, while at the same time very badly wanting not to have to finish reading the Sexist Google Memo, much less start again from the beginning this time taking notes) – and never actually getting any one thing finished. I'll try to work on the monster healthcare post and my mind will wander off in boredom; so I'll try to work on something more important, but then I'll have to treat a patient or get my own medical care or deal with D's health issues, and my attention is wrenched back to healthcare and healthcare-related observations flood my mind. Argh.

I've been feeling unwell, physically, in ways that are also making concentration hard. This makes the VLG stuff particularly daunting, because it involves having to explain a lot of background and conceptual stuff to get where I am trying to go. I mean, that's the whole point of the exercise. And that takes - or so I find – a lot of concentration to do at all, much less well.

So, for instance, today was supposed to be a writing day, but I woke up, for no reason I can tell, exhausted and having trouble marshalling words. *throws hands up in the air* Before writing this, I took a break to play some flash games and, wow, does my judgment and reaction time suck.

So I guess we'll see what I come up with. Sigh.

ETA: Ahahah, and I managed to initially post this technically wrongly, trying a second time, see if I manage to get it to my journal.

ETA2: I feel I should mention, part of why my contact with healthcare is up is that my clinical caseload is up: I have more patients. Which is wonderful and makes me happy.
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([personal profile] siderea Aug. 12th, 2017 12:47 am)
Of particular note to my fellow geek clinicians: just published in the US was Superhero Therapy: Mindfulness Skills to Help Teens and Young Adults Deal with Anxiety, Depression, and Trauma, by psychologist Janina Scarlet, PhD.

It draws unapologetically on her own personal experience of identifying with the X-Men to heal from the trauma of radiation poisoning, subsequent chronic illness, being a refugee, and being bullied.

I haven't read it yet, just excerpts, but it looks lovely. Illustrated by Wellinton Alves of Marvel and DC.
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So, I previously asked about LED lightbulbs for my lamp that takes S11 shape, E17 (aka "intermediate") base, 40W bulbs.

I went forth and ordered bulbs. I got a pair that were 4W and 4500K that only put out 300 or so lumens and were very blue-white. They worked, but it was like being in an aquarium, and not good for reading, so I decided I need to find bulbs that were brighter but with a warmer color.
So I ordered a pack of 5W, 470 Lumen, 2700K bulbs.

They didn't work. I put them in the socket, flicked the switch back and forth, and nothing happened.

I figured I was shipped some dud bulbs, so I reported them defective, and got my money back.

But I still didn't have bulbs I liked, so I tried again from another vendor, ordering 5W ("40W replacement"), 3000K bulbs from a different manufacturer.

They didn't work either.

So at this point, I don't think it's that the bulbs are defective, since now I have four of them that don't work, from two different manufacturers.

???

UPDATE:

I have four sets of bulbs:

0) The last two incandenscants that worked, but which are now both burnt out. I have kept them as references.

1) The first pair of LEDs bulbs, the unsatisfactory weak 4W blue-white ones. They still work fine. They're what I'm using now.

2) The second pair of LED bulbs, which are 5W/2500K, and don't work.

3) The third pair of LED bulbs, which are 5W/3000K, and don't work.

I have discovered that the incandescents have something in common with the (working) first pair of LEDs that the (non-working) second and third pair of LEDs don't: the contact on the bottom of the bulb on the non-working LEDs is a smidge – like half a milimeter – longer.

I repeat: the non-working bulbs are a teeny bit longer in the contact that goes in the socket. The little bump on the end.

I have no idea what to do with this information. Like, why are these bulbs slightly the wrong size to fit in my lamp? But still called E17? And why is it that it's the 5W bulbs that are like this? Are all 5W LED bulbs like this? Is there a way to shop for bulbs that will fit my lamp? Is there a way to fix my lamp or the bulb so these will work?
.

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