June 28th, 2017
karmageddon: (Books)
posted by [personal profile] karmageddon at 08:31am on 28/06/2017 under
glinda: just trying to read (books/reading)
posted by [personal profile] glinda at 11:34am on 28/06/2017 under
Music:: The Moutain Goats - This Year
Mood:: 'rejuvenated' rejuvenated

Posted by Olga Oksman

Terrariums are having their biggest moment since Queen Victoria was in power. A popular way to exhibit plants in the late 1800s, terrariums, called “Wardian Cases” in the Victorian era, were elaborate affairs that could take up an entire side table. These days, the smaller, simpler iterations line the windows of…

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Posted by Steve Benen

Let's not mistake cynicism with curiosity. Rick Perry's call for an "intellectual" conversation about climate change is a transparent sham.
la_rainette: (Default)
At some point last night I went to bed, because today I HAVE A SCHOOL OUTING with 46 kids (and I am so not ready for this, because I am running on very little sleep). This left Froglet (who is on vacation by now) and Husband (who had a work phone call scheduled at 3 am anyways, because Japanese client and time zones).

When I woke up this morning I found that the house was intact and nothing was missing (hurrah!).

I did, however, notice that there are a few leftovers from the party, including:
- chips.
- so. Many. Chips.
- all the pop (but the bottle of rye on the kitchen counter is completely empty, happy digestion, dude)
- one X box, next to our TV.
- two pairs of lovely nude dress shoes (no, Husband, not Froglet’s. Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, our daughter only has two feet, not four).
- one iPhone charger
- one extremely good looking young man (still awake and fully clothed, yay).

Apparently we’re good hosts because we had the elegance of disappearing after ordering the pizza. And Froglet is super happy, so there is that.

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Posted by Alasdair Stuart

Laura Lam’s newest novel, Shattered Minds, is a journey to the exact sort of utopia that I like—namely, a complex, untidy one. Her Pacifica novels explore a future that’s ideal but not idealized and what happens when people fall, or sometimes, jump, between the cracks.

I talked to her about Shattered Minds, Pacifica, the Micah Gray books, and more…

Alasdair Stuart: How did you get started writing?

Laura Lam: I grew up one of the biggest bookworms, and I kept starting various things but never finished. The furthest I got was about 30,000 words of a fantasy based on feudalism. The first line was “The sunset was as red as blood.” It didn’t improve from there.

I started it at 15 at the same time as I met a Scottish boy online in 2002. We fell in love while discussing books and writing those somewhat awful early efforts. I ended up going to university for English Literature and Creative Writing, which taught me to finish work to a deadline. When I moved to Scotland after marrying the Scottish dude in 2009, I had a boring job filing and photocopying, as that was the only job I could get with my English degree at the time. I decided to become more serious about writing and finished a book (Pantomime) in 2011 and sold it in 2012. My method was mostly trial and error.

AS: Which authors inspired you? And continue to do so?

LL: Anyone who knows me at all knows Robin Hobb is my favourite author. False Hearts and Shattered Minds are very different genres to her fantasy (though in Micah Grey, the influence is more obvious), but I think her approach to characterization has stayed with me. I also love cyberpunk, so Gibson and Stephenson mainly, and psychological thrillers are another big inspiration. I read all genres and try to read 100 books a year, though I don’t always make it. As a writer, I feel like reading is such a vital component of my job. I need to know the market, and to see all sorts of ways of putting together stories. I teach on the Creative Writing Masters at Napier in Edinburgh now, too, so I’m also looking at stories from a craft viewpoint for lecturing. Every book I read inspires me in some way, even if it’s not always obvious.

AS: Tell us a little about the Micah Grey books.

LL: The Micah Grey trilogy is Pantomime, Shadowplay, and Masquerade. Short pitch: an intersex, genderfluid, bisexual daughter of a noble family runs away and joins the circus presenting as a male aerialist’s apprentice named Micah Grey. Set in a gaslight fantasy world vaguely based on Victorian Scotland with some Greek mythological influence. Magic that might just be advanced tech in disguise. Stage magic. Court magic. The growing threat of civil war. Returning beings from myth. Found families, friendship, and some romance.

AS: How do the Vestigial Tales series tie in?

LL: They’re largely prequels. “The Snake Charm” is about one of the secondary characters, Drystan, in the Circus of Magic before Micah joins. “The Fisherman’s Net” is a short fable about a mermaid and the dangers of greed. “The Tarot Reader” is another character, Cyan’s, story in the circus she worked in before she’s introduced in Shadowplay, book two. “The Card Sharp” is another story about Drystan, about him being a Lerium drug addict and card sharp before joining the Circus of Magic. “The Mechanical Minotaur” I released this year, and it’s sort of like a non-racist Indian in the Cupboard meets Boy Cinderella, and doesn’t really feature any characters from the main series (but is still best read after Masquerade as a cap to the series).

AS: How did you find the process of producing the Vestigial Tales? How did your process change for the shorter work?

LL: I initially wrote the Vestigial Tales to learn about self-publishing. Pantomime and Shadowplay originally came out through Strange Chemistry, which was the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. But Strange Chemistry shut down in 2014, and I wasn’t sure what the fate of the series was going to be. I thought it was likely I’d have to release the third myself (I ended up not needing to do this—the rights reverted to me and my agent re-sold them to Tor UK). But before I knew that, to keep myself in the world of Micah Grey, I wrote the stories and had friends help me edit them, another friend made the covers (Dianna Walla, who was my childhood pen pal!), and I formatted them myself. Shorter work obviously requires different plotting and skill. “The Tarot Reader” and “The Snake Charm” are novellas of around 30k, whereas the others range from 5-10k. I really enjoy writing novellas though, as it’s nice and meaty but it’s something that can be read in an afternoon. I’d like to do more of them sometime. The first Vestigial Tale is permanently free if anyone wants to check it out, and it can be read before Pantomime.

Acting as your own publisher is an interesting experience. I already had appreciation for my publishers, but it gave me more. So much goes on behind the scenes, and I think it’d be good for more authors to give self-publishing a go. Hybrid publishing is going to become more popular—I like knowing now that if I have a project I believe in but for whatever reason isn’t appropriate for a trade publisher, I can do it myself and get stories out there. There’s so many ways of doing it now, too. Self-publishing via Amazon and other retailers, releasing work through Patreon, putting things up on Wattpad. It’s an interesting time for publishing.

I didn’t make a huge profit from the short stories, but some money still trickles in every month, and helps me buy lattes when I work in cafes. It was a great experience. I offered two more short stories set in Pacifica for free if readers pre-ordered Shattered Minds this time, and I’ll put them up on Amazon in a few months, too.

AS: Let’s chat about Pacifica. How does the world of Shattered Minds and the first book, False Hearts, differ from the present day?

LL: False Hearts and Shattered Minds are standalones in the same world. They’re set roughly 100 years in the future. Climate change came to a head in 2030-2050, resulting in everyone having to put aside their differences to save the world. That’s the sort of “ghost from the past” that is mentioned but not dwelled on a lot within the books. After the Great Upheaval calmed down, tensions were still high in the U.S. and it fractured. Pacifica is now California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. There’s also the South, The Great Plains, and Atlantica on the East Coast.

Technology is now zooming onwards. People can order pretty much anything from a replicator (yes, stolen from Star Trek. No, no one orders Earl Grey. Not yet at least). Climate change is under control. Self-driving hover cars are common, as well as orchard skyscrapers or glowing algae that makes the Bay shine green at night. People can walk into flesh parlours and change their face and body at will, yet mostly people choose to look blandly beautiful. Crime is very low now and poverty has been eradicated. It should be a utopia in many ways. But it’s not. Scratch the surface and the shine is gone.

AS: There’s a definite kind of Californian futurism which I see in those books—that combination of positivity and hope and almost sun-drenched noir. Where do you think that comes from?

LL: I love the idea of “sun-drenched noir!” It does fall into that a bit.

I don’t think our future will be a complete dystopia. I think it will somewhat like now—lots of good things, lots of terrible things. There’s more equality in this world, monetarily, but those who control data have the most power. Sure, in Pacifica life expectancy is longer, they’ve cured a lot of genetic diseases, and people work fewer hours. But people are still hungry to have more than others, just in different ways. Lots of people will work towards bringing light into others’ lives, but there’ll still be those who thrive on darkness.

Plus, straight up utopias are a lot harder to write about.

AS: Tell us a little about Shattered Minds.

LL: I tend to describe Shattered Minds as female Dexter with a drug problem meets Minority Report. Serial killer becomes addicted to dream drugs so she only kills people in her imagination. When a colleague sends a bunch of encrypted information into her brain before he’s murdered, she’s forced to return to real life and take down an evil corporation with a group of ragtag hackers. It’s about addiction, identity, and overcoming the darkness within.

AS: How does it tie into False Hearts?

LL: False Hearts tends to get the pitch of Orphan Black meets Inception. That one is about formerly conjoined twins. They were raised in a cult, escaped when they were 16, and separated, each fit with a mechanical heart. Ten years later one twin is accused of murder and the other twin has to go undercover into the organised mob, prove her sister’s innocence, and save her life.

Both books are set in Pacifica. False Hearts is in San Francisco and Shattered Minds is in Los Angeles. So same world, a minor crossover character, but otherwise completely self-contained stories, each looking at a different facet of darkness in Pacifica.

AS: How are you finding working in a sandbox rather than a series?

LL: It’s a really nice compromise. I really like the world so I get to keep playing with it, but each story is its own creation. There’s some fun Easter eggs to link them, but otherwise you should, theoretically, be able to pick up any of them and dive right in. If you read Shattered Minds, you will pick up a few things that happened as a result of False Hearts, so it’s probably still best to read them in order, but not essential. It also means there doesn’t have to be a set number, or if there’s a bit of a gap between releases, people aren’t kept hanging like they were with the third book of my trilogy when it changed publishers. That was disappointing for them and vaguely traumatic for me. This is less stress and more fun.

AS: What’s next for you? And for Pacifica?

LL: At the moment, my response is “no comment.” I’m working on a bunch of things, but don’t have any clear idea of what’s happening next. Which is scary, but all I can focus on is the words, so I do that.

 

Shattered Minds is out now in hardback with the previous novel in the Pacifica sequence, False Hearts, available in paperback. Also available in paperback are Pantomime, Shadowplay and Masquerade. Find Laura online at her website and on Twitter @LR_Lam

Alasdair Stuart is a freelancer writer, RPG writer and podcaster. He owns Escape Artists, who publish the short fiction podcasts Escape Pod, Pseudopod, Podcastle, Cast of Wonders, and the magazine Mothership Zeta. He blogs enthusiastically about pop culture, cooking and exercise at Alasdairstuart.com, and tweets @AlasdairStuart.

posted by [syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed at 01:00pm on 28/06/2017

Posted by Jen

Brides, have you ever had a lofty cake dream...

 

...fall flat?

 

Or have you ever wished for pretty-as-a-picture polka dots...

 

...only to get gravity-defying cow patties?

 

How about something that should have been simply sublime...

 

...that turned terrifying?

 

Perhaps your "something blue"...

 

...has you seeing red?

 

Have you ever wanted creamy lace and bows...

 

...only to get "AAAAUUUGGHH!!"

Well, have you?

Yes?

Oh, good!

Then send me a picture, won't you?

This stuff cracks. me. up.

 

Thanks to brides Ashley B., Emily K., Lara A., Christie S., & Kathleen M. for sharing their private pain with us. So that we may laugh. And then feel kinda bad about it. But not enough to stop laughing.

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

And from my other blog, Epbot:


james: a shot of the desert mostly sand (Default)
posted by [personal profile] james at 06:08am on 28/06/2017

Posted by Jillian Lucas on Deals, shared by Jillian Lucas to Lifehacker

ECCO has been around since the ‘60s but the timeless, comfortable styles of their men’s and women’s shoes are what’s on display today. Amazon’s Gold Box has ECCO men’s dress shoes, loafers, and sneakers, and women’s sandals and sneakers, for as low as $52. Trust me, these things will last, but this 24-hour sale will…

Read more...

Posted by Steve Benen

Republicans complain that Democrats aren't "helping" on health care, while GOP leaders ignore Democratic appeals for bipartisan cooperation.
darthneko: hiding cat ([personal] i iz not here. try back latr.)
posted by [personal profile] darthneko at 08:59am on 28/06/2017
House inspection yesterday. Mostly good? A few small problem areas? Like, it's either "this is a $10 kit you can get a Home Depot and fix yourself" or it's "you're going to want a contractor to take a look at this and confirm the foundations aren't collapsing" and nothing inbetween. >_<

So yeah, I'm stressed beyond belief and praying that the crack lines in the exterior foundation are, in fact, like the inspector guessed, old damage from improper drainage that has since been fixed and that it's just a matter of "caulk it, patch it, done". Please please please let that be the case, because omg I don't want to have to start looking again and we really love this house. *cries*

Also, the deck DOES need to be jacked up and new supports with proper cement feet put under it, but that's frankly minor in the "can be taken care of later" way, imo. We can just not use the deck in the meantime.

Didn't get my license and car plates switched over because the inspection took a long time and I was very done and dead by the end of it. Didn't have it in me to go sit in the DMV for hours. I'll go on Friday.

And then I went home and laid on the bed with the cuddly cats and played clicky games and read because my head hurt. My head hurts even more today. Spring can stop springing with all it's damned pollen count, now, and the shifting weather pressure. My sinuses are on fire and my head is going to explode. DNW.

Posted by Steve Benen

This isn't just a point-and-laugh-at-the-amateur-president moment. There are practical consequences to Donald Trump's ignorance about health care.
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 01:42pm on 28/06/2017 under ,
Recently read: Too like the lightning by Ada Palmer. I borrowed [personal profile] jack's copy to read this for the Hugos. It's thinky and original, but also rather unpleasant.

detailed review )

Currently reading: All the birds in the sky by Charlie Jane Anders. Partly because it's Hugo nominated and partly cos several of my friends were enthusiastic about it. I'm a bit more than halfway through and finding it very readable and enjoyable. Patricia and Laurence are really well drawn as outcast characters and their interaction is great. It feels very Zeitgeisty, very carefully calculated to appeal to the current generation of geeks. The style is sort of magic realist, in that a bunch of completely weird fantasy-ish things happen and nobody much remarks on them. I find that sort of approach to magic a bit difficult to get on with, because it appears completely arbitrary what is possible and what isn't, so the plot seems a bit shapeless.

Up next: I'm a bit minded to pick up Dzur by Steven Brust, because I was enjoying the series but very slowly, and it's been really quite a few years since I made progress with it.
location: San Francisco
Mood:: 'content' content
Music:: Placebo: Nancy boy
mtl: Me as a POP! figure (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mtl at 06:49am on 28/06/2017

On Juneteenth, I managed to trip, fall and fracture my left wrist. Fast forward to yesterday, where I went to orthopedist, got the awful splint off and went home with a purple cast.

Of the good:
  • The cast is way more comfy than the splint.
  • Doc says my break was clean and simple & should heal easily.

Still frustrating:
  • Most life tasks like showering, dressing/undressing, typing 1-handed, not being able to bake/cook/cut my own food.
    • I can't bloody work on ant of my writing projects. ::WAILS::

But, that said, it could've been a lot worse.

I go back to ortho in 4 weeks & hopefully can graduate from cast to removable brace.


Mood:: 'grateful' grateful

Posted by Colin Marshall

As an Open Culture reader, you might already know the Internet Archive, often simply called "Archive.org," as an ever expanding trove of wonders, freely offering everything from political TV ads to vintage cookbooks to Grateful Dead concert recordings to the history of the internet itself. You might also know the Metropolitan Museum of Art as not just a building on Fifth Avenue, but a leading digital cultural institution, one willing and able to make hundreds of art books available to download and hundreds of thousands of fine-art images usable and remixable under a Creative Commons license.

Now, the Internet Archive and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have teamed up to bring you a collection of over 140,000 art images gathered by the latter and organized and hosted by the former.


Most every digital vault in the Internet Archive offers a cultural and historical journey within, but the collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art offers an especially deep one, ranging historically from early 19th-century India (The Pleasures of the Hunt at the top of the post) to midcentury New York (the photo of the mighty locomotive before the entrance to the 1939 World's Fair above) and, in either direction, well beyond.

Culturally speaking, you can also find in the Met's collection in the Internet Archive everything from from Japanese interpretations of French photography (the woodblock print French Photographer above) to the Belgian interpretation of Anglo-American cinema (the poster design for Charlie Chaplin's Play Day below). You can dial in on your zone of interest by using the "Topics & Subjects," whose hundreds of filterable options include, to name just a few, such categories as Asia, woodfragmentsLondon, folios, and underwear.

The collection also contains works of the masters, such as Vincent van Gogh's 1887 Self-Portrait with Straw Hat (as well as its obverse, 1885's The Potato Peeler), and some of the world's great vistas, including Francesco Guardi's 1765 rendering of Venice from the Bacino di San Marco. If you'd like to see what in the collection has drawn the attention of most of its browsers so far, sort it by view count: those at work should beware that nudes and other erotically charged artworks predictably dominate the rankings, but they do it alongside Naruto Whirlpool, the Philosopher's Stone, and Albert Einstein. Human interest, like human creativity, always has a surprise or two in store.

Related Content:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 375,000 Images of Fine Art Available Under a Creative Commons License: Download, Use & Remix

Download 464 Free Art Books from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1.8 Million Free Works of Art from World-Class Museums: A Meta List of Great Art Available Online

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes 140,000+ Artistic Images from Its Collections Available on Archive.org is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
posted by [personal profile] rydra_wong at 12:23pm on 28/06/2017 under
In case anyone's got some spare cash they found down the back of the sofa:

The National Immigration Law Center have donation-matching up to $100,000 to help them create a Rapid Response Fund:

Donate to NILC

Planned Parenthood Action have donation-matching up to $350,000:

Donate to PP

The Climate Science Legal Defence Fund have matching up to $50,000:

Donate to the CSLDF

The National Network of Abortion Funds have matching up to $50,000, and their solicitation e-mail ends "Let’s fund abortion, build power, and radically love each other," bless them (they're also the only organization I've encountered where a staff member has their preferred pronouns in their sig which makes me feel warm and fuzzy):

Donate to the NNAF

If you know of others, please comment!
rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
In case anyone's got some spare cash they found down the back of the sofa:

The National Immigration Law Center have donation-matching up to $100,000 to help them create a Rapid Response Fund:

Donate to NILC

Planned Parenthood Action have donation-matching up to $350,000:

Donate to PP

The Climate Science Legal Defence Fund have matching up to $50,000:

Donate to the CSLDF

The National Network of Abortion Funds have matching up to $50,000, and their solicitation e-mail ends "Let’s fund abortion, build power, and radically love each other," bless them (they're also the only organization I've encountered where a staff member has their preferred pronouns in their sig, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy):

Donate to the NNAF

If you know of others, please comment!

(X-posted to [community profile] thisfinecrew.)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
gingicat: drawing of me based on wedding photo (Default)
odannygirl7: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] odannygirl7 at 06:30am on 28/06/2017

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