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February 2017

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Monday, February 27th, 2017 09:33 am
Crazy day is crazy.
I hope everyone's doing okay!
Ali's List of Fics: February 20 - February 27 )
Here's what's coming up:
Ali’s To-Do/WsIP List )
Monday, February 27th, 2017 10:01 am
March Sketch a Day template for anyone who wants to use it. ^_^ One more day left on February and I've failed totally at keeping up, but I'll have it done by tomorrow.

In other news my home computer, the 2011 iMac of Doom (named Teletraan) had some critical fail Friday night. Appears my video card has died. This would, coincidentally, explain why when my dragon and I are playing WoW on the same server, at the same time, on the same internet connection, she would have 50 FPS and I would have 9. =P Apparently my video card has been slowly dying. Repair is going to be a bit costly (it's a 2011 first gen iMac of the current model, it's so far out of warranty or applecare coverage it's not even funny) but still should be vastly cheaper than an actual new Mac. Plus it's still a workhorse machine, just need the screen to be working and display things. =P I'll drag it into the Apple store close to work tomorrow and drop it off for repairs, then cross my fingers and hope.

(My excuse is that part of my February sketch pic involves screen cap reference, which is on Teletraan and which I now don't have access to. =P Ooops. Thank goodness I did sketch rough outlines of things in with blue pencil!
Monday, February 27th, 2017 06:01 am
A few years ago, the Best Picture Oscar went to a movie called Crash. This year's Best Picture Oscar was a crash.

I was the Hugo Awards administrator the year after the presenter was given a card with the wrong winner on it. I was earnestly instructed by the executive committee not to do that. I said, "Don't worry: we will only make new and original mistakes." (I later learned that the late great George Flynn had said the same thing the first time he ran the Hugos, so it wasn't a new and original joke.)

I have no idea how the wrong name on the card happened, and it would never have happened under my watch. We didn't prepare anything except the templates until we finalized the winners, and then we made the cards, the press release, instructions for the plaque-maker, and everything else.

But that's not what happened at the Oscars. Instead of the card being incorrect, Beatty was given the card for the wrong award. How that happened, I don't know either. And so Dunaway saw the name of the movie the Best Actress winner was in and read that. I'd give them both some slack for screwing up: they weren't expecting this; they're actors, they work from scripts; and also but not only because of their ages, they may have "senior moments" from time to time, something that's fuddled previous venerable presenters worse than this without the wrong card as an excuse.

Contrary to statements that nothing like this has ever happened before at the Oscars, it has. In 1964, Sammy Davis Jr. was given the card for the wrong film score award (in those days there were two awards).
He read the nominees for the first award — scoring of music, adaptation or treatment — opened the envelope and proudly announced that John Addison had won the Oscar for "Tom Jones." The problem was Addison actually had won the Oscar in the music score, substantially original category. "They gave me the wrong envelope?" asked Davis, as a representative of Price Waterhouse quickly came out with the envelope that had the correct winner — Andre Previn for "Irma la Douce." "Wait'll the NAACP hears about this!" he quipped.
I've seen neither Moonlight nor La La Land - they don't sound like my kind of movies. I like musicals, but an attempt to watch Chicago proved that's not enough to save a movie for me if I'm otherwise uninterested in it. The only movies that won Oscars this year that I have seen are:
  • Manchester by the Sea - a very close cousin of Seth Meyers' Oscar Bait parody. Story about really depressed people with a happy ending consisting of their becoming slightly less depressed. Arrival was supposed to be the hard-to-follow movie this year, but this is the one whose plot confused me, because the flashback scenes were not stylized in any way, and I often didn't realize I was in one.
  • Zootopia - I realize this movie wasn't about its plot, but the plot was such a tedious routine crime-detection story it bored me, and the parallels with race relations were painfully self-conscious to the point of agony.
  • Arrival - hey, a movie I actually liked.
Other nominated movies I've seen:
  • Hell or High Water - a caper film, fun to watch, but typically for the genre quite amoral. And if the scene where the brothers are getting into separate cars to drive away didn't telegraph what was going to happen next, Samuel Morse never lived.
  • Hidden Figures - I saw this because I like historical movies about the Moon program, not to feel virtuous. But gosh, does it ever make you feel virtuous.
  • Jackie - far duller than I'd expected, and an uncomfortably eerie movie. Felt as if it had been filmed in that weird apartment at the end of 2001.
  • Florence Foster Jenkins - I saw this out of curiosity as to what would be done with a movie about the worst singer of all time. Turned out that they toned down the badness of her singing (she was actually much worse than Streep portrays her), and made the moral out of turning her into the kind of person who'd have sung "I did it my way!" if that song had been written yet.
  • Kubo and the Two Strings - arresting animation, sprightly dialog, but rambling and wayward story.
  • Sully - a vicious libel on the investigating commission, but other than that, pretty good.
  • Hail, Caesar! - If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll like. Turned out I didn't.
Monday, February 27th, 2017 09:49 am
The meme is here: Give me the names of two characters and I will tell you why character A loves character B.

Here is [personal profile] clare_dragonfly's third prompt. Reid and Regine are from Addergoole. This was a wee bit tricky~

Read more... )
Want More?
Monday, February 27th, 2017 10:44 pm

The comic book tie-in to the 90s X-Men animated series outlasted the animated series itself, at least for a while, telling series set after the final episode.

Eventually, though, sales dictated that the comic needed to end too. When that happened, the creative team decided to put the final bow on this universe in a very unexpected fashion. As you'll see, things got a little crazy.

Read more... )
Monday, February 27th, 2017 09:04 am
Apart from the appointment and the library trip, I spent most of yesterday in bed. My muscles felt like jell-o, and I was so very, very tired. I read a little, wrote a little, and did a whole lot of nothing.

I can’t get in to see my primary care doctor until mid-April. I’m frustrated about that, but my hands and my Achille’s tendon aren’t going to kill me or get enough worse to be permanently damaging.

Scott bought new handles for our bedroom door and for the bathroom. He took the old knobs off the bedroom door with the idea that if it didn’t work it wouldn’t matter much because we don’t tend to close that door. It’s just as well. He discovered that it’s going to take major work to put the new hardware in. He decided not to try to drill holes in the door while I was in bed, resting, so he’s putting it off until next weekend.

Scott says he bought me a new lamp but that he’s sure I won’t like it because that’s how these things work. I haven’t seen the new lamp yet, so I have no opinion.

Cordelia’s math class is using an online textbook, and she asked me to help her try to find the exercise her teacher had assigned. It turned out not to be there at all, but I got a good look at the site. It’s a Holt, Rinehart textbook. The site says that it should be viewed with either Internet Explorer 5.1+ or Netscape 7.0.2+ which made me boggle. It displayed okay in the most recent version of Firefox, but when was the last time they updated the site?

I’m trying to figure out what I can manage to do today in terms of household chores. The sink is full of dirty dishes. Normally, that wouldn’t take me long to deal with, but I tire out fast, so I’m a bit worried that, if I do that, I won’t be able to do other things that need to be done. Right now, I can manage two or three minutes on my feet at a time. Laundry would be nice, but I can put that off until tomorrow. I’d also like to cook. I think that won’t happen.
Monday, February 27th, 2017 01:25 pm

Posted by Jessica Lachenal


In case you forgot: Wonder Woman flies an invisible jet. Since its introduction in 1942, it’s something that’s obviously persisted as a bit of a running gag, simply because of how preposterous the idea of a invisible jet might be. That being said, this young girl totally rocks the invisible jet as part of her own Wonder Woman cosplay.

5-year-old Penny dressed up for a comic convention and got an assist from her professional balloonist father, Chicago-based “Smarty Pants” (heck yeah, man), who designed an invisible jet out of clear plastic balloons. According to a chat with io9, the plane took three hours to build, and she wore it for the entire convention. She guarded it pretty jealously, and understandably so, as it’s made of gosh darn balloons, and the last thing you want is for your invisible jet to burst from getting passed around so much.

Rock on, Smarty Pants and Penny. This costume is everything.

(image via DC/Warner Bros.)

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Monday, February 27th, 2017 08:43 am
+ I had a lovely weekend and got to see a few friends, including [personal profile] samtheeagle on Saturday and [personal profile] sanj on Sunday

- I came home on Sunday to discover that there is no heat in my condo

+ [personal profile] sanj and I went out for Chinese food and there was heat there

+ and she was willing to come over and watch Top Chef afterwards, wrapped in blankets

- the night was, um, chilly (but survivable) - my house is currently 45 degrees Fahrenheit, which would be fine for the great outdoors but is kind of on the cold side for a dwelling

+ I do have hot water, so my shower this morning was sublime

- getting out of the shower was a sad thing indeed

+ someone will show up sometime today to fix the heat

+ and for now, I have hot coffee, and a wool sweater, and I am wearing my son's old Hello Kitty ski hat, which looks ridiculous I'm sure but is keeping my ears warm
Monday, February 27th, 2017 08:15 am
Saturday morning, before the weather broke, my husband and I spent probably a half-hour cleaning out our culvert, digging wet leaves and sticks out of the ditch and hauling them to the hedgerow.

It’s achey work, bending-over, digging, lifting, wet work, and at least the weather was still in the fifties. It was necessary work, because in a heavy rain, our culvert fills all the way to the top, and, clogged as it was, it might have overflowed in unfortunate ways. It’s supposed to carry rain away, not keep it in our yard, after all.

There was the nice feeling of having done something physical that was productive was nice, that warm ache. But on the other hand…

So, I hate raking. I really, really hate raking. It goes back to being a child, and I am ridiculous about any number of chores that I had to do as a kid/teenager — but raking really ranks up there.

And we didn’t rake this fall.

And the leaves all blew, like they will, into the culvert.

You see where I’m going?

It reminded me of learning, maybe seven years ago, exactly how bad it could be when Iavoided conflict by not talking about problems or by trying to give in to everyone at once (Answer: everyone ends up mad at you and you end up with even more conflict than you’d originally been trying to avoid).

It’s one of those lessons I have to keep learning over and over again: the more you put something off, the more work it is.

Hopefully, I remember this in fall, when it’s time to rake again. Or the next time something threatens to pile up in my metaphorical culverts.

...kind of like the dishes in the sink…
Monday, February 27th, 2017 05:24 am

"It is alarming that in a series of catastrophic executive policy decisions -- the president's Muslim travel ban, his selection of Steve Bannon as his main political adviser, his short-lived appointment of Michael Flynn as national security adviser, his proposal to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem -- there seems to be a single common element: the stigmatization and provocation of Muslims. In rhetoric and action, the Trump administration has aggrandized 'radical Islamic terror' thus making what Madison called a 'favorable emergency' more likely." -- Timothy Snyder, 2017-02-26, "The Reichstag Warning"

Monday, February 27th, 2017 03:01 am
This poem is spillover from the February 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer and Anna Libertas. It also fills the "WILD CARD: Food" square in my 6-1-16 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] technoshaman. It belongs to the Damask thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
Monday, February 27th, 2017 09:19 am
Happy birthday, [personal profile] redsixwing!
Monday, February 27th, 2017 09:20 am
Since this was our fifth stay in a Landmark Trust property for the bloke’s birthday, I think I feel safe in calling it a tradition.

On Friday last, we gingerly loaded up our newly repaired car and crossed everything in the hopes that it would make it through the 200-odd mile drive from our house to North Yorkshire to stay in The Old Grammar School.

Kirby Hill is a beautiful grey old stone village, set around a green. The Old Grammar School [TOGS] was such from its establishment in 1556 to its closure in 1957. An average of 30 local boys aged 10 to 18 were taught there, though many departed aged 14 to go to work. The ground floor schoolroom was converted into the village hall, while the first and second floors were converted into the flat that one can now book through the Landmark Trust [LT] for holidays. LT properties are carefully furnished and kitted out with libraries that are specific to the property and to the history of the place. For instance, I read Goodbye, Mr Chips, which is a heartwarming fictional biography of a schoolmaster, while we were in TOGS. LT properties also deliberately don’t provide televisions or WiFi. In fact, my phone signal was so bad that I couldn’t even get the 3G to work.

We arrive late in the afternoon and were pleased to find that the previous occupants had left us sufficient firewood for that evening.

Our first thought on entry was “tea”. Thoughtfully, the housekeeper had left a complete tea service ready for us and a small jug of milk in the fridge.

The bloke pouring some milk for Keiki, who’s standing on a dining chair. The window seat, which features in subsequent photos, is to their right.

+12 )

Up next: visiting the Kirby Hill church (St Peter and St Felix).

Quick note about the photos: I have come to rely on Aviary in Flickr to do colour correction on my photos. It’s quick and convenient and its algorithm seems to be pretty good. Except at the moment, it’s not working. To those who care about white balance, my apologies.