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megpie71

July 2017

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Thursday, July 27th, 2017 04:19 pm
So put your armor on the ground tonight
'Cause everyone's got to come down sometime

You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to be Superman
You don't have to hold the world in your hands
You've already shown me that you can
Don't have to be Superman
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 08:03 pm
Karl has eaten four out of the five crickets, or so we hope because at this point we only see one cricket in the bin; it’s currently sitting on Karl’s butt, having the time of its life and enjoying the scenery. 

Whoever thought that a toad would make a good pet should have adopted a rock instead. 

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Thursday, July 27th, 2017 03:56 pm



Over the last decade, Orbit US, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, has quickly established itself as one of the premiere publishers of science fiction and fantasy, and a reliable source for everything from innovative works of science fiction to blockbuster epic fantasies. To celebrate the milestone, a selection of landmark Orbit titles is currently available on Nook for just $2.99 each, but we wanted to do more than point you toward some great titles, so we asked Orbit’s publisher, Tim Holman, to share a bit of history. Below his comments, you’ll find a timeline of key dates in Orbit’s history.

<a href="https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/orbit-books-turns-10-take-look-decade-milestones/>More here</a>
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 03:40 pm
44. A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle (e) (re-read)
43. The Rose and the Dagger, Renée Ahdieh
42. Blaze of Memory, Nalini Singh (read aloud w/Steve)
41. The Wrath and the Dawn, Renée Ahdieh
40. Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir, Mark Vonnegut MD (e)
39. The Rule of Luck, Catherine Cerveny (e) (arc)
38. The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
37. The Girl with Ghost Eyes, M.H. Boroson (e)
36. Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
35. White Hot, Ilona Andrews (e)
34.  The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, Tom Reiss (e)
33. Mouse and Dragon, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (e)
32. Caszandra, Andrea K. Host (e)
31. Lab Rat One, Andrea K. Host (e)
30. Stray, Andrea K. Host (e)
29. The Cat Who Turned On and Off, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
28. Apprentice in Death, J.D. Robb (e/l)
27. The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
26. The Face in the Frost, John Bellairs (e)
25. Hanged for a Sheep, Frances and Richard Lockridge (e)
24. Xamnesia, Lizzie Harwood (e)
23. Convergence, C. J. Cherryh, (read aloud with Steve)
22. Rock Addiction, Nalini Singh (e)
21. The Stranger in the Woods, Michael Finkel
20. Etched in Bone, Anne Bishop (e)
19. Rider at the Gate, CJ Cherryh (re-read)
18. Small Gods, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
17. Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggs (e)
16. The Cold Eye, Laura Anne Gilman
15. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
14. Memory, Linda Nagata (e)
13.  Bonita Faye, Margaret Moseley (e)
12.  Burn for Me, Ilona Andrews (e)
11. Snuff, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
10. A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (e)
9.  Some Danger Involved, Will Thomas
8.  Thud!, Terry Pratchett (read aloud w/Steve)
7.  White Tiger, Kylie Chan
6.  The Hanging Tree, Ben Aaronovitch
5.  Trading in Danger, Elizabeth Moon (e)
4.  The Wolf in the Attic, Paul Kearney (e)
3.  The Cat Who Saw Red, Lillian Jackson Braun (read aloud w/Steve)
2.  Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse, Jayme Lynn Blaschke (e)
1. Sand of Bone, Blair MacGregor (e)
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 01:48 pm
http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-kills-off-ipod-nano-ipod-shuffle-2017-7

This makes me really sad. Apple will still sell you an iPod Touch, which is basically a phoneless iPhone with a starting price of $199, but the days of Apple-branded MP3 players are pretty much done.

I own both the current (now discontinued) models and use them in my car. I still own a bunch of the older models, too, including an iPod Touch which is too old to upgrade past iOS 8. It's been my least favorite iPod.

I doubt the article's hypothesis about lack of Bluetooth support is accurate. The iPod nano does Bluetooth just fine. More likely, Apple just didn't want to keep financing development on the non-iOS software the cheaper iPods use, and iTunes support for same.

I guess I'll do my usual thing of keeping one of my Macs running an older version of iTunes until it burns out or something better comes along.

Meanwhile, I'm getting closer and closer to finally getting an iPhone. Since I last complained about it, my Android phone had a spell of a few weeks where it would spontaneously reboot with no warning, even in the middle of a phone call. Then when we were on vacation a couple of months ago, there was an episode where it told me I had no signal when I was separated from my family, and I ended up walking halfway across the theme park trying to reacquire signal until it occurred to me that the phone was being stupid and I should reboot it. Then a few weeks after that, it started mysteriously eating battery life until Robby reminded me, once again, to shut up and reboot.

At this point I'm tired of fighting with it. I don't expect to be entirely happy with an iPhone either, but at least it will have new and different problems that might be less frustrating. I've only had to reboot a misbehaving iPad two or three times in the six or seven years now that I've owned one. Not two or three times a year - two or three times ever.
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 01:51 pm
Title: Making Decisions
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Pairing/Characters: Severus Snape/Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley/OFC.
Word Count: 100 x 10
Rating: R
Challenge: Written for [community profile] snarry100/[insanejournal.com profile] snarry100/[livejournal.com profile] snarry100's prompt# 586: Special.
Summary: Harry's plans run into a roadblock.
Part Twenty-One of the Wisdom Series (LJ/IJ/DW).
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Making Decisions )
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 07:45 pm

No, really, if you return to me a copy-edited article for my attention, and mention that you have made changes to the text (as well as changing the title to one that I think is misleading), please to be sending it to me with your changes tracked and marked up.

For if you are going to insult my ability to write English prose, I think I should be able to see how you have 'improved' my text without having to compare it line by line with the text I sent you.

I may possibly have dumped my bibliography on this editor's head...

Thursday, July 27th, 2017 06:07 pm
Interlude: Luke
by Lyn Thorne-Alder


Monday, December 11, 2000

He thought he might hit something.

He was certain he was going to hit something.  The question was whether or not he was going to manage to wait until he was out of Regine’s office.

“I know.”  He spoke very carefully, because if you got “emotional” around Regine, she stopped listening.  “Emotional” meant that you weren’t being “rational,” and that meant that she could discount any and everything you said.  “I’m aware that the Student Council interfered in the matter of Zita.  But they don’t see the same things as we do, and they’re — they’re biased.”

read on...
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 06:16 pm
Feelings the first: I've just had A finish Season 1 of Korra, and I'm going to be making him watch Spirited Away before Season 2, because that sequence is frankly one of the few things I like about Season 2, so. BUT. Having very recently watched the end of Book 3 of A:tLA with him, I Noticed a Thing about the end of Season 1 that I had not, previously, and then FEELINGS. Spoilers, obviously. )



Orphan Black is also a bunch of FEELINGS, also has spoilers (up to 5.07), and also comes with a content note for Significant Gore slightly beyond what one normally expects of the show, along with all the usual "everything is horrifying but I love all of them" caveats.

Read more... )
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 04:58 pm
Karl has not eaten his crickets. RUN KARL RUN. EAT YOUR CRICKETS DAMMIT.

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Thursday, July 27th, 2017 12:47 pm
This is going to be my 44th Pennsic, though to be honest about it, cancer year was pretty marginal.

I have, finally, figured out how to correctly thread and efficiently use a rachet tie. Apparently, I'm a slow learner. It probably would have gone faster if I'd ever read the directions. Like Calvin, apparently I go with "Live and don't learn, that's my motto!"

Anyway, the truck is all packed. In short order, I'm going to turn off the computer and start driving to Pennsic. I hope to see many of you there.
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 04:03 pm
We are currently toad-sitting for a friend of a friend (long story) and much as I love frogs and all things amphibian, I don’t think I ever want a toad of my own. 

The toad arrived two days ago in a tall lidless plastic container, complete with special blue drops to put in his water and a box of live crickets to feed him (eeeek). We placed the bin in one of the few rooms that can be completely isolated from the cats, i.e. the “plant room”. 

The toad’s name is Karl. Karl is not very bright. 

This morning I found my calico cat, Josephine-the-cranky, sitting in front of the glass door that leads to the plant room and watching intently. Oh no, I thought. But then I thought, of course not, the bin is WAY too tall, she probably just… smelled something. Yes, that’s it: she’s smelling the toad. But then I saw her entire body stiffen and I thought, this can’t be right. So I went to have a look.

Sure enough, Karl was out and about and hoping merrily. Oh no, I thought.

Have you ever tried to catch a panicked toad? Well, let me just tell you that I’ve developed a whole new level of appreciation for Neville Longbottom. It took three people and several tries to get Karl back in his box. It didn’t help that we all ran after the toad but nobody really wanted to touch him. Karl inadvertently hoped onto my foot at some point and I instinctively shrieked and pulled my foot back (listen, he’s a big toad and I thought Froglet had him cornered, I did not expect him to land on my bare foot with a wet splat). 

Eventually, EVENTUALLY, we got Karl back into the bin, where he sat sulking in a corner. We shook a few crickets into the bin to cheer him up, but NOPE, Karl sulked and ignored the crickets. The crickets climbed on him. He remained unfazed. Froglet tried to catch a cricket with tweezers to feed it to Karl, but she only managed to scare it off and it fled straight to Karl, who ignored it. 

Karl’s really not that bright - we’re starting to believe that he’s scared of his own food. 

As a last resort we threw a blanket over the great lidless plastic bin, which now contains one depressed-looking toad and several hyperactive crickets, and we’re hoping for the best. I’ll check in on Karl and the crickets later today. 

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Thursday, July 27th, 2017 08:54 am
Userscripts:

I use these with Greasemonkey in Firefox, but other browsers have their own monkey-based extensions for userscripts.

AO3 Kudos/Hits Ratio — Min's script does the math for you so you can see how popular a work is with its readers. Shown as a percentage, the ratio is useful as long as you're aware of its shortcomings. For instance, chaptered wips are always going to have a really low kudos/hit ratio just because a reader can only leave kudos once but usually visits a story multiple times, driving up the hit count. And of course it doesn't take comments into account.

Incomplete Work Script — Makes it more obvious a work is in progress by greying out the text and changing the transparency of the blurb. Works on index pages as well as on the work itself. Never again Rarely get to the end of a story and experience that sinking realization that it's not finished! This is by Flamebyrd, who makes a lot of the tools I use.

Download Buttons — Want to download a lot of stuff in a hurry? tuff_ghost's script adds a download button to each work on an index page. So go ahead and download the top ten coffee shop AUs without ever leaving the page. Works on series pages, too.

Floaty Review Box, Chapter Shortcut & Kudos Sortable Bookmarks — ravenel's script does lots of good things. The floaty review box makes commenting easier, just highlight favorite lines, hit "insert" and the magic box copies them to the comment box for later. The last chapter shortcut is helpful if a wip has just been updated and you want to skip straight to the latest chapter. And, as if that weren't enough, it also lets you sort your bookmarks by kudos. If you can, check out the Tumblr post for a gif-based tutorial. If you can't, get the userscript directly from pastebin.


Other Helpful Tools:

Hide Empty Paragraphs — A bookmarklet that removes extra blank lines from some AO3 works. This is also from Flamebyrd; check out their site for more cool stuff: Flamebyrd's AO3 Bookmarklets and Scripts.

Filter Me, AO3 — You simply cannot with the AO3's complicated filtering system? This tumblr will filter shit for you. Just send them an ask and they'll post a link curated to your exact preferences, probably. Terms and conditions may apply.

AO3 Series Downloader — This baby by stillwinds requires Java and as such is not my thing, but if you're interested in messing around with command lines, it will download an entire series into a single epub file for you. Or, if you use Chrome, there's a browser extension.

And, finally, the AO3 has its own list of Unofficial Browser Tools, and most of these are on it, but there's lots of stuff I didn't mention, so go dig around if you're looking for tools to help you post to the archive from Gdocs, or tools to help you manage challenges you're running, or tools to filter out unwanted content. And if you know of something that's not on the list, send support a tip.

{also posted to Tumblr}
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 11:06 am
I think this is a really interesting question the Talmud in Sanhedrin deals with, using the model of Moses and Aaron.

If two people disagree about something involving money, they can sue in court and have the court issue a ruling over who is right. There will be a clear winner and a loser and it will be unambiguous who is who, and this may result in bad feelings lingering between the two parties afterward. The result may be just according to Torah law, but that justice may not necessarily be the only thing that matters in the interpersonal relationship.

So suppose you valued peace between people more than you valued getting the 'correct' resolution to the dispute. You might, when approached by two disputants, suggest that rather than trying their case in Beit Din, they first talk to a mediator or arbitrator who can help them figure out a way to settle things out of court in a way that makes everyone get something. According to Talmudic law, such a mediation agreement is generally binding- if both parties agree to the settlement, they can't then go to a Beit Din and ask for justice, unless there was some corruption in the selection of the mediator.

This might seem like a better approach in a lot of situations. Some of the Rabbis in Sanhedrin say it's an obligation on the judge to suggest mediation if they think it will help. But others raise really salient objections.

What if you're a judge and two disputants come to see you. One is rich and powerful, the other is poor. They start telling you about the case and ask if you'll judge it for them. You hear enough detail to know that if you hear the case, the rich man is likely to lose. Is it corrupt for you to suggest mediation, knowing that the outcome will likely be better for the rich man than if you were to enact full justice? Perhaps, because you're not supposed to favor a rich man over a poor one as a judge. BUT what if the virtue of peace is greater than the virtue of justice? Perhaps it's more important to achieve a resolution where both the rich and poor men are satisfied, even though it means harming the poor man financially?

The classic homiletic is that Aaron was rodef shalom, a pursuer of peace at all costs. Whereas Moses believed in seeking true justice even when it harmed the peace.

The Talmud finds a middle ground. Its rule for judges is that they can propose mediation if they fear that they will be forced to rule against the powerful person, however once they hear enough of the case to know that they are likely to rule against the powerful person, they cannot propose mediation. That is, it's corrupt to act when you are sure that your actions are benefitting the rich person, but when it's merely a possibility that it will benefit the rich person, it's okay even if you're hoping for that possibility.

Within this principle, the dispute is between Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya and Resh Lakish over when the moment is when they've heard too much of the case to offer mediation. Rabbi Shimon holds that as soon as they've heard the case, they've heard too much. Resh Lakish holds that even after they've heard the case, as long as they've not made up their mind, they can suggest mediation. This seems to be a dispute about optics vs. intention. Rabbi Shimon ben Menasya thinks optics matter for justice, if the appearance is there that the judge pushed for mediation to favor the powerful person, it is a corruption of justice, while Resh Lakish thinks that so long as the dayan didn't act corruptly, the optics are less important than the pursuit of peace.
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Thursday, July 27th, 2017 05:29 pm
Reading the first Bernie Gunther novel has sent me into the rabbit hole, the marathon reading from which I now slowly emerge, having grabbed all the novels my local library had available and then buying the most recent one, Prussian Blue. By which you can conclude that these novels are addictive, despite or maybe because of their very dark setting and the way Kerr handles it. I didn’t always read them in order, but that works out better than usual in a series because Kerr writes them not always in linear order as well, and several take place in different eras simultaneously (one post WWII, one during the Third Reich), each filling out different gaps in his anti hero’s life. In fact, I’m glad I read, not by intention but coincidence of availability, “The Other Side of Silence” (No.11, probably the one most located in the 1950s, with just one flashback to the 1940s) before “The Pale Criminal” (No.2, set in 1938), because while both novels feature male gay characters, the ones in No.11 are fleshed out and for the most part sympathetic, and also not just one or two but four on page and a fifth one intensely talked about, whereas in No.2 they are solely a weak coward and a villain respectively, which for a novel set during a time when gay people ended up in prison and/or camps in Germany is a highly questionable authorial choice.

(Sidenote: not that you don’t have historical basis for writing gay villains in a story set among the Nazis. I mean, Ernst Röhm. But still.)

Reading the first novel had left me wondering how Kerr would justify Bernie Gunther’s continued survival as a (mostly) ethical P.I. in one of the most brutal dictatorships in history. Turns out, he doesn’t; Bernie gets drafted back into police service by Reinhard Heydrich in 1938, which means that when WWII starts, he along with the rest of the police gets absorbed into the SS, and while he manages to get a transfer into another unit, this doesn’t happen before being exposed to and in one case participating in mass shootings. While some of the novels feature flashbacks to the P.I. period, most therefore have Bernie as part of the institutions he abhors, which simultaneously deepens his moral compromise (and self loathing) but heightens the likelihood of his survival (while also providing the novelist with excuses for letting Bernie be present at some key points he couldn’t have been as a civilian, like the discovery of the Katyn massacre, more about that in a moment). I find this a fair authorial choice – if you’re going to produce a series of novels with a German detective set mostly in the Third Reich, keeping him entirely guilt free of the morass the nation was sunk into would have felt like cheating. I also was able to buy into the premise of various upper hierarchy Nazis – Heydrich, Goebbels, Arthur Nebe – finding Bernie so useful they would want to use him because he’s That Good at crime solving and occasionally even in a dictatorship you need to figure out who actually did the deed as opposed to finding the most convenient scapegoat. (The constant in fighting and rivalry between top Nazis also plays a role in Bernie’s survival, since a good detective is also useful for getting dirt on each other.) Another way Kerr plays fair is having Bernie constantly aware of the sheer insanity of it all – trying to track down individual criminals when the entire system around you has become criminal, and murder and thievery actually are the law.

Further ramblings below the cut )
Thursday, July 27th, 2017 12:16 pm
--I have an appointment with Dr. Awesome at 3, which I'm opening with because since yesterday I've been afraid of forgetting about it. (I usually try to schedule appointments for mid-morning, and usually on Mondays [Monday being the day I'm most sure of not having work in the morning when Casual Job is on], so "mid-afternoon on a Thursday" is deeply counterintuitive.) Along with the B12 shot, I need to talk to her about how badly I've been sleeping (I think the tryptophan isn't helping much anymore), medication stuff, and my specialist appointment last month. (I printed out my notes on that, most of which are seething.)


--One of these days I'm going to have to cave and either look into a new music player or start listening to music on my phone. I've been resistant to the latter for fear of draining the phone battery too quickly, but so many people use their smartphones for music that it must not be as big an issue as I fear; also, I formed that fear back when I had a different phone with much less battery life. (And now I have a...power bank? Portable charger? Whatever they're called...that I picked up last summer when I was briefly playing Pokemon Go. *still annoyed about the game's obnoxious decision to not work for anyone using a rooted/unlocked phone*)


--Another "one of these days" things...I really need to start trying to reconstruct my AMV collection at some point, but it's exhausting to think about. :/


--Last night I wrote about 1100 words, which is more than I'd managed since early June, during [dreamwidth.org profile] nanodownunder. I was up too late doing it, and I don't care. Words! (Words that I'll probably blush over when I get a draft and send it to [dreamwidth.org profile] wildpear...and how long has it been since that was a thought? I've generally gotten pretty blasé about smut. And then there's this.)


--[dreamwidth.org profile] rushthatspeaks has a post up about The War of the Worlds. It's well worth reading, of course, but I'm noting it because I'm laughing at myself for how I get caught on it every time I see H.G. Wells referred to by male pronouns.