Feminism and Tabletop RPGs

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A blue and purple d20 sits on some lined paper. (Gaming)
[personal profile] calissa

Monsterhearts, Night Witches, Tabletop RPGs

At Continuum 13, I had the pleasure of sitting on the Tabletop Gaming panel with Aidan Doyle, Darryl “Owlbear” Brown, Laura Wilkinson and Bryce Campbell. The discussion was a mix of designer and player perspectives, and remained an upbeat conversation throughout. We could have continued for hours.

One of the things I touched on in the panel was feminism and gaming. I wanted to elaborate a little on that here.

The rise of Kickstarter has brought a new golden age for indie RPGs. As the panel mentioned, you can now find something for everyone. This includes games that have strong feminist influences and encourage diversity. A few of the games that have come across my radar include:

Bluebeard’s Bride by Whitney Strix Beltrn, Marissa Kelly, and Sarah Richardson. This gothic horror RPG is still in production, but you can still preorder and check out their Kickstarter pitch video. Players collectively form Bluebeard’s Bride, playing different aspects of her psyche as she explores her husband’s mansion. Although the game uses the structure of the original fairytale, it encourages players to tell their own versions, allowing space for the empowering as well as the tragic.

Eclipse Phase by Posthuman Studios is a cyberpunk game which has just Kickstarted its second edition. This game is perhaps a little less explicitly feminist than the others. However, being concerned with posthumanism, it allows space for exploration of gender and disability through mechanisms for swapping and augmenting bodies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has more of a complicated rule system than the other games (which are all Powered by the Apocalypse).

Monsterhearts by Avery Alder is one of my favourite RPGs. It’s an urban fantasy about teenage monsters. As you might expect, teenage sexuality is an important element of the game. This may be why it is the first (and, so far, only) game I’ve ever seen discuss asexuality and allows space for that within the rules. It is also built around the premise that everyone is fundamentally bisexual and can be turned on by characters of any gender–though players always retain the choice of whether they wish to act on these feelings.

Night Witches by Jason Morningstar. Set in WW2, players are members of the all-female 588th Night Bomber Regiment in the Russian Army. The game touches on the discrepancy between the Soviet philosophy of equality and how the women were actually treated. It also explicitly mentions queer relationships and one of the playbooks allows for a genderqueer character.

The Watch by Anna Kreider and Andrew Medeiros. A low magic fantasy wherein a mystical enemy known as the Shadow invades. Able to enter and subvert the minds of its enemies, the Shadow is particularly effective against men. It’s up to women and non-binary femmes to form the Watch and defend their lands. This is another game still in production, but you can still check out their Kickstarter. I appreciate the explicit inclusion of non-binary femmes in their pitch. The game also looks like it will have some mechanisms which deal with mental health.

These games have diversity and inclusivity baked into their premise and mechanisms. While I will always value these sorts of games the most, they’re not the only way of promoting diversity in RPGs. As I mentioned in the panel, simply including diverse people in the accompanying artwork can go some way towards fostering an inclusive environment. The fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons has made some improvements in this fashion (even if the setting retains some problematic elements).

The games I’ve mentioned here are surely just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re a keen tabletop RPGer, I’d love to hear from you: Which feminist RPGs have you discovered?

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

The past is not another country

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:54 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
These last couple of weeks we've been very aware of the past all around us, still making its presence felt. These stones embedded in the cliff represent the beach surface of 120000 years ago.

IMG_2391

And this exhibition on the 1980's shows that things never really change, only the details vary.

IMG_2352

 

Loose Id sale

Jun. 22nd, 2017 07:31 am
julesjones: (Default)
[personal profile] julesjones
A quick note to say that Loose Id have temporarily dropped the prices on many "first of series" books, including mine. This is currently guaranteed to apply only to books purchased directly through Loose Id, although they were working on getting the reductions onto the big third party sites like Amazon. You can also get two of my short stories for free from the Loose Id site. My catalogue page is here: http://www.loose-id.com/authors/erotic-romance-authors-g-k.html?cat=76
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
 photo Blessed_Litha_To_Everyone_by_oruth_zpseywlppjj.jpg


I knew today was wrong-footed this morning when I reheated my tea and sat there wondering what was taking so long with the microwave. I had put the tea cup in the cupboard....

So to celebrate the change of season's I finally drove out to the Serpent Mound. It's the world's largest earthen work effigy so I SHOULD see if since I live an hour away. I was there once when I was 8. To be honest...I had to say it but I was disappointed. Not in the mound. It's still a very cool thing (pictures later since I'm exhausted) but in 40 years they still know nothing new. I found that disappointing (and that the gift shop was bigger than the museum and it featured plains Indian stuff instead of the Adena/Hopewell/Fort Ancient people of this area). They mentioned doing ground penetrating radar but not what was found. Ah well. Is it bad that I own almost every Native American book they had in that gift shop?

Speaking of books, Mom made me take some crap out of my bedroom at home, 75% of it D&D books then Elfquest and some other stuff which I want to keep so I cleared off a shelf in my living room. I culled at least a dozen books from there to get rid of. I have too many nonfiction books I'm never going to reread and half this stuff is online now or things I don't need to research (ironically my new short story will be featuring the elf I originally got all these books about the dancer Ninjinsky for)


Yesterday went okay. I really like the person we interviewed yesterday, the one I insisted we interview. I liked her better than the one young man who I can tell is going to be offended by every little thing and very political and will probably get on my tits. Here's the problem everyone is gone on vacation and I'm scared all these people will have jobs by the time we bring them up here in 3 weeks. Sigh.

Languages 101

Jun. 21st, 2017 11:39 am
la_samtyr: books (books)
[personal profile] la_samtyr
"Adios y gracias por el pez."

species mis-communication

The Four Boundless Attitudes

Jun. 20th, 2017 01:31 pm
fayance: (Default)
[personal profile] fayance
In memory of my son Daniel, part of one of his favorite sutras, which he recited daily in his meditations:

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all beings never be separate from unconditional happiness,
where there is no suffering.
May all beings live in great impartiality, free from
attachment and aversion.

That was forever taking

Jun. 19th, 2017 10:41 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
SEVEN job interviews in one day. I liked all the ecology ones and only one of the cell ones. I've insisted we try to skype one late applicant for the cell one because she sounds like a good fit and she's local.

They all took me out for my birthday which was nice. New Holland's barrel aged Dragon's Milk stout was delicious.

Unfortunately one of my friends had gotten bad news both macular degeneration and diabetic retinaopahty in his eyes. He stands a good chance of going blind and that makes me very sad.


I don't know what's going on in my garden but there are 3 ash trees and 5 elms in it! Yikes I have a lot to do.

Moving House

Jun. 19th, 2017 07:35 pm
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
[personal profile] liralen
When we first set up the hive, it had to be away from the house because we were replacing the roof and the solar panels on the south side of the house had to come down before the roof could be put on. So we put the hive on the North side of the yard, facing South to catch the sun in the entrance on most days.

But the entrance also faced the biggest part of our backyard lawn, and the flight path for the bees was right over the grassy area where all the kids would play if we had a party again in our backyard. So we had to move the hive.
Read more... )

Review for Broke Deep

Jun. 19th, 2017 08:11 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
A unique setting and a lovely couple. More at Alpha Book Club.

Early morning wildlife

Jun. 19th, 2017 11:20 am
codyne: my wyvern tattoo (Default)
[personal profile] codyne
I got up early this morning to go out for a walk/run before it got too hot (forecast is 98 F today), and ran across some critters I don't usually see!

First there was this Jerusalem cricket in the driveway:

Jerusalem cricket (hand for scale)

My hand is there for scale. (Ignore the bright pink fingernail, it's there because my fingernail is badly split, and it kept getting snagged on stuff and making it worse and I couldn't cut it short enough because it was split way down into the nail bed. Tried various ways to seal/protect it, and finally found the best way was to apply stick-on nail wraps with a couple coats of clear polish over it. Of course, the nail wraps were all sparkly and pink but I dun care, I just want my fingernail to stop splitting.) Little bug was probably about two inches long. I know we have Jerusalem crickets around here, but you don't see them very often because they live underground. They're weird and scary-looking, but basically harmless. This little guy just sat there while I ran circles around the driveway, didn't even move when I put my hand down to take the picture.

Here is a close-up of its little face:

Jerusalem cricket

I didn't want it to stay in the driveway and risk getting run over just in case someone drove around, so I got a stem from a bush and prodded it until it scurried away.

My other morning visitor was a bee who came to snack on a flower in my yard.

Untitled

Her little leg pouches were stuffed full of pollen.

TNT's CLAWS

Jun. 19th, 2017 11:38 am
grey853: (alice_facepalm_ozqueen)
[personal profile] grey853
On the flip side of seeing Wonder Woman last week, I managed 20 minutes of TNT's new drama CLAWS. I've been to R-rated movies that were less explicit. Lord knows I'm not a prude, but this was pretty shocking to be on regular cable. I stopped watching not just because of the general raunchiness, but the fact that there was not a single character that I wanted to watch. What is it with TV shows now that feature primarily women and the women are all drug dealers or whores? Is that the only kind of woman who's supposed to be seen? Is this the result of so many reality shows that only film bad behavior? Is that how producers see women? Maybe it's a combination of all those things.

It's a shame, because I really like the lead actress as well as some of the supporting cast, but I couldn't stomach this show enough to even finish the episode.

Wonder Woman

Jun. 19th, 2017 11:33 am
grey853: Wonder Woman (WW_megascopes)
[personal profile] grey853
Wow, it took long enough, but we finally got a decent Wonder Woman. I was very pleased with the movie. We got to see the genesis of Princess Diana and saw the evolution into the super hero Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot did a great job throughout and there was an excellent mix of humor, action, and drama. I have to say I was impressed and relieved.

I suspect there will be a whole parade of little Wonder Woman costumes this Halloween. That's not a bad thing.

Let's Get This Show on the Road!

Jun. 19th, 2017 10:49 am
the_gneech: (Default)
[personal profile] the_gneech
So, last week was a challenge. >.> Messed up sleep, a cat-in-crisis (Lady) dropped in our lap, job hunt frustration, and a general lack of fucks to give led to me basically chucking everything out the window (everything I could chuck, anyhow) and playing video games. (Other than Overwatch, because that particular game is often the opposite of relaxing.)

However, I only let myself do that with the promise that I would be back to work on Monday and get things done that need to be done. So step one is: organize! Thus, the Too Much To Do List for the next two weeks:

  1. Do some kind of workout.

  2. Take a shower and get dressed.

  3. Issue six page nine

  4. Job applications

  5. Blacktigr commission

  6. Overwatch competitive stream/Mastering Mercy vid

  7. Mooncat Timey-Wimey badge

  8. LKCMSL Timey-Wimey badge

  9. Graveyard Greg IBMBA commish (NOTE: send bill for this)

  10. PTBAF panel agenda

  11. Print for AC: button restocks, Best Bodies Contest flyer, Timey-Wimey badges

  12. BtA YouTube banner

  13. BtA Patreon banner

  14. Read books for Rainbow Awards


Right ho. Time to get started.

-The Gneech
duskpeterson: (bookshelves)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
Emancipation


"They always held their breaths when the soldiers passed by, but so far, no battles had been held anywhere near Doughoregan Manor or any of its quarters. And sometimes a posse set out with the hounds, to hunt down the quarry."

Civil war is tearing apart the land. Again.

For centuries, the Kingdom Vovim to the northwest and the Queendom of Yclau to the southeast have fought each other for the border territory of Mip. Sometimes the Vovimians are lords of the land. Sometimes the people of Yclau are.

The only Mippites whose lives don't change are the slaves. Young Sling knows that his own life's work has already been determined: he is to be a house slave, serving his master's son. But secret meetings in hidden places with his master's son make Sling uncertain of what will happen next.

When news arrives of a proclamation that will allow Sling to leave his hated master, Sling faces a difficult choice: whether to flee to safety or to stay and face the dangers of an unknown future.

"Emancipation" is loosely inspired by events at a border-state manor during and after the American Civil War. This is a Juneteenth holiday gift story for my readers.




Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Checkmate


"It's all about torture. That's what I didn't understand for a long time. The High Seeker has been seeking out and punishing those of us who wish to show greater mercy to the prisoners than the Code allows. Those of us who question whether it's right to torture prisoners."

The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.

Split apart from their closest loves and friends, a small group of prison-workers seek to abolish the use of torture against prisoners in the queendom's royal dungeon. Time is running out, for the deadly High Seeker has already flogged and executed prison-workers who oppose his policies.

Do the reformers have enough time and skill to bring about radical change in the dungeon? Will they be able to overcome their mistrust of one another?




Survival School


"This is the right place for you, boy. They'll school you here to be a right-standing man, one who can keep control over his actions, like any good man should. You just got to keep yourself open to learn and to grow."

How far can trust grow, when you're in a place you despise?

Arrested for a crime he doesn't regret, Bat ends up handcuffed to a group of fellow city boys and sent on a long journey into the countryside. He know that he is being transported to a prison for delinquent servant boys, but what form will his imprisonment take?

Tattooed with the rank-mark of servant, Bat must learn how to keep from losing his temper with the men who carry the keys to his freedom. But in the unbelievable world where he has been deposited, in which a genial master orders strict punishments and a servant acts like a master, will Bat be able to locate the door to his release? Which of his fellow prisoners can he trust to help him?

And will he survive long enough to find out?

Inspired by true events at a turn-of-the-century reform school, this novella (short novel) is set in an alternative version of the Chesapeake Bay region during the 1910s.




Spy Hill


"Fairview was the finest friend a man could have, and the finest battle-companion. I dared not risk doing anything that might break our friendship."

On a hot summer's day, on a high hill surrounded by the enemy, the best battle-companion can turn out to be the truth.

Rook and Fairview have worked alongside each other for years, first as officers in the navy, then as officers on a steamship, and finally as colonels in an invading army. Members of a nation where tiny differences in rank are considered all-important, the two men defy convention by treating each other as equals.

But now their life-long bond is about to meet its greatest strain, when they are ordered to seize and defend a hill whose landscape is unknown, in the company of soldiers who may be incompetent or treacherous. Will Rook and Fairview's friendship remain by the end of the battle? Or will their lives take an unexpected detour as they struggle to survive on Spy Hill?

duskpeterson: (summer night shells)
[personal profile] duskpeterson
"The most important thing is habit, not will. If you feel you need will to get to the keyboard, you are in the wrong business. All that energy will leave nothing to work with. You have to make it like brushing your teeth, mundane, regular, boring even. It's not a thing of effort, of want, of steely, heroic determination. (I wonder who pushed the meme that writing is heroic; it must have been a writer, trying to get laid.) You have to do it numbly, as you brush your teeth. No theater, no drama, no sacrifice, no 'It is a far far better thing I do' crap. You do it because it's time. If you are ordering yourself, burning ergs, issuing sweat, breathing raggedly through nasal channels that feel like Navajo pottery, you're doing something wrong. Ever consider law? We definitely need more lawyers."

--Stephen Hunter (via Advice to Writers).


Thank you to all of you who sent your best wishes concerning Jo/e. He's out of the hospital now, feeling fine. The exploratory surgery revealed absolutely no problems with his heart. He's still having periodic chest pains, so he's going to be exploring with his doctor what are causing those.


What I've been up to )

So much for the weather

Jun. 18th, 2017 11:32 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
But before that, Happy Father's day to all the fathers out there.

Earlier in the week, it said 100% chance of rain on Sunday which is why I was going to race down on monday for the interviews (that and Father's day). Then the last two days and today it said 20% chance. Dad wanted me to leave so I wouldn't be rushing and possibly missing a) my chance to turn in my expense reports b) the first interviews.

And I'm not more than 15 minutes from home when the storm warnings come over the radio and my smart phone. Nothing like a drive through a deluge. Luckily that was just the first leg of the trip but it added an hour to the trip. I nearly flooded the engine compartment twice and once nearly spun out from the sheer rivers of rain and 60 mph winds. After that it was just a normal rain all the way done.

My nosy neighbor popped out when he saw me 'oh you're back. You missed the drama someone broke into the apartments across the way (really? I can't believe someone would try that here when there is always someone here) and the lesbians are still screaming at each other Glad I'm home...sigh.

And my garden is terrifying. I need to fix it before I go back to PA.

Rift Riders by Becca Lusher

Jun. 19th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: A low angle photo of a book with a pair of glasses sitting on top. (Mt TBR)
[personal profile] calissa

Rift Riders, Becca Lusher, Wingborn, Earl Grey Editing, tea and books, books and tea.

Published: Self-published in March 2017
Format reviewed: E-book (mobi)
Series: Wingborn #2
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Author
Available: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~Kobo ~ Smashwords

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The author is a friend. I have done my best to give an unbiased review.
This review contains spoilers for previous books.

On a world cursed to be covered in clouds, protected by the elite Rift Riders who fly on the backs of giant eagle miryhls, Lady Mhysra Kilpapan and her friends are making history. Women are now firmly back within the Rider fold and the future looks bright.

But even though Mhysra and her Wingborn Cumulo have survived their first year as students, there’s more to becoming a Rift Rider than lessons and training. Especially when trouble is brewing in the Wrathlen and the kaz-naghkt are looking for revenge.

Return to the Overworld for the next exciting Wingborn adventure, where strength, loyalty, honour and friendship are about to tested to their limits and beyond.

I am a huge fan of the Wingborn series. What’s not to love about a magical Regency-influenced society where the military ride giant eagles? Wingborn did an excellent job of setting up that society: showing the bond between rider and eagle, as well as the expectations the upper class have of their children.

Rift Riders takes that and shakes it up. Now that the world has been established, a serious threat steps forward. Yullik, a man with mysterious powers, manages to unite the pirate captains of Wrathlen for the first time in history. Allied with savage draconoids, the kaz-naghkt, they may prove unstoppable–even for the Rift Riders. This new threat builds great tension and raises the stakes. It also makes Rift Riders quite a different book to its predecessor. The more domestic aspects of the story, such as society life and the Kilpapan family dynamics, are left behind in favour of a more traditional epic fantasy narrative.

While this was slightly disappointing, the transition works well, with Rift Riders becoming more of an ensemble piece. Mhysra remains an important part of the narrative, but her friends get a greater share of the spotlight, with a few stepping forward to become point-of-view characters. This enables us to see more of what’s going on, particularly when battles break out on several fronts.

The relationships between these characters remain a strength of the story. The groundwork for a few romances was laid in the previous book, but this are dialled back or absent entirely. Instead, the focus is on friendship and duty. Mhysra and her friends do their best to support each other as they struggle to survive and defend the realm. The banter between them is never entirely absent, lightening what could otherwise be quite a grim story. Nor is this friendly teasing limited to the students–Lieutenants Lyrai and Stirla are equally as bad.

Managing such a cast of characters can be a handful, but the story does an excellent job of reintroducing everyone in the beginning. It does so through a tight action sequence which handles both aerial and ground-based combat in a way that sets the tone for the rest of the novel.

All in all, Rift Riders was a delight to read. With at least one more novel to come, and with the shift of tone between books, I’m curious to see what is in store for the remainder of the series.

Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
And I had a dirt great gobbet of it today. Not sure if the best bit was the soldiers,

IMG_2112

or the artefacts

IMG_2108

or the touches of real life

IMG_2124

or maybe the smalls...

IMG_2139

ebooks piled high and cheap

Jun. 18th, 2017 07:56 am
julesjones: (Default)
[personal profile] julesjones
Right, have some suggestions from Amazon UK's latest ebook deal newsletter. These are all under £2 at Amazon; most are also on offer at Kobo. Penguin Modern Classics seem to be having a sales binge so it's worth trawling through the rest of the deals list if you like their catalogue. As always, check the price before clicking the buy button.

I know some of you do find these posts useful for flagging up stuff to have a closer look at. I put in the covers this time because there were a couple I specifically wanted to show. Is it useful to see the covers, or does this make the post too unwieldy on people's flist?

John Wyndham - The Day of the Triffids - in a Penguin Modern Classics edition, with the newest cover art by Brian Cronin. The art's a good match in tone/period feel for the book, but I still think of Harry Willock's reverse colour line drawing cover art of the 1970s as the ur-cover art for Wyndham, just as Tom Baker is My Doctor.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-day-of-the-triffids
http://amzn.to/2rGLcrO




Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 1) (Aubrey & Maturin series) by Patrick O'Brian
I have provided the title exactly as given on the Amazon and Kobo pages. Yes, I am easily amused.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/master-and-commander-aubrey-maturin-series-book-1
http://amzn.to/2sc2Ebp



Val McDermid - Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime
Non-fiction from one of the greatest crime writers of today. One for the writers, but also of general geeky interest.
http://amzn.to/2sDQEk9



CS Lewis - Mere Christianity
Lewis's collection of radio broadcasts setting out the case for Christianity.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/mere-christianity-2
http://amzn.to/2rC8xQk


Tony Robinson - No Cunning Plan
Another acting memoir. Haven't looked at the sample yet, but if Robinson's any good at writing prose, this is probably going to be interesting.
http://amzn.to/2rBXjeT



George Orwell - The Road to Wigan Pier
Orwell's non-fiction is as important, and as topical, as his fiction.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-road-to-wigan-pier-4
http://amzn.to/2rGIB1g



Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
Haven't read this in at least thirty years, but I suspect I would still find it equal parts horrifying, terrifying and laugh-out-loud funny. It's only just occurred to me that this book pressed some of the same buttons for me that Iain (M) Banks would some years later.
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-clockwork-orange
http://amzn.to/2sAGyzI



And while I was looking for Amazon US links for these books, I stumbled across this:

There. Are. No. Words.

Future timeline

Jun. 18th, 2017 12:47 am
valarltd: (Default)
[personal profile] valarltd
 This is not Word of God. This is a rough draft. If you are a Nikolai fan, and see a problem. tell me
Eight Thrones Timeline
 
2010: Steven born, Sept 2, James born June 12
2035: Linda Hummingbird born
2040: Bloody Friday, July 13. David Born Feb 14 of this year
2041: CS forms
2045: Complete dissolution
2046: US pulls it together
2051: Color outlawed in CS, June 19. Gayness outlawed, June 28.
2052: The Cooper-Young Cairn in Memphis created
2053: Tanis born April 15
2057: Chuck Hummingbird born
2060: Second Trail of Tears
2064: Valerio born December 9
2069: Anthony born August 2
2071: Nick born Nov 7
2091: Anthony Hatcher taken into the Ligatos Group 
2092: Brother Anthony Winters assassinated on live TV
2093: religious pamphlet date.  Nikolai Revenant: Nov 2093
April 2094: Kentucky rejoins the US
Oct 2094: Glad Hands/Opening Master Anton
Summer 95: Most of Master Anton
 

I'm half a century old

Jun. 17th, 2017 10:12 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
I don't know how this happened. I swear to god I just turned 21. I have a lot of thoughts, not all cheery, some that are but it's late and I'll save them.

Mom and I went to the aviary. I've been there before but it was supposed to rain (it didn't) so I passed on the outdoorsy thing I most wanted to do.

Lots of pretty birds. I wish I could figure out how to upload my videos to FB because I'd love to share you the videos I got of a couple hapless males trying to flirt their way into some sex (and failing).

They have a flight simulator, Birdly, where you lay on this simulator and your arms go into this jointed wing thing so you can dive, climb and bank through NYC. This was my first time in a virtual reality head set. The last thing she says before we start was 'a lot of people say the dive is like a rollercoaster but you're not going to fall off.' Yeah that was an understatement. That dive felt like a 30 story free fall. I ended up diving like a sissy, a little at a time. It did make me a bit dizzy/nauseated but it was tons of fun. I'm glad I did it.

From there Mom and I went to Max's Allegheny Tavern, a German place in the North side since 1869. The food was good but not the potato pancakes. How can a German restaurant suck on those?

I didn't get to go out for the big dinner because my brother wanted to cram a fathers day/birthday dinner together and smoked a chicken and pork butt using alderwood (I preffered the oak but it was tasty) A DQ birthday ice cream cake rounded things out.

Now I'm here with Kanda so it was a nice day.

 photo DSCN0582_zpsjbaarq3f.jpg A wattled curassow that likes to sit on the bench


 photo DSCN0599_zpseev8xwzl.jpg An old bird


 photo DSCN0606_zpsu2fujdyh.jpg This penguin was me. She fell down all the time.

 photo DSCN0612_zps6twhvgnq.jpg Nicobar Pigeon

 photo DSCN0618_zpsbbkxsqco.jpg Hyacinth MacCaw


 photo DSCN0638_zpsnlcdsbme.jpg Bald Eagle


 photo DSCN0609_zpsp2sxusx0.jpg Victoria Crowned Pigeon


 photo DSCN0639_zpsqp08muy5.jpg Sloth

 photo DSCN0630_zpslobztu5i.jpg Rhinocerous Hornbill


 photo DSCN0624_zps1pkn3rv3.jpg flying foxes


 photo DSCN0643_zpsaaabgriw.jpg Randyland. It's a couple blocks from the aviary. @ 25 years ago, a waiter (Randy) moved into the Mexican War area of Pitt and tried to save it from being a rough shit hole. Google Randyland to learn more.
fayance: (Default)
[personal profile] fayance
This is frustrating me! I typed an entry and went to post it and it refuses to post, saying my post is too long. So I tried to delete some stuff and put some of it behind a cut and it still says it's too long! I cut and pasted the entry directly to my lj and it posted it all with no cuts, no problem. And I know I've read fairly long entries of others on here; so what am I doing wrong, why can't I post anything more than a simple paragraph here on dreamwidth?!!

A bit of good news

Jun. 17th, 2017 07:43 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
The school where I'm chair of governors had a visit from Ofsted back in May - delighted to say that we're still rated good. Lots of positive comments from pupils and parents and a real recognition that ours is a school where every child matters, irrespective of background.
julesjones: (Default)
[personal profile] julesjones
Having bought some of those circular knitting needles with mix-n-match cables and pins last week, I got them home to find that a) the cable key was too big to fit in the hole, b) the internal thread on one of the pins was knackered. I had some time off work during the week, so I made my way back to the shop to explain the situation. This is a small independent shop, so what happened next was the owner trying the bits to see what I was talking about, saying "oh dear" and similar, and trying various other packets until he found enough bits that worked to make up a full set for me. As I left he was muttering about how the rest of his afternoon was obviously going to involve going through every packet on the stand and checking them individually to find the ones going back to the manufacturer...

The other comment I've got on the Symfonie modular needles is that the 7mm pins are significantly longer than on the fixed pin Pony and Prym circular needles I have in the same size, so although the Pony and Prym versions work perfectly well in the 40cm length, these do not. There's a bit too much of the length that is rigid. Having had a look online, it seems there is a special short version of the pins to use with the 40cm cable, which is obviously Not What I Have Got. Given that I have a specific use for the 7mm 40cm circular needle (twiddlemuffs), this is a bit of a nuisance. They do, however, have a nice feel to them. I'll need to try them for a bit, but I'll probably end up getting more of these needles once I want longer length circulars. I'll be checking each individual packet for Assorted Problems, though.

The last half hour of my 40s

Jun. 16th, 2017 11:53 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
is being celebrated by FINALLY finishing my damn steampunk CHristms short story and that's the first thing I've finished in MONTHS. Gah. I'm happy to have it done. I need to very swiftly edit it and get it to any willing beta readers.

I don't know how some people do it. One of the authors I know finished a novel two days ago and wants it in print by end of June/July. I just don't know how you can edit something that fast. I know I'm doing things wrong but still... Hope it works for her.

Mom and I went out shopping today. That was nice. I said before leaving Ohio a) I need to toss out some of my old old shirts b) Everything I own is blue. No more blue shirts. GUess who tried on 5 new blue shirts and bought 2? Also bought a blue swim skirt and two blue tankini tops. Yeah.... Got a blue skort and some blue jeans too.

I came home and found a gift from my BFF in college, earrings made from Irish pennies from 1967. (I also found a quarter from then that I planned to make into jewelry myself) I love them.

Mom had bought me a tres leche cake but neither she nor dad could wait until tomorrow. We had cake tonight.

On the downside today, I'm up for money for the SLC trip but today I get an email saying all the receipets and expense report has to be in by Monday. Thanks for no notice and oh they didn't tell me WHERE to send it. Luckily I'll be back there. geez.


 photo DSCN0564_zps1fd1tmhp.jpg The earrings

 photo DSCN0565_zpsrwkajwmv.jpg The cake

 photo DSCN0566_zpsagt1ikhu.jpg

 photo DSCN0568_zpssm2evti7.jpg

Haute Coture

Jun. 16th, 2017 06:22 pm
la_samtyr: woods in golden light (Lothlorien)
[personal profile] la_samtyr
wedding shoes roger vivier for christian dior

Wedding shoes, 1955
Roger Vivier for Christian Dior


After all, June is supposed to be the month for weddings.

Stunning scenery

Jun. 16th, 2017 08:53 pm
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Not Porthkennack, (not even the area it's based on) but very similar geology. It can only be Jersey, especially with that quality of light.

IMG_2076

IMG_2058

IMG_2041

An Everything Day

Jun. 16th, 2017 12:15 am
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
[personal profile] liralen
Today was one of those days....

I was added back onto the roster of my old 6's team, I got my bee allergy shot, I helped plan a siege defense, I got to play Rainbow Siege Six for the first time with my son and his friend, I had a last minute dental appointment with my periodontist that was nearly foiled by my GPS, and I might have a mild eye infection as well. But I got Dairy Queen and good gaming.

I think I'm a little tired.

Read more... )

Another casino day

Jun. 15th, 2017 10:39 pm
cornerofmadness: (Default)
[personal profile] cornerofmadness
This week I could get a birthday 'candle' and win free play. I won 10$ and turned it into 30...then lost that and more. Sigh. It was pretty fun though.

And it was a day away from listening to dad whine about his neck which has been stiff for a few days. You'd think he was dying. Mom and I have had bones cut out of us and whined less. I've treated a lot of patients. He's up there in the top 10 whiniest I'Iever treated (my brother agrees) I'm no longer allowed to do the neck PT because I was doing it right and it was painful (keeping in mind I do these things to my own neck like the PT said so eye rolls).


I do have to return to OH on monday. They decided to have five of seven interviews on one day. Luckily it's in the afternoon so I can drive down on monday morning and not miss my freaking birthday.

I had more to say but I'll be darned if I remember what it is.

I will say I'd have finished this damn CHristmas story by now if it didn't have a sex scene. I'm so bored with writing them. SO BORED.

Odd thoughts

Jun. 15th, 2017 08:53 pm
valarltd: (interesting)
[personal profile] valarltd
I watched The Frisco Kid tonight and had two weird revelations, that oddly will tie together for people who know me well.

This is a capture from the film:
 photo FriscoKid8_zpsjoz7zkig.jpeg

This is my husband:
 photo IMAGE_152.jpg

I've had a raging Gene Wilder crush since I was 15. And the juxtaposition explains so much...
Same eyes, same face shape, same coloring, same beard




Second, Terence McNally stole a bit of choreography from this film.


At the end of Love! Valour! Compassion!, the guys are practicing Swan Lake for a benefit. James Jekyll, who is in late stage AIDS, does exactly what Avram does. They guys make on pass and two and on the third there's a gap where James has collapsed. I gasped a bit at that recognition.

You know...

Jun. 15th, 2017 06:54 pm
sinisterporpoise: (Default)
[personal profile] sinisterporpoise
It may be my roommate's house, but she should at least make the effort not to  listen to alt-right racist YouTubers so loudly.

Continuum 13

Jun. 16th, 2017 08:00 am
calissa: (Calissa)
[personal profile] calissa

Trigger Warning: This post contains a realistic depiction of brains. You can thank Seanan McGuire.

Last weekend, I attended Continuum 13 in Melbourne. It was also the 56th Australian National Science Fiction Convention. The Guests of Honour were Seanan McGuire and Likhain.

I took a bit of a different approach to the convention this year. Instead of writing notes, I live-tweeted most of the panels and events I attended. You can find those tweets on Storify. They cover:

To Be Continued… a panel on serialised fiction with Nathan Farrugia, Seanan McGuire, Gillian Polack and Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Creativity and Mental Health with Likhain, Creatrix Tiara, Lauren E. Mitchell, Mary Borsellino and Dorian Ellis.

1001 Ways to Die in Space with Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

The Art and Science of Publishing with Devin Madson, Sam Hawke, Donna Maree Hanson and Robert Law.

It’s Okay to Quit, a panel on breaking up with books, franchises and fandoms. Panelists were Seanan McGuire, Tori, Figgy O’Connell, and Lauren Mitchell.

Anime and Manga with Likhain, John Samuel, Bryce Campbell, Laura Wilkinson and Candice Schilder.

Once Upon A Time with Seanan McGuire, Amanda Pillar, Kirstyn McDermott, Jodi McAlister and Sebastian Edwards.

Whitewashing in SF with Devin Jeyathurai, Stephanie Lai, Likhain, Creatrix Tiara and Tori.

Seanan McGuire’s Guest of Honour AMA.

The Ditmar Awards.

Forgotten Mothers of SFF, a panel on women writers erased from SFF. Panelists were Cat Sparks, Seanan McGuire, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Sam Hawke and Jodi McAlister.

Fan Fiction and Fan Art with Likhain, Liz Barr, Elaine Cuyegkeng and Erica.

There are also links to tweets about other panels, such as Asian SFF, Secondary Worlds in Weird Fiction, the Bioware Panel and Likhain’s Guest of Honour speech. And I included a few tweets about the Tabletop Renaissance panel I sat on, but plan to post on that in more detail next week.

Despite this fairly thorough coverage of the con, there were a few things I didn’t mention, or touched on only briefly. I will expand on those here.

Snow on the mountains during the flight to Melbourne.

I arrived early in Melbourne, which afforded me a chance to catch up with a few people before the start of the convention. On Friday morning, Kat Clay took me to the Hopetoun Tea Rooms. The shop windows are a work of art, filled with gorgeous cakes and tarts that are guaranteed to get you drooling. They also do a lovely range of loose-leaf tea. We shared a pot of Earl Grey which had been given a unique twist by the addition of Gumbi Gumbi–a kind of Pittosporum known as Native Apricot. The chocolate pecan tart was also excellent.

In the afternoon, I got the chance to catch up with Ju from The Conversationalist. Being a Melbourne native, she was able to give me a great tour, including the locations of good places to eat and the Kit Kat store–both vital bits of knowledge. She also took me past McIver’s and Lupicia, both wonderful loose-leaf tea stores.

Tea haul

The convention started in earnest at 5PM on Friday. But that doesn’t mean there was an end to the cake. Galactic Suburbia held a fundraising drive for the Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship.

And there was cake for the launch of Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Bones.

In keeping with the natures of the protagonists, Seanan had two different kinds of cake from Cake and Madness. One was a traditional cupcake with glittery frosting. And the other… well, the other was a bit disturbing.

Yes, it’s a cake.

Watching it be eaten was a little like finding myself in the middle of the zombie apocalypse.

Moving away from the food theme, I also managed to get in a bit of roleplaying at the convention. Alex Hardison was gracious enough to run a one-shot of Feng Shui for me and a few friends. The game is modelled after Hong Kong action movies, rewarding flamboyant, physics-defying manoeuvres. The system was easy to grasp, making it perfect for a one-shot. Alex had also put together a cleverly modular session based around a train heist. Everyone had a wonderful time.

I made a few new friends this year. I got to meet DUFF delegate Paul Weimer, whose voice remained very familiar after the last few months of listening to the Skiffy and Fanty podcast. It was wonderful to finally meet face-to-face. I also got to meet Kate Laidley, who I’d previously met virtually on Instagram. It was her first convention, so hopefully we didn’t scare her away!

And, of course, no convention is complete without a book haul. My own was fairly modest this year. The first thing I picked up from the dealers’ room wasn’t a book at all.

As soon as I saw those teapot earrings, I knew I needed them.

I came back on Monday to pick up a few bits and pieces. It was lucky I did, because by the time the launch of Down Among the Sticks and Bones came around, there were very few copies left.

The Princess Diarist is also a bit of a cheat because I didn’t actually buy it. It’s on loan from Mayakitten. We’re both making our way through the Hugo shortlists and catch up on a regular basis to discuss them over hot chocolate.

So, that was Continuum 13! It was my first Continuum and I had a fantastic time. Kudos to the programmers, who did a brilliant job with piecing together the panels. And a big thank-you to the committee and volunteers, who were all very friendly and kept everything running smoothly. I’ll definitely be going back when I can.

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Mirrored from Earl Grey Editing.

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