Cathy had a migraine today. I've put up with her crankiness, in part because I understand what being in a lot of pain is like, even if I don't understand migraines from the perspective of a migrainesufferer. I doubt I ever will, but the fact that I never will understand what she's going through when she has one comes down to quirky genetics. (Ironically, this is the biology chapter I am on at the moment.) Because she needed a nap and some rest more than anything else, I went out this evening and had some fun at a local table-top gaming store. I should have spent the time doing homework, but I've been stressed out lately and getting some fun in was much needed. I even managed to study some biology.
While I am still annoyed at the broken Dell laptop screen and their lack of customer support, I managed to get a new IdeaPad from Lenovo. (It has replaced a ThinkPad made by IBM I owned several years ago. It has a fair amount of graphics power compared to my other systems, and it might be good for non-strenous gaming. I'm not too sure about this, however. Gamergaters showed the dark underbelly of this hobby, and they have left a bad taste in my mouth. I should not let them prevent me from doing something I enjoy. The one thing that might stop me from a lot of games is my poor hand-eye coordination.)
Next week is midterms, and I will be busy. I have to do a lot of practice tests for the CompTIA A+ hardware exam. All of this culminates in the test. When this week is done, the next four weeks of the class are spent on the software portion of the test. I'm not looking forward to either of them.
All in all, it was just nice for a little break. I hope Cathy is feeling better tomorrow.
I think I had something introspective to post tonight, but I seem to have forgotten what this was. Maybe I will remember it later.
Also, I need to add "Oxygen not Included" to my Steam wishlist.
Know what else is ridiculous, how filthy the water in the bucket gets after one swipe of the mop. I had to rewash the damn floor a second time. Also I had SO MUCH food stored under my table. At least it's now all in the container mom gave me to store books (oops). When I get back here for the semester, I need to seriously get into my pantry and use up ALL this damn food before I'm allowed back in Kroger's.
I'm not sure everything got back where it belongs in that damn kitchen but it's as good as it's getting.
Okay here's the part where i need help even though I pretty much know what my answer is. Yesterday E.S. sent me over something from Tor, a pitch fest and if someone likes you, you get to send in your synopsis & three chapters. I got that almost too late to do it and I probably SHOULD have let it pass (but man I wish I had a better way of getting notice when these things were happening). Anyhow I tossed Splinters of Silver and Cold Iron and someone liked it.
Naturally I was over the moon but the reality set in. I'm wondering do I send in the chapters or not (honestly I'm leaning to not)
Stirling Robyns publishing it's a publishing company made only last year and in the last 2 years I've been through how many indie publishers crapping out in Jana's world? (This story would not be one of hers). That makes me nervous.
They said on their submission page to set up something on duotrope which mentions they charge for editing. So that's a huge red flag.
I tried to find anything they've actually published and even their facebook page and I can find nothing. I did find that preditors and editors seems to be out of business.
So do you agree this is one I should say thanks but no thanks.
I think I broke everything starting with my blood sugar at 4 AM. It went boom. So I've been sluggish all damn day.
I managed to cut out all the crap in the garden...well most of it anyhow. I'l share pictures another day. I am SO sore after that.
I didn't clean nearly enough. I did get the bathroom scrubbed down and another shelf of books removed and boxed up for taking out of here. I hope I remember I moved books I want to read onto that shelf.
I managed to break my mop doing the bathroom floor. sigh.
Mom was arguing with me at the start of the day about how clean this place will be when I come back down here in a couple weeks and she thinks she's coming. Her saying I better make it spotless isn't going to make it so.
She also looked up hotels for me. 'One of them cost 1,065$ and doesn't even have a free breakfast.' Well mom if you can afford that you don't need breakfast.
Speaking of hotels I can't afford I want to stay here if I'm ever in Montreal.
And now back to the horror short that I've lost the beginning of three times
As promised, pictures of my trip to the Serpent Mound
Aerial of the serpent
More of the serpent
Me atop the viewing tower
The ‘egg’ in the serpent’s mouth where they found some of the burials
took these out of Mom’s house
these too and I’m keeping them (by tossing out a box of books I simply do not need any more.)
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.
And this exhibition on the 1980's shows that things never really change, only the details vary.
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.
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.
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.
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... )
First there was this Jerusalem cricket in the driveway:
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:
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.
Her little leg pouches were stuffed full of pollen.
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.
I suspect there will be a whole parade of little Wonder Woman costumes this Halloween. That's not a bad thing.
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:
- Do some kind of workout.
- Take a shower and get dressed.
- Issue six page nine
- Job applications
- Blacktigr commission
- Overwatch competitive stream/Mastering Mercy vid
- Mooncat Timey-Wimey badge
- LKCMSL Timey-Wimey badge
- Graveyard Greg IBMBA commish (NOTE: send bill for this)
- PTBAF panel agenda
- Print for AC: button restocks, Best Bodies Contest flyer, Timey-Wimey badges
- BtA YouTube banner
- BtA Patreon banner
- Read books for Rainbow Awards
Right ho. Time to get started.
"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.
- Online fiction (all four chapters plus a historical note): Emancipation at AO3.
- Series: Life Prison.
- Series cycle: Turn-of-the-Century Toughs.
"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.
- Latest chapter: Chapter 2/27.
- Online fiction: Law Links at AO3.
- E-book: Law Links.
- Series: The Three Lands.
- Series resources: The Great Peninsula: series resources for The Three Lands.
"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?
- Latest chapter: Chapter 2/11.
- Online fiction: Checkmate at AO3.
- E-book: Checkmate.
- Series: The Eternal Dungeon.
- Series cycle: Turn-of-the-Century Toughs.
"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.
- Latest chapter: Chapter 9/11.
- Online fiction: Survival School at AO3.
- E-book: Survival School.
- Series: Young Toughs.
- Series cycle: Turn-of-the-Century Toughs.
"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?
--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 )
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CS Lewis - Mere Christianity
Lewis's collection of radio broadcasts setting out the case for Christianity.
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.
George Orwell - The Road to Wigan Pier
Orwell's non-fiction is as important, and as topical, as his fiction.
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.
And while I was looking for Amazon US links for these books, I stumbled across this:
There. Are. No. Words.
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.
A wattled curassow that likes to sit on the bench
An old bird
This penguin was me. She fell down all the time.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon
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.
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.
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.