I have no problem with the Confederate monuments at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. They mark the locations where people stood or died when stuff happened; they are largely markers saying this unit was here, sometimes with names, sometimes not. They assist with understanding what happened in the battle. I don't recall offhand that there was anything glorifying the South there, in the way that there is elsewhere; but it's been a few years since I walked the entire battlefield, tracking troop movements.
CatCon is an annual celebration of cats and the cat aesthetic, all of which has developed out of pure passion and love for feline pets. People gather each year in southern California for the big event. This year's third annual feline frenzy brought 15,000 cat lovers together for a weekend of fun and frolic at the Pasadena Convention Center on August 12th-13th. Attendees participated in experiential marketing, explored new products and fashion for both themselves and their four-legged furriends, and met with some of the most famous internet cats in the world.
So, in case you've missed it, here are some highlights of the kitty fest. via: The Purrington Post
Unfortunately, Leonie would not be able to be there in 1745 -- and her next appearance is in 'Devil's Cub', which I think dates to something like 1775 or 1780. By that time Jamie and Claire are in the Colonies, and I don't think they visit Paris together again for a while, though Jamie is there before that with his print shop. So the dates don't line up for a confrontation between Dominic, Leonie and Justin's son, and Bree, Claire and Jamie's tall, outspoken, red-haired daughter who wears breeches (Leonie would like that, though.)
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Rocket and baby Groot
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: digital painting
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: Zyden on DA
Why this piece is awesome: The notes under the art are great - Zyden imagines this as how Rocket would train up baby Groot - starting with a water pistol. I love the energy in the picture and their fierce expressions, even in play.
Link: GotG2 - Baby Groot and Rocket
Me: One day I will cure you of that bad habit. I have a crowbar at home, so that should help.
Boss: Ah, but you'd have to go through the effort of bringing it into the office.
Me: *laughing* I hate that you know me so well.
Not our cable! Because we'd know if we owned something like that. But no. Clearly this is something that's up to debate rather than a fact - and my SIL is not planning on losing a debate with her little sister. It went something like this:
SIL: You forgot this cable. Should I send it?
Wife: That's not ours.
SIL: It is yours.
W: No, it's not.
SIL: Well, my son saw you use this cable, so it must be yours.
Wife: No, we used a cable with the same color that we brought back home with us.
SIL: Oh well you must've grabbed it from the cabin.
Wife: We really didn't.
Me: What is happening.
SIL: It says 'Beats'
Wife: We don't have any white Beats cable.
SIL: (We'll see about that. *hands over*)
11-year old nephew: HI THIS IS YOUR PS4 CABLE WE'RE SENDING IT NOW
Me: What. Is. Happening?!?!
Wife: *shrug* Welcome to my family this is a thing here.
The Complete List of Racists by Michael Harriot at the Root:
If the alt-right were a family, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and skinheads would be the grandparents, aunts and uncles who get their plates fixed first, while the anti-globalists, anti-feminists and “racialists” would sit at the kids’ table and have to drink out of paper cups.
Alt-Right, Alt-Left, Antifa: A Glossary of Extremist Language by Liam Stack at the New York Times:
Both phrases are part of a broad lexicon of far-right terminology that has become important to understanding American politics during the Trump administration. Many of these terms have their roots in movements that are racist, anti-Semitic and sexist.
How to describe extremists who rallied in Charlottesville by John Daniszewski at the AP blog:
"alt-right" A political grouping or tendency mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism; a name currently embraced by some white supremacists and white nationalists to refer to themselves and their ideology, which emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States.
Alt Right: A Primer about the New White Supremacy at the Anti-Defamation League:
Though not every person who identifies with the Alt Right is a white supremacist, most are and “white identity” is central to people in this milieu. In fact, Alt Righters reject modern conservatism explicitly because they believe that mainstream conservatives are not advocating for the interests of white people as a group.
A Deconstruction Of The Alt-Right Movement by Rachel Toalson at Huffington Post:
The problem, see, is that while Spencer appears to be an intelligent human being, he also appears to be well practiced in manipulation and rhetoric — which, unfortunately, those who are unpracticed in the art of writing and the training of rhetorical composition, will be unable to recognize. So this is my humble attempt to do it for them.
It is time to stop using the term ‘alt right’
In recent years, American racists have taken pains to come up with new terminology to self-identify with—such as the so-called “alt-right,” a phrase credited to avowed racist Richard Spencer, who famously celebrated Trump’s victory with Nazi salutes.
**** ( A few thoughts inside )
So I do that today, and get no response. I shrug and settle in to putter around the house because no response means the boss has overslept and we'll be leaving at 6:40.
....and then it was 6:30. And then 6:40. No boss.
So finally, at 6:45, I walk over to his house. His truck is there, no lights on in the house. So I text him a few more times, then call him, then call his wife, knock on the door, call him again... finally he answers.
"Hey, what's up?"
"Did you oversleep? It's 6:50."
"Yeah, it's okay, it's only 5:50."
"No, it's 6:50."
".....oh shit, it's 6:50!"
*facepalm* So we caught the latest train in to work, which is fine, and I can razz him about this for awhile. XD
On the downside, I took my meds at 5am, then we didn't get to work until 9:30 instead of the usual 8am. Since I usually eat breakfast as soon as I get to work, this pushed back the addition of food to my med cocktail far enough that my stomach was in cramps by the time we got here. Application of toast and eggs seems to have pacified it.
Bliss, by the way, is charging up my old iPad mini, emptying everything off of it except my favorite ebook reader (Marvin), and then downloading all 4700+ books in the CatDragon shared Calibre library. Ecstasy will be when I successfully sort all 4700+ books into sensible categories. (I did just realize Marvin has something called smart categories, which means I can pull up everything that is NOT in a category, and as I sort them into categories they disappear off the list. Woooo!)
Do they let themselves recuperate in a reasonable fashion? Do they push themselves too hard through that into a worse state? How do they recover from that low?
- Historical reconstructionist Paganism: good to see that the wolf named Hater didn't eat the Sun woman, "the sky's bright bride", in the US yesterday and I'm amused that the small percentage of neo-Pagans who're also neo-nazis were supposed to spend the day acknowledging and celebrating the victory of enlightenment over hate and haters, lol. I hope y'all enjoyed the lightshow!
- Kickass Drag Queen, starring Bob the Drag Queen, seems to be turning into an ongoing comic? The original pilot story about saving Pocket Gay (8pg), and the first episode in which there's a plot to make basic straight girls everywhere feel insecure, pt1 (9pg) and pt2 (9pg), lol especially at the pilot ep.
- Reading, books 2017: 85.
80. Bramton Wick, by Elizabeth Fair, 1952, novel (strictly probably a novella). A lightly observant account of a limited rural social circle with the sort of people who mostly don't have to work to earn their living, think four bedroomed houses are poky, and have hired domestic help even post war. As my faithful readers will have inferred from the title of this book there are lesbians within, although Miss Tiger Garrett is a marginally more subtle stereotype than Angela Thirkell's 1940 debut Miss Hampton. Her partner is Miss Bunty Selbourne and they breed dogs like all good middle class 1950s English lesbians (no reform school for these two, lol) although, disappointingly, the story reveals they have separate bedrooms. Unusually well-paced and structured for a first novel imo, which is especially difficult to achieve in a story relying much more on social observation than plot. Thanks to slemslempike for the rec. (3.5/5, goodreads = 21 ratings / 4 reviews 4/5)
I think he missed the point. (Next bit won't make much sense unless you've read the article.)
( Read more... )
I'm glad I sprung for the hardcopy of this for two reasons: one, I like to mark up my nonfiction, and two, its formatting! The left-hand page in every two-page spread is text; the right-hand page has an illustration related to the material on the left-hand page. While the illustrations are not technically the most accomplished, they are generally extremely effective communicative cartoons or diagrams.
This book comes with a ton of blurbs, and Cory Doctorow's--"Does for games what Understanding Comics [by Scott McCloud] did for sequential art"--pretty much sums up how I feel. I've read other game design books that were insightful, or thorough, but the Koster is accessible and very interesting in its approach to what makes games games, and how to make them fun (in the instances where that's a thing--cf. Brenda Romero's Train).
One of Koster's arguments is that "with games, learning is the drug" (40)--a game that interests us is one that strikes the necessary balance of not too easy (Tic-Tac-Toe, for most adults) and not too hard (multiple failure modes possible, depending on the individual--witness me and chess or go ). He suggests that games (and play, which is common in a lot of young animals!) are an artifact of how we try to learn survival skills, and moves forward into making suggestions as to how to move the form forward into values/skills more suitable for the modern era than "kill things" or "jump over things" or "search for all the things."
 Joe gave up on teaching me go when I told him I have severe difficulty with visual patterns. In fact, I am starting to wonder if aphantasia just screws me over for this kind of game in general. :p
There's also a particularly interesting chapter on ethics and entertainment where he discusses the difference between the game system and the flavor/dressing:
The bare mechanics of a game may indeed carry semantic freighting, but odds are that it will be fairly abstract. A game about aiming is a game about aiming, and there's no getting around that. It's hard to conceive of a game about aiming that isn't about shooting, but it has been done--there are several gmaes where instead of shooting bullets with a gun, you are instead shooting pictures with a camera. (170)
The bare mechanics of the game do not determine its meaning. Let's try a thought experiment. Let's picture a mass murder game wherein there is a gas chamber shaped like a well. You the player are dropping innocent victims down into the gas chamber, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are old ones and young ones, fat ones and tall ones. As they fall to the bottom, they grab onto each other and try to form human pyramids to get to the top of the well. Should they manage to get out, the game is over and you die. But if you pack them in tightly enough, the ones on the bottom succumb to the gas and die.
I do not want to play this game. Do you? Yet it is Tetris. (172)
In general, Koster has a background in game design AND writing AND music, and he draws on all three in his analysis of games, as well as other disciplines (e.g. psychology). It makes the book a scintillating read. I can't believe I waited so long to read this--but it was exactly what I wanted to read last week, so hey. Highly recommended.
Back in '99 when I was taking enough trains around Europe that it was worth it to have a rail pass, I was regularly gobsmacked at how (at least on the Continent) they ran to-the-minute per the published schedule. Yesterday, pretty much every train I was on was delayed...which was a good thing because otherwise I would have missed a couple of connections. In one case, I ran up and over an overpass (carrying a heavy suitcase) to a train already standing at the correct platform, barely glanced at the monitor and only confirmed it was the correct train when I was on board (and had managed to catch my breath). Which brings up another observation: the British rail system must be hell on people with physical disabilities. I can't count the number of occasions where I couldn't see any obvious option for getting from point A to point B that didn't involve stairs. (Even on the spiral ramp up to the pedestrian bridge to the Durham station, the ramp had periodic steps. Not quite enough to daunt the roll-away, but certainly enough to preclude wheelchair use.) I'm still spry enough that I can break out the backpack straps on my suitcase and hike up to my 3rd floor walk-up room here at Trinity College (see picture) but I can feel the bones aching on occasion and it makes me ponder.
But on the up side, I saw lots of lovely train-side scenery yesterday, cutting accross the Pennines and then traveling along the northern edge of Wales, across the Menai Strait, and on to Holyhead where I took the ferry to Dublin. I took a bunch of "atmosphere" notes on the trip for when I return some day to my 10th century historic romance that involves Dublin and Vikings.
If you ever plan to visit Dublin in the summer and want easy access to everything downtown (and you have good knees) I can highly recommend taking advantage of the Trinity College on-campus accommodations. (I found them through Hotels.com) It's a dorm style room (there are a few with en suite facilities, which I got) and comes with a complimentary continental breakfast at The Buttery (full breakfast available if you pay more). And now I'm going to walk out of my room, across the quad, and take a campus tour that ends up putting me in front of the Book of Kells. But more on that in tomorrow's post.
But the unequivocal hero of my day proved to be a box of Keebler Toasteds, a form of cracker. I used this to create a "Ritz pinhole device", i.e., an eclipse viewer, by projecting the sun's rays through the holes in the cracker and onto a piece of cardstock card. The result was splendid. Each little cracker hole permitted the projection of a little eclipsed sun image onto the card. As the first part of the eclipse began, I could see it begin with a little disk transit. I was able to go out just near the peak eclipse, and the images through the cracker were grand. I could see the radically-partially-eclipsed sun image (dozens, actually, because of the cracker methodology---dozens of tiny suns on cardstock). One great thing about the Keebler method is that one could share it--I handed out crackers and cardstock to the folks in my office as well as to sundry passersby. At peak eclipse, the temperature got a little cooler and it looked like late in the afternoon. But this effect was transitory.
In the morning, I heard from my wife in Kansas City. A morning storm endangered their hopes of seeing the total eclipse. But by eclipse time, it cleared. She was among lots of people in Lake Weatherby, Missouri, floating in the lake with "floaties", watching the eclipse. She reported it to be a wonderful experience. The storm held off until the totality had passed. I am so pleased she got to experience that. For some reason, I did not have a lot of interest in taking a day off for that. I am glad I made that choice. I got some things done I wanted to get done.
I had such a good time with my non-glasses gizmos in my work parking lot. I learned from other friends of other ways I could have done it--two friends used a collander, my physics Ph.D. friend did creative things with binoculars projected on the ground, and one client's employee reported on use of the "tree method" (though I did see some of the tree effect early during the eclipse).
The only danger in the Keebler Toasted astronomical approach is that the crackers taste pretty darn good.
I found myself unaccountably fascinated by the whole thing. It had a Citizen Science feel that appealed to me. I I looked up upcoming eclipses. I see a total lunar eclipse in January 2018. It takes place in the wee hours of the morning, ending in mid-morning. I hope I remember to watch it. The next total solar eclipse here in north Texas is in 2024. If I am around then, I will enjoy seeing it, crackers in hand.
In other news, I aired up my tires (thereby satisfying my car's warning system), got a bill payment in the mail, and managed to get to the gas station before my gasoline tank went to empty. So I suppose I was not a total casualty of the eclipse.
Breakfast: Kix cereal and skim milk
Lunch: turkey sandwich and baked chips
Dinner: grilled chicken, green beans, kernel corn and a chocolate chip cookie
(eclipse extra: Keebler Toasted Crackers)
Them feet-folks from York and Leeds that be always eatin' cured herrin's and drinkin' tea an' lookin' out to buy cheap jet would creed aught. I wonder masel' who'd be bothered tellin' lies to them, even the newspapers, which is full of fool-talk.I'm not terribly sure what 'feet' means in this context, and Google isn't helping, even when I put the phrase in quotation marks to rule out ordinary references to feet. Maybe it just means foot-passengers who have come to Whitby on the train? Or might it be Bram's attempt at spelling a local pronunciation of 'fit', and perhaps means something more like 'fine folk' (in a sort of 'fit to be Queen' kind of sense)? If any genuine Yorkshire-born chums have a clue, let me know. If it's a proper dialect word, it will have been something Bram got out of a book on Whitby dialect which we know he used in his research.
[ETA: apparently I wasn't Googling very effectively before. I've found the answer now and my first guess was right: feet-folks are foot-passengers.]
Anyway, I will be going to Whitby myself in just over a fortnight, along with lovely lady_lugosi1313, to join a long weekend event marking the 40th anniversary of the Dracula Society's first official trip to that location. I don't have any particular plans to eat cured herring or drink tea (which I hate), but I won't turn down any nice cheap jet, and I will make a particular point of believing any and all legends of the macabre and supernatural which anyone tells me for the entire weekend - just to annoy Mr Swales.
Dear Mr Derringe
Your direction has been conveyed to me by way of Lady Bexbury, whose offices in the matter had been requested by Mrs Lowndes, sister of Miss Netherne – though I doubt not she is now Mrs Carter? – that so very kindly conveyed news of you.
I am entirely glad to learn that you and Mr Perry did not die of a fever in the South Seas, nor were eaten by cannibals, as some have rumoured, though I mind that you told me that the stories of man-eating were an entire figment, or at least exceeding exaggeration. I hope that you are entire recovered from the fever that brought you under Mr Carter’s care, and that your plans for a school prosper.
Dear Mr Derringe, pray do not distress yourself concerning our marriage that never came to pass: I confide that I too am by no means suited for the matrimonial state. But I assure you, I am now in quite the happiest way of life. Your very fine remarks about David and Jonathan brought to my mind that other remarkable tale of devotion in the Old Testament, that of Ruth and Naomi.
You will recall that my cousin Hester is Countess of Nuttenford – now Dowager Countess of Nuttenford, the late Earl having been fatally savaged by a bear whilst on a botanical expedition in Virginia. I became companion-chaperone to her middle daughter, Lady Emily Merrett, a very fine young woman with no inclination to marriage, while she was keeping house for her brothers, the Countess having been an invalid these many years and gone to reside with her eldest daughter, that had but lately married the Marquess of Offgrange.
The present Earl is now married to a very fine young woman, and has given over to our use one of his smaller estates, Attervale, an exceeding pretty little place if somewhat quaintly old-fashioned. There is a dovecote of considerable antiquity and I have taken to the keeping of these birds. Meanwhile,
dear Em Lady Emily takes to the keeping of hawks, for there is a mews that we suppose originally intended to that purpose - as she also practices archery we might almost be took for some household of the Middle Ages.
There is a very fine orchard and we brew our own cider:
dear Lady Emily’s stepfather, Sir Charles Fairleigh, was most helpful in instructing us in the matter, his own apples and their brewing being highly renowned.
Are you now acquainted with the Thornes and the Carters I confide that you are in a very good antipodean set. The Thornes’ fine humane endeavours for the unhappy convicts are very widely admired in our circles and Lady Bexbury, as I daresay they will have told you, is their benevolent patroness raising interest for them. Their scientific observations are ever attended with the greatest eagerness by savants. I like to think that you will have the opportunity of many fine games of chess with them: I ever regretted that I was by no means up to your mark in the matter.
Is there any service I may do you, I hope that you will always consider me your friend. Please convey my kindest regards to Mr Perry.
In great regard and esteem
Fandom: Sherlock BBC
Pairing/Characters: Mycroft Holmes/Gregory Lestrade
Notes: Written for 2017 Unconventional Courtship challenge. Thanks to celli and misbegotten for cheerleading with great enthusiasm. Thanks to tehomet for betaing and Britpicking.
Summary adjusted from Portia Macintosh's "Bad Bridesmaid".
Summary: "My wedding is ruined and my marriage is going to fail. And it’s all your fault!"
As a Geneva-based political consultant, Mycroft Holmes has it all: influence, money, success, a sleek and toned body and a string of sexy lovers. He's almost forgotten his previous self: Mikey Holmes, a plain and pudgy boy, later an awkward and clumsy teenager. Until a wedding invitation arrives requesting (demanding!) his presence as chief bridesmaid at his younger brother Sherlock's upcoming nuptials.
Mycroft's barely been back in England before he's accidentally injured the groom and been caught in a compromising position with his future brother-in-law's best man!
With the wedding of the year about to be doomed, Mycroft has no time to waste – especially with sexy detective and best man Greg Lestrade on hand to help...