Etsy Shop Name

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 05:33 pm
kerravonsen: Ninth Doctor: "thinking" (Doc9-thinks)
[personal profile] kerravonsen
Someone pointed out to me that "Handmade By KJA" sounds like a corporation, and suggested "Handmade By Kathryn" as an alternative. Unfortunately, that name is already taken. Indeed, many, many names (and variants thereof) are already taken for Etsy stores, because they never allow names to be reused, even if they are no longer active.

So, I've been checking possible names, and here are some which are available... for the moment. I've made a poll, to see what y'all think of them.

Poll #18030 Etsy Names
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 0

Which name do you prefer for my Etsy Store?

View Answers

Handmade By KJA
0 (0.0%)

Artisan Of Awesome
0 (0.0%)

Gazillion Things
0 (0.0%)

Essence Of Eclectic
0 (0.0%)

Diverse Devisings
0 (0.0%)

Imaginary Cheese
0 (0.0%)

(those on LJ can answer in the comments)

  • Handmade By KJA

  • Artisan Of Awesome

  • Gazillion Things

  • Essence Of Eclectic

  • Diverse Devisings

  • Imaginary Cheese

Yes, the last one is silly. That's why it's there, because it's silly.

Glittery! Makeup!

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 10:06 pm
cupcake_goth: (Default)
[personal profile] cupcake_goth
Hnnnng, Black Moon Cosmetics.

That's the Cosmic Eye Dust in "Cosmos", a pink/purple/gold colorshift glitter. It has a black pigment base, so as you blend it out, you get a lovely smokey effect with a haze of glitter.

SWEET SAINTED BOWIE I LOVE THIS STUFF. I need to buy the "Moon Rocks" color (silver with black), like, yesterday.

And *that's* the Black Metal liquid-to-matte lipcolor in "Armageddon". I'm a little less enthused with that. It's a fabulous color, and it's one of the better liquid-to-matte formulas out there, but it's still kinda drying. I will probably try it with lip balm over it (I'm already wearing lip balm under it) and see if I like it better.

However, there's a blackened rose gold color in the Black Metal lipcolor line. No, I don't want it for my lips. I want it as eyeshadow and eyeliner! (The very nice folks at Black Moon Cosmetics, in answer to my email, said they hadn't officially tested it as an eye product, but that they know some makeup artists have used it as such.) It would be such a great eye makeup color for me. Admit it, it would.

Wednesday Ramblings

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 11:50 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today we met up with my folks in Champaign-Urbana.  So they have their batch of poetry from the half-price sale.  \o/  We had lunch together too.

The main goal was making a major stockup run at Sam's Club.  We got a ton of food, some garden soil for leveling low spots, and a very cool garden cart.  We'll be making sloppy joe mix and keema, having picked up ingredients for those recipes.

We also stopped at Harvest Market.  They had more jackfruit, yay!  \o/  These were whole, about the size of a watermelon, but could be cut, so I got three big slices.  My plan is to make bread pudding and ice cream.  One of the employees also tipped us to the availability of barbecue jackfruit, which is made from the green fruit, so we got some of that to try also.  :D  They also had some shortbread cooking which turned out to be amazingly tasty and tender.  We did not, strictly speaking, need to buy a carton of cookies and half a gallon of farm-fresh chocolate milk, but after several hours of hiking around and buying healthy food, we decided that we deserved a treat.

Poem: "A Slow Ripening Fruit"

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:59 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the December 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] kyleri. It also fills the "Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right" square in my 12-1-16 card for the IPod Shuffle Music fest. This poem has been sponsored by [ profile] starcat_jewel. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )


Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 05:00 am
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Suggestions for someone's second-ever knitting project?

Not me: Toby. He wanted something productive/creative to do with his hands
while watching TV so he picked knitting. After watching a lot of YouTube
videos he has knitted a skein of yarn into a somewhat lumpy scarf that I
shall wear with pride, but he now is looking for the next thing to do.

The scarf was entirely the knit stitch. He is cautiously open to learning
the purl. XD (He claims it was because he wanted to make sure he had the
knit stitch down but whatever.)

Reading Wednesday: 22 February 2017

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 10:27 pm
likeadeuce: (marvelgirl)
[personal profile] likeadeuce
What are you currently reading?

Finishing up Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson, written by an African-American criminal lawyer about his experiences advocating against the death penalty, as well as against harsh prison sentences for juveniles and the mentally disabled. For the most part, this is structured around the main narrative of a death penalty appeal where Stevenson was able to win the release of a man who was wrongfully accused, interspersed with chapters that give a broader overview of a particular issue in the criminal justice system. As you can imagine, this is a pretty rough read (because of the many injustices chronicled, as well as the truly horrific backgrounds that many of the criminal defendants discussed in the book have been through.) Stevenson's career and commitment are impressive as hell, and he tells these stories with an astounding degree of empathy. Not an easy read, but worth it for me right now.

Also continuing All the Birds in the Sky and Vinegar Girl, which are much more escapist.

What did you recently finish reading?

The New Jim Crow, which I've already mentioned. Probably just as well to read this and the Stevenson book together rather than spread them out.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have Underground Airlines by Ben Winters, and a few other novels out from the library, will see what I get to. Also sort of feeling the urge to start a (very slow? sporadic? maybe just the good parts?) reread of War and Peace after watching Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.

The combinatorics of writing and representation

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 09:32 pm
yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
[personal profile] yhlee
For the writer, the question of "are there enough women characters" or "did the women characters receive a good enough role" is sometimes a no-win proposition. I'm not talking of books in which there are NOTHING BUT MEN FOR MILES AROUND for no good reason (as opposed to, say, a book set in an all-boys boarding school, in which case it's a natural part of the setting) and none of the women have speaking roles. They exist, they're a problem, they should be called out as such.

But sometimes I see criticisms of books or fiction and I wonder if the critics have thought through the combinatorics, because there actually is no way to win against a certain strand of criticism.

For example, let's take a book in which you have an inexperienced female protagonist struggling to keep up with a vastly older and more experienced male villain. I may have written a book like this.

On the face of it, this is a problem: the woman is being overshadowed.

But let's look at the combinatorial possibilities. For the moment I will confine myself to male and female characters only (but keep reading; I have some things to say about nonbinary characters too).

inexperienced female protagonist vs. more experienced male villain: "Oh noes, the woman is overshadowed by the more experienced male character."

Inexperienced female protagonist vs. more experienced female villain: "Why do strong women characters never get to be allies and instead always end up enemies?"

Inexperienced male protagonist vs. more experienced male villain: "Why is this nothing but dudes?"

Inexperienced male protagonist vs. more experienced female villain: "Why is the hero yet another dude, and why is it the woman who's evil?"

Once you start objecting to particular combinations in this manner, there is no win condition for the author. Every single combination can be reductively defined as Not Ideologically Pure Enough.

And this isn't even taking into account nonbinary/genderqueer characters. I am late to the party (as usual) so I didn't know about nonbinary-ness until comparatively recently, which is why I didn't start writing nonbinary characters until comparatively recently. But I am pretty damn sure that however terrible you think representation of women characters is, there's even less decent representation of nonbinary characters. Or if you consider cis women characters, trans characters of whatever gender.

And we can still choke the life out of the whole enterprise in, say, writing nonbinary characters. Let's just do combinations with women and nonbinary characters to simplify the combinatorics for this particular hero-villain scenario.

Inexperienced nonbinary protagonist vs. more experienced woman villain: "Why is the nonbinary character being overshadowed? Why did you make the woman evil?"

Inexperienced nonbinary protagonist vs. more experienced nonbinary villain: Honestly probably the safest configuration if you're running into these sorts of complaints. Of course, then you'll get pushback from the other side (the people who say, "It's improbable that there are so many nonbinary characters in this novel when they're so rare in real life, why are both the hero and the villain nonbinary, why didn't you make one of them male or female?").

Inexperienced female protagonist vs. more experienced female villain: Same objection as above--"Why do women always have to be enemies of each other, instead of allies?"

Inexperienced female protagonist vs. more experienced nonbinary villain: "Why is the nonbinary character the evil one?"

The answer (it seems to me) is that one ought to look at the wider context of the entire narrative, and the entire cast of characters (if applicable). Of course, in a short story there might not be space to have two women and two men and two nonbinary characters so that you make sure no one group is all good or all evil or all whatever quality you care to name. It gets even more complicated if you're trying to add representation along other axes (physical and mental health/ability, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic class...). It's not that representation is a bad thing. By all means, strive for more representation! I will cheer you on (send any chessmaster trans characters my way, please and thank you). But REPRESENTING ALL THE THINGS AT ONCE IN A SINGLE WORK is probably not possible even if it were desirable (which I'm not completely convinced it is).

In Ninefox Gambit, the heroine, Cheris, is a woman for a couple of reasons: because I wanted it to be a woman who was good at math (to the very limited extent that real math appears in the book, because if you even mention matrix diagonalization in passing, publishers will run away from your book, as I can testify). I went to a high school where the advanced calculus teacher was a woman and yet she only ever called on the guys in the class (I'm excluding myself from that category because no way no how was I out as a trans guy in a Christian high school; she knew me as a girl). Because the guys would be good at math and they would know the answers. I don't know what she thought the girls in the class were doing there, except one of them (not me) got a perfect score on the SAT, so what do you know. I briefly taught high school math and I wanted to encourage girls in particular not to give up on math; when my daughter came along, I made sure to expose her to math and challenge her in it because I was determined that she should be as good at it as her ability allowed (and indeed, she's in the GT program and math is her favorite subject--7th grade and she's in Algebra I, where I only made it to Algebra I in 8th grade, so something's working).

And the other reason the heroine is a woman is because I'm trans, and the whole ghost-and-anchor thing turned out to be a metaphor for being trans, and for me the personal experience is male-mind-female-body, so that's what I wrote.

In Ninefox Gambit, the villain, Jedao, is a man partly because of the trans thing. That ought to be enough reason. I ought to be allowed to write about my own lived experience in the metaphor that makes sense to me. But the other reason was the combinatorics of the thing. I reasoned that if I had a choice between a woman and a man as a villain, I would go with a man. But I was bothered by this, and the combinatorics is why. Because if you break things down into possible combinations, every single possible combination is a minefield. Someone who is determined to find a problem with the protagonist being male or female or, God knows, nonbinary, regardless of the context of other characters in the novel, will always be able to find a problem. It is impossible to win when the game is posed this way.

It's maddening, because people seem to mean well when they level charges like this; but they're doing so in a way that reveals they haven't thought through the damn combinatorics. It comes down to math.

Write; but write what makes sense to you. Think about representation; but don't box yourself in because "only" certain combinations are allowed.

Reading Wednesday, 02/22/17

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 11:26 pm
umadoshi: (hands full of books)
[personal profile] umadoshi
What did you recently finish reading?

Brenna Yovanoff's Places No One Knows (for values of "recently" that mean "sometime...last week?"), which is light on plot but beautifully written, with characters I really enjoyed spending time with. [ profile] wildpear told me to bump it up my list, so I did, and I'm glad. ^_^

What are you currently reading?

Tonight I started Carrie Fisher's first memoir, Wishful Drinking (having accidentally first read her Shockaholic sometime last year). Very funny so far, although having between Shockaholic and the many articles I've read about her in the past while, not a lot of the broad strokes are surprising.

I needed to start something in the non-fiction vein, because I prefer not to read more than one novel/novella at a time, and...

What do you think you'll read next?

I'm itching to read Mira Grant's standalone novella Final Girls, having gotten it in a current Humble Bundle (the hard copy, which I've preordered from Subterranean and expect to take a while to get here even after the release date, doesn't drop until April, so I'm surprised and delighted that the ebook's in the bundle).

But when I went to start reading tonight, I had technical difficulties. >.< For some reason it's not showing up on Elliot (my Kobo), but also, I apparently never synced my Humble Bundle account properly on the no-longer-new phone, so it wasn't showing up there until I took care of that, and when I simply emailed the .epub to myself to try to shortcut that, I had to figure out what to do about a "screen overlay detected" error. And both of the latter were simple fixes (the "screen overlay" thing is from running the Twilight app, and pausing that takes care of the problem), but since I didn't deal with them until I'd stopped reading for the evening and came upstairs to my office, I guess I'm starting the novella tomorrow.

Other media

I haven't seen last week's episode of The 100 yet, so I guess I'll be watching two tomorrow evening. And I think I only narrowly dodged being spoiled for The Good Place on Twitter, so that was a powerful nudge in the direction of finishing season 1 with [ profile] scruloose sooner rather than later.

I'm also hoping to see The Girl With All the Gifts on Friday, but unless Cineplex has additional showtimes that they're planning to add tomorrow, the options are really limited--right now they seem to be offering one whole showing (in the whole city) per evening, and Friday is the only one that starts around 7 rather than 9 or 9:30. >.< With it being so (apparently) limited so far, I have no confidence that it'll be around for long, and besides, Logan opens in just over a week, and I want to see that ASAP.

At least TGWATG looks like it's showing in 2D, so I don't have to weigh my dislike of 3D movies against more convenient showtimes? (Yay, mixed blessings?)

Wednesday reading meme

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:12 pm
bedlamsbard: star wars rebels: hera peering around a corner (Default)
[personal profile] bedlamsbard
Actually on Wednesday this week!

What I'm currently reading

The Minority Council by Kate Griffin and The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly, both rereads, though I've only read The Silent Tower once. (I've read others of the Windrose books multiple times, but the first one, only once -- this is another series I originally read in a weird order for some reason.) I also started Star Wars: Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller yesterday (another reread), but was still in a Matthew Swift headspace so I went to The Minority Council instead.

What I've just finished reading

I finished up the Sun Wolf and Starhawk series with The Witches of Wenshar and The Dark Hand of Magic (Barbara Hambly), and then went through the middle two Matthew Swift books, The Midnight Mayor and The Neon Court (Kate Griffin). I also finished reading Star Wars: Catalyst by James Luceno, which I hadn't expected to like or finish and which surprised me by the fact that I actually did like it. I bounce off so many Star Wars novels (a good 90% of the time they're the weakest part of the canon) that it's always a shock when I actually like one.

What I'm reading next

I really want to do a Star Wars: A New Dawn reread -- I've been meaning to since last year, and just haven't gotten around to it because for some reason I keep thinking I have to finish all my other books in progress first.

Another Regression

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:03 pm
lovelyangel: (Haruhi NotImpressed)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
The clown car continues to drive backwards: Trump Scraps Obama Bathroom Policy for Transgender Students

Weather + work

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 10:59 pm
umadoshi: (ice on branch (shadow_images))
[personal profile] umadoshi
Enough people have mentioned in my hearing that the winter of 2014-15 didn't get really bad until February that I suppose it's probably true. (I remember the heavy snowfalls/storms starting noticeably earlier, although nothing more specific than that.) I reeeeally hope this season isn't a repeat, despite the recent "three significant snowfalls/blizzard within a week" shattering our previously-mild winter.

That said, our weather this week is pretty consistently hitting highs above freezing, which is nice, although it's not enough to clear the heaps of snow. (Which I suppose is just as well; I hate being cold, but also am in favor of at least remotely seasonal weather. Fucking climate change.)

Question: does there seem to be any sort of standard for which year to name to identify a winter (or summer, in the southern hemisphere!)? As in, when referring back to this season, will you say "winter 2016" or "winter 2017"?

It's looking like I'll probably be at the office for the whole week (tomorrow for sure), but as of today it's just normal-workday hours (9-4 in my case) while we finish up the seventeen-or-so hours (!) of audio from Tuesday. (I think we have about twelve hours left.) I've talked to my VIZ and Seven Seas editors about deadlines/current projects, and the half-volume that's due tomorrow is now getting mostly turned on time, and I'll adapt the remaining ten pages or so over the weekend. Infinite blessings on understanding editors.

I didn't sleep nearly enough Monday night, and then yesterday was a twelve-hour day followed by technically just about enough time in bed but horrible sleep, so yesterday and today were both pretty rough. (As mentioned elsewhere, in the hall outside Casual Job I ran into a woman I went to university with but have never known well, and she said, "Hey, how are y-- Oh, wow, your eyes look tired.")

Tarot d'Ambre: Le retour de Droppa MaPantz

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 08:46 pm
yhlee: Amber Tarot Knight of Swords: Benedict (Tarot d'Ambre: Benedict)
[personal profile] yhlee
Tarot d'Ambre par F. Nedelec, cont'd

The return of Droppa MaPantz

OMG, you guys, there's a swipe at L. Ron Hubbard and Dianetics in this passage! This booklet, it never ceases to delight.


Read more... )

Random trivia of the day

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 03:24 pm
mab_browne: A teapot and cups in silhouette against a green and blue background (Tea)
[personal profile] mab_browne
When you boil vinegar in your electric jug to take the mineral scale off the base of it, you really don't want to get a whiff of boiling white vinegar.. Whoooo, that certainly immediately sealed any mucous membranes.

Also, have a link to a chat with woman who invented the quintessential Kiwi dip (a packet of Maggi onion soup mixed with a tin of reduced cream). It's probably gross, objectively speaking, but my childhood and not so childhood memories recall a food fit for the gods.

And for any as care about my progress through Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, I have reached Stephen's attendance at the ball held by the man with thistledown hair, and am reasonably certain that something unsettling will come of it, just as I am in regard to his miracle performed for Norrell on behalf of Emma.

Musings On Basic Income

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 06:24 pm
heron61: (Emphasis and strong feeling)
[personal profile] heron61
There are a number of excellent arguments against basic income including this one from the UK, and there's the simple fact that if you want a solid social safety net, paying everyone, including the majority of the society who don't need it isn't necessarily the most efficient or effective method. I thought a lot about basic income a couple of years ago, and after considering these arguments decided it might not be the best course of action. However recently considered one counter-argument that (to me at least) makes all of these objections irrelevant – resentment.

The politics of bitter, hate-filled resentment is much of the reason the US and the UK are both now having considerable problems, and much of Western Europe may be headed in the same direction. It's more difficult for me to talk about anywhere else, but in the US at least, the data is clear, the rise of President Puppet wasn't due to economic deprivation, it was due to the fact that white bigots felt that other people (immigrants, people of color, urbanites, and in fact anyone who isn't a white bigot) were doing better than before (despite that fact that many of them still weren't doing as well as the white bigots), while the white bigots were mostly doing about the same, and they (the white bigots) were both jealous and afraid they'd lose out. This resentment (fueled by President Puppet and his white supremacist traveling show) motivated them to get out and vote. Until we manage to improve humanity in some global way (better education is a good start, and breaking any sort of moral link between money and human worth would be an equally good one), these sorts of resentment will continue to exist. As a result, it's far too easy for people who aren't benefiting from social safety net programs to vote to cut them. Also, one of the continuing problems with all social welfare programs is that the ultra-rich (who mostly loathe paying taxes) spend money on propaganda campaigns aimed at fueling working class resentment against social safety net programs for people poorer than them, using the time-honored tactic of "How about you and them fight".

Basic income utterly defangs all that. Sure, many 1%ers and 0.1%ers who would need to pay notably higher taxes to make this work care more about the taxes they lose than the $10,000/year they gain, but in addition to vastly helping out someone who makes $5-10,000 year, an extra $10,000 is going to be pretty noticeably to someone who makes $40,000 year. As a result, any vote to decrease basic income is a vote to get less money yourself, and that's simply something that most people aren't willing to do. Thus, I've again changed my mind and am strongly for the idea of basic income.

Entitlement much?

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:55 pm
beatrice_otter: Ah, arrogance and stupidity all in the same package.  How efficient of you! (Arrogance and Stupidity)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
PM I just received from the Pit of Voles*:

I was wondering if you would like to write a Beauty And The Beast fic request for me to celebrate the upcoming the live action Disney film being released in movie theaters next month.
Wow.  Going up to a perfect stranger and asking them to write your fic prompt.  And just a bare request.  From someone who hasn't even bothered to review or comment on the one fic in that fandom I've written.  Wouldn't you know it, it was a guy?

*, for all you baby!fen out there, so named because of the relatively low ratio of good fic to badly-written fic, and the high number of jerks who comment.  While I don't read there unless a fic is specifically recced, because there's so much crap to wade through and very little way to narrow it down, I am a big believer in redundancy.  I want all my fic in as many places as possible so that if one archive goes down, it isn't lost--I've had too many favorite stories go the way of the dodo bird for that very reason.

State of the Meg Update

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 09:48 am
megpie71: Animated: "Are you going to come quietly/Or do I have to use earplugs?" (Come Quietly)
[personal profile] megpie71
So, I'm heading back to uni (again - hopefully this time I'll get a degree out of things). I'm studying part-time, because that way I'm not going to be overloading myself, and I'll be able to get things like, y'know, housework and such done as well as studying without pushing myself to the point of breakdown. Unfortunately for me, this week is O-week, which means I pretty much need to be on campus every day.

Yesterday was O-Day (Guild clubs & societies sign-up day). It did not go well for me.

A bit of background: I am hyper-sensitive to noise. Lots of noise overloads me, because I basically don't have a filter for "foreground noise" or "background noise" - everything I hear comes in marked "process immediately", so too much noise, and too many sources of noise, and too much volume means my brain literally gets overloaded. I am also somewhat claustrophobic in crowded situations - I prefer having something of a generous personal space bubble, and crowded areas make me anxious and panicky.

O-Day yesterday was trying to cram pretty much the entire cohort of first year students, plus a fairly substantial chunk of second and third year students, into a single 500m by 20m (widest point maybe 50m) stretch of the campus. Plus two different sound stages within about 100m of each other, dozens of club and society booths, and numerous corporate and social bodies trying to get people's attention as well. Essentially, if I ever wind up in hell, it will be like being stuck in something like this on a never-ending basis.

O-Day officially started at 12 noon. I was getting the fsck out of there by about 12.30pm, and I only managed to sign up for one of the (potentially four) clubs I was interested in. Even thinking about it now is making me feel uncomfortable. I have not felt so purposefully excluded in years. (This was actually probably the least of their accessibility fails - I wouldn't have wanted to be trying to get a wheelchair or walker through that throng without a cow-catcher bolted onto the front, TBH).

Fortunately the earliest I have to be on campus today is about 3pm, for a Mature Age study skills session, and tomorrow I only have one thing to attend (a one-off lecture for one of my courses, where I'm hoping to receive the unit outline, since it isn't available online). But I'm really not feeling welcome there or happy about being there.

Japanese verb drill (negatives: plain/polite, non-past/past)

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:01 pm
yhlee: a sewer cover in Kyoto (I am not making this up) (Kyoto)
[personal profile] yhlee
Still going through this list, which is way advanced above my level as opposed to nice basic verbs, but the practice is good!

Read more... )

Back to Revenant Gun...

Wed Reading Meme..

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:02 pm
shadowkat: (work/reading)
[personal profile] shadowkat
Stayed away from the news for the most part today, and that helped reduce my anxiety levels considerably. Work feels a bit like pushing boulders up a hill with my mind. So been obsessing over my up-coming trip to Costa Rica and all the crap I apparently need. Because suffice it to say, I don't have water/active athletic adventure stuff. I hope the footwear is okay. I think my strap on sandals should be fine.

To distract myself on my commute, I'm reading books on the Kindle. The Kindle Paperwhite has advertisements for movies and books that Amazon thinks I'd be interested in. The current one that keeps popping up is entitled "We Have Lost The President", and every time I see it, my first thought is "if only that were true. But alas, it's not."

What I just finished reading

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden which apparently won a Christy and a RITA at some point. I don't know why. But I don't understand why most things get awards. Awards in the arts are purely subjective and based purely on the subjective tastes of whomever is voting for them.

That's not to say that I disliked it, it was okay. Just two-three star material. I guess I should have realized that if it won a Christy, it was in the Christian fiction genre, or rather a historical Christian romance. I did figure it out by about a hundred pages in. I think this book would appeal to anyone who is a devote Christian and a linguist, and also likes historicals that take place in the 1800s, and are a bit of a thriller, with a mystery or puzzle.

The Christian didn't bother me so much, as...well, I'm not a fan of religious fiction. Christy is one of the few religious fictional novels that I've read and liked. It's not "Christianity" that bugs me, it's religious that does. It can be a bit on the sanctimonious side.
And I felt that the writer was a bit repetitive. My mother who read the same book, didn't. So mileage varies.

I'm not a historian, but the history played well here, and the author clearly did her research. The main character is a linguist working in a Navy Yard in Boston during the late 1800s, and she's addicted to opium. But doesn't realize she's addicted because she's been taking it over the counter in a headache medicine that she'd been given as a child. In the 1800s, a British company, Mrs. Winslow's, developed a formula called "Mrs Winslow's Soothing Syrup" which calmed teething babies and small children, also helped with other ailments. Many orphanages used it. The heroine is an orphan and spent her childhood in an orphanage which spoon fed her Mrs. Winslow's. Little did people know that the soothing property in Mrs. Winslow's syrup was opium. The hero is working to stop the opium trade and uses the heroine to help him in his quest. He's your wounded hero trope. I normally like the wounded hero trope, but he irritated me. Actually all the men in this novel irritated me, they were portrayed as selfish, manipulative, and somewhat stupid.

There is no sex in the book - for two reasons, one - the writer is adhering to the period, two - it's a Christian romance.

The writing? It was okay. Found the dialogue to be a bit stilted. But you know I'm picky about dialogue, it's all that theater and play-reading background. And the villains seemed to be a tad one-dimensional and underdeveloped, which bugs me more than most people.

All of that said, I did get something out of it -- the main theme seems to be the pitfalls of self-importance and arrogance. spoilers )

What I'm reading now

Red Shirts by John Scalzi -- this is an interesting science fiction novel, that in some respects reminds me a little of Ready Player Now, but I think I like this one better. It's a meta-narrative satire of Star Trek and fictional television serials similar to Star Trek. And in the larger scheme of things, an adept critique of our ego-driven narcissistic society, where the stars matter and no one else does. If you are a star or the lead in the show, you live, and everyone else's life and purpose revolves around you. They validate your existence. Instead of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few, the needs of the elite or top few outweigh the needs of the many. Like I said, a deft critique of our culture.

This book in some respects, oddly enough, echoes the themes of the prior one.

Also reading a lot of newspaper articles online. They discovered a solar system with seven planets, including one like earth, orbiting a dwarf star. So, maybe aliens will invade us after all?
OR after the Doofus destroys Earth, we can escape to this distant solar system?

And the New Yorker had a rather interesting article... Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds.

Read more... )
Well it appealed to the frustrated psychology major inside of me, at any rate.

Photo Post (Instagram)

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 01:34 am
christina_maria: (Instagram icon)
[personal profile] christina_maria
My homemade magnets for the front door are multiplying. 😉
The No Soliciting one is new. Made it today .. right after a home security salesman left. He had talked Aaron's ear off.

I did edit out charity from the list of No's ..
'cause we do like getting Girl Guide cookies right to the door. 😂

wednesday reads

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 06:32 pm
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[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading: Caliban's War, the second book in the Expanse series by "James S.A. Corey". It's a worthy follow-up to the first book, although there's a bit of a weird sense of recycled plot as much of it is driven by a character who wants to find a missing girl, although at least here she's his daughter so his obsession is a bit more rational. Of course we already know about the protomolecule and its evil goo, so there is less novelty, but I think this is made up for by greater depth in the overall story and the interesting new characters. The two (new) women who have POV chapters are wonderful: the foul-mouthed old lady UN official who might not understand military tactics or spacecraft, but has diplomatic tactics down cold, and the Martian Marine sergeant who is the sole survivor of a protomolecule attack that killed all her friends.

The writing is solid and easy to get absorbed in. The relationship stuff is pretty eye-rolly and my least favorite part. But the overall theme is the same as in the first book, that humans are so tribal that we will only stop fighting each other when convinced of a common threat, and also, so venal that we will risk the destruction of humanity just to become even more fabulously wealthy than we already are.

What I'm currently reading: I decided I had enough brain to tackle it, so I started in on Tom Toner's The Weight of the World, the sequel to The Promise of the Child, which I wrote about last week. As it's the second book in the series, the in media res with no explanation is a little less opaque than in the first, though it's still not yet clear where all the threads in this one will be going.

What I'm reading next: NetGalley approved me to read the e-ARC of City of Miracles, the conclusion to Robert Jackson Bennett's Divine Cities trilogy, so EEEEEE I AM SO EXCITED. Ahem. (But seriously, EEEEEE! The first two books in this series are some of the best fiction I've ever read.)

Surely this has been used

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 08:22 pm
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[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
A real estate developer who arranges for superhumans to scuffle in neighborhoods the developer wants leveled so they can buy the properties on the cheap and develop them.

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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