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mizarchivist August 23 2014, 18:06

The 3rd Birthday, a story told in pictures.

Our hero, the Crime Fighter woke up earlier than we would have liked... and horked on our bed. Snot-only. He does that. It meant he won TV time after the sheets got changed, because 5am is too soon. This activity was not documented. You are welcome.
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Today we had a minimalist party at the splash park. I think everyone had a good time. Even me!
lillibet August 23 2014, 17:27


Today I read a powerful post about white privilege, about a man recognizing it and trying to figure out how to explain it to his son, in the context of the shooting of Michael Brown. (The issue is yet another black teenager murdered by police. His name was Mike Brown.)

I haven't said anything about Ferguson here--I've shared a few links and comments on FB--partly because it's hard to say anything that isn't making it about me. It isn't about me, it's about Mike Brown and all the other young black men whose parents teach them how to minimize their chances of being murdered by police.

But in my life, like everything else that happens, it is about me. And now it's about Alice. It's about trying to openly confront the issues that I could easily shield her from. It's about honestly discussing issues of race and class and sexuality and gender as they come up, in the news, in conversation, in her books, on our television. It's about facing my own staggering levels of privilege and unpacking them, trying to see how I can ally myself in any effective way. How can I send the elevator down, past the lobby where I got on, to people for whom even the stairs are blocked by the structure of our society?

I said to someone recently that the one bright spot in any of this is that we're actually talking about it. We're not agreeing, by any means, but we are not ignoring another young black man murdered by police. We are trying to get an accounting. We are sharing the links and having the conversations and watching the news like we do in times of disaster and war. Because this is a disaster, slow moving and life threatening and overwhelming in its scale. But like any disaster, we bear witness, we re-check our own survival kits and donate to the rebuilding.

Sadly, this is all about us. Despite their growing demographic and political clout, people of color still do not have the power to command answers and make changes. We do. Privilege is a bully pulpit and what we preach from it is what matters. Let the word go forth.
misschili August 23 2014, 16:40

Ketchup on mussed turds

 Or catching up on ... Ah well, wee bits of wordplay are rarely far off for me.

Speaking of which, last week, I'd written something about the Danish word for Friday beginning with a silent 'P'. Yeah, you're right in thinking that such a word is indeed silly. It's only the word for Friday in our flat, mostly because Fridays are known to be days on which pizza is ordered in for dinner. 

At any rate, here is the quote of the day:

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit-detector.”

-- Ernest Hemingway on the myth of his style and pumping the well.

This post was originally made at http://misschili.dreamwidth.org/151033.html. Feel free to comment here or there, as you will.
bluegargantua August 23 2014, 15:45

Pelican Tracks -- Entry 6

It has been a most unusual week. When all is said and done, however, we are a good deal richer and I’m feeling much more confident about our chances of slipping into Nortrig and making the delivery as scheduled. What’s a warzone after a few pirate attacks?

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So with the crew rested and ready it’s on to Nortrig.

* * *

Just a marathon session of a game and it was definitely Sanna’s star turn. Since she was the resident combat monster it only stands to reason, but Wrench and I are almost useless in a fight and she had some astounding rolls to boot. It’s certainly upended the rest of the crew’s easy understanding of Sanna.

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elfy August 23 2014, 15:19


Made my mom a trackable geocaching shirt for her birthday :D
I didn't like the designs you can buy regularly (most look like this), so I bought a trackable code and designed something myself. The seagull because her cacher name is Moewe54 (Seagull54). Well, our cacher name is Moewe54&Elfys, to be exact, because we only have one account, but yeah, you get it.

Click for bigger view.


I smudged over the parts of the tracking code, so she has to be seen in person to be tracked ;)

I really like how it turned out :)
I think the nice thing is that I can now also make other items with the same number on it, that she can wear or carry around.
spacecrime August 23 2014, 06:37

2014 Reading #81

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

I'm pretty sure I just read next year's Hugo Award winner for Best Novel.

Astronaut Mark Watney is, in his own words, fucked. Due to a sandstorm and a freak accident, he has been left behind when the rest of his mission team evacuated Mars. He's got plenty of power, air, and water, even a year's worth of food -- but nobody knows he's still alive, he has no radio, and the next mission won't arrive until three years after he starves to death.

Oh, and the only music he has to listen to is disco. So when you add it all up, "fucked" is kind of an understatement.

Despite the ridiculous odds against him, though, Mark is a mechanic, a botanist, and quite possibly the most stubborn explorer in human history. He refuses to give up, and his struggle for survival is an old-school hard SF man-vs.-Arean-nature story that never lets up on pacing and characterization. A fantastic book, and one that kept me up late because I couldn't bear to put it down before I got to the end.
archangelbeth August 23 2014, 04:52

Got to bed at 3:30 in the morning...

But I got through beta-reader edits up to chapter 31 (out of... 62, plus some Interludes... dear gods, why can't I write longer chapters or shorter books??). And really, it was only 3:22 by the time I got in bed. ...though I was kind of awake for a while.

(Part of this was re-researching desiccation of bodies vs. decomposing. Decomposition and desiccation can indeed co-exist, on a sliding scale that depends on the environment at that moment! Edits on that bit unnecessary, but as it is not a major plot point and as the book is already too blighted long anyway, I cannot include a short essay about this. The perils of "everyone knows" vs. "well, actually, it's more complicated than that.")

In other news, Dead Witch Walking is a free ebook on at least iTunes and Amazon and probably other places as well. If you haven't picked it up, hey, free!

Meanwhile, GoodReader, an excellent PDF-reader for the iPad and iPhone, is on sale for 99c. I haven't upgraded my iPhingies to an iOS that can use this version, but I grabbed it because ON SALE FOR A BUCK. Eventually I will no doubt be forced to upgrade, whereupon I will need it. (I'm hoping the next iOS is less... glare-white in the UI. Yes, I like retro-UI or something. TOUGH. I imprinted on iOS 1! Grrr!)

Speaking of Retro, Tuftears and Kageneko, spouse and me and Biddycloom, took down the Lich King in 25-man mode! It. Was. Awesome. Further, earlier today, Tufty'd gotten me a Twilight Drake, and then we went and got Biddycloom a Twilight Drake as well! So much awesome. *sings "Do you wanna raid old content?"*

Havva Quote
T_____ says, "You should totally be able to offend Skyrim bards by asking them to sing Age of Aggression when they're Stormcloaks or Age of Oppression when they're Imperials."
T_____ says: trolling Dragonborn: "Do you know 'Age of Oppression?'" Imperial Bard: "... You're joking. You're joking, right? ...you're serious. Ha-ha-hah-aaah-haaa. *pause* This song is dedicated to our staunch protectors, the Imperials. We drink to our youth, to the days come and gone, for the age of aggression is just about done..." Dragonborn: D:
--compressed from a longer MUSH conversation

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Adopt one today!
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dr_kromm August 22 2014, 23:36

Another week in the life of GURPS

This week is named Kaori. The news:

• We released Pyramid #3/70: Fourth Edition Festival in honor of the 10th birthday of GURPS Fourth Edition (August 19, 2014). Read about it here.

GURPS Power-Ups 7, by y.t., entered prepress. Expect it Real Soon Now.

• We scheduled a long-awaited update/errata fix for upload in September. More than that, I cannot say.

• My GURPS Magic-series project passed its production review.

• Phil Masters' (phil_masters) latest Transhuman Space supplement went into editing.

• Progress was made on art for the Discworld Roleplaying Game, also by Phil Masters (phil_masters).

• I turned around comments on the first draft of Matt Riggsby's (wombattery) latest work.

Finally, don't miss the 23% off all SJ Games-published GURPS items at Warehouse 23 until 12:00 CDT on Wednesday, August 27!
mabfan August 22 2014, 22:14

My Week in Facebook, August 17-22, 2014

Another week, another bunch of posts to Facebook. (I wish LJ were as active as it once was.) So what was my week like?

On Sunday, I congratulated the winners of this year's Hugo Awards.

On Monday, I posted a picture of me with Harold Feld (also known as osewalrus.)

I also continued playing the game Nomi and I play of finding band names.

On Tuesday, I expressed my shock at the cost of the new Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook.

And I noted a conversation between me and Squeaker, which is either cute or morbid, depending on your mood.

On Thursday, I expressed my disappointment in the movie "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." And I also noted that my daughters are fans of both My Little Pony and Doctor Who.

And finally, I backed the Kickstarter for Chronosphere.

What did you do this week?
minkrose August 22 2014, 19:47

Speak nicely and then express your disgust


Originally posted by derspatchel at Speak nicely and then express your disgust
GoFundMe, that relatively successful crowdsourcing site, is currently hosting a campaign created by people who want to financially support Darren Wilson, the policeman named in the Michael Brown shooting. You know, the white cop who put six bullets into an unarmed black teenager in broad daylight for the crime known colloquially as "boy not knowing his place".

The campaign is at http://www.gofundme.com/supportofficerwilson and I don't suggest you visit it to give clicks. I especially don't suggest you visit it to read the comments from contributors, many of which are of the dittohead attaboy variety, wishing a man well for straight up murdering a kid, and that's the least ugly of the themes. If ever we needed proof Pax Americana is on the inevitable decline, here it is.

However, I do suggest reaching out to GoFundMe and gently noting to them that the campaign is in direct violation of GoFundMe's Terms of Service which prohibit, in part:
(d) items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime
Welp. The shooting of an unarmed citizen is surely a crime; last I heard it's still being treated as a criminal investigation. And the contributor comments pretty much cover the other three angles, though the entire context behind the campaign does that too.

I have always found it most effective, when contacting sites about shit like this, is to stay objective and point out the actual technical flaws which necessitate removal. "Remove this because it's fucking reprehensible, you shitlords", while true, sounds much different than "Remove this because it violates your own rules (which you wrote to prevent fucking reprehensible things like this from happening in the first place)". Plus, if the shitlords then sit on their thumbs and do nothing about it, you have the additional thrill of subsequently and loudly calling them out on their hypocrisy and, honestly, who doesn't love a chance to get to do that?

GoFundMe takes great pains at many points to remind you that it doesn't endorse the campaigns on its site; they're just a facilitator, an easy way for People A to send money to People B for specific reasons. I completely understand that endorsement and facilitation are two different things entirely. I also know damn well that the line between the two can get easily blurred and that at some point, continued facilitation in the face of opposition becomes endorsement. Let's hope GoFundMe does the right thing here and keep things from getting to that point, because I like the site and I know people who've done well by it and I'd hate to lose it as a good resource. There are few enough Good Resources these days as it is.

I admit I was a little unsettled when the GoFundMe report-a-site page asked for my phone number in case "law enforcement needs to contact" me; I'm reporting a case for TOS-breaking, not fraud. Since the case involves law enforcement, well, let's just say I was sufficiently unsettled that I may have nervously fat-fingered my phone number in the field and messed a few digits up. Twice.
spacecrime August 22 2014, 13:53

2014 Reading #79 and 80

Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned BetterRobert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better by William H. Patterson Jr.

I've seen some comments to the effect that this is not a literary biography, which is puzzling -- how can a writer's biography not be literary?

What the reviewers mean, of course, is that there is no extended discussion of Heinlein's works in the book. Patterson sticks to the events, people and things in Heinlein's life, and that's quite all right. Heinlein incorporated all those elements into his writing, and you can see the steady ripple of experiences into his work a year or two later. That kind of chronicle is invaluable to anyone who wants a sense of what was on Heinlein's mind as we wrote. It's also leaves more room for charming anecdotes and personality sketches, of which the more the better.

That said, this book should be approached with caution. Patterson is an honest biographer who carefully sources most of his text, but he is also a fan portraying his subject in the best light possible. From his viewpoint, Heinlein wins all the arguments, and the sometimes imperious personality described by his contemporaries is glossed over or dismissed.

There are many insights into what Heinlein's thought process here, but as Heinlein himself would have said -- usually sincerely, and far better than I can -- read with care. Pay attention to who's selling what idea, and why.

(By the way, it's oddly reassuring to see that the science fiction community of the sixties was just as riven with ego and umbrage as it was in the eighties, nineties, and today. The genre may be about the change, but the human element is a constant.)

2014 Guide to Self-Publishing2014 Guide to Self-Publishing by Robert Lee Brewer

A grab-bag of articles and listings of services for writers looking to publish their own work and actually make money from it. Notable mostly because self-publishing is a much more viable commercial strategy than it used to be, so the focus is on practical advice instead of handwaving about the old vanity press model. This put a few things on my checklist that -- should certain work pan out -- I can go back to later and check off.
wired_under August 22 2014, 11:25

What You Need to Know Before Watching the New Doctor Who



It's that time again. Tomorrow doesn't just mark the arrival of a new season of Doctor Who, it also sees the arrival of a whole new Doctor as well. Ahead of the first episode of Peter Capaldi's reign as everyone's favorite Time Lord, here are six things you should know to prepare you for Who Season 8.

wired_under August 22 2014, 11:25

The Mess in Ferguson Tops the Must-See TV This Week



We're not going to pretend that anything on television this week was as must-see as the coverage of what's been happening in Ferguson, Missouri. But if you feel like watching something more fun after taking in these clips discussing America's reaction to the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, we have some of those for you as well. Here's a highlight reel of TV from the past seven days.

wired_under August 22 2014, 11:25

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Is Beautiful, Gritty, and Near-Unwatchable



In the near decade that's passed since director Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller brought the Miller's noir comic Sin City to the big screen, filmmaking technology has gotten better, comic book movies have become an official Big Deal, and 3-D has become a lot more palatable. What's more surprising is that my ability to watch women being hit (or, to use the local parlance, watching dames get roughed up) has withered from Minimal to None.

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