Bite-sized Anti-procrastination

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:26 pm
peaceful_sands: butterfly (Default)
[personal profile] peaceful_sands posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Little by little we get over the hurdle, past the obstacle and little by little we make a difference. We may not have the time, the energy, the power or the ability to tackle the whole, but if we examine things carefully we can find the bit that we can do, the progress that we can make - the steps that begin the journey.

In the middle of the week, we have our anti-procrastination day. It's a great opportunity to look carefully at the things we've been avoiding starting and thinking about why we aren't getting anywhere with them. There are any number of reasons and it really doesn't matter what they are, they were good reasons before, but now is our chance to reevaluate and to begin to look for a way past them. Remember - this comm is not about having to manage to complete the whole of a task in one go, it's about finding first the way to start and then the way to continue it until we can overcome it. Tasks don't have to be daunting and beyond us, because all we're looking for at any time is the next step.

Can you think of something that you'd like to begin? Something that bit by bit you could overcome? What's today's part of that task going to be (or tomorrow's if today's is the planning stage)?

At Last

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:55 am
kevin_standlee: (House)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
It took about five more trips to the hardware/plumbing store than it should have done, but Lisa was able to get the toilet in the south bathroom fixed yesterday. It now properly fills (that was the original problem) and she also was able to replace the gasket that had a slow leak that had been getting steadily faster. So no more water waste through that route, either.

(no subject)

Oct. 17th, 2017 06:46 pm
turps: (unicorn)
[personal profile] turps
Thank you to everyone who commented and reached out after my last post. You're all very kind, and it was lovely to see some names I haven't seen post for a very long time. Seeing all the comments meant a lot and helped in what was a horrible day. And thank you to [personal profile] madam_beetroot for your card and lovely message that arrived this morning. I don't mind lurkers at all, but know I'm always here to talk to if you feel the need.

I've been to nanna's today to start help clear her house. I got to take a variety of things that meant a lot to me, nothing expensive or even useful in cases, but things that hold deep memories and I'll always treasure. I'm not going to lie, it was hard being there without her, but it has to be done. It's the first time I've helped break down a house, when dad died Pauline was obviously left behind, so it didn't have to be done. And 97 years of life leads to a lot of things to sort through.

Tomorrow it's my one year post op hospital appointment. So expect one final naval gazing post when I'm home from that.

Finally, [community profile] mini_wrimo is taking sign ups atm on both DW and LJ. I love that challenge a lot and I'll be signing up soon. It's very low key and you can set your daily word target as low or high as you like. As I have very little brain right now, I'm setting my bar low and going for 100 words a day. Who knows, I may even get a ficlet out of it somehow.

The Wild Storm #7

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:55 am
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[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily


This is a book about the characters and themes that Jim [Lee] and his friends created, way back when, and me, trying to do right by them. -- Warren Ellis

Read more... )
laughing_tree: (Seaworth)
[personal profile] laughing_tree posting in [community profile] scans_daily


That sets up a Batman I want to read. That sets up a Batman whose pain comes from guilt, not just from inaction. I think a lot of us, when we think about the worst parts of our life, we think about ourselves being involved in them. It’s not just the pain that was done to us but [also] the pain we caused ourselves. In looking at Batman and making him more human and raising the stakes of the series, I wanted to bring out that guilt. -- Tom King

Read more... )
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
 This looks like another "young outcast discovers his powers" book.  Wow, is it not.   Trust me. In the very first scene, Kellen needs to fight a magecaster's duel.  

There are three requirements to earning a mage's name among the JanTep.  The first is the strength to defend your family.  The second is the ability to wield the high magics that protect our people.  The third is simply to reach the age of sixteen.  I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn't be doing any of those things.

And we're off, into the duel.  Kellen's problem is that he doesn't have magic.   This is not a survivable problem.   But Kellep does have a very, very clever mind.  In a lesser book, Kellep would discover his magic and wipe the floor with his opponent, winning the acclaim of the crowd. 

This is not a lesser book.  Spellslinger is actually about a young outcast discovering and creating his own moral fiber.  Kellep's struggle, although he doesn't realize it early in the book, is to become a decent human being in an indecent society.  This is a far more interesting coming-of-age story than you usually get.   When the Mysterious Stranger shows up, she's not a kindly wizard mentor.  She's (possibly) not a wizard at all. She doesn't teach Kellep: she gives him opportunities to teach himself.  Kellep acquires some new resources, but they are challenges as much as gifts.

Oh, the Mysterious Stranger kicks ass.  I can't say more, because it would be a spoiler.  She is compelling and ambiguous and funny and tough.

The characters are engrossing.  The worldbuilding is unusual and clever. It's partly based around an original variant of a Tarot deck, but is in no way woo-woo; the cards do not predict your future, but (sometimes) illuminate your choices. The cards are playing cards, but are also a weapon.   The cards have nothing to do -- as far as we know -- with the magic of the JanTep.

The book itself is gorgeous, in a way that made me extremely nostalgic.  The red-and-black cover has two line drawings of the main characters, presented as a face card. (Don't look too closely at Kellep; it's a spoiler.)  Red is used as a spot color, very effectively.  There are interior illustrations of relevant Tarot cards at the beginning of each section.  And the page edges (forget the technical term) are red!  Taken as a whole, the book looks a bit like a deck of cards, which is, I'm sure intentional.

Here's the catch.  There (as of time of writing) no U.S. or Canadian distributor of Spellslinger or its sequel, Shadowblack.  If you're in North America and want to read them, you'll have to order from the, in my experience, reliable, fast, and cheap www.bookdepository.com or an equivalent.

Note: de Castell's Greatcoat books are also awesome.  If you like the Musketeers books, you should love them.  The nice thing is that they preserve the essential "three duelists against the world" spirit without either copying the plots or being pastiche-y.  The second nice thing is that the author is a stage fight choreographer and is able to communicate fights clearly to the non-fighter (me).
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Today Tor Books is releasing Old Man’s War in a spiffy new “mini”-format hardcover edition: All the benefits of a hardcover book, miniaturized for your convenience! It’s available at your favorite bookstores in the US and Canada, and it’s no coincidence that it’s being released just prior to the holiday season. Stocking stuffer, my friends, and/or a nice little gift for, like, day four of Hanukkah. But you don’t need to wait for the holidays to get it. You can get it today. For yourself! And pick up several copies for friends! Distribute them like Pez! It’s the Covandu version of OMW, if you will, and if you get that joke, thank you for being a fan.

I’m delighted at this new mini hardcover of OMW because, among other things, the original hardcover run of the book, almost thirteen(!) years ago now, is actually pretty small: about 3,700 for the first printing, and about 7,700 overall. OMW really took off in the trade paperback edition a year after the initial release. As a result, the hardcovers have always been hard to find — great news for collectors, to be sure. Not so great for anyone else.

So, dear everyone else: This edition is for you. Enjoy!


ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
[personal profile] ratcreature
Okay, so, while my picture is really harmless and cute, with a new Bucky (Winter Soldier) Bear and a battered old teddy bear in a new Captain America costume, the story Berceuse by wickedthoughts is Hydra Trash Party, so you need to check the tags, whether the kinks match yours, as my picture only reflects parts of it.

a doodle for Berceuse by wickedthoughts )

What's been going on.

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:45 am
zaluzianskya: (here)
[personal profile] zaluzianskya
It's been a long time since I've made a personal life update and that's because it's been kind of lousy. I might as well say something though.

Two months ago we bought a car. This set us back financially, since the dealership was incompetent and took weeks to get us the title so we could get the BMV to give us a proper license plate. (Uber won't accept bills of sale. Just so you know.)

Last month, I totaled the car because I'm a fucking idiot??? So that fucked with our income even more, because you obviously can't drive a car you don't have.

Last week we finally got a new ("new") car -- we were waiting to see if the old one was actually totaled or if they were going to fix it. Thanks for taking so long on that front, Allstate and Gerber.

We've been getting by thanks to the in-laws and some friends helping us out, but it's still been a major drain in energy and productivity. It looks like we'll be fine now, though.

Kindle Update Update

Oct. 17th, 2017 04:11 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I totally can see the light when it's turned to "off", i.e. when the light meter is set to 0, but only really notice it a lot at night. You guys who claim you can't see it are either lying, or my eyes are freakish. Frankly, I think it's probably the latter, given how often one of my boys complains they can't see the dogs when we are walking them after dark and I can see them perfectly fine.

Happily, Andrew's explanation of how the light works was spot on, and it doesn't bother me like a glowy phone or computer or TV screen. To give you some idea of how Lorca-ish my eyes are, though, I have it set to 2 when I'm in bed, and 5 in daylight. It goes up to about 30, by the looks of it (haven't actually counted).

I'm really REALLY happy with the cover I got for it, which is incredibly thin and light, but still feels sturdy. It also has the autowake function, which is handy. I would genuinely rec it to anyone who has a papperwit of the requisite size (that's pretty much all of them less than 5 years old).

I think I am also going to quickly get used to having Goodreads integration, which my old Kindle was too ancient to support.

All in all, I think I made the right decision. Thanks to those of you who helped by voting and commenting and things.

The Big Idea: Elizabeth Bonesteel

Oct. 17th, 2017 02:07 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

Hey, you know how irritated you get when your internet access goes down? Elizabeth Bonesteel gets you. And so does her latest novel, Breach of Containment. She’s here to explain — provided your connection doesn’t suddenly go out…

ELIZABETH BONESTEEL:

We live in the woods, and that means, among other things, we have the crappiest internet service in the state*.

(*This almost certainly isn’t true. I’ve heard rumors there are towns in the western part of the state that still rely on dialup. I keep hoping that’s an ugly rumor spread by Verizon to keep us all compliant and grateful.)

People in town rely on a mish-mash of solutions. Ours is a T1 line. It’s slow (1.5 Mb up/down), and when it drops it drops for days. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of seeing Netflix give up the ghost, and then pulling up your web browser to see that progress bar just…stall.

It amazes me how much I’ve come to depend on the net—not just for news and cat videos, but for a sense of connection to the rest of the world. When the line goes down, it’s so easy to imagine there’s nothing out there at all anymore—that the silence will go on forever, and we’ll sit here alone in the woods, never discovering what’s happened to the rest of the world.

Within my lifetime, society has become dependent on instant communication.

Breach Of Containment is set roughly a thousand years in the future, where we’ve colonized a (still pretty damn small) part of the galaxy. Despite the distances, everything is elaborately connected. In addition to a network of government and military communications channels, all monitored and encrypted, there are entirely unregulated data streams over which both reliable and unreliable information fly unfettered. Most of my characters live aboard Galileo, a military starship, and they’re never disconnected from the officers giving orders. Neither are they ever free of consequences when they get creative about interpreting those orders (which happens far more often than it should).

At one point, as I was assembling this book, I thought: what if all that gets cut off? What if I dump them in the soup, and sever their access to intelligence, orders, even news of their families?

Structurally, that idea both simplified and complicated the plot. Breach Of Containment is, in many ways, your traditional are-we-preventing-or-starting-a-war adventure story. Galileo is working in an atmosphere of uncertainty and deceit at this point: some of their orders are legit, some are distractions designed to keep them out of the way of internal government intrigue, and they don’t always know which are which. When the communication channels back to Earth are lost, it suddenly stops mattering which commanding officer is trustworthy and which is a seditious traitor. Losing communications meant my characters didn’t need to waste time figuring out whether or not a bunch of tangential folks we don’t care about are on the right side or not.

But severing communications also let me play with people’s heads, and it’s no secret I love the messy character stuff. I’ve got three principals at this point, and Breach Of Containment begins with all of them stretched thin. Elena, formerly Galileo’s chief of engineering, has been out of the Corps for a year, and is feeling rootless and without purpose. Greg, Galileo’s captain, has been dutifully following orders, but is feeling less and less like his years of service have resulted in making any substantive difference for real people. Jessica, Greg’s now-seasoned second-in-command, sees most clearly the tightrope they’re walking between following potentially erroneous orders and dealing with a massive conspiracy that is almost certainly beyond their ability to stop.

Basically, I made sure everybody was tense and cranky, and then I cut their T1 line.

On top of that, I put them on a timer. There’s an armada headed toward Earth, and the big question is whether they’re intending to help, or to invade the vulnerable planet while nobody can warn them. And the only sources of information my happy crew has got? A retired Admiral who’s a gray-hat at best, a rival government’s starship and her relentlessly cheerful captain, and a nervous emissary who’s delivered a cryptic message that she seems convinced makes perfect sense. (Oh, and a talking box. I always forget the talking box.)

When you have no news and you can’t Google, how do you make your decisions?

Here in the real world, I didn’t have a smartphone until last December. (I’m not a Luddite. I’m just cheap.) Since then, the T1 outages have been far less unnerving. It’s comforting to be able to check Twitter and verify the outage isn’t part of some apocalyptic event. Sometimes I’ll even waste some data on a cat video. But every time, in that few seconds before my Twitter feed comes up, I feel that disorienting sense of being unmoored from the rest of the world. It’s not a great state of mind in which to make important decisions…but it’s not a bad catalyst for a plot.

—-

Breach of Containment: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s blog. Follow her on Twitter.


Back-to-the-office mishmash post

Oct. 17th, 2017 11:01 am
umadoshi: (read fast (bisty_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
I rewrote SO MUCH MANGA this weekend (counting yesterday as part of "the weekend"). Other than a) the amount of time I spent waiting for my GP appointment yesterday morning and b) going out for ramen and having some social time afterwards on Sunday evening, I feel like rewriting is all I did over the past three days.

I also think that can't be as true as it feels, because I also finally finished reading K.B. Spangler's Stoneskin (which was wonderful, and I'm really excited for the [as-yet-unwritten, AFAIK] trilogy it's a prequel to), and [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I finally saw the first two episodes of Star Trek: Disco last night.

OTOH, I read most of what I had left of Stoneskin yesterday morning while doing the aforementioned waiting for an appointment, most of which was my own fault. Last month's appointment used up the last of the injectable B12, so I got a new prescription from Dr. Awesome and dropped it off at the pharmacy to be put on file, but then I forgot about it until I was on my way out the door to yesterday's appointment. Fortunately the pharmacy is right next door to Dr. Awesome's office, and I called in to get the new B12 as I started walking, and they got it ready as fast as they could, but it still meant I was late to my appointment (although at least I was able to pop in and say "I'm here! Sort of...").

--I've got a small heap of ST:D reaction posts from all of you tucked away in Memories and was finally able to start sifting through the early ones late last night. I doubt I'm going to do much (if any) commenting on weeks-old posts, but reading them is fun. ^_^


--I'm blanking on another detail about Yuletide logistics. I feel like in previous year's there's been a page (on AO3?) showing all the names of who requested what fandoms (but I think not connected at all to people's optional Dear Yulegoat letters?). Is that right? Am I simply missing it?


--My third year of "only read books (novels, anyway) from my bookcase of purchased TBR or things I've purchased in ebook" is almost up, and the status of the physical bookcase is...dire. I'm not literally out of room to put any more books on it (especially since the bottom shelf has binders of CDs and stuff on it, so the TBR only ["only"] takes up four shelves), but it's not good.

Between that and my wallet, I truly need to buy fewer books. (And relearn the habit of making purchase suggestions for novels with the library, not just anthologies and graphic novels, without getting back into putting tons of things on hold there. No going back to the days of juggling a 300 or 400-item holds list, self. *stern*) Emphasis on the "and my wallet" part, which means not simply switching to buying a higher percentage of things in ebook. (Even if ebooks are usually enough cheaper that doing that also technically means spending less money.)

As is usually the way, I feel like there were other things I meant to mention, but I now have about an hour before I have to throw on proper clothes and head off to Casual Job, and I need to use that hour to proofread some prose. Yes.

Four Clawbits make a post

Oct. 17th, 2017 09:57 am
clawfoot: (Default)
[personal profile] clawfoot

  • I keep getting notifications that my LiveJournal paid account will expire soon, and for the first time in about fifteen years, I'm not renewing it. I'm actually probably going to delete the account entirely. I've got it all backed up here on Dremawidth anyway.


  • When I was very young, probably around seven years old or somewhere like that, I remember having a bath one day and playing with my plastic mermaid toys. I spent, I swear to fucking god, at least half an hour under the water, just playing with my toys. I do not remember having to breathe. In fact, I specifically remember NOT having to breathe, but I didn't examine or question it too much.

    Normally, I would dismiss this as a memory warped by time. Time does really funky things to memories. But, in this instance, I clearly remember my next bath night, I tried to do the same thing again and failed. I wanted to play in the same way, but I kept getting interrupted by my need to breathe air. It was very frustrating. I thought maybe I'd used a snorkel, so I dug mine out of the basement and tried, but it wasn't the same. I tried holding my breath, but it wasn't the same. I just couldn't stay underwater nearly as long as I had the previous time -- mere days before. I was so upset.

    The reason this memory is so close to the surface now is because I had a weird dream the other night. I was in Hawaii, on the set of the new Aquaman movie. (An aside: I have no idea where it's actually being filmed.) The reason I was there was because I'd developed a technique for breathing underwater, and I was there to teach the cast how to do it. In the dream, it was a legit skill I'd developed and could teach. Jason Momoa was there. It was awesome. I'm pretty sure the technique I'd developed in the dream was the exact same one I'd used as a child. I wish I could remember it.


  • My mother and I went to see the movie Victoria & Abdul the other night, and I enjoyed it greatly. I mean, I could sit for two hours and watch Dame Judi Dench read the phone book and still enjoy it greatly, so that's not exactly saying much. Eddie Izzard played Victoria's son, Prince Albert, the future King Edward VII, and he did amazingly well with what little he was given. I'm not 100% sure of what I think of the story, or of the character of Abdul himself -- he seemed pretty selfish to me, frankly, but the actor, Ali Fazal, did an excellent job. And Dench, even for Dench, was AMAZING. The scene where they threaten to have her removed from the throne was completely entrancing. They show a little bit of it in one of the trailers, but the impact of the whole thing was amazing. If you like Dame Judi Dench, go see it. You won't be disappointed.



  • I think I actually suffered a tiny bit of mild heartburn last night. We'd gone out to dinner, to a new to us Pakistani fusion restaurant called Aunty's Kitchen, and it was delicious, but it was also much spicier than I am used to. Plus, there was a heaping great PILE of food. I got the butter chicken dinner, which came with butter chicken, rice, naan, and a choice of salad or "masala fries," which are seasoned, spicy fries. So much food. So spicy. I felt a little burny later on in the evening. It's an unusual feeling for me (I don't get heartburn at all) and I didn't like it at all.

Progress in PHP

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:20 am
tyger: CLI login for a Raspberry Pi / nerdery (CLI Geekery)
[personal profile] tyger
So I didn't go to class this afternoon. Deliberately! Just, you know, who can be bothered going to class when class is boring and you have an assignment due in this subject on Friday. Also, you know, travel time eats a good chunk of your awake-time.

But! I managed to make some pretty good progress! I've only got one major PHP page to code, and it's mostly not going to be PHP, it's going to be XSLT. So, you know. Kinda tough BUT hopefully sommat I can do without screaming. Hopefully.

Coding rambles )

And now to bed!! Hopefully I will get to sleep easily tonight, and actually wake up feeling rested tomorrow. (Last night was annoyingly difficult. I blame you, crazybrains, I blame you. :|)
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... it's because the boundary commission have released their finalised report into the boundary review, and hardly anybody is happy about it. The vast majority of politicians, you see, wanted the boundary review to advantage their party and shaft their rivals. The boundary commission, meanwhile, have been scrupulously fair, and tried quite hard to advantage nobody and shaft nobody.

Now, there is a school of thought that this doesn't matter a jot because it'll never get past parliament, requiring as it does far too many turkeys to vote for Christmas. I, for one, think that would be a shame, if only for my little home patch.

The proposals for Calderdale are basically what I would have done, were I the boundary commission. A lot of my fellow Calderdale politicians will doubtless be pissing and moaning about various bits1, although having read the report, the Tories will probably be the least annoyed of us. Here are the things I am pleased about:
  1. The two constituencies make geographical sense, for the first time in my lifetime.

  2. The town I live in can no longer be almost completely ignored by three of the five active political parties in the area.

  3. We have not created a complete dead zone for the Lib Dems in the constituency I live in, which is what would have happened had the commission accepted the Lib Dem proposals2.

  4. The constituency names, while not the ones I suggested, follow the same logic3
All in all, I'm quite happy. So here's hoping the turkeys do, for once, vote for Christmas.



1I know a bunch of my fellow Lib Dems are annoyed we haven't got a winnable seat out of it, by putting all the wards with Lib Dem councillors into the same constituency. To which I would say: did you see our vote share at the last general election? And also combining wards where we have councillors is not the only way to get a winnable seat. Look at the demographics...
2Calderdale Lib Dem membership is divided pretty much half and half, which it would not have been under the proposals the party submitted. While it will annoy EVERYBODY who wanted to be in the mythical winnable seat, gives us two live constituencies to fight for, instead of one with pretty much every Calderdale activist except my household in it.
3I wanted Calderdale East and Calderdale West and they've gone for Upper Calder and Lower Calder. I can live with that. It's miles better than their initial suggestion of calling my seat Halifax, when it only had half of Halifax and two towns that are not Halifax in.

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