Make That Change

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:45 pm
goss: (Default)
[personal profile] goss
In these dark times, what can we do that will have the most positive impact?

Someone on my flist posted about feeling like they're not doing enough. But they were speaking with family and friends and trying to understand their views.

I actually think this is the MOST IMPORTANT THING that we can do.

It's sometimes the hardest thing to do, but I strongly believe it's the one thing that will have the most impact in the long run.

I have found that being courageous and speaking up when you are around relatives and loved ones who make racist, sexist etc. comments, challenging them, creating a dialogue about the issue, reasoning with them, correcting inaccurate beliefs, etc. - that's the key.

Do not sit silently by and let their way of thinking go unchecked. Sure, it's the easier thing to excuse it, or to not want to make a scene at a family gathering. It's safer and more comfortable to reblog your opinions in a virtual environment of strangers, but it will never make as much impact as confronting your own near and dear ones, and trying to effect change from the home, you know?

I now call out my father's sexist thinking, my mother's racial prejudices, my friends' sometimes off-colour, gossipy comments. If you don't do it, who will? You will be amazed how your intolerance of this sort of thing can make them think twice about what comes out of their mouths. Maybe even question their own bigotry and open their eyes to another way of thinking.
ann_leckie: (AJ)
[personal profile] ann_leckie

So, Provenance will be out in a bit more than a month! I can’t wait for folks to read it, honestly.

Not long ago, you had a chance to read the opening, oh I’d say half first chapter, for free online. And maybe that just whetted your appetite and now you have to wait until nearly the end of September for the rest?

Well, if you sign up for my newsletter, you can get all of Chapter 1, plus chapters 2 and 3! You might see a black banner across the top of my website asking you to sign up for the newsletter, with a text box for entering your email. You can use that, or if you’ve dismissed that click this link to go to a form you can fill out–a text box for your email, and then under that are checkboxes for which newsletters you’re signing up for. You want to check the “Ann Leckie” one, and you might or might not want to check any of the others, depending, but it’s the Ann Leckie one that will get you the chapters.

Here’s the deal–I hardly ever use my newsletter so I guarantee you won’t be spammed. What it does get used for is things like this. And for announcements of upcoming publications and such. Folks who are already signed up probably already have the chapters in their inboxes. If you aren’t signed up yet, you’ll get the chapters when you do. So, if you want to read the first three chapters early, there you go!

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

I feel like I should say

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:02 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] bironic
U.S. politics has (have?) washed over my head again, as it does periodically, rising from the baseline fear and disappointment that mounted during election season and spiked in November.

I don't talk about it much here. This blog, and [twitter.com profile] bironicwastaken, are my dedicated fannish spaces online. It looks like we all understand that media consumption, fannishness and other creative pursuits are permissible hobbies, community building in an environment of divisiveness, necessary breaks and even artistic acts of resistance as we struggle with current events. Still, I sometimes (1) worry that fannish-oriented posts strike the wrong tone in wider context, such as yesterday's, and (2) feel a defensive urge to point out that I'm doing things "in real life" to fight what's happening, even if they may not be enough and even though no one has said anything.

When I get down on myself about not doing enough, I focus on things like these, in addition to thinking through how I can have a greater impact:
- Since November, every feature article I’ve written at work has made a strong implicit or explicit political statement
- This auction vid not only raised money for a good cause but is also about celebrating many characters of color in current genre sources, and that's not for nothing these days
- Every month, I donate to activist and/or minority-support organizations
- I talk to people, including family and friends who voted in ways I am trying to understand
- etc.

That is all. It's a[nother] tough day.

40-anime meme: Day 35

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:36 pm
taichara: (apple)
[personal profile] taichara
35 -- have you ever dropped an anime, if so why?

Well, yeah? Give someone enough decades -- or not that many decades, come on now -- and they're bound to hit something that doesn't actually press so many buttons.

Why? Boredom; not interested in the story; not interested in the characters; not enough time to watch it; it just wasn't engaging enough. Because I felt like it.

Shockingly this can happen and one is still an anime fan!

Something the author of this meme perhaps could not wrap their brain around? idek, oi.

Start throwing (metaphorical) rocks.

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:18 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
On taking action against white supremacists as metaphorical rock-paper-scissors.

I'm not going to repeat all the links in the superb posts I'm seeing. Instead, I'm asking you to go read this one by [personal profile] rydra_wong and this one by [personal profile] kore because they're brilliant. And they have good historical info on the way the Klan has moved through the last century of US history, what knocked them down and what's different now. For instance, I don't recall any other time when KKK/white supremacist members rallied without their robes, with their faces uncovered and in bright torchlight so they're identifiable in the camera photos that are posted online -- and then must account to the others in their lives (bosses, families, universities) for their actions.

And yes, Trump did not slip when he said the alt-left in Charlottesville was attacking "us". He did mean that he identifies with the white supremacists/Nazis/KKK. It wasn't a slip-up, no matter what you hear from "unnamed White House sources". Watch the Rachel Maddow videos in [personal profile] kore's post; she puts it together well. Ignore the toadies from the staff. But do take note of them as untrustworthy; they have already sold themselves to Trump.

ETA: [personal profile] rachelmanija is planning to be part of a counterprotest, to oppose Nazis at a rally in Los Angeles this Saturday, and invites those of you who wish to join her to let her know. Be safe, please, and counterprotest while keeping a good distance from people with clubs and other weapons, okay?

In the middle of this hatefulness, I implore you to find something that feeds your spirit, your soul, whatever you want to call the deepest inmost part of yourself, that makes you happy, that gives you joy, and keep doing it. The only way to do this kind of work, opposing hate, and get through it sanely is to fill yourself first with joy and love and peace to give you strength. Whatever it is, let it be your refuge. We will not see the last of this for a long time; best to start now to create your own inner sanctuary that nobody can mess with. For me it is meditation, prayer, shamanic practice, and tai chi. Handwork also helps-- knitting, spinning, weaving. Walking on the woods trails, when my foot is up to it again. Music, always. You can't give to others from your own lack; fill yourself first.

Wednesday is positively summery

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:53 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.

PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)

JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.

On the go

Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.

Up next

Dunno, really.

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 10:53 am

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 10:42 am
jhetley: (Default)
[personal profile] jhetley
Lawn has been mowed.  Barely needed it, but there will be Stuff happening to get in the way of later.

40 Days of Anime: Day 2

Aug. 16th, 2017 08:56 am
jennaria: Woman with mask, as drawn by Brian Froud (Default)
[personal profile] jennaria
02: Has an anime ever made you cry?

Yes.

This isn't actually all that impressive? I cry easily. You can have the most blatantly obvious, string-pulling, 'At least I got to see you - one last time!' tear-jerking moment, and I'll still be there crying my eyes out.

Tangent! Among the reasons why it took me a Really Long Time to get into anime: back when I was in college - late 90s - one of my friends was talking about a movie/OVA, where they had gone in with the assumption that the characters on the front cover of the DVD would live, and instead every single one of 'em had died. This, combined with an attempt to show me anime which featured the last few episodes of the first season of MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH (see the descriptions of episodes 17-20 on that link) and the first episode or two of KEY THE METAL IDOL - well, it left me with the impression that anime, as a genre, was hella depressing and why would I want to watch it. This impression did not get fixed for :ahem: a long time.

Mid-week uncluttering

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:11 pm
fred_mouse: drawing of mouse settling in for the night in a tin, with a bandana for a blanket (cleaning)
[personal profile] fred_mouse posting in [community profile] unclutter
How is your uncluttering going at this, the mid-point of the week?

I lost the day to reconciling book reviews across three platforms, and cycling through open and closing All! The! Tabs!. I'm not finished, but at least I'm closer...

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:03 am
nanslice: (Default)
[personal profile] nanslice
Also dang, okay, I'll post a real update about life soon-ish but let me just say classes have been been SUPER CONSUMING and I am ALREADY EXHAUSTED however we're focusing on Toni Morrison in Multicultural American Lit and I'm really enjoy that class the most, aaaahhhh.

Name that pupper!

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:02 am
nanslice: (Default)
[personal profile] nanslice
My sister got my mom a surprise standard poodle puppy. She goes to Mississippi to pick him up this weekend and Mom needs to decide on a name. So!

Raphael or Dominic?


(I am not super in favor of yet another animal in this house but oh well, it's too late now and he's pretty dang cute so)

Banded demoiselle

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:39 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila posting in [community profile] common_nature
Banded demoiselle
Banded demoiselle perched on the roof of the woodshed. The toddler was delighted.

We get these damselflies as well as dragonflies flitting through our canal-side garden every year, but they don’t often stop and say hello.
executrix: (Default)
[personal profile] executrix posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
The Women's March organization is holding a convention in Detroit on October 27-29 (Friday-Sunday): "an inaugural conference that will bring thousands of women and femmes of all backgrounds" together for "three days of workshops, strategy sessions, inspiring forums and intersectional movement building." Base registration fee is $295 but there are scholarships available.

I C&Pd the registration link, if it doesn't work try womensmarch.com.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-march-presents-the-inaugural-womens-convention-2017-tickets-36830022589?link_id=1&can_id=8a862b6f2873206cd5111e31602e9c90&source=email-happy-mothers-day-thank-you-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2&email_referrer=happy-mothers-day-thank-you-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2&email_subject=announcing-the-womens-convention
[personal profile] penta posting in [community profile] factfinding
So, I have another character being drawn up (by another player) for the same game for which I posted highly detailed questions about Israel (admittedly probably too detailed) - only he's playing Russia, and he's trying to draw up a character who served in the Soviet Army as an officer semi-realistically. (It's *after* the character's military career that everything goes interesting.)

I want to write him a summary of the Soviet Army officer's career path, what service branches are available, etc., but nothing I can find tells me the basic stuff. It's all focused on generals and stuff. (Looked on Wiki, looked on Google, neither helped. I found a monograph on dtic.mil that was from 1975 and provided *some* detail, but expected me the reader to know more than I do to make sense of stuff.)

To quote his draft summary: "(1) Early life.  Born in 1959, he follows a similar course to Putin (joining the military instead, but attached as an "adviser" to one of the Soviet Bloc countries after a tour in Afghanistan which gave him a scar on his upper right arm from a Taliban attack).  He resigned with a TBD officer's rank in the middle of the 1991 coup attempt (a la Putin; he's simply younger) rather than join in the attempt (which he percieved as doomed)."

He's trying to figure it out in more detail than that, but the problem is that he (the player) and I (the GM, one of two, responsible for helping him draw up his character - he does the important work of figuring out policies and stuff, the meat of gameplay, himself) can't find anything much about anything re the company-grade and field-grade officers of the Soviet Army and how they were trained, or how their careers progressed, or anything.

In specific:

1. As the character was born in 1959, presume he enters officer training from civilian life sometime around 1977. How long is his officer training, and how is it decided whether he goes, say, infantry or airborne troops?

2. What's the career path like from initial officer training (including "what rank does he enter service at?" - the materials I can find state "Lieutenant", but the Soviet Army has 3 Lieutenant ranks!) to, say, battalion command?

3. What additional school-type training would he undergo during that career path, and at what times during his career? (I can help the player figure out good tour-of-duty mixes once I have that information.)

4. What service arms existed in the Soviet Army? I often hear of officers referred to as a "Colonel of Infantry", "Colonel of Air Defense", "Colonel of Strategic Rocket Forces" - but what are the possible options for the "of x" formula?

5. Were ordinary officers even assigned as "advisors" to Warsaw Pact forces, or only Political Officers?

I know these are really detailed questions in some regard. I'm trying to keep them general, but even the general stuff is hard to figure out. My objectives for this are:

A. Figure out what rank, highest, would have been plausible for what I'm currently thinking is a fairly obscure-ish Russian serving as a Soviet Army Officer from 1977-1991 - if the player wants lower, cool, but I as GM need to have a clue what's "too high".

B. Figure out what his career would have looked like - where would he have served, at what levels, doing what? (Especially key to figure out when he would have served in Afghanistan.)

C. Figure out if the early life posited is *plausible*.

I thus don't need to know deep details (at least not until a player requests a detailed bio of their Russian adversary from their intel people, at which point I may be back...), but only be able to work out a summary. I can do the hard part of the work myself and with the player, but I need help figuring out the foundational stuff before I begin that.

(Edited to add: Link to something Google *did* dredge up for me, and my note that what I was sent was a draft summary of the character, not a full bio. We'll be working on the full bio once we have the summary agreed to.)

Vienna: Tiergarten Schoenbrunn

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:27 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Fish
Keiki squats down to look at the fish in the polar bear enclosure at the Vienna Tiergarten.

The Schoenbrunn should definitely make the top ten of every visitor attraction list of Vienna, if not the top three. It’s the gigantic former summer palace of the Hapsburgs, and the grounds alone merit at least a half-day stroll to explore fully. There are gardens, fountains, hidden playgrounds, an enormous glasshouse full of palm trees, and even a zoo.

Despite having visited the Schoenbrunn grounds many times, I’d never been to the zoo, which is allegedly the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1752). Now, with two small children, one of whom is animal-obsessed, I had good reason to go. The children and I set out early one morning to travel via the Viennese underground to the palace.

Humuhumu was keen to learn how to navigate the transport system. She got very good at spotting the way to the correct train lines, and proudly announced when the next train would be arriving after we got to the platforms.

It took us 45 minutes to get from our temporary abode to the Schoenbrunn and, conveniently, it was just about Cake O’clock when we arrived. We detoured around the palace entrance and stopped off at an Aida Konditorei, a chain of inexplicably pink cafés that serve extremely nice cakes, coffees and hot chocolates (apart from the one near the opera house – avoid that one; everyone who works there is sick of tourists and very grumpy).

We walked into the Aida and chorused “Guten Morgen” at the round-faced, unsmiling woman behind the counter. She broke into a beaming grin and showed us to the table next to a tiny play area containing toys and books, which the children pounced upon. (Throughout the trip, I encouraged the children to greet everyone we met in German, to say please and thank you in German, to order their food using the German words and, when I felt confident in my knowledge of the right phrases, I coached them to make requests in German. I was astonished at the abundance of goodwill toward us that this produced.) Humuhumu ordered her hot chocolate and cake in German, and was rewarded with an additional pink meringue, which she received with an unprompted “Danke schoen”. When we left, Keiki crowing “Wiedersehen” over my shoulder with his dimpliest smile, the server came out from round the counter and gave each of the children an extra biscuit, which, to be honest, they didn’t really need after all that sugar!

Full of energy, we bounded into the grounds of the Schoenbrunn and raced around whilst waiting for the grandparents to join us at the entrance to the Tiergarten (Zoo). As vast as the Schoenbrunn grounds are, they are not big enough to house a comprehensive collection of the world’s animals, so cleverly the Tiergarten is focused on a limited number of species and provided them with luxurious accommodation.

Keiki and Humuhumu loved the place, particularly Keiki. Once he spotted the meerkat enclosure, we couldn’t get him to finish his lunch. Neither could we readily tear him away from the penguins. In fact, Granddad had a bit of a job keeping Keiki from clambering into their pond to join them. We communed with the seals. We watched a polar bear chewing meditatively on a traffic cone. And, of course, Humuhumu found a climbing wall and had to try everything.

It was a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon, and we will certainly return to the Tiergarten on our next trip to Vienna.

Further photos beneath the cut.
+++ )
marinarusalka: Wasp from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Avengers EMH: Wasp)
[personal profile] marinarusalka
The Boy proposing to me at the top of the Eiffel Tower last night.

I said yes, duh.

Cold turkey on the uppers

NSFW Aug. 16th, 2017 08:04 am
petra: A blonde woman with both hands over her face (Britta - Twohanded facepalm)
[personal profile] petra
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