Eclipse is underwhelming

Aug. 21st, 2017 10:07 am
elf: Smiling South Park-style witch with big blue floppy hat and inverted pentacle (Witchy)
[personal profile] elf
I'm in a partial eclipse zone; wouldn't see the full one anyway. But still...

It's overcast. Solid pale grey sky. Which means any eclipsing is probably resulting in a slight dimming of the already dim day.

This is exactly the same weather as 38 years ago, when I got to "see" the full eclipse. I had a small sheet of treated glass to look through to see it. So I technically got to see the eclipse, because the glass let me see it without the clouds, but... no darkening in the sky (dim solid grey overcast), no watching any changes, just "here, look through this; look around until you see the sun!"

So I looked through this dark hand-sized sheet of glass, and sure enough, there's a darker glowing spot in one place in the sky. And today, I don't even have special polarized glass; I was planning on doing one of the pinhole projector things, but there doesn't seem to be much point.

I don't get to watch the Moon Lord cover the glowing body of the Sun Lady. I haz a sad.

Don't let the clouds fool you, though; it's still the best time to take down Fire Nation.

Brian Aldiss (1925 - 2017)

Aug. 21st, 2017 11:14 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
David Langford reports that Aldiss died in his sleep.

Interesting Links for 21-08-2017

Aug. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

The truth has got its boots on

Aug. 20th, 2017 04:43 pm
elf: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)
[personal profile] elf
A scientific breakdown of the errors in Damore's manifesto - Metafilter discussed Damore's memo at length, until someone said, "I could write something about how wrong he is on all his biology claims," and people threw money at her Patreon until that happened.

It's terrific. It's also long and detailed and extensively cited, absolutely intended for quoting during future discussions where someone claims that the pay gap or glass ceiling or low representation of women in tech is caused by "biology."

She goes over his academic background, his argument methodology, and the actual science related to his claims, which - surprise surprise - involve incredible twists of misunderstanding, or cherry-picking data, or assuming that tests for personality traits can be used to confirm brain chemistry difference.
Sample excerpt inside the cut )

40 Years Ago Today

Aug. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The United States of America, then an independent nation, launched Voyager 2

I wonder if any of the people involved realized it would still be going two generations later?

Read more... )

LOL!

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:51 pm
jolantru: (Default)
[personal profile] jolantru
Apparently, it was a day of deja vu when I sliced off a bit of my left finger while pruning my butterfly pea plant. Shock, followed by pain and a bit of half-laughing, half-crying, and off I went to my general practitioner who dressed it, said it was a clean wound ("shaving accident") and gave me a booster jab.

Why I said deja vu was that I did something similar to the same finger a long time ago while I was still studying in Australia. :D

No painkillers, just the ache of my bruised ego

My new favorite headcanon

Aug. 20th, 2017 01:54 am
elf: Subvert (Subvert)
[personal profile] elf
I decided I loved Jewish Bucky Barnes in spitandvinegar's Ain't No Grave (Can Keep My Body Down) (requires AO3 account), in part because I love the sound of "John the Revelator" and that falls in the category of guilty pleasures. (Absolutely nobody in my life knows which gospel songs I still enjoy.) I love-love-LOVE the idea of an openly, firmly non-Christian character latching on to a particular gospel song.

Also, the fic is incredibly awesome and the slow-burn romance is sometimes hilarious and the OC's deserve a novel of their own.

I've been enjoying Jewish Bucky in other fics; it makes a delightful contrast to Steve's well-known Catholicism, and a secret they kept together during the war, possibly along with the secret of their orientation. (Secretly Gay!Steve and Secretly Gay!Bucky are also good headcanons, but it's not like those are remotely unique to this fandom.)

Ring the Bell Backwards was in the Stucky zine from k'start, and it's sweet and achy and hard to read more than once. (In a good way.) Canon-compliant through Civil War, and exactly the kind of plot we have fanfic for - the comics could never do this.

4F by stoatsandwich is a skinny!Steve AU that's a bit darker than my taste for the pairing runs, but when I first ran across it, I slammed through the whole series. Mind the tags; don't read if you don't like that kind of content, because this fic pulls no punches. Also locked to archive accounts.

What's in a Name is shorter, very introspective, and Bucky's Jewish background is part of what helps him rebuild his identity. Says it's the first of a series, but there's no other works, and it's been a couple of years, so it's likely abandoned. But it does nicely stand on its own.

three white horses was posted yesterday, so I'm getting in on the recs game before it shoots to the top of the kudos-sorted lists. Whoa yah, I will read that again. ... Eventually. (Mind the tags & warnings, if you care about that kind of thing.) This is the one that convinced me, "oh hey... this is like a Thing, isn't it? I could go find more fics with this tag?"

And there's more highly-kudosed fics that I haven't read, so I'm looking forward to exploring all those YAAAY.

Fierce Against the Men

Aug. 19th, 2017 08:46 pm
elf: A purple rook with wings spread; the word "Glitch" above it and "Don't Panic" below. (Glitch - Don't Panic)
[personal profile] elf
"There are two important things to remember about the coming revolutions. The first is that we will get our asses kicked. The second is that we will win."

I am not playing the "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger" game. It doesn't; it makes us injured and tired and afraid for our families. But I will say: We have endured worse; we fought back white supremacists when they had a lot more political and social pull. The must frustrating part of this whole struggle is the sense of, "weren't we DONE with this part already?"

No, we weren't. We squashed a lot of the overt oppression and racism and left it to fester, in part because we were just so damned tired, and in part with the hope that seeing a thriving nation would show how much healthier, happier, and more prosperous diverse cultures are.

Oops. We forgot that it's not really about having better lives for themselves or their children. It's all about having someone to lash out at, someone they could blame when times are hard and someone to crush when times are good.

I miss the music Leigh Ann would have made, but I am so glad to have the inspiration of the music she left: The Burning Times seems very appropriate this week.
I will not answer hate with fear;
Nor with a smug, cheek-turning love;
I will not answer hate with rage;
By strength alone will I not be moved—

Rise up, witches, gather your strength,
And let your power spread and climb;
Earth and all her children need us,
For all face now the Burning Times.
We have, sigh, been here before, and we have the tools we need to work against white supremacist poison, anti-gay poison, misogynistic poison, evangelical poison, and all the other toxins that seek to erode a vibrant, inclusive, kaleidoscopic, welcoming, joyfully celebratory society.

CalExit is back!

Aug. 19th, 2017 02:17 pm
elf: Sydney Scoville, looking very determined, saying, "Let's do this." (Let's do this.)
[personal profile] elf
Just got an email saying: Calexit relaunches with new leader, new ballot initiative, and a new book
The Yes California Independence Campaign has relaunched with a new president. Marcus Ruiz Evans, a co-founder of Yes California who previously served as the organization’s vice president, has taken the helm.

Among the first actions Evans took in his new role was to close the doors of the organization’s embattled representational embassy and culture center opened last year in Moscow, Russia.
Revised website | Revised propaganda book
They need to file their revised referendum by Aug 22, which is next Tuesday; they're asking for donations for the filing fee. (I am not donating. I'm pretty sure that people with a lot more money to spare than I have support this, and if that's not the case, this is going absolutely nowhere.)

I love the idea; I am entirely certain it can go nowhere. They make a nice case for "How California could work as its own nation;" the whole thing assumes that the rest of the US would let us go. Not gonna happen.

No way is the rest of the nation going to allow us to remove our resources. )

Non-Cornish pasties

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:00 pm
azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Belovedest has mentioned a few times that it's hard to get your hands on a nice meat pasty around these parts. I contemplated the matter and asked a few questions.

At length, it seemed like it was a good day to try.

My reliable source for understanding the principles behind what I'm cooking is Serious Eats. So I read through the pie crust stuff again. (Incidentally, the site is a clickbait hole for DELICIOUSNESS.)


Clickbait: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/science-of-pie-7-myths-that-need-to-go-away.html

Science: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/07/the-food-lab-the-science-of-pie-how-to-make-pie-crust-easy-recipe.html

Recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces; 350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces; 280 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
6 tablespoons (3 ounces; 85 milliliters) cold water

I looked at the amounts involved.

There was no way that I was going to be able to fit all that flour and butter into my food processor, which is an attachment to my stick blender. I looked closely at the amounts.

It so happens that the ratio of cups of flour to sticks of butter is 1:1. So I decided that I could make a test batch, one cup and one stick. The salt and sugar is less important, and in fact the sugar is kind of not what I wanted for a pasty dough.

I put 2/3 of the flour together with the butter and a bit of salt, then added a little water and more of the flour. (Probably not how I should have done it.) Then I mixed it in a larger bowl with a little more water. My hands are rather hot, so I tried to cool them down with ice.

I wrapped it up in cling wrap and let it cool off in the refrigerator. I pulled it out a few hours later, and quartered the dough. I saw that it had distinct stacked layers, like a good steel blade. I was thrilled.

I rolled it out in the best tradition of my mother, between two sheets of parchment paper. (There is no rolling pin in this kitchen. I used a glass.) I stuck it back in the refrigerator, still between the sheets, to wait while I prepared the filling. (Parchment paper and waxed paper are easier to handle than cling wrap, for this.)

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/01/cornish-pasty-british-meat-hand-pie-recipe.html

This was not a Cornish pasty. [personal profile] wohali said something about a chicken curry pasty, and I went "Oooo!" and she advised that you can use pretty much any chicken curry recipe, just dryer than usual.

I went for it.

My basic chicken curry is chicken plus a brick of golden curry sauce plus assorted vegetables, and oil as needed. This time I decided to cook the chicken thigh meat so it would be easy to separate from the bones in my multifunction fancy rice cooker, along with some spiced oil left over from a previous recipe, and some dry onions. I cooked the vegetables and the curry brick separately, only combining them all (and some potato flakes to sop up water and oil) at the end. My partner is much better at handling chicken meat in all its phases than I am, and stripped the meat from the bones before I mixed them together.

I did roll it too thin, and I let it get too hot when filling it.

Despite the holes, I stuck the crust together with egg wash, and egg washed the outside. (I used the leftover egg wash to make a little bit of curry scrambled egg, which my partner ate on top of their salad.)

I'd wisely said that if the food was not going to be ready by 10pm, we should eat something else. The pies came out of the oven just as we were finishing chicken nuggets, but we still had enough room to test half a pie each.


Mmmmmmmmm.

I will be making these again. And the dough process is relatively simple with the tools at hand, so my partner (who can follow a recipe, but isn't yet the cocky ass in the kitchen that I am) may wind up learning the process too.


I put together a bit of sweet pie dough just now, and it's chilling in a ball in the refrigerator. I'm thinking that some fruit pies might be in order...

Take my hand and I go under, part 2

Aug. 19th, 2017 01:20 pm
dolorosa_12: by ginnystar on lj (robin marian)
[personal profile] dolorosa_12
This time two weeks ago I was drinking champagne with my mother, sister, [twitter.com profile] thelxiepia, and two family friends, worrying about the torrential rain that had suddenly tumbled out of the sky, and getting ready to head off to get married. In the end, my fears about the rain were unfounded: the storm stopped about half an hour before the wedding ceremony, and the skies cleared, meaning sunshine and warmth for photographs, and for our guests to enjoy sparkling wine in the gardens of our reception venue.

The wedding ceremony itself was wonderful. Many of my married friends told me they barely remembered anything from the day itself, and that everything passed by in a sort of blissed out blur. For my part, I can remember everything. We got married in Shire Hall (the registry office in Cambridge), in a room that unfortunately only seated fifty people (included me, Matthias, our photographer, and the celebrant), so many of our guests were only able to be invited to the reception. However, I was happy with the mix of people who were able to attend the ceremony: a nice mix of bridal party, family, and close friends from Cambridge.

Matthias and I entered the ceremony to the beautiful sounds of 'Black Water Lilies' by Aurora. We didn't write our own vows, and the celebrant mangled Matthias' middle name (pronouncing it in the English, rather than German way), but none of that mattered. We had two readings. The first, by Matthias' sister, was in German:

Da ist jemand,
der mich nimmt,
wie ich genommen
werden will;
der mich aufbaut
wenn mich etwas
niederdrückt;
der mich zu Herzen nimmt,
wenn mir etwas
über die Leber gelaufen ist;
der mir Gehör schenkt,
wenn mir das Leben
Rätsel aufgibt;
der für mich ist,
wenn sich alles gegen mich
verschworen hat.

Da ist jemand,
mit dem ich zusammen wachsen,
vielleicht sogar
zusammenwachsen darf.


Translation:

There is somebody
Who accepts me as I want to be accepted
Who lifts me up when something weighs me down
Who embraces me when something is bugging me
Who listens to me when life is posing me riddles
Who supports me when everything is conspiring against me

There is somebody with whom I may grow together
Maybe even grow entwined


(The play on words in the last stanza doesn't translate well, but basically involves two very similar sounding verbs, zusammen wachsen and zusammenwachsen, which I guess in English would translate as the two different meanings of 'grow together'.)

[twitter.com profile] thelxiepia read the second reading, an excerpt from one of my favourite poems, 'Homing Pigeons' by Mahmoud Darwish:

Where do you take me, my love, away from my parents
from my trees, from my little bed, and from my boredom,
from my mirrors, from my moon, from the closet of my life, from
where I stop for the night ... from my shyness?


Our friend Levi (for whom Matthias was best man four years ago) and my sister Miriam were our witnesses. While the marriage certificates were being signed, we played two pieces of music: 'All is Full of Love' by Björk, and 'Tonight We Burn Like Stars That Never Die' by Hammock. Here is a photo of us signing the certificates -- I think that gives a fairly accurate impression of our facial expressions for most of the day! After the ceremony, people left the room to the sounds of 'We Own the Sky' by M83. We then went off with our parents, my stepmother, our sisters, Matthias' brother-in-law and nephew, and Levi and [twitter.com profile] thelxiepia for photos in the gardens of our reception venue. Following this, the reception began, with drinks in the gardens, and then a four-course meal.

Everyone was really impressed by the food, which made me really happy, since we had put a lot of thought into the menu and food is generally the thing I most remember about events such as weddings. I was particularly glad that the vegans and vegetarians attending had made a point of thanking us for their meals, and that it hadn't simply been a meal with the meat removed but no substitutes provided. The cake was a three-tiered citrus cake: the bottom cake was orange, the middle lemon, and the top lime.

After speeches by Levi, my family friend and former editor Gia, and Matthias and me, we inflicted our absolutely glorious eurodance/'90s music playlist on everyone. It wasn't the danciest of weddings I've ever been to, but I had fun dancing, and so did those who joined in. I think there's some video footage of me, [twitter.com profile] thelxiepia and the other sraffies dancing to 'Saturday Night' by Whigfield floating around, but I'm not going to try to track it down! I'll leave that glory to your imaginations.

The entire wedding and reception were wonderful, and I wouldn't change a single thing. I was worried about so many things, and not one of them happened. I feared I wouldn't remember the day, or that I would spend the entire time fretting about other people, or that I wouldn't get a chance to eat, to dance, to talk to the people I wanted to talk to, and none of that eventuated. Instead, the whole thing was just a lovely party, with the person I've chosen to spend the rest of my life, and all the people we love around us. There were people there I've known since birth, since preschool, one secondary school friend (*waves at [livejournal.com profile] catpuccino*), friends from my postgrad years at Cambridge, sraffies (Philip Pullman fandom friends), and people I had just met that day. It really meant a lot to have my sister there (and indeed to have three 'sisters' as bridesmaids: my sister by blood, my sister by marriage, and my sister by choice), as well as those relatives who made the trek from Australia, although I was sad that not many of them were able to do so.

About marriage itself I feel complicated feelings. I'm an atheist, so I was always going to have a secular wedding, and don't view the ceremony itself as being sacramental. My own parents never married (nor is my father married to my stepmother), and I don't believe that marriage is necessary to be a good partner or a good parent. But I have always had a deep love of rituals and ceremonies marking important moments in peole's lives, and unlike my own parents, I always knew I wanted to get married if circumstances allowed, and that I wanted to have some kind of party to celebrate my wedding. Being married didn't make me feel differently about Matthias, or that our relationship had changed in any perceptible way (although, being a migrant, I am painfully aware of all the ways being married privileges a person in terms of immigration, visas, and passing on citizenship to one's children). Rather, I felt in the ceremony that we were publicly declaring something we have long felt. It feels odd to talk about 'my husband', or describe myself as someone's wife, but I imagine this will change over time.

The world is dark and frightening, and Matthias and I have gone through a lot to be able to live together as migrants in a country that is becoming increasingly xenophobic, but our life together is a light that gives me courage to keep working and trying and learning and growing. I wish that same light -- wherever you find it -- for all of you.

omfg.

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:04 am
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai posting in [community profile] bitesizedcleaning
Today is Sat Aug 19.

That means I have seven days to pack and clean, three days to move, and half a day to clean before I have to hand back the keys to this here apartment. (Double-counting the day on which we get the keys to our new apartment. And WHY did I not ask for Mon 28 off too? My sorry ass is going to be cleaning that day from eight to three-thirty and working for that paycheck from four to midnight!)

This apartment does not look moving-ready. This apartment looks like the aftermath of Hurricane Alex—send in the Red Cross!

My todo list has seven sections. Each section has from four to fifteen bullet points. While most are once they're done they're done, some of them will need done more than once this week. (Six of the day's bullets are four instances of "eat" and two of "feed cat", and "rest 10min for every 20min working" will appear as often as it damn well needs to, but that's totally beside the point.)

My anxiety level is already RED ALERT. My spoon level has spent a lot of time recently at DANGER DANGER, and isn't terribly far above that now. (I got my psych doc to prescribe lorazepam for as-needed over the next couple weeks, in order to calm my shit because 100% focus on calming centering breaths means nothing else gets done and less than 100% focus on etc was for days meaning being on the verge of an anxiety attack, but. And no, having other warm bodies to help—except on Sat 26, which is furniture hauling day—is not apparently an option; I keep asking.)

I need all the cheerleading I can get!

(no subject)

Aug. 19th, 2017 03:15 am
arethinn: black rose and green flames (dark (black rose))
[personal profile] arethinn


Currently listening to a random Cure playlist. Somehow that track brings back memories of Sac'to goth clubs 1999-2000 even tho I don't think they played Pornography, or not that much anyway?. More like it makes me remember what I played at home, which would probably involve Pornography and Faith and Disintegration and such. But now I think of it, what really makes me think of that time is Peter Murphy, either "I'll Fall With Your Knife" or "Mercy Rain".
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