smooth as silk

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:32 pm
solarbird: (widowmaker)
[personal profile] solarbird
Guess who unlocked the Smooth as Silk achievement today?

(It mostly gets you the "Cute" spray for Widowmaker. "Cute" and "Pixel" are both achievements, every character has their own. I've now won both for Widowmaker. You get this one for a headshot through the sight while airborne.)

Good night, Jack Morrison. [POW]

a little red flag

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:08 pm
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

I know a lot of writers. Really a lot. Really really. And we all have different process, and that’s great, that’s wonderful. In person I have been known to chirp “we are all a beautiful rainbow,” but it’s really hard to get my total lack of sarcasm on that point through on the internet. (We are, though! We are all a beautiful rainbow! Yay!) In this case, I have spotted what looks like a consistent red flag for burnout, and I’m having a hard time phrasing it so that it’s clear that I don’t mean to exclude some kinds of inspiration.

Here’s the red flag. Writers with a few novels or a ton of short stories under their belt who get into a place where they only want to talk about being sick of tropes and wanting to deconstruct them. I know that deconstruction is a major creative inspiration in some writers’ processes (all a beautiful rainbow!). But the larger percentage of conversation about other people’s work gets to be about deconstruction and frustration, the more I watch for other signs of burnout.

Because–squee is not just good publicity. Squee is important for your own work. If you’re not honestly feeling like squeeing about other work you’re encountering, that’s a bad sign. And it’s probably not a bad sign about what’s out there in the world, because there is a lot of stuff out there in the world. If none of it is pressing your buttons, really none? that’s a bad sign about your buttons and where you are in terms of energy levels, taking criticism, getting enough recharge, all those things.

This is not a red flag of you being (or a friend being!) a bad person, or a worthless artist, or someone who will never recover, or anything like that. I’ve seen many people come out of this kind of burnout. But just as it’s easier to talk about how to begin a story than how to deal with the middle and ending that grow out of it, it’s a lot easier to talk about early-career things than all the paths that can grow out of them. And yet it feels to me like there are a lot of mid-career/developing writer paths and pitfalls that it would be really useful to talk about more, so…I’m going to try to do some of that, and I appreciate the other people who are doing that too.

(One of my favorite roads out of this is to cast my net very, very wide and look at things that are way outside my usual so that badly handled tropes and obvious choices are less grating. But other solutions for jolting out of this kind of deconstruction/negativity trap welcome.)

solarbird: (made her from parts)
[personal profile] solarbird

I built a Windows 98 machine out of our old nameserver, door; it was a P166 from 1996 and NO YES REALLY IT WAS STILL ON THE NET UNTIL TWO WEEKS AGO because we were just seeing how long it would hold on.

Anyway, it abruptly retired itself from service, and I had a new machine already built because I also had plans to restructure the network here at the Lair and it required new hardware, but that left me with a reasonably functional P166, and I like the ability to read archaic media and it had a drive controller that could talk to 5.25″ floppies. So.

(It’ll also run DOS games. But I digress, as I do.)

The power supply is a weird short-lived format between AT and ATX called ATB, and these are thin on the ground, so as I was swapping out fans because these old machines sounded like goddamn jet engines how did anyone put up with this ever oh right because we didn’t know any better, I noticed a couple of caps on the power supply had failed, and that I could improve the whole venting situation with a much more open power supply case. So I made one, out of bronze fabric and aluminium, and it is, as the title says, the single most original Star Trek thing I have ever built. To wit:


canna take much more of thi SHUT UP SCOTTY AND MAKE THE ENGINES GO

And now I’m leaving for Montréal and Festival Mémoire et Racines, and if I see you there – yay!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

Please explain

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:39 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The logic of requiring pedestrians to press a button for the pedestrian crosswalk sign to change, rather than just linking it to the traffic lights.
solarbird: (Default)
[personal profile] solarbird
[2077]

"Gabe!" Lena shouted, running down the stairs towards the former Blackwatch head. "Hi!"

"Lena!" the tall Angelino replied, beaming. "Wow, you look good in black and violet." He picked the younger woman up like a doll, and she giggled. "I still can't believe you pulled this off," he said.

Venom laughed. "Hold on a mo, I'm on Lunar soil." She pressed a set of buttons on her grapple holster, and her clothes went to tangerine, orange, and while. "There we go."

Gabriel Reyes looked over the Overwatch version of Lena Oxton, and considered. "I like the violet better."

"So do I, luv, but - appearances, you know. Does this mean you're in?"

"An Overwatch where I don't have to run black ops? Hell yeah, girl, I'm in! I've been watching you operate, you need someone who can make some plans that work in the field."

"Ah, c'mon mate, we're doin' all right."

"Sometimes, yeah, when you're there calling the shots yourself," he agreed. "But then you look like badly-disguised Talon, and I don't think either of you need that."

"True 'nuff," Tracer smiled. "So you're here to run strategy for Winston?"

"I'm right over here, you know," said the Lunar Ambassador. "It took some talking, but yes, he's in."

"Hi, Winston!" Lena teleported over and gave the gorilla an enthusiastic noogie.

"Hey! Cut it out!" But he still laughed. "You're in a good mood - I take it you have something for me?"

"Here y'go!" She popped a small memory card out of one of her pockets. "Everything we'd hoped for and more."

"Oh, that's great news!" He knew not to ask how she'd got it. "You'll want to see this immediately, Gabe."

"Excellent. And yeah, if that didn't make it obvious, I'm in," said the former Blackwatch head, picking up the card, all smiles... until he wasn't. "But Lena, there are some things you need to know. Amélie too, for that matter." To himself, he thought, Not that I could tell you and not be telling her, even if I wanted to...

Lena looked down at her scientifically-minded friend. "What's this about, then?"

"It's... Jack Morrison," said the ambassador.

"...oh," said the assassin. "Him." She frowned, an unpleasant coldness twisting in her stomach.

"Yeah," said Gabriel, confirming. "Him."

Lena took a long, deep breath. "Right. Let's get the staff together."

[A Lunar embassy conference room, half an hour later]

"I thought Jack was dead," Lena said, anger, nervousness, and some small dismay in her voice. "I thought he died when the UN moved on him, in Geneva."

Gabriel Reyes nodded. "We all thought he was dead. Everyone. When the UN stand-down order came through, I ordered my chain of command to obey it immediately. We knew it was coming, and frankly, we deserved it. I've been owning up to that since it happened."

"Before," Angela noted, charitably.

Reyes looked down at the table in the direction of the doctor for a moment, left whatever he was thinking unsaid, and continued. "Jack, of course, decided he knew better, and I guess we all know how that went down..." He shook his head. "What the hell that man thought he could get by launching a counter-assault, I'll never know."

"He was bound and determined to keep the mission going, no matter what," said Winston. "Maybe it was the statue, maybe it went to his head."

"Yeah, well, it had all come apart by then, he should've figured that out," Gabriel replied. "Public opinion was not on our side."

Mei-Ling Zhou - present in virtual form, at least, from her satellite research laboratory in the north of China - shook her head, looking down. "I can't believe he changed so much. He used to be so nice!"

"And he really just outright refused the stand-down order?" asked Tracer. "I'd read that, but..." She kept tapping the buttons on her grapple, fidgeting. Winston eyed the device nervously, a little worried she might accidentally launch the hook across the room, but kept it to himself.

"Yeah," said the Californian, "flat out said no."

"That's mad."

"I agree. I evaced my team as soon as I saw where the show was going, and we mostly got out fine. Some of Jack's side of the organisation got out too, but... a lot stayed with him, for whatever reasons." He shook his head. "He always had a knack for putting together a loyal team."

"Yeah," said Tracer, flatly. "Loyal. One direction, anyway."

"Regardless," Rayes carried on, "the UN response was heavy, and his counter was heavier still, but utterly futile. Nobody could've survived the implosion - or so we thought. I sure as hell wouldn't have."

"It's not just a solid pile of rubble, though," Oxton insisted. "There's big sections still intact, deep enough in. Amélie got pretty far down."

Angela contemplated those words. "That was when she retrieved Winston's accelerator, yes? The medical unit near Winston's laboratory... could it have been reached?"

"No idea, luv. She's never mentioned it." Tracer said, nervously.

"Find out, if you could."

"What're you thinking, Angela?" asked Winston.

The researcher and field doctor shook her head. "We had a full compliment of medical supplies there - including ample stocks of regen gel and nanomachines. More than enough for a badly injured man to repair himself, if he knew how."

Mei-Ling looked over to Angela, her expression uncharacteristically severe. "The research unit versions? Do you think maybe he might've..."

"Regardless of how," Rayes interrupted firmly, "there is evidence he's active again. Not openly, but there have been rumours for a couple of years - mostly in Mexico - of a white-haired American soldier vigilante. And I received this yesterday." He threw an image up in the centre of the table - "It's not the best photo in the world, but I'm pretty sure this is him."

The shot, taken in an alley in Dorado three weeks earlier, was from the back, at night, in fog, a bit blurry, and showed a leather-jacketed man, white-haired, with the clips of what could - with a lot of imagination - be a tactical visor showing over the ears. Really, it could've been anyone of that general build - but the way the figure carried himself, that was familiar, and the gun slung over his back - that was unique.

Mei-Ling gasped at the image. «Halla die Walfee,» exclaimed Angela. "I think you may be correct."

"I'm sure you are," Lena said, voice low and quiet. "That's him."

"And if it is," the Angelino said, "given what went down, I'm pretty sure he won't be happy there's an Overwatch not under his command."

"I have to go," Venom said, suddenly again in black and violet. She hit more buttons on her grapple, and talked into her collar. "Widowmaker, message, urgent: Venom heading back immediately. Will brief en route."

"Lena," said Winston, alarmed, "What are you..."

"I owe him," said the Talon assassin, as she strode to the door, old anger drawn across her face. "If he's still alive, I've got a job to do."

"Lena, don't..." called the scientist, but it was too late, she younger woman was already down the corridor. "Athena, raise Amélie, if you can. Route it to my office, I'll be there in a minute. We've got to try to talk Lena down."

"Wow - she didn't used to get that mad that fast," Gabriel said, confused. "Is this about the Slipstream failure? She still torn up about that?"

"Oh yes," said Angela. "She is. Amongst other things."

"For good reasons," Mei said quietly.

"That wasn't even Jack's fault," protested the former Blackwatch head, "Not at all."

"No, it wasn't," agreed Winston. "But not letting me try to save her - that was."

Interesting Links for 24-07-2017

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Kid Killers

Jul. 24th, 2017 05:58 am
supergee: (noose)
[personal profile] supergee
Nine toys my generation* survived.
*Well, most of us, anyway.

Thanx to File 770

Daily Happiness

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:40 am
torachan: close-up of a sleepy kitten face (sleepy molly)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I have stayed up too late and am especially glad to have a day off tomorrow where I can sleep in.

2. We finished up season one of Daria tonight. I've really been enjoying it a lot.

3. I have also been enjoying the fairly cool weather we've been having. Looks like it's supposed to get up into the low 80s in the beginning of August, and I'm hoping it doesn't get too much warmer than that, but it probably will.

4. How are these cats so cute?

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 03:10 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
New type of soft, growing robot created

On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen

The 19th-Century Lithuanians Who Smuggled Books to Save Their Language

When Young Chinese Ask, ‘What’s Your Sign?’ They Don’t Mean Dragon or Rat

How Checkers Was Solved

'Super Producer' Donates Gallons of Her Breast Milk to Feed Other People's Kids

Balls Out: The Weird Story of the Great Truck Nuts War

The Lonely Lives of Dolphin Lice

Lemon juice has long come in containers shaped like lemons.

When Girls Studied Planets and the Skies Had No Limits

A Search for the Flavor of a Beloved Childhood Medicine

North Dakota’s Norway Prison Experiment

What's It Really Like To Work In A Prison Goat Milk Farm? We Asked Inmates (The issue isn't the work, it's the pay. Pay them actual minimum wage. If you don't want them to use that money, require them to save most of it for when they are released. Even if you don't want to pay them, it seems obvious that not doing so drives down everybody else's wages.)

Cooling the tube – Engineering heat out of the Underground

The Kitten Rental Program is Saving Lives (It's all in the marketing ♥)

When New York City Rioted Over Hamlet Being Too British

Sean Spicer stole a mini-fridge from White House staffers (One can only hope they are now able to reclaim it.)

In South Sudan, a child soldier long thought dead comes back

Schumer, Gillibrand Co-Sponsor Senate Bill That Would Make Boycotting Israel A Felony (Oh, ffs. You can have a perfectly rational reason for criticizing specific policies taken by the Israeli government without hating or even disliking: Jews, Israelis, and/or the modern nation-state of Israel. And I voted for these people! Oh, uh... don't read the comments. Sheesh.)

Israel's struggle to integrate ultra-Orthodox and Arabs raises economic fears

Disabled and disdained: In rural America, some towns are divided between those who work and those who don’t

For Ethiopia’s Underemployed Youth, Life Can Center on a Leaf

How smugglers use trucks with sometimes deadly results

Protecting our children from climate change might take more than just cutting emissions

Stuff

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:09 pm
emma_in_dream: (CaptainAmerica)
[personal profile] emma_in_dream
Is sylph the longest word in English without a vowel?

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:08 pm
loup_noir: (Default)
[personal profile] loup_noir
Yes, it's time for a grumpy book review.  www.amazon.com/Vulture-Private-Life-Unloved-Bird/dp/1611689716/ref=sr_1_1 

Turkey Vultures are an everyday sight here.  The birds are elegant fliers, soaring through the sky, with very little motion.  They play; yes, they do.  Watching them glide around our big snag, across the meadow, dipping low before they ascend just above our fence line, trying not to flap, is the kind of thing country mice like me do instead of watching television.  Much more entertaining.  Even though I've been vomited on a few times, back when I was involved in wildlife rehab, I still love the species.  Plus, they do important work, cleaning up carcasses.  So, when I heard a podcast about this book, I requested it immediately from the library.

The book is supposed to be about vultures, and it is to a degree, but really, it's about this woman, her unborn baby, her perfect husband, all of her friends, her travels to see the vultures, writing exercises about a vulture family, and side trips into vultures in myth and legend.  I'm over a third of the way through it and have yet to learn anything new about the birds.  It's past my "toss or continue" limit, so it goes back on Tuesday, unloved.


Well, hi, journal.

Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:29 pm
franklanguage: my little terrier (Corky)
[personal profile] franklanguage
It's been awhile; today, I had a slightly grueling day taking Corky up to the Animal Medical Center to be diagnosed. He's had ataxia and weakness in his hind legs for some time, so I decided that in the wake of his being cured of Cushing's syndrome a few months ago I wanted to find out what else was going on—since he was still incontinent, and I would have thought that symptom would ease up if the Cushing's weren't an issue.

Turns out they found spinal stenosis. There's no cure, no treatment to speak of, beyond palliative care. Currently, I have to give him strict crate-rest for 4 to 6 weeks—even after he seems to be getting better.

He's 11, but he's not an old dog; I mean, he seems older than he is because he has such difficulty walking. (I was plan nasty to a woman this morning who cocked her head and smiled before asking, "Is he an old dog?" "Leave me alone!" I bellowed. I was in no mood for chit-chat.)

I usually have to carry him; I have to carry him both up and down all five flights of stairs in my building—which I'm resigned to. You do what you can for the ones you love.

I'd like to get him a photonic-therapy unit—and now that there's a distributor in this country, I may do that; when I last checked, the only contact in the whole world was an address in Australia. When I mentioned it to the vet I saw last week, she thought it was a tall order for me to go learning all the acupuncture points, but I think it would be on an as-needed basis.

Unfortunately, he pooped in the front hall of the building earlier when I was carrying him out—and I didn't notice. Carmen—the woman in the front apartment, who's the de facto super and package receiver for the building—wrote a misspelled note and taped it to the glass of the front door about how tenants weren't supposed to let their dogs poop in the hallway without cleaning it up. Most tenants don't have to carry their dogs both ways.

I'm tired.

Fig and Ibid still need rehoming

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:40 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Jasmine provided me with a very apt description for Ibid and Fig: the feline answer to Pinky and the Brain.... So if any Waterloo Region and adjacent people would like a cat who spends a lot of time thinking and one who spends a lot of time ... not thinking, let me know...

(also open to suggestions for rehoming them, because what I am doing isn't working)

I have always been a picker

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:09 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I used to pick at my scabs until they bled, and then pick at them again once they healed up. I used to pick at peeling paint - I've mostly stopped that habit. But what I really like to do, really really, is get the peeling bark on trees that exfoliate like that. I've been known to cross the street and then stop for five minutes at a time to get at the London Plane trees on my block.

If I think about it much, when I think about it, I generally would attribute this sort of thing to being autistic. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of people who aren't autistic who do this too, but probably not many who go out of their way to do it for fun. I could be wrong here, of course.

Which is where this gets interesting. I went out to bring my mother her coffee, and before I went in I spent a few minutes with our crape myrtle. And my mother said I was just like her mother.

My mother has a very complicated relationship with me and autism. On the one hand, she swears she knew when I was a small infant. On the other hand, she is eager to downplay any signs of autism that I might ever bring up - especially if they're traits shared with anybody in the family other than her father, who really was undeniably autistic. Either she denies that the traits exist, or she denies that they're quite strong, or she denies that they have anything to do with autism whatsoever. (There are some things she can't do this to, like the topographical agnosia, but otherwise she gives it the good ol' college try!)

So for her to criticize what I'm pretty sure is an autistic trait, and attribute it to her mother instead of her father - well, I could've used this as a segue into my ongoing attempts to speak with her on the subject of the broader autistic phenotype, assortative mating, and our family. But given recent events, I decided instead to talk about exfoliating bark and how I'm sure the reduction of dead bark will decrease the risk of a forest fire in our backyard.

Dur

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:03 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Of course I can review the Kobo Aura. It just never occurred to me I could until someone suggested it.

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 07:54 pm
fairwells: landscape sky bridge (Default)
[personal profile] fairwells
Two of my cats were run over by a car today.

They're dead.

They had feline AIDS.

THIS POST IS PUBLIC.

I have rehomed the kittens

Jul. 23rd, 2017 07:29 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
It was a little abrupt, but with all this that's going on I simply couldn't wait any longer. I'm just happy I didn't have to leave them at a shelter. I really think individual care is best for them right now - and that was what they weren't getting from me recently. (Also, boy, those kittens ate a lot, and produced a lot of poop as well! Two small kittens, and they were going through three or four cans of cat food today! The larger size, too, not the mini size.)

They went to a vet before going to their new foster home, and according to the update I got they are in comparatively great health - no FIV, no feline leukemia, and mostly recovered from earlier infection. Unfortunately, the one eye will not improve much from how it is now (there seems to have been some trauma, not just an infection), but the vet said it shouldn't affect her too much either. That's all we can hope for, and not that surprising.

まるです。

Jul. 23rd, 2017 11:00 pm
[syndicated profile] maru_feed

Posted by mugumogu

 

ホームセンターで見つけた猫型ブラシ。
I found this new brush in the neighboring shop.

まる:「ふんふん、何ですかこれは?」
猫型ブラシ:「はじめまして、新入りでっす♪」
Maru:[What is this?]
Cat brush:[I am a new brush. Nice to meet you! ]

ブラッシングという言葉にやって来たものの、
いつものブラシではなかったので立ち去ろうとするまる。

まる:「そんやつは認めませんよ。」
猫型ブラシ:「がーん!」
Maru:[If it isn’t an usual brush, I don’t like that.]
Cat brush:[Omg…]

ブラッシングー、と声をかけるとどこにいても駆けつけてくるまる。まるにとってブラッシングの時間はそれほど大切なもの。ブラシへのこだわりも強く、気に入らないブラシだとすぐにどこかに行ってしまいます。

 

まあ、ちょっとお試しくださいよ。
Please try it!

まる:「こ、これは!!」
Maru:[Wow!!]


まる:「はい合格~。」
Maru:[I love the new brush!]

 


猫型ブラシ:「はじめまして、新入りでっす♪」
Cat brush:[I am a new brush. Nice to meet you!]

 


はな:「おしゃべりしてないでさっさと終わらせてちょーだい。」
Hana:[You don’t chatter, must end work quickly.]

はなはどんなブラシでも、必要最低限、さっさとが鉄則。


ちなみに、まるをブラッシングするともっさりヘアーの猫に。
This is Maru’s fur hair.


はなは毛にハリがあるので、ツンツンヘアー。
Hana’s fur hair.

毛質によって髪型が変わります。
By quality of fur of the cat, the hairstyle of the cat brush changes.

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