firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I really like Moby-Dick (the novel by Melville).

I'm afraid I don't much care for this guy's artwork style, but he made 552 illustrations for Moby-Dick (one for each page of his edition), which I think is a great project.

http://www.tinhouse.com/books/fiction-poetry/moby-dick-in-pictures.html

He also claims to have "the world's largest personal collection of Nazgul art"

http://everypageofmobydick.blogspot.com/p/the-worlds-largest-personal-collection.html

This is a recent article about him.

http://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/artsmindsblog/wild-weird-world-matt-kish/

While digging around to find out more about this guy, I discovered there is now a biennial "marathon reading of Moby-Dick" in New York City. This happened in 2012 and 2014. In 2013 there wasn't a reading, but there was a "Moby-Dick Not-Marathon," aka a convention. The next marathon will be in 2016. Its Kickstarter campaign is a sight to behold.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandabullock/moby-dick-marathon-nyc

I found out about Matt Kish via a pattern by Ann Weaver, "His Mark," in the new (50th!) edition of knitty.com:http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEw14/PATThismark.php

She has published two books of knitting patterns based on Moby-Dick. The paper versions of the books have illustrations by Matt Kish.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
A psychiatrist thinks the patient-run web site about psychiatric medications, http://crazymeds.us , is great, but can't recommend it to their patients because it has offensive jokes.

http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/27/such-mixed-feelings-about-crazymeds/

~

Anita Sarkeesian is on the cover of Business Week, along with the text "VIDEO GAME AVENGER: One woman's crusade to vaporize gaming's grossest trolls."

Need I say DON'T READ THE COMMENTS even though Business Week is moderating them.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-11-26/anita-sarkeesian-battles-sexism-in-games-gamergate-harassment

~

It's funny that this article about gender norms among "millennials" starts out by focusing on men who have chosen to decorate their fingernails. I've never decorated my fingernails before but recently I've started wearing nail decals. I vaguely worry that they make me present as too femme. But I'll save the details of my worries about gender presentation for another post.

It's OK to peek at the comments on this one. A couple of the top comments are along these lines:
"What is the incessant need to classify people in arbitrary "generations" and then build stereotypes around them? People are far too diverse to make such generalizations" (Lencho)

"This just in: Gender norms have never been challenged until millenials came along! (Don't tell David Bowie.)" (fictitiousengineer)
http://www.npr.org/2014/11/30/363345372/for-these-millennials-gender-norms-have-gone-out-of-style

~

The gender norms article referenced this documentary about Bindle & Keep, an LGBTQ-friendly tailoring company.

http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2014/09/lena-dunham-lgbtq-tailor

~

Lately company "wellness" programs have been in the news for forcing workers to undergo invasive medical exams or face large health insurance "surcharges." Good news on that front—the EEOC considers these programs inappropriate and has been suing to stop them.
In the Honeywell wellness program, employees and their spouses are asked to get blood drawn to test their cholesterol, glucose and nicotine use, and also have their body mass index and blood pressure measured. An employee who refuses is subject to a $500 surcharge on health insurance premiums and could lose up to $1,500 in Honeywell contributions to a health savings account. A worker and spouse are also each subject to a $1,000 tobacco surcharge if they refuse to do the screening. That means a couple could face a combined $4,000 in financial penalties.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/12/02/367842386/government-says-bosses-cant-force-workers-to-get-health-tests

~

Time to rewatch Gangnam Style! It has been viewed more than 2.1 billion times on YouTube, thus forcing YouTube to upgrade its 32-bit video counter. "Going to the video page and hovering over the view counter will show an animated math easter egg."

http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/3/7325819/gangnam-style-broke-youtube-view-counter
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
My friend Katherine Lampe is an independent author who writes a series called Caitlin Ross. The genre might be described as "small town paranormal fantasy". The difference between this and a lot of other paranormal fantasy is that the protagonists are humans with the ability to work magic in various ways, rather than undead or fairies (although various undead, faeries, and other supernatural characters do make appearances).

Katherine Lampe's books as trade paperbacks on Amazon, as Kindle editions, or as Smashwords DRM-free ePub editions. (The first two books are temporarily unavailable to buy directly from SmashWords, although I am able to buy copies as gifts.)

http://www.amazon.com/Katherine-Lampe/e/B00BRWSDFO/

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/wysewomon

I want to introduce folks to these books so I'm offering ten folks a choice of the following:...

ETA: Gifts have been claimed! This post is now unlocked; comments are still screened.

4 Dec 2014 02:35 am
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
So apparently with my camera and a foldio photo studio box and certain kinds of BOTMO beads I can take photos that look exactly like last-generation CGI. This is completely unprocessed except for a bit of color correction.

P1130093.jpg
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)

Movies

Advanced Style
Ari Seth Cohen has a street fashion blog called Advanced Style which focuses on stylish people (mostly women) aged 50 and over (usually a lot over). The blog has spawned a coffee table book, a coloring book complete with paper dolls and this documentary, which features a few of the women he photographs regularly. All of them live in New York City. You see them working (one works in a vintage clothing store, several teach), being photographed for ad campaigns, singing in a nightclub, being part of a flash mob at New York Fashion Week, visiting Los Angeles to appear on the Ricki Lake show, and more.

Edge of Tomorrow
Tagline is Lather. Rinse. Live. Die. Repeat. Time loop movie. Fairly entertaining in that twenty-teens excessively seriously dystopian way that movies can be. I liked the female protagonist, played by Emily Blunt, and that there was almost no (spoiler) romance between her and Cruise's character, although there was a little. (Wikipedia says the kiss between them at the end of the movie was unscripted and was Blunt's idea. I think it was a bad idea.) (end spoiler) I also loved the cranky old general character played by Brendan Gleeson.

Gravity
An astronaut and a scientist inexperienced in space travel get stranded in space. Much effort was put into making the space environment seem realistic, although the scenario is less realistic. If you can see it in the theater in 3D, definitely do that, but if not, it's wonderful in 2D on a large home TV also. Great soundtrack. Sandra Bullock is an amazing physical actress.

The Last Unicorn
Animated 1982 film of Peter Beagle's 1962 fairy tale. Liked it a lot. Proves that (spoiler) "the princess marries the prince and everyone lives happily ever after" trope could be subverted long before Frozen came along (end spoiler).

Men in Black 3
This one wasn't as good as the first one but was better than the second one. Doesn't pass the Bechdel test, but has Emma Thompson as the head of the agency. Boris the Animal and Griffin are fun aliens. Time travel to the 1960s is generally fun.

Shaft
Speaking of time travel to the 1960s...oh wait, this one was made in 1971, but close enough. One of the first and most iconic blaxploitation films, although apparently it annoyed white audiences for making too much of racism and black audiences for not making enough of it. (Gee not much has changed in 43 years.) The relationship between Shaft and his white contact in the police is fun. Everyone is wearing rust colored turtlenecks and lounging on fake fur rugs. Lots of product placement. If you want to make a point about male characters who would be called Mary Sues if they were female characters, be sure to mention Shaft. Now I want to do crossover fanfic with Shaft and James Bond.

Fiction

Up from the Grave, Jeaniene Frost (Night Huntress #7)
This is the last book in the Night Huntress series, although Frost has written other books set in the same universe. I'm somewhat incapable of explaining why I like these books, so have a collection of funny (some intentionally, some not) lines instead:
  • "Baring the majority of my breasts"
  • "That’s how two vampires, a medium, and a dog came to sit around a Ouija board in the back room of a floral shop."
  • "The fact that I hadn’t known what I was doing when it happened was almost moot by comparison."
  • "Groin cleavage"
  • "Changing someone into a vampire was downright prissy-looking by comparison."
Oh, and I really didn't like the way she described Detroit.

The Sittaford Mystery, Agatha Christie
Audiobook, well narrated by Hugh Fraser, who does a wide range of voices well. Published in 1931. Not part of a series, although it was rewritten for a TV show in which Miss Marple became the crime solver. Set in Dartmoor (English title: The Murder at Hazelmoor). The rural nature of the area, along with its bad weather, and the fact that someone can hide upon the moor play into the plot, but not the beauty or loneliness of the scenery as in Conan Doyle's or Laurie R. King's Sherlock Holmes in Dartmoor mysteries. My favorite characters are the chief crime solver, Emily Trefusis, who is the accused man's fiancée; and Caroline Percehouse, a cranky and very smart old lady. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is mentioned in the context of his being interested in metaphysics. I had trouble keeping some of the other characters straight. Enough red herrings to feed an army.

firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
They stuck real-time translators into fMRI machines to try to figure out how they can do such a complex task. They found out a little but not as much as they hoped. Meanwhile, translators talk about some of the more difficult aspects of the job.
Word order is a particular problem in fish meetings, which Miles said she dreads. In a long sentence about a particular variety of fish, and in a language where the noun – the name of the fish – comes towards the end, the interpreter is left guessing about the subject of the sentence until it's completed.
http://gizmodo.com/inside-the-weird-brains-of-real-time-translators-1660521550
~

I've heard of most of these words but not all, and I had no idea in some cases that they were considered native to one side of the pond or the other (e.g. "jaywalk" is American, "dodgy" is British).
http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-fourth-untranslatables-month-summary.html
~

Kelli Dunham writes brilliantly about Heather McAllister, Brittany Maynard, and assisted suicide
http://www.xojane.com/issues/assisted-suicide-heather-macallister-brittany-maynard
~

Here is a comic that seems to do a pretty good job of explaining asexual orientation.
http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/10/5-myths-and-misconceptions-about-asexuality/
~

Jonah Soolman is a nutritional counseling practitioner who works in the Health at Every Size paradigm. He attended the Cardiometabolic Health Conference, at which various procedures and products aimed at "weight loss" were much discussed. He writes: "Following this paragraph is my list of key moments from the conference. By default, I was going to group them by disease state, but given the circumstances perhaps it is more appropriate to categorize them by the emotional state they created." The headers for the article are "Interesting," "Startling," "Disappointing," "Frustrating," "Horrifying," "Infuriating," and "Made Me Want To Throw Something."
http://www.soolmannutrition.com/2014/10/cmhc/
~

Paintings of migraines by artists who experience them.
http://dangerousminds.net/comments/migraine_headaches_depicted_by_artists
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I've been vaguely trying to learn the ukulele, and I discovered this guy Alistair Wood, a musician and writer who maintains a web site called Ukulele Hunt. Here he performs his beautiful adaptation of Led Zeppelin's "The Rain Song" for the ukulele. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyis-5m5brM
~

DapperQ calls itself "GQ for the 'unconventionally masculine.'" This post discusses masculine fashion for people whose bodies don't conform to the tall, thin stereotype of androgyny (which just so happens to match the tall, thin stereotype of every kind of fashion).
http://www.dapperq.com/2014/11/ask-dapperq-curvy-androgyny/
~

Proof that political sensibilities and entertainment can mix with hilarious results: Unused audio commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky for The Fellowship of the Ring DVD. Excerpt:
Zinn: You view the conflict as being primarily about pipe-weed, do you not?
Chomsky: Well, what we see here, in Hobbiton, farmers tilling crops. The thing to remember is that the crop they are tilling is, in fact, pipe-weed, an addictive drug transported and sold throughout Middle Earth for great profit.
http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/unused-audio-commentary-by-howard-zinn-and-noam-chomsky-recorded-summer-2002-for-the-fellowship-of-the-ring-platinum-series-extended-edition-dvd-part-one
~

By the Racialicious Team: Voices: The Michael Brown protests you didn't see (because the media were too busy showing violent protests instead).
http://www.racialicious.com/2014/11/25/voices-the-michael-brown-protests-you-didnt-see/
~

By Janee Woods: 12 things white people can do now because Ferguson
http://qz.com/250701/12-things-white-people-can-do-now-because-ferguson/
~

A fat guy who is an employee of a Sam's Club in Mexico dances with great enthusiasm in front of a display of stereo equipment (the song is "El Serrucho" by Mr Black).
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=550861918348080
~

Yudkowsky does a great job of explaining a way to approach the hateful voices that people sometimes have in their heads. (I call them my brain trolls.)
"when you have a thought, you write it down
like, say
'You are different from the others. You will never know their innocence… and that is why you should hate your own existence. Die. Die. Die.'
then you figure out whether, if your life were a fantasy novel, these words would be spoken by figures wearing black robes, and speaking in a dry, whispering voice, and they are actually withered beings who touched the Stone of Evil
and if so then you don’t listen"
http://yudkowsky.tumblr.com/post/103192100330/cognitive-trope-therapy
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)

Movies


The Expendables
Good-natured way over-the-top ensemble old guy action movie, directed by Stallone, with cameos by Schwartznegger and Bruce Willis, and a good performance by Mickey Rourke.

Nosferatu
I have never acquired a taste for the kind of acting that is often done in silent movies and my experience of Nosferatu suffered from this, but I'm glad I watched it. I wish I knew more about all the ways it was influential on movie-making. There's a famous scene where Nosferatu rises straight up out of his coffin. I found myself mumbling "wire-work."

Episodics


Hawaii Five-0 (reboot)
We're watching season 2, and enjoying this more since Masa Oki became a regular character

Fiction


Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost (#2 in the Night Prince series)
Vampire romance. I like them except that the plots are too heavily driven by manufactured relationship angst of kinds that would make a sensible person run screaming in real life.

Fire in the Blood, Blood on the Water (Vampire Files #5-6) by P.N. Elrod
It's the early 20th century in Chicago, and a journalist who was recently made into a vampire (Jack Fleming) works with a human British P.I. who used to be an actor (Charles Escott). They associate with gangsters and femmes fatales a lot but they mostly have modern middle-class values (e.g. the vampire doesn't hunt human victims but drinks from cattle at the Chicago stockyards). Although these are technically 2 novels, they come in an omnibus (Vampire Files part 2) and Blood on the Water doesn't really stand alone. I was pretty annoyed at the ebook because it was a badly done OCR conversion and had not been adequately proofread. For example, there is a character named Escott, but his name is spelled Escort half the time. And one character has a book called The Invisible Matt on his desk. I like the protagonists a lot and there are quite a few very competent female characters in the series. And this vampire has a really good romantic relationship that has no manufactured angst at all.

Nightingale's Lament (Nightside #3) by Simon R. Green
I want to like this series more than I do. Green has a fabulous imagination at times, but it's mixed in with a lot of fairly cliched noir tropes and moralism.

The Moor, Laurie R. King (Mary Russell #4)
This is really well written in loving detail. I loved her descriptions of the moor and it was amusing to see Holmes reacting to people wanting to talk to him about The Hound of the Baskervilles. The mystery itself I didn't care that much about...the villains were not very interesting, and for the most part the solving of the mystery wasn't very interesting either; it was more of an excuse to get Russell and Holmes interacting with local folks. For calibration purposes, I don't know anything about Sabine Baring-Gould. I will read more of this series.

The Sittaford Mystery, Agatha Christie
Audiobook. I picked this up while reading The Moor and was amused to discover it is also about Dartmoor. It's a little Dartmoor fest over here.

Games


Little Inferno
This is the most adorable, bizarre game ever. You have a fireplace and you can buy stuff and burn it. Weird things happen when you burn certain stuff. And you have a penpal. If that sounds boring, I hope you go try it out anyway.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I seem to be learning Spanish. I got sucked into it via an iThing app called DuoLingo, which I found pretty addictive.

DuoLingo is also a web site and you can also learn other languages there. They currently only have languages that use the Roman alphabet.

I'm not sure if it is the best way for me to learn a language, because it does not teach about grammar at all; it just tests you on phrases and sentences in various ways. Which does work for me to some extent, but eventually I began to seek out other sources.

Anyway, I went through the whole mini-course on the iThing app and now I want to branch out. Have you learned or practiced or brushed up on Spanish using any particular web sites or apps that you recommend?

I'm willing to spend money. I don't actually want to interact with anybody, though, so I am not up for taking in-person classes or doing chats over the Internet or anything like that.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I got a 5 star Magpie from [livejournal.com profile] elisem as part of [livejournal.com profile] botmo year 11. The theme I picked was "focals and earring pairs." Elise included a card saying "I got a little carried away." I say OOH SO MUCH SHINY.


(click to embiggen)

Never fear, the cat got her condo back shortly after this photo was taken.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I've mentioned before that Dreamwidth has a set of emoticon-icons (there's probably an official term for these but I don't know what it is) that one can use with a comment. (In my DW style you get to them by clicking the smiley face to the right of the Subject field.)

DW user mm-writes figured out some CSS to add to make them show up without needing to click. mm-writes' journal is locked for security reasons so I'm copypasting the relevant part of the post here. (Any formatting errors are mine.)

===

Here's the CSS:

#subjectIconList table {display: block!important; margin-left: -.2em; margin-bottom: -2.5em;}

#subjectIconList table, #subjectIconList {border: 0!important; background: none; display: inline!important;}

#subjectIconList:before {float: left; margin-left: .1em; margin-right: 1em; content:" Click on any subjectline icon below to select it"; margin-top: .3em; font-size: 80%;font-weight :bold;}


Here's what that code does (all uses of !important are to override DW's default CSS):

#subjectIconList table {display: block!important; margin-left: -.2em; margin-bottom: -2.5em;} The icon table (actually, it's a blockquote but uses both table and text-list CSS!) is set to display: none unless you click on the lone greyed-out smiley face that's normally present on the "more options" comment form, then the entire table just drops out of nowhere like, "BAM! Need an icon table?". Setting this to visibly display at all times (which can be through an inline or block setting) fixes this.

#subjectIconList table, #subjectIconList {border: 0!important; background: none; display: inline!important;}For aesthetics I removed the border and background that are inherited from my custom .entry .blockquote CSS and set subject icons to display: inline.

#subjectIconList:before {float: left; margin-left: .1em; margin-right: 1em; content:" Click on any subjectline icon below to select it"; margin-top: .3em; font-size: 80%; font-weight :bold;} Here I used content:""; to add visible text that points you to the icons and tells you how to add them to your comments and floated it left.

To get the filled-circle backgrounds behind subject icon images on page replies I added: .comment-subjecticon {float: right; margin-top: -2em;} .comment-subjecticon img {width: 16px; height: 16px; border-radius: 100%; background: #333; padding: 5px;} I wasn't sure where to set the icon image because by default it lands top left and lays on top of my comment titles, so I pushed it right to get it out of the way and set it to line up with comment title text accordingly, then added a background color and border-radius.

===

To implement this, go to http://www.dreamwidth.org/customize/options?group=customcss and paste the code into the "Use embedded CSS" field. You might need to have a paid account to use this, I'm not sure.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)

Movies


Frozen

I loved the "Let It Go" song and scene, but otherwise I didn't like it that much.
Read more... )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I promise not to accumulate such a huge backlog of these in the future.

Movies


Captain Horatio Hornblower
Gregory Peck 1951 movie. It seems like Star Trek: TOS swiped some of the theme music and sound effects from it, as well as the concept of "Hornblower in spaaaace.") Pretty good sea adventure. I found the romance annoying.
Read more... )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
The ridiculous and erroneous lengths that athletic organizations will go to, to try to ascertain whether the people participating in athletic events for women count as women.
16% of his male athletes had lower than expected testosterone, whereas 13% of his female athletes had high levels of testosterone "with complete overlap between the sexes".

In other words, the gap that exists for testosterone between men and women in the general population does not exist among elite athletes.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/athletics/29446276
Read more... )
firecat: janelle monae (archandroid janelle monae)
Janelle Monae is awesome, and [personal profile] beatrice_otter made some icons of her.

My favorite song of hers is "Tightrope", for many reasons, not the least of which is her dapper tuxedo.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
State of the [personal profile] firecat: Happy. I went out and stood in the first rain of the season last night!

~~~
Comments left for others:
Things you don't want your doctor to say while peering into your body cavities: "Oh, wow."
~~~Read more... )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
So Facebook is targeting certain individuals for not using their legal names, and as a result a lot of folks, especially queer folks, are signing up for other social media sites, especially ello.co. And some of them are saying they're going to go back to Livejournal. I signed up at ello too because I feel compelled to stake out my preferred name everywhere, and because a lot of my friends have joined. But I am really sad and annoyed that no one seems to be considering Dreamwidth as an alternative social media site. I trust Dreamwidth a lot more than ello.co (nothing against them, but I don't know the people running it) and more than LiveJournal (although I'm still cross-posting to LiveJournal).
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I bought an iPad Air and some accessories the other day. Although I bought them all at the same time from the same company, they arrived in five separate LARGE boxes, all of which contained a smaller box.

The first photo shows the packaging.
Read more... )
The second photo shows the packaging together with the accessorized iPad Air, and a curious cat.
Read more... )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
If you have 33 minutes or some subset thereof, Stef-Bob sez sit back with your favorite mind altering substance, or not, and check out this animated video score of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring." Definitely right up there with the best laser light shows I've seen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IXMpUhuBMs

~~~
Read more... )

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