In Which I Spend A Lot Of Money

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:36 pm
wigglewhiz: (Default)
[personal profile] wigglewhiz
It is LuthierSis's wedding on Sunday August 6th. This is a Big Deal, because:
  1.  Family weddings are always a big deal, as opposed to, you know, the weddings of friends or acquaintances
  2. LuthierSis is a perfectionist. In the extreme. Everything must be perfect and everyone must be excited and colours must be co-ordinated (I can get behind that one, at least) and so on
  3. The Baby is a flower girl. At one and a half. Gawd help us.
I am horribly intimidated by the women of the Luthier's family, because they are all, mostly by lucky genetics, gorgeous. Petite and very slim and very perfect. LuthierSis and ... uh... LuthierBro's fiancee, who I shall call Crafty Gal because she makes fab very personalised presents and is generally awesome, are very very beautiful, and excellent (and dilligent) in their make-up application and coiffeurture (Is that even a word? If not, I BAGSY IT, I INVENTED IT, YOU HEARD IT HEAR FIRST). They wear fake lashes. Like, ALL THE TIME. EVERY DAY. They get their nails done on the reg.

I, on the other hand, wear make-up only when I'm going out (or dancing), am... competent at it's application, but in no way particularly skilled (like, I don't really bother with my brows to colour them in and all that shit. I don't understand how to apply fake lashes and remain in terrified awe of them). I get my nails done as an exceptionally rare treat, although I paint them myself a little more often (again, rarely, and only for occasions that are special and whatnot.) My hair is like the arse pelt of a particularly coarse and belligerent bear.

I am back to the top end of my weight fluctuation. I am OK but not thrilled with this development, particularly in the context of being in a highly photographable event alongside slender, perfect chicklets. Bah.

Here's what typically happens when I'm faced with this type of scenario, and indeed with attending weddings in general

I grumble about how much I hate weddings.

I avoid trying to think about how I'll have to buy an outfit for an event I don't really want to go to, and looking a way I'm not happy with, and therefore will procrastinate on going shopping for said outfit.

The weekend before (or worse, the closest midweek late shopping night next to) the wedding, I will panic and head to the shops for several hours, looking round multiple shops in an increasing state of rage and distress, finding nothing that I like. I will buy the first thing that I can find that physically will fit (at least kind of passably) on my odd-shaped body, despite hating the cut/fit/colour/material/pattern and so on.

I will attend the wedding in the outfit that I hate, feeling frumpy and sad and horrible, convinced that I stick out like a sore thumb in my horrid emergency outfit, and not enjoying a minute of anything. After the wedding the despised outfit will be assigned to a bin, with much cursing.

Genuinely, this is a predictable pattern with me and big events. This has probably happened at EVERY SINGLE WEDDING I have ever attended. It's how I ended up wearing a full length brown (silk, admittedly) bias cut dress to my graduation ball. I mean I'm sure it would have looked nice on SOMEONE, but on me it looked like some kind of Boudoir Potato Sack and that was a very fucking bad look for me.

Here's what I've done this time

I have spent a lot of money.

HOWEVER. I am happy with an outfit, and in fact kinda jazzed by it, for the first time in probably a decade.

I have bought this dress. I originally tried to find something in purple or lavender, because that's the wedding theme colour. But I found nothing that I liked, so I checked out the kilts the Luthier and other fellas were wearing, and it featured navy. This meant I could buy a pair of navy shoes and matching navy bag I'd been eyeing as "perfect for a wedding", and THEREFORE could justify a navy dress. Yup, I bought the outfit from the shoes up, people. It's how I roll.

Shoes and bag

Sweet Jesus, I just spent ages putting this goddamned photo onto Flickr to be able to put it here and I'm not sure it's gonna work. Fucksticks. Anyway, these are the shoes and bag. Can you see the problem here? The problem that completely ruined my buzz at treating myself to these, that sparked an angry email to their Customer Service department? What the FUCK is the deal with the non-matching flower stamens?! WHAT THE HELL?!

I'm a little bit... anal about colour co-ordination. So this led me to scouring the internets for the proper blue-grey colour stamens. I just... I have a problem, people.

So. I now have a project to fix the handbag, AND to jazz up a very plain fascinator that I bought. Stay tuned...

Three Hines Books On Sale!

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:56 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

I checked Amazon today and was surprised to see that three of my books are on sale in electronic format. Barnes and Noble doesn’t appear to have price-matched the sale yet (they have now!), and I don’t know if this is limited to North America, but here’s what I do know:

Libriomancer is on sale for $1.99.

Goblin Quest is on sale for $2.99.

The Stepsister Scheme is on sale for $2.99.

That’s book one of all three of my fantasy series. If you’ve been waiting to check out my stuff, this is the perfect time.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

In with the new, out with the old

Jul. 24th, 2017 02:12 pm
anysia: (Big Grin)
[personal profile] anysia
Attended the #PhotoLiveExpo2017 at Novatel, in Perth, yesterday. Bought a new lens at a discounted price. Wing had a bit of a snit about it until I told him I was selling my Tamron 24-70 to fund the purchase.

Went to #CameraElectronic to pick up the new camera batteries we bought at the event discount prices. Got a small bag to carry a 50mm lens that's large enough to hold the 24-105mkII when I want to swap. Told Sam I was selling the Tamron (which I just picked up after a scheduled thorough cleaning). I had a price in mind, and Sam's offer was right in that ballpark. So, instead of the hassle and problems of having to deal with idiots trying to lowball me on the price, or mansplain as to why I should sell it to them for less, I got a CE store credit.

Problem solved.

Best Novels 2016

Jul. 23rd, 2017 04:05 pm
voidampersand: (Default)
[personal profile] voidampersand
Here are my thoughts on the Hugo ballot for Best Novel, 2016:

All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)

I love this book. It is not long, but there so much in it. It is a modern fable, pulling in tropes from all kinds of pop culture: fairy tales, comic books, movies and cartoons. At the same time it is seriously realistic. The world is going to hell in exactly the same ways that ours is, just a little bit faster. People are (mostly) sympathetic and mean well but they are imperfect and success is often beyond them, especially as the world's problems become even more daunting. The tone is wry but not cynical. Things seem to be heading towards a conflict between magic and super-science, but the different schools of magic don't see things the same way, and the different groups of scientists and technologists are often competing instead of cooperating. But it's still worth trying. And it's worth trusting other people even when there is no way you can imagine how or why you can.

A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)

I found out that it is a sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet so I read both. The worldbuilding is good, especially the aliens are truly diverse. It presents a vision of the future that is mostly positive. It reminds me of James White's classic SF. But the characters are just kind of what they are, and there are some structural issues. It's uneven. A Closed and Common Orbit is better written, and it has two really great characters with compelling stories. Along the way it raises some very interesting and subtle questions about morality (vs. legality), friendship, and personhood. In other words, don't underestimate this book, just because it's a fun read and it's nice.

Death’s End, by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)

I really liked The Three Body Problem. I started reading The Dark Forest and bounced off the prose in the first chapter. It was so clunky. I picked it up again recently and was able to make headway. I plan to finish the trilogy presently. I didn't feel any urgency to finish it before voting because the first book in the trilogy already won (deservedly), and the third book would have to be amazingly good in order to justify awarding two Hugos to what is really a single work in three volumes.

Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)

The common question about this book is if it is really science fiction or merely fantasy. I am squarely in the it's science fiction camp. Space opera as a genre requires faster than light travel in order to maintain its traditional plot pacing (which happens to be exactly the same as 19th century steamship stories, go figure). Faster than light travel is bogus science. So are force fields, blasters, phasers, anti-gravity, teleportation, and so on. Yoon Ha Lee invented a fresh and new form of bogus science to power his space opera. He gets to do that. Go him. I think it's a lot of fun. The space opera is set in a grim dystopian interstellar empire. Not fun. I've read some other reviews where readers were bummed out because it was so grim and the characters were so constrained by the system. I didn't read it that way. The system has a lot of cracks in it, including a really huge one that maybe we'll learn more about in the third book. Many of the main characters are wild cards. Unexpected things happen. Overall, I think it's one of the most innovative and interesting space operas in recent years.

The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)

I think the The Obelisk Gate is good, but not at the same level as The Fifth Season. It reveals some things about the Earth that are very big, but we have to wait for the third book to see anything climactic (as opposed to climatic). The middle book is more about developing characters and moving the plot along. Unfortunately, the key character developments are sad, or creepy and unpleasant. At least the sad developments are very weird and leave at least a smidgen of hope. I am waiting for the third book and we'll see what happens.

Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

Too Like the Lightning is a dazzling and enthralling debut novel that is also unreliable and contrarian, sometimes even infuriating. Or maybe it is just Mycroft Canner, most reliable of servants and most unreliable of narrators. On the plus side, it's a science fiction novel set on a near future Earth where nobody is hungry, there are no wars, and politics are based on the fundamental principles of the Enlightenment: rationality, order, justice, humanism, enterprise, and compassion. On the minus side, decisions seem to be made by a very small number of elite leaders who are very much in bed with each other (except the utopians are snubbed for some reason), and it seems about to fall apart. What seems like an ultimate love letter to the Enlightenment could turn out to also be a devastating critique of it. Enough has been revealed in the first book to make it clear that it does not stand alone.

Novels I nominated:

Everfair, by Nisi Shawl (Tor Books)

This is a book that needed to be written and I am glad that Nisi wrote it the way she did. The steampunk movement imagines an alternate past where the second industrial revolution was accelerated to extraordinary heights and at the same time somehow was shared in an egalitarian way without colonialism, racism or sexism. Which of the two imaginations is more unrealistic is hard to say. Nisi tackles both head-on by establishing a 19th century high-technology utopian settlement in the Belgian Congo. It works because the settlers are not just technically skilled, but also radical socialists, the kind of people who would really try to create a steampunk utopia, and to fight King Leopold II. (It helps on the super-technology side that the Congo has major sources of uranium.) What I really liked about this novel was how the native African characters were just as empowered and important as the settlers. Also, as one would hope with radicals, just about every possible unconventional relationship that could occur does, and the love and care in these relationships is a great strength.

Arabella of Mars, by David D. Levine (Tor Books)

A delightful, strongly feminist, alternate-cosmology planetary romance that riffs on Jane Austen, Patrick O'Brian, Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Featuring a plucky heroine, a dashing captain and his brilliant mechanical sidekick, and a motley crew of tuckerized SF writers and fans. What more could you ever ask for? Okay, maybe it starts a bit slow. But it really gets moving soon enough, and the ending is fantastic. Now that it's won the Andre Norton Award, it is officially certified as suitable for corrupting the minds of our youth. But there's no reason not to corrupt your own mind too, it's good for all ages.

Suggestions needed for motto

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:37 pm
watervole: (knitting)
[personal profile] watervole
 I'm nearing the end of a piece of cross-stitch that I've been working on for about a decade.  It isn't that big a project, but I had detours into knitting another other embroideries.  This used to be my 'travel' embroidery, in a case ready to go and easy to take anywhere knowing that I had all the necessary bits to do it.

It had a border of poppies and cornflowers and space for my own text in the middle.

But I can't decide what words to put in the centre.  It can't be too lengthy, a dozen words at most, and fewer might be better.

I'm hunting for something that says we don't need loads of possessions to be happy; that a garden is a great source of contentment; that life is to be enjoyed while you have it and maybe something ecological as well.

Now, clearly one can't manage all of that....

Random ideas have included:

Gardeners live longer

To be content is the key to happiness

We only have one world, treat it gently

Toss ideas at me.  Anything that sounds good.

Trailer Roundup

Jul. 23rd, 2017 12:36 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

It’s movie trailer season!

1. Thor: Ragnarok – I love the banter between Thor and Hulk/Banner. Everything I’ve seen about this movie looks like fun.

2. Star Trek: Discovery – I’m intrigued enough to want to see more, and it will be nice to have some new television-style Star Trek. We don’t have CBS All Access, but I’m sure it will be available on Blu-ray eventually.

3. Ready Player One – I know a lot of people loved this one, but for some reason, the book just didn’t work for me, and the trailer seems to be following suit. The trailer looks pretty, but it doesn’t grab me.

4. Justice League – I don’t know. DC’s cinematic universe has let me down again and again…but then they did Wonder Woman, and I started to hope again. This looks like it could be fun. Or it could be a mess. I’m withholding judgement for the moment.

Which ones, if any, are you looking forward to?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jesse_the_k: Dreamy photo of playground roundabout in rosy foggy light (lost youth)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

is another excellent meta-post from [personal profile] brainwane. Links to ~twenty think pieces on how we can hold each other accountable with as much love as we have for a better future.

And the comments are excellent.

Sting Ray Skin

Jul. 21st, 2017 04:36 pm
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k
Today I learned that the original handle grip tape was sting ray skin. That's cause I went to a stunning exhibit of Samurai Weaponry at a local art museum. The design and crafting of the armor and swords was exquisite. The helmets have face guards, which look like they're molded from the wearer's actually face. These face guards also sport mustaches and soul patches. Altogether delightful. Also clear that "Art Deco" in the West was 90% ripping off 16th C Japanese design.

Runner beans

Jul. 21st, 2017 07:34 pm
watervole: (Default)
[personal profile] watervole
 I only used to eat runner beans when cooked, but many years ago now, I observed my mother-in-law's tortoise eating raw runner beans with great enthusiasm.   So I tried one and found that I liked it.

Oswin does too.  Really likes them.  Can eat several in a day.

Today, she was eating a slice of cake.  Grandad came in with fresh supply of runner beans from the allotment and gave her half of a runner bean.

She took it with great delight, ate it at once, and only then went back to the cake.

I love a three year old who appreciates allotment veg!

Cool Stuff Friday

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:22 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Friday still hasn’t seen the new Spider-Man movie 🙁

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Not a WisCon Post & Bella News

Jul. 19th, 2017 05:52 pm
jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k

I looked back on my journal — ten years now — and realized that I always fall into a posting hole post-WisCon. I intend to post about what happened and then don't, because WisCon generates so many complex feelings. Then I feel like I can't post about other stuff until I get the WisCon posts up, and then it's November and I can start posting again.

So, I promise no WisCon posts (which means I might actually write some) and an update on my current goings-on.

Weather & the dog )


Jul. 19th, 2017 10:15 am
wigglewhiz: (Default)
[personal profile] wigglewhiz
Hey! So it's been a while, huh? Here I am over on Dreamwidth now instead of LJ, and have dragged all my old shit with me - which led, of course, to me reading the old shit, and laughing over a lot of it, and feeling like it was proper ages ago, and that some of it was prescient, and then being massively intimidated by HOW DO I CONDENSE ALL THE THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED SINCE THEN INTO A COHERENT POST?

I don't think I can.

So instead I think I will probably catch up with all the things in due course over a long period of time in the format of Flashback posts, which I will probably tag as FLASHBACK for ease of use, and I'll write them as and when they come to me or if something triggers a discussion that's related to a flashback thing that I never posted about at the time and so on. Takes the pressure off, is in keeping with my typical stream-of-consciousness unstructured stylee, and allows people who feel already caught up to avoid flashback posts which may be about, you know, boring shit like That Time I Was In A Hospital And They Took A Baby Out Of Me and suchlike.

In the meantime, a super quick recap of Things That Have Happened That I Might Post About Sometime:
  • I Went To A Hospital And They Took A Baby Out Of Me
    • That Want Kind Of Badly And Sucked *Quite* A Bit But Everything Was OK In The End But I Still Don't Ever Wanna Go Through That Again
    • Then It Was Kind Of OK Very Briefly
    • Then It Was Pretty Bad In Lots Of Ways And I'm Not Sure I Was Entirely Mentally Well And I Should Definitely Have Done Something About That Sooner
    • Things Are Looking OK Again At Last, Thank God
  • My Estranged Sister From My Hostile And Dysfunctional Dad's Side Of The Family Found Me On Facebook Despite Having Been Blocked For Years And Finds Me A Valid Person Because I Have A Baby Now, And I Told Her To FUCK OFF But It Gave Me So Many Complex Feels
  • One Day I Will Dance Again, But In The Meantime I Keep Trying To Go To Dance Things And Sometimes It Works And I Have OPINIONS On What I See, And Sometimes It Doesn't Work And I Have FEELS About That.

I am also attempting a craft thingie which I will probably bore you guys with pictures of because I am kind of super proud of it right now (it involved SEWING! And also glue gun, because fuck that) - I have LuthierSis's wedding coming up in like 2 weeks and I am embellishing a fascinator to make it MORE AWESOME and make it match my shoes and handbag. As one does!

I've missed you guys.