Back to the gym

Oct. 28th, 2016 08:13 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I did a full workout last night for the first time in weeks and weeks. Half an hour on the elliptical, even after lifting, felt okay.

As expected, my weight tolerance is down after being sick and skipping so many days. I managed bench press at 125, row only at 105 (using the hooks!), and squats at 155.

Next workout, I do squats, military press (overhead), and maybe deadlift with the hooks if I can get a mat, otherwise Seated Leg Press machine. I should go this weekend; a college friend is doing a talk Monday night, nearby, that I want to attend.
kareila: hidden between stacks of books (books)
[personal profile] kareila posting in [community profile] kareila_books
This sequel picks up a scant three weeks after the end of the first book. Serafina is still exploring her new relationships and revelations about her past, when another evil threat emerges from the mysterious forest surrounding the Biltmore Estate. Serafina is warned not to get involved, to either shelter at Biltmore or flee to safety, but once again she and her friends are all that stand between malevolent forces and certain disaster.
[syndicated profile] loopinsight_feed

Posted by Dave Mark

Here’s a puzzling question, posed in this tweet from Rudy Richter:

@pschiller how do I use my Lightning headphones with the new MacBook Pro?

Think about this for a moment. The headphones that ship with the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus end with a lightning connector. The phones also ship with a lightning to 3.5mm adapter that let you plug 3.5mm traditional headphones into a lightning port.

Still with me?

OK, so how do folks plug their lightning headphones into the new MacBook Pro? Is there any dongle that lets you plug in a lightning end and converts it into 3.5mm mini, or USB-C? What’s needed here is the reverse of the adapter that ships with the phone.

An interesting problem. Not sure there’s a solution. If I hear of one, I will definitely update this post.

UPDATE: Got this suggestion, about using the Apple Pencil adapter to solve the problem. Requires an Apple Pencil, so the idea is not for most, I think. But it did lead me to this adapter. Think it would work? Would also require a USB to USB-C adapter, which I suspect most buyers will buy or have.

aldersprig: an ancient-looking world map (map)
[personal profile] aldersprig
First, a link - How To Vividly Describe a Setting That You’ve Never Visited:

Okay, I have my character dressed (or I will as soon as I figure it out); I know where she starts out the story (with her mother, fathers, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandmother, nieces, and nephews), what sort of schooling (loosely) she's had, and what sort of technology the world has. I know it's a totalitarian govern without the technological control to be as invasive as it could be. I know it's a poor nation, with far too much of its resources going towards war.

...Crap, I need a bad guy.

My preferred sort of antagonist, as many of you have noticed over the years, is the Setting Is the Problem: Tír na Cali, Addergoole, Unicorn/Factory, probably Things Unspoken. I mean, in The Tod’cxeckz’ri Paper, the main antagonist, technically, is a collar.

I should probably branch out a bit.
Read more... )

Demisexual Writing Tips

Oct. 28th, 2016 04:00 pm
lynnoconnacht: A brown-haired girl in a gingham dress looking at the viewer over her shoulder. (!Me blue default)
[personal profile] lynnoconnacht

Last night, I did a short(?) series of tweets discussing tips on how to write demisexual characters in your fiction. Those tweets have been storyfied here. WHOOHOO! The tweets focus on how to write demisexual protagonists, though it’s probably general enough to give you an idea on how to write any kind of demisexual. (That said, less screen space and no pov time makes it really hard to show a character as explicitly demisexual, so my recommendation would be that, if you want to include demi representation in your stories, make it a prominent character, so you have the space needed to explore how demisexuality works.)

And because I tend to write out longer tweet threads/storms like this before I start tweeting, here’s the original too. It’s slightly different at points because I do rephrase a little as I tweet, usually to allow for the character limit, but it’s effectively the same thing.

tl;dr best tip version: Let characters become firm friends first and then slowly layer in your demisexual character’s sexual attraction. Layer it. Also read the linked tumblr posts on how to avoid invalidating other ace spec sexualities and, when you’re looking for sensitivity readers don’t forget about the rest of the spectrum. Everyone will have something valuable to say about how you handle it!

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Little Lion Lynnet's.

Le sad

Oct. 28th, 2016 09:49 am
pinesandmaples: An illustration of brown coconuts. (theme: history)
[personal profile] pinesandmaples
On Tuesday, I got hit in the head by a heavy dish falling from a great height during the first 30 minutes of my cook shift. The resulting concussion (funcussion!) has made my week ugly and annoying.

Today, I'm pouting a lot because I'm skipping my favorite, most-looked-forward-to music festival of the whole year (Blackpot in Lafayette) in favor of getting enough sleep and recovering.

I know [personal profile] grrltastic is going to be fist-pumping and cheering me on (because c'mon, what else does she do when people make tough-but-fair decisions to take care of themselves??), but I'm crying and sad.


Oct. 28th, 2016 09:32 am
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
So the remastered version of Skyrim is now out on the PS4. We bought it yesterday and let it download and install last night so I could play it today. It's also out on the PC, for free if you bought all the DLC previously, and Toby discovered it unlocked early so he started his FOURTH run. This time his character is specializing in one-handed weapons, but I predict she's going to end up a sneaky character doing one-handed because he always goes sneaky.

Anyway, I can't port my PS3 saves over, so it's bye-bye Murderface, alas. But given that I hadn't been playing him much because almost every time he went out he was attacked by an ancient dragon that was above his pay grade that killed him horribly, perhaps not much of a loss. Ah well.

The big question now is: what sort of character am I going to build for my new run? I shall not be writing it up because it was getting rather tedious to make notes while I was playing, so you're all spared that (unless something particularly funny happens). But do I go really sneaky, or go full tank? Do I play a paladin or an ass? Murderface's twin brother or someone completely opposite him? Let me know your opinions!

(Also I stopped playing Skyrim quite so much because I started a replay of Kingdom Hearts II in preparation for the release of KHIII, but hey.)

Back to the beginning

Oct. 28th, 2016 07:17 am
[syndicated profile] velveteenrabbi_feed

Posted by (Velveteen Rabbi)


This week we begin again. The cycle of fall holidays is finally over: we have returned to ordinary time. I don't mean by that term precisely what my Christian cousins mean by it -- for them it has a more particular liturgical meaning than it does for us. What I mean is something more like חול / chol, non-sacred time. Usually we speak in terms of שבת וחול / shabbat v'chol, the holiness of Shabbat and the ordinariness of the non-sacred workweek. After the star-studded expanse of the Days of Awe and all that comes before and after them, this first ordinary Shabbat of the new year feels to me almost like a kind of chol. It will be Shabbat, of course, which makes it holy -- but it's a holiness that partakes of the regular rhythms of the year. The smaller ebb-and-flow of Shabbat-and-week, rather than the big peaks from which we have only recently descended. We have returned to normalcy.

As the parent of a first grader, I am conscious of the gifts that come with normalcy and routine. Transitions are hard. Big holidays are disruptions in ordinary time, and they need to be -- we need them to be. We need to be shaken out of our complacency. We need to be confronted with experiences that awaken our sense of awe and majesty, that remind us that we are mortal and today might be our last chance to lead the kind of life of which we can be proud because tomorrow is never guaranteed. Jewish tradition is wise in giving us these things, and in giving us so many of them in a row that our emotional and spiritual defenses weaken and let our true hearts begin to shine through. And after so many of them in a row, now we need the return to ordinary time. Just as my son needs to return to the regular rhythms of schoolnight bedtime, so we need to return to our regular rhythms too. 

And what do we do on this first Shabbat of ordinary time? We begin our great story again. We roll our Torah scrolls back to the very beginning and we read about when God was beginning to create the heavens and the earth, and creation was wild and waste, and the spirit of the Divine hovered like a mother bird over the face of the waters. We return to the moment in our story when all of creation was as-yet untapped potential. At the beginning of the story, anything could happen! Of course, the words of our Torah are already written. We know how that story will go from here. But there's still power, for me, in returning to the narrative moment when everything began. It's a new beginning, a new year. The story in our scroll is already written, but what we will make of that story this year is up to us. What we will make of our lives this year is up to us. What we will revise ourselves into is up to us.

Thimbleful Thursday: Musical

Oct. 28th, 2016 10:25 am
aldersprig: (unspoken)
[personal profile] aldersprig
In Tyeibon, at the height of the body-modification craze, they did not call it hourglass-shaped but violin-shaped, or, sometimes, cello-curved.

Women wore backless dresses draped low on their spine, and had installed strings running from neck to bottom, in imitation of violins. (Men, too, wore backless outfits, and their spines were decorated with ports and keys, but that is a story for another time.) Extreme examples would have tuning pegs worked into the decoration at the neck; the number of strings would range from three up to twenty. They would slide a small, arched bridge between spine and strings, to change the sound of the their music.

The strings were magical, of course. Human bodies, no matter how shaped, does not make the sounds that a hollow piece of wood does. But with these decorations, those bodies could be played like an instrument.
It had become the habit by this point for young rakes and old troubadours to carry their own bow around with them (as women carried their own reed and mouthpiece). Impromptu concerts might break out in the streets sometimes; a very clever musician knew how to create a song on the fly, to match the lady's sound and key, for every body made its own sound.

It was beautiful indeed. Tyeibon came to be known throughout the Empire for the beauty of their songs and the shapeliness of their women, the strangeness of their fashion and the elaborateness of their courting rituals. They made the highest music there, the songs played in the court of the Emperor himself.
And then an enterprising young farmer-cum-musician slid a flatter bridge between the strings of a would-be socialite, and flattened his bow just so across her strings, and drew from her lean and strong body a twang unheard of in Tyeibon’s more rarefied circles.

In Tyeibon, they did not say hourglass-shaped but violin-curved, or, in a later era, fit as a fiddle.

Written to last week's Thimbleful Thursday prompt & part of my Things Unspoken 'verse

The Big Idea: Patrick Sheane Duncan

Oct. 28th, 2016 01:48 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

A title like Dracula vs. Hitler kind of explains itself, but even so, author and screenwriter Patrick Sheane Duncan had his reasons for bringing these two villains of the past together for a nefarious confrontation in WWII-era Transylvania. What was it? Read on!


I’ve always been fascinated by the way that popular culture reflects and influences society. It’s been a concern of mine since some pandering politician banned my favorite comic book, stating that they “corrupted” the tender minds of kids like me and turned us into juvenile delinquents. I knew it was bullshit. I became a juvenile delinquent because I was poor. At various times these self appointed censors have condemned rock ‘n’ roll, television violence, “dirty” magazines and lately, video games, always using the same trumped up charge.

(To tell the truth, I admit to being corrupted by all of these – but not in the way those narrow-minded yahoos worried about. They all freed me and my imagination.)

But I do see how popular culture reflects our worries and problems. An obvious example is the science fiction films of the fifties and sixties. I’m talking about how some errant radioactive incident created a monster set out to destroy…well, everything. A fifty foot man or woman, giant insects and our good old buddy Godzilla. Our nation’s fears of an atomic holocaust were made simple in one conquerable but metaphorical creature.

And it isn’t a mental hurdle to jump forward and see the effects of 9/11 on our films. I mean, how many times can we blow up the White House and every other iconic landmark on the planet – just to be saved by someone in Spandex or the President’s handsome bodyguard?

So, when vampires became popular again in a multitude of movies and television series, I was curious. A good many of these, if not all, were aimed at teenagers. I’ve always been a fan of the theory (I wish I could remember who first proposed it) that vampires, and their mythological kin, werewolves, are powerful metaphors for the fraught transition from childhood to adult. The symbolism is pretty blatant and definitely relatable to confused adolescents. With profound, even violent changes in the body, the werewolf has hair sprouting in unexpected places (on the palms of his hands, what was he doing?! Oh my!), profound outsider status, and is wrought with sexual under- and overtones, including sexual aggressiveness after the change, (there are a whole lot of women being assaulted/seduced in their bedrooms by werewolves and vampires alike). And to cap it off, so often these modern fairy tales end in a marriage.

When the latest vampire films rose from the Hollywood graveyard, I went back to some of the originals and found myself watching a lot of great Universal movies from the late 1930s and ‘40s.  And I noticed something – there was no mention of the war in these films. Except for one, where a German bombing of a British graveyard disinterred Dracula, the war didn’t exist. Mostly this was done by making them period pieces, but even the present day set films avoided the topic. A pure definition of escapist entertainment.

My imagination made the short leap – what if those two worlds did intersect? Bring the gritty reality of war into that old time escapism? Aha!

I’m a history buff so I knew that at the beginning of WWII Transylvania was given to Romania by the invading Germans. I also knew that Vlad the Impaler, the model for Stoker’s Dracula, was a prince and a patriot. Thusly he would be a natural foe to fight the Nazis. Bam. I had a hero. Actually a super hero. Cool.

Then there was the fact that the Nazis, particularly Hitler, were fascinated by the occult, believers who sent people searching the world for magic relics to use in their cause. So why wouldn’t Hitler, discovering the existence of an immortal and powerful creature, want to be immortal himself and attempt to capture Dracula? Bam, I had a villain.

Dracula versus Hitler.

To bring in the rest of the cast, I had Van Helsing settle in Transylvania after defeating Dracula and I gave him an adult, ferocious daughter (The requisite sexual motif of the genre). These two would lead the partisans fighting the Nazis and be driven by German atrocities to revive the Professor’s great enemy to fight an even worse monster. Harker and Renfield were brought in to make the book as much fun as the title. I then had all the elements needed for a rousing action adventure story with an essence of the supernatural. Using the style of Bram Stoker’s original (diary and journal entries, letters, etc.) was a novelistic exercise for my own enjoyment and a tribute to the book I love so much.

And I did it because it looked like fun and I believe that if you entertain yourself in the writing you have a pretty good chance to entertain the reader.

As for Dracula vs. Hitler’s place and meaning in the gestalt, I’ll leave that to some other fan/over educated analyst in desperate need of a PhD thesis.


Dracula vs. Hitler: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt.


ursamajor: people on the beach watching the ocean (Default)
she of the remarkable biochemical capabilities!

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