tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/74: Penric's Fox -- Lois McMaster Bujold
Did demons mourn? Oh, yes, breathed Des. It is not something we come into the world knowing, as elementals. But we learn. Oh, how we learn. [loc. 1662]


This novella begins some eight months after the events of Penric and the Shaman: Penric has become friends with Inglis, and is visiting him -- and trying to learn shamanic magic -- when both are sought out by Senior Locator Oswyl. A local sorceress has been murdered, and he needs to find the murderer. Penric, though, is more interested in the fate of the dead sorceress' demon ...not very spoilery )

Interesting Links for 19-09-2017

Sep. 19th, 2017 12:00 pm

Happy Birthday [personal profile] randy_byers

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:12 am
del: (Default)
[personal profile] del
Hope the day is bright in Seattle.
kevin_standlee: (Business Meeting)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
Having finally reached a high enough bandwidth connection to do so, I have now posted the four official 2017 WSFS Business Meeting videos to the Worldcon Events channel. These are the recordings taken by the WSFS videographer (Lisa Hayes), supplemented in a couple of places by cuts from the live-streaming video that Worldcon 75 shot when there were gaps in the official recording. These official recordings also omit everything outside of the meeting, skipping over recesses and other non-meeting time.

I would have pushed this out sooner, but since the Worldcon 75 live stream video was available, I elected to take my time getting the official recording edited together and making sure everything was in place. WSFS.org is also now similarly updated.

A query from a self-published pundit.

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:44 pm
reddragdiva: (party)
[personal profile] reddragdiva

My Bitcoin pundit career is going great guns! I got to go on BBC Newsnight and call cryptocurrency garbage. Don't ever buy into cryptos, btw, they're a car crash. Trust me, I'm an expert.

Soooo I just got a note inviting me to speak at a seminar, about why blokechain is pants, to a small number of people who have money. I'm gonna charge for my time of course, but I can sell books there. Which means physical paperbacks I bring in a box.

Now, one of the great things about this self-publishing racket in TYOOL 2017 is 0 capital expenditure. Has anyone here done this, or anything like it? Was it worth it? Did you end up with a box of books under your bed forever?

The books are $3.03 each to print, but all author copies come from America (because Createspace is dumb), at some ruinous shipping rate to the UK. Assuming Kindle and CreateSpace pay promptly I'll have a pile of money on September 30, but I sorta don't right now.

Does anyone have suggestions as to how to approach this? Doing a talk with a box of nonfiction books - good idea, bad idea, no idea?

(I'll no doubt do a pile of flyers for people who haven't got cash on them right there. Who carries cash in the UK these days? Less people than you might think.)

Rusty Roller

Sep. 17th, 2017 06:49 pm
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
It having been roughly three months since the last time I spent a week in the Bay Area on board the Rolling Stone, my travel-packing skills are a bit rusty. I didn't forget my razor this time, but as I was coming down the mountain, I remembered that I'd left my after-shave ointment (Cosmetic Lad by Lush) behind. That I could fix by stopping at the Lush store in Roseville, although I got away from Fernley so early that I had to kill a little time waiting for the mall to open.

After Roseville, it was on to Sacramento to spend and hour visiting with my sister at the nursing home. It appears that all of the postcards I sent from Germany, Finland, and Iceland have now arrived. I sure hope the poster tube I sent from Helsinki with the small WSFS banner makes its way to me in Fernley before next year's Worldcon!

Something I'd been unable to locate while packing was my washcloth. My towel is on board the RV, but I couldn't find the washcloth. So in Fremont (where I also had dinner), I stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond and bought a new one. So of course when I was unpacking for the evening, I found the old cloth. I apparently had put it away in a cupboard in the RV where I usually don't store such things. Like the Cosmetic Lad, it's not a big deal, and there's nothing wrong with having a spare. Indeed, I wish that I'd packed a washcloth for our European trip. By now I should remember that most of the hotels in which we've stayed in Europe don't include a small washcloth among the standard bathroom linens, which is particularly strange when they only include bath gel instead of bars of soap. It's as though they assume their guests will be bringing their own washcloth. Travel shows you where there are different assumptions about things, I guess.

It was also a day of travel contrasts. It was chilly leaving Fernley, and quite literally freezing (as in 0°C) at Truckee. I had to run the heater for a while going over the top. But by the time I was at Roseville, it was warm, and by Sacramento, I had the air conditioning running. Definitely autumnal weather. That's fine with me, though; much better than the heat of summer.
major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
[personal profile] major_clanger
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (John Le Carré, 1963)
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (dir Martin Ritt, 1965)
A Legacy of Spies (John Le Carré, 2017)

‘Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.’

From that advance plot summary, I expected A Legacy of Spies to be a follow up to the events of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or its immediate sequels. In fact, it turns out to be a quasi-sequel to The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Le Carré’s third novel but the one in which he broke out into mainstream success. I say ‘quasi-sequel’, because A Legacy of Spies revisits, and even to an extent retcons, the events of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and indeed can to a substantial extent be seen as a prequel, setting up some of the important plot points and filling in some key events between that book at Le Carré’s first novel (and introduction of George Smiley), Call for the Dead.

I’d never actually read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, although I’d long ago seen a plot summary that revealed the key twist. (So, by the way, does this review, hence the cut below.) I read A Legacy of Spies when it came out, saw that it referred back heavily to the events of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold so then read that, and then out of curiosity watched the 1965 film, which currently features on Netflix’s list.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (book)

I won’t spend too much time on the original novel; if you’ve read it, you’ll know how good it is. If you haven’t – well, rather than have it spoiled, I suggest that you go and read it yourself. It’s short by modern standards, very readable, and although the underlying plot is complex (as much as I can say without spoilers) everything is clearly explained.

(Spoilers from here)

Discussion of crucial bits of plot )

A Legacy of Spies is highly recommended, although if you’ve not read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold I’d strongly suggest reading it beforehand. And once you’ve done so, look out the 1965 film, which stands up very well indeed.




Interesting Links for 17-09-2017

Sep. 17th, 2017 12:00 pm

linkage

Sep. 17th, 2017 01:10 am
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
[personal profile] bibliofile
Life After Hate's fundraising effort to continue its work after the Trump administration removed the group from its list of approved organizations for the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) grant. Apparently Trump's people only believe in fighting Islamic extremism, not (y'know) the one that wreaks more actual violence here in the US.

The skiffy roots of the far right, from The Daily Beast. Pournelle and Niven et al., oh my.

On the plus side, trolls hijack white power (et al.) subreddits to discuss color swatches. Parents, don't let your kids grow up to be, er, disappearing moderators. (via [personal profile] conuly)

ETA: Programs meant to encourage women in STEM may be backfiring — because it’s not women who need to change, from Salon. New study finds that women in STEM tend to stick it out, but the field still suffers from pervasive sexism. Duh.

Packing for a Week Away

Sep. 16th, 2017 06:20 pm
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
I haven't been in the Bay Area since June, and the Rolling Stone has mostly sat parked in front of the house since then, so it was a bit dusty. (Not as much as if it had been out to Burning Man, but still....) So this morning, Lisa and I first took it over to Flying J and filled the tanks, then took it to Hanneman's Car Wash and gave it a quick rinse. This afternoon, I loaded it up with my clothing for this coming week when I'll be working at the Bay Area office. Aside from my computers and toiletries (they go out tomorrow morning before I leave), I'm ready to go. I'm a little rusty at RV living now that I don't have to do it every other week or three, but it should be okay. I'm glad to see that the weather will be good, with likely comfortable evenings. Because I have to be up so early to stick to my 6-to-3 work schedule, getting to bed early each evening is very important to me.

Lisa and I worked on a household project that had been put off for lots of reasons, but today's weather was perfect for working around the property. I also cut a bunch of bushes back along the fence line, so I don't have to put up with them snatching at my hat every time I walk down our sidewalk.

Lisa is sorry I have to go away for a week, but she did say it's easier to do some of the cleaning she wants to do when I'm not underfoot.

Interesting Links for 16-09-2017

Sep. 16th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
tamaranth: me, in the sun (Default)
[personal profile] tamaranth
2017/73: Penric and the Shaman -- Lois McMaster Bujold
I take my first duty to be to souls, not laws. And to learn as well as teach, or what else do the gods put us in this world for? [loc. 856]


Four years have passed since Penric acquired, or began to host, the chaos demon he calls Desdemona. Now a fully-fledged Divine of the Bastard's Order, he is living in the palace of the Princess-Archdivine Llewen, sorcerously crafting printing plates, and studying greedily.
non-spoilery )

Fernley Friday

Sep. 15th, 2017 08:44 pm
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
There was a fundraising event at the Fire Station this evening, with food and games, but when we walked down there (expecting to buy dinner from the BBQ), the music they were playing was so loud that we were driven away. We also noticed that very few people were sitting in the seating area with the tables and chairs, which was right in the focus of the booming music. So instead of spending our money there, we walked back home and drove down to the Black Bear Diner and had dinner there. I also had $40 worth of free-play coupons (you had to spend $10 to get $40 in free play) at the Fernley Nugget casino. Lisa played her favorite machine, and we had a run of pretty good luck. Remember that you can't cash in the free-play coupons; however, when we were done playing through those, we had $42 in actual cash out, less the $10 it cost to get the free play coupons, so that's a nice little win for the evening.

It's definitely cooling off. We still have the windows open, but the fans aren't running. I'm happy to see the weather cooling off after this long hot summer.

Wedding anniversary

Sep. 15th, 2017 07:13 pm
flick: (Default)
[personal profile] flick
Today was out wedding anniversary.

I made Mike a card:


(I've only had the book on paper quilting for a year, after all!) Worth clicking to embiggen, ifIdosaysomyself.

Mike very kindly did all the mucking out.

(While he did so, I took Jo to the vet. Over the last week or so, she's been occasionally yelping or whining, but it's got more frequent and last night she had a particularly bad spell that involved her making a noise for a minute or so. The vet couldn't find anything particularly, but did think she was maybe not *quite* so keen to take her weight on one of her front legs. It may also be a neck thing, although she did have a good feel around there. Short walks and more painkiller than usual for a week, and we'll see how she goes on.)

We had a quiet lunch at home.

(During which I took some ibuprofen for a headache and Mike had a migraine pill)

After lunch, and Jo's walk, we headed off to darkest Sussex to look at a horse.

He's called Thunder Joe, a name which is definitely going to be unused in full.

We liked him enough to ride, and it seemed to go quite well.

Even if it did hail while I was on him, and we were in a field with overly-long grass, which is one of my least favourite places to ride.

We'll go back and see him again next week, with riding instructor, using a school that they can borrow just down the road.

If riding instructor answers her text messages....

Afterwards, we headed home again.

I'm not sure how the day has been utterly exhausting, but we're both worn out now!

We had a lovely special anniversary dinner...

(Party-left-over soup from the freezer, and the other half of the loaf of bread that neither of us ate much of for lunch

...and now we're on the sofa with a bottle of wine.

Thankfully, Mike did a run to France yesterday!
filkerdave: Made by LJ user fasterpussycat (Default)
[personal profile] filkerdave

It pretty much kills any real social media time, especially longer-form stuff like DW. I could probably do more if I turned the computer on at night but I really try never to do that when I'm on a project. There's no reason to.

Maybe things will even out a little. I'd made a commitment to myself to write here regularly, and I haven't quite been able to do it for the past few weeks.

On the bright side, Baltimore is a nice town so far. I'm sure there are parts that aren't nice, but that's true of every city, isn't it?

Turning the Weather Corner

Sep. 15th, 2017 06:27 am
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
One way of saying, "Autumn is here" in Fernley: yesterday was the first day since we got home from Europe that I didn't run the swamp cooler on "cool" mode (i.e. evaporative cooling). We ran the fan for a while to move cooler outside air into the house, but otherwise didn't have to do anything else. Today it's about 10°C cooler than it was on Monday, which is a great relief.

Of course now we need to be thinking about scheduling having the fireplace chimney cleaned and laying in the first load of firewood. We don't need it yet, but it won't be that long.

I am angry about subscriptions

Sep. 15th, 2017 01:13 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
When I rule the world the mechanism for cancelling a subscription will have to be at least as easy as the mechanism for setting one up.

So, for example*, if you can take out a subscription to the Financial Times online in about 30 seconds online, by clicking on a few options, then you should be able to cancel your subscription by clicking on something on your subscription details on their site. And they should not require you to email their support desk, reply with a second email explaining why you don't want it any more, and then answer a phone call wherein they offer it to you cheaper and then have to insist that, no, really, you don't want it any more.

The rule shall, instead, be that if ten random people take longer to unsubscribe than they did to subscribe that your home page will be replaced by a big flashing sign reading "We will treat you badly in the hope of holding on to your money."

Secondary rule: No introductory offers. Free trials are allowed (but must be easily cancellable, as above), but you can't offer new people a better deal than your existing customers. Introductory offers are a way of tricking people into signing up, and then hanging onto them when inertia stops them from cancelling/moving. Instead you must offer a good deal in the first place, which is sustainable, and which is easily compared to your competitors. I know this makes life harder for companies who are trying to hide long-term costs from their customers. I really, really, don't care.


*Or, possibly, exactly what happened to me at lunchtime.

Interesting Links for 15-09-2017

Sep. 15th, 2017 12:00 pm
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker

Interesting Links for 14-09-2017

Sep. 14th, 2017 12:00 pm
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[personal profile] andrewducker