Excellent zine

Aug. 31st, 2014 10:47 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Back from the zinefest etc.

I am reading the three issues of an extremely good zine, Moonroot, some of the best writing I've seen in a while. It's great. I highly recommend it! fucking excellent!!!!


Wish I'd had more time to talk with the folks at their table but I had to scoot off and go to the panel/discussion.



off to the zine fest

Aug. 31st, 2014 12:40 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Leg not too good, ankle also, painkillering up to cab to the zine fest. I am on a panel at 3pm.

Not sure if I can make it to Oakland today but I will give it a good try.

zach came by to show me his new scooter hacks, which are amazing, and brought me a really big comfy foam cushioned seat back with a wood panel backing, for my travelscoot, which will be really good if I hack it down to half its size and bolt it nicely on. Or maybe a large amount of velcro backing and some sort of clip. It needs to be as portable as possible. i am super touched he brought it. The new hacks are a big power converter so his huge 35 amp hour batteries can now charge a car charger port mounted in the scooter side. There are also new speakers which he scavenged from noisebridge and mounted on the back in older looking cases so no one will steal them. they fit perfectly! soon to come, a microphone (xlr) jack so he can plug a mic straight into the scooter speakers.

hannah's board game party was fun yesterday. i feel glad to hold my friends close.
[personal profile] yendi
We started catching up on Musketeers shortly before this, so seeing Capaldi twice in one day in different roles was fun.

Anyway, here was what I tweeted before the episode based on the trailer/description:

Quick thoughts on "Into the Dalek" follow the actual spoiler tag. But for those wondering, no, it wasn't better than TTG. It was, however, better than last week's Who.

The good:

Clara. Actually, less Clara than her new potential paramour. Well, that's not fair. I find her a little manic pixie dream girlish* in her relation to Mr. Pink (who really should be played by Steve Buscemi), but Pink himself is wonderful. In fact, as a soldier who clearly hasn't recovered from war, he's basically the Ninth Doctor. Obviously, there's a long game plot being played at the school, but I find it at least starting to make Clara more interesting.
Actually, while Schoolteacher Clara might be all MPDG, Companion Clara is pretty awesome this week, doing what a companion's supposed to do** and reminding the Doctor of emotions like compassion that he so often forgets about. This feels like the Clara we saw last season (especially at the beginning).

And Journey's pretty awesome (as is Gretchen for her sixty seconds of actually doing anything).

Oh, while shrinking down is a dumb plot gimmick (see below) the Doctor's comments about lasagna were fucking hysterical. As was pretty much everything Capaldi did. As with Matt Smith, when the actor is better than the material, you do occasionally get some wonderful moments whether the writer has earned it or not. His handling of Ross (plot holes aside -- see below) was pragmatic and still kind of horrifying. Likewise, the fact that the Doctor's hatred of the Daleks was enough to focus Rusty's hatred on its own race was a nice touch, and helps keep this Doctor in a solidly dark place (once again delivering on the unfulfilled promise of the War Doctor).

Until proven otherwise, Michelle Gomez and her "Heaven" will intrigue me. Elayna noted that the colors are reminiscent of "Silence in the Library," and that's certainly one legit take on an afterlife (although without luring the Doctor into that VR world, I'm not sure what good it would do). And the Doctor's saving of Journey makes a nice parallel to Missy's saving of Gretchen.

Oh, and I may have missed it last week, but the Doctor's ship redesign includes stocked bookshelves in the main room!

The bad:

So the thing about that Tweet, aside from the fact that TTG did do the same plotline less than two weeks ago, is that the "shrink down to go inside someone's body" plotline is stupid. It's always been stupid. It was stupid in Fantastic Voyage. It was stupid in Innerspace. It was stupid the last time Who did it. It's no less stupid if you call it a "fantastic" idea (yes, we get it). It works best on something like The Tick or TTG because those shows are about stupid ideas (deliberately, as opposed to anything Moffat might do).

And it got dumber as we went inside the Dalek to realize that no one on Who has thought about what the inside of a Dalek should be like. Or worse, they thought that '60s Star Trek was a good reference point. A Dalek is made of Jeffries Tubes? Really? And has anyone involved with the show ever even opened up a computer? Small electronics aren't just tiny versions of big electronics. Really.

And having to fight off "antibodies" just ensured that this would be exactly the same story we get in every other "shrink and go into the body" story. And why would the antibodies -- which presumably don't have security cameras -- go specifically after Ross instead of everyone in the group at first? Also, if the Dalek sees someone putting a tiny grappling hook into its metal as something an antibody should fight, wouldn't it also react to the hundreds of pounds of pressure as people clomp through its "hallways?"

Also, last week the Doctor was all, "my face, my face, what's up with my face?" Now, he's just content with it. It's almost like the writers forgot about last week or something. Granted, one of the writers is the guy behind "Waters of Mars" (the worst, by far, of the Tennant specials). But the other one was Moffat, who should have a clue about last week's show.

I'm not sure how I feel about the notion that Dalek's are basically "born bad." Morality seems inherently linked to intelligence and agency, and I'm just not a fan of the notion that any "unbroken" Dalek has to be evil. That said, the notion of Daleks as evil is something Moffat's basically inherited, so I'm a little more forgiving on this front, but it might not have been the best thing to shine a light on without really examining the implications.

The Speculation:

I already noted Elayna's comments about Missy above. She also noted that this is now the second week in a row that we've seen one student (the one snarkily saying "she wishes" about the school secretary); as a rule, I tend to assume recurring characters will have impact, but I'm not sure what hers is yet.

I'm not sure if Pink will end up doing the boyfriend-as-companion thing like Rory/Mickey, or if he'll more be the lifeline/plothook for Clara to leave her adventuring behind. Or some third option mixing the two (his backstory leading to an adventure that causes her to quit; he could have fought with UNIT or some other group).

Really, beyond "hey, he's morally ambiguous," there just wasn't any development of The Doctor, so no real speculation's possible on that front.

*Yes, I know that Nathan Rabin has expressed dismay at the term he created. It's overused, but pretty damned valid here.

**As opposed to being a strawman for a particular subset of fans, almost none of whom I've ever actually met.
alixtii: Player from <i>Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?</i> playing the game. (Default)
[personal profile] alixtii

Title: The Whipping Girl
Author: [personal profile] alixtii
Fandom: Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card
Pairing: Peter Wiggin/Valentine Wiggin (note that that is a sibling incest pairing)
Summary: He loves her for her martyrdom.
A/N: Set in an AU where Val didn't leave to go with Ender but stayed with Peter instead

Format: MP3
Length: 0:06:37
Size: 6.41 MB

Original text at AO3.
Download or stream from Google.
Temporary download from Sendspace.

Make. better. games.

Aug. 29th, 2014 08:22 pm
shadowspar: A incorporeal undead creature floating in midair, with sharp claws and an evil grin (Wesnoth: Shadow)
[personal profile] shadowspar

I don't understand the rational basis behind people's opposition to Anita Sarkeesian's work, if indeed there is any.

I grant that I haven't plumbed the depths of Reddit, 4chan, and sundry gaming forums looking for reasoned argument, because those places are fucking gross. But what I have found seems to be naught more than a paranoid chorus of "she's out to get our games!"

Some self-identified "gamers" seem to think that Sarkeesian's saying "Stop making games". She's not. She's saying "Games can be better than this. Make better games."

The myriad cries of "censorship!" and "political correctness!" suggest the perceived danger is that games will change as a result of Sarkeesian's critique—that the amount of abuse and misogyny will decrease, and that the number of female characters with agency and development will increase. This makes the rallying cry of "she's out to get our games!" sound more like "she's out to emasculate our games!"

I have news for you, gamer dudes. If gratuitous misogyny and violence is how you define masculinity, then you've got a big fucking problem.

Happy Labor Day!

Aug. 29th, 2014 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] aotus_feed

Posted by David Ferriero

“A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.” -Grover Cleveland

Public Law 53-95: An Act Making Labor Day a Legal Holiday, June 28, 1894
General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration

Labor Day Act[ Read all ]

[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
I’m doing something different this week. I normally write about picture books, but the events in Ferguson, Missouri, have weighed heavy on my mind, as they have for many Americans. At his site this week, professor and children’s literature scholar Philip Nel shared his thoughts on Ferguson. He writes about, for one, the despair he feels over this country’s structural racism and how the events in Ferguson generated a singular impression of anguish he struggles to articulate. His thoughts resonated with me and many people I know; one sometimes feels hopeless to respond in the face of such institutionalized and deep-seated wrongs. (Nel’s post also includes an impressive list of resources for librarians and teachers.)

Tanuja Desai Hidier

Aug. 29th, 2014 06:20 am
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Kirkus says Tanuja Desai Hidier “quietly revolutionized” young adult literature with her literary debut, Born Confused (2002), a South Asian American coming-of-age story voiced by 17-year-old Dimple Lala. Hidier’s sequel Bombay Blues transports Dimple, now two years older, to modern-day Bombay for a family wedding, in a story that Kirkus calls, in a starred review, a “prose-poem meditation on love, family and homecoming.”

Wild Girl, Ghost Girl

Aug. 28th, 2014 06:39 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
Sometimes I love a book so much that I don’t know where to start. I just want to throw it at peoples’ heads. (In a friendly, I AM STRONGLY ENCOURAGING YOU TO READ THIS way.)

Some free iOS games of note

Aug. 28th, 2014 08:58 am
[personal profile] yendi
All of these have dropped in the last couple of days. The first few might stay free, since they have plenty of IAP available. The last probably won't.

1. Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage. A goofy game using the slice mechanic from Cut the Rope and Cat on a Diet, but with large chunks of ice. Some decent strategy stuff, and definitely worth grabbing for fans of physics-based puzzlers.

2. Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim. Yes, the same game that was on the PC some fifteen years ago. A little too heavy with the IAP at some points, but still a lot of nostalgic fun.

3. Beach Games. I'm a big fan of Donut Games, who do nice simple games that are really easy to get into and have a great aesthetic.. This is exactly what it sounds like, with simple games you'd play at the beach.

4. Krashlander --- I've mentioned this before (the last time it was dropped to free). This is a ridiculously hard, but incredibly well-done game. Basically, you're controlling a skier and trying to knock over robots. It's incredibly difficult, but really meticulously designed (and difficult in a good way, unlike, say, Swing Copters).


Aug. 27th, 2014 08:10 pm
[personal profile] yendi
So there's a new show called Selfie. And it stars Karen Gillan (of Doctor Who fame), John Cho (of a zillion things, including Star Trek, the much-missed Go On, and some movies about stoners and NPH). And it's created by Emily Kapnek, who gave us Suburgatory (and likes to cast twentysomething redheads as her leads, I guess)!

Sounds great, right?

Jesus fuck, is the pilot a hot mess. It's available early on demand, but really, you'll want that time back. It's some of the worst writing I've ever encountered, and I've read multiple books from DC's New 52 as well as a Piers Anthony novel called The Color of Her Panties.

Look, Kapnek's always written "unrealistic" characters. That's part of Suburgatory's charm. But Gillan's Eliza Dooley (yes, the show's that unsubtle) is so fucking over the top, she's existing in a completely different world from the rest of the cast. She tosses around hashtags and acronyms like she's in a rejected Fallon skit, but associates with no one else speaking her "language," in spite of her success (which, we're told, is owed entirely to her short skirts and sexual availability; this is a classy show, folks). Kapnek seems to understand that social media is a thing that exists, and has clearly read Wikipedia articles about the various big platforms, but doesn't have a clue about how it actually works, or the type of engagement someone would have to commit to actually become Internet Famous. She also seems to completely misgrasp how an embarrassing video would affect someone's life (in this day and age, it abets celebrity, instead of hindering it).

The show is pretty much entirely about shaming people who use social media as narcissists (and specifically women; men in this show don't seem to have any online presence), and is the more ridiculous because it is both literally and creatively impossible for Eliza to have gotten where she is today with the personality or lack of knowledge she has.

There's one good scene -- an over-the-top wedding vow recital that strikes the right balance (so much so that I wouldn't doubt it was cut from a Suburgatory script). There are about three good lines in the rest of the episode, and only one (a dig at Gwyneth Paltrow) goes to either of the leads.

If you want to watch Cho and Gillan, just wait until someone on YouTube mashes up Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy; the result, no matter how amateurish, will be better than this mess.

Katherine Rundell

Aug. 27th, 2014 12:35 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
What diminutive Wilhelmina Silver, the protagonist of Katherine Rundell’s new novel Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, lacks in stature she compensates for in physical prowess and a monstrous gusto for life. Born, raised and set free on Two Tree Hill Farm in Zimbabwe, her father encouraged a liberal lifestyle of tree climbing, horse riding, cartwheeling and a window without panes (all the better to see, smell and feel the sunbaked exoticism of Africa). When her father succumbs to malaria as her mother did years before, circumstances—namely a gold-digging twit named Cynthia Vincy—land Will in a prestigious girls school in London. Having spent all of her young wildcat life with rowdy boys on the farm, the company of ponytailed princesses proves to be more of a culture shock than London’s chilly clime. After a cruel prank, resourceful Will runs away from the school, determined to return to everything she loves 5,000 miles away, even if it entails street performing, foraging in rubbish bins and napping in Harrods.

Huck Scarry

Aug. 26th, 2014 08:40 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Ever since Huck Scarry’s father, legendary kid’s writer and illustrator Richard Scarry, died in 1994, Huck’s job has been to keep his father’s work alive. The creator of more than 300 books for children (with at least 100 million copies sold), Richard’s work is iconic: warm, puffy, jovial characters drawn in moments of frantic busyness, dogs and cats and earthworms going about their day.

(no subject)

Aug. 26th, 2014 03:31 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
I keep having big plans for the day but then I am continuously awake for 23 hours so I spend the whole day asleep or I have to get rid of my computer chair and then I have to go on a Horrible Ikea Quest to get a new one when it's late August and EVERYONE is buying dorm room stuff or...

At least it's a 3-day weekend coming up. I should be able to accomplish something, with three days to work with.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Aug. 26th, 2014 12:02 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_kidlit_feed
Naomi Shihab Nye, a four-time Pushcart Prize winner, is perhaps better known to readers as a poet than a novelist. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist in 2002 for the National Book Award in the Young People’s Literature category, and her collection Honeybee was awarded the Arab-American Book Award. She has edited several honored poetry anthologies, and is currently serving on the Board of Chancellors for the Academy of American Poets. She, however, recently published a children’s novel, The Turtle of Oman, which, like her poetry, possesses a seamless quality that makes it light-hearted and fun to read.

A Rousing Adventure

Aug. 25th, 2014 05:53 pm
[syndicated profile] kirkus_ya_feed
I was a huge fan of The Screaming Staircase, the first book in Jonathan Stroud’s new Lockwood & Co. series, and I’m pleased as punch to report that the sequel, The Whispering Skull, is just as fantastic. It has all of the strengths of the first book: a believable and distinct narrative voice (One of George’s most famous characteristics, aside from sarcasm, wind, and general bloody-mindedness, was his fascination with things unknown.), interesting and thoughtful worldbuilding (Sensitives do psychic work, but they refuse to ever actually fight ghosts, for reasons of pacifist principle. They’re generally as drippy as a summer cold and as irritating as hives.), excellent character development* (George has a Zeppo-ish arc!), and genuine scares tempered with smart humor:
[syndicated profile] library_tech_jester_feed

Posted by Peter Murray

Did you feel a great disturbance in the open source force last week? At noon on Friday in a conference call with members of the Kuali community, the Kuali Foundation Board of Directors announced a change of direction:

We are pleased to share with you that the Kuali Foundation is creating a Professional Open Source commercial entity to help achieve these goals. We expect that this company will engage with the community to prioritize investments in Kuali products, will hire full-time personnel, will mesh a “software startup” with our current culture, and will, over time, become self-sustaining. It enables an additional path for investment to accelerate existing and create new Kuali products.

As outlined in the Kuali 2.0 FAQ:

The Kuali Foundation (.org) will still exist and will be a co-founder of the company. It will provide assurance of an ongoing open source code base and still enable members to pool funds to get special projects done that are outside the company’s roadmap. The fees for Foundation membership will be reduced.

There have been some great observations on Twitter this morning. First, a series of tweets from Roger Schonfeld:

Lisa Hinchliffe points out a similar struggle by the Sakai Foundation last year.

— Lisa Hinchliffe (@lisalibrarian) August 25, 2014

Dan Cohen adds:

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen) August 25, 2014

And lastly (for the moment) Bryan Alexander adds a brief quote from Brad Wheeler’s conference call:

— Bryan Alexander (@BryanAlexander) August 25, 2014

My first interpretation of this is that there is a fundamental shift afoot in the perception of open source by senior leadership at higher education institutions. Maybe it is a lack of faith in the “community source” model of software development. Having a company out there that is formally responsible for the software rather than your own staff’s sweat equity makes it easier to pin the blame for problems on someone else. Or maybe it is that highly distributed open source projects for large enterprise-wide applications aren’t feasible — are communication barriers and the accountability overhead too large to move fast?

I do wonder what this means for the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE) project. Kuali OLE just saw its first two installations go live this week. Will Kuali’s pivot towards a for-profit company make OLE more attractive to academic libraries or less? Does it even matter?

Lots of questions, and lots to think about.

Additional out-there Who theory

Aug. 25th, 2014 07:30 am
[personal profile] yendi

Yes, I still prefer the theory that the new Big Bad is really the Master, but given the frequent use of mirrors, what if it was Daughter of Mine? Or possibly Mother of Mine, with the rest of the Family being called in?

Yeah, I know that's not likely at all (how often does anything from the Davies run get mentioned unless Moffat wrote it?), but it's another group of antagonists who can change appearances, and it's the one group from the Modern Who run who have encountered The Doctor at his darkest and most vindictive.

Who thoughts

Aug. 24th, 2014 09:04 am
[personal profile] yendi
Well, that sure was a Moffat episode. That said, regeneration episodes are tricky, effectively pilots for the New Doctor, so I'm not judging this run on one episode.

Putting the good, the bad, and the speculation behind a spoiler tag.

The good:

Peter Capaldi gives a fine performance, and is nicely morally ambiguous.

The Doctor's redecoration (and his opinion that it needs more round things) is nifty.

Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Drax remain the best things from Moffat's run.

Calling back to "The Girl in the Fireplace" was a nice touch.

The hints of a mystery behind the Doctor's face and whoever brought him and Clara together. Mind you, Moffat's always good at setting mysteries up. It's resolving them that's a problem. Also liked the repeated use of mirrors throughout the show. It felt like an M. Night Shyamalan touch in the best of all possible ways.

The "did he jump or was he pushed" thing was nice, even if we saw it thirty years ago with Jason Todd.

As always, Moffat tends to have sharp and witty dialogue (when not dealing with the plot).

Michelle Gomez! Eee! I adored her on Green Wing (and between this and Broadchurch, it's been a good time for GW alums, although I still say Olivia Colman would have been a better choice for Twelve).

The bad:

Oh, jesus, where to start?

How about with Clara's being freaked out by the Doctor changing. I mean, she's the companion most able to deal with this, in theory. She's seen every fucking incarnation of him (and didn't freak out then, either). What the fucking fuck?

So Eleven, a few hundred years before his death, called Clara in her future to make sure that someone who he'd have no reason to doubt would handle a reincarnation would handle it okay?

Also, Clara knows the Doctor best? Really? Aside from her seeing every incarnation throughout time (something Moffat's clearly ignoring, since he obviously believes the writer behind that was a moron), she's got nada. River Song, his wife, probably knows him better. Ditto Rose and Rory, who travelled with him for much longer. Or maybe Madame Vastra herself, given her comments.

Hey, is this the second episode that's killed a dinosaur for cheap pathos? Why yes, I think it is.

Also, Victorian London's lack of overall reaction to a Dinosaur in the Thames is surprising. Especially since a dinosaur with a big enough throat to swallow a TARDIS whole is basically Godzilla-sized. Keeping her in the water wouldn't change the fact that she'd displace enough water to flood half the city.

The Speculation:

I'm assuming the villain at the end is NOT the person who brought Clara and the Doctor together twice now, and that the latter is either someone unknown or River. Given that the Doctor needs his companion, bringing them together seems like something that I'd expect from an ally. Then again, that assumes she's A) a pure villain, and B) that there's not a benefit to having the Doctor survive and thrive for her plans.

I'm also assuming that the questions the Doctor has about his face will tie into the Pompei episode.

As to the villain, if she's not someone entirely new, I could see them going with someone like Romana, The Rani, or The Master. I like that last theory best, frankly. John Simm's awesome (and I've got the pilot of The Intruders still waiting for me), but we should have a new Master, and Gomez would be a great casting choice there, as she's capable of going full-unhinged on the drop of a pin.
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