Writing and time travel

May. 30th, 2017 07:47 am
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I've been trying to write Michael's first story for a year and a half now.  He really needs to have his story written because there are a lot of stations in Paris that are named for him, and he keeps showing up in everyone else's stories being an angelus-ex-machina.  But he doesn't want his own story.

Until now, when he decided that he wanted a story involving time travel and alternate history and epidemics and Louis Pasteur and sneaky Camus, and more research than I have EVER done on one of these stories (ask me about silk worm parasites!  Actually don't, they aren't very interesting, but I promise you, I know a lot more about them than I did before).

I honestly can't tell any more whether this story is good or bad.  I can only tell you that it was absolutely determined to be written, and once I started writing it, I couldn't write anything else, which was a little alarming, because I haven't had a story that was quite this stubborn for some time.  Also, I am pretty sure I was the wrong author for this job (this is not about false modesty, it's about the fact that every single time I tried to figure out the time travel plot and the alternate timelines, I instantly got a headache - I really think my brain is not wired for this sort of story structure, which is a shame, because now that I have established Michael as a time traveller, I have a horrible feeling that it's going to be a feature of all his stories.  Though hopefully with less science, because my brain is also not wired for thinking about alternate science history this much.).

And then, when it was finished, I couldn't post it for another three hours because I had absolutely no idea what to do about a title. 

Anyway, it's done now, in all its oddness.

It's called Dragon's Venom, and it's for Saint-Michel station.

And I would like to revert now to the alternate timeline where I didn't feel compelled to write this story, and instead got a reasonable amount of sleep over the last few days...

I'm an idiot

May. 29th, 2017 10:33 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Instead of just futilely bouncing ideas around in my head, I could just ask:

Does there exist a check list of tasks for establishing a small, one-day con?

The 'Goldsmobile'

May. 28th, 2017 06:51 pm
moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man

And apparently, you can click on each image for a larger view.

This 1989 Oldsmobile Cutless Cierra has seen better days, but it's still going. 225,000 miles on the body, roughly 100,000 on the rebuilt tranny and 70,000 on engine number 2 (most of that mileage in the vehicle it was pulled out of).

not that Fig is a fussbudget

May. 28th, 2017 05:32 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
But if he notices Ibid is sleeping with his tongue out, he tries to tuck it in.

There is nothing quite like

May. 28th, 2017 05:21 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
A gaggle of adorable little girls spontaneously charging towards the edge of the stage to divide people into those who freeze in a crisis and those who don't.

History question

May. 28th, 2017 09:55 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
History question: does anyone remember the dates of the 1979 King Tut exhibit in Toronto? Aside from the year?


May. 28th, 2017 09:53 pm
waitingman: (Orang-Utan)
[personal profile] waitingman
A new computer, a new Windows operating system... a lot of head-scratching & a little swearing about where all the buttons & icons I'm used to have gone & whatthehell are all these new ones?!

Still, at least it's safer than learning to drive a new car...

Changes are afoot at work, with a wedge having been driven between my Boss & his longtime 'friend' & partner, we need to be in new premises by the end of June. Eeep!!

We're inspecting a couple of locations tomorrow, neither of which tick every box for us, but do tick a couple of the important ones. Especially the one that's marked 'Better than using your car as an office'
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I'm probably going to do these one at a time and between everything else, because most of them are long collections of essays, and there are only so many essays I can read in one sitting without going around the bend.  Which, contrary to appearances, is not the actual goal of my Hugo reading.

So, the book I've been reading over the past few days has been Ursula Le Guin's essay collection, Words Are My Matter: Writings about Life and Books 2000-2016.  It contains speeches, essays, introductions, blog posts and book reviews, and one or two funny little poems. 

I enjoyed it quite a bit. I didn't read absolutely every piece in the book – as I said, I don't love essays that much – but I would start a piece, and if it grabbed me, I would read it.  If it didn't, I'd page through quickly, and if something caught my eye, I'd stop and go back and read it.  I'd say that I read around 2/3 of this collection in total.

I've actually read very little of Ursula Le Guin's actual fiction, and that not for years - I think I read the Earthsea Trilogy before it was a quartet, when I was in late primary school or early high school.  This collection makes me want to go back and give her another go - I liked her somewhat acerbic wit, her feminism, and her ability to write both in a very personal register and a very professional, polished, critical one.  I think my favourite section was the Talks, Essays and Occasional Pieces, which I read in full - book introductions and book reviews are less interesting when one doesn't know the books in question, though Le Guin certainly convinced me that I need to read Vonda McIntyre's Dreamsnake, and George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin, and perhaps also Alan Garner's Boneland and Tove Jansson's The True Deceiver. And I need to re-read Among Others, of course.

Getting back to the essays, I enjoyed their thoughtfulness, and was particularly delighted by her piece on Inventing Languages, and how to make these consistent.  I liked her various articles articles on genre and publishing (and was particularly pleased that she did not throw Romance under the bus, though I get the impression that she hasn't read much, if any of it), and adored her horror parody, On Serious Literature, in which the author is stalked by the dessicated zombie corpse of genre fiction.  I loved and was depressed by her essay on the ways women's writing gets disregarded and disappeared, Disappearing Grandmothers, and will definitely be retaining her term 'prick-lit' for the equivalent of 'chick-lit'. 

A good, solid read, with moments of absolute delight.  I have no idea what the competition on this ballot will be like, but I'm definitely glad I had the opportunity to read this one.

Am I more aware, or more jaded?

May. 27th, 2017 10:11 am
starwatcher: Western windmill, clouds in background, trees around base. (Default)
[personal profile] starwatcher
Y'know, I've seen various posts complaining about fanfic authors' competence (or lack of) in crafting a "suitable" blurb to draw readers into their story; such post float around in various corners of the 'net.

My reaction has always been, "But - but - but... the blurbs for profic aren't much better. And that got me to analyzing them with my beta eyes. Does the blurb contain a breathless question? The answer will always be 'yes'. (Can she escape...? Will he find...?) We know that; we're reading to find out how it occurs, so why ask?

If the blurb doesn't ask unnecessary questions, it exclaims over simple, mater-of-fact statements. Samples from recent Book-Bub offerings: "Thus begins a rip-roaring tale of mishaps and misunderstandings!" and "A complete trilogy of spellbinding epic fantasies!" Sorry, blurb-writers; adding an ! does not make a simple statement exciting! (See what I did there? <g>)

But I growl my biggest growl when the main characters are either "hot" (if male) or "gorgeous" (if female). What earthly difference does that make to the worthiness (or not) of the story to be read? Consider the following --

Sizzling-hot FBI agent Jake Carlisle is in trouble and on the run. To save himself and an injured child, he kidnaps nurse Samantha Edgars. Can he keep her safe… and gain her trust?

Why does it matter that this agent is "hot"? Trick question; it doesn't. Would the story be less worthy if he was an ordinary-looking guy? Trick question; it wouldn't. It's just... I have long objected to covers with scantily-clad women; now I am developing equal objections to covers with bare-chested men. And there are quite a few of both types that show up on Book-Bub; I'm quite likely to pass on the book without even checking it out. Bad Linda! And I know that authors often don't have much input when the book-cover design is chosen. Still... there are plenty of books to read that don't offend me at first glance.

As for the blurb above, I'd write it this way -- "FBI agent Jake Carlisle is in trouble and on the run. To save himself and an injured child, he kidnaps nurse Samantha Edgars. Now he must keep her safe… and gain her trust to save them all."

But the cover doesn't offend, and I can set aside the "hot" and the question. Checked out the book; it looks good, has good reviews, and is free, so I grabbed it. I'll probably enjoy it... when I read it sometime in the next few years or so. So much fanfic, so little time; my fic-to-book ratio is still about 10:1, despite the ease of books-on-iPad.

Culture clash in Canada

May. 27th, 2017 10:44 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

Hugo reading 2017 - Fancasts Part 1

May. 27th, 2017 07:47 pm
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
Fangirl Happy Hour is delightful.  Read more... )

The Rageaholic is the Puppies' choice for this category, and there was debate in our household over whether we should give him a chance.  And also, how much of a chance we should give him. 

Read more... )

Our third podcast for today was The Coode Street Podcast.  Read more... )

On a side-note, it's fun how many Hugo nominees showed up in these podcasts.  The Fangirls talked about Ghostbusters, The Obelisk Gate and (briefly) Ms Marvel; The Coode Street Podcast talked about A Taste of Honey; and even the Rageaholic talked about Rogue One.  This adds a nice touch to my Hugo reading.

Download Windows 7! Or, maybe not.

May. 27th, 2017 06:53 am
malada: bass guitar (Default)
[personal profile] malada
For a brief time, Micro Soft was allowing people to download ISO images of Windows 7. Since most computers don't come with a separate disc with back up software, they were allowing people to download the operating system so they could have it. At least, I think that was the reasoning.

I grabbed Windows 7 professional both 32 and 64 bit for the two Win 7 machines in the house.... just in case. Of course you need an activation key to make they work. But since I have them with the machines that's not a problem.

Now there are places on line that will sell you activation codes - usually from systems that have been retired or recycled. Usually. I did find a site that posted a whole pile of codes for 'student use'.

I got two computers with dead hard drives. I used some live Linux distros to check the rest of the hardware so I know they both work okay. One worked surprising well with Linux finding the built in WIFI chip and weird AMD graphics set up.

The question is.. could I replace the hard drives and load up Win7 on them with the disks and codes I found on the Internet?

Short answer? Yes. Long answer? Not really. The result is kinda sketchy because they're not Genuine MS products. If you just use the bare ISOs and sketchy activation codes you get basic Windows 7. It takes hours to load up and then you get the barest of drivers. So then you hunt down the drivers... and reboot after each one is installed. More hours of work. Then there's the many many updates and security patches to Windows to download... best done overnight IF you don't have one that asks you questions (and some do). One of the things about the updates is that some of them are designed to find sketchy installs - like the two I did - and let you know that the software is not genuine, registered software and won't you really like to buy the real thing?

There are ways around these notices... for now. I'm sure MS has a few people working to shut down any sketchy operating systems with the next security patch. The machines do work. Sort of. Usually you need to dig into the Registry to make them function. But even after all the work of getting the operating system, the hardware drivers and dodging the notices that say 'hey, this isn't really registered software' ... you have to download Firefox or Chrome and all the other software that make a computer productive.

So after spending days patching together two sketchy Windows 7 machines... the thought occurs to me: do I really want to deal with sketchy Windows machines?

Nope. They're a pain in the ass and who want's pirated software? I did this more out of curiosity than wanting to own a Windows machine. If I really want a Windows 7 machine I'll buy one second hand.

It's a log of work wasted in a sense, but I'll be wiping the hard drives and installing Xbuntu. The installs won't take is long, the updates are quicker, and they come with all the standard software already installed. Web browsers, graphic viewers, media play back _already installed_. It takes less time, less hassle, you get more and it's all legal and nice!

Oh, did I mention that Linux is both more secure and free?


Fess up

May. 27th, 2017 12:04 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Which of you mentioned "cultural appropriation" to Orson Scott Card?

Also, are Irish accents really as hard as all that for Americans to understand?


lederhosen: (Default)

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