the dice were loaded from the start

Sep. 2nd, 2014 09:58 am
musesfool: Steve and Bucky in the Alps (i'm your gun)
[personal profile] musesfool
August 2014 writing roundup:

break loose of loss and longing (@ AO3)
Captain America; Steve/Bucky; pg; 3,510 words
"What do you think of the speculation that you and Steve Rogers were lovers?"

"What? Who thinks that? I don't think about that. Why would I think about that?"


Be my ticket back home (@ AO3)
Winter Soldier (Comics); Bucky/Natasha; AU; pg; 2,375 words
The one where Bucky makes better decisions in the wake of Natasha's memory loss.

*

Meme via [personal profile] sage: What are my recurring themes:

1. REUNIONATING/RECONCILIATION. I love first times, I do, but I also really really love first times that are actually second times, where the characters are older and warier and more broken but also able to take advantage of the unexpected/miraculous second chance.

So many of my favorite pairings have a lot of history together, and have undergone long - and occasionally acrimonious - separations often due to tragic circumstances - Remus/Sirius, Dick/Jason, Steve/Bucky, Bucky/Natasha, (Sam/Dean, even though I didn't really ship it the same way; even Danny/Rusty in a much less angsty way) - and there's often a period in which they have to forgive themselves (and each other) for what happened, AND ALSO, in the other sense of the word, they have to reconcile who they are NOW with who they were THEN and how their relationship has/hasn't changed (if there's anything there that can/should be salvaged/can they start over or even if they were never romantically involved before, could they be now? is this finally the right time/do they still feel the same? etc.), and if their memories have been messed with - Jason clawed his way out of his own grave and took a dip in a Lazarus pit, Sirius can barely remember happy things and he's not real functional after 12 years in Azkaban, and of course, there's Bucky and his decades of brainwashing and memory wiping and being treated like a thing - so how can they put themselves together and have a relationship (should they even try?). I feel like this is the basis for a good 80% of the fic I've written.

2. EQUALIZING POWER DIFFERENTIALS. This is one of my favorite tropes for het fic, especially when I'm writing about an older man/younger woman - Logan/Rogue, Mal/River, Nick/Cassie - these are very often about the young women finding their power and leveling the playing field with the men, who always think they are too old/broken/etc. and don't want to take advantage etc. (I think this is also why I really love pairings like Tony/Pepper and Josh/Donna and Donna/Harvey - because those are also about assistants becoming indispensable, and eventually - in fic if not on the show, in the case of Donna/Harvey - becoming an equal and no longer being a direct report/subordinate. Say what you want about the post-Sorkin era of WW, but Donna would never have gotten that wonderful arc where she moves out of her role as Josh's assistant and ends up the First Lady's Chief of Staff under Sorkin, and that's the only way she and Josh could be together.)

This isn't a theme per se, but I also like role reversals in the power differential - Remus was the poor werewolf and Sirius was the handsome and wealthy heir to the ancient and noble Black family and then 13 years later, Remus is a mostly respectable Hogwarts professor and Sirius is a wanted fugitive; Steve was skinny/sickly and Bucky was his protector, and then Steve is Captain America and Bucky is his sidekick/righthand man.

3. PLAYING THE HAND YOU'RE DEALT. I feel like this was theme of most of my Firefly fic - sure, life is kind of crappy, but it's still better than the alternative, right? And some of my Dark Angel fic is about this, too, I think (though I think Max and Alec both have to do a lot of reconciling the things they've done with who they want to be now), and a lot of the SPN fic I wrote was about Sam and Dean muddling through.

4. YOU MIGHT HAVE TO DO IT, BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE, aka, the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP/PARTNERSHIP.

At least, I feel like these are the things I return to over and over. What do you think?

*

not the whale one

Sep. 2nd, 2014 06:42 am
sergebroom: (Spock)
[personal profile] sergebroom
Since I wanted to celebrate Labor Day without any excessive laboring, I spent many hours on Sunday scrubbing the grouting of the tole floors of the kitchen and of the bathrooms. My knees are still going thru recovery from that. Yesterday though, I took it easy. SyFy was having a Star Trek marathon of the original cast's movies. I caught the beginning and the end of "The Motionless Picture", with a gym workout and some grocery trip in the middle of it. I watched all of "The Wrath of Khan". I skipped "The Search for Spock" except for its one good scene - when the Enterprise burns thru the planet's atmosphere. I missed the whale one and the whole cast's last one, but I caught enough of universally reviled "The Final Frontier" aka "The Search for God" to begin thinking it might be better than I remembered. Heck, we got to see Uhura dancing while wearing only ferns. By the way, it feels strange to realize that I am one year older than Shatner and Nimoy were when they made that movie.
[syndicated profile] geekgirlinlove_feed

Posted by Carrie Sessarego

Mary Shelley had a birthday last week (August 30, 1797).  She had a hard life and I hope that right now she’s sitting on a heavenly cloud eating huge amounts of cake.  Here’s a few things you might not know about Mary Shelley:     You probably know that she wrote Frankenstein, which was first […]

The Big Idea: Cherie Priest

Sep. 2nd, 2014 12:51 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

You’ve heard the nursery rhyme, but do you know the real story behind Lizze Borden? Does anybody? This is the jumping off point for Cherie Priest and her novel Maplecroft, which follows the infamous Borden after the real-life events that made her notorious. Do you dare follow?

CHERIE PRIEST:

Like countless others in the last hundred years, I first heard the name “Lizzie Borden” via the jump-rope rhyme. Everyone knows it: Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her father forty whacks… And so forth. Whether or not she ever killed anyone is still up for grabs; she was acquitted of all charges in 1893, but that’s never stopped anyone from speculating about her parents’ murders – and once you’re canonized on the school playground, your legacy is pretty much set.

So what really happened? God only knows. Either she got away with murder, or she was falsely accused and thrown to the bloodthirsty public by an opportunistic media. Like they still say in journalism, “If it bleeds, it leads.”

There was a lot of blood in the Borden house. But that’s not The Big Idea.
The Borden murders were far more interesting, complex, and peculiar than is commonly remembered. Left out of the nursery rhyme are allegations of poisoning, an illegitimate son in search of an inheritance, and a crime scene treated like a theme park before the bodies were even cold.

And more, of course. Much, much more.

After Lizzie’s trial, she and her older sister inherited the family fortune; but rather than leave the state and start fresh someplace else, they bought a big house on the other side of town. Its name was Maplecroft, and there, they quietly lived out their days.

Except that maybe, they didn’t.

A quick google turns up a number of academic texts on the Borden case, as well as a handful of “true crime”-style popular retellings, but my novel Maplecroft isn’t about the murders. It’s about everything that happened afterward. Sort of.

The truth is, Lizzie never spoke to the press – and very little is concretely known about her life, either before or after the events that made her a household name. Oh, but there was plenty of gossip. Why, you should hear about the shenanigans that went down at Maplecroft: witchcraft! wild parties! lesbianism!

To quote the bard, two out of three ain’t bad.

The grand old house definitely saw its share of wild parties, largely at the behest of a young actress named Nance O’Neil. (Her real name was “Gertrude Lamson,” but you can hardly blame her for picking something else.) And there’s a fair measure of circumstantial evidence to suggest that she and Lizzie had a romantic relationship. There’s also plenty to imply that Lizzie’s sister Emma didn’t like it one bit, and they had a big falling out over it…but what can you do?

In short, the more I learned about Lizzie, the more I felt genuinely sorry for her. If she did kill her father and (step)mother, you have to wonder what drove her to it; and if she was innocent, she surely didn’t deserve the ensuing fallout from the media – or from the court of public opinion. So, having become quite comfortable tweaking history for my own nefarious purposes…I thought I’d make her guilty, but give her a damn good motive.

And that was The Big Idea.

I’d been itching to write a gothic horror piece for a while now, and Lizzie Borden collided with that itch, scratched the hell out of it, and gave me a framework for the story I wanted to tell.

Almost every book these days comes with a disclaimer, something like: “This is a work of fiction, and all historical places or people are used fictitiously…” Well, we should probably stick that on the front of this one, rather than inside the cover – because at its core, Maplecroft is about Lizzie Borden fighting Cthulhu with an axe. Or, if you prefer: It’s a 19th century epistolary love letter to Dracula, by way of Lovecraft.

This is the story of the aftermath – the aftermath of Lizzie’s trial, yes; but it’s also about the aftermath of a supernatural tragedy, and a gentle professor’s terrible transformation. This is about what happens when you pray to something terrible, and it hears you. It comes looking for you. And it finds you.

So after a fashion, Maplecroft is both an epilogue and a warning. It’s fiction, and any real persons are used fictitiously, of course.

But there’s truth to be found in the real life strangeness, all the same.

___ _

Maplecroft: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|IndieBound|Powell’s

Visit the author’s blog. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.


Chevron One, Wrecked!

Sep. 2nd, 2014 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks2_feed

Posted by Jen

For her birthday Jamie's friend ordered her a cake with a pretty chevron pattern on it, knowing how much Jamie liked the design.

Now, for those of you NOT on Pinterest, a chevron pattern looks like this:

 

I'm not sure which colors her friend requested, but I doubt it mattered anyway, since...

...the baker just put the Chevron gas station logo on it, instead.

 

Bwahahaa!

 

Thanks, Becky! That was a real gas!

And 10 geek points to anyone who caught my Stargate reference. ;)

 

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

[syndicated profile] racialicious_feed

Posted by Racialicious Team

Summer closed with a bang.

Six bangs, to be specific.

The shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson sparked an international uproar. Ferguson, Missouri became the latest chapter in America’s ongoing racial saga, with protests still occurring.

During the break, we followed conversations on Twitter and Tumblr, but we want to hear from you.

How are you feeling?
What does justice look like in Ferguson?
And what happens next, from a racial justice standpoint?

The post Open Thread: Where Do We Go From Here? appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

[syndicated profile] webupd8_feed
In case you were wondering, Exaile, a music player that exists since 2006, is not dead yet. A new Exaile version - 3.4.0 "We're not dead yet" -, was released today and is, according to its developers, the best release of Exaile yet.

Exaile 3.4.0 Ubuntu

The release announcement mentions that many users have asked if the project is dead because there aren't frequent releases and the answer to that is that Exaile is "a mature, stable audio player, and does much of what we want it to do, and does it well" and "the current development team uses Exaile on a regular basis, and will continue to add improvements and fix bugs as needed".

For those not familiar with Exaile, this is a music player designed with Amarok 1.4 (probably the best Linux music player) in mind, but for GTK+, which comes with many of KDE's Amarok 1.4 features, along with some extras. The application includes a numerous number of plugins, including: cover art search (Last.fm, Amazon), iPod Support, Dynamic Playlists, Equalizer, Karaoke, ReplayGain, Desktop Cover, Mini Mode, Moodbar, Multimedia Keys, LyricsMania, Icecast Radio, Podcasts, AudioScrobbler, NotifyOSD, Streamripper, Group Tagger, Alarm Clock, Inhibit Suspend and more.

Exaile plugins
Exaile plugins

Changes in Exaile 3.4.0:
  • audio output device can now be switched while playing songs;
  • improved unicode support;
  • an option has been added to disallow playback while another song is playing;
  • UDisks/UDisks2 support;
  • covers: cover manager improvements, saving to disk;
  • playlists can be shown in multiple panes;
  • the left tab panels are now closable;
  • BPM counter plugin has better UI integration;
  • enhanced smart playlists: create playlists based on other playlists and support for filtering over 20 different tag types;
  • a simpler plugin API is available (but the old one still works!);
  • plugin manager doesn't show users potentially broken plugins anymore;
  • new plugins: Icecast Radio, lyricsmania, mono output, playlist analyzer, Soma.FM;
  • fixes/improvements for various plugins.

Also, with this release, Exaile officially supports Mac OSX.

Unfortunately, a couple of plugins were removed from Exaile 3.4.0 because they were broken: Lyricsfly and ShoutCast.

It's also important to mention that the Exaile developers announced that the application development has moved to GitHub.


Install Exaile 3.4.0 in Ubuntu


The latest Exaile 3.4.0 is available in the main WebUpd8 PPA (for Ubuntu / Linux Mint and derivatives) - add the PPA and install it using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install exaile exaile-plugin-contextinfo exaile-plugin-ipod exaile-plugin-moodbar exfalso
(the last command above installs Exaile along with some Exaile plugins which are not installed by default)

For other Linux distributions, Windows and Mac OS X, download Exaile from GitHub.

If you encounter bugs, report them @ GitHub!

Somebody

Sep. 2nd, 2014 12:28 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

Yesterday I was skimming the digital New York Times and clicked on the second-from-the-right item in the panel below, without noticing the "paid post" superscript:

This took me to an article about a new smartphone app called Somebody:

Here’s how Somebody works: when you send your friend or loved one a message through the app, it doesn’t go directly to them, but uses GPS to locate the Somebody user nearest to him or her. This person (probably a stranger) delivers the message verbally, acting as your stand-in.

I thought it was a bit odd that the piece was listed as "By Miu Miu", but hey. And I still didn't notice the small-font superscript "PAID FOR AND POSTED BY MIU MIU":

Instead, I read ahead in the article, which describes a short film illustrating the app in operation:

The companion film plays out a number of possible scenarios. Jessica — red haired, sobbing on her bed — wants to break up with Caleb. She opens the Somebody app, types the heartbreaking message, and selects ‘Paul’ from a list. Paul’s phone dings; he accepts the Somebody request. He eyes Caleb having a picnic. Paul — three times Jessica’s slight size, and seriously sweaty after a workout — delivers the bad news to Caleb… as Jessica. Paul’s is bawling and his arms are flapping. Naturally Caleb is devastated, and Paul is soon on his way.

Somebody, the app, goes on to save best friends Yolanda and Blanca’s busted friendship. It allows Jeffy to propose marriage to sad looking Victoria, despite the fact that she’s dining alone in a fancy restaurant. And it initiates two prison guards into a sexually enthralling ménage-a-trois with a parched potted plant named Anthony who wants much, much more than just water. “Somebody twists our love of avatars and outsourcing,” says Miranda July. “Every relationship becomes a three-way.”

At this point, I began to wonder whether I'd wandered into a new NYT deadpan social-satire section. Looking around, I discovered that instead I'd wandered into an advertisement for Miuccia Prada's Autumn-Winter Collection. The "post" eventually gets there:

The power of Somebody is quite literally in everybody out there willing to become somebody else.

Clothing, similarly, has the power to create instant transformation. The styling of July’s film for Somebody mixes items from the Miu Miu Autumn/Winter 2014 collection with vintage and street wear. In ten short minutes, action segues from bedroom heartbreak to prim waitresses to erotically challenged prison guards. Ordinary people: me, you and somebody we know.

There's more:

“Technology is like high fashion,” explains July, “It’s revealed to us mysteriously, season by season and we’re not meant to mess with it. But of course it only becomes meaningful when we do. Somebody is really half-human, half-app — I wanted to facilitate the giddy joy that comes from unpredictable, undocumented moments, but the technology depends on a daring human user.

These qualities are central to the hand-made look and feel of the app interface. A mouth button includes actions and directions for your stand-in (‘crying,’ ‘hug.’) The recipient can always decline a delivery (if it’s not a good time.) And users can rate Somebodies on their performance. If you’re feeling bold, “floating messages” are always awaiting delivery (and the rest of us can just read them voyeuristically.)

It took many weeks for Miranda July to think of the perfect name for her new project — it came to her with the perfect tag line: “When you can’t be there…Somebody™ can.”

Does Somebody™ actually exist? I don't want to know.

 

New fic!

Sep. 2nd, 2014 08:59 am
kass: "let love be your engine," image of Kaylee and of Serenity (let love be your engine)
[personal profile] kass
I come bearing new fic!

SPOILERS for The Winter Long, the new Toby Daye book by [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire which just dropped today. (The book is fantastic. Go and read. And then come back and read this.)

For [personal profile] geekturnedvamp. With thanks to [personal profile] kouredios for beta.


They sought the remedy (1303 words) by Kass
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: October Daye Series - Seanan McGuire
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Toby Daye/Tybalt
Characters: Tybalt (Toby Daye), Toby Daye, The Luidaeg (Toby Daye)
Additional Tags: Post-Book, The Winter Long


Putting the summary behind a cut-tag because it's spoilery )


Coming soon to my website. Enjoy!
oursin: a hedgehog lying in the middle of cacti (hedgehog and cactus)
[personal profile] oursin

Today I wore for the first time a pair of shoes that I bought in a sale some while ago (on account of snapping up Ecco shoes in my size and a style I like should I see them in a sale) and which have been sitting at the back of the wardrobe ever since.

The heels have started disintegrating and leaving a trail of black blobs.

Fortunately this is a day when I have my trainers with me and have also uncovered an emergency pair of shoes which I think was probably intended for cases of rainy days and getting soaked to the socks, but will serve this contingency.

I suppose it counts as a first-world problem to have That Many Books that if the ones you are looking for - in this instance, my copies of Antonia Forest, End of Term, Peter's Room and The Thuggery Affair - are not on the shelves with the others, trying to find exactly where they are is a daunting prospect. (I have no idea. As far as I can recall, the last time I had them out was when I did a full reread some years ago, and thus, why are some but not others in their rightful place?)

Am less than thrilled with the latest LJ shiny new things, even if it will let me have my Friends page rather than Feed I DO.NOT.WANT. the layout changes and loss of various things like my personalised link titles, etc.

Cleaner day again

Sep. 2nd, 2014 01:16 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Cleaner is here. Pre cleaner jobs were accomplished. Rubbish in the bins, rubbish taken out by cleaner, bins back where they belong.
I'm just super jumpy today so every clack or clang makes me try and push through the back of this chair.
Which is a recliner, so that's less than helpful.

Read more... )

If I get a new house I will need to make sure I still get a cleaner.

Also discover when it is polite for people to go across back gardens to get to the back door. There are probably unwritten social rules to go with the one where it is legally permitted. But back doors are for all the practical things like shoppings so it arrives where the fridge is.


Cleaner all done now I can hide in other activities while bravely running the laundry.

(no subject)

Sep. 2nd, 2014 08:40 am
the_rck: figure perched in a tree with barren branches (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Not a lot happened for me yesterday. Scott and Cordelia went to the Saline Fair with a friend of Cordelia's and her father. Every year on Labor Day, they have a deal at the fair to let people pay a flat fee ($10 this year) and get an armband that lets them ride anything as many times as they want. From what Scott said, Cordelia and her friend were pretty independent this year, going from ride to ride unaccompanied and only coming back to their fathers when they wanted money for food or drink. The fair isn't huge, so this isn't as big a deal as it might be, but I'm still glad for Cordelia.

In the evening, we went out to Applebee's for dessert. I told Scott that he owed me a dessert for Saturday night when we didn't get one, and he didn't mind going out for that. I always feel like a child when I make requests like that-- I can't drive, so I can't take myself out. I have to depend on Scott, and he's often so exhausted that it feels like a terrible imposition. It feels like, because I can't drive, there're a lot of adult things that I simply can't do.

After getting dessert, we stopped at Busch's for a few grocery items, the things we didn't get on Saturday because it was going to be so long until we got the groceries home. Scott used to go to Busch's for produce and meat and then to Kroger for everything else, but lately, he's just been going to Kroger. I regret that because Busch's produce really is better than Kroger's, but I can see his point. Stopping two different places makes the shopping take longer.

Cordelia got off to school just fine this morning. She was eager to leave and got us out the door about twenty minutes before she absolutely had to be there. She insisted that I come with her because she wanted my help to find her classroom. As it happened, some of her friends were there at the front door, and she decided that she'd just follow them and that she didn't need me after all, so I just went to the office and turned in her paperwork. She refused to carry her own paperwork. She said her backpack was heavy enough as it was. I don't really think that six pieces of paper would have added much weight, but she was adamant.

We still don't know how much lunch will cost. Elementary school kids pay $2.50 for a lunch. Middle school students pay $3.00, but they get more food (and more options). Nobody seems to know whether the sixth graders at Cordelia's school will be paying middle school prices or getting middle school sized meals. I wrote a check for $30, figuring that that's divisible by either $2.50 or $3.00. The secretary said that Cordelia will find out at lunch time. She couldn't offer me any other way of finding out. Hopefully, if the sixth graders get elementary sized meals, they'll take advantage of the salad bar that comes free with every lunch (kids can eat as much from the salad bar as they want).

A poem for #blogElul 7: Be

Sep. 2nd, 2014 04:00 am
[syndicated profile] velveteenrabbi_feed

Posted by rbarenblat@gmail.com (Velveteen Rabbi)

Blogelul2014-1BE (7 ELUL)


Time to decide
who I want
to be
this time
around the wheel.

Look:
goldenrod sparks
and fizzes
like gold dust
by the roadside.

A new year
a new morning
a new lifetime
just around
the bend.

Will I be
playful today
or severe?
What in me
endures

no matter how
I dress
what stays
through all
of my changes?





































 

I'm participating again this year in #blogElul, an internet-wide carnival of themed posts aimed at waking the heart and soul before the Days of Awe. (Organized by Ima Bima.) You can read last year's and this year's #blogElul posts via the Elul tag; last year's posts are also available, lightly revised, in the print chapbook Elul Reflections.

Morning edition

Sep. 2nd, 2014 08:02 am
kass: A glass of iced coffee with milk. (coffee)
[personal profile] kass
Last night Yao and I watched 3 episodes of S5 of Breaking Bad -- we've just finished "Rabid Dog," ep 12 of 16. I had trouble falling asleep afterwards; my mind wouldn't stop racing and neither would my heart, and ultimately I took a benadryl to help me get there. (I suspect some of this had to do with staying up later than usual -- after the second ep I felt my body sliding toward sleep but I stayed up for a third one, and it felt as though I'd missed my window. But some of it was probably just the adrenaline of the show.)

It's a phenomenal show. As soon as we finish it I want to go hunting for good essays about spoilers, sweetie )

Now it is Tuesday morning, the morning after a three-day weekend so I'm feeling already behind the ball somewhat, but that will pass. For now I have an iced coffee, and a baguette with cheddar cheese, and I walked my 25 minutes on the treadmill this morning, so life is good.

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