silverflight8: stacked old books (books)
Poetry: On [community profile] poetry [personal profile] thegorgon posted Why a Man Cannot Have Wings by Afian bin Sa'at. It was in response to the many Icarus poems that have been circulating in the community for the last few days:

Full text under cut )

If you follow the link I commented and said I liked the poem, but I read it (another three or four times) and now I completely disagree.

This makes me sound like a silly optimist, but how is "but then people will use it to hurt you" a good justification against flying? Do you remember when it was 1999 and people were making predictions and, well, I do, I still have a book put together by students K-12 over what they thought would happen in 2020 and so many of them drew and wrote flying cars, new worlds, new technology. I mean, maybe we should stop making implants because then people will tear them out. Or we should stop making medicines because someone might steal them. Or we should stop making beautiful clothes because people will steal them. And put together sumptuary laws to prop up existing social divisions. Etc.

I don't believe that answering a question, making dreams reality, ever erodes dreams. (I see this argument in science/religion debates, to be honest.) We fly in planes, but people still dream of flying--not only wings but they fly in gliders, in hang-gliders, in parachutes, in all sorts of really scary things. We've been to the moon but people dream of going to space. When has discovering a new species, a new place, a new archaeological site, ever stopped others from dreaming of others? Dreams aren't a finite resource. Making a dream a reality doesn't mean you never dream again--you step onto that new block and reach for higher dreams.

There's an argument here to do with destructive technology and responsibility but flying? Come on.

I did like his comment about everything being a metaphor for the Fall of Man.


Fic: So I investigated the Georgina Kincaid fics on FFN and sadly there was nothing that I really wanted (I didn't read the last book because I knew what was going to happen with Seth and I'm really meh on him. The most interesting part about him was his sister and his nieces. They were really cute.) I need to remember to request this for yuletide.

In Kiesha'ra--ok, it's enormous! It's got 200 fic! I don't remember there being so many! But then I realized that I started in 2009 and if you go back, yeah, it's been four years, people have added more. The main types of fic people have written are:
  • Mary-Sue/self-insert fic. I am inexplicably fond of these. I mean, I didn't click on any of them advertising stuff like Olivia's long-lost wyvern-falcon-wolf sister fics, but it makes me happy to know they're there. A flourishing fandom should have Mary Sue fic, and drabbles, and pointless gen meanders, and ultra-tropey yet satisfying fic. They're not what you want if you want "the continued adventures of", but that's what fans do.
  • Retelling fics! Ahh, I remember these. I read one that narrated Hawksong from Zane's POV and I knew it was WIP (last updated: 2011) so I mean, I knew in advance, but I was still sad. Especially since, in the words of the author, she was just getting to the good part! I don't think this fandom really has the momentum to write the really big sort of fic--and I mean the fic that fills a lot of backstory, goes far into the future and past, leaves canon retellings behind and not size--but I enjoyed it way more than I should have.
  • I also found a bizarro fic in there about oranges, which I think you should all totally click on. It has 5 reviews, and 4 out of 5 are all (to varying degrees of politeness) asking what on earth it's doing in the category. No, it's got nothing to do with Kiesha'ra.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Note to self:

Don't research plague before bedtime.

Especially when you know their impact. Mortality rates of bubonic plague is estimated at 30-75%, pneumatic at 80% or higher, and septicaemic nearly 100% and no, you can't make me go back to Wikipedia and check my figures.

And it's not like smallpox. There's an animal carrier that we can't exactly eradicate :(
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Stop with the grey on grey, I beg you. Please.

Outlook Web updated itself today and I'm trying to adjust. It's pretty. But I loathe the literal shades of grey that seem to be in vogue now, because it's hard to reaaaaad and that's what my inbox is about.


Oct. 3rd, 2013 09:32 pm
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
warning: mealworms & rice. I had to spread the pain. )

I'm sorry to anyone on my flist who I recently friended. I swear my entries are usually much more palatable but I have to tell someone. The whole world.
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
Agatha H and the Airship City, by Phil and Kaja Foglio--DNF.

This book is terrible.

It is unbelievably clunkily written. Paragraphs that don't have any connection follow each other. There are entire paragraphs are made up of sentences which are very short and simple, which make the whole thing sound choppy. There are multiple italics and CAPSLOCKED WORDS AND PHRASES on nearly every page. No one acts like a human, all the J├Ąger machines have their accents written out phonetically (possibly German caricature?), and the whole thing tries to be clever and arch and falls so badly short. And honestly, it's the last that really gets my goat.

So I had some issues with this book. )

Having now written all of that out, I think the authors were trying to go for humour. But there's nothing for the humour to go on top of. Nothing to build on top of, so instead I'm left wondering what's going on and why I should care, and finding the humour illogical instead.

In conclusion, I hope that their webcomic is leagues better than their writing, because this book is just plain awful. Girl Genius won a Hugo? Why do so many steampunk novels insist on being arch? It reminds me of Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate, which was uneven and whose main female character practically screamed I'm not one of those girls! Thank you, I'll pass.


Aug. 7th, 2013 04:17 pm
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I almost got sucked into reading Alastair Reynolds today when I was at the library. There was like ten of his books all in a row, I started rereading Pushing Ice (because I like causing myself pain, obviously), and I almost, almost, almost checked another book out.

Fortunately I couldn't, because I tried and the machine told me that "Your card will expire before the loan date, please talk to a librarian" and I didn't have sufficient ID to renew mine.

Pushing Ice made me absolutely despair because it is basically about exile. Involuntary, irreversible, complete cut off. Their ship is an ice-miner ordered to follow the suspicious activity of a gas giant's moon. Once out of the solar system, the "moon" begins to accelerate and attains a speed a significant fraction of the speed of light. They get caught up in the "slipstream" without realizing--they are deceived by their parent company--and Bella, the commander, makes the call that her duty is "not to get the crew home" but to keep them alive, the chances being too low to go back.

Yeah. And The Prefect was aggravatingly lacking any sort of character arc completion. I actually cared about Dreyfus; I didn't care about the super-sentient-intelligent-thing those two fighting robots were! Maybe it'd have been more interesting to people coming from the previous series, set in the future, though.

OK, I'm done ripping on Reynolds. But still, the science fiction part is very attractive. I keep getting sucked back in, and I refuse to read books that don't have some kind of decent characterization.

I had something else I wanted to talk about but now I have forgotten.


Thor 2 trailer is out.

THAT SLAP. That landscape. Oh my god, I can't wait.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Keeping in mind that I read the book while in mild pain, in a overwarm room, and sleepily:

let the spoilers commence! )


Someone said something about Harry Potter the series being Calvinist, so I looked it up (usually there's an essay backing the argument somewhere) and I had an intense People are Wrong on the Internet moment while reading. Not with the theology, which I'm never gonna be qualified to argue. But on literary interpretations, well, I had objections. Here is the post for reference. While I agree that Snape isn't a nice guy, he's written as a godawful teacher, a jerk, spiteful, but also bullied, misguided, and held up as someone who did good in impossible situations--even if he personally was awful to be around. Harry names his child after him, for heavens' sake! Even if you want to argue that it's just Harry's inhuman ability to forgive (wrongly), Snape himself shows you don't have to be sorted into Gryffindor to be, as the essayist says, 'the Elect', the good guys. Lily...does not treat Snape as dirt. She's shown to stick up for Snape in that infamous scene by the lake, she tells Snape while they're in private--after years of being friends--her reasons why she feels uncomfortable with his associates. She doesn't just drop Snape for no reason; I think being uncomfortable with friends getting violent/holding ugly prejudices against you is certainly not unreasonable, and nor is it "treating Snape like dirt". I will not argue that James Potter was not "a bullying toerag", but one of the recurring themes in HP is that it's possible to be bad and still love people. I wish she had de-evilized Slytherin and carried the theme more consistently throughout, but that's an argument for another day. Nevertheless, look at the Malfoys--they really love their son (to the point where Narcissa quite clearly defies Voldemort, risking everything at the cusp of their supposed victory). James clearly loved both Lily and Harry a great deal. Dumbledore loved Ariana but not enough, as a teenager, to realize what he was doing or enough to stop being resentful. Love didn't make characters perfect, but imperfection elsewhere didn't (doesn't) mean that jerks couldn't love.

Nuance, please.

Some of the statements were perfectly wrong. "That deep down a person can't change. Deep down...Percy is officious"--but it's a major point that Percy comes back and says, giving up his pride, that he was wrong and he did wrong and he was a prat and he's sorry. This essay also ignores other characters sorted into different houses: what happened to Luna? The DA is populated with Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws. Harry has a rather low opinion of some of them--he thinks Ernie McMillan is pompous, for example--but never does he, nor the text, argue that they have less of an impact fighting against Voldemort because they were sorted into the wrong house. I could go on refuting random sentences, and it's tempting, but I think I've made my main point.

I feel this argument was predicated on one assumption, namely "Harry Potter is Calvinist", and the facts got twisted to suit it. That's one way to construct an argument, but I don't see it as very valid. I'd rather you start with a reading of the text first, or at least play around with the idea.


In real life news, I went to dance class on Thursday! We started salsa, and it was a blast. I don't like dance as a performance very much--I did it as a child, and synchronized choreography, performance, and all that is not my cup of tea--but I do very much enjoy dance with a partner. Or with sequential partners, like square dance. I know some of my classmates thought it was hopelessly old and outdated, but I thought it was just so fun, and music was ridiculously catchy. OK, it's fun when the person you're partnered with wants to be there and wants to exert effort (not always a given in mandatory gym class!) but here, my partner, a random boy standing across from me, was good, or at least equally matched with me.

We went through the basic steps, and some turns and variations. It was really warm, even though the sun had gone down hours ago, but massively fun. My partner was good (and could hear the rhythm! Oh man, best) so we ended up practicing everything a million times while the teacher went among other dancers. I've done jive before, which I thought was kind of similar--at least some of the turns. The stop and go (leader does basic step, follower turns 180, twisting arms around, then unfolding) I'm pretty sure I did before. The music was fast--a lot of energy is involved! Definitely looking forward to learning more this week.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (_support)
My computer is throwing me the blue screen of death.

Thank God I had emailed my yuletide 2012 draft to a beta last night. My beta-reading document will have to be restarted, I suppose. And I have a dropbox backup of my current fic,'s in a .scrivx form, and I am strongly suspecting it might be Scrivener's fault.


Last year my file associations got horribly messed up by Scrivener. I wonder (now that I've decided to scapegoat this program, why not go all the way?!) whether it's the reason my laptop will randomly shut down when I'm away - it didn't happen til recently.

...but I have been running Scrivener for about a week or two without a whole lot of fuss...I just don't know. I didn't install anything new. Blergh.

ETA: It's working now, omg. I feel like I can't take credit, since it was Windows Repair; the biggest problem is my main source of help is the internet...and when I can't use my computer it becomes totally inaccessible. BUT IT'S WORKING NOW. I'm so happy.

I give up!

May. 25th, 2012 12:56 am
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)

I have pictures! It's just that trying to stick them online is a pain. (Maybe having sixteen of them is the problem.)

?? election

May. 2nd, 2011 09:36 pm
silverflight8: text icon: "Go ahead! Panic! Do it now and avoid the June rush!" (Panic!)
1. We have a Conservative majority. OK, even though I'm liberalmaybe this means the government will be more efficient since they actually have adequate support.

The thing that blows me away:
2. Official Opposition Party: NDP.



Jan. 23rd, 2011 12:02 am
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (_support)

NO NO NO NO NO. NO NO NO. We do not need more of the "Those Russians" attitude. We do not need any sort of coding that would make you have different script, go away. It's an incredibly slippery slope. NO NO NO NO NO. I hate the spam as much as you do, but this is the wrong way to go about it.

Keeping this on DW so that hopefully any confrontation will be kept at [ profile] suggestions.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
I see this all the time in Support requests.

Please, if you have information that you think is sensitive, do not share it publicly on the internet. On LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, you have the option to flock or to make the entry private. Flock isn't perfect, but at least third-party search engines can't index it - they don't know it exists, period.

Do not put private, sensitive, or embarrassing information about yourself online, connected to your real name, unless you are fine with everyone around you knowing. There are people who, in high school, put all sorts of information out, and now are scrambling to delete it so that potential employers don't find it. Write it down offline. Privatize. Flock. Lock to custom friends groups.

Please do take precautions. In most cases as there are no TOS violations, LiveJournal support can't do a thing to delete your embarrassing entries if you forget your password/username. Most search engines won't delete the cache unless you delete it first from LiveJournal. There is nothing we can do.
silverflight8: Barcode with silverflight8 on top and userid underneath (Barcode)
So something happened to Hotmail today, and all my emails are gone.

All of them. I don't know if I'll get them back or not. At this point I don't know if incoming messages are being received or not; there's a lot of panic (and blaming) going on in the help forums (and I feel bad for the mods there, yuck).

This is particularly relevant to DW people: since comment notifications on other entries do not show up in the DW inbox and only email, I probably won't see any replies to comments. Or emails you send me. If there's no reply from me it's because I have no idea you sent me anything. eta: the notifs are coming through.

I'm reluctant to change emails here, because of all the mess about previously verified emails and stuff like that wrt security (also I like Hotmail and I'm used to it and whiiiine).

End result: D:
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Erk. Was writing yesterday on Scrivner (I like the notes feature, like how you can reference stuff - keywords and such, but little else) and somehow I simply cannot find that file again. The backup has nothing in it. D:
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Week 1 progress on Nanowrimo: about 1000 words. D:
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Someone posts to fandomsecrets about Disney Specifically, that the song Kiss the Girl isn't sexist.

In this scene Ariel is consenting silently, as she's been rendered mute, but holy cow those lyrics are creepy.

Yes, you want her/ Look at her, you know you do/ possible she wants you, too/ There is one way to ask her/ It don't take a word/ Not a single word/ Go on and kiss the girl

In the context of the WHOLE ENTIRE MOVIE, they're acceptable, as her whole intent is to get Eric to kiss her.

The premise is troubling: girl wants to transform into another species (approximately) altogether, leave behind everything she's known, all her family, makes a deal with what she considers evil, just to win the boy. Courageous, yes. The fact that the boy doesn't do anything, doesn't need to do anything? And she has to give up her whole world to do be with him?

If we lived in a world where we don't have a history of one gender with greater privilege over another (HINT: misogyny is the word) this movie would be fine. The problem is we don't live in that world.

But to those people who are arguing that this has no real life repercussions? (raaaaaage: Sexism does not manifest itself with blatant slurs or outright assault alone. It's obviously more subtle than you can pick up.) The people who don't want to admit that Disney is sexist? (I'll be back; I just need to check to make sure this is the same universe I woke up in. You are so oblivious I can't believe you're serious.)

I have news for you.

One single movie about a woman who has marriage as the culmination of her dreams is fine. A hundred movies saying that is okay. It's not an unreasonable dream, and we are not all the same and do not agree on dreams. But when nearly every Disney movie (qualified because I have not watched them all) does end that way, there is a big problem. Belle, who is a heroine I love (the admiration for Page's voice is helpful) dreams of something bigger, better, and ends up marrying. Cinderella wants to escape her life of drudgery - she marries, and it's all a magic dream; it's nothing she's really done. Snow White is rescued by someone riding by at random; for Sleeping Beauty, ditto. Meg gets married; Mulan gets married. As examples build up, you cannot claim that this is only one girl's dream, and not the silent expectation in society, women and men alike.

I do not believe the Disney producers intended to be sexist. *Intent is magical! But the fact that even The Princess and the Frog, a movie released in 2009, has the girl predictably happily-married only shows that nothing has really changed. The message underneath it all is: for a happy ending, you need to be married.

One Disney movie like this = not a problem. All Disney movies with the subtle implications about how one can live a good life = a very, very big problem, and I am sorry that you cannot see this.

*Thank you also for the side helping of ablism.
silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
Link to misogyny and ignorance. Click with caution.

I made it halfway down the first page of comments and then gave up.

My reaction, helpfully summarized:
DEAR EVERYONE ON THE PLANET (minus those already armed with The Clues):

1. Words have meaning.

2. Words have two types of meanings: one is a dictionary (or scientific, or otherwise defined meaning). There is a second meaning, connotation. These are associations attached to words.

3. Generally connotations are the most important.

4. Pulling dictionary definitions when people are clearly talking about the connotations is neither helpful nor clever.

5. We are not separate from our history. Even if you think there's no misogyny in your world*, by using words that historically** carry misogynistic intent to describe someone you don't like, you are using the term in a way that is misogynistic. Even if you don't mean it. I'm sorry, this is the legacy we've been handed down with.

6. Live with the awareness that yes, while you wish you could totally throw around "whore" and "bitch" and all the rest without worrying about PC POLICE***, don't.

7. For the last time, the history is why words like "dick" do not garner such reactions. No, really. You're not pointing out anything that has not been brought up before in these conversations.

8. Please for the love of all that is holy stop telling anyone they're overreacting or oversensitive.

9. If you know nothing about this issue, I would advise your library or Google or another person who knows you well and this issue.

10. This applies wonderfully to just about any -ism you can think of; just change some of the words! 


**They still do, by the way.
***Someone forgot to send me the uniform, obviously; I still don't have any weapons for these things...

tl;dr: *puts head on desk and thinks of happy thing*

silverflight8: bee on rose  (Default)
I'm suffering from an Attack of Guilt that comes of completing things late. :( Especially when nice people are concerned. (Fic only half-finished *cough* six days past deadline *hack**wheeze*) Also, completely and thoroughly sick of writing about myself. I hate it when the application questions ask "tell me about your greatest achievements!" *mutters* I don't like talking about myself. I always feel horribly arrogant and I don't know whether or not to inject humour (I mean, what if they take it the wrong way?! Then what will I do?! Eee?!) Anyway. That is my life at the moment.

On the 'uh oh' side of things: I have no idea what I'm going to do for Nano. Some people, I wager, have a plot synopsis written out. I'd like to get a cover, but I'm afraid I have neither the gumption nor the idea for my novel. (I am not an organized writer. Proof: see excessive use of parentheses).

Last note: I would like to humbly request from any deity that is listening or reading this for some kind of control valve for mucus production. The hacking cough my cold has gifted me with is not pleasant and I am depleting the building of Kleenex. Thank you very much.


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