Daily Happiness

Jan. 21st, 2017 01:23 am
[personal profile] torachan
1. It rained so much today. So much! And there was so much leaking at work, which was less happy-making and more of a huge pain in the ass, but I'm still excited about all this rain. At least we don't have any leaks at home.

2. Each day brings the kitties a little closer. Today Molly and Jasper were both chilling on the sofa together for a little while. Not cuddled up or anything, but it's progress!

3. I got my W-2 today at work and came home and did my taxes right away and now I just sit back and wait for the refunds to roll in! It's enough to pay off one more credit card, so I'm excited about that.

4. We got this little scratching post/perch a few months back on clearance at Target and the girls played with the attached feathery toy until it was destroyed (which took very little time) and completely ignored the scratching post and perch aspects of it, but Jasper is loving it. He hops up on top and likes to look around.

January Talking meme: January 20

Jan. 20th, 2017 11:51 pm
[personal profile] meganbmoore
January 20 - Favorite recent (as in the past five years or so) manga and/or anime! I am about five years or more behind and trying to catch up... ( [personal profile] oyceter  )

I may actually not be the best person for this, as I haven’t been keeping up with them well myself! I think the only new-to-me manga that’ve really jumped out for me in the last couple years are Ancient Magus Bride and Kamisama Kiss. Both are “semi normal girl and immortal magic guy” type stories, though AMB is more mythological and soul searching while KSS is more fluffy shoujo fun (with iffy parts in recently licensed volumes) with reverse-harem elements. Between the two, AMB is probably more your style and it’sthe better of the two, but KSS is a nice bit of entertainment. I also discovered 7 Seeds in that time period, but I’m petty sure you read that.

Akatsuki no Yona/Yona of the Dawn is one that I discovered in both anime and manga form, and need to catch up on the manga, and isprobably The Big Deal for me of the things in this post. It’s an “exiled princess seeks to reclaim throne” shoujo action series set in fantasy-ancient Korea. It’s a full blown reverse harem series, which usually turns me off, but not this time. The anime fllows th first 2 major arcs and few side things from the manga pretty faithfully.

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime/Snow White With Red Hair is the other recently popular shoujo series with a redhaired heroine in a pseuho-historical world, this time medieval Europe. It’s much calmer and combines adventure and slice of life pretty well. The heroine, an apothecary, has to flee her homeland after it’s prince decides to force her to marry him, and ends up befriending the younger prince of a nearby kingdom. It’s less exciting than AnY and a little more prone to sometimes have the heroine play the secondary lead, but still very fun.

Shirobako is an anime about an anime studio making an anime. Very worth watching for the premise. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is a comedy series about making shoujo manga. The initial premise had me going in with low expectations (girl confesses to her crush and he mistakes her for a fan because he’s a shoujo mangaka in secret, and she ends up becoming one of his assistants) but it ended up being a wonderful meta series.

After trying and failing to get into Durarara!! several times over the years, I fell in deep just before the 3rd part of the second season started airing. Urban mythology, social media, street gangs, a headless woman and stalkers everywhere. If ou liked Baccano! you’d probably like this after you got through the first couple episodes. People I thought would hate this like it, and a couple who it seems would don’t, so this one’s individual success rate is a bit hard to judge.

Sports anime has been big lately, though Chihayafuru, about a girl who wants to be a professional karuta player and starts a karuta club at her school, is the only one that I’ve been into. It’s also noteworthy for being one of the few Josei series that got adapted into anime. I haven’t watched them, but Free, Yuri on Ice and Haikyuu are other sports anime that have been popular among some mutual friends.

For a not-quite-anime rec, Thunderbolt Fantasy is the only series that I stuck with for more than a few episode since last spring. It’s not anime, but a live action show featuring puppets by Pili, and it’s a great wuxia deconstruction series that has a happy ending in spite of also being from Gen Urobuchi. (Which is probably the biggest spoiler possible for the series in the Urobutcher context, but possibly a needed one.)
[personal profile] umadoshi
My intention of going to bed by midnight has been thwarted by my usual second(-or-so) wind hitting around then--awkward, given that our delivery window for the new coffee table starts around 8 AM tomorrow. So there's already not enough time in bed even if I head there immediately after posting this and fall asleep promptly.

Last night sleep was grossly slow about arriving, probably due to the usual ineffable anxiety + night owl reasons with a hefty dose of apocalyptic dread on top...but I also think the too-bright night light we put into the bedroom a few weeks ago probably hasn't been helping, even if it wasn't the root problem. This morning we evicted it. Hopefully that'll help.

With all the talk today of protests and signs, the eternal geeky spark in my heart suddenly thought, Hey, someone out there may be making a "RISE UP WHILE YOU CAN" sign. The word of Georgia Mason, friends.

([twitter.com profile] Bibliogato and [twitter.com profile] megsaysthings are largely to blame--see Exhibit A and Exhibit B--but also, I saw someone mentioning a sign that said simply "RISE UP". It wasn't much of a jump, see?)

To everyone marching tomorrow, I'm thinking of you! Be fierce and mighty, and return home safely.

I logged into my Steam account for the first time in ages and finally did exciting things like uploading a profile pic after having had the account since July 2011. (It's the pic of Jinksy I'm using on this entry.) Apparently I have 89 games in my Steam library (damn sales); I suspect I've played fewer than ten, and in some of those cases "played" is probably an overstatement.

One of these days I should start taking better advantage of Steam functioning on Linux and actually try playing some more things. There are several Windows-only (or Windows/Mac) games in my list, which automatically makes them even lower priority, but a lot of the games I own are Linux compatible now. (I can't decide if I want Plants vs. Zombies to become Linux compatible. I'm so fond of it! But it's such a time-suck.)

In terms of games I have played, it looks like I'm about due for my every-year-or-two replay of original-flavor Quake. (Original!Quake is one of my two best-loved games, the other being StarCraft [original + the Terran campaign for SCII].) And I'm clearly never going to "get back to" Portal 2; at this point if I want to have any hope of finishing it, I'm gonna have to start from scratch. (I got stuck halfway through a level something like three or four years ago. >.<)

just a quiet night at home...

Jan. 20th, 2017 10:10 pm
[personal profile] loligo
… for the typical American nuclear family. Mom and daughter lettering protest signs on the living room floor, Dad knitting in front of the TV, and son playing video games on the computer and complaining vigorously when everyone makes him turn off his audio so we can listen to Rage Against The Machine.

(I went for "Make America Think Again" and Chuckles picked "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-damental Rights". Oh, and Andy is knitting himself a Ravenclaw scarf.)


Jan. 20th, 2017 06:15 pm
[personal profile] rydra_wong
So there I was in the art supplies shop circa 5pm contemplating foamboard and giant sheets of paper, when I noticed that the person next to me was clutching a handful of markers and assorted sizes of card and contemplating the polyboard.

"Making signs?" I asked.

She was also making signs.

Right. I have foamboard, paper, markers, scissors, duct tape, a candle burning, ginger/lavender tea in a Hope Not Hate mug, my fight music playlist playing, and no plan. This should be fun.

AO3 tagging question

Jan. 20th, 2017 10:53 am
[personal profile] the_rck
An AO3 fic tagging question— How is it best to tag for something squicky that looks like it might happen in a fic but doesn’t? I know that this, a potential forced pregnancy, is a deal breaker for some readers in a rather nasty way. I hesitate to tag it straight up because it doesn’t actually happen. It goes beyond being referenced, though, because the POV character seriously considers it (she can shapeshift, so she can be coerced only up to a point on that subject) and isn’t happy about it.

Jan. 20th, 2017 08:38 am
[personal profile] the_rck
The Community High School meeting was terribly crowded. They were trying desperately to figure out where people could sit/stand and still be able to see. The meeting was in an auditorium, but it was about half the size of the multi-purpose room at Cordelia’s current school. There was an opportunity to talk to teachers and current students after the main meeting, but Cordelia wanted to go home, so we didn’t.

I got the application filled out and sent in within about twenty minutes of us getting home. It was a very short form, mainly contact information and me having to say that yes, we really, really do live in the district. The only thing that took thought was getting Cordelia’s student number because I don’t have it memorized. Fortunately, she does.

My appointment with my psychiatrist went well. We talked about strategies for using the Ativan, and she suggested that I use it 'aggressively' for a couple of weeks and see how that goes. She told me that she thinks I’m a very, very poor candidate for hypnotherapy (something certain people have been trying to push on me). We are going to talk about talk therapy options in a few months, probably once Cordelia’s settled at whichever high school she ends up going to.

I started sneezing around the time Cordelia left yesterday, big sneezes. I routinely take an antihistamine, so all I could try was Sudafed. That helped, but the sneezing came back at bedtime. Sudafed helped again, so I was able to sleep eventually, but I’m not happy about this. It feels like an allergic reaction, but I can’t imagine what I’d be reacting to. No new toiletries or cleaning products. Cordelia wasn’t wearing her sandalwood scented new cardigan. It’s January in Michigan so pollen is pretty unlikely. I did some digging around that raised dust, but I did that after I had taken the Sudafed which would make the timing beyond odd.

I guess I’ll see what happens when this dose of Sudafed wears off in a couple of hours.

When I was a teenager, I used to occasionally get bouts of sneezing and runny nose that weren’t colds and had no explanation I could figure out. They’d last 24-48 hours and then vanish abruptly, and I wouldn’t have any other symptoms. They could happen at any time of the year, too, and started up once every month or three. I don’t think I had them once I started college, though.

I’m in the process of switching bras again. I keep hoping I can stop wearing them, but the lymphedema gets worse when I don’t. It’s also worse if I wear the Fruit of the Loom bras, just not as bad as with nothing. I have two Just My Size bras that I bought via Amazon. I thought I could try one because they’re about ten dollars plus two dollars shipping. It turns out that they’re more or less what I was actually looking for right after I had the lumpectomy. They’re just not tagged with any of the keywords I was using to search.
[personal profile] rydra_wong
More Joy Day, everyone.

Time to light some candles against the dark. Time to look to the things that will sustain us over the next four years.

(Anyone making signs/banners for tomorrow/today?)

Fiona Apple has contributed a helpful protest chant (warning for earworm, omfg).

Daily Happiness

Jan. 20th, 2017 12:00 am
[personal profile] torachan
1. It rained so much last night, but was clear today when we had to go out and do stuff. That's the best kind of rain!

2. We went to Portillo's for lunch. The closest one around here is in Orange County, so it's not exactly somewhere you'd go just for that, but we happened to be down that way for other stuff, so we stopped for lunch on the way back.

3. I'm so happy the cats all seem to be settling in so well. There hasn't been any snuggling between the girls and Jasper yet, but I think it could happen any time.

4. We cleaned out the tupperware* cupboard in the kitchen tonight and got rid of so many ones we never use, as well as a bunch of random lids with no containers. (*Approximately zero of them are actual tupperware.)

5. Look at this little furball!

Ch12 - p06

Jan. 20th, 2017 12:00 am
[syndicated profile] unsounded_feed

Posted by Ashley

Suddenly not looking so "medieval fantasy," is it? I'm always a little bemused when I see the comic described that way in reviews, but I suppose it's mostly my fault for setting events out in the countryside and in rural bordertowns for eleven chapters, haha. Have a good weekend!
[personal profile] umadoshi
Remember that tomorrow is More Joy Day!

I'm so glad to be in decent shape for my pair of deadlines tomorrow (if not as on top of things as I wish I were); US politics continue to have me in a general state of distress and anxiety, and I imagine tomorrow's going to be hellish in terms of focus, given everything.

(It's not my country, and it's been a long, long time now since I felt any real connection to the States, but as many of you know, my mother is from New York, and I grew up as a deeply fond visitor with family ties. So that's all bundled up in my feelings along with my fears for what the political climate means for my many American friends and for Canada as a country.)

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose has been home sick with a cold for most of the week. :/ So far I seem to be dodging it, and hopefully that'll continue, but it's another reason to be glad that my current deadlines turn over tomorrow; if I get sick in the next day or so, I'll have the leeway to rest up.

I've been sleeping more than usual this week, which could mean my system's actively fighting the bug off. I rather hope that's the case, honestly, because then I can chalk the oversleeping up to something that probably won't last too much longer.

[dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose, Ginny, Kas, and I saw Hidden Figures earlier this week. The internet promised that it'd be fantastic, and lo, the internet did not lie. Wonderful performances all around, and an amazing piece of history.

I'm so glad the movie's doing wonderfully; I wish I believed ~Hollywood~ will see that as anything but a fluke. More movies with glorious Black ladies, please!

Beforehand we grabbed dinner at a place Kas goes to for lunch that [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I had never been to (Ginny, I can't remember now if it was your first time too), and it had good pastitsio. Not nearly enough Greek places in town seem to have pastitsio, and the couple of other spots where I've had it in the past few years have been disappointing. This stuff wasn't life-changing or anything, but I'm delighted anyway, and glad to have a known food option in the vicinity that's tasty, a cut above fast food, not a chain, and less expensive than super-delicious-but-not-cheap Indian.

(There used to be a really affordable place with amazing pastitsio just a few minutes' walk from Casual Job, and I've still crushed that it's gone.)
[personal profile] coffeeandink


Um. Okay.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to write a post on this, but for today this is a placeholder so I can yell about spoilers with people in the comments. But basically: this show is amazing; I can't remember the last time I was so happy to have watched a show unspoiled; along with Yuri!!! on Ice it has been my major comfort food since the election; and it just stuck the landing like WHOA.


There's some good stuff in The AV Club episode recaps (which I'm not linking to because I bet there will be something spoilery up by tomorrow); [personal profile] sabra_n's been doing great episode commentaries; and [personal profile] kate_nepveu has a good brief nonspoilery recommendation post. So those are places to go if you are looking for someone to be coherent.

The thirteen-episode first season is up on the NBC website.


[personal profile] kate_nepveu
I love this show A LOT but it hasn't been renewed for another season yet and I really really want it to be so please go and binge it on your option of choice; if nothing else you can watch all 13 episodes on NBC's website. Because it does stick the landing and it's AMAZING but I really, really, really want a second season. A lot.

As I said in my original post, "it's using admirable pacing to unfold a lot of plot and character development in a very compact space," and that continues right up to the very end. So if you're puzzled by certain aspects stick with it, it's worth it, and it all really works as a single thing. And I love everyone in this bar, they're so great, and it's so delightfully off-kilter in all the little details, and it just makes me happy. And amazed. It's so good.

(Yes, there is a rather open end to the season, but it's also one that allows you to pretty easily write your own closure if you want and if for some reason it's not renewed. So I wouldn't call it a cliffhanger, but YMMV.)

A spoiler post will follow.

icons: Dark Matter

Jan. 19th, 2017 08:19 pm
[personal profile] meganbmoore
168 x Dark Matter


here )
[personal profile] rachelmanija
A friend of mine once had a very lavish birthday party for which she hired a professional magician. I was a little skeptical, as I have never much enjoyed stage magic. It usually strikes me as a bit cheesy or dull, not to mention repetitive. Once you've seen one card guessed and one thing vanished, you've seen the whole show; the rest is just variations.

This guy, whose name I forget but will ETA in if I figure it out, was different. His tricks were still variations on tricks I'd seen before. But his performance was wonderful and his persona was like nothing I'd seen before. It was all based on understatement and faith in the audience to appreciate the artistry of competence and skill.

He didn't make dumb jokes or big promises. He wore a slightly old-school-looking dapper suit. He had beautiful hands and moved in the precise, no-motion-wasted, polished manner of a martial artist or open kitchen chef or Olympic gymnast. Every time he moved, you could see the thousands of hours he had to have spent doing and re-doing that exact movement until it looked effortless and was perfect. He embodied "in the moment."

I don't recall his exact tricks, though I do remember that they were clever and done with charm, sometimes funny (in an understated way), sometimes "how the hell did he do that?" We all gasped and laughed and were enchanted. But the main enchantment was watching an incredible craftsman at work. He didn't brag; he didn't have to. His skill was evident. He could have been a carpenter, and we'd have been just as blown away watching him join wood... perfectly. And that was his persona: the craftsman.

I don't think it was an accident that he was performing for a bunch of Hollywood professionals in Los Angeles, and that he also worked at the Magic Castle, which is where magicians go to see each other perform. Whatever else you can say about Hollywood, it appreciates the effort and difficulty of making things look effortless. It was the perfect match of performer and audience, and I don't know if he, or that persona anyway, would have worked elsewhere.

I realized then that stage magic isn't about the tricks at all. It's about the performer and the performance. And the audience. All else aside, that guy's "Watch me flick one finger perfectly" deal would have been literally impossible to do in a large arena. We were in a small room with the farthest person no more than 30 feet away from the front row. Any bigger, and you wouldn't have been able to see what made him great.

I told him afterward that he'd done the first magic show I'd enjoyed at all, and that I'd not only enjoyed it, I'd loved it. I tried to explain why; hopefully it made sense. He did seem sincerely pleased. In an understated way.

Hiding the Elephant makes a similar point about performance and audience vs. tricks. But the book is at least 50% about the tricks. It's nonfiction on American stage magicians and their tricks in the 1800s (Houdini’s time), written by a modern designer of magic illusions who is not a performer himself. Interesting perspective, mixed execution.

He says from the start that while he’ll explain how some tricks are done, he’s not going to spill secrets on anything that hasn’t been previously detailed in print, though some of his sources are not well-known. He does, however, detail some original research he did into how Houdini made an elephant vanish onstage— a trick which impressed other magicians more than the audience, as Houdini’s showmanship as an illusionist was lousy compared with his dramatic skills as an escape artist.

Each chapter begins with him discussing some concept of magic, often couched in autobiography, which leads in to his chapter on a specific historic magician. These intros are beautifully written and fascinating. The historical material is noticeably more dryly written and often quite technical. It turns out that most magic tricks of that era were indeed done with mirrors aided by elaborate stage tech. If you care about the details, he explains many of them with diagrams and careful explications of the physics, engineering, and math which create the illusions. I read a lot of the book thinking, “Mia Lee would love this.”

If the whole book was like the chapter intros, I would have loved it too. If there had been more focus on the magicians’ personalities and the cultural factors playing into stage magic, and less on technicalities, I would have liked it more. There was a reasonable amount on the former (Houdini comes across as a real jerk), enough so that some chapters were moderately juicy reading, but ultimately the book felt much more bloodless than I expected when I began.

I suspect there are histories of that era of stage magic I would like better, but I don’t know which they are. It isn’t a subject I have that much inherent interest in. On the other hand, it did inspire me to re-watch The Prestige, and that was every bit as good as I remembered.

Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear

My head

Jan. 19th, 2017 05:18 pm
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
is surprisingly difficult to xray.
[personal profile] coffeeandink
I am late, but this is on a deadline, so I will do it out of order.

[personal profile] skygiants: I am going to be traveling a ridiculous amount this month and therefore if you felt like posting about good/fluffy plane/travel reads sometime in between January 14 and 19 I would be much obliged.

--which conveniently turns out to cross over with:

[personal profile] rachelmanija: The most fun books you read in the last year or so. Not the ones of the highest literary value or the deepest explorations of a serious issue. The ones that were the most entertaining, made you the most happy, and/or weren't even good at all but were highly amusingly cracktastic. That sort of thing.

I have read all sorts of things traveling, of course, depending on mood or what I was reading when I started, but usually for plane flights or long train trips, I like mysteries or romances, things that are fun and fast-paced and gripping and whose prose has a rhythm that doesn't clash with the rhythms of transportation. (No, but seriously, trying to read Bleak House on a cross-continental train for real gave me a headache. And when I'm sitting still, I even like Bleak House!)

The Cafe La Femme mysteries by Livia Day (aka Tansy Rayner Roberts) work perfectly for me for this purpose. A Trifle Dead, Drowned Vanilla, and novella The Blackmail Blend are set in Hobart, Tasmania, and are confections as delightful as their names. Tabitha Darling owns a cafe and loves pastries, pretty frocks, and gossip. She does not love the cops who frequent her cafe and complain about how she's eased out traditional greasy spoon fare for really very delicious-sounding fusion fare -- not because they complain, but because they are keeping a close eye on her for the sake of her father, who used to be chief of police, and her mother, who used to make the police commissary a place where the food was actually good. (Dad ran off with a younger woman, and Mom quit and went off to meditate in the country. Tabitha is not happy with Dad.)

The mysteries can be predictable, but the real pleasure of the books is the world-building: the lively sense of the local Hobart arts and foodie scenes, the soul-calming love of the mountains in the distance, and the small-town intimacy which means Tabitha seems to have dated half the people involved in the case during college. It is also very thoroughly seen through the female gaze, so much so that I sometimes got impatient with Tabitha evaluating the hotness of every guy who walked through the door. Tabitha is clearly attracted to many more people in daily life than I am.

That's making it sound like these are books very focused on men, whereas they're books with lots of relationships between women where the protagonist happens to be very straight. There are indeed queer and non-gender-normative characters. My favorite is probably the granny whose art consistents of obscene pastry, but I am also fond of Tabitha's gorgeous frenemy and her extremely grumpy cafe assistant who makes excellent cappuccino.

Also, I want to eat every dish Tabitha makes in the entire book. She includes recipes.

The most fun book I read in 2016 was also by Rayner Roberts: Musketeer Space, a gender-swapped, race-bent, everybody's pansexual, space opera retelling of The Three Musketeers. It was originally published as a serial on Rayner Roberts' blog, where you can still read it for free. I am not sure what more to say to people who aren't sold by "The Three Musketeers IN SPACE!!!", honestly, but Dana D'Artagnan and her friends are a delight and the background worldbuilding is a delight and there's also a companion novella "Joyeux", which is, oddly enough, probably best read between parts one and two of the novel. Rayner Roberts has a way of writing brave rash women and cynical self-destructive men that feels hooked straight into the fannish id in the very best way.

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