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Mer

                                                                           'Somewhere another man in another room is holding your sock & can match it with nothing.'

--Seaborn Jones,
           Women & Money
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[09 Feb 2014|10:57am]
Can anyone recommend a good real estate lawyer in NYC?
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[06 Feb 2014|09:36am]
Kindle Worlds finally added a fandom that people I know actually write or read in. What do you think, Veronica Mars fen, if any are still around this corner of LJ these days?
2 comments|post comment

[04 Feb 2014|08:35pm]
 I've got to re-calibrate to the basic goodness of Call the Midwife. I think I've been watching too much SVU or something.

Cut for spoilers of series 2, episode 1Collapse )
4 comments|post comment

[02 Feb 2014|09:10am]

Been home sick for the last few days (nothing serious) and mainlining British mysteries on Netflix. Have decided that, far more than the sky-high number of murders they encounter, what punctures my suspension of disbelief about Rosemary and Thyme is the way that everywhere they go, whether inn or school or private home, someone just happens to have a guest room with two twin beds!

Having hunted these for vacations with Mom of Mer, I can tell you they're thin on the ground these days. Or is it more common in England? If so, I know where we're going on our next vacation!

14 comments|post comment

If TS Eliot had written Old Possum's Book of Practical Elephants... [08 Jan 2014|09:34pm]
The Naming of Elephants is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;

I am really enjoying the naming of this sock elephant. Y'all should come play.

http://truepenny.livejournal.com/865880.html#comments

Oh, and you could win a book  by an author I think writes spiffy things, too. 
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[25 Nov 2013|11:41am]
Hi Guys, this is my first holiday season as a boss and I am trying to figure out how to handle it, hoping a quick poll might help. For the gift choices, assume they're all worth about the same amount (and none of them huge).

Thanks!

Poll #1945021 Santa like a boss
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 36

It's the holiday season. I prefer that my boss give me:

View Answers
a gift card
29 (65.9%)
food or drink
6 (13.6%)
a durable gift
0 (0.0%)
nothing
4 (9.1%)
other
5 (11.4%)

If I chose other, I would want them to give me:

If my boss gave me a holiday gift, I would feel obligated to reciprocate

View Answers
yes
7 (19.4%)
no
23 (63.9%)
depends how much the gift cost
6 (16.7%)

If my boss gave me a holiday gift and others in the office did not receive one from theirs, that would be

View Answers
awkward
13 (32.5%)
fine
11 (27.5%)
not something I would notice
16 (40.0%)

If my boss gave me a holiday gift, I would prefer to receive it

View Answers
on the holiday he or she celebrates
3 (8.6%)
on the holiday I celebrate
13 (37.1%)
I don't care
19 (54.3%)
42 comments|post comment

[24 Nov 2013|11:31am]

Binge watching my way through Dollhouse, really missing having a synchronous community of fen to talk it over with, even though I totally did this to myself.

Disjointed observations follow, on the off chance that anyone still cares: (spoilers through season 2, middle of episode 6)

Edited to add: spoilers for the reason of season 2 in the comments.


Not having all the feminist feels that I dimly remember thinking/hearing I would when it was airing.


OTOH, surprised that more (like, anything) is not made of them "killing" the imprinted personality every time Topher does a wipe. Everyone's concerned about the originals (and rightly so) but they're the ones who consented. The imprinted personalities consented to nothing... that I know of, unclear where they get these templates. Especially after the Whiskey/Dr. Saunders "I don't want to die" scene made it very explicit that imprints who know they can be wiped don't wanna.

The emotional prostitution side of this is creepy as fuck but makes perfect sense, people who want someone to really feel it, not just act. But for the purely skills-based assignments, It stretches belief that people would prefer to hire actives for all these things rather than hire regular experts. Once in a while, sure, there'll be someone who can't GET an expert but when you can, which is most of the time, the ability to have them forget is surely balanced by the risk of having the Dollhouse know.


Speaking of which, how much DOES the dollhouse know about each assignment, and how much granular control Topher has over the build, seem to vary with the speed of the plot.

Paul Ballard is the worst FBI agent in the world. Ruin my suspension of disbelief bad. I don't necessarily expect, or even want, CSI/NCIS levels of super high tech hat-rabbiting, but I can't believe the FBI in the real world could employ people who can't cope with anticipating the possibility of bugs, not getting followed home by suspects, or buying a decent lock. I feel surprisingly sympathetic with the guy-who-played-Crowley-on-Firefly agent's lack of patience with Ballard. I kinda want to slap him upside the head myself. His only real skill is making the puppydog face at the woman who is actually competent. At least the NSA guy knows what he's doing, though it's unclear if his hate on for Echo was NSA or Dollhouse related.


Speaking of Firefly, the two white people fighting in an Asian restaurant that is inexplicably empty of actual Asian people scene was weirdly deja vu. :)

OTOH  I am liking their portrayal of BDSM, and there's even a surprisingly large number of larger women (at least by American TV standards) who are not being played for laughs or pathos.

What is the point of the Attic? If Actives become unusable, why not just give them back themselves and let them go, instead of paying to keep them in storage for the rest of the five years? Or if you really have no intention of letting them go, why go on and on about how what you're doing is not so bad because they're volunteers and you're giving them back? The ethics, too -- how unscrupulous either this particular Dollhouse or Rossem in general is, and what various people believe about it, also seems to move at the speed of the plot from episode to episode.

As done the resting intellect of the actives (Echo excepted) and how much they understand, though in a narrower range. They all talk way too much in front of the actives -- they don't get their resting state memories wiped regularly that I can tell.

How come it is okay for Victor and Sierra to be all snuggly now when before it was a terrible thing?

Doesn't Dr. Saunders have a GPS strip, since she's an active? Or did she take it out? Shouldn't they at least discuss tracking her?

Everybody talking about how amoral Topher is reminds me of everybody talking about how dark and selfish Mal was. In neither case are they actually showing it. We actually see a LOT of Topher having ethics and morals and not wanting to be seen as a bad person, trying to help people and not to hurt them. Most of the him being uncaring stuff is told, not shown.

Which contributes to him being more adorable than he really should be. Him squeeing over Bennett with clone-him is super adorable. Though I think it;s weird that clone him doesn't mind knowing he's going to be wiped soon. Him being all needy and clingy in the dystopian future was also adorable. Also him playing laser tag with Sierra. Though I was relieved to see, in the scene with Whiskey, that he does have sexual feelings. He's so twee they almost play him pre-pubescent sometimes.


I enjoyed the dystopian future episode in and of itself but I find it disquieting how they just dropped it into continuity and then pick back up at an interim point and never explain it. Or what Alpha did to Echo and how it changed her. I get that it's probably going to be a big reveal, but IMO it's going on too long and detaching me from the Echo storyline. I find myself mostly in it for the Dr. Saunders character nowadays, which is funny when you think about how much I disliked Fred on Angel. I guess it really is the character and not the actor.

28 comments|post comment

In which Janet and Thomas discover they are in the wrong fairy tale [18 Nov 2013|07:40pm]

A fanficlet based on Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, inspired by this quote from suricattus: The thing about Tam Lin that always fascinated me was the “stand-fast” aspect. And I wanted to explore that outside the relatively narrow grounds of True Love—what does it mean to stand fast for someone you might not always love, who might not be your True Love, or your Love at all?

Read more...Collapse )

11 comments|post comment

[03 Sep 2013|07:49pm]
Can anyone recommend a good tile and/or generic handyperson in NYC? The jobs are too small for a proper contractor, but I have a lot of little things that need fixed in my apartment before it's ready to put on the market, and the ones that seem to me largest are tile related.
8 comments|post comment

Aluminum Author, Part Who Knows [24 May 2013|12:54am]
I am having a Week and need distraction, so here we go again. For those who weren't around last round (it's been a while), it is just like Iron Author, except I reserve the right to flake.

Give me three words and an optional non-sadistic form and I will write you a poem or song lyrics.

Give me a setting, main character, or single line of dialogue and I will write you a snippet of original fiction.

Give me a character or a pairing and a situation and I will write you fanfic for BTVS/ATS, Firefly, first 2 seasons of Torchwood, The Vorkosiganverse, Good Omens. (Other fandoms by negotiation but keep in mind i basically haven't watched TV in years.)

Got a prompt that doesn't fit the above? Throw it at the wall and see if it sticks.
19 comments|post comment

[01 Feb 2013|03:38pm]
Anybody want to beta read a short original SF story?

It's one of those fiction-masquerading-as-nonfiction ones, so ideally I need at least one reader who knows little to nothing about a) librarianship in the US or b) academia ditto. You're allowed to have gone to college and have a library card, I just need somebody who tell me if it the basic premise still comes through to someone who doesn't get the in-jokes.
8 comments|post comment

[23 Jan 2013|02:16pm]
Arisia has inspired my dormant inner filker. Here's one about Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker. Mild, cryptic spoilers.
Read more...Collapse )
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Who would you want to hear? [17 Nov 2012|10:51am]
I asked this question on Lunacon's official Facebook already, but I figured I have a high quality hive mind here and might as well take advantage of it. :)

We're gearing up for this year's Lunacon. Last year I added a couple of hundred new names to the invite database, but there's still more work to do. So if there's an author, editor, agent, artist, scientist, crafter, costumer, fan, LARPer, dancer, or other geek of coolness that you haven't seen at Lunacon and would like to, please scoot a nomination my way, here or at programming (at) lunacon (dot) org. 
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Library poll [24 Sep 2012|12:08pm]
[ mood | curious ]

A totally unscientific survey about library use, because I'm curious. I have the sense that a lot of people support the idea of the library a lot more than we actually use it... but maybe that's just me.


Clicky for tickyCollapse )
32 comments|post comment

Number of the Beast, pt. 2: wine isn't strong enough [21 Sep 2012|11:21pm]
[ mood | cranky ]

Okay, that actually got halfway decent for a bit in the middle there. And then it overshot its ending worse than A.I., which is a thing I frankly did not think was possible until now. Except where A.I. had three endings in a row, Number-of-the-I-can't-believe-you-got-paid-for-this doesn't really have any. It has an extra middle instead, and ends on the beginning of something else altogether....



The ranty bit. This time with serious spoilers.Collapse )
 
9 comments|post comment

Heinlein book club would go through a lot of wine [21 Sep 2012|07:42am]
[ mood | exasperated ]

My god I forgot how Heinlein gets up my nose. I have a first date with someone who loves Number of the Beast so I said I would read it... 200 pages in I'm wondering if I should cancel the date.

technically i guess these are spoilers, though they don't really address plot, such as it isCollapse )

I sort of wish someone would do to Heinlein what papersky did to Trollope in Tooth & Claw... take his crazy-ass prescriptivism and turn it into literal biological fact. Maybe that would take the sting out of it... or maybe it would make it worse, but at least it would only be playing havoc with my emotions, not my suspension of disbelief.

38 comments|post comment

The clip that launched a thousand fics [16 Jul 2012|05:17pm]
[ mood | amused ]

In which Nathan Fillon and Adam Baldwin of Firefly make with the RPS for a good cause at ComicCon

5 comments|post comment

Cover me, I'm going in! [18 Jun 2012|02:37pm]
From conversation this weekend, a poll on book dust jackets.
Read more...Collapse )
25 comments|post comment

[07 May 2012|03:29pm]

I really wanted to love The Magicians, because I saw Lev Grossman speak at the Center for Fiction and I thought he was way cool. Plus it came highly recommended. Unfortunately my basic take on it was, Harry Potter as written by Jonathan Franzen.


The main character was everything that makes me avoid mainstream fiction like the plague: soaking in privilege yet never happy; self-preoccupied to the point of hardly seeing anyone else, yet lacking in self awareness; screwing up what few real relationships he has; largely passive and reactive, and not taking responsibility for the things he does do.  The fact that he was surrounded by other, more appealing people whose stories I only got to see glimpses of just made it worse. Cannot decide if I am willing to try the sequel.

On the other hand, I adored Patricia Wrede’s The Thirteenth Child and highly recommend it.


As, among other things, a counterpoint to OSC’s Alvin Maker. The only thing that bugged me a little is that this is an alternative US frontier with no mention of Native Americans whatsoever. Of course, given the “alternative”, it’s entirely possible that in this world there never were any, but never finding a way to slip that detail in somewhere still feels a little too much like erasure to me.

I also read the Hunger Games books. I really liked them.


I did feel that Gale’s character was more told than shown, which made the resolution of the love triangle not much of a surprise. As a poly person, I was a little annoyed, though not surprised, to find that the idea of not having to choose occurred to no one. I was also bothered that there don’t seem to be any gay people in Panem. Katniss’ lack of much of any sexual feelings of her own did not ring very true to me – of course, I’ve not been in anything like that situation, so I can hardly say, but I think history suggests that neither hunger nor war prevent most teenagers from wanting sex, even if they don’t have it.

I found Katniss’ explanation of her prep team – the idea that people from the capital have no empathy or moral horror because they are so sheltered -- kind of unrealistic too. After all they must still suffer and die from other things. I know studies have shown that rich people have less empathy, but less is not none, and while the people in the capital are certainly rich compared to District 12 they are not the kind of super-rich that can control everything about their own existence and be surrounded by syncophants. Then again, that’s Katniss’ perspective, not necessarily the truth, and Cinna suggests things are more complicated.

I liked the last book slightly less than the other two – Katniss is more reactive and less active in it, and while it makes sense, it is less satisfying. And I found her comment about her being a child that no one cared about hurting did not ring true – she’s 17, and while that’s a child in the sense that she’s still eligible for the Hunger Games and not allowed to go down into the mines, it really doesn’t strike me that Katniss has seen herself as a child in a long time, nor has she functioned as one in the eyes of others. Nor do the people of District 13, who she is talking about, consider 17 year olds children in general, since they’ve already joined the army. It seemed like an interjection from planet 21st Century North America.

But all of those are minor quibbles to an extremely compelling story. I particularly liked that Collins was not afraid to make Katniss make some unlikeable choices and have some selfish thoughts. She was still, to me, a very sympathetic character, but also a realistic one, not one where the deck is stacked so a she never has to make a hard call. And I loved the way the cameras, and her awareness of them, infiltrated her awareness and even made it hard to figure out what her own feelings would be if they weren’t there. It’s a very nuanced worldview that I think a lot of adults would not realize a teenager could maintain, as well as a very postmodern dilemma. I kind of want to write a paper on The Truman Show, The Hunger Games, and as many other Panopticon surveillance SF conceits as I can think of, and how they influence character and relationship  development.
31 comments|post comment

[24 Apr 2012|10:28pm]
[ mood | curious ]

So dinner and pie out with a friend turned into worldbuilding a new shared project, like you do. And now we need help.

Does anyone here understand linguistic drift? If you stuck a bunch of people who all spoke different languages on the same slow boat and expected them to establish a colony at the other end, what would happen? A bunch of language enclaves? A single lingua franca based on the most populous language, or some other criteria? A new hybrid? A multilingual population?

How much lack of communication is necessary for two populations that originally spoke the same language to plausibly drift apart? 

28 comments|post comment

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