Thursday, January 8, 2015
Thursday, January 1, 2015
First up - go and read the ridiculously awesome gift I got. It is Culture fic which has made me very hopeful that people will be able to continue to write stuff in the Culture universe, because it is pitch-perfect and contains all the things I like about Culture stories:
Done that? Good, so here is the rubbish that I managed to write. I was hideously ill for most of the Yuletide writing season this year, so I have been way less prolific than usual and the results are rather shorter, but this is what I did manage to put out.
My actual assignment, a songfic to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYUwIzjg7rs with the request to do something new with it rather than follow the obvious reference; I think this one turned out okay, although I'd have liked to make it a bit longer if I'd had the energy:
The one straight-up treat that I wrote, because @worstmuse on Twitter had me giggling for some time when I was perusing the fandom lists and I was itching to use it as a series of terrible writing prompts:
The first pinch-hit I picked up because I was kind of missing my usual habit of getting to read a book and write fic to it, and it was posted to the list a few times before I gave in; I sourced The Lastborn of Elvinwood for review from https://openlibrary.org/books/OL4557372M/The_lastborn_of_Elvinwood and the novel itself comes highly recommended if you like very English fantasy like the early parts of The Dark Is Rising.
I feel slightly bad about writing something very derivative and obvious, and kind of feel like I should have picked one of the request prompts (I initially planned to do something with 'what are the Vicar's origins?') but I didn't have the energy to develop my own plot to my satisfaction, so this is an interstitial piece (which you shouldn't even _open_ before the book, because even the tags are spoilers):
The second pinch-hit I acquired was because I couldn't believe no-one was picking it up - I have a strict policy of not picking up pinch-hits unless they've been returned to the list, and here was one with a prompt I'd already stuck on my Potential Treats list under 'easy fandoms to pick up'. (Okay, so the heading in my document is actually 'Crack'.) So, without further ado - sex geckos in space:
Monday, November 24, 2014
I wrote this in a FB comment but though it probably was worth an actual post. Note that this was written for a specific audience and therefore assumes a specific viewpoint - obviously if you e.g. care more about general economic consequences than short-term suffering of the disadvantaged, you will have a different priority set.
You should consider voting Green if they have a decent chance in your area, or if there is no pressing reason to vote for anyone else (e.g. because your area is an entirely safe seat and there are no other excellent candidates to reward).
They have the best policy direction (although the actual details are deeply unrealistic in places), but will probably fall apart like the Lib Dems if they get anywhere near a coalition, because they similarly have little negotiation experience and not much funding; however, this is unlikely to happen this election, and a vote for them signals to the other parties that adopting Green-like policies is a worthwhile direction for obtaining votes.
You should consider voting Lib Dem if your local candidate is excellent, if they stand a chance of winning, or if you dislike Green policy elements or your local Green candidate too much to vote for them.
The Lib Dems also have excellent policy on paper, and pushing the other parties in their direction by voting for them is no bad thing. They will be a useful brake on the bad tendencies of any other party in coalition (they take the edge off Conservative screw-the-poor doctrine and Labour authoritarianism, even if not as much as you might like). Which candidate is important - if you can support a 'good' LD then you can help with the internal party struggle.
You should consider voting Labour if your seat is borderline Conservative / Bad Lib Dem / UKIP and your vote could make a difference, or you have an excellent local candidate.
Labour is not doing very well at staying on the left and has always had a huge authoritarian streak which is pretty unpleasant, but they will probably kill fewer people than the Conservatives if they get to form the largest minority or majority in the upcoming government. Again, supporting good candidates helps shift the balance of power within the party, which is vitally important.
You might consider voting Conservative if your local candidate is truly excellent, if the other candidates in your area are terrible, or if you are in a borderline UKIP seat where the Conservatives are the only real opposition.
The Conservatives have been pretty terrible and look set to continue that way / get worse as they chase UKIP, but they are still better than UKIP and some individual Conservatives may well be worth supporting - and some terrible Labour or Lib Dem MPs may well be worth opposing.
You should never consider voting UKIP, but you might consider _campaigning_ for them if you are sufficiently cynical to pull it off and live in a marginal Conservative seat which doesn't have a risk of actually going UKIP.
UKIP are a terrible party who exist primarily to make the other parties more xenophobic and generally afraid-of-the-Other. There are many valid problems with the EU, but that does not excuse voting UKIP at a national election - most of the major parties have promised a referendum anyway. Even supporting good candidates (if you can find any) / punishing bad candidates isn't worth signalling in their policy direction (or, worse, actually helping your seat go UKIP). If you want to signal anti-establishment, vote Green instead.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Friday, February 21, 2014
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
I've been a bit remiss in Yuletide-posting this year; I got a lovely gift about Mo from the Laundry Files and how she comes to terms with that seriously creepy violin:
Violins at Work
Alas, it looks like my Mystery Author hasn't written that much else - although I still have a pile of other reading from the rest of the archive...
Despite being out for the entire month of December in NZ, I also managed to write some stuff ( and I waffle about it at length in the rest of this postCollapse )
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Friday, October 4, 2013
I know I don't use this much, but my life is pretty much the same as it has been for the last couple of years now, so there isn't much to update - but now I have a question that I think my remaining potential audience here might be able to help me with!
I have about a month of holiday I really ought to take before the end of the year. I feel like I should Do Something With It, like go Travelling in some form, because otherwise I will totally just spend it playing computer games in my underpants (or just fail to take it).
I have a constitution score of minus three and am quite awkward to feed, though, so Adventure Travelling is not the thing (I will wilt and die and spend the rest of the month in bed recovering). I am worried I will be terribly bored / upset at wasting money at too luxurious a travelling experience.
Does anyone have exciting recommendations for a cruise line that doesn't suck / an interesting area of the world which will feed me bland things and have nice hotels and not give me stomachfail?
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Friday, July 12, 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I find Empire kind of weird, to be honest.
I'm pretty sure I'm having fun - although probably due to having hoovered up an exciting Imperial position (General of the Red Wind Corsairs). But it's the first LARP in which I've had fun without actually really having a _character_. Yasmina is blatantly just me in a silly dress; if I concentrate I can fetch very slightly divergent thought processes, but we share a lot more of our basic circuitry than most characters I've had fun with in the past.
I think part of that is because I'm so involved in fairly high-powered politics in the game - I keep having to activate all of my problem-solving and organisational abilities, which naturally makes me act a lot more like me than like someone else.
I also feel kind of bad that I've ended up with a lot of my out-of-nation contacts being people I know OC - but I know so many people OC from Maelstrom that I guess it would be difficult for anything else to happen at this stage...
Had some excellent 'remind people orcs are a speaking part' moments monstering the second battle though - particularly the one-on-one in the woods with some guy, where he went to execute me and I told him his people would find no mercy either, and he said "this is my mercy" before smashing my head in :-). Honourable mention to the orc who came up to me with a spear and asked "Can you use this?" after they'd lost an arm; I said "yes I can," we swapped weapons, and I immediately went down to an arrow, with the sorrowful follow-up of "maybe not, then".
Also, bizarre purple digging creatures with a specific hunting pattern, ++ would be hunted through the woods by again...
I would try to go through highlights as I know I always love to be mentioned in them but I am paranoid that someone will go 'but she didn't mention me! she must have not noticed / secretly think I'm rubbish' when it's just that I am totally exhausted and my brain is full!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
I've looked a couple of end-of-year-meme things, but I'm not sure I can actually fill them in.
It seems weird that the Occupy London camp happened over a year ago now.
In 2012 everything changed and nothing changed.
I got 'promoted' to project manager (although everyone still keeps falling over themselves to tell me that project manager is totally a sideways move from technical, not an upwards one).
I did a lot of arguing on the internet about politics, but everything has just steadily got worse to the point where it's depressing to even touch the subject; especially as everyone seems to want to blame the people who are trying to make it better for not succeeding in making it better _enough_.
(I guess at least the US managed to choose the lesser of two evils, but I can understand the position expressed by the World Can't Wait newsletter, when they said that in some ways it's a pity the US is just going to stumble on being awful rather than go over the edge into truly dystopian, at which point people might have mobilised and done something about it.)
The global economy staggered on rather than collapsing. Greece is still in the Euro and still hasn't officially defaulted. Egypt still doesn't have a functioning democratic government but hasn't collapsed into apathy under a new dictator or military rule. Syria is still tearing itself apart.
Maelstrom's over; I've stuck up my battle reports on a webpage; we still haven't got the rest of the data available sensibly; I'm less upset about this than I expected to be. I guess this is why those other games I wanted to know about also had a frustrating lack of final revelations available for public consumption. Maybe I'll get around to it when PD Towers is less impenetrably busy with the Empire release.
I am still not sure if anyone will ask me to be Empire crew or not, but to be honest I've pretty much made my peace with 'not' by now. Maybe I'll change my mind if I'm offered something really awesome to do, but I'm just not sure I want to invest that much energy in a game again.
Especially as I'm not sure whether I will be up to the running around bit of LARP at all. I seem to have developed some kind of exciting jointfail in the last months of 2012, and tomorrow I finally get to phone the secretary that can apparently chase the appointment I should have got some time in the last month about seeing a specialist about it. Meanwhile, moving hurts and I've been trying to do it as little as possible.
And the person whose leaving on maternity meant that I ended up as a project manager is due back Sometime Soon - the latest update looks like 'early March'.
I still have no idea what happens then.
So, that's my life at the moment - for the first time in some years, I'm really not sure what the next year is going to look like.
I wrote, um, quite a few things this Yuletide:
Endless Duty, my actual assignment, which ended up shorter than I would have liked, but I kind of ran out of things to say. It's essentially some fluff based on a quirky little SF / Romance crossover book called Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair, which I don't expect many people have read...
On the Field of Ingarn, my first pinch hit, which is possibly my personal favourite out of the things I wrote this time round. It won't mean much to you unless you've read Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis, on which it is based, and the style of which I tried to copy pretty exactly - but if you have, it goes into some detail on the whole Orual-rides-to-battle thing that CS Lewis basically skipped straight over.
And Stamp On The Pieces, my second pinch hit, which is the first piece of fanfiction I've done actual research (rather than just re-reading canon a lot) for! It's set post-canon in the Millennium Trilogy (the one that starts with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) - I basically took the tiny handful of things we knew about the supposed next book and started writing something based on the location we know is featured.
The Angel Of Compassion is a treat for a Leonard Cohen song (this time it's 'Closing Time'), given that the one I did last year worked well I thought I'd give it another go :-). This one is, uh, slightly weirder and more plotty than the last.
Guest of Honour is a treat modern-language retelling of the deuterocanonical Book of Judith with, uh, a few slightly divergent elements :-).
Tracks; River; Hope is a rather odd little treat that I did for a music video (Bronte by Gotye). It's a bit stylised and possibly disturbing in places, but I couldn't resist writing something after watching the video.
Wind In Her Hair; Blood On Her Claws is blatantly about my one-session Changeling: The Lost LARP character. I'm sorry, okay :-) I couldn't resist after I saw that it fit the prompt pretty much exactly.
Unthinkable is a depressing little Dragonriders of Pern story that appears to have become my runaway success story this Yuletide (well, it got recced a couple of times and got up to two pages of comments before replies, anwyay). Extra bonus trigger warning in additional tags.
And, not written for Yuletide but another holiday exchange, Blasters and Wands:
It's Never Over, about Finnick Odair's life and death in the Hunger Games trilogy.
I also wrote something for the 3 Ships exchange, but reveals on that are later :-).
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Have you read Snow Crash? Do you like Y.T.?
If so, you should read this:
I am incoherent with squee about how excellent a coda this is to a book which really finished rather abruptly - and somehow my mystery writer also managed to add a trip around abandoned stations in an underground transit system, which is one of my favourite things :-).
Sunday, November 11, 2012
I've been doing a lot of discussing and a lot of thinking on the political divide lately (mostly in the US, but it applies to a lot of other places too).
As far as I can tell, the fundamental question of left vs right is:
Is it more important to ensure a good level of everything for the lowest member of your society, or is it more important to ensure that nothing is holding back members of your society from achieving as much as possible?
(There's also a second fundamental question, which is 'Do you trust the government with the power to achieve this, even though that means they can turn around and do terrible things if the political wind changes, or do you think all government is essentially untrustworthy and should be minimised, even at the cost of important things not getting done?', but that's a separate axis, as much as they're often conflated.)
Because you basically can't have both. If you insist on providing a certain basic level of provision for everyone - or even just for the 'deserving' poor, if you think you can identify them - you necessarily put at least a bit of drag on your society's highest fliers. After all, as many people are very fond of pointing out, someone's got to pay for it. And it also puts drag on your ordinary everyday person - if they know things won't go that badly if they don't work at anything, it can stop them putting in the effort, especially if they know that some of the fruits of that effort will be taken away to support people who _did_ just do nothing.
I think it's obvious to people who know me that I am still firmly on the side of decent provision for even the least deserving of those who are in need, but I do understand the argument that actually this leads to stagnation - that if you put drag on the people who can achieve in your society, then you get out-competed, you don't get the scientific and technological progress and business success you would otherwise benefit from. And eventually your entire nation falls behind those who didn't let the plight of a small fraction of their population cause them to insist that the rest of the population contribute to help them.
I think, like everything, in practice this is something that the middle ground is the correct place to stand on - not confiscating everything from the rich to bring the less rich up to the highest level that everyone can be sustained at, and not leaving everyone who has a temporary setback to starve and die if they can't support themselves or find other private individuals or civil-society organisations willing to support them - but there is a _lot_ of middle ground and it is very hard to come to any agreement as to which bits are the middle and which bits are unacceptably extreme in either direction.
I'm not convinced there are any answers - but I know people on both sides have trouble seeing the other one, and so I thought I'd share my observations while I'd spent the time gathering and expressing them.
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