The Blood is the Life for 18-10-2017

Oct. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
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Kindle Update Update

Oct. 17th, 2017 04:11 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I totally can see the light when it's turned to "off", i.e. when the light meter is set to 0, but only really notice it a lot at night. You guys who claim you can't see it are either lying, or my eyes are freakish. Frankly, I think it's probably the latter, given how often one of my boys complains they can't see the dogs when we are walking them after dark and I can see them perfectly fine.

Happily, Andrew's explanation of how the light works was spot on, and it doesn't bother me like a glowy phone or computer or TV screen. To give you some idea of how Lorca-ish my eyes are, though, I have it set to 2 when I'm in bed, and 5 in daylight. It goes up to about 30, by the looks of it (haven't actually counted).

I'm really REALLY happy with the cover I got for it, which is incredibly thin and light, but still feels sturdy. It also has the autowake function, which is handy. I would genuinely rec it to anyone who has a papperwit of the requisite size (that's pretty much all of them less than 5 years old).

I think I am also going to quickly get used to having Goodreads integration, which my old Kindle was too ancient to support.

All in all, I think I made the right decision. Thanks to those of you who helped by voting and commenting and things.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... it's because the boundary commission have released their finalised report into the boundary review, and hardly anybody is happy about it. The vast majority of politicians, you see, wanted the boundary review to advantage their party and shaft their rivals. The boundary commission, meanwhile, have been scrupulously fair, and tried quite hard to advantage nobody and shaft nobody.

Now, there is a school of thought that this doesn't matter a jot because it'll never get past parliament, requiring as it does far too many turkeys to vote for Christmas. I, for one, think that would be a shame, if only for my little home patch.

The proposals for Calderdale are basically what I would have done, were I the boundary commission. A lot of my fellow Calderdale politicians will doubtless be pissing and moaning about various bits1, although having read the report, the Tories will probably be the least annoyed of us. Here are the things I am pleased about:
  1. The two constituencies make geographical sense, for the first time in my lifetime.

  2. The town I live in can no longer be almost completely ignored by three of the five active political parties in the area.

  3. We have not created a complete dead zone for the Lib Dems in the constituency I live in, which is what would have happened had the commission accepted the Lib Dem proposals2.

  4. The constituency names, while not the ones I suggested, follow the same logic3
All in all, I'm quite happy. So here's hoping the turkeys do, for once, vote for Christmas.

1I know a bunch of my fellow Lib Dems are annoyed we haven't got a winnable seat out of it, by putting all the wards with Lib Dem councillors into the same constituency. To which I would say: did you see our vote share at the last general election? And also combining wards where we have councillors is not the only way to get a winnable seat. Look at the demographics...
2Calderdale Lib Dem membership is divided pretty much half and half, which it would not have been under the proposals the party submitted. While it will annoy EVERYBODY who wanted to be in the mythical winnable seat, gives us two live constituencies to fight for, instead of one with pretty much every Calderdale activist except my household in it.
3I wanted Calderdale East and Calderdale West and they've gone for Upper Calder and Lower Calder. I can live with that. It's miles better than their initial suggestion of calling my seat Halifax, when it only had half of Halifax and two towns that are not Halifax in.

The Blood is the Life for 17-10-2017

Oct. 17th, 2017 11:00 am
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juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
[personal profile] juushika
Title: Amatka
Author: Karin Tidbeck
Translator: Karin Tidbeck
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Published: Random House Audio, 2017 (2012)
Rating: 4 of 5
Page Count: 215
Total Page Count: 236,140
Text Number: 752
Read Because: reviewed by Kalanadi, audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: A researcher travels to a sister colony, whose exceptionally fragile permanence calls into question a number of things about their society's nature and origin. Tidbeck has a restrained, almost cold voice, focusing on daily life and minutia; meanwhile, the worldbuilding is high concept, with a slowly unfolding mystery. If the plot reveals and inevitability of the ending are too convenient, it's counterbalanced by the haunting, wondrous tone (especially lovely in audio). It's a bit like Emma Newman's Planetfall, a bit like Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation, but is uniquely itself, haunting, bizarre, with engaging linguistic and dystopic elements. I enjoyed and recommend this, and plan to read more by Tidbeck.

Title: Centaur Rising
Author: Jane Yolen
Published: Henry Holt and Co., 2014
Rating: 3 of 5
Page Count: 270
Total Page Count: 236,110
Text Number: 753
Read Because: reading more from the author, ebook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: After one of Ari's family's horses mysteriously becomes pregnant, she gives birth to a centaur. There are good elements that play here—Ari's search for magic, her realistically complicated family, a compassionate presentation of disability; combining centaurs with equine therapy is an effective source of inspiration. Even the corny songs may have worked for me when I was in this age group—the predictable and trite and exaggerated elements are all well within genre standards. Yet I find myself disappointed. Compare to Peter S. Beagle's In Calabria, which has a near-identical concept: it's not the intended audience that separates these books, but that in In Calabria magic is pervasive and profound, and informs character arcs and the climax; here, it's confined to the edges (and literal prologue and afterward), it's restrained, insufficient, immemorable—Ari herself would have been disappointed.

Title: The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth's Past Book 1)
Author: Liu Cixin
Translator: Ken Liu
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Published: Tor Books and Macmillan Audio, 2014 (2007)
Rating: 2 of 5
Page Count: 400
Total Page Count: 236,510
Text Number: 754
Read Because: co-read with Teja, ebook and audiobook borrowed from the Multnomah County Library
Review: In the past, one woman changes the course of Earth's history via her work at a military base; in the present, strange events are destroying the Earth's scientific community. I suppose I expected this to be more technical, challenging, dense, but instead it reminds me of Andy Weir's The Martian: an abundance of diverse, kitchen-sink speculative concepts, lots of infodumping, clunky writing with especially stiff dialog, and more momentum than culmination. The tone is aggressively dry with a hint of the absurd, an unenjoyable combo which is somewhat aggravated by audio narration (and perhaps was compounded by translation). This is a big-concept book, almost playful in its excess, certainly indulgent in an aliens-conspiracy-nerds way, but not particularly well-rendered. I won't read the sequels.

I read the first two-thirds as an ebook and then switched to audio for the last bit; I'd decided against audio earlier on because it was so long and I assumed the technical details would be easier to track in print, but it was the technical details that made me want to skim, or, in the tradition of a just-okay audiobook: mostly listen but also multitask.

We both had a ?? reaction to this. It's very big-concept, but Liu as often seems to be talking to himself about some cool speculative concept he's thought up (the section with the protons is especially awful, the stiffest dialog, the most tedious infodumps); the reader's participation isn't necessary. It's welcome, maybe, in figuring out the mystery, and Teja found the pacing more effective than I did (I thought it were pretty predictable). Ye Wenjie is really very good (think of the book this would have been with a narrower focus!), but the tone smothers any human connection; the social commentary (esp. re: who plays the Three Body game, also the themes in the resolution) range from uninspired to vaguely stupid (and may be cultural markers? don't care; still didn't like). He called it a "strange book" especially as regards plot structure, concepts; it is that. But I was more distracted by the fact that it's not an especially good book.

Our survey says…

Oct. 16th, 2017 09:32 pm
miss_s_b: (Pratchett: Nanny Ogg)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Obviously for data protection reasons I can't go into much detail about the responses FCC got to the end of conference survey, but I do want to highlight one small area:

The impressive number of you who said Glee was the best fringe event, and the smaller but still impressive number who said we were the best thing about conference full stop, and the hardy few who said the best way to improve conference would be to have more Glee, and the one dear sweet soul who said Glee was their main reason for coming to conference?

I am genuinely touched and I love you all. Thank you. It makes it absolutely worth trying to chair a debate with a hangover and a sore throat first thing in the morning after. You guys rule.

miss_s_b: (Mood: Brain Hurts)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I just got around to filing all my paperwork from Bournemouth conference, and I realised that I'm not going to be able to fit any more into that lever arch file:

This means that paperwork from the three meetings I have remaining to attend this year will need to go in a new file. This displeases me; I wanted to be all neat and do a file per year.

* grumpy face *

The Blood is the Life for 16-10-2017

Oct. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
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Oct. 15th, 2017 02:57 pm
miss_s_b: Christopher Lee's Dracula hovers over Joanna Lumley (Fangirling: Sir Lee Dracula)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Just flagging up that I have signed up. I am if you are on there; there are some interesting differences with twitter, but also some depressing similarities (mansplaining strangers; prominent TERFs, despite TERFery being explicitly outlawed in the TOS) so we'll see how it goes.

I've also authorised Mastodon Bridge on both Mastodon and twitter, and would encourage others to do the same, to help us all find each other. It's important to get the syntax of your mastodon name right, but don't worry if you cock it up (like I did) you can just hit back and try again ;)

ETA: having looked at this "which instance should you join?" Mastodon quiz I'm thinking I should maybe have plumped for this one instead... so if you're considering it, it might be worth doing the quiz. We'll see. If I get into it, and if enough other people turn up on there, I may move to a different instance.

Kindle Update

Oct. 15th, 2017 02:26 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Thanks to everyone who answered my poll as to which Kindle I should get. Today I have ordered a paperwhite, and the poll is therefore now closed.

The Blood is the Life for 14-10-2017

Oct. 14th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b


Oct. 13th, 2017 08:01 pm
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Books)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
My old Kindle keyboard died a couple of weeks ago. Having looked into repairs and replacing it with the same model on eBay and such, it's going to be less fuss to just buy a new one1.

Looking into the current models, I hit upon a dilemma. I really, REALLY do not want a backlight, and I have been told that on both the paperwhite and the voyage you can turn the light down low, but never off completely. For me, the main attraction of an e-ink display was the lack of invasive lightiness buggering up my delicate little eyeballs. So that instantly pushed me towards the basic... BUT the basic has a lower resolution, and no 3G option, and apparently is a bit cheap-feeling and breaks easily.

I get paid on Sunday. I'll be buying a new kindle on Sunday2. Help me to decide which one?

Poll #18929 Kindles
This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 11

Which kindle should Jennie buy

The Basic
2 (18.2%)

The light's not THAT bad, the Paperwhite
6 (54.5%)

Hang the expense! The Voyage!
3 (27.3%)

In other news, isn't it amazing how much I blog on a twitterless day?

1srsly, Kindle keyboards go for STUPID money, who knew? It's almost like having buttons is a good thing for some people, and touch screens are not the be all and end all of everything...

2This is why the Oasis isn't even an option - apart from anything else I have a book I need to write a review for by the end of the month that's on kindle and the Oasis doesn't come out till the end of the month
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Mood: And another thing)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I've been thinking about social media today, what with the twitter boycott and everything. And I can see Twitter dying, actually. Or maybe just limping on, haemorraging users, but never quite dying, the way LJ has. I mean, it's already got to the point where users bemoan how it used to be in the good old days...

But Facebook.

Facebook is never going to die, is it? It's like amazon; its critical mass is too huge, its gravity too crushing for the vast majority of internet users to escape. Periodically someone comes up with a better social networking idea, but it never takes off, because everybody is on Facebook and why would they go through the hassle of moving?

And people might say "what about MySpace? Everyone had a MySpace back in the day! And that died!" But they didn't. Everyone who was on the internet had a MySpace, but the majority of people were not on the internet in those days. These days the majority of people on this planet ARE on the internet, and more than half of them actively use Facebook. And the damn thing just keeps on growing.

I know a few people who don't have Facebook at all (myself included) and a few more who resentfully, grudgingly use it "because there's people I would never hear from if I didn't"... but most people are happy little products, aren't they?

And they are products, and Facebook treats them as such, and gets away with it due to it's untouchable position. It's just the way things are done. You have to use Facebook to get anywhere these days, and so you have to put up with the way Facebook does things or you don't get anywhere.

Facebook is the Harvey Weinstein of the internet.

The Window Man is here

Oct. 13th, 2017 01:01 pm
miss_s_b: (Mood: Kill me)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
The windows in our house have needed mending for ages. Today is the day the landlord finally sent the window man round. I am looking after the dogs in a room where he doesn't need to go, and working from my laptop (boss has me doing research into arcane bits of law today).

But the window man is here.

And I can't even go to the loo, because one of the windows he is mending is the bathroom window.

And I really really need to pee.

Typing out a blog post helps, right?

The Blood is the Life for 13-10-2017

Oct. 13th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Friday Five (via [community profile] thefridayfive)

Oct. 13th, 2017 10:36 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b
1) What is the first song you remember from your childhood?

Now I'm Here by Queen.

2) What is the first music you purchased with your own money?

Poison by Alice Cooper

3) What's a piece of music that you know by heart?

Crikey, there's hundreds. Everything from hymns to classical to Five Finger Death Punch. I'm singing pretty much constantly.

4) What's a song that makes you turn off the music right away?

The Archers Theme tune

5) And why?

Because if I give in to The Archers my radio 4 addiction will be total and complete.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
So, having ironed out a few teething problems, here is the t-shirt store I promised you guys:

Awkward Squad Clothing and Accessories

A few little notes in answer to stuff people have already asked me, which I assume might be stuff other people might ask:
  • The size range there is not my choice, it's the manufacturer's; I do have a request in for larger sizes.

  • Similarly, the yellow t-shirts only being available in less-curvy is down to the choices the manufacturer makes available to me; as soon as yellow is there in curvy/small/bags I'll make it available.

  • There are SOME other styles of shirt that I haven't used, but you can't have v-neck t-shirts, zip hoodies, or curvy-cut hoodies. Sorry.

  • If you have any particular requests for a shirt, let me know. I'm not promising anything, mind. But, for example, it would be quite easy to do a $yourarea version of The Calderdale shirt.

And finally, I just want to highlight a couple of the designs:
If you buy one, let me know what you think. The guinea pigs all seemed pretty pleased with theirs, but they are possibly pre-disposed to be nice to me.


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