LJ-Archaeology

Dec. 31st, 2030 11:59 pm
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[personal profile] hairyears
I've been reviewing and correcting broken links in the old LJ-Imported posts of my 'home' journal*.

I've interacted, briefly, with an awful lot of people over the last decade-and-a-bit. Most have stopped posting and many have deleted their old LJs; a few are now active on Dreamwidth and if I've recently granted you access, it's a throwback to some long-forgotten comment or a longer conversation that we never got around to restarting.

It's interesting reading my older posts: some of them are "Wow! Was I ever that good as a writer?"; most are dull, and many of them are toe-curlingly self-centred and best left unread. But I wrote them and hit 'Post' and they can stay there: Facebook's the place for the polished and redacted picture; here is where you get the warts and all.

Interesting, too, that my best writing and the most interesting things that I've found to say are in the comments I have posted on your journals: I might sometimes be a passably skilful writer (or an appalling Limericist) but I am not a particularly original one and I am at my best with ideas and the inspiration other people offer me.

And that is all ephemeral, for comments elsewhere do not get imported by the Dreamwidth import engine: and they were never mine to 'own' for they are in other peoples' spaces, and insired by their ideas.

So: Hi. Remember me? I'm posting a bit more, and trying to keep up with the reading list. And that, alas, has become much easier to do, even if I only catch up at weekends.

If there's a comment of mine that you actually remember, post a link to it - or copy-and-paste the entire thing here, into a comment about a comment.





* (footnote) )

An assortment of TV

Oct. 21st, 2017 11:45 pm
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[personal profile] emperor
I quite enjoyed Rellik, though it seems it wasn't popular generally. The premise is that the series starts nearly at the end of things, and then keeps moving backwards in time (along with some slightly odd backwards-video effects). It's an interesting idea, particularly the way this means you see character development in reverse - people who initially seem quite sympathetic turn out to have previously been unpleasant, and so on. Unfortunately, they seemed to think it was OK to include a lot of cop shop cliches since they were doing something new with the narrative structure. But still, it worked for me.

In a different vein, Lucy Worsley's programme on choral evensong - a gentle look at the history of the early Reformation, and how Henry VII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I each made their mark on the music of the Chapel Royal and more widely across the country. I'd have liked longer segments of music (and less talking over them), but it was still an hour well spent.

Finally, there was Chris Packham: Asperger's and Me, where the naturalist tells us a bit about how he finds living with Asperger's. I don't want to generalise, but he's very good at explaining how he relates to the world, and how his autism affects that - both its highs and its lows. It's very personal, and you can see he's describing very intimate details about himself; I think to try and get the more neurotypical of us to try and see the world a little as he does. He then goes to the US to see how they try and treat people with autism there, and it's obviously very painful - both to hear people describing autism as a disease that should be eradicated, and to see the impact of dealing with autism on the people he meets and their families. Chris is clear that now he wouldn't want his autism cured, but that equally he might have made a different decision in the past, and that he's been lucky to be able to find a career that lets him play to his strengths.

Maybe I'm just getting old!

Oct. 21st, 2017 08:04 pm
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[personal profile] hooloovoo_42
 I went to see Kingsman: Golden Circle this afternoon.  Unfortunately, I got into the cinema in time to see trailers for two films that I wish I could scrub from my brain.  Both of them are "Christmas" movies.  Both are allegedly comedies.  Both of them are about "family" and both of them have children swearing like the kind of people you really wouldn't want your children mixing with.  I would rather watch the My Little Pony movie on constant repeat than be subjected to either A Bad Moms Christmas or Daddy's Home 2.  And believe me, having seen the trailer for MLP, I'd rather poke needles in my eyes than see any more of it.  But at least it's not full of kids shouting the f-word all over the place.  

As for the latest Kingsman movie, I was rather disappointed.  It had little of the humour or originality of the first movie and was basically just a vehicle for bringing in a US organisation and setting up another sequel.  I found parts of it to be cringeworthy and the action scenes weren't that good and mostly drowned out by overloud music.  There were some good moments, but they were few and far between and mostly involved Merlin and his love of country music.  

I'm holding out for Murder on the Orient Express to not be such a let down.

Blade Runner 2049

Oct. 21st, 2017 06:59 pm
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[personal profile] emperor
Before going to see Blade Runner 2049, I re-watched the original (in the Final Cut version, which I don't think I'd seen before). It's still a classic, although the treatment of women is terrible (and I seem to notice more of that with each rewatch); the plot and visual tropes have inspired a vast amount of film sci-fi that's come since.

The sequel doesn't disappoint - the city-scape is very much from the same visual and audio space as the original, while the desert-scape of Las Vegas is a suitably post-apocalyptic wasteland. There's the same slow pacing (although at 2h40, this is substantially longer), and it's great to see Deckard back again, although I'm a little sad to see the ambiguity of his replicant-or-not nature from the original resolved. There are some great scenes, including a brawl in front of a holographic Elvis and some very creepy moments from Niander Wallace. And there's the continued theme of what it means to be human, and what sort of relationships we can or should have with those who are not.

There aren't really any new ideas, though, and the treatment of women is probably worse than in the original, which feels less forgiveable now than it might have been in 1982. And the bass was rather over-done to my ears, to the point of dragging you out of the scene sometimes. I'm sure I'm going to want to watch it again, though...

7 things make a post

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:26 pm
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[personal profile] rmc28
1. We spent a pleasant low-key weekend in Todmorden with my mother and stepfather for Charles's birthday / their wedding anniversary. The only niggle was the mild cough I had before going turned into a horrible cough and I got very little sleep on the Saturday night, so my patience etc on the journey home was ... limited. We got home with no-one murdered though.

2. I love my Yuletide assignment and have a plot bunny gently growing. It's going to be pretty niche and I don't care, so long as it works for the recipient.

3. Thanks to the aforementioned cough, I missed morris practice last week - so frustrating given my fears about falling out of it - but I managed it again this week, and it is still very happy making. (I am so, so unfit compared to all these older women, but they are all so pleasant and welcoming.)

4. Charles was away this week with the school residential outdoor activity week with PGL. It was a bit of a challenge for him being away from home and his usual routine, but he seems to have mostly enjoyed it, and enthused at me about climbing and rifleshooting and archery and a few other things too ... It is good to have him back; and now it is half-term.

5. I had my flu jab this week, and the children had their flu sprays last week (I am a bit envious of them, but the nurse at my GP surgery is really very good about doing jabs quickly and with minimal pain). Flusurvey has started up again and are keen for more participants if any of my UK subscribers aren't already doing it and would like to.

6. It seems like half my reading list already posted about the #PullTheFootball campaign to require a congressional declaration of war before the US President can launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.  But in case you didn't see it, that link has actions, phone numbers and a script for US citizens (the rest of us can just help by sharing it with US citizens ...)

7. Clipping wrote the soundtrack for a new TV show, The Mayor, and tracks from it are being released weekly onto Spotify and iTunes.  I couldn't find an official Spotify playlist so I made my own and am adding the new tracks each week as they get released - TWO this week for a Halloween-themed episode.  The show's premise is that an up-and-coming rapper stands for mayoral election as a publicity stunt for his music career and accidentally wins. I love this idea, but can't find a way to legally watch the show from here; anyway I am really enjoying the musical output.

[syndicated profile] dorktower_feed

Posted by John Kovalic

Hi John,

My name is Alessandra (called Sandy) from Italy.

At  first, sorry for my English!

I’d like to tell you that you are my favorite illustrator !

I met you in Lucca comics & games in far 2005 during an interview of  Ragno Magazine, do you remember?

In that time, you draw me a play card of munchkin “a lot of very nice balloons”, but my boyfriend lost my card and I cry.

I love Munchkin illustration!

In Lucca comics & games 2014 I went to Lucca only for you, but during your signed session,  Lucca’s security couldn’t enter in Games palace .

So, I’d like to know if you will came in Italy again , and finally say hallo to you!

Thanks a lot for your kindness and enjoy yourself!

Sandy

Hi, Sandy!

First off, thank you so much for the VERY kind words! Your English is MUCH better than my Italian, so you have nothing to apologize for!

I’d love to come back to Italy, and soon. When I was in school, in England, we’d spend our summers outside of Milan. I miss it terribly.

The problem with Lucca is, it usually falls on Halloween, and I really try to spend holidays with my wife and daughter. But I do have a many friends there, and I miss them all. It’s also one of my all-time favorite conventions. So…possibly..?

I’m sorry I missed you at Lucca 2014 – it was a crazy huge convention. I’m going over my 2018 schedule now: if I’m not back at Lucca next year, perhaps there will be another Italian show.

In any case, Italy’s definitely top of my list to get back to, and soon! And I’ll certainly re-draw you that card. Tell your boyfriend he loses a level!

With many thanks,

John

 

 

[syndicated profile] queer_ya_feed
In Chapter Six, Wyatt blogs his first impression about Abraham Lincoln from his book of primary source letters: That Abraham Lincoln was in love with another guy. That Abraham Lincoln was gay.

Want to start reading from the beginning? Click here for chapters One and Two.

To read about why I'm serializing my entire YA novel for free on this blog, click here.

Thoughts? Reactions? #queerasafivedollarbill / #qaafdb fan art? Share them as comments here or on social media (facebook, twitter, or instagram.)

Okay community, here's Chapter Seven!





* *

Chapter 7
Monday January 12

            Mr. Guzman faked a yawn as he examined Jennie’s blog on his hand-held tablet. “So Lincoln established Thanksgiving as our national holiday… why should we care? Where’s your first impression?” Their I’m-not-a-substitute teacher walked the front of the room like it was his own personal kingdom. He’d been telling everyone what was wrong with their blog posts and why he’d given them some version of a ‘C.’ Eight minutes of class left and there were only four still standing: Jennie – who was under the ax – Mackenzie, Wyatt, and Jonathon.
            Jennie giggled nervously.
            Mr. Guzman continued his video-game-worthy massacre. “You’re in high school now, Miss Woo, and you need to dig deeper. ‘C-minus,’ but I’m being generous.”
            Jennie giggled again, which Wyatt thought was just weird.
            “And now, to use the technical term, the bat-shit crazy book reports.” That made the class titter. He swiped the screen to call up the next blog. “Miss Miller!”
            Mackenzie stopped playing with the end of her fancy French braid and poised her fingers over her laptop keyboard, ready to take down every word Mr. Guzman said.
            “Calling Lincoln an occultist and arguing that his belief that the living could communicate with the dead inspired his Gettysburg Address, among other speeches, is quite the first impression.”
            Mackenzie broke in, “I said it influenced him. Not inspired.” She was the first one of them to protest at all. Wyatt gave her props for that. “It’s possible Lincoln was just so in love with Mary that he went along with it, but he went to a séance! Surrounded with all the deaths in the Civil War, his own two sons dying, and the guilt… I think he at least wanted to believe that you could talk to dead people.”
            Mr. Guzman made a snapping sound with his mouth. “I’m not sure how you’re going to prove that, but either way, annotating one speech would have been sufficient. No one has time to read what would print out to be eighteen pages of material on a blog. Consider the math of it: I have four classes. “C-minus again.”
            The color drained from Mackenzie’s face. Wyatt knew it was the lowest grade she’d ever gotten, and it could ruin her perfect GPA.
            “Speaking of math, Mr. Yarrow…” Mr. Guzman put down the tablet on his desk, entwined his fingers and stretched them out, like this particular grading murder was going to be extra work.
            Wyatt tried to keep his face completely blank. He told himself he wouldn’t react, no matter what happened.
            “What a load of crap you posted.”
            Jonathon led the room’s explosion of laughter.
            Mr. Guzman waited for them to settle. “For someone whose family lives and breathes the history of Abraham Lincoln, I must say I was roundly disappointed. While I applaud your use of video, I found it hard to believe your book came out – forgive the pun – and said that Abraham Lincoln was gay.”
            Whispers of disbelief swirled around him. Wyatt guessed no one had read his post.
            Mr. Guzman continued, “In fact, when I spoke with Mr. Clifton at the library an hour ago, he assured me that was NOT in your book. Thus, what you’ve presented to the world is lies, or if I’m continuing to be generous, I might call it ‘offensive conjecture.’ A book report is not where we make things up. ‘F.’ The one failing mark for the entire ninth grade.”
            But… I didn’t make it up!
With Jonathon snickering and nasty stares boring into him from all sides, Wyatt felt Thai-chili-pepper-level heat engulf him. He sank down in his chair.
            Jonathon stage-whispered to Charlie, “What a fag!”
            Charlie answered in the same let-everyone-hear-but-pretend-it’s-just-between-us voice, “Yeah, Mosquito ball fag!”
            They cracked up.
            “Gentlemen, that’s enough.” A scowling Mr. Guzman picked up his tablet again. “And finally, Mr. Rails…”
            Jonathon swung around from smirking at Wyatt. He’d been giving him that I’m-so-happy-to-watch-you-crash-and-burn attitude all first period P.E., too, but Wyatt couldn’t figure out how Jonathon had known in advance Mr. Guzman had failed him.
            “I saved your critique for last, because frankly, even though you clocked in with only one minute to spare…” here Mr. Guzman’s voice changed, sounding pleasantly surprised. “You used your time relatively well.”
            Jonathon grinned, letting every one of his dentist-brochure-white teeth show.
            Mr. Guzman continued, “Mr. Rails’ book contains transcripts of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. In an elegant display of how ‘the medium is the message,’ his entire blog post took the form of a debate rebuttal to Mr. Yarrow’s blogged piece of… Well, we’ve established what it was.”
            Waves of laugher smashed into Wyatt. He slipped down even lower, wishing he could disappear.
            “Also, Mr. Rails used a quote from his book, citing the source material. And his post was… let’s be real people, I had to read 142 of these, blessedly short. Nicely done, Mr. Rails. You would have received a B-plus. But bullying, in any form, is not acceptable in my classroom, and your blogs are an extension of that domain. Accordingly, I’ve dropped you down to a B-minus.
“Dude! Still the highest grade in the class!” Jonathon bragged, and high-fived Charlie. Then he turned and aimed his finger like a gun at Mackenzie, all, I got you this time.
Mr. Guzman raised his voice to be heard. “Note that you will need to delete the personal attack as soon as humanly possible.”
            Personal attack? Wyatt couldn’t see the screen in Mr. Guzman’s hand.
            Mr. Guzman clicked his tongue and set down his hand-held computer. “That’s everyone. Remember, as we move forward, to state your thesis, and then back it up with evidence from your primary source materials.” He walked over and circled ‘Thesis’ on the white board. “Keep in mind that the more you blog, the more traffic you’ll get. I expect you to address the concerns we discussed…”
            Wyatt stopped listening. He’d ask Mackenzie to borrow her phone right after class – and turn it on – so he could get online and see what Jonathon had said about him.
            He wanted to know. He needed to know, but his stomach clenched at the thought of what he’d discover.

Jonathon Rails’ Book Report Blog for Mr. Guzman’s 9th Grade History Class.Lincolnville High School.Book: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. REAL MEN. REAL AMERICA.
 First Impression Blog Post: Monday, January 12, 5:59 a.m.
Lincoln was not gay. Our greatest president ever, Abraham Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party, was arguing with his advisors and said to them:
                        “If you call a sheep’s tail a leg, how many legs does a sheep have?”
                        “Five,” the advisors agreed.“No,” replied Lincoln. “A sheep only has four legs.” Then Lincoln added, “Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it so.” (pg. 4)
 Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest debaters ever.
Calling him gay doesn't make him gay.
And calling him gay, like Wyatt Yarrow did in his blog? You’d have to be some kind of gay idiot to do that.

* *

“I want you to delete your post.” It was the first thing Mr. Guzman said in their ‘chat’ after school. “Your whole blog, in fact. Start over.”
“I don’t want to start over!” Reading what Jonathon blogged had made Wyatt want to prove this even more.
Mr. Guzman made a clicking sound and sighed. “Mr. Yarrow, I failed you because you were making things up–”
“I didn’t!”
“…And with a failing grade, I’m required to notify your parents.”
“That’s not fair! I worked hard on it, and it’s true!” Wyatt realized he was shouting, and fought to get back in control.
Mr. Guzman swiveled in his desk chair. “You really believe your book, this…” He scanned a spreadsheet he’d printed out. “Joshua Fry Speed, proves Abraham Lincoln was gay?”
“Yes.”
“It’s the first I’ve heard of it.”
“I thought we were supposed to dig deep?”
Wyatt’s teacher chuckled at that. “Not so far that you lose touch with reality. There is a core to the Earth after all. Molten lava, I believe.”
“You’re letting Mackenzie do séances…” Wyatt got an inspiration. “And if I pull it, what’s Jonathon going to debate?”
Mr. Guzman seemed on the fence.
“Come on… I read the whole book, I did the assignment. I’ve got a thesis! Let me prove it.”
Mr. Guzman considered. “David Rice Atchison, President eleven point five, huh?” He was quiet for a moment more. Wyatt waited, not sure which way it would go. Finally, his teacher decided. “How about I let you do a make-up post? And when I say ‘make-up,’ you need to show me you’re not making it up. I want to see sound reasoning, and citations.” He stood and started packing his satchel. “I’ll give you till midnight Friday to post something to back up your thesis, such as it is, so I can see where this is going. And if you can’t convince me, then on Monday I’m afraid you’ll have to start over.”
Wyatt was relieved he was getting a chance.
            “I’m curious.” Mr. Guzman paused and looked over at Wyatt. “You don’t have any new material on Lincoln – your book is older than I am. So, if you’re working from the same body of evidence as the rest of the world, why are you suddenly able to see that Lincoln was gay when no one else has?”
            Wyatt felt the trap there, and he blustered. “Well, it’s not like I’m gay or anything! I’m dating Mackenzie!”
Mr. Guzman gave a nod. “She seems like a girl who knows what she wants.”
The fact that he didn’t just slam gay people was a silence that shouted in Wyatt’s mind. He needed to test the waters a little more. How would Jonathon put it? “I don’t know any fags myself, but if Lincoln was one, that’s important, isn’t it?”
Mr. Guzman studied Wyatt for a long moment. “Mr. Yarrow. I don’t want to hear that word in my classroom again.
“Sorry,” Wyatt shrugged, elated but trying to keep his emotions in check. “What about you telling my folks?”
            After a tongue click, Mr. Guzman said, “I’ll hold off on contacting your parents. For now. Do we have an understanding?”
            Fine. He’d show that jerk Jonathon and Mr. Guzman that he was right. That Abe was gay. But all he said was “Yeah,” and got the heck out of there before Mr. Guzman could change his mind.
            Wyatt had work to do.

* *

            Wyatt was in the living room on the red and yellow Turkish rug by the fireplace. If asked, he could tell guests these kinds of rugs were popular in the 1800s. But this one was from Costco.
            He had a bunch of volumes of The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln out of the glass bookcase, and he was going through the huge index (all of volume twelve) when the doorbell rang. Which was odd, because they were kind of like a hotel – during the day, people just walked in. The clouds were already showing off pink and gold sunset colors, and it was just after 5 p.m.
            Wyatt heard his mom open the front door. “Ira? Where did the time go – is it seven already? Let me get Gregory…”
            “Um, no. Actually, Mrs. Yarrow, no bowling for me tonight. I’m here on official library business.”
            Wyatt put volume twelve on top of Joshua Fry Speed to hold his spot in both, curious. What was Mr. Clifton talking about?
            “Really, Ira. You can call me Liz. ‘Mrs. Yarrow’ makes me sound like my mother-in-law.”
            “I just feel we should keep things official. Me being here on business and all.”
            Wyatt inched to the doorway, careful to keep out of sight.
            “Oh!” His mom chuckled. “You make it sound like you work for the F.B.I.!”
            “I wish I could find some humor in this as well, Mrs. Yarrow. Unfortunately, there’s a matter about which I might lose my job, and I need your help. Specifically, I need Wyatt’s help.”
            Mine?
            His mom’s voice got quieter. “Come in. Wyatt’s doing homework in the living room. This Lincoln blog project has him all fired up.”
            “Ira!” Wyatt’s dad’s voice. “You’re early!”
            There was a pause. Wyatt guessed they were shaking hands.
            “He has something he needs to discuss with Wyatt?” His mom tried to explain, but she sounded baffled. Wyatt was, too.
            Adult steps came down the hall. Wyatt scrambled back to his pile of books, pretending to study. As they walked in, he was underlining ‘Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, letters to’ in his notebook.
            “Wyatt?” His dad said.
            To seem busy, Wyatt added an exclamation point. He glanced up, feigning surprise.
            “Sorry to interrupt you. Your mom and I love that you’re studying, it’s just that Mr. Clifton stopped by and he’s saying he needs our help.”
            Their town librarian was sweating, and it was January. What was going on?
            Mr. Clifton stammered out the words, “Wyatt. The… the book about President Lincoln I gave you…”
            Wyatt made a huge effort to not let his eyes move to it, under volume twelve right in front of him. One brown corner was poking out. “Yeah?”
            “I… I made a mistake in allowing it to be checked out. You see, it’s really a reference book, and I’ve violated a rather important guideline of library science by allowing it to enter circulation.”
            Wyatt thought about the crumbly spine, and how he’d been careful with it. But right now, it was being squished. “I didn’t hurt it or anything!”
            “I just… I need to get it back.”
            “But I need it for my report! I’m supposed to have it for six weeks!”
            “I’m sure we can find you another book. That one needs to come back to the library. Tonight.”
            Wyatt couldn’t hold the words in. “But you gave it to me! You never know where a book can take you, remember?”
            Mr. Clifton flushed and puffed out his cheeks. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Every Lincoln book was assigned randomly, and your getting a reference book was simply a mistake.”
            He’s lying!
            “The bottom line is, I need that book back, now.” Mr. Clifton took a step towards Wyatt but Wyatt’s dad got between them.
            “Ira… I don’t know how appropriate this is. Wyatt didn’t do anything wrong.”
            “I’m not saying he did. It’s just that I could lose my job over this!”
            “That’s ridiculous.” Wyatt’s mom said. “No one’s going to fire you for checking out a reference book.”
            Mr. Clifton sniffed. “Some of us serve at the whim of the Mayor. You should understand that.”
            Wyatt’s dad shifted to the tone of voice he used when someone complained about running out of hot water, or the rooms being too drafty, and he tried to convince them that what they got was actually what they had wanted in the first place – a real Civil War-Era experience. “What’s the harm in letting the boy have the book for now? I’ve used the historical reference section. It’s not like there are hordes of people lined up for those books. He’ll return it safe and sound when it’s due.”
            Mr. Clifton gaped at the three of them. “You don’t understand!”
            “We’ll make sure he returns it not a day late. But until then, Wyatt has homework.” With an iron grip on his arm, Wyatt’s dad guided Mr. Clifton out of the room. It felt really good, his dad standing up for him and everything.
            His mom gave Wyatt a worried look, then followed them.
            He listened to the adults argue in the entry hall. Mr. Clifton’s voice was shrill. “I told her no one’s going to believe a high school kid’s book report, but the Mayor wants this dealt with. Have you seen his blog post?”
            There was a pause, like they were calling it up on the reception computer.
            Moving quietly, Wyatt took Joshua Fry Speed: Lincoln’s Most Intimate Friend, turned it so the plain back cover faced out, and sandwiched it in the glass bookcase behind volumes eleven and twelve of The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln. Then he pulled out volumes one through ten so they were all even.
            Completely hidden.
            He could hear his video playing on the tinny desk speakers. With a twist of the old-fashioned skeleton key, he locked the bookcase, and slid the key into his jeans pocket. Slipping out to the stairs, he stayed silent as a Civil War ghost. He stopped on the second floor landing, listening.
            Mr. Clifton cleared his throat. “It’s like Pandora’s Box.”
Who?
“All hell is going to break loose because of this,” Mr. Clifton continued. “I’m just trying to close it again.”
            But he gave me the book on purpose! Does he know about me? Wyatt tried to figure it out. Maybe Mr. Clifton had seen him hide Absolutely… But if he did know, and that’s why he gave him Joshua Fry Speed, wasn’t it because he wanted Wyatt to find out about Lincoln?
            He couldn’t hear what his parents said, but Mr. Clifton’s words hit him in the gut. “Did Wyatt tell you he got an ‘F’ on this report?”
            That bastard.
            Wyatt snuck the rest of the way up to the third floor. He had to get ready for the Inquisition.
            A thought stopped him at the hallway bookcase by Room Eight. His laptop was dead – at breakfast, his mom had given him a twenty-minute lecture about responsibility, and how he wouldn’t get a new computer until he could buy one with his own money. Given that he barely had twenty dollars saved up, and he only made twenty-nine cents for every coffee-aged document they sold downstairs, that was going to take a while.
The reception computer was off-limits except for homework. His parents and Mr. Clifton were on that now, anyway… but they did have this old set of Encyclopedias. Wyatt had never really thought of the cream, blue, and red-striped leather-bound set as anything more than period wallpaper, but maybe it had something on Pandora. After all, Wyatt figured, that’s what people did before the internet, right?
            He grabbed volume 18, ORN-PHT, and headed to his room.
            Turned out Pandora was this girl who got a box from the King of the Gods. Only she wasn’t allowed to open it. Of course, she did open it, and from inside all the different kinds of evil escaped into the world.
            Why would the truth about Abe loving another guy be evil?
            With the box open and all these Evils escaping, Pandora panicked, and slammed the lid shut. But that left only one thing trapped inside: Hope.
            Wyatt wondered if she ever let that out.
            He wished he hadn’t ruined his laptop after all. Maybe in computer lab he could add his blog as an external link to the Wikipedia article on Lincoln.
            The world needed to know, and he wanted to tell everybody.
            It was time to let Hope out.
            But first, he’d have to deal with his dad and mom, and make sure they didn’t know about him.

* *


* *
Endnotes for Chapter 7 
On his blog, Jonathon quotes Lincoln’s joke about “calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it so.” Abe did say this, but it wasn’t included in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates book I imagined Jonathon had for his book report (not on page 4 or elsewhere.) I actually found this Lincoln quote on page 194 of The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln: A Treasury of Quotations, Anecdotes, and Observations, Edited by James C. Humes, Gramercy Books, Random House, 1996.

* *

Want to know why I'm serializing my entire YA novel for free right her on this blog? Click here.

Ready for Chapter Eight? It will be posted on October 27, 2017.

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the Last Good Idea

Oct. 20th, 2017 12:00 am
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October 20th, 2017next

October 20th, 2017: TODAY'S MY BIRTHDAY! Looks like *I* completed an orbit around the sun and now deserve a moderate slice of cake!!

– Ryan

Eating, Reading, Making

Oct. 19th, 2017 02:29 pm
forestofglory: E. H. Shepard drawing of Christopher Robin reading a book to Pooh (Default)
[personal profile] forestofglory
Eating:I made Thai inspired yellow curry the other night with tofu, cauliflower and sweet potatoes. It wasn't bad. The people in my household I was feeding liked it.

Reading: I started So You Want to be a Robot and Other Stories by A. Merc Rustad because many people whose taste I trust liked it. Currently only two stories in but I like it so far.

Making: I'm sewing a dress for me! I don't sew a lot for myself or for adults so this exciting.

Update

Oct. 19th, 2017 08:43 pm
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[personal profile] hooloovoo_42
Life has been busy for the last couple of weeks.  Pa had to move out of his previous flat.  The initial plan was to move him over the weekend of 8/9 Oct, but we couldn't get the new phone line installed until 17 Oct, so it was all delayed a week.  Everything was successfully  completed last weekend and we managed to cull some of the crap Pa has rounded up in the last 2.5 years.  He still had far more than enough crap that had to be moved.  Now we're sorting out changing all the stuff like council tax and TV licence to the new address.

My house is still an utter tip due to all the stuff coming here from Pa's house.  I'm having a weekend at home to try and get at least some of it organised.

I went to the flicks for the first time since War for the Planet of the Apes this week and saw both The Ninjago movie and Victoria and Abdul.  V&A is an excellent movie with a lot of humour in it.  Ninjago was OK, but not nearly as good as the previous Lego movies.  I still have the new Kingsman movie to see and then there's Paddington 2, Thor: Ragnorok and Murder on the Orient Express coming out soon.

Ma isn't well at the moment.  She's having intermittent acute back pain which is causing her enough trouble that she can't get in the car, sit still or get in and out of bed when it's bad.  After not much by way of actual caring by the GPs, the local district nurse told them she needed attention.  She's been referred to a physio, who doesn't know what's up and has referred her for an MRI at an as yet to be determined time.  Until then, they've just increased the painkillers and she's pretty much housebound and not able to do any of the activities or exercise sessions she normally goes to.

In other news, a whole bunch of my neighbours are selling up.  Two of the three houses houses across the side road are for sale plus one round the corner.  Mrs Across the Back died while I was away and her house has just gone on the market.  But, more importantly, Mrs End of the Block is hoping to move in the next month.  She's got itchy feet and has been looking over the summer for somewhere to move to in Dav.  She's found a house in the centre of town and if all the surveys go to plan, she'll be buying it.  If she does move, I'll miss popping round for a cuppa and having a helping hand for odd jobs.  I can always go round at lunchtime or after work, as she's only up the road from the office, but it's not the same.  At least I'm getting to know the new Next Doors better, so I shall have someone to hold my spare key.

Work continues.  I've got written 2 audit reports in the last 2 weeks and have another one almost complete.  After that, there's Business Continuity, Council Tax and possibly a high spend procurement project audit to do.  

TV wise, I'm enjoying Tin Star and rewatching assorted Stargate series.  

But most of all I just want sleep.  I'm going to bed earlier and actually slept through pretty much without waking up on Monday night.  A few more like that might help.

Wednesday Media Consumption Roundup

Oct. 18th, 2017 06:38 pm
mousetrappling: Photo of me wearing tinsel as a feather boa (Default)
[personal profile] mousetrappling

Books



Fiction: Still reading "Patriot Games", Tom Clancy which has rather been visited by both the sexism fairy & the racism fairy in the 15 or so years since I last read it. Not enough to make me stop reading it but enough to make me wonder if they maybe don't deserve a space in the house any more. See how the rest of them go.

Non-fiction: still reading Gerald Harriss's "Shaping the Nation: England 1360-1461" - I've now finished the chapter on England's relationship with France & with wider Christendom from 1360-1413. The war with France in this period sort of dribbled on with Richard II getting less & less interested (too keen on establishing authority at home) but with neither side decisively winning enough to enforce their own view of what peace should look like. Finally a truce (more of a stalemate) signed when Richard married Isabella of France, which came to an end after the French were scandalised by Henry IV deposing an anointed king. But they were too busy with their own civil war to really do anything about this - in fact both sides even invited Henry IV in to support their side, which reignited a sense in the English that they could make gains in France.

Maps: 1300-1492 CE - in this period it's the Mongols whose meteoric rise & conquest reshapes the world even after their political collapse & fragmentation. In the Americas the first two substantial empires have risen - the Aztecs & the Incas. As the world is on the cusp of European expansion there were also a couple of spreads about themes related to this - the trade networks pre-1492 and also the spread of writing systems across the world. Notable in both cases that Eurasia was all linked together, but the Americas seemed to be small enclaves with fewer lines of contact. Also, I hadn't really realised that the Incas are the only empire which didn't have writing.

Listening



Podcasts: ep 43-52 of Renaissance English History podcast. She's really hit her stride by now - and is interleaving solo episodes with interviews with someone from the Tudor Times website so there's two different sets of perspectives. Currently she's looking at rebellions during the Tudor period.

Sunday podcast: ep 11 & 12 of Our Man in the Middle East - 9/11 & the beginning of the Second Iraq War. So we got the bits of GWB's speech that made me annoyed at the time and the bits of Blair's various speeches that annoy me in retrospect as we now know he was lying.

Music: while running I've mostly listened to Voice of the Beehive and the 100 Hits Rock compilation. While J was out last night at the cinema I listened to more Belle & Sebastien, plus an album by Bellowhead (which I'd completely forgotten we had, and also forgotten that I enjoyed it). And now moved on to Belly, listening to several EPs and a compilation that has Feed the Tree on it (Ladykillers). I just listen to the albums (discs, folders, however you want to think of them given it's on the computer) in the order the computer presents them to me so I think I get actual Belly albums after the compilation.

Live music: Marillion at the Royal Albert Hall. Which was great - first set was F.E.A.R (their most recent album) and then after the interval they played a selection from their back catalogue.

Exhibitions



Visited the Scythians Exhibition at the British Museum - liked it a lot, they're steppe nomads from the 1st millennium BCE, and because of the conditions where they buried their dead (cold) they've not only found the obvious things like gold ornaments but also some well preserved textiles so we know what they actually wore.

Watching



ep 2 of Russia with Simon Reeve - the middle of Russia, which felt like it included a lot of the places that feel left behind by the growth that bits of Russia are seeing. And areas that had suffered particularly when the Soviet Union collapsed & the mafia took over.

ep 3 of Dangerous Borders - the end of this series, with the two journalists travelling the easternmost section of the India/Pakistan border. Perhaps the most distressing of the series too, there were places they visited in this one where it seems the violence sparked by Partition never stopped.

ep 2 of The Yorkshire Wolds - watched as a lightweight half hour antidote to the one above. Paul Rose walking the Yorkshire Wolds, which is a short enough path that it only took 2 half hour episodes to cover it. Rather odd series tbh, but fluffy & fun.

Glam Rock at the BBC - the BBC trawling their archives again to give us a selection of glam rock performances. Fluff, but fun.

Marc Bolan: Cosmic Dancer - a biography of Marc Bolan (i.e. the guy in T-Rex) who would've been 70 this year if he'd not died at the age of 29. Unlike many similar programmes about rock stars from the BBC this wasn't a hagiography. I didn't know much about Bolan going in (and I only really know a couple of T-Rex songs) but my goodness he came across as a bit of a dick.
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Just Between Us by J.H. Trumble

Luke Chesser is back, and it looks like his luck may be changing when he makes a surprising connection with one of the marching band field techs, Curtis Cameron.

But just as their relationship is set to launch, Curtis is diagnosed HIV positive. Too ashamed to tell anyone, he puts off treatment and pulls the plug on his relationship with Luke. He won't risk infecting another person. But Luke won't let go so easily. The two soon find themselves struggling to either define their relationship in terms they can both live with or end it altogether.

Add your review of "Just Between Us" in comments!

Wrinkle in Time

Oct. 18th, 2017 01:34 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
OK, so I actually read "Wrinkle in Time" (and book #2 but not any more). I think I'd had the impression that I'd read it at some point and forgotten, but now I think I never read it at all, it's really really different to anything I remember reading.

It's very good at what it does.

It's very shivery when they realise how far the horrible grey mist on the universe has spread.

It sets up a very convincing backdrop of angels and other beings fighting against badness with human help, in ways where this is how the universe works, and what people stumble upon is the same stuff that scientists like the childrens' parents are just starting to discover.

The characters of the children (well, mostly Meg and precious Charles Wallace at this point) are very good.

I stumbled on the narrative convention of mentor figures swooping in and saying "hey children, only you can do this, you need to go through this set of trials, when this happens, do this, you don't need to know about X, good luck". Like, that's a common narrative convention that works very well: you just don't question too hard the mentor figures have some special insight into how quests turn out. It's especially useful in childrens books because you can explain what needs to happen directly to the main character and reader. (Think of all the stories of stumbling onto the first person you meet in a secondary world who says, you need to do X, Y and Z.) But eventually you read too many books where it doesn't work like that that you start to question. Even if you don't ask if they might be lying, you wonder, could they really not spare twenty minutes to summarise the biggest risks and how to avoid them? How do they know what's going to happen? If this is all preordained, they why are they providing even this much help, and if not, and the fate of the world hangs on it, can they really not provide any more help?

This is partly me having been spoiled for some simple narrative conventions by being exposed to too many variants, and possibly (?) me not understanding theology well enough (I'm not sure how much this is something that is supposed to actually happen for real, and how mcuh it's just a book thing?) It doesn't always fail me, this is basically how Gandalf acts all the way through LOTR "OK, now we're going to do this because, um, fate" and I'm happy to accept it all at face value, even when other people quibble, but in some books it bothers me.

ST: Discovery vs. B5: Crusade

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:04 pm
sparrowsion: (mini-sparrow)
[personal profile] sparrowsion
Compare and contrast:
  1. Captains Gabriel Lorca and Matthew Gideon: "obstinate, difficult, independent, not prone to following orders from home, not politically astute...but he'll get the job done" (quote via Wikipedia).
  2. Michael Burnham and John Matheson: not trusted by all of their crewmates.
  3. "Discovery" and "Excalibur": experimental ships running on a blend of technologies.
  4. The tension between conflict and exploration: the intended rôles for the ships and how we see them, and the series in question considered against its progenitor.

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