(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 05:41 pm
marina: (scifi janelle)
[personal profile] marina
Life is good right now, and I want to record that, before I probably lose my apartment in the next few months, as I do every year for the past 5 years. Probably in some spectacular last minute clusterfuck, as has happened in 2 out of those 5 years.

Anyway, I'm still reading Ninefox Gambit and enjoying it a lot. My health is better. Not "healthy person" better, but definitely better than it's been in say, two years. I'm going to London soon, which is so, so exciting.

The thesis has been... awful, but awful in the usual academic-grind sort of way.

This morning my maternal grandmother's youngest sister died. I couldn't make it to the funeral, but weekend plans (mostly thesis plans) will have to be altered to go grieve with family. Her granddaughter just got married a few weeks ago.

I'm sad, even though I didn't spend a lot of time with her in recent years, since my grandparents died and we stopped celebrating their birthdays and anniversaries as big family events.

My grandmother was 12 when she and her sisters and her mom and her grandma and two of her female cousins were all living in a Nazi concentration camp. This sister, the youngest, remembers that time the least, but she was old enough then to help with the missions, where their mom would send them out in pairs to try and escape the camp illegally and get food and supplies in the nearby village.

Every outing meant risk of capture and death, so the girls always went in pairs with a cousin, not a sister. My great-grandmother wanted to ensure that she could never be blamed for putting her own children ahead of her nieces.

Anyway, it's a sad day. My own grandmother in New York just got out of a 3 month stay at the hospital, and I'm grappling with the fact that it's very likely I'll never see her again.

The sun is shining, and there are flowers outside, and I still have a bed and a kitchen and a closet that are entirely my own. I suppose that's something.
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I was reading this one at the same time as I was reading Sorting The Beef From The Bull, which was like a natural sciences one-two punch; I would read Sorting while commuting, and Remarkable Creatures in bed at night. 

Remarkable Creatures is the fictionalized story of two real-life people, Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, who were fossil hunters in Lyme Regis in England back when we were just starting to like, figure dinosaurs out. It follows their relationship, and their struggles to be seen as legitimate contributors to the scientific record, for several years.

I didn’t actually know the account was based in real life until after I’d finished reading, which did ameliorate some of my disappointment with the book, because it’s hard to make a climactic narrative out of peoples’ real lives – reality just doesn’t flow as smoothly as fiction. But I won’t lie: I am still pretty disappointed that Elizabeth and Mary didn’t end up together. I thought that was totally where we were heading.

Mind you, the story of their friendship is compelling, and Chevalier did find a way to create rising action within the story, even though as she put it in the afterword, Mary Anning basically did the same thing every day for years, in terms of hunting fossils. 

As an account of fossil hunting, of the religious wrestling that people had to do with the concept of extinction, and of the way women were treated in the era, it’s a really great book. And it’s also a fast read, which I’ve come to expect from Chevalier. And honestly, this is the first book of hers I’ve read where the female leads don’t get married, though this is in part because the real-life Mary and Elizabeth didn’t either. 

But it still feels like Chevalier’s books are always about women settling. It’s the same problem – I know that’s what women have had to do, and I’m sure she does it intentionally at least in part to remind us of that fact. I just want more for these heroines. 

But if you’re interested in paleontology, Do Recommend, it’s a good book. Less frustrating than The Last Runaway, certainly, and the characters feel more compelling, more three-dimensional, than some of those in Girl With A Pearl Earring. 

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copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
I don’t know why it surprises me, my summers are always bananas, but July looks especially bonkers this year. Of the 20 possible workdays in July, I’m out for conferences, vacation, or workshops for a full half of them. I’m properly working only ten days in the entire month of July. 

I mean, I’m not unhappy about it. And thank god for a great paid leave package. I’m going to be traveling to cool places and doing neat things. It’s just kind of surreal. Like how last year I was only in the office for one week in all of June. 

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copperbadge: (literate men need books)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Taking a little break from Tracy Chevalier (we’ll be back to her soon)...

So, [tumblr.com profile] terrie01 recommended this book to me during a discussion on food fraud, and it’s been a really...interesting experience. On the one hand it’s a very informative book, packed full of detail and data, but on the other oh man is it dry. I didn’t realize what a struggle it was to get through until I started reading Extra Virginity this morning, which is about the same general topic (focused on olive oil) but is much more engagingly written.

Sorting the Beef From The Bull focuses on food fraud from a legislative and economic angle; I can imagine for people working in the industry it’s a little more accessible, and I don’t think it’s a badly written book. It’s just jammed with a combination of dense law and complex biochemistry, when what I (a non-lawyer, non-scientist) wanted was like...war stories about food fraud.

text )

(no subject)

Jun. 19th, 2017 08:24 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Before we begin, a quick reminder: when you submit a link and a blurb, you guys are your own best advocates. Try to look at the sites you're submitting and think, If I knew nothing about this situation, would what I'm seeing be helpful? And if not, try to include more context. You can give me more than one link, and it's often helpful to do so.

(This isn't specific to this week, just starting to notice a trend over the last six months where not enough context is available for me to write the blurb, let alone for others to be informed about it. Just a gentle nudge in the right direction!)

Ways to Give:

Julie is raising funds to cover rent; she has a job lined up but won't have a paycheck in time for July's rent. (This is a link I'm sharing rather than one that was submitted to RFM, so while I wasn't sure I should post Julie's username, I'll vouch for her personally.) You can read more and support the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] charlietheskonk is fundraising for a new Montessori preschool with wrap-around care; the fundraiser is to support startup and licensing costs, and supports a queer-owned business. You can read more and reblog here, or check out the fundraiser and give here.

[tumblr.com profile] digitaldiscipline linked to Jenn Vs. Trevor, a charity deadlift battle to raise funds for the winner's local Humane Society branch. You can reblog the link here and read more and donate here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received, including a recent rent increase. They are frequently running out of money for gas to even do odd jobs for pay. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

Anon linked to the EPA, which is soliciting public comment about the Second Five-Year Review Report for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site. The report indicates that the levels of PCBs in the river are still too high, but the EPA is not planning any active measures to reduce them. You can read more here and find contact information here to tell the EPA the Hudson River deserves better.

RSF linked to public comments solicitation about a plan to "trim" the US National Monuments; activists are working to make it known how important they are, and that monuments like Bears Ears should be saved. You can learn more and comment here.

News to Know:

[tumblr.com profile] drgaellon linked to a linkslist for religious LGBTQ people who are struggling with their faith's attitudes towards their orientation; included are sites that validate queer orientations for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths, including a site specifically for trans Jewish people. You can find the links and reblog here.

Housing:

[tumblr.com profile] worldsonpaper is looking for a new flatmate in Sydney, 15 minutes by train from the CBD. She is LGBT+ friendly but requests no male applicants. Bedroom with a shared bath, $250/wk plus internet; electricity and water are covered in the rent. $900 bond. You can contact her via ask on tumblr or at wieldswords at gmail.com.

[tumblr.com profile] blackestglass is looking for a roommate in the greater DC/Northern VA area, to move in on August 1. She is in a 2br/2ba condo, Metro accesible, with free parking, gym access, and in-unit laundry. Master suite is available for $1290/mo plus utilities, or the smaller suite is available for $1190/mo, with lower rent if the parking space isn't needed and can be rented out. You can read more and get in touch here.

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

the state of things

Jun. 18th, 2017 10:58 am
marina: (amused Godric)
[personal profile] marina
Life has been... nice, in the last few days. Productive.

deets )

I also spent Saturday, when I wasn't doing thesis stuff, reading Ninefox Gambit by [personal profile] yhlee.

Someone on twitter told me the book's first 100 pages were very difficult to get through, but after that it was worth it. I'd say that the first 50 pages are the exposition/introduction, and if I hadn't been prepared for them I might have indeed quit at that point because it just felt very dense in details and low on stakes, but after those 50 pages the story actually starts, and maaaaan.

I've missed just ENJOYING a science fiction book. Not reading for research, or an article, or a review, but just... reading. Purely for my own pleasure. And this book is so, so much fun. Usually when I wake up on weekdays I watch something on my ipad in bed for a few minutes, like a buzzfeed video or a daily show clip or whatever. I do it in between checking my email and whatever.

This morning I woke up, reached for Ninefox Gambit, read it for the 5-10 minutes I have for that stuff in the morning, and was SO SAD to put it down to go to work. I didn't even touch my ipad or my phone.

In a way this book deserves to be read in increments, and I wouldn't actually recommend binging it, because it's so thick in details and nuance and worldbuilding, the details take time to settle, at least for me.

*

In other news, today is a special day in novella land. Instead of a chapter, there's bonus material! Specifically, a map that goes with the story.

(no subject)

Jun. 14th, 2017 01:41 pm
marina: (Marie ponders)
[personal profile] marina
Yesterday I went a networking event for ex-spies, which was... definitely an experience.

stuff and things )
copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Dutch Baby is by far the most dramatic of all the pastries. 

Look how impressed my owl spoon rest is and DO NOT look at how oh my god filthy my stove is….

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copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Trying to get back into the swing of reviewing books, especially since I’m no longer re-reading the entire Nero Wolfe canon…

So, I recently found a stash of Chevalier’s ebooks on my tablet and decided to re-read Girl With A Pearl Earring, which I very much liked, and then picked The Last Runaway out of the others. The book centers around a young Quaker woman from England, Honor Bright, who at some point in the mid 19th century (I’m a little shaky on the exact date, but pre-Civil War) decides to immigrate to America with her sister Grace after Honor’s fiancee breaks their engagement to marry outside the faith. Spoilers below. 

spoilers! )

Two movies for Pride Month

Jun. 13th, 2017 02:07 pm
marina: (pretty boys)
[personal profile] marina
So, I promised myself that for Pride Month I'd review two movies I've been meaning to talk about forever and will likely never get to otherwise. They both deal with queer Palestinian-Israeli identity, though what I have to say about them will mostly not be focused on that. Bottom line: they're both highly recommended viewing.

In Between (2016) is a film by Palestinian-Israeli director Maysaloun Hamoud about three Palestinian women who were born and raised in Israel sharing an apartment in Tel Aviv.

more deets )

*

Oriented (2015) is a documentary I watched on Netflix, that follows a group of gay men who identify as Palestinian-Israeli and live in Tel Aviv.

more deets )

*

Speaking of things that are appropriate for Pride Month! The novella is now posted up to part 16! (Two out of the four protagonists of this story are explicitly queer.)

I have a lot of feelings about this guys. A LOT. Like I'm pretty sure I'm gonna miss my thesis deadline and be an academic failure thanks to this thing, but. It's slowly migrating out into the world. The words are like, on a webpage. Where people can read them. (Somehow that feels more 'exposed' to me than the fact the book it available for purchase. IDK.)

(no subject)

Jun. 12th, 2017 08:10 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[tumblr.com profile] natasharomanov is a film major with Cerebral Palsy, living in Los Angeles; she recently lost her dream job with a film producer, and is raising funds to keep a roof overh er head and bills paid. She is offering commission work on icons, video edits, and graphic design; you can check out her work and get in touch here.

[tumblr.com profile] in-real-life-there-is-no-algebra will be teaching next year as an 11th grade English teacher in Texas, at a school with very few resources and located in a food desert. She would like to stock her classroom in a way that makes her kids, the majority of whom are Latinx or African-American, feel like they are in a first-rate school with supplies and a great classroom library. She's set up an Amazon Wishlist here where people can help buy books for her students to enjoy.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and hasn't been cleared to return to work, thus can't earn money to cover basic living costs, let alone the bills they've received, including a recent rent increase. They are frequently running out of money for gas to even do odd jobs for pay. You can read more and help out here.

Help For Free:

[personal profile] brainwane linked to Strange Horizons, an online SFF magazine which is seeking two volunteer Associate Editors. The position requires about 3-5 hours of work per week, and works across all departments, assisting with the running and development of the magazine. They are strongly encouraging applications from queer, minority, and non-US/UK residents. You can read more and apply here.

[personal profile] brainwane also linked to WisCon, a feminist SFF convention which is seeking ideas for next year's programming. You don't have to be attending to suggest panels, workshops, and session ideas. Per their website, "WisCon encourages programming that has at least implicit, but preferably explicit, recognition of and engagement with an expansive definition of feminism. We encourage programming that is attentive to issues of gender, sexuality, race, class, disability, and other issues of oppression and/or identity politics." You can read more and make suggestions here.

Housing:

[tumblr.com profile] blackestglass is looking for a roommate in the greater DC/Northern VA area, to move in on August 1. She is in a 2br/2ba condo, Metro accesible, with free parking, gym access, and in-unit laundry. Master suite is available for $1300/mo plus utilities, or the smaller suite is available for $1200/mo, with lower rent if the parking space isn't needed and can be rented out. You can read more and get in touch here.

News To Know:

Carter linked to information about the upcoming Leverage Big (And Mini) Bang, which will be opening for signups in August. You can read more at their tumblr, [tumblr.com profile] leveragebigbang and they're trying to generate as much interest and awareness as possible!


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

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