(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 06:23 pm
selkiesaoirse: (sick and miserable)
[personal profile] selkiesaoirse posting in [community profile] thecityneversleeps
Saoirse has never broken a bone before, but the moment she hears the snap, she knows that's what it is.

It's a silly thing, that does it. She's in the park, at footie practice with the rest of her team from school. She darts in for the ball, and her foot taps it. Just as she lifts it to step, she feels first one body, then another, strike her. She topples, and throws out her hands to catch herself.

SNAP!

She sucks in a sharp breath, and her face turns pink from the outcry that doesn't sound. She's never felt pain like this before. She curls on her side, clutches her arm to her chest, trying to hold it still. It hurts so much.

The kids playing with her crowd around when she doesn't jump back into the game. Their voices blend together until she can't tell one voice from the next. She feels overwhelmed. Tears stream down her face.

The moment an adult sees the ruckus, she's rushed to hospital. It's a flurry of people talking, and the doctor and nurses seem mad that she can't talk. But eventually, she's got a pretty pink cast around her left wrist, and she has a red juice to drink for the pain, and she's free to go home.

It's such an exciting afternoon that by the time it's over, she's ready for a nap.

[ oh no! Saoirse done gone and broke her left wrist during soccer practice. Be a spectator, the person that brings her to the hospital, or visit her at Green Gardens after she's casted up. I know she has a lot of magical friends, but I'd prefer she not get healed magically. Open until this reads otherwise, ST/LT welcome! ]
[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the second episode of the second season of Enterprise, T’Pol tells a story. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek

This is like a more charming version of “Little Green Men,” or perhaps a spiritual successor to “The City on the Edge of Forever,” which isn’t a suggestion that this is merely a copy of something that’s come before. Indeed, there’s a lot here that made this feel unique. For one, it’s a bold choice in terms of focus because the entire episode is devoted to three characters we’ve never met and will likely never see again. It’s an extended flashback AND a story within another story. And it’s all about Vulcans!

Ultimately, I thought “Carbon Creek” was endlessly charming and endearing, which is a feat in and of itself, given that T’Mir, Stron, and Mestral themselves were often so stoic. (Well, maybe not Mestral, but more on that in a bit.) As a storyteller, T’Pol is very matter-of-fact, which is not that surprising, but what thrilled me about this was all the small moments that revealed that Vulcans are not as un-emotional as they claim themselves to be. Here, after crashing on Earth in the 1950s, three Vulcans (including T’Pol’s great grandmother!) attempt to survive on their own before being forced to interact with the people of Carbon Creek, Pennsylvania. The writers exploit a lot of the awkwardness and tension that I expected from this sort of scenario, so in that sense, this was familiar. They’re aliens trying to blend in with humans while avoiding detecting. Of course, there’s gonna be a lot of culture clashing that almost risks spoiling who they really are.

Yet the big thing that distinguishes this from the episodes I mentioned at the start of this is the character work. You can see a similarity between T’Pol and her great grandmother, T’Mir, though T’Mir is much more rigid and strict than T’Pol usually is. There’s Stron, who is unimpressed with humanity and just wants to get home as quick as possible. But Mestral finds humanity fascinating AND THEN PROMPTLY BREAKS ABOUT A BILLION PROTOCOL OUT OF THIS FASCINATION. But it’s rewarding to watch this because he’s so sincere about everything he does. From his decision to hustle people in pool to make money to his interest in Maggie, he commits to everything so completely. He doesn’t half-ass anything in this episode. Why? Well, unlike T’Mir and Stron, he’s willing to engage his emotions. Mestral begins to develop an intense compassion for humanity, and I’m not just referring to his romantic interest in Maggie. That’s a part of this, too, but in hindsight, I see how Mestral rethinks his perception of humans and adjusts himself accordingly. He goes from a curiosity to caring. Look how determined he was to risk himself, his well-being, and the safety of the Vulcans so that he could rescue the other miners! Yes, it was the kind of behavior that could have gotten them all discovered, but that’s partially why this was so rewarding to watch. Mestral became emotional about humans. OF COURSE I WAS GONNA LIKE THIS.

Yet this transformation is not reserved for Mestral alone. T’Mir developed a quiet compassion within “Carbon Creek” as well. She comes to see the tragedy in how money can often limit a person’s opportunities, no matter how “fair” this is or not. Should she have intervened? According to Vulcan protocol, no. She should have left Billy alone and let him delay going to college. BUT SHE INSTEAD “INVENTS” VELCRO, SELLS IT, AND THEN GIVES THE MONEY TO BILLY. Also: oh god, how cheap was tuition back then? I don’t even want to know because I’m sure it’ll make me mad.

So, is every detail in this episode true? I think I’m delighted more by the idea that T’Pol made some of this up; that implies that she’s more creative than she’s letting on. But I don’t doubt that first contact was made in Carbon Creek over two hundred years prior. Instead, I’ll just accept T’Pol’s story at face value. It’s just a story, right?

The video for “Carbon Creek” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

rachelmanija: (Book Fix)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
Illness memoirs, like child abuse memoirs, have a number of pitfalls. They’re about depressing topics and so are hard not to depress the reader, they’re often by people who don’t write professionally and so are not well-written, and as the subject is inherently self-focused, they can very easily come across as self-absorbed. Even if they manage to avoid those problems, many are valuable works of self-help, self-revelation, community-building, comfort, and calls to action… but are not interesting to someone who mostly wants to read a good book.

This one is a good book.

Julie Rehmeyer, a mathematician and science writer, chronicles how chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalopathy (CFS/ME) crept up on her until her entire life had vanished and she was frequently completely paralyzed. While she desperately tried to find a treatment, she instead encountered an array of quacks, snake oil salesmen, nice but useless therapists, nice but useless doctors, a patients’ community full of apparent crackpots, and medical literature claiming that it was a mental illness caused by, essentially, being lazy and whiny.

In desperation, Rehmeyer finally starts listening to some of the apparent crackpots… and when she applies her scientific training to their ideas, she finds that stripped of the bizarre terminology and excessive exclamation points, they sound surprisingly plausible. With her entire life at a dead end and nothing left to lose, she reluctantly decides to try a treatment which is both radical and distinctly woo-woo sounding.

And it works.

But unlike every other “How I cured/treated my illness by some weird method” memoir, the story doesn’t end there. Instead, she not only researches and theorizes about how and why it might have worked, she interviews scientists and doctors, and even arranges to do a double-blind experiment on herself to see if it’s a real cause of her symptoms or the placebo effect. I cannot applaud this too much. (I was unsurprised to find that every article I read on her book had a comment section claiming that her results were due to the placebo effect.)

Lots of people have suggested that I write about my own horrendous illness, crowd-sourced treatment, and jaw-dropping parade of asshole doctors who told me I was lying, a hypochondriac, or crazy. While you’re waiting… read this book instead. Though it’s not the same disease and she was treated WAY better by doctors, a lot of her experience with being beaten over the head with bad science and diagnoses based purely on sexism was very similar. As is much of her righteous rage. I am way more ragey and less accepting than she is. But still. It’s similar.

Overall, this is a well-written and honest memoir that shines a welcome light on a poorly-understood illness. Rehmeyer's perspective as a science writer provides for clarity, justifiable anger, and humor as she takes apart the morass of bad science, victim-blaming, and snake oil that surrounds chronic fatigue syndrome. It's informative without being dry, easy to read and hard to put down.

Through the Shadowlands: A Science Writer's Odyssey into an Illness Science Doesn't Understand
[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the twenty-fourth and penultimate episode of the fourth season of Steven Universe, Steven realizes that residents of Beach City have gone missing. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Steven Universe

By virtue of the fact that I’ve watched season four over the course of many months, I felt like “Are You My Dad?” hit a whole lot harder than if I had watched this straight through. So… yay? Except BOO TO MY HEART, which was not ready for the final scene of this episode. I wouldn’t say that the hints towards this end were subtle, necessarily. It was pretty blatant that two creatures or people were stalking about Beach City. But this episode reveals that everyone who saw them disappeared shortly afterwards.

And while most of this episode is a set-up for something else, it’s not without meaning or emotional power. If anything, it’s kind of sad. We’ve never seen Sour Cream look so dejected as when he’s setting out to plaster the city with posters advertising his missing brother. The same goes for the eerie vacancy inside Big Donut, which is always so full of life and energy. Once you take Lars and Sadie out of the picture, it’s just creepy.

That’s a large part of the tension of “Are You My Dad?” We know that the people of Beach City make it such a vibrant and wonderful place. So what happens when those people are missing? How does Beach City feel then? That sequence where Steven wanders the boardwalk is a great example of how the show uses open space to unnerve the audience. Doesn’t the arcade just feel wrong without anyone in it? It’s the characters who give it life, who make it feel like a place you want to be. Thankfully, Steven finds Barb at the Big Donut, but they’re together for only a few minutes before they realize that this might be the start of something terrible. For the most part, Steven is alone.

Until her. I am not sure if her name is Topaz (was she referring to herself in the third person???), or if that gem was referring to someone else. But up to this point, we’d never seen a gem quite like Topaz. And I had so many questions upon her appearance! What role does she perform within gem society? Why did she act like she was innocently looking for her father? HOW CAN SHE EVEN HAVE A FATHER? What’s with the tear? WHERE DID SHE EVEN COME FROM?

I think it’s natural to assume the worst, and even before the reveal of what she was doing (alongside someone maybe named Chompers???), I figured she had to have come from the Homeworld. After everything that happened at the start of the season, it was only a matter of time before Homeworld retaliated. But… what the hell kind of retaliation was this? An innocent looking gem asking people for her dad? WHAT IS GOING ON?

In hindsight, I see how the writers set this up for maximum impact aside from how creepy it was. Once Steven and Connie head out to find the unnamed gem, there is just so much hope. I LOVE THEIR CONVERSATION. And after all the training that Connie had done, I felt like whatever they faced, at least they had a chance. But the reveal of what was behind those shadows was so completely out of left field that NO ONE, NOT EVEN THESE CHARACTERS, WERE READY. Just… WHAT IS THAT GEM??? If the blue one is Topaz, WHO IS THE OTHER ONE? The one I thought was called Chompers??? How can they just fuse organic bodies within their own? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS SHOW? I recognize that this has a very common structure for hero narratives, given that the final image is absolutely Steven at his lowest. He’s been knocked out, and he’s watching these horrifying gems (ONE OF WHOM HAS A WAND WHAT THE HELL IS THIS HARRY POTTER SHIT) leave with his friends fused inside of them.

I don’t even have a theory. I am just messed up.

The video for “Are You My Dad?” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

musesfool: Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel (not alone in the dark)
[personal profile] musesfool
I cried my way through Gifted on Saturday, and I can only hope CEvans decides to do a sideline in loving dad roles going forward because it's a good look for him. Needed more Octavia Spencer, though.

And yesterday, I watched Orphan Black: Gag and Throttle
spoilers )

In SDCC news:

+ the Black Panther stuff all looks AMAZING
+ Thor: Ragnarok looks delightfully charming
+ Infinity War looks like a hot mess but features beardy Steve in a black stealth suit and Bucky with a new arm, so I'll get over Natasha's blonde hair, I guess. The ability of any movie to service so many characters, otoh...
+ Justice League looks like two separate movies being smooshed into one - I am into Wonder Woman and Aquaman, as well as Alfred and Jim Gordon, but skeptical of everything else. is this a spoiler? )
+ The Star Wars books in the lead up to The Last Jedi look like fun (CHEWIE AND THE PORGS! Legends of Luke Skywalker! A 16yo Princess Leia book! A Canterbury Tales-like anthology! With authors like Ken Liu and Elizabeth Wein and Saladin Ahmed in addition to Claudia Gray and Chuck Wendig!) I am excite!
+ I like that Captain Marvel is going to be set in the 90s - it explains why they cast someone so young as Carol, though I wonder if that means they'll recast for present-day Carol or what. And Nick Fury will be there! And maybe we could get a Peggy Carter cameo!

I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting atm, but work keeps interrupting. Sigh.

***

It's Pride and Prejudice and DRAGONS

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:48 pm
dragovianknight: closeup of a green dragon (Default)
[personal profile] dragovianknight
I'm not generally a big fan of the Jane Austen fanfic genre that's emerged since Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out, but this...THIS I MUST OWN. Heartstone by Elle Katharine White. (Amazon link)
[syndicated profile] markwatchesstuff_feed

Posted by Mark Oshiro

In the forty-first episode of the second season of Gargoyles, the team travels to Flagstaff to help Elisa’s father resolve a part of his history. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Gargoyles.

I still see some of the same problems within this episode as I did in “Heritage,” especially the cardinal sin that we non-Native and non-indigenous folks commit so frequently: equating every tribe and nation with all the others. This episode did feel closer to something far less ambiguous than “Heritage,” but as far as I could tell, the writers still appeared to have grabbed customs or visual references from multiple different groups and combined them all in one. Like, are these people Hopi? Navajo? They could certainly be both, but the episode doesn’t ever make that case at all.

It didn’t help that the flashback at the start of “Cloud Fathers” tread familiar ground. That whole set-up – Peter leaving home despite his father’s protestations – seemed to be the same thing we’d already seen. Peter rejected his heritage and his traditions to seek a better life in the outside world. IT’S BASICALLY THE SAME STORY. Thankfully, that’s about the only thing that the two episodes share. Instead, this is about how Team Gargoyle guides Peter Maza back to his home and what that means for him. Initially, he just wants to stop Xanatos, A NOBLE CAUSE INDEED. There’s something deeply satisfying about that, y’all, because it shows that the Maza family cares about the world independent of Elisa. They’re not involved because of her. And I respect that the show is willing to give us glimpses of their lives outside of the main action, you know?

I’ll also admit that I love the trope of someone being introduced to something fantastical – like Peter learning of the gargoyles – and then refusing to believe a separate fantastical thing. LIKE COYOTE THE TRICKSTER GOD. Dude, there are living, breathing gargoyles literal inches from you, and you don’t want to believe in one of the gods of the religion you were raised in? “Cloud Fathers” paints Peter as stubborn, both in the flashback and in the present time. He’s incredibly resistant to change! And it made me wonder: how had he reacted privately after learning about Derek? About where Elisa had been? I got the sense that it was much harder for him to acclimate to new things than his wife, who dealt with the strangeness of Elisa’s life in stride. But that stubbornness wasn’t just a negative thing, and I’d argue that his dogged pursuit of the truth led him right where he was supposed to be: in Xanatos’s warehouse.

I haven’t said it in a while, but: fuck Xanatos. Y’all, he openly brags about being a villain in this episode! It’s him at his most antagonistic, his most egotistical, his most uncaring. There’s a vicious criticism of cultural appropriation within this story, intentional or not, since it’s about how Xanatos re-purposes and steals things of great cultural value for his own need. The sacred carvings he uses to lure Coyote to that site represent this perfectly: he takes them and gives them a new meaning. They’re part of a trap, not a cultural tradition. He also melts down the Cauldron of Life to make Coyote 4.0’s new suit. Nevermind the cultural meaning of THAT, either! We don’t even find out what happens with that vat of acid, which probably destroyed those carvings.

Xanatos is unchecked greed. He is the force of capitalism within this story. He does what he does because he wants to and because he can. He always escapes responsibility, and it would be silly to discount how much his wealth acts as a shield.

Thus, Peter’s return to the Coyote trickster has an extra meaning. He manages to get Xanatos to leave Flagstaff and the land he leased from the tribe. But Peter also finds a connection to his heritage that he thought he’d lost. SO THANKS, GARGOYLES, FOR DEMONSTRATING THIS THROUGH THAT ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY SCENE WHERE PETER VISITS HIS FATHER’S GRAVE TO APOLOGIZE. NO, NOPE, NOT READY FOR THAT NOW OR EVER.

The video for “Cloud Fathers” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– Please visit my new site for all announcements. If you’d rather not have to rely on checking a website regularly, sign up for my newsletter instead! This will cover all news for Mark Reads, Mark Watches, and my fiction releases. 

quick update

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:29 am
morgandawn: (Cat Basket Going To Hell?)
[personal profile] morgandawn
am working on Vividcon plans. we just spent 4 days trying to trap an injured feral cat on our property (we were successful. or rather all the people who did the work were. I was cheerleading and getting sunburned) so we've fallen waaaaay behind.  and today we are off to see a specialist that we've been trying to see for 10 months (he travels doing medical research). and [personal profile] xlorp is in the midst of emergency coverage for 2 co-workers who are out on family leave/vacation. and....



Weekly Fic Wrap Up: Week 29, 2017

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:19 am
alisanne: (Must_write_porn)
[personal profile] alisanne
Happy Monday, everyone. Stay cool!

Here's this week's list.

Ali's List of Fics: July 17 - July 23 )
And here's what I'm working on:
Ali’s To-Do/WsIP List )

A piece of my heart

Jul. 24th, 2017 01:43 pm
[syndicated profile] asknicola_feed

Posted by Nicola Griffith

Image description: New international access icon. A white figure on square blue background with rounded edges representing a disabled person actively propelling their wheelchair.
Image credit: Sara Hendren & Brian Glenney
Image source: http://www.accessibleicon.org


Each of us knows we are not our friends’ and families’ number one priority. Important, yes. Top of the list, no. Most of us, though, don’t have to face the evidence of a loved one’s blatant disregard for our comfort, safety, and well-being every time we approach their home. As person who uses a wheelchair, I do.

Every time a friend or family member buys, builds, or rents a place I can’t enter, they cut out a piece of my heart. They add to the vast and escalating segregation of my life. I feel unseen, unimportant, and unwelcome. Every time it happens a less-than-lovely voice in my head whispers, Well, that’s not a very smart choice. Don’t you understand that as you age/have babies/grow your circle of friends, you and they will be grateful for universal design. Universal design works for everyone, in every stage of their life. That voice might be less than lovely, but it’s not wrong.

When you break a leg or have surgery on your knee, you’ll be glad you don’t have to try hop up those steps with no rail to hang onto. I’ll be glad, too. When your child brings their baby over, you’ll be glad neither of you has to haul that buggy up the steps. I’ll be glad, too. When it comes time to sell, and you have multiple bids because in addition to the usual real-estate hungry first-time buyers you’ll have all those whose choices are usually severely limited by the availability of accessible space—crips, old people, people with small children, and smart people with friends and relatives—you’ll be very, very glad. Supply and demand, baby. Universal design is a good investment.

Disabled people are 20% of the population. You know one of us whether you realise it or not. Why aren’t you paying attention? Why aren’t you being smart? Universal design is good for you, your friends, and your bank account. Also, it makes me glad; it heals my heart.


(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:06 pm
isolemnly_swear: (close)
[personal profile] isolemnly_swear posting in [community profile] thecityneversleeps
Early June, 2017:

He's not the kind of man who can just do nothing, but James is at a bit of a loss as to what he should do now. Sirius keeps himself busy enough, but other than Apparating into his best mate's house at inappropriate times and bugging Lily, James has nothing to pass his day. Drembleydrop had been fun because it appealed to his sense of nonsense while at the same time letting him do something sport related again, and so when James catches sight of an ad looking for someone to help coordinate sport events at a kid's summer camp, he figures why the hell not?

James gets a job at Jack's summer camp for kids.

[ HERE | ftb | pg ]

July 1, 2017:

Sirius puts the phone back down and James doesn't drop to the floor, but it does take all of his concentration and effort to keep himself standing. His hand reaches out for Sirius unconsciously, to steady himself on his friend's shoulder. He doesn't know what to do next, where he's supposed to go from here. He's checked everywhere he can possibly think of, there's nothing left but to admit that she's gone, and he can't do that. Admitting that means he's lost Harry and Lily both, and that's not an eventuality he's prepared to deal with.

James wakes up and finds Lily gone.

[ HERE | ongoing | pg, sads ]
[syndicated profile] unclutterer_feed

Posted by Alex Fayle

As I head into my vacations, I’m getting myself organized for the new year and for me, that starts in September. I would like to find ways to avoid both the organized disorganization and crisis-inspired chaos that always kills my best intentions to stay on top of my daily tasks and move my various pet projects forward.

Recently, a reader asked about bullet journals, so I investigated the Bullet Journal website created by the digital product designer Ryder Carroll. After poking around, I decided that I’m going to give this system a try. It’s going to be a challenge for me because there seems to be lots of parts to it and various stages. However, I’m going to go in with a good attitude.

First off, I will set myself up on the system before I go away on holiday so that I know exactly what I need to do the day I get back in order to hit the ground running.

My first task is to choose myself a notebook. At work, we have spiral-bound notebooks that have been branded with the company’s image, but I don’t think I will use one of those. The Bullet Journal website also sells their own book, but it’s a bit too expensive for me. Instead, I think I will go for my favorite writing notebook, the Moleskine Journal. It’s a good size, opens flat on the desktop well, and is about the same size as my iPad so can go into the iPad’s slipcover for easy transport.

While it might take me a while to get used to the various ways bullet points are expressed through rapid logging (there seem to be so many!), I rather like the idea of putting an ever-growing index at the beginning of the journal. Always in the past, I’ve made to-do lists and then once I’ve crossed off or migrated the task, I’ve forgotten about it, making it a challenge to remember the repetitive tasks that I do every year, every month, or even every week. By having an index that I can refer to at a glance, I’ll be able to remind myself of what sorts of things I need to be thinking about.

(On a side note, it has suddenly occurred to me that I should probably include personal topics in this journal as I’m notorious for forgetting things and thus leave organizing family events to the last minute, or not at all.)

I also like the next section of a monthly calendar with events to record (before and after) as well as a page for tasks in the month. This section will be extremely useful next July when I am organizing the 2018-2019 year. It does, however, take up a lot of space in the notebook, making me wonder if perhaps I’ve chosen a book with not enough pages.

Then again, when reading about the daily task lists, I won’t be using a full page each day. So as to not waste paper, each day’s list is created the night before, meaning I won’t need over three hundred pages to cover the whole year.

The notebook is now set up and ready to use. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I fear that it’s going to take some dedication to stick to the system, but in having organized the notebook, I can already see how it is going to help me. And most surprisingly, I believe it’s going to be more helpful in my personal life than at work.

I’ll let you all know how it goes. Have any of you had a good or bad experience using the Bullet Journal system?

Post written by Alex Fayle

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