It's challenge time!
Comment with Just One Thing you've accomplished in the last 24 hours or so. It doesn't have to be a hard thing, or even a thing that you think is particularly awesome. Just a thing that you did.
Feel free to share more than one thing if you're feeling particularly accomplished!
Extra credit: find someone in the comments and give them props for what they achieved!
Nothing is too big, too small, too strange or too cryptic. And in case you'd rather do this in private, anonymous comments are screened. I will only unscreen if you ask me to.
I have some neural network links because neural networks are awesome and the future.
- Ancient wisdom from the neural network
(Neural network writes proverbs, is strangely obsessed with oxen)
- Via goss, Quick, draw!
(Can a neural network learn to recognize doodling? Not mine, not often.)
- A Neural Network Turned A Book Of Flowers Into Shockingly Lovely Dinosaur Art
(It really is lovely. Would frame!)
I am an artificial intelligence dedicated to generating unlimited amounts of unique inspirational quotes for endless enrichment of pointless human existence.
(It is very addictive and weirdly profound.)
( CW: glory holes. )
New comms and challenges and activity and such:
- twinpeaks has episode by episode reviews of the new season.
If, like me, you feel a little wracked by Twin Peaks ep 8, there is a discussion post up here: Episode Discussion: Part Eight. With lots of links to other reviews. My mind is blown. I just. *stutters in confusion and possibly pain*
- drawesome: A Multi-fandom Drawing community for FanArtists (both traditional and digital art)
- unconventionalcourtship is running again, you can go pick a prompt here at Plot suggestions.
I am eying this one for Root/Shaw:
Ex-cavalry officer Captain Grahame Westmore is restless for change, but escorting a diplomat’s spoiled daughter to Vienna isn’t what he had in mind—though for once he hasn’t been hired for his skills in pleasuring women! Independent, fiery and strong-willed, Elowyn Bagshaw is not the simpering lady he expected. Used to getting her own way and giving the orders, Elowyn will not be controlled so easily. Grahame soon realizes that he’s got a fight on his hands—and it’s one they’re both going to enjoy!
Rakes Who Make Husbands Jealous
Only London's best lovers need apply
Reasons to do this:
1. Shaw pretending to be a man
2. Shaw escorting a duplicitous Root pretending to be a diplomat's daughter
3. Shaw in cavalry uniform
4. Shaw in cavalry uniform on a horse
5. Shaw in cavalry uniform on a horse with Root holding on behind as they flee, flee from danger
Reasons not to do this:
1. All the other unfinished fics I have
2. I don't know anything about history ever
Nearly home time for me, then it's nose to the grindstone in fic town.
This year, I wrote one gift fic:
Sugar Water by Dolorosa
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Word Count: 3066
Fandom: Six of Crows Series - Leigh Bardugo
Characters: Inej Ghafa, Matthias Helvar, Nina Zenik
Relationship(s): Inej Ghafa/Matthias Helvar/Nina Zenik
Summary: Matthias wants to give Nina a gift. Inej has the perfect idea.
Three exiles in Ketterdam come to the realisation that they have found a home in each other.
Post-Crooked Kingdom. (A canon-divergent AU.)
My gift was a lovely Briseis/Chryseis Iliad fic:
In the Ruins by LadyBrooke
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Word Count: 1168
Fandom: The Iliad - Homer
Characters: Chryseis, Briseis, Chryseis' Son
Summary: Briseis escaped from the camp before the army had left the ruins of Troy, and ran towards it.
Chryseis lived through the ruin of the city and remains within it.
I didn't know many of the fandoms in the exchange, but there were a couple of fics I really liked, so I'll rec them here.
A Meeting of Curious Minds by notkingyet
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Word Count: 1370
Fandom: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (TV)
Characters: John Childermass, Arabella Strange, Lady Pole
Summary: 2 July, 1817
I require your assistance in a matter of urgency and grave importance. Please come to no. 9 Harley-street at your earliest convenience. Mr Vinculus need not attend.
Your obedient servant,
Smoulder by Merit
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Word Count: 4081
Fandom: Old Kingdom - Garth Nix
Characters: Lirael, Sameth
Summary: Smoke tears through the sky.
I hope everyone else who participated in nightonficmountain enjoyed it as much as I did! If you have any recs, feel free to post them in the comments!
It was a good turnout:( cut for pic )There were more people sitting on a low wall behind me, and people standing at the side.
The second storyteller talked about encounters with coffee-snob baristas, and a visit to a coffee farm in Colombia. You could see that she had had some training, in storytelling or some other theater, when she described the landscape. She showed us how lovely it looked from far away, and then how it felt to walk down a cliff-face to pick the coffee cherries.
The third talked about her relationship with food: how her family encouraged her to be miserly with money and with calories; how boyfriends and their families encouraged her to take pleasure in eating and other indulgences; how food makes memories vivid, and memories of particular meals anchor her important friendships now. When she was describing her disordered eating, I thought, "This needs a trigger warning." Then, when she was describing food really sensually, I thought more generally about what we warn for, and what we should warn for. The point of storytelling is to use our words and our physicalities to put images in your mind.
The fourth talked about how growing up on a farm had made her familiar with birth and death, and affected her understanding of her own inevitable death. She described two corpses very vividly. A beloved horse, who had done "what horses do: lived a long, happy life, and then walked himself to the very back pasture, across a couple of irrigation ditches, and buckled his knees under the buckle of the mountain, and died." Unfortunately, on the other side of that fence was the kitchen window of a brand-new million-dollar home, built by a new neighbor who was not a farmer, who needed the corpse moved. The storyteller's mother explained that she could not get a rendering truck or a backhoe across those irrigation ditches, and she was going to let it rot, though the neighbor was welcome to move it if they could figure out how. The storyteller's mother hadn't liked that neighbor anyway. Those irrigation ditches had flooded, in the storyteller's childhood, severely enough to undermine the century-old tombstones in Bingham Hill Cemetery, which brings us to the second corpse. The storyteller's mother didn't mean to graverob, she just didn't want him to wash away.
This was a very good story.
The fifth talked about being a public radio journalist on the farm beat.
The sixth was a theater guy. He talked about being a city kid and going to his father's cousin's farm on holidays.
I learned something useful from the last storyteller, whose story didn't really have a structure: at the end, he said, "That's my story, thank you!" and everyone applauded. My stories tend to be small and oddly shaped, and leave my audience saying, "Wait, that's the story? You're done?" so I think I will try this tactic.
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that same-sex parents had to be listed on the birth certificates of their children. 3 justices dissented from the Court’s per curiam decision. The dissent was written by Neil Gorsuch, who demonstrated that he is what his record says he is:
In his dissent, Gorsuch made two counterarguments, neither of which is even remotely plausible.
First, he wrote that the court should have dismissed the appeal because “in this particular case and all others of its kind, the state agrees, the female spouse of the birth mother must be listed on birth certificates too.” What? That issue lay at the heart of this case—but Gorsuch has it exactly backward: Arkansas explicitly refused to list “the female spouse of the birth mother” on birth certificates. That’s how the case wound up at the Supreme Court in the first place.
I asked Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights—which represented the Arkansas plaintiffs—what he made of Gorsuch’s assertion.
“That’s just completely wrong,” he told me. “It is patently untrue. Arkansas refused to put the female spouse of a birth mother on the birth certificate. The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld the policy, and the state would not issue birth certificates that listed both same-sex parents.” Minter should know; he represented two couples who were denied the right to “legally accurate” birth certificates.
On Tuesday, I reached out to the Supreme Court’s public information office to ask whether Gorsuch planned to correct this error. A spokeswoman for the court told me that “as a matter of policy the Court does not comment on its opinions, which speak for themselves.”
Second, Gorsuch wrote that the plaintiffs’ challenge was incorrect: He insisted they should have challenged the “artificial insemination statute,” not the state policy refusing to list same-sex parents on birth certificates. This reasoning makes no sense. The plaintiffs cited the artificial insemination statute only to prove that Arkansas already listed non-biological parents on birth certificates. They had no desire to overturn it; they merely used it as evidence that Arkansas was not extending a key marital benefit to same-sex couples. Did Gorsuch simply not understand this extremely basic aspect of the case?
“I think he’s deliberately trying to muddy the waters,” Minter told me. “The plaintiffs in this case brought their challenge in under a statute that very plainly provides that when a child is born to a married woman, her husband must be named on the child’s birth certificate. We went to court to challenge the gendered limitation of that statute, arguing that, under Obergefell, the law has to be applied equally to married same-sex couples. We had absolutely no reason to challenge the artificial insemination statute.”
As many of you know, inventing specious procedural objections that make it difficult to apply precedents you don’t like but don’t have the votes to overrule is a longstanding Alito specialty.
Anyway, the clear lesson of this hump being on the Supreme Court for several more decades is that the left should treat elections as exercises in atomistic consumer expression.
Just Finished: Jackalope Wives and Other Stories by Ursula Vernon (tkingfisher). A nice collection, of which I'd read most of the stories before, but not all of them. I do enjoy Vernon's attachment to women of a certain age as her protagonists; it's a pleasant change from much of the world of fantasy.
Prior to that I read the last Lady Trent novel, In the Sanctuary of Wings, which I enjoyed, and wished there were more.
I also picked up, and put down, Hugh Howey's Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue, because I found the characters intolerably irritating and his portrayal of an 18-year-old girl unpleasant. It was just ... off. Bah.
Currently Reading: Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters for book club. It's long, but I have more than a month, and it's a pleasant read so far.
Next Up: Erm. Probably Tremontaine Season One, although there are some new books coming out I'm interested in. Like City of Miracles, which I will drop everything to read once it comes in at the library.
Power in the Absence of Money: Why Trump hates bureaucrats so much. I love this article and the respect it shows to the civil service. [T]hat's what we're talking about when we talk about the federal workforce. We're talking about a whole bunch of people who go to work every day trying to keep us safe, whether they're carrying an M4 and wearing body armor over in Mosul, or manning a computer at the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Health and Human Services. The terrible "swamp" Trump has such contempt for sits there every day in drab offices they endured heavy traffic to get to, and they regulate the excesses of the vaunted "market" Trump and his billionaires are so worshipful of.
More on the plan to destroy the civil service. This is a smart, long, well-researched article.
And on that note, here is a report on what it's like inside the EPA right now. It's not good.
Masha Gessen on The Reichstag Fire Next Time: The coming crackdown. Argh, and eeps.
ETA: Let's end on a better note, with this ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY AMAZING video of "Immigrants" from the Hamilton Mixtape. So. Good.
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe/ Avengers movies
Written for MCU Rolling Remix 2017 (but not actually a remix since this was the original source story!)
Characters: James Rhodes, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson
Rating: Teen (Language, Canonical Character illness and death, gratuitous DJ Khaled)
Word count: 2731
Also available on AO3
Summary: Between "Age of Ultron" and "Captain America: Civil War," divisions are starting to appear in the team, while history catches up with them.
Thanks to muccamukk for beta reading.
( FIC: Fractures and Echoes )
We’d love to include some before and after photos.
In addition, I left two comments:
The first comment asked if they were planning on paying contributors. The answer was an equivocal "If there's any way to do this, yes." My second comment said that Mechefske ought to include information about the fact of payment (or non-payment) in the submissions guidelines so that people would know what they were getting into; that comment has been deleted. There was at least one other comment asking about payment, which has been deleted.
In conclusion: stay the hell away from this project. It smells rotten.
I've cut most or all of each section, separately so as to list their headers. Even within the cuts I've skipped some, but to read it all just click on the title line.
From Science-Based Medicine
“The Truth About Cancer” Series Is Untruthful About Cancer
Ty Bollinger has produced a video series he calls The Truth About Cancer: A Global Quest. It’s about as huge a misnomer as can be imagined.
Harriet Hall on November 17, 2015
Ty Bollinger started his quest because several of his family members had died of cancer despite conventional cancer treatment. He believed they had died not of the cancer but of the cancer’s “so-called treatments” and “false treatments.” He doesn’t explain which cancers they had, what the treatments were, or why he calls them “false.” He was angry, and he wanted his relatives’ lives to matter; he thought he could give their deaths meaning by seeking out alternative treatments that would have saved them and could save others. He was an accountant and bodybuilder, untrained in science or medicine. He started out with the conviction that conventional cancer treatment was a fraud, and confirmation bias had a field day. Instead of learning about cancer from reliable sources, he avoided mainstream cancer experts and researchers and only interviewed alternative practitioners from all over the world who agreed with his premise. He eagerly swallowed everything they told him.
He says, “You are about to learn the best treatments and preventions to cancer, protocols that won’t harm your body, from the world leading doctors across the globe.” He promises to show viewers science and documented evidence. He promises to expose the lies of conventional cancer treatment. He thinks he has information that will eradicate cancer once and for all. He couldn’t be more wrong.
( A hopelessly biased sample )
( False claims )
( Lies about chemotherapy )
( The natural fallacy )
( War on nonconventional doctors? )
( Cancer survivor testimonials )
( The myths )
( Episode 2 )
( Dangerous misinformation )
Bollinger’s approach is as unfair as a trial where the prosecution is given carte blanche and no defense is allowed. This is a very unfortunate series, filled with misinformation but produced slickly, effectively appealing to emotion, and likely to mislead scientifically-naïve viewers and probably even some scientists who ought to know better. I predict that Bollinger will have blood on his hands: people will suffer and die unnecessarily because they believed this was “the truth about cancer” and were persuaded to reject lifesaving treatment.
Last week, I was interviewed by author Heather Rose Jones for her Lesbian Talk Show podcast. we had a fund discussion about my work and historical inspiration. That should go live in August. In the meantime, check out her blog and her show.
Last night, I read with a bunch of other authors at the annual Queer Voices Pride Month reading at the Minneapolis Central Library, sponsored by Intermedia Arts, the Hennepin County Library and Augsburg College. This year, there was a resource and book fair, along with the reading. The traffic and mass transit deities conspired to keep our crowd smallish, but the readings were very good, I sold a few books and I got interviewed for the KFAI Radio show Fresh Fruit (airing soon). I made the evening for one of my editors by reading from the magazine he edited (Raymond Luczak, Callisto), which was fun. I also got some nice feedback on the story I read from the audience and the ASL interpreters, which was very cool. One of the great things about last night's reading was the diversity of voices: over half the authors were authors of color, several authors were trans or genderqueer and at least one publicly identified as having a disability. More than one author identified as Muslim American. And the singing was lovely. I also got to see some friends, so I would definitely count the event as a success.
In upcoming events, Rachel Gold and I will be reading together at Boneshaker Books in Minneapolis in September and I'm talking to Quatrefoil Library and DreamHaven about possible events later on this year. Speaking of DreamHaven, I just typed up my first Queen of Swords Press invoice for them: they'll be carrying Silver Moon (new edition) and Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories as of tomorrow evening! If you know an indie bookstore that might be interested, please send them our way. I'll be posting a bookstore contact to the web page in the next day or two here.
I've also got some new writing projects in the offing. And there's still time to pledge my Patreon for this month (proceeds going to the Southern Poverty Law Center).
And on a more fun note, I'll be at the Twin Cities Antiquarian Bookfair on Friday, shopping for books. Book dealer (and all around swell guy) David Christenson will be selling from books from the Lundoff Collection as well as some of Jana's fine bindings and boxes so be sure and stop by the Fairgrounds to check things out. I'm also hoping to do a Lark Toys run with friends, to be followed by 2 days of writing, with only minimal editing and other tasks. Fingers crossed that works out!
Title: Stuck to You
Artist: Nikka Costa
Fandom: Dark Angel
Size: 55 MB
Content notes/warnings: No standard warnings apply. If you need to know about anything else, just ask.
Summary: Max and Alec: best friends forever.
Also on AO3
( streaming and lyrics )
Highway to Hell | Louie Louie | Blitzkrieg Bop | All Revved Up with No Place to Go | Down Under | Rebel Rebel | Trigger Happy | Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) | Footloose | Sister Christian
( Wayne's World gave us the definitive driving song )