lindseykuper: A figure, wearing a pink shirt decorated with a heart, looks upward from between dark shapes that suggest buildings. (Default)
[personal profile] lindseykuper

New blog post, in which I mostly just regurgitate things I've already said on mailing lists.

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[personal profile] solarbird

[All comments in «angle quotes» translated from the Spanish]

[AO3 link]

"Mockingbird, got a moment?"

Mockingbird looked up from where she'd been watching Angela tend to Mei and Fareeha on the troop carrier's medical bunks. Still deep in the web, she replied, almost without inflection, "Yes, Strike Leader?"

Gabriel caught the tone and knew what it meant, took a deep breath and decided to take the careful route. "I need to apologise to you formally, Mockingbird, and I want to do it in front of everyone. Tracer, are you still on comms?"

Mockingbird tilted her head, and touched her microphone. In the same flat voice, she said, "Gabriel, Tracer here. Monitoring."

Not even really trying to keep up the illusion, he thought. Damn, she's hella mad. He cleared his throat. "I'm sorry. I should've stepped in against Ana's ... I don't even know what that was ... sooner. Immediately, even."

"Sir."

"She's not under my command, so I can't reprimand her, but I could have stopped it. That's part of my responsibility - to defend my team - and I didn't do it, and I apologise."

"Sir."

"I will not let it happen again."

Lena let herself lift a little of her controls, and shook just a little, taking in a quick breath, quicker than her current physiology needed. A hint of inflection returned to her voice. "...I appreciate that, Strike Leader."

"I hope you will forgive me."

Mockingbird nodded, slowly, and lifted a little more of the web up.

"Tracer, Gabriel - you got all that?" Reyes said, towards his microphone.

"Gabriel, Tracer - roger that," Oxton said, towards hers, in a voice a little more like Tracer's.

"I screwed up, Tracer. I... god, I thought she was dead in the rubble, like everyone else. Seeing her again after all these years... I wasn't ready. And if I'm going to play this role, I need to be at least a little ready for anything. So - I apologise to you, too."

Lena lifted another layer of the web, and a little bit of a smile crept out. "Roger that." She blew out her breath. "Guess none of us were expecting..." She shook her head, and felt a little better, a little less like demonstrating what it meant to be a murder machine, and a little more like a proper Talon assassin. "What d'ya think happened to her? "

Gabe shook his head, slowly, glad to see a little more of Venom in those gold eyes, and just a little surprised by that feeling. "I really, really don't know. Ana never used to be so..."

Fareeha stirred herself from her medical bunk. "...Ana?" she said, "...who...?"

Angela gently intervened to help her wife. "Awake already?" She checked Mei - still out. "Be careful, I've got you in good shape but I'll need to do more when we are back at the embassy."

"No." The rocketeer struggled upwards. "I heard a voice, and it sounded like... and you said... Ana."

Gabriel, Lena, Winston, and Angela all glanced at each other nervously, and the assassin spoke first. "She's gonna have t'find out. I'd want to."

"Tell me," demanded the flying agent, an intent look on her face. "Tell me what I'm afraid I already know."

Angela's face went a little grim, and a little paler even than usual, but she nodded her agreement. Taking her wife's hand, she looked into her eyes and said, "I will tell you everything, but we will start with the beginning." She braced herself. "Your mother... she is alive."

-----

Morrison looked over the wreckage. Half the cargo destroyed, five fighters injured, one critical, one dead, only one transport running, and now, apparently, this so-called Overwatch - Talon, really, of course - on his tail.

But that isn't what bothered him, or rather, he thought, that's not what bothered him most. He looked down at the dirt, at the wreckage of his tactical visor, and at the one he'd just taken off, the one tied into the neural network inside his head - and back at the one in pieces on the ground.

This... doesn't make any sense, he thought, picking up the wrecked visor. He replaced the one he'd been wearing, and put it through its self-test - it came up fully functional, targeting at one hundred percent, which was pretty damned strange in and of itself, given that it hadn't tested above 85% in three years.

«Did anybody get any pictures of the ambush?» he called out to his surviving team members. «Anybody here armed with a camera, not just guns?»

Leticia pulled hard on something inside a panel, and a second transport roared, glowed, and floated back into operation. «Ha! Damn, I'm good. Sorry, Spooky, you say something?»

«Nice work. Did anybody get video of the attack? Pictures? Anything?»

«Not me, I was getting the shield generator going. Arturo, you got anything?»

Arturo shook his head. «Nothin', sorry. The best shot I got was getting a pistol load into that rocketeer.»

Leticia smiled, grimly. «Nice job. Anybody else?» she called out, but got no positive responses. «Sorry, Jack.»

«Worth a try,» Morrison replied, brusquely.

«That sniper - not the same one, were they?»

«Well spotted. No. Different gun, different MO. God damn, I wish I had some photos.»

«You check the dashcams? Maybe they caught something.»

The dashcams. Of course. They won't have erased themselves yet. What the hell is wrong with me? thought the former Strike Leader, as he half-barked half of a laugh. «Good call.»

The first hadn't recorded anything but the road ahead, and he found the second smashed against a rock next to the road, pieces of windshield scattered around it. Crawling into the wreckage of the last transport - the one beyond repair - he found the third camera's lens had been smashed. But the user interface responded, and he pulled down what video there was into his padd to watch it while the rest of the team moved the surviving cargo to the two functional transports.

Two-side flank attack, he thought, watching the video. Heavy fire from the northeast, sniper and... single infantry on the southwest, maybe. The camera hadn't caught any of the attackers, but had plenty of their work. He watched himself, too, as he came out of the passenger side of the lead transport, face bloodied from the sniper's missed - or was it missed? - shot, the one that wrecked his visor, and blinked as he saw his own face blur, almost mistlike, in the image, then focus again, unbloodied, visor intact.

He replayed the video. It did not change. He played it again. What... what am I looking at here? he thought, touching his tactical visor.

«Any luck?» called Leticia. «We're about ready to move. Bring it with you!»

«No need,» he called back, quietly crushing the camera's control screen, before dropping it on the wreckage of the front seat. «It got trashed early on in the crossfire - nothing worth keeping. Let's head out!»

-----

Ana watched the "so-called Overwatch" strike force lift off, and, once they were out of range, shuddered quietly. What Talon must've done to that poor girl... She shook her head, sad at the thought. And now they're working together? Rayes, that's one thing, black ops do what they must, but how Winston can go along with it... maybe Jack really isn't so...

She stopped herself, mid-thought, remembering her daughter fighting alongside the Talon agent, and considered again. No, she concluded, it can't be all true - not if Fareeha is involved. She's a good girl, she would never go along. Perhaps... perhaps their sniper broke away from Talon. It has happened before.

The eldest sniper packed away the inactive beacon, her rifle, and her dart pistol, crisply snapping the case shut, satisfied for now. And even if Jack's not completely wrong, he's still become a monster. And monsters must be destroyed.

She headed down the hill, towards her camouflaged flyer.

All of them.

Just Breathe

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:49 pm
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[personal profile] sasha_feather
The last few days we've had a record-setting heat wave, with temps in the high 80s and low 90s (right now it's 25 C/ 77 F AT NIGHT). My asthma is acting up and I have been feeling more sad than usual. I get this burning pain in my ribs and sternum and mouth. I've been napping during the day and staying up late, but I haven't been doing much with my time.

To get some good AC I went to the cheap seat movie theater tonight and saw "Step." This is a documentary about a Step dance team at a girls' high school in Baltimore. The film focuses entirely on black girls and women. Recommended.
fadedwings: (bird love)
[personal profile] fadedwings posting in [community profile] common_nature
I love these beautiful noisy birds. We have a few that come to the yard. It's hard to get pictures though because they're a bit shy. I had to take this between the railing on my porch.
Read more... )

Eclipse Phase?

Sep. 24th, 2017 06:50 pm
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[personal profile] deaderthandisco posting in [community profile] girlgamers
 I recently stumbled across Eclipse Phase, and the idea of a transhuman space-faring RPG really intrigued me. Has anyone else had experience running it? I haven't seen much about it online other than on their official forums.

Prompts from [community profile] thefridayfive

Sep. 23rd, 2017 11:04 pm
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[personal profile] sasha_feather
1. What's the happiest thing to ever happen to you?
Getting a horse for Christmas when I was 11. Penny and I were soul-friends and I had so many good times with her. Here is a photo of us the next summer: https://flic.kr/p/63nL6f

2. What's the saddest thing to ever happen to you?
Maybe when my 2 best friends broke up with me when we were 11-ish (6th grade). In therapy, I determined this to be a watershed event for learning to shut down my emotions; and also the ringleader probably sensed something gay about me, and that is why she decided to stop talking to me. Also, the way they did it! They just stopped talking to me one day. I was bewildered more than anything.

3. What's the thing that got you the most angry in your life?
Probably at a therapist. I was about a day or two into a hypo-manic episode (?) after coming out and I thought she could help me. She didn't. I did write about it at the time http://sasha-feather.dreamwidth.org/375687.html (post was filtered but it's so long ago I will unfilter it, temporarily. Many of my older posts are locked down to private).
I got so angry about the Vivid Con ableism stuff in 2010 that I made myself ill. But, that anger has faded. I don't really feel it anymore.
I didn't get angry a lot before I came out; and then I was angry *all the time*; it seems better now a few years on.

4. What's the most frightening thing to ever happen to you?
Scary situations don't really "happen to me" so much as arise from my anxiety. I have gotten super anxious in totally mundane situations. It seemed like the only way out of the problem was to speak, and I was so anxious I could not speak, so I was stuck and frozen. Also, I didn't know why this was happening. Everyone else seemed to have no problem in these ordinary situations, like speaking to a teacher or knocking on a door. Then having random panic attacks sent me to therapy.
In a more traditional sense of frightening-- there was some scary-to-outsiders stuff with the horses, like getting bucked off. But it never seemed scary to me. Animals are easier than people, and that basic fear is easier to deal with than anxiety.

5. What's the most unbelievable thing to happen to you in your life?
a. Getting scholarships that paid for my college education
b. Getting a horse for Christmas!!!11!1!!!
c. Not realizing I was queer until age mumblety
d. getting facial pain that has no real diagnosis
e. Being on the State Champion poutlry quiz bowl team!

Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give, 2017

Sep. 23rd, 2017 09:07 pm
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] sasha_feather posting in [community profile] 50books_poc
This is a young-adult novel, a debut for the author, and it deservedly has a lot of great reviews.

Content notes for police violence

Starr Carter lives in a poor neighborhood called Garden Heights. She and her brothers commute 45 minutes to go to a mostly-white private school. It's Spring break and she's a a party in the Garden. She runs into an old friend, Khalil, and they catch up. A fight breaks out at the party and they leave, getting into Khalil's car. On the way home, a cop pulls them over, shoots and kills Khalil. The book is abou the aftermath of these events.

It's first-person and the strong use of voice makes this book real and visceral. Thomas deftly handles a number of difficult topics, such as Starr's complicated feelings about dating a white boy, and feeling torn between two worlds. The story is gripping, and though its long (by YA standards), its a fast read.

I hope to see this as required reading on syllabi.

Ellen Pao, Reset, 2017

Sep. 23rd, 2017 06:33 pm
yatima: (Default)
[personal profile] yatima posting in [community profile] 50books_poc
Remember how I said that I was probably way too close to the world described in Juliet Takes A Breath to have any kind of objective opinion about its merits? Join me in laughing hollowly as I disclose that I joined the venture capital industry very shortly after Ellen Pao first filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the industry's giant, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Why is it on me to learn and improve and not on them to listen to me like they listen to one another? I wondered.

I shall confine myself to remarking that I underlined every second sentence or so of Reset but nobly refrained from writing IT'S SO TRUE!!! in every margin, if only because I was reading it on my Kindle. And that Ellen is a real-life badass superhero and that her Project Include is an authentic Force For Good. And that this book is an pretty good primer both on the structure of venture capital and on what discrimination in the workplace looks like, and how insidious it is and how hard to fight. Okay, I'm done.

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, 1970

Sep. 23rd, 2017 06:21 pm
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[personal profile] yatima posting in [community profile] 50books_poc
Content warning for child sexual abuse, incest, and a fairly graphic rape.

I was puzzled by this book until I realized it was the author's first, and that when she wrote it she was not yet the astonishing artist who created Sethe and Beloved. The Bluest Eye deals with a lot of the same themes as the later novel - the crippling legacies of the slaveholding South, the crises of Black American manhood, the extremes to which Black women are driven to make sense of their predicaments. But they are present here in larval form.

Morrison uses the text of a child's early reader as a framing device, and to throw her dark material into stark relief. I realize as I am writing this that it works equally well as an ironic nod to the fact that the author is here feeling her way into her story and her voice.

The great John Leonard gave this book a lovely, generous review.

Alice Walker, The Color Purple, 1982

Sep. 23rd, 2017 05:53 pm
yatima: (Default)
[personal profile] yatima posting in [community profile] 50books_poc
Content warning for child sexual abuse, incest, and intimate partner violence.

I knew this book only from the Spielberg movie. I am not a fan of Spielberg; I find him manipulative and his films shallow and cloying. Nothing prepared me for hearing Alice Walker read her own novel aloud. Her performance brings out the vivid poetry and wry intelligence of Celie's very singular voice.

This is the story of the three great loves of Celie's life: her sister Netti, the singer Shug Avery, and God himself. God is fine, I guess, whatever. Shug is one of literature's greatest bisexuals, and I would take a bullet for her. But Celie and Netti are America's Jane and Lizzie Bennett. Their love is vast.

By the end of the book I found myself hanging on every word, and gasping aloud at turns in the plot. You say something like "a modern masterpiece" and it makes it sound like homework reading, but The Color Purple is both great and really, really good.

Hummingbird Grooming

Sep. 23rd, 2017 07:05 pm
yourlibrarian: BeautifulDay-no_apologies_86 (SPN-BeautifulDay-no_apologies_86)
[personal profile] yourlibrarian posting in [community profile] common_nature
Yes, some more hummingbird pics. Do you wonder how this hummingbird achieves its bedhead look? Why with a rather long (for a hummingbird) grooming session!

Read more... )
[personal profile] aly_ram_98 posting in [community profile] findthatbook
Im looking for a book that has a bunch of short stories. I sadly only remember one short story in it. It was a supernatural type of short story book. I read it in the YA section about 6 years ago. The short story I remember I believe was one of the first stories in it. I don't remember much, but i remember for sure that it was about a vampire who owned an old movie theater. He would microwave his blood in the office and he would walk around the theater. I believe there was a girl in the theater who wirked there, and I'm pretty sure there was some romance in it as well. I can't remember that much about it, but I know the movie theater thing was for sure, which I hope narrows it down since there's not many like that. It was a short story that was one of the first stories in the book. I hope I can find it. :)
solarbird: (korra-excited)
[personal profile] solarbird

Loading out for a weekend set of shows in Kennewick with Leannan Sidhe – if you’re in the area, here’s the Facebook event, c’mon out! Leannan Sidhe is a trad- and trad-style band, so playing a renfaire is something they do on the regular, even if very little of the music is actually Renaissance-specific, and the weather is supposed to be great. See you there!

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

London foxen

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:16 am
rydra_wong: Fragment of a Tube map, with stations renamed Piero della Francesca, Harpo, Socrates and Seneca. (walking -- the great bear)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] common_nature
So yesterday I was waiting to cross a street in the middle of the day and I glanced at the person standing next to me and they were a fox.

We crossed the road and I fumbled for my phone and started following them ...

A fox walking down a London street in daylight.

Photo-story ensues )
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Piled Higher & Deeper by Jorge Cham
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title: "Your Social Parabola" - originally published 9/20/2017

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