kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
([personal profile] kate_nepveu Oct. 16th, 2017 10:18 pm)
Somehow, I don't know how, I started following an embroidery blog, Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. And I liked what I saw, but transferring designs seemed really tedious and also fraught with the possibility of error, and it's not like I don't have enough stitching projects on hand already.

. . . and then, of course, I found pre-printed "coloring book" fabric in a craft store, very cheap. So I decided to give it a try, using spare floss from my stash.

The fabric is "Zenbroidery", specifically the Garden print. The picture has suggested stitching, but, well, check out the big version: you could see the printing through the stitching, I just couldn't make myself do it. So I dug through the Needle 'n Thread archives for ideas, picked out some floss, popped the fabric on my Q-Snaps, and started out.

It was a lot of fun at first! Not having to look at a pattern makes things flow surprisingly quickly and enjoyably. And making the vines split off and curl around was very satisfying.

Here's as far as I got before I stopped:

picture )

(click to make huge, or view on Google Photos)

I'm stopping for several reasons: I don't like the colors I picked; it's too big (10" square); satin stitch with a single strand of DMC is incredibly tedious; and worst, the fabric is just awful: it's so thin you can see the brown desk underneath it, and every time I had to pick out stitches or try to set them close together, I was afraid I'd rip it.

So I'm going to put this aside and get some better-quality (and smaller) preprinted fabric from Etsy, as my travel project. Because I have also started gridding the Teresa Wentzler Celestial Dragon, nearly eight years after I was given the pattern, and that's not a travel project in the least. (I'm making myself a ruler for the gridding, and even with that I'm still so nervous about messing it up that I'm sure I'm going to recount all the blocks regardless, because I'm planning to do as she suggests and stitch the border first . . . )

Do you embroider? Do you have a favorite pattern source or type? (I think I might try crewel at some point, because the nice soft thick wool threads look very appealing.)
These are very gossipy shallow reactions, but maybe I will get back into the swing of posting, who knows.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S03E01 )

Jane the Virgin S04E01 )
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
([personal profile] kate_nepveu Oct. 13th, 2017 09:29 pm)
Everything is terrible, but people living in the US, or US citizens abroad, take a minute for this?

Support the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (S. 200, H.R. 669) to require a, you know, declaration of war by Congress before the President can launch a first nuclear strike.

rydra_wong has links and context, and rachelmanija has phone numbers and a script. (Don't, however, spend your time contacting members of Congress outside your districts; save your energy.)
The Good Place is such a delight I don't even know how to talk about it. All I want to do is burble.

If you're not watching it, it's a half-hour afterlife comedy about a slacker (Kristen Bell) who has been accidentally misassigned to the "Good Place" (Heaven) after her death, and has to keep the mistake secret from the powers that be (Ted Danson), while trying to figure out how to be a good person -- or at least a good enough person not to stick out. Fortunately for her, she's assigned a soulmate (William Harper Jackson) who was an ethics professor in life.

I don't know how to convince you to watch this. The show is so much stranger, more surreal, and sillier than the setup portends. It is hilarious and moving; it burns through plot like a brushfire (avoid spoilers, I mean it); and the cast is so good, I mean, they are so amazing, not just Bell and Danson, but newcomers like Jackson and D'Arcy Carden as an omniscient database and Jameela Jamil as a socialite philanthropist and Manny Jacinto as a surprising sweetheart. The first season is streaming on Netflix and the second season is airing now.

Spoiler note: the numbering for this season is confusing, since some sources consider the first hour, aired together in a single night, as a single episode. I don't. The latest episode I discuss below the spoiler cut aired 10/12/17.

Spoilers have a thirteen-point scale where eight is the highest score )
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
([personal profile] kate_nepveu Oct. 11th, 2017 10:53 pm)
I realized I've been using with a DIY electronic bullet journal since January and actually keeping up with it . . . consistently, the whole time? . . . so it's probably time to write it up.

tl;dr: I use Dynalist, a free webpage/app that allows you to generate collapsible outlines, to keep a to-do checklist and journal bullet points for every day. I like this because things that don't get done can just be dragged into a new day, and because bullet points for journaling lowers the mental energy required to keep up with it. This system is highly flexible, goes with me everywhere, and lets me keep almost everything in one place. (I use Google Calendar for things that need to be scheduled more than two weeks out.)

Setting the scene: )

Then, in early January, I read Tobias Buckell's post on bullet journaling, which made it sound sensible and appealing. After a little more reading (I noted down this Buzzfeed post), I found a recommendation for Workflowy as an electronic bullet journal—necessary because I will not carry paper with me everywhere and I need to have access to my to-do list at all times—the examples were way more complicated than I needed, but did show that it could be very powerful and customizable.

I stopped using Workflowy at the end of July for two reasons: first, the mobile app was not good, it was way too easy to drag stuff around by accident, but hard to move it on purpose; second, it only lets you keep a single (infinitely long and collapsible) outline, which was cramping my reference-note-keeping-consolidation.

Hence: Dynalist. Which is free, and which has an Android app in beta which is much more functional, and which lets you have multiple documents. (It also has a Workflowy import.) The paid version is a smidge expensive ($8/month billed annually), but I haven't felt the need for it; I might, however, end up signing up anyway just to toss them some money. I use a pinned Chrome tab (like so) on desktop, because I didn't realize it had a Windows desktop app in beta until I just checked.

Here's how I've adapted the general bullet journal idea to a collapsible outline app: )

I've sometimes gotten a few days behind, but never more than a few, and I've always gone back and filled in at least a point or two about the day. And I started on January 9, so that's really pretty darn good. It hasn't been a magic (heh) bullet about getting things done, but it has reduced the amount of effort I put into keeping track of things, which leaves more energy for actually doing them. So on the whole, I'm pretty happy with it; and in case it sounds useful to you, here it is.
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([personal profile] jhameia Oct. 11th, 2017 05:24 pm)
It is the 11th of October, 2017. I am officially a doctor.
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([personal profile] rem Oct. 8th, 2017 04:50 pm)

Sacraments of Fire is a ST:DS9 novel written by David R. George III.

A few days after the assassination of the Federation president, an orb exits the wotmhole and deposits a Bajoran man on the station. He says is name is Altek Dans, but he has no identification documents, the city he claims to hail from doesn't exist, and he's in possession of a primitive version of the weapon used to assassination the Federation president. Needless to say, he doesn't receive the warmest welcome.

Elsewhere, the Ohalavaru have set their sights on the moon Endalla. They claim that there's something underneath the surface that will substantiate their beliefs. Security has increased after the last, um, explosive event on Endalla, but not enough to stop someone from blowing a hole that would appear to discredit the Prophets, throwing the faith of many into disarray.

Still elsewhere, a ship has discovered something which could be a Changeling and Odo has been asked to help ascertain whether it's a living (but perhaps immature) Changeling, a deceased Changeling, or something else entirely.

And that's just the stuff happening now. There's also stuff that's about to will-have-happened. Ah, time travel...

I had some trouble with this book. I've read every book in what one might call the main line of DS9 relaunch books, but I've started skipping the 3- and 4-book series because I often don't get as much bang for the buck with those. But as I read this one, I felt like half the time I knew what was going on and half the time I didn't. It turns out there's a good reason for that: half the plot is a continuation of the main storyline, while half if based on a series I didn't read. The author does an excellent job of catching the reader up, but it was still disconcerting at times. Also, at one point the narrative was written in what felt to me like a backstitch.

  • Recount events at T1
  • Jump cut to T3
  • Flashback to T2
  • Return to end of T3 / start of T4
  • Repeat
It didn't go on for too long, but it was very disorienting. I tend to read on an e-reader and I've found that e-books don't always have the visual cues that printed books have, so perhaps this was something which would have make more sense in the printed version.

Beyond all that, this was a good book and I look forward to seeing these threads tied up.

sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
([personal profile] sanguinity Oct. 8th, 2017 03:23 pm)
[community profile] holmestice sign-ups close on Tuesday. I hope that the people who care about that already know? But just in case: [community profile] holmestice sign-ups close on Tuesday.

(Ugh, and I have to find time to write my sign-up at some point!)

Speaking of Holmestice, have two Holmestice-related stories that I posted between rounds!

Talent and Genius
Шерлок Холмс | New Russian Holmes (2013)
Sherlock Holmes & John Watson
Gen, No Warnings Apply, 827 words

I exhaled, and trusted him.

From a prompt offered by [personal profile] rachelindeed during the Winter 2015 round: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see." (Arthur Schopenhauer)
That prompt was such a beautiful fit for New Russian Holmes, that I wrote this fill the same morning. Even though she hadn't requested New Russian. And then I sat on it for the better part of two years, because she hadn't requested New Russian, and I wasn't sure what to do with it.

But that was silly, so here, have a New Russian ficlet about Holmes and Watson and talent and genius.

Sherlock Ferret & The Amnesiac Admiral for [personal profile] starfishstar
Sherlock Ferret - Hugh Ashton
Sherlock Ferret & Watson Mouse, Wiggins
Gen, No Warnings Apply, ~4500 words
Amnesia, Holometabolism, Friendship, Happy Ending

Wiggins is missing. Watson Mouse is on the case.

Last round, [personal profile] starfishstar was the only one who publicly guessed my authorship for both my stories, and so I offered them a treat. (Several people said after the fact that they had guessed, but they didn't commit themselves publicly and in advance of reveals, so no treats for them.) Starfishstar asked for Sherlock Ferret, which is a wonderfully charming children series. However, as often happens when my brain is handed a cracky, implausible premise, I started asking how that would actually work and... Well. That's how we ended up with Ashton's charmingly earnest world running smack up against the horrifying realities of butterfly pupation. (Don't worry, it all comes out right in the end. Or as right as it can be, when butterfly pupation is in play.)

As per usual when I write these super-obscure Holmesian fandoms, everything you need to know is in the fic. The story is complete in three chapters; I'll be posting the rest over the next few days, as my betas and I have time to finish editing it.
There's a class of questions where I don't ever want to know the actual answer. Like, what do you call m/m bandfic featuring the Guns N' Roses lead guitarist?
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
([personal profile] kate_nepveu Oct. 7th, 2017 09:28 pm)
(The first week was two episodes back-to-back, which is why we're up to episode four.)

I love this show very, very much. Also, Chad hasn't seen S1, but we watched the first four episodes of S2 together and he enjoyed it too, so while you definitely should watch S1—I think the characterizations work better that way—you can totally jump in at S2. (I did pause it once, to explain Mindy, but that was it.)

If you haven't seen it yet: go, see it! You'll almost certainly like it! And my goodness does it burn through plot at an extraordinarily high rate of speed, wow. This is really good, really funny, really thoughtful speculative fiction, and it makes me incredibly happy.

SPOILERS through currently-aired episodes )

Spoilers are ok in comments--please do, in fact!
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
([personal profile] kate_nepveu Oct. 5th, 2017 10:51 pm)
and SteelyKid, playing black, has a very specific defensive philosophy she's imparting to the Pip:

dunno if this image will permanently embed )

(or view on google photos)

Edit: over breakfast, literally all they did was move pieces back and forth behind their defensive lines. I mentioned that at some point, someone would have to attempt to threaten the other's king, but they just shrugged at me. I find this hilarious.
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([personal profile] kihou Oct. 4th, 2017 08:38 pm)

So, periodically I have disagreements on the word “narrativist”, so in an effort to overthink games more, I’ve been thinking about how exactly I use it. Well, literally I use it mostly for story-focused tabletop systems and experimental-to-me LARPs.* But when I’ve historically described something as narrativist, I think I’ve been referring to one or more of the following distinct things:

  1. Meaningful Choices
  2. Shared Narrative Control
  3. Explicit Scene Framing/Narrative Structure
  4. Focus on Feel and Themes
  5. Bleed/Steering
Read more... )

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([personal profile] jhameia Oct. 3rd, 2017 09:02 am)
So since swimming is untenable for the next while, I decided I would go back to the Deck of Cards Challenge. It's been a while since I tried them, because I gave up doing crunches and Russian Twists and couldn't figure out a good replacement. But I settled on some reps which I think are working out great for me, especially since they work on upper arm muscles:

Spades: squats
Clubs: push-ups (knee push-ups now, which is MUCH better)
Hearts: leg lifts (thanks to [personal profile] oracne!)
Diamonds: shoulder taps

I did 16 yesterday, and managed another 16 today. I'm going to stick to 16 until I feel stronger. But it's a strong start, to be honest, because I used to give out at around 8. But 16 is enough to really get my heart pumping and I'm sweating, geez. The insides of my upper arms are sore, and I find that if I put my hands flat on the floor, my right wrist gets a stabby pain, which is definitely not normal, but I'm not sure what causes it. Fisting my hands helps with that. Could just be my wrist muscles aren't worth a damn, not with how much punishment they get from computer work.

I DID cheat a little: after shuffling the deck, I arranged the cards so I'd get one of each suit with every four cards I pull out. But that means varying up stuff which makes it easier to stick to 16 cards. I'm going to keep at it every day until I can get through the full deck.

I'm a bit at a loss of when to do the challenge though. I've been aiming for the mornings, but I only eat a bowl of cereal in the mornings, so I don't feel particularly energized afterwards. On the other hand, I don't know that I could fall asleep afterwards. I suppose it doesn't matter what time of day, ultimately, but I just wanted to set a schedule for myself.