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Oct. 22nd, 2014 09:01 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] catdraco and [personal profile] gryphynshadow!

Pain in the neck

Oct. 21st, 2014 03:09 pm
masqthephlsphr: (shane)
[personal profile] masqthephlsphr
I have arthritis. In my knees and my back, and now my neck. For years, I've watched both my parents become increasingly disabled, and I know I am d00med. D00med. Last week, I went to my orthopedic specialist who could instantly whip me into an X-ray machine and have pictures of my skeleton popped up on the back-lit board fifteen minutes later. But diagnosis is easy. Intervention, that's harder.

Physical therapy is always their first line. Last year, I learned a series of exercises to strengthen my back. The clinic offered me a nerve-numbing procedure, but it was too expensive and painful for something that might only last six months, so I nixed that. This week, I'm returning to PT for my neck.

I'm doing what I can to change my environment. I recently got a new, ergonomic chair for work, and one of those neck-supporting pillows for my bed at home. But the chair I lounge and write in at home has GOT to be replaced. I've jury-rigged pillows to fit under my knees and under my neck and under my lumbar, all in an attempt to compensate for the chair being arthritis-unfriendly, but what I need, since I use that chair constantly and for long stretches, is something genuinely ergonomic.

Only problem is, ergonomic recliners are also mega-expensive. I am perfectly willing to spend the money on a chair that will work for me, but I have had bad experiences walking into stores, trying out chairs that seem all right on the show room floor, and then are killing me two weeks later and can't be returned (usually, because they're customized in some way).

I will ask the physical therapist for recommendations about how to buy a good ergonomic recliner, but really, I'm not optimistic.

To top that off, somehow I also managed to pull a muscle in my shoulder, and that's making sitting and turning my head even more of a pain. Will mention it to the PT.

In Munich

Oct. 21st, 2014 06:17 pm
oursin: Sign saying 'Hedgehog Xing' and drawing of hedgehog (Hedgehog crossing)
[personal profile] oursin

Since partner and I have not really had anything like a joint holiday this year (except for that week father-sitting, during which I was essentially in the pacing up and down, wringing hands, stage of writing my keynote talk for Ottawa).

In spite of my waking up to radio saying flights out of Heathrow were being cancelled for weather reasons, Gatwick was unaffected. The only slightly hairy element was unanticipatedly heavy traffic meaning we got to Victoria just too late for train we were aiming for, but no great disadvantage.

So, here

Manhattan 1.13

Oct. 21st, 2014 08:37 am
selenak: (Obsession by Eirena)
[personal profile] selenak
This was the season finale, right? It definitely felt like one. And I am ever so glad we're getting another season.

Some revelation is at hand )

In conclusion: definitely one of the smartest shows of the year, about complicated people and issues. So many pop culture stories treat WWII basically as the ultimate role playing game, clear cut good/evil issues, compromise with the other side impossible because the other side is bent on genocide and led by the embodiment of evil in the 20th century, therefore only dashing heroism on the Allies side. And so often it gets contrasted to the present with murky issues, endless wars, and ever shifting alliances and the impossibility to see anyone as the dashingly heroic side. Yet here is this show, picking up a very specific part of the homefront of the war seen as the "good war" in US public memory, and relates it directly to one of the most disturbing current day issues, the way state surveillance, "enhanced" interrogation and the giving up of liberties has become an accepted and even deemed necessary practice. Wow.

I just can't stop my....

Oct. 20th, 2014 09:37 am
masqthephlsphr: (eh)
[personal profile] masqthephlsphr
Am I the only one who had Lindsey McDonald flashbacks during last night's OUAT?

OuaT 4.04 The Apprentice

Oct. 20th, 2014 02:32 pm
selenak: (Gold by TheSilverdoe)
[personal profile] selenak
In which Goethe joins the ranks of OuaT writers, and given Regina's stated goal this season, this suddenly makes me think of crazy RPF crossovers. She'd be his type. Emma, otoh, would be Schiller's.

Hat der alte Hexenmeister sich nun einmal wegbegeben... )

Gladly wolde he lerne

Oct. 20th, 2014 01:23 pm
oursin: Drawing of hedgehog in a cave, writing in a book with a quill pen (Writing hedgehog)
[personal profile] oursin

Came across something recently which was going WOEZ that apparently a significant % of people doing a PhD are not going on to become academics.

Which, given that it is currently a truth universally acknowledged that the academic world is vastly oversupplied with keen young creatures with shiny new PhDs looking for jobs which NO CAN HAZ except on sweated-labour terms that recall to us Thomas Hood's Song of the Shirt, is this necessarily A Bad Thing?

Not everybody who undertakes a PhD is necessarily aiming at a career in academe.

Or at least, not as a academic doing the teaching thing. There are people working in related areas (e.g. information professionals, administrators) who find that there is no harm, and potential benefit, in gaining an advanced degree (if only for the added cred it gives them when dealing with srs academics).

Some people may just want to pursue knowledge in a structured way with access to institutional resources.

A PhD is not just, or not merely, a vocational qualification. Indeed, ideally it is a contribution to KNOWLEDGE.

(And there have been distinguished persons of learning who never actually got the PhD on their rise to distinction, including Nobel Prize-winners.)

Dear Yuletide Writer

Oct. 20th, 2014 07:15 am
selenak: (Default)
[personal profile] selenak
Dear Yuletide Writer,

I'm happy and grateful you're going to write a story for me. We must share at least one fandom, and I hope you'll have fun writing in it. The ideas in my requests are just that: ideas. If you feel inspired by another direction of story altogether, go for it, as long as it features the characters I requested.

General likes and dislikes: pretty ordinary. I don't like character bashing. (Or the bashing of a relationship in favour of another, but that hardly applies with my requests.) Not to be confused with whitewashing; some of the characters I asked so have canonically done some pretty apalling things, and you don't have to pretend they didn't, or that it was all someone else's fault, just because I love them. As long as they come across as three dimensional people with flaws and strengths, I'll be content.

Quiet character exploration or plotty tale, gen or slash/het/any combination thereof, humor or dark fic, it's all good, though unless you're one of those awesomely talented people who can write characterisation via sex, I'd prefer a story that's more than a PWP.
Now, as to individual requests:

The Americans )

Penny Dreadful )

15th Century RPF )


Oct. 19th, 2014 09:33 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Saturday breakfast rolls: brown grated apple, with a touch of maple syrup.

Today's lunch: halibut steaks baked in foil with lime and ginger, served with baby carrots roasted in pumpkin seed oil, cauliflower roasted in olive oil with cumin seeds, and baby leeks healthy grilled in walnut oil and dribbled with wild pomegranate vinegar.

No bread made, because reasons.

Ficlet: The Brian Situation

Oct. 19th, 2014 10:23 pm
beer_good_foamy: (Default)
[personal profile] beer_good_foamy
So here's a fic I found loitering half-finished on my hard drive. Reading [livejournal.com profile] mcjulie's post on Hell's Bells some time ago, I realised there's a minor character in Buffy who gets a few intriguing lines, who openly flirts with one of the scoobies, and has, to the best of my knowledge, never had any fic written about him: that demon guy with the horns that Dawn talks to at Anya and Xander's wedding. Hell, even the script just mentions him as Demon Teen. So I started wondering, and... well, here's what came out.

ETA: There's now a spin-off fic for this one, by [livejournal.com profile] dragonyphoenix: Extraneous Tomes

Title: The Brian Situation
Author: Beer Good ([personal profile] beer_good_foamy)
Fandom: Buffy, post-season 6
Rating: PG13
Word count: ~950
Summary: Dawn has a date. Buffy has mom hair.

HORNS? Your date is a demon? )

Doctor Who 8.09 Flatline

Oct. 19th, 2014 04:30 pm
selenak: (Clara Oswin Oswald by Magickira)
[personal profile] selenak
In case I haven't mentioned this before, I really like this season. Not without individual complaints, of course, but those always happen. In totem I haven't liked a Moffat season so much since s5. (There is a difference between liking individual episodes and liking an overal season.) I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but the dynamic between Clara and Twelve works for me, the Doctor's re-emphasized alienness works for me, and the way (present day) Clara suddenly came into her own constantly reminds me that in the utopian day when I have more time, I want to write an essay about Doctor-Companion combinations and why some Companions work with different Doctors (though in different aspects, like Sarah Jane), while others click with just one specific regeneration.

Now, on to Flatline, which definitely belongs into the "liked much, want to rewatch!" category of episodes for me.

To misquote Stephen Sondheim, exceptional is different from good )

Oodles of Mars Comet links

Oct. 19th, 2014 06:59 am
masqthephlsphr: (robotsonmars)
[personal profile] masqthephlsphr
This morning, I'm really flummoxed that I don't have that telescope Santa keeps promising me for Christmas. I was out ogling the early morning sky, and it was possible to see comet Siding Spring near Mars then, hours before its closest fly-by (2:27 PM EDT, 11:27 PM PDT, 18:27 GMT). That's day time in North America, and yet the real irony belongs to Australia, where the comet was originally discovered last year. The comet closest fly-by won't even be in their sky at all. The Deep Space Network dishes in Europe, the US, and Puerto Rico can watch.

The comet will scrape by Mars at a distance of 82,000 miles. That's a third of the distance between Earth and the Moon. Comet Siding Spring originates from the Oort Cloud, a cloud of comets that surrounds our sun at a distance almost quarter of the way to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri.

There are spacecraft in orbit of the planet Mars from the US, the European Space Agency, and India. They will all be ducked behind the far side of the planet during closest comet approach. But as they swing back around, they might still get a bit of comet dust on them. This has the potential to be very, very bad. A tiny spec of comet junk flying at enormous speed could punch holes right through an orbiting tin can like Earthling's Mars satellites.

Hopefully, though, all they'll catch are some cool photos.

The rovers on the surface of Mars will be safe due to the Martian atmosphere, but alas, the poor little guys will also experience closest fly-by during daylight hours.

Mars and Siding Spring will become visible again in North America after sunset this evening.









Normally I am hesitant to invoke 1984

Oct. 19th, 2014 02:43 pm
oursin: Cartoon hedgehog going aaargh (Hedgehog goes aaargh)
[personal profile] oursin

But, really? this? Am reminded of Winston Smith's compulsory and surveilled physical jerks.

The National Health Service is to put its own 1.35 million staff at the head of a new fight against obesity by encouraging them to join weight-watching groups and take out gym memberships, its new head will announce this week.

How about you reduce the stressful conditions they are working under, getting ever more so, rather than piling another requirement on top of them?

I am more on board with the idea of having healthy food available in hospitals, for staff, patients and visitors. This seems more to the point than 'encouraging' them to join gyms and weight-watching programmes (where are they going to find the time for that?).

And related to this, via Barbara Ellen's column (scroll down): Belgian MP Maggie De Block has been made minister of social affairs and health, amid criticisms that, at more than 20 stone, she is far too overweight for the job.

Even if De Block doesn’t have underlying health issues affecting her weight, there is the insidious implication that her appearance is more important than any experience or intelligence she could bring to the job, that how she looks matters more than what she does.

More Links Than A Bag Of Sausages

Oct. 19th, 2014 03:28 am
petzipellepingo: (more links by eyesthatslay)
[personal profile] petzipellepingo
Under a Harvest Moon , Spike/Xander by [personal profile] theladymerlin.

Time is a Thief , BtVS/Teen Titan crossover by [profile] lightning_skies.

Don't forget! The Classic Recs Weekend over at [community profile] buffyversetop5 is coming soon. Get those lists ready.

Note to fiction authors, check this post out . [personal profile] ladydragon76 has information on fiction thieves.

No No Nano

Oct. 18th, 2014 01:08 pm
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
[personal profile] masqthephlsphr
I just updated my profile and novel on Nanowrimo, but I'm not doing Nano this year. Probably.

I know Nano outright encourages rule breakers nowadays: pick a goal less than 50,000 words, pick a non-word count goal, write fan fiction, work on a second draft, write multiple short stories, etc, etc, so, in past years, I have felt free to use the energy of that month to accomplish whatever needs doing, but this year it's a matter of not having the time.

See re: writing class kicking my butt. There will still be lots of writing.


shadowkat: (Default)

March 2014


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