for two minutes

Sep. 26th, 2017 11:13 am[personal profile] solarbird
solarbird: (widow)
For two minutes last night, I was the Widowmaker I want to be.

Offence, Temple of Anubis. My team is wretched, and is not even going to make it past the first choke point. I take out their Pharah who is flying over said choke point, potshotting my team, and chain atop one of the statues to get a better angle - and suddenly, I cannot miss. (And I'm legitimately not missing, my timing and aim just clicks.)

I take down the dwarf's turret three times. I kill four more enemy team members, mostly single shots, but sometimes two shots, not quite fast enough to prevent replenishment as they come back from spawn, but despite me being the only one killing anyone, they're depleted, badly, down to three on the defensive line. I swing around them using the secret route I've only once seen anyone else use, and attack their remaining defence from above and behind, taking out their Torb (again), and his turret (again), and their... McCree, I think? Only their Genji remains, and he gets me with his charge before I can get him.

But then even that team can figure out they can advance against only one player, and swarm him, and get onto the point. I come back and get Torb and his turret again and we take the first point otherwise unopposed.

And sadly, that's where the magic part of all this ends, because while I'm continuing to play well, the entire enemy team - all of whom I have killed at least once - knows exactly who the fuck is the god damned problem, and that the rest of my team is not one, and I am whole-team first target the rest of the game. They try (and fail, you're welcome) to stuff us at second spawn, but while I can get them back to more typical defensive positions, I can't do everything, and I'm no longer incapable of missing - they've learned to shoot quickly and to hide. (And also, sadly, my aim and timing return to my baseline, I fell from nearly 90% down to... 67% I think? Something like that.)

But for two minutes, I was the goddess of death. I was the Widowmaker I want to be, I was the Widowmaker of legend - of one shot, one kill - and all fled from my sight. It was wonderful.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 04:31 pm[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
dark_phoenix54: (snooch scream)
More chores. Made up the Garden Gate for the gardener's association. Weeded, even though I already felt like I'd been hit by a bus. Planted 3 gallon perennial I'd been foolish enough to buy. Potted up some tiny trees. Did a couple of reviews. Took a really hot shower early, because I felt horrible. I will be in bed very soon. Tomorrow is a work day.
maellenkleth: (caprice-networking)
More images from last Saturday's excursion, taken with the little Sony camera and unmanipulated other than modest cropping.

We drove about two hours further west, on what was once known as the Canadian Highway (and is now known as the Pacific Rim Highway). A lousy drive at the best of times (the road is nauseatingly-bumpy and swoopy, and heavily-trafficked), but the end is worth the journey.

This is a bog, a domed oligotrophic (rainwater-fed) paralic forest bog, to be precise. The edges of the bog are a stunted version of the normal maritime rainforest, whereas the interior of the bog becomes increasingly-dominated by Sphagnum moss, with scattered hummocks of 300-year old trees. [see note 1].

[4651a/17.jpg] We start in a pine bog forest, comprised of parasol-shaped shore pines (Pinus contorta var. contorta ex. gr. Douglas) with an understory of stunted yellow-cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis). The shurb layer consists of salal (Gaultheria shallon), Labrador-tea (Ledum groenlandicum), and mountain bilberry (Vaccinium vita-idaea), with patches of sword-ferns. The tallest of the pines is about twenty metres tall, but most of them are ten to twelve metres tall, and we can here see considerable wind-sculpting and some die-back of the taller trees.

[4653a/17.jpg] Walking about thirty metres further into the bog, we enter the inner rim, where the trees (although still large and free-growing) are beginning to become spaced-out into 'islands' of woody plants, and the sphagnum moss (Sphagnum sp. cf. recurvum) becomes more abundant. Note the increased amount of deadwood, both standing and fallen into the moss.

One of the tall 'toothpick' trunks was occuipied by a gang of ravens, who decamped upon the very instant that they saw our camera pointing their way.

[4652a/17.jpg] Another hundred metres takes us slightly uphill, into the distinctly-domed central region of the bog. Here the trees are very small and stunted: the pines are 'coiffed' into globular parasols, and the yellow-cedars are so stunted as to form low creeping masses of shrubby krummholz.

I was loth to dig holes in the bog to discern the thickness of the peat, but bears and wolves had done that work for me: a few decimetres to a few metres (at most 2.5 metres) of peat. The upper thickness of peat agrees reasonably-well with the collier's rules of thumb, that peat compacts into coal at a ratio of 7:1, and that one foot of coal represents about three hundred years' accumulation. We're looking, here, at a domed mass of Sphagnum peat which may have accumulated in the three centuries since the Great Cascadia Earthquake.

[4656a/17.jpg] Another couple of hundred metres takes us out the other side of the bog, into the farther marginal rainforest. Here, in about twenty metres, we make the transition from moss to stunted pines to a wind-sculpted pine-hemlock-cedar forest, with a dense undergrowth of salal, huckleberries, and ferns.

The floor of the forest is still ever-wet, and it constitutes its own bog landscape, but of a rheotrophic (flow-nourished) rather than oligotrophic sort.

The boardwalk runs all the way around the bog, in a 1200-metre circular loop which is refreshingly-hidden from distant view. While one is out there clomping along the boards, one could form the impression of being utterly alone with the ancient landscape.

'Ancient' in the sense, here, that this sort of centrally-raised, concentrically-zoned bog is very much similar to the sort of wetland that formed the commercially-mined coking-coal deposits of Salishaan.

This bog is 30 to 40 hectares in extent, about the same dimensions as the central 'sweet spots' of the ancient Cretaceous-era coal desposits. Those are quite profitable to work if one can discover their exposed outcrop edges and work in sideways along the coal, but a much harder proposition to find by means of drilling and then to access via shafts.

We've mentioned, before, the role of earthquakes and tsunamis in the coal geology of Salishaan. A typical commercial coal deposit contains 1200 to 3000 years' worth of compressed, fossilised, coalified peat, marked and split by narrow internal bands of volcanic ash and tsunami-borne shell-bearing sand. That makes for interesting inorganic chemistry, such that the 'middlings' materials (the mid-gravity clay-rich coal particles), found in the coal washery rejects, find a ready market in the cement mills of downtown Seattle. The only things we don't find in this modern bog, though, are the footprints of theropods and other saurians: this bog is the home of mammals.

[note 1] 300 years is a tree-ring date for the oldest of the trees. There are older pieces of wood half-buried by peat, belonging to trees which died around about the same time, 300 radiocarbon years ago. There's a geotechnical argument currently in play, that the older trees died owing to being grossly-uprooted and tossed about by seismic shaking around that time, owing to the most recent of the great Cascadian earthquakes having been closely-dated to January of 1700 C.E. How that earthquake was dated is a worthy subject for its own posting: suffice to say that the most significant written records are in Japanese.

To learn more:

Cordes, L.D. and MacKenzie, G.A.
1972: A vegetation classification for Phase I of Pacific Rim National Park; in J.G. Nelson and L.D. Cordes (editors): Pacific Rim: an ecological approach to a new Canadian national park; Parks Canada, Studies in Land Use History and Landscape Change, National Park Series No.4; accessed September 25, 2017, via

[edited to add....]

Also of interest, from Central European University (ca. 2003) is an online introduction to wetland types:

A panoramic view of the central facies of the bog is available at

solarbird: (Default)

[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."


"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."


"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.

(no subject)

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:30 pm[personal profile] cupcake_goth
cupcake_goth: (Default)

Halloween Tarot: Page of Ghosts (Page of Cups)

Vintage Wisdom Oracle: Healing

(no subject)

Sep. 24th, 2017 06:28 pm[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
dark_phoenix54: (snooch scream)
It was supposed to rain Saturday, so I figured I could rest my snot-ridden body. Sure enough, at 7 am it was pouring. Then it cleared off... the sun came out... and I said ah, crap. This is the time of year when if there is a clear day, you take it, because you don't know how many more dry days there will be before winter shuts down gardening. And the plants don't care if my nose dribbles on them.

Felt like a truck had hit me when I got up this morning. Got the laundry hung out (and even though it went out at a reasonable hour, it didn't dry completely. So into the dryer it went). Got an article written. Rooted around in a shed for some poly silk roses that had never been used, back from when we sold that sort of thing and I made wreathes & stuff, so they are ready to go for the hospice rose thing. Potted up the little locust tree, and spent *2 hours* dividing the potted bird of paradise. It's been in that pot for over 10 years, and the roots were not just circling but weaving in and out of each other. I didn't want to break any more roots than necessary, so it took me forever, picking at the roots a little at a time. By the time I had gotten it more or less untangled, it had turned into a truly Lovecraftian specimen. I pulled it in half, and couldn't fit the thing back into the pot it came out of. Had to root around for a bigger plastic pot that would still fit into the brass pot the B of P lives in. Tuesday the other half goes to another gardener.

I am dead now.
maellenkleth: (flyingslabs)
Yesterday's adventure (part one of three) in the Salishaan Prefecture of Cascadia, as shown in photographs.

Darling Spouse and azaer have an eclectic mix of friends, ranging from industrial workers to financiers and various flavours of politicians. Yesterday's adventure was mostly about industrial workers, at lest one of whom was (and still is, as far as we know) the mayor of the hamlet of Coombes, in Salishaan. He does double duty as worker and politician, thusly.

Photographs taken with Sony DSC-H90 electro-optical camera, as usual, on distant-focus setting. 'Point and shoot' is the order of the day..

[4610a/17.jpg] Spar tree and donkey-engines. The 'tree' is a large log, brought from about ten kilometres away, atop the western face of the Beaufort Range, about a metre in diameter at the butt end and thirty metres tall. We are not seeing all of its height, here, as we are more interested in the donkey-engines. In the foreground is the steam-powered engine, built by the Washington Iron Works in Seattle in 1928, and lovingly restored by the tradespeople at the Industrial Heritage Society. Steam-engines much like this machine worked all the way up and down the western coastal rainforests of Cascadia, during the first half of the XXth century. The engine's boiler is mounted vertically above its firebox, and it powers wire-rope winch drums via horizontal pistons and connecting-rods. The engine's fuel is wood. It takes about two hours to raise enough steam to do useful work (150 pounds/inch to work the winch drums, but only 75 pounds/inch to blow the whistle).

Spar tree
The red tank contains fire-fighting water, pressurised by a steam-driven air-compressor. The engine rides on two very stout skids made of bevel-ended cedar logs, which in turn are balanced on a pair of concrete-filled steel pipes. The roof is made of rust-streaked sheets of corrugated iron. Barely visible in the orange vest is Ken Fyfe, the steam-engineer who minds the fire and the steam. Ken (a good old friend and former neighbour of ours) is proud of the quality of the steam that he can raise: 'smooth, with no lumps in it'. Lumpy steam is not a good thing.

In the distance between the spar tree and the donkey-engine, can be seen another engine, also sitting on wooden skids but positioned at a ninety-degree angle to the steam-engine. This second engine runs the spar-tree's 'hayrack boom', the horizontal assembly of bolted-together smaller logs and cut-off railway rails, which slews back and forth to load logs by means of a pair of tongs.

The loading engine is powered by a V-8 Ford petrol-powered engine, termed by the loggers as a 'gas fake' (because when it was first adopted for use in the 1930s, this sort of petrol-driven engine was not regarded to be as useful as a 'real' steam-driven engine). The gas fake is certainly not as powerful as the steam-donkey, but it is much nimbler and responsive to its driver's commands, so it is well-suited to running the hayrack loader.

[4614a/17.jpg] Kahvi aika! Here we see Ken Fyfe's steam-powered coffee-pot. Back in the day, the steam-engineer was a popular fellow to visit on a rainy day, because the donkey had a roof over it, the firebox gave off welcome warmth, and the engineer could be counted-upon to have hot coffee. Steam-powered coffee is wholly excellent to the taste, as we know from direct experience thanks to Ken being willing to share a cuppa with us.

Note the control valve on the steam line, and the narrow diameter of the copper tube that carries the high-pressure steam into the coffee-pot.

[4623a/17.jpg]  The 'gas fake'. Bill (we didn't catch his surname, but we noticed his bright blue trousers) has to be part-octopus, for his hands and feet are wholly-occupied with driving the motor and controlling the winch drums. The gas fake has a standard clutch-and-stick transmission, an accelerator pedal, and drum-mounted brake bands for each of the winches. The engine is by no means as powerful as the steam-donkey, but it can handily change the direction of the winches, to work the hayrack boom back and forth. One of the two winches pulls the boom towards the gas fake, while the other winch works the loading-tongs. "So, how does the gas fake work the boom in the other direction?". It doesn't. Instead, a large cut-off piece of a big log, called a 'chunk', acts as a counterweight to slew the boom outward.

[4620a/17.jpg] Hooking. 'Hooker' is a legitimate occupational title on our electoral rolls. Properly, it's 'hooktender', but 'hooker' is more to the point. The hooker hooks the logs with a pair of sharp metal tongs, so-arranged as to bit into the log when they are lifted by the gas-fake's loading-winch. Metal tongs are dangerous and cantankerous implements: they fail to stick when they should stick, and they refuse to unstick when they shouldn't stick.

The hooker sets the tongs, and then he leaps out of the way, in case the tongs fail to hold the log.

These are 'tame' logs; our logger friends have been using them over and over again for ten years, as the unnamed characters in their demonstrations. The bark long since fell off these logs, which does make it more likely that the tongs will gain a good hold on the logs.

[4626a/17.jpg] Loading. Here's the log drawn-up against the heel of the hayrack boom, now swinging around sideways towards the waiting  logging-truck. That's probably 2000 kilos of wood flying through the air.

The truck was built by the Hayes Truck Company (out of Vancouver, now defunct) in 1956. It is sized for 'off-highway' loads, 4.5 metres wide and 4.5 metres tall, 100 tonnes' weight. The length of the trailer is adjustable to allow for carriage of longer logs, up to 30 metres' length. The trucks were so well-built, that the Hayes Company went out of business on account of fewer loggers needing to buy replacements for worn-out trucks. Old Hayes trucks are still working the mountains of Salishaan sixty years later.

[4631a/17/jpg] Unsticking. Those darned tongs! Won't come loose when you want them to. Here we see the aggravated hooker whaling away on the tongs with the back end of his log-marking hammer. One face of the hammer is just an ordinary square steel lump, suitable for clobbering things, whereas the 'business end' of the hammer is carved into letters and numbers for stamping ownership-marks into the ends of logs. That's how log-salvagers can figure out how drifted-away logs can get back to their owners, should a log-raft be caught in a storm.

This also gives you a nice view of how the bottom of the hayrack is armoured with railway-rails.

By way of explanation, the logging 'show' is led by another old friend of ours, Jack James. We first met Jack while working with a drilling crew (part of a coal-mining company), drilling exploratory holes atop a mountain whose forests were owned by the logging company for which Jack worked. Jack was a genial host to us that summer (Darling Spouse visited there, too, for a few weeks, so she got to meet Jack and his loggers, along with Doug and all the other drillers). There we all were on the side of a mountain, redolant with the odours of pitch, sawdust, and turpentime.

Jack is eighty-five years old, now. He's happy to teach the 'young pups' (sixty-five years old, and themselves retired from logging) how to run the wood out from the forest, the steam-powered way. Because of the long hot summer and its wildfire dangers, Jack had little chance to lead his crew this year. The Forest Service gave special permission for yesterday's demonstration work, on account of most of the attendees being vistors on a forestry tour from Sweden. It was quite the day, indeed. Swedish visitors notwithstanding, that was good Finnish coffee in Ken Fyfe's steam-powered coffee-pot. Kahvi aika, indeed.

(no subject)

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:08 pm[personal profile] randomdreams
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
I was working on a small machining project for work in my workshop, another situation where the commercial version is available with a two week lead for $1K or so, and thirty minutes of work on a scrap piece of aluminum in my workshop will have us the equivalent on Monday. Which is great, when I get paid to run a lathe, until I dropped a tiny setscrew, bent over to pick it up, straightened up, and smacked my head into one of the handwheels on the mill. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say I pulled a crescent-shaped chunk of skin off the handwheel once I stood back up. Now I'm sitting in front of the fireplace with a pounding headache.

I had been intending to make a speedometer cable adapter for the Spitfire next, but I think I'll put that off until later.

(no subject)

Sep. 22nd, 2017 05:07 pm[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
dark_phoenix54: (snooch scream)
Despite being snotty and germ-ridden, I went into town to run errands today. Cat food from the vet (and free Krispy Kreme donut!), blood test strips, the library. The library held some excitement for me, as the elevator got stuck with me inside. Coming down it jerked hard and stopped- in between floors. Over the next ten or fifteen minutes, it groaned, jerked, vibrated, and generally acted possessed. Well, I thought, at least I have stuff to read, but I sure wish I'd taken a pee! I finally figured that things weren't getting any better, and hit the 'call' switch. Of course, at that point, the damn thing dropped again and the doors opened. A couple of the librarians were out there, because they could hear the ruckus the thing was making.

Hopefully will feel good enough to go to work tomorrow as it's supposed to *not* be raining.
solarbird: (korra-excited)

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

cupcake_goth: (Default)
I have now used the 30% glycolic acid peel twice. I'm also using 5% glycolic acid cleaning wipes on my face every night, because that's what a lot of the skin care forums recommended. And doing the usual stuff: really good, soothing moisturizer every night (Bee Friendly, yes, really), and wearing sunblock every day.

I have noticed an improvement in my skin. The texture is smoother, and the brown spots from hormone wackiness are definitely lightening. They're not GONE (yet), but they don't jump out at me whenever I see myself in a mirror.

(I know, I know, probably no one else noticed them.)

So! Putting acid on your face! I totally recommend it!

(no subject)

Sep. 21st, 2017 03:06 pm[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
dark_phoenix54: (writing)
A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf, by Emily Midorikawa & Emma Clare Sweeney. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

“A Secret Sisterhood” examines the relationships that early female writers had with friends. Most that is written about Austen and Charlotte Bronte shows them working in isolation (aside from the Bronte siblings); in fact they both had active friendships with other women both through correspondence and face to face, where they talked about their work. Eliot and Woolf have less of a reputation for loneliness, but still aren’t considered to be extroverts. But they, too, had their special friends with whom they could talk shop.

Jane Austen was friends with her brother’s nanny (which was not looked upon well), who was a playwright when not wrangling kids; author Mary Taylor helped Charlotte Bronte; the outcast George Eliot (outcast for cohabiting with a married man for years) had a long correspondence with Harriet Beecher Stowe; and Virginia Woolf had a relationship both friendly and very competitive with author Katherine Mansfield. These friendships helped sustain the writers in their solitary work (even with people around them, a writer works alone) and provided sounding boards for their new writings.

The authors, themselves friends since the beginnings of their writing careers and who first found success at almost the same time as each other, have done meticulous research and found previously unread documents on or by their subjects. It’s an interesting read, so see how these friendships affected their writing. Much has been made of the friendships of certain male authors- Byron and Shelley, Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins- and now at last we have the feminine side of that coin – and a foreword by Margaret Atwood. Four and a half stars.
solarbird: (tracer)
Today was the most badass I have ever been as

Offence. Volskaya industries. Backfill, with about 2:30 to go; first point taken, first third of second point taken, but they've been flailing. I grab, and they waste about 2:15 just raggedly charging in, ignoring my group-up requests - tho' I did get the enemy to blow a few of their ults. And once I announce that my nerf is up, my team finally groups, mostly because hey, about out of time.

I lead the charge in. I get one and a mech with my nerf. One of our team gets someone else, I don't know who. I get my mecha back, charge in, kill a third.

Their Reaper drops in with his ult and kills FIVE OF US. Quadruple kill. It is, in fact, play of the game.

But he does not get me. I am the only member of my team alive.

I kill every remaining member of the enemy team and take the point in overtime, while the entire rest of my team is dead.

I gold in objective kills, but I don't even card.

I cannot imagine what that looked like to everyone else.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 05:52 pm[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
dark_phoenix54: (books cats)
Dark Knowledge, by Clifford Browder. Anaphora Literary Press, 2018

In New York in the late 1860s, Chris Harmony uncovers some pre-Civil War papers that hint that his grandfather could have been involved in the slave trade. He feels a need to find out what the truth is, but other family members don’t feel the same way- and even attempt to steal the papers. As he asks around, he finds clues that link other society people to the slave trade, too. And, fearing exposure now that trading in humans is illegal and looked down on in New York, those people set out to stop him.

Chris, his sister, their mother, and their cousin are all for getting to bringing it to daylight, even if it means their own family name will be besmirched. Their other relatives, and others in the shipping industry, are very much against it. They have their money, they have made their way into society, and they want the status quo held.

The story takes Chris from the docks to society balls. It’s a historical mystery, with a lot of family dynamics happening, and with a bit of a love story, too. It looks like Browder has done a lot of research into what trade and shipping was like back then. It’s pretty well written, but I found the ending very abrupt and unsatisfying – not so much of an ending so much as a “see you next week, same time, same channel”. I don’t know if this will be a series, and we’ll see the story given a better ending or not. I would have liked to have seen Chris’s sister take a more active role, too. Chris’s character is fairly well filled out, but the others not so much so. The author has promise, but this one gets four stars out of five.

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 05:29 pm[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
dark_phoenix54: (why motherfucker)
A number of years ago, Hank Williams, Jr., the voice of Sunday Night football (or maybe it was Monday) for years, was removed from that job because he was making racist statements. Now, this season, he is back. It's Trump's America.

ramblings and vanity

Sep. 20th, 2017 02:07 pm[personal profile] graveyardrabbit
graveyardrabbit: (Default)
The past couple days, today included, have been kinda rough (exams! depression! the return of sleep paralysis!) so I haven't been getting to the daily tarot or daily journal entries. I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things soon.

In the meantime, I actually liked how I looked today, so even though I'm super out of practice taking good selfies:

I love my raven necklace

(the only mirror in my apartment is the bathroom one, and the lighting in there isn't great, but I still like how this looks)

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:01 am[personal profile] dark_phoenix54
dark_phoenix54: (skull on books)
Don’t Doubt the Magic! –the Story of Bernice O’Hanlon, Part Two By Cathie Devitt. Roundfire Books, 2017

Bernice O’Hanlon has returned to the island she grew up on. She is looking for answers- and two of the people who could provide those answers are now dead: her grandparents. The farm she feels should be hers by inheritance is lived on by a pair of brothers, who have been working the farm for her grandparents for years- and they have moved into the house. Bernice is a witch, and in this story she works with the Tarot to figure out how to proceed. The action alternates between the island and Glasgow.

This is the middle novelette of a trilogy, and while it’s said to be readable as a standalone, I had trouble figuring out who all the characters were and how their relationships worked- and there are a lot of characters. The action switches between them rapidly. I felt like I was watching a sped-up film; unable to catch up with what was going on. I enjoyed the premise that there were a group of witches on the island, and that the skills had been passed on to Bernice. I could understand her need to find out what happened to her parents and to her infant son. But with so much going on, I couldn’t form a connection to her or any other character. There was not enough time spent with anyone to care about them. I can only give it three out of five stars.


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