Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 01:54 pm

I don't know if anyone else has been aware of the hoohah over the Chalke Valley History Festival, an event which has not been on my radar even though it has been going since 2011, though when I see that it is sponsored by A Certain Daily Rag of Which We Do Not Speak, unless we really have to, I would guess that it's NQOSD. Certainly no-one has come begging yr hedjog to address the crowds on ye syph in history (with or without my sidekick Sid, now available as a keyring), Dr Stopes, the inner meaning of the 1820s cartoons of Ladies Strachan and Warwick canoodling in a park or towsell-mowsell upon a sopha, wanking panic over the centuries etc etc.

But anyway, there has lately been a certain amount of OMG History of Dead White Males (and a few queens) and the fact that it is overwhelmingly DWM d'un certain age giving the fruits of their knowingz to the audience:
Historian pulls out of Chalke Valley festival over lack of diversity
(and, cynically, I wonder how many of the 32 women historians are Hott Young Thingz researching queens, aristo ladies, and so forth, though I may be doing them an injustice.)
The lack of women and non-white historians at this year’s Chalke Valley festival sends out a worrying message to Britain’s young

There have been defences made of the event by saying that you need to have Nazis and Tudors because that is what pulls in the punters, and maybe eventually get them onto something else not so overdone and ubiquitous.

However, only today there was a piece in The Guardian about the Bradford Literary Festival: Irna Qureshi and Syima Aslam have upended the traditional festival model to create a 10-day cultural jamboree that holds appeal across the city’s diverse communities

(Okay, does have the Brontes, and why not, but does not, alas, have ritual mud-wrestling by the Bronte Society...)

'They have upended the traditional literary festival model and attracted a demographic that is the dream of all forward-looking funders.'

So it can be done.

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 09:45 am
Happy birthday, [personal profile] coalescent!
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 12:54 am

Politics

Amazon

  • Amazon now offers reduced fee Prime membership - $5.99 per month for low income earners. "Normal" Prime membership is $99, which in theory would be $8.25 per month, but only if you paid $99 at sign-up to lock in the price, so many people actually pay what I did before "cheaper Prime" came along - $10.99 per month/$131.88 per year - the usual $99 plus a $32.88 Poor People's Poverty Tax.
  • Also check out four more ways to get Prime on the cheap.
  • Amazon ended unlimited cloud storage pretty much the same week I had to jump cloud storage services...*grinds teeth into dust*
  • For cord-cutting Prime members now there's Amazon TV (pick your poison. Yay?).
  • From the email I got, as Amazon has no explainer and Google has nothing indexed: "Now’s the perfect time to take advantage of a game-changing Prime exclusive benefit—Amazon Channels, the first truly a la carte TV service. You can create a lineup you love from over 100 channels, and only pay for the ones you want—no cable required. You get a 7-day free trial of all of our channels, and you can watch anywhere and cancel anytime."
  • About the above - I haven't signed up and will probably be unable to. I also don't know anyone who's signed up. Comcast controls most of the fiber in my area and with them it's cheaper to pay for a TV and Internet package (called the "Double Play") than to just have Internet, so that's mostly what's been stopping me. Will take reviews, though (preferably from people I already know)!

Firefox

  • The search for Goldilocks, indeed. The author says the latest version of Firefox (54) has e10s (multi-process/multi-threaded like Chrome but a max four processes), but it does not have this. I'm using it on an x64 machine with two processors/8GB of RAM, so I can definitively say it has no e10s.
  • Before posting, I found an updated article which says (emphasis mine): "Electrolysis still isn’t on for all users. “Roughly half of Firefox’s user population is using multiple content processes, but Mozilla will be expanding the number over the next few months based on extension compatibility, accessibility support work and other factors,” a Mozilla spokesperson told VentureBeat. To check if you’re in the Electrolysis group, type “about:support” into the URL bar and check to see if it says “1/1 (Enabled by default)” under the Multiprocess Windows line item."
  • While I'm on the topic of Mozilla doing what Mozilla does, and as I made [personal profile] solarbird aware of, standard Firefox add-ons are on their way out, ostensibly to make room for the e10s that they claim exist which for many of us, still don't. People aren't exactly keen on this.
  • Without add-ons as we know them, Firefox basically turns into Opera on Webkit. And though they're killing add-ons as we know them first, a complete browser engine re-write is also on the way. "firefox why u so", indeed!

Invention

  • With this, the author proves he can turn something as ho-hum as a relatively obscure invention into an epic tale that covers everything from original sin to the rise and fall of civilizations to the sad state of mankind's eternal economic Shangri-La. He's also - did I mention this - a great writer.
Monday, June 26th, 2017 08:44 pm
Sour Cherry Jam -- from Food in Jars: Preserving Food in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan

Ingredients )

Directions )

Yield: 3 pint jars -- or 2 pint jars, 2 half-pint jars, 2 quarter-pint jars.
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Sunday, June 25th, 2017 07:57 pm
Batard of sourdough, cheddar scone, lemon bite, 2 quarts of sour cherries, 2 quarts of red sweet cherries, 1 pint of yellow sweet cherries, 3lbs of blueberries, 2 pints of black raspberries, 1.5 lb rhubarb bag of spring mixed greens, pint of fingerling potatoes, spring cheese, mixed milk morbier cheese, 2 hardneck garlic bulbs, pint of apricots,
Monday, June 26th, 2017 02:41 pm
partial screenshot of AO3 homepage showing 25000 fandoms with the AO3 logo above the text




AO3 has reached 25,000 fandoms! To celebrate, we've put together info about fandom tags and how all tags work: https://goo.gl/W4wPxH
Monday, June 26th, 2017 08:25 am
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways to Give:

[personal profile] dreamwaffles linked to a fundraiser for Kaye, who has been researching Rat Lungworm, a disease that almost killed her son Graham, who is now disabled and uses a service dog for everyday life. Kaye was a crucial part of the University of Hawai'i's RLWD research team and also the team trying to get legislative support and grant funding, but she's fighting medical debt for Graham's treatment and ongoing needs. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is still struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and is now dealing with an eye infection they need to get treatment for before their roommate and her toddler come back from vacation, so they don't infect the baby. They're raising $50-$60 in the short term for medical treatment; they also have a long-term fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

[tumblr.com profile] anna-guth is a student from Germany who was recently accepted to Redroofs School for the Performing Arts in England, but her parents can't afford the full GBP24K tuition. She is raising E6.5K for tuition and school fees; you can read more and reblog here, or give directly to the fundraiser here.

[tumblr.com profile] echosiriusrumme is a student trying to buy her own clarinet; at present she doesn't have her own instrument to practice with but has a pressing need to practice before auditions and recitals for a Performance track next fall at her university. She has a few options lined up for between $800 and $1.3K, but needs to raise the funds to cover the cost; she is offering to repay over time any funds contributed to the purchase. You can read more and reblog here (plus find a ko-fi link) or give to her paypal here.


And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
Monday, June 26th, 2017 01:42 pm

10 Famous Book Hoarders

(I think we may contest the term 'hoarders' for people with lotsaboox, hmmmm?)

In most of those cases I think we do see a real love of books, though I'm not sure about Hearst and whether 'ostentation' was not on his mind rather than use?

In some cases those appear to be the personal libraries that have fetched up in public collections, and one wonders whether there was a certain amount of weeding and selection at the point of accession. (I'm not saying that Houdini or Arendt also had vast collections of pulp westerns or school stories or whatever, but I'm not ruling out that choices were made at some point.)

And indeed, while calling your private collection 'the Library of the History of Human Imagination' is indeed quite a long way along the pretentiousness scale, I look at that picture: 'It has three levels, a glass bridge, floating platforms' and feel a certain covetousness.

And even if it's ponceyness turned up to 11, it's not as cringe-making as this, which crossed my radar pretty much on the same day: Meet The App That Revolutionized Book Reading For 2 Million People

We sort through the approximately 2,200,000 books published worldwide to find the best nonfiction books out there. Then, our subject specialists, writers, and editors identify the key ideas from each of these hand-selected books and transform them into smart, useful summaries of insights we lovingly polish and refine until they are nothing but the absolute most essential elements of the writer’s main ideas. We do the filtering for you, then we share those ideas with you the way your dream-friend would.
Tonstant Weader called for a stiff drink.

*'Twenty-two acknowledged concubines, and a library of sixty-two thousand volumes, attested the variety of his [Gordian II's] inclinations; and from the productions which he left behind him, it appears that the former as well as the latter were designed for use rather than for ostentation.' Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol I.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017 08:18 pm
Just saw Wonder Woman and it was awesome!!!! Not perfect, but still awesome!!!!

I may have more articulate thoughts at a later date when my brain has calmed down, and not to worry, those will get put behind a spoiler cut.

Apparently it's been in cinemas just under a month and is already the highest grossing movie ever directed by a woman. It stole that crown from Fifty Shades of Grey, which was a TERRIBLE movie. So yay for it doing so well!

P.S. Can anyone let me know where I might be able to find WW icons, please?
Monday, June 26th, 2017 01:44 pm

Lufra has been with us five days now, and he’s nine weeks old today. He’s a lovely, happy smart little guy. He’s already worked out that if I throw the ball and he brings it back, I will throw it again! So he’s learned how to fetch all by himself.

Caring for him has been a welcome distraction from our sadness over losing our cat Cleo so suddenly. D says that joy of life just emanates from that little dog, and he’s absolutely right.

One of Lufra’s favourite things in the world is an uggboot, and here he is with two of mine. I’m very tall and so I have quite large feet, but my boots still give a good sense of how small he still is.







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Sunday, June 25th, 2017 06:44 pm
The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire

4 of 5 stars

This is the eighth book in the October Daye series. I actually skipped ahead to this one because I'd heard so much about it, and despite my not having read some of the previous books in the series, it doesn't disappoint. Seanan McGuire has a nice, flowing prose style, with little to no infodumping, and does very well at revealing only what you need to know at any given moment. This avoids slowing the story down, and inspires trust in the reader. You know the twists are coming, but in the meantime, you've got a bang-up story to enjoy. 
 
What's outstanding here, however, is the worldbuilding, the characterizations, and the relationships. The world of Faerie existing concurrently with our modern world is a staple in urban fantasy, to the point of become cliche, unfortunately. However, few urban fantasy writers dive as deep into Faerie as McGuire. (I would say the only author to match her is Laurell K. Hamilton, but Hamilton's Faerie is much more pornified.) Toby's world is rigorously thought out and explored, with all its implications and potential (and real) nastiness. (Such as the racism exhibited towards changelings, for example.) This is a world that has left a deep mark on its protagonist, a world where Toby has suffered and has the scars to prove it. 
 
Toby herself, as the central character, is just lovely. She's deeply loyal to her friends, and if in the past she had a habit of charging off half-cocked, she's making a conscious effort to slow down and think. She's also working on accepting help from other people, in particular her boyfriend Tybalt. The foundations of her relationships and family--both her blood family and her found one--are dragged into the open and examined here, and like everything to do with family, the results are sometimes messy. Not all hurts can heal, and not all things can be forgiven. All of these little ins and outs of the people in this book are fascinating, and (as so many people have said) the Luidaeg is a delight. She can scare the piss out of Toby, and does, but Toby loves her anyway, and does something for her that will obviously have major repercussions going forward. 
 
This book is smartly plotted and paced, and very satisfying. Urban fantasy, as a genre, is not as popular as it used to be, and for good reason: in past years, the market was glutted with it, and a great deal of it was not so great. (I know, as I read quite a lot myself.) But this series is superior, and definitely a keeper.
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 08:47 pm

During the week, baked a loaf of the Shipton Mill 3 Malts and Sunflower Organic Brown Flour.

Friday supper: Gujerati khichchari - absentmindedly used ground cumin rather than cumin seed but I don't think the effect was disastrous.

Saturday breakfast rolls: the adaptable soft rolls recipe, 2:2:1 strong white/wholemeal/dark rye flours with maple sugar and sour cherries.

Today's lunch: redfish fillets rubbed with Cajun seasoning, brushed with milk and egg and coated in panko crumbs, panfried in olive oil, served with steamed samphire tossed in butter and baby leeks healthy-grilled in avocado oil and splashed with gooseberry vinegar.

Sunday, June 25th, 2017 06:34 pm
I learned about My Dad Wrote A Porno late - I've been catching up over the summer.

If you don't know about it, here's the basics: A guy's dad decides to write "erotic literature," after having never written anything else in his life. Instead of pretending it didn't happen, the guy grabs his two friends and reads it aloud to them on a weekly podcast.

It becomes a podcast sensation because it's super fucking funny.

What really charms me about the whole show is how innocent the three of them are. They're not prudish exactly - it's more that they're discovering the joy of terrible erotic literature for the first time*. Sometimes I just want to say, "Oh, bless them."

The novel itself is perfect. It's not really shocking - so far the most out-there fetish involves some unwise usage of spaghetti sauce. It's just really, really bad writing all-around, and sometimes makes you question what is going on in the author's head (if anything). My favorite WTF moments aren't even during the sex scenes - although those are also pretty WTF due to the author's terrible grasp of female anatomy.

* Oh my God, I just realized that it's basically an audio version of a fanfic MSTing. I just remember that fanfic MSTing was a thing! And that I did them!
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Sunday, June 25th, 2017 06:04 pm
I tend to buy books in the Women's Press SF imprint when I see them in second-hand shops, and picked up this collection of short stories (or really, one novella and some short stories) in a bookshop we passed while walking at Easter. It dates from 1986, although only one of the stories was published for the first time in this collection; the others, including the title novella, had been previously published at various points between 1971 and 1980.

The title novella tells of the adventures of revolutionary leader Jane Saint as she travels through an alternate dimension or astral plane, seeking to find a way to make a fundamental change to the natures of men and women which will allow humanity to move towards a more equal society. She moves through a shifting and often symbolic landscape, helped variously by an alchemist and his wife, a philosophical talking dog, a griffin-demon hybrid creature, Joan of Arc, and her own daughters; her adventures are absurdist and surreal and told with a great deal of subtle wit and humour.

The other stories are much shorter. 'Woe, Blight and, in Heaven, Laughs' is a rather grim postapocalyptic reworking of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; 'Gordon's Women' is a more cheerful variant on the total-male-domination-secret-female-underground setup of Suzy McKee Charnas's Holdfast novels; 'The Message', which was probably my favourite story in the book, is an almost-realist story of lonely, repressed fiftysomething Edna, whose attempts to deliver a message handed to her by a dying person in hospital take her on a quest around her neighbourhood; 'Heads Africa Tails America' was very surreal and really left me cold; and 'The Pollyanna Enzyme' posits a situation where it turns out that the one thing that really does drive humanity to live in peace and harmony is its imminent extinction.

Definitely worth a read if you happen across a copy.
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 06:37 pm
My brother lives in the US. He & his family coming over to the UK, and the children will stay with my mother for some quality granny time while he and his wife bugger off to Paris for a week.

Tomorrow I am going up to Scotland to stay with my mother and be her chief assistant child-wrangler. I volunteered for this, I wanted to do it, but now I am really panicky about it.

It's partly child-related anxieties (small people! what do I do! aargh!) and partly just the prospect of my mother for a week unleavened by any other adult.

She will want to talk about politics. To give you a flavour, she's against wind-farms, believes that nationalisation improved the railways and thinks that Corbyn is the Anti-Christ.

I am also having packing panic, and trying to decide what I want to wear next week. It's Scotland. It will be cold. It will rain at some point. I want all the clothes and then some more.
Sunday, June 25th, 2017 05:31 pm
 I tend to post something on this subject every couple of years, simply so that if the question ever arises, my wishes are on record and can be shown to be consistently held over time.

If I am ever in a situation where I am suffering a  terminal illness, then please respect my request if I ask to be allowed to die.  I am well aware that if I am ever in a situation where I'm in bed for more than a couple of days, my neck/back/shoulder pain will kick in and my quality of life will be greatly reduced with no hope of improvement.

If I enter a terminal coma, please switch off the machines and allow someone else to have the hospital bed!  (Or simply give me a lethal injection to speed up the process)

If I ever suffer from dementia and reach a point where I can no longer recognise my family, then please help me by finding a way to end my life.  I would not wish to continue living under such circumstances.

I wish to continue living as long as I enjoy life.  If my quality of life has gone, do not waste time/money/emotional energy trying to prolong the process.