pedanther: (cheerful)
The Fluent Self is a blog about self-fluency and destuckificaton (the sort of thing that a less playful person might call "time management" or "personal development"), written by Havi Brooks, who, as she says, doesn't consider herself an authority saying "Here's what you should do" but rather an example saying "Here's what has worked for me".

It's one of my favourite blogs on the web, but I don't read it often, because when I do I get the feeling that I would really get something out of it if I stuck with it, and then I get frightened and go hide somewhere else and don't come back for months.

Which is why I've only just learned, mere days before it happens, that the online store attached to the blog is about to close. The store carries professionally-done-up versions of things that have worked for Havi: there's a book of techniques for dealing with procrastination, for example, and another of techniques for dealing with PTSD and panic attacks. (I own a copy of the book on procrastination, and have found it useful.)

I've read the blog post explaining why the online store is going away, and the reasons make good sense. I just wish I'd known about it sooner, so I had more time to go around telling people, "Here's a cool thing that's not going to be here much longer."

...on the other hand, knowing me and deadlines, there's a good chance I wouldn't have got around to it until now anyway. :/
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. The first episode of the new season of Sherlock has now aired in Australia, but it was scheduled against the season final of Foyle's War so I still haven't seen it. The network that aired it has watch-online service, so I expect I'll get a chance to watch it at some point in the next few days. (Although probably not tomorrow. Or the next day. These days, it seems, the world is just full of things I need to do more than I need to watch another episode of Sherlock.) That's assuming it shows up on the online service, of course; but if it doesn't, I have a feeling the world won't end.


2. Speaking of worlds ending, it's been announced that Worlds in Time, the Doctor Who online multiplayer game, will be closing down soon. Considering how much time I spent playing that at one point, I wish I could be sad, or at least surprised, but as it is I'm just kind of wistful that it couldn't have been a better game.


3. In happier news regarding beloved things with online presences, Rosemary Kirstein's novel The Steerswoman is now available in an electronic edition for Kindle, with the rest of the series hopefully to follow. I love the Steerswoman series, and I'm glad to see an opportunity for new readers to discover it. (Or old readers to re-engage; I'd buy a copy myself like a shot, if I had a Kindle to read it on.) If you do have a Kindle to read it on, it's available here.


4. Another thing I recently re-engaged with online is Akinator, the Web Genie who asks you yes-or-no questions in an attempt to guess who you're thinking of. (And then I taught it about the main characters of the Steerswoman series, but that's not why I mention it.) For some reason, one question I've been getting a lot is "Does your character have human skin?" - which always makes me wonder who somebody was thinking about that made that a useful question to ask.


5. On an entirely different note, I recently bought my first pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses. (Previously, I've had to go with tinted lenses because they didn't make polarized subscription lenses that fit spectacle frames that fit my head.) It's a bit weird - I don't know if this is usual for polarization, or if it's because they're prescription lenses, or what, but objects with shiny surfaces occasionally look like they have a sort of unreal glow about them, because one eye is seeing them as catching the light and the other eye isn't, in a way that usually doesn't happen without polarization involved. And there are certain times of day when the effect happens to the entire sky.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. Okay, let's see: That was the last Riddler puzzle, and it unlocked the last bit of backstory. Still not 100% Complete, but there's no more story left: the only things left to do are demonstrate-your-speed-and-agility tests, which I don't care about in themselves, and all they unlock are concept art, which I can live without. I think I'm done here.

*swoops out of Arkham City*


2. Also done with: This collection of Murray Leinster stories. Which is a relief, unfortunately. I wish it weren't, because there are times when Leinster is a really good writer -- but oh, the race and gender issues. I had three stories left to get through. Two of them at least managed to avoid gender unpleasantness, though only by not having any women in them at all. The third (actually the first of the three, so fortunately it wasn't left as my final impression of the collection) had some gender essentialism that I mostly just rolled my eyes at, and an enslaved alien race whose depiction (and the protagonist's reacton to whom) would be a field day for someone who enjoys picking apart depictions of racial otherness and disempowerment. The cherry on the top is that literally the first thing we're told about these aliens, and the thing that seems to be the go-to adjective whenever the author wants to emphasize their strangeness and inhumanity... is that they're black. *sigh*


3. In happier classic-sci-fi news: There's a Kickstarter running for a collection of Henry Kuttner's Hogben stories, with a foreword by Neil Gaiman and new illustrations by Steve Parkhouse. I've been wanting to get my hands on these stories ever since I first heard about them, years ago. The publishers are planning a range of editions, from an e-book through a basic paperback to a limited-edition signed leatherbound hardcover. There's about a week left on the pledge period.


4. From the "we're all living in science fiction now" department: Canadian astronaut and video blogger Chris Hadfield commemorates the end of his stint on the International Space Station with a performance of David Bowie's "A Space Oddity" (with appropriately tweaked lyrics), filmed on location in a tin can far above the world.


5. I can touch my toes!
pedanther: (cheerful)


I've been remiss in not signal-boosting [livejournal.com profile] lost_spook's Obscure & British Comment Fest.

The idea is that people leave comments suggesting prompts for fanfic or fanart for British fandoms that don't usually get enough of that sort of thing, and then other people are inspired and post the results.

(The definition of "obscure" is fairly broad, and mostly means "not as mega-fan-active as Harry Potter or anything with hobbits in". There's a more specific explanation of what is and isn't included in the Fest rules.)

Three of my favourite results so far are a character study of Ace by [livejournal.com profile] astrogirl2 (yes, the McCoy era counts as "obscure" by the rules of the Fest), a vignette of Edmund Blackadder at Downton Abbey by [livejournal.com profile] buckbeakbabie, and the fic that will probably be the Comment Fest's lasting gift to posterity...

...see, [livejournal.com profile] lost_spook made a bunch of images to promote the Comment Fest (collected here and here), featuring characters from eligible fandoms, such as Bagpuss, Mr Steed and Mrs Peel, Miss Marple, the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad... and, as seen above, a Nice Cup of Tea and Some Biscuits.

And then [livejournal.com profile] justice_turtle requested a fic with Tea and Biscuits as the characters.

And then [livejournal.com profile] brutti_ma_buoni wrote it.
pedanther: (cheerful)
1. I'm going to be away from the internet for about a week. (You probably won't even notice I'm gone.) This year the National Band Championships are going to eat most of the weekend, though I still intend to get to as much of Swancon as I can, even if that turns out to be only Monday afternoon. Then I'll be staying in town for a few days to catch up with some people and get in the annual shopping spree before heading home.

For the first time since I got it, I won't be taking my favourite gadget with me. Another thing that reminds me that, while it's still my favourite gadget, as time passes it's gradually becoming less and less actually useful and relevant.


2. I have been cast in the Rep Club's next play, Dorothy Hewett's The Man From Mukinupin, just in time to miss the first week of rehearsals. I'm not sure what to make of the play yet, except that one way or another it's definitely going to be an experience.


3. For the list of things I have now done and don't need ever to do again: At the community fair this year, I let myself get talked into going on one of the Rides That Go Around Very Fast. (This one, to be specific, although that's a different fairground.) It... wasn't too bad, actually. At least it wasn't one of the Rides That Go Around Very Fast And Suddenly Turn You Upside-Down.


4. A fanfic recommendation: Victory Bonds, by [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge, is a tale of the Justice League set in the 1940s. It features the best Clark Kent and Lois Lane I've encountered anywhere in quite some time. Clark narrates.

It wasn't easy, trying to be a reporter and a hero. The number of times I had to beg off a dinner or apologize for being late to work...well, it's a good thing reporters don't keep normal hours, or I'd have been fired many times over. As it was, Perry sometimes put me on garbage stories to punish me for disappearing on him. Some of them turned out to be gems in disguise, but the little scoreboard Jimmy kept showed Lois was clearly winning in the "probably going to win a Pulitzer" competition.

Bruce Wayne was one of my punishments.


5. Probably anyone on my friendslist who'd be interested has heard already, but just in case: Agent of Change, the first Liaden novel by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, is now a member of the Baen Free Library.
pedanther: (Default)
At Making Light, September 21 is Dysfunctional Families Day.

It’s the day we put those members of our community first who were always given last place in their families’ consideration. It’s the day we celebrate the presence in our community of the people who were unwelcome in their homes. We rejoice in the people who were resented, believe the people who were dismissed, and listen to the people who were perpetually shushed.

Making Light hosts a discussion thread for people who have come out of (or are still mired in) dysfunctional and unhappy families to talk about their experiences, let some steam off, see that they are not alone. Those of us who have been fortunate in our families are enjoined from attempting to make helpful remarks. Anonymous commenting is fully supported.

It started as an annual event, but it's now reached a critical mass; last year's Dysfunctional Families Day thread, instead of fading out, became an ongoing conversation in which the community continued to offer each other support in their day-to-day crises.

The current incarnation of the thread can be found here.

If you know somebody who might find something like this helpful, even just to lurk and read without saying anything, please pass the word. (Being an existing member of the Making Light community is not required; the community welcomes visitors.)
pedanther: (Default)
Neil Gaiman would like to tell you about All Hallow's Read.

And, on the subject of reading,
Hark! A Vagrant presents: Dracula.

Also, from Hark! A Vagrant,
Peasant Romance and Courtly Love. (I dunno. The one about chicks digging vampires and werewolves is kind of seasonal?)
pedanther: (Default)
At Making Light, September 21 is Dysfunctional Families Day.

There are a plenitude of days for celebrating your parents and getting together with your family. There aren’t a lot of days when you can admit that your parents actually drove you completely bats, or that you’d rather learn autotrepanning with a Black and Decker than sit down with the people who made your first 18 years a misery. And some people need that, because that’s the truth of their lives, and pretending otherwise is poison to the soul.

Every year, Making Light hosts a discussion thread for people who have come out of (or are still mired in) dysfunctional and unhappy families to talk about their experiences, let some steam off, see that they are not alone. Those of us who have been fortunate in our families are enjoined from attempting to make helpful remarks. Anonymous commenting is fully supported.

This year's conversation is now open.

If you know somebody who might find something like this helpful, even just to lurk and read without saying anything, please pass the word. (Being an existing member of the Making Light community is not required; the community welcomes any visitors that don't go out of their way to be a nuisance.)
pedanther: (Default)
At Making Light, September 21 is Dysfunctional Families Day.

There are a plenitude of days for celebrating your parents and getting together with your family. There aren’t a lot of days when you can admit that your parents actually drove you completely bats, or that you’d rather learn autotrepanning with a Black and Decker than sit down with the people who made your first 18 years a misery. And some people need that, because that’s the truth of their lives, and pretending otherwise is poison to the soul.

Every year, Making Light hosts a discussion thread for people who have come out of (or are still mired in) dysfunctional and unhappy families to talk about their experiences, let some steam off, see that they are not alone. Those of us who have been fortunate in our families are enjoined from attempting to make helpful remarks. Anonymous commenting is fully supported.

This year's conversation is now open.

If you know somebody who might find something like this helpful, please pass the word. (Being an existing member of the Making Light community is not required; the community welcomes any visitors that don't go out of their way to be a nuisance.)
pedanther: (bem)
Apparently, it's Pac-Man's 30th birthday.

Google is marking the occasion by replacing the usual logo on their home page with a Pac-Man level where the walls form the letters of "Google". Cute, but not so different from plenty of other special-event logos Google has had, I thought.

-- and then I realised that it's not just a picture of a Pac-Man level: it's an actual, playable mini-game of Pac-Man.

Neat.
pedanther: (Default)
Spreading the word:

Until May 24, the multi-award-winning puzzle game Portal has been made available for free. (PC or Mac)

Considering it's well worth the price they usually charge for it, this is a pretty good deal.

(It's a fairly transparent attempt to get even more people hooked on the game by the time the sequel comes out, but never mind that. It's free Portal!)
pedanther: (Default)
Spreading the word:

The Humble Indie Bundle is an offer by which you can pay whatever you like and receive five six independently-developed computer games.

The games are World of Goo (which I have played before, and is wonderful), Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru, and Penumbra: Overture. All are available in Windows, Mac, and Linux versions.

[Edited to add: And now it includes a sixth: Samarost 2.]

Most of the games usually sell for around $20 each, but this is a pay-what-you-want offer: you can pay one cent per game if you want. Or you can pay just one cent, and amuse yourself with the thought of a group of starving indie developers trying to figure out how to split it. Obviously, they're hoping you'll be a bit more generous than that.

At this writing, the offer has about 48 hours left to run.
pedanther: (science fiction)
June 23 is Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Day:

A day of celebration and wonder! A day for all of us readers of science fiction and fantasy to reach out and say thank you to our favorite writers. A day, perhaps, to blog about our favorite sf/f writers. A day to reflect upon how written science fiction and fantasy has changed your life.


Spread the word.

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