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Mar. 28th, 2015 03:35 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Oh frabjous day, my netbook is back from the repair shop. Getting it back was pleasant too--I woke up from my afternoon nap to a delivery notice, which I picked up around 5:30pm, and the shop closed at 6; I was able to rummage up a piece of paper with my address on it, get my boots on, and head down the street by 5:45 to pick it up. I love living in a walkable area. ^_^

AND, despite the many many warnings throughout the process that Asus was NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THIRD-PARTY DATA and so on and so forth, my computer's data was very clearly backed up, the OS reinstalled, and the data restored (but not my programs and many of my settings). That was nice of them, and now I have a renewed commitment to wrangling cloud storage on my machine's slightly unusual setup.

The Musketeers 2.10

Mar. 28th, 2015 09:41 am
selenak: (Porthos by Chatona)
[personal profile] selenak
As opposed to the excellent episode last week, the finale feels a bit like an anti climax to me, though some good stuff happens.

Read more... )

Short thoughts on maternity leave

Mar. 28th, 2015 08:51 am
yvi: (West Wing - CJ facepalm)
[personal profile] yvi
So, I read a lot of blogs by US-Americans. And sometimes the subject of maternity and parental leave comes up and everyone is in awe at the German system if that gets mentioned.

I am not going to say that Germans are, in comparison to many other countries, extremely lucky in this regard. However, I don't think people realize that there's also a cost to this, and I don't mean higher taxes.

A summary of the German situation: German mothers get 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after the due date off at full pay, which is partly paid for by health insurance and the rest by the employer. In the three years following that, German parents can either have one parent take 12 months of parental leave or split 14 months between them, provided that each partner takes 2 months or more. This time is paid at 65% of the former income or 1800€ a month, whatever is lower, out of social security. After that, parents can take unpaid leave without losing their job for the rest of the kid's first three years. The goal seems to be to also further both parent's involvement in raising the child.

Sounds good? Well, let's see what happens in practice, among heterosexual couples having a biological child:

1) only one quarter of fathers take any kind of paid leave; almost all mothers do
2) only two percent of fathers take off more than the two months required to get 14 months in total
3) even less than that take advantage of the unpaid time off, while over a quarter of mothers do
4) while I don't have stats on this, almost all of these two months of parental leave are taken at the same time as the other parent takes it, so there's no staying home alone with the kid involved - where I am, this time is often openly called a "holiday", a time when the man can take care of things that need to be taken care of around the house while the woman continues watching after the child most of the day. Or the time is used for actual vacations.
5) there is practically no child care for children under 12 months in age. If both parents want to work before the 14 months of 8 weeks maternal leave + 12 months parental leave are up, the women are usually called "Rabenmutter" a term for mothers who basically abandon their children
6) same goes for any mother that goes back to work full-time after having a child. It is socially expected that the man works full time while the woman cuts down to 20 to 30 hours after parental leave
7) staying at home after the child is 2 or 3 is seen as mooching, though

So while we have more options here, what's socially acceptable for mothers is a very narrow range: have child, take maternal and 12 months of parental leave, maybe some months of unpaid leave, then work part time until the child is at least 6 years old. Anything else, you are either a cruel parent or a drain on society. This is, of course, then used to explain why it's okay to pay women less: they will of course leave work for over a year at one point and only return to work part time.

Oh, and if the father takes more time off or starts working part time or anything, the mother is an evil, demanding feminazi and the father is a push-over.

Fun.

Daily Happiness

Mar. 28th, 2015 01:10 am
torachan: black and grey kitten on the back of a chair (heidi on chair)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I finished most of the translating I meant to get done tonight.

2. Three days of sleeping in coming up! That's good because I've gradually slipped into a later and later schedule, which I don't like but can't seem to get out of. :( I used to wake up before my alarm on the days I had to go in in the morning, but now I'm almost always sleeping until the last minute (which means I don't have time to eat breakfast before going to work, either). I'm hoping to get back to going to bed earlier, but in the meantime, at least I have a few days of no alarm coming up. :p

3. Speaking of work, I'm going to be getting a significant raise! It won't go into effect until May 1st, but that's not so far away!

Life after Death, the Plantagenet way

Mar. 28th, 2015 07:46 am
selenak: (Richard III. by Vexana_Sky)
[personal profile] selenak
This week was Richard III week in England; being frightfully busy, I could only catch glimpses from abroad. But have some links:

The poem by Carol Ann Duffy written specifically for the reburial at Leicester, read by Benedict Cumberbatch


The detective novel that made the case for a generation: Josephine Tey is hardly Shakespeare, but if there's one work of fiction that has reliable acted as the pro-Richard counterpoint and for many first introduction to the controversy for more than half a century now, it's that short and entertaining volume, "The Daughter of Time". (By now the research she used is outdated, of course, but it's still an immensely readable book.) The New Yorker article describes how it came to be written, and which effect it has.

Since I've been reading up on my Tudors in recent months: Imperial Ambassador Chapuys dissed Henry VIII. in his dispatches by comparing him to Richard III. not once but twice. Or rather, the first time he reports others doing the dissing:

"Every day I am visited by people of quality, who break my head with speeches and writings, giving me to understand that King Richard, the last of his name, was never so much hated by his subjects as this present king is, and yet that he was dethroned by two or threethousand Frenchmen under the leadership of a prince hardly known in this country."


Far from getting his head broken, Chapuys seems to have taken note, because some time later, he used the Richard comparison himself in a direct conversation with Henry as a stealth insult. This was during another round of arguments about Henry's treatment of Katherine and Mary. Henry said that since Archbishop Cramner had declared his marriage to Katherine null and void, he was legitimately married to Anne now, and Mary could no longer considered or be treated as his legitimate daughter, surely Chapuys could see that. Upon which the Empire struck back (sorry, I couldn't resist), telling the King:

"With regard to the sentence pronounced by the Archbishop of Canterbury on the divorce suit, he ought to make as little of it as that of which King Richard caused to be pronounced by the bishop of Bath against the sons of King Edward, declaring them bastards."

This was a particuarly masterful burn because of course Bishop Stillington, the bishop of Bath mentioned, who swore he'd witnessed a contract between Edward and Lady Eleanor Butler which automatically rendered the Edward/Elizabeth Woodville marriage null and void, had by his testimony not just declared Edward's two sons bastards, but all the children of that marriage. Including the oldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, Henry VIIII.'s mother. In other words, Chapuys wasn't just saying "you're behaving just like your family's arch nemesis, the guy your dad called an ursurping tyrant", he also said "if your daughter is a bastard now, then so was your mother, which means the Pole family has a far more legitimate claim to the throne than you".

To give credit where due: Henry wasn't bad at the stealth insult game himself. Contrary to his image, he didn't shout back at this but told Chapuys magnanimously he could send him several books which would explain why Mary was a bastard now and couldn't inherit. (Chapuys was a highly trained lawyer.)
andrewducker: (Santa)
[personal profile] andrewducker


But Julie has, apparently, finally solved her traffic issues. And so we can go to bed :->

(Click the image to embiggen it.)
andrewducker: (running with fire)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I just took the quiz at votematch.org - which is run by Unlock Democracy, and therefore I trust it more than most online political matching sites.

It told me this:


However, the results for Edinburgh East last time around indicate that only the SNP have any chance of unseating Labour locally (and also, although I do agree with some Green policies, I'm not nearly as left wing as they are), and so I strongly suspect that I will be voting SNP at the next election.

(Were I to be in a seat that was currently Lib-Dem then I'd probably vote for them. But I'm not, and they don't have a hope in hell of winning Edinburgh East. And I have someone else I can tactically vote for without feeling bad. And, frankly, my choice of next-government of the UK _is_ a Labour/Lib-Dem/SNP arrangement of some sort. Which thankfully seems to be the only workable arrangement from current predictions.)

As for the plane crash...

Mar. 27th, 2015 10:30 pm
yvi: Laura Cadman (Atlantis - Laura)
[personal profile] yvi
... I really hate the German media right now. Deeply.

So much speculation, so much intrusion into people's private life. It's sickening.

So quiet

Mar. 27th, 2015 08:51 pm
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)
[personal profile] yvi
I probably shouldn't be complaining about my reading list being so quiet when I'm not updating myself, eh?

So, update...

After a 3 month break, I have fallen down the rabbit hole that playing Ingress is again. It gets me out of the house and moving, so that's nice.

Speaking of moving, the previous renters were even bigger jerks than I previously mentioned and so everything is going to be even more stressful - we had hoped we could start painting the walls this weekend, but that'll have to wait until next Friday...

And with all the packing and stress, the cats have started freaking out. They got into a really bad fight on Sunday and now Newton is scared of Marie and stays in the attic except for feeding time and it's all rather sad :-( I hope they get along again really soon.

minion icon

Mar. 27th, 2015 02:27 pm
ithiliana: Minion in apron and wig "not just a woman, big cup of wonderful covered in awesome sauce with a splash of bitch...." (Oh hell no!)
[personal profile] ithiliana
We can hardly wait for the Minion Movie to come out!
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Cat Rambo, in addition to having the coolest name ever, has been an active part of SF/F for about as long as I can remember. She’s served in SFWA, and is currently running for president of the organization. She edited Fantasy Magazine. She’s a prolific author. And she has the best hair! I’m happy to welcome her to the blog to talk about her experiences as an “older” female writer in the genre.

You can check out her new book Beasts of Tabat on Amazon or Wordfire, or read more about it on her website.


A year or so ago, I celebrated my 50th birthday. I did it wonderfully, with food and friends and all sorts of festivities, but at the same time, my inner teen kept eying that number and going OMGWTFBBQ.

If you are beyond your teenage years, you know what I mean, because all of us are, to one extent or another, significantly younger in our heads than our exteriors may indicate. My mother confirms that it’s just as true in one’s 70s.

I do find my reading habits changed a little. My stance on romance nowadays has shifted. It sometimes makes me a little impatient, a little get-on-with-it when it’s not interesting, and when it is badly written. I find simplistic stuff unsatisfying unless it is absolutely, beautifully wrought. I don’t mind unhappy endings as long as they resonate and I can tell.

But it’s when I write that I sometimes feel my age, not in a bad way. Not in a bad way at all. But rather I understand things better than I used to. I have more grasp of how to flip oneself into the opposing perspective, so I can better understand what’s on the other side of a debate. I hate to call it wisdom, but yes, I have learned a few things, and because I’ve read deeply and also worked in some people-skills-intensive position, I’ve got enough of it to know I am not wise at all, and that’s farther along than some people have gotten.

Beasts of TabatI’ve come to the point where I understand something of why I write, and a little of what I want to say. I like that. And I know people better now, and that helps me create interesting characters. The novel that’s coming out, Beasts of Tabat, features a middle-aged female gladiator and a teenage shapeshifter. That’s a pair of protagonists a bit outside the norm, and I think that it’s experience that let me come up with Bella Kanto and Teo.

At the same time, as an older female writer, I’m also conscious that I’m part of a demographic traditionally dismissed, particularly in writing. I am one of that mob of dammed scribbling women that Nathaniel Hawthorne deplored. And I am aware that much of that mob has been allowed to fade from historical memory, something I see happening to some of the women in the speculative field before me right now. Something that I worry will happen to me.

There’s been lots of sturm und drang about an idea Tempest Bradford proposed, that people try one year of reading outside the standard category, and I will take it one step further: if you are an adventurous reader who likes challenging yourself, spend a year reading from outside that category, but only books that are 30+ years old, preferably even older. You’ll find the chase illuminating. You’ll find influences. You’ll find writers talking to each other, an endless call and answer throughout literature that every writer takes part in, and sometimes those conversations will startle you in their modernity. You’ll find people that maybe other people tried to erase, or maybe the hegemony just wasn’t set up to perpetuate their name — it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the renewal of energy in their names. Read in other cultures, other times.

Younger writers will find inspiration there, older writers comfort as well. And the fuel to keep going — at least that’s one of the ways I feed my own fires.

I do hope you’ll read my own new novel before embarking on the course I advise :-)

Good writing/reading to you all.


Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Tor.com as well as three collections and her latest work, the novel Beasts of Tabat. Her short story, “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” from her story collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current Vice President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see http://www.kittywumpus.net.

Cat Rambo

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Sailor Moon R! (Season 2)

Mar. 27th, 2015 09:30 pm
alias_sqbr: (dw!)
[personal profile] alias_sqbr
All caught up with what they have on Hulu and feeling a bit bereft, but looking forward to watching S/Season 3 week by week.

Overall I quite enjoyed R. Slightly less filler! More time travel! Less emphasis on all the girls swooning over boys, more on Usagi/Mamoru in particular. Once again I'd have enjoyed the romance more if it was written better, but it worked ok asides from Usagi's bizarre and disturbing jealousy of a six year old girl(*). On the plus side Mamoru himself finds the idea bizarre too and is just being a nice older brother/paternal figure but I could still have done without it. Also there was more incest subtext than I was expecting, which was a mixture of amusingly odd and disturbing.

The world building and plots continue to frequently be ridiculous.

But the main focus is friendship, responsibility, and love (not just romantic love! But more often romantic than not) Usagi has matured into a more sensible and less short sightedly selfish person, but her path to heroism is still pretty rocky and that makes the finales where she gives her all and triumphs all the more satisfying.

I've seen three episodes of S and am liking it so far. I've met the f/f couple Michuru and Haruka and adore them, especially the androgynous Haruka, she's a hot breath of fresh air in an otherwise incredibly heteronormative series. Apparently she's generally read as genderfluid in the manga but a butch woman in the anime, I can see both readings so far.

(*)Ok I don't know how old she is exactly, but definitely young primary school age.

Interesting Links for 27-03-2015

Mar. 27th, 2015 12:02 pm

Anyone fancy having an affair?

Mar. 27th, 2015 09:40 am
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
I took off my ring to put oil on my hair this morning, and left it sitting on the bathroom sink.

This is going to be the first time I've been ringless for more than five minutes since the wedding.

My finger's going to feel odd all day.

Daily Happiness

Mar. 27th, 2015 01:32 am
torachan: ryu from kimi ni todoke eating ramen (ramen)
[personal profile] torachan
1. I slept in until like 11.30 this morning!

2. We went karaoke with Alexander this afternoon, which we haven't done in a long time. It was a lot of fun! And I'm hopefully going karaoke again with my former coworker next week, so yay karaoke.

3. I actually got a fair amount of translating done today and should be able to finish up the last few pages of this month's Yasha, Gunjo, and Himegoto chapters tomorrow, which will hopefully mean I can get them all posted by the end of the month (thank goodness for fast typesetters!).

4. It was hot today, but at least it's cooled down quite a bit tonight.

A sudden burst of achievement

Mar. 26th, 2015 09:46 pm
andrewducker: (running lego man)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Amongst the things I need to do before I can "launch" my replacement link poster is make it work with WordPress*. And Pinterest**.

And today I got it working with WordPress. More testing needed, and I need to tidy it up a bit.

It felt really good to see the top post appear here. Not _quite_ as good as defeating Ormstein and Smough***, but still, pretty damn good.

This is, of course, why I code. For the rush.


*Because the current one does, and I don't want to launch a replacement that doesn't do all of the things the current one does, only better. The current one, if WordPress times out - but has posted - tries again repeatedly, possibly leaving multiple reposts. This one simply marks the post as failed, and leaves it up to the user to hit the "repost" button.
**Because that was why I started this in the first place, about 25 years ago.
***John got that one.
blueswan: girl reading book (book reading)
[personal profile] blueswan
This will be a very brief edition since I only finished one book this week. I had another on the go, but it's not my cup of tea and I'm trying not to force myself to continue reading things I know I'm not enjoying.

What I'm reading:

Hooked, A Thriller by Ruth Harris. Don't bother. I'm going to finish it if only because I can't believe the stupidity of the characters. There is no one written with enough personality to relate to or appreciate. I'm not even sure why I'm planning on finishing this except it is so short I should finish it today. It's all tell, tell, tell with no more depth than the characters do what they do for prestige or money or because it's expected. It's not good.

What I read:
Rite of Passage by Alexi Panshin I read this one decades ago and I've always meant to read it again and now I have. It was a fun read, lively and quick. It's a combination of SF tropes, a coming of age story, an after-the-end-of-Earth story, a survival story, and a tech versus science story. It was pretty progressive for a sixties SF tale, the main character is a young girl. I liked Mia Havero, she is smart and observant and critical. There are a few sections of speechifying IMO, and a few more where I got bumped out the story momentarily, but by and large the tale spins out evenly and I really enjoyed reading it again.

What I'll read next:
More SF I think. Definitely more SF.

What I'm watching:

I'm still forming thoughts about it, but Battle Creek. Yes. A buddy cop show about two men - one, Russ Agnew, is a cop, the other, Milt Chamberlain, an FBI agent - who don't like each other. (The twist is they may never like each other.) As I said to [personal profile] china_shop, it's like a bent version of Due South, and she pointed out it would be one from Ray Vecchio's point of view. Which, yes. It is if Ray was older, way more cynical and kind of beaten down, and Fraser was younger, a bit less pretty, and a shade more obvious about masking his true self.

With that in mind it should be no surprise that David Shore is credited as a creator and writer. He's had his hand in many TV pies from Traders to Due South to House not to mention others I've not seen. I'm interested in where the show will go and how long it will take Russ and Milt to work together as a team, or if they ever do. In the meantime I'm enjoying them being paired up working individually and antagonistically toward a mutual goal.

I'm already enjoying the secondary characters. Janet McTeer's Commander Guziewicz is wonderful, and Kal Penn's Detective White has my attention whenever he is on screen. Meredith Eaton gives her usual zesty performance as the local coroner.

I didn't expect to like the show, even I with my near unconditional love for the buddy cop format. I really didn't have strong feelings about the show. But it grew on me and now I'm happy when I sit down to watch an epiosde.
seperis: (Default)
[personal profile] seperis
Things that are both weird and true: three quarters of my skillsets and knowledge base are quite literally pleasant side effects. There is quite literally nothing--and I do mean nothing--I learned by saying "I'd like to learn x, it sounds cool." I start with "I really need this; how do I make it happen?"

At work, people are generally wondering what the hell, because three quarters of the time I'm just the vaguely there employee who hates mornings and generally doesn't make extra work for anyone. In other words, functional, forgettable, and whatever. I don't mind, trust me; it helps, lets put it that way.

Then there's the other one quarter.

yeah, and about that )

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