History in both fact and fiction

Oct. 16th, 2017 03:39 pm
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[personal profile] alobear
Towards the end of last month, I was struggling in the reading department, finding it difficult to concentrate, and not really taking in what I was reading. So, I used a tactic that has never failed to help with that in the past - I went back to Austen. I took Pride & Prejudice on holiday with me at the end of September, and thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in a book I have to read properly because it deserves nothing less than my full attention. It didn’t disappoint, and it had been long enough since I last read it that it felt almost fresh again.

Not wanting to lose my momentum, I carried straight on with Sense & Sensibility, which I also really enjoyed. I did have some frustration with some of the characters, and some of the plotting felt a bit contrived. I also discovered that my favourite scene from the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet film version isn’t actually in the book, which was rather embarrassing and, I have to admit, a little disappointing. But it was still Austen and it was still wonderful.

In the audiobook medium, I finished listening to The Broken Earth series by N K Jemisin, with the third volume, The Stone Sky. I’ve struggled with all three of these books to a certain extent, but I’m very glad I persevered. There were some really interesting relationship dynamics, especially with the characters that interact with both the mother and daughter who are at the centre of the story, but separated for most of its length. As with the other books in the series, there were three narrative strands, and my interest was not spread equally across each, and there were some sections that really turned me off. The climax was pretty brutal, as I should have expected, but the ultimate conclusion proved very satisfying, and I was impressed by how everything eventually came together.

The October Wordy Birds Reading Challenge category is a book by an author I have met, and I had a few to choose from. I initially went with The Cut, by Daniel Blythe, which is about a gang of disaffected teenagers doing bad things in a seaside town. The author did a developmental edit of my novel last year, and I met him to discuss it over coffee in Sheffield. But I couldn’t finish it. The protagonist was thoroughly unpleasant with apparently no real excuse for her awful behaviour, and also no real conviction to see it through. There were flashbacks within flashbacks, which made it difficult to keep track of the timeline, I had no sympathy for any of the characters, and therefore very little interest in finding out what happened. So, I moved on to The London Complaint by Geoff Nicholson, which was given to me by the author himself as a prize for a short story competition I won last year. It’s a history of the various complaints that have been made about London by people writing about the city over the last several hundred years. It took me a little while to get into it, because the initial humour wasn’t to my taste, but it contained a lot of really interesting historical facts, and it was interesting to see how certain things have and have not changed in London over time. Overall, it was pleasantly diverting, but nothing special.

The Words In My Hands by Guinevere Glasfurd doesn’t qualify for the Wordy Birds Challenge yet, but I will be meeting the author at a reading retreat in November, which I’m very much looking forward to. The book was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel prize, and tells the story of Helena, a maid in 1600s Amsterdam, who has a relationship with Rene Descartes. It’s based on fact, though most of the details have been created to produce a complete story. Initially, it seemed very similar to Girl With a Pearl Earring, which I read earlier this year, and which has a very similar plot, also based on sketchy historical information about a Dutch household in the 1600s. But Helena’s story is much more developed and more extensive than Griet’s, though the struggles she faces and the life she lives are very similar in some ways. The inequality of the sexes and between people of different classes are very starkly drawn, and the romance aspects felt a bit uncomfortable because of the power differential between Helena and Descartes. The behaviour of Descartes was both unexpected in terms of the support he offered Helena, but also unsatisfying in terms of how far that support extended. Ultimately, it’s a very sad story, and very unfair in a lot of ways, and it was really interesting to read the historical note at the end, which explained how much it was based on fact and historical evidence.
venta: (Default)
[personal profile] venta
Every year, a bunch of ChrisC's university friends rent a big house and go away for the weekend.

Which caused a little consternation for us )

So there was some panicking, and ChrisC and I churned out a 50-question "nostalgia" quiz. Note: the target demographic for this is quiz is emphatically people who were born in the mid 70's, and grew up in the UK. Anyone else is very possibly going to struggle.

Hell yeah, I'd like a 90s nostalgia quiz... )
[syndicated profile] exitgames_feed

Posted by Ken


Greetings from Nottingham where the Escape Room Industry Conference is taking place today. Exciting though that is, it’s no excuse to skip letting you know about all the news in the UK and Ireland escape room industry!

This site is always on the look-out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owners too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, significant discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

Question thread #57

Oct. 15th, 2017 11:24 pm
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)
[personal profile] pauamma posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
It's time for another question thread!

The rules:

- You may ask any dev-related question you have in a comment. (It doesn't even need to be about Dreamwidth, although if it involves a language/library/framework/database Dreamwidth doesn't use, you will probably get answers pointing that out and suggesting a better place to ask.)
- You may also answer any question, using the guidelines given in To Answer, Or Not To Answer and in this comment thread.


Oct. 15th, 2017 06:56 pm
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
Some walking bag of assholes graffitied my car with a bright purple paint marker :U

Seriously if it's not one thing it's another!

On bright side it's great inspiration for my art assignment and since the car's stuffed anyway I can write a sarcastic reply next to it with no compunctions

Not all tears are an evil

Oct. 13th, 2017 11:16 pm
morganmuffle: (wistful)
[personal profile] morganmuffle
I have fallen into a mini-spiral of A-Ha Unplugged videos which isn't a thing I ever expected to say but this version of Take On Me is almost unbearably beautiful.

(It was the funeral today and then I went back to work for the afternoon and consequently I'm in a slightly odd mood)

Yesterday I went to Kew and braved the Treetop Walkway, explored their Artful Autumn installations and Sculpture at Kew as well as taking approximately 8 million pictures of leaves and trees and bark...

Leap into Life by Tim Hollins

A few favourite photographs )

API wishlist?

Oct. 10th, 2017 10:29 pm
momijizukamori: Grey tabby cat with paws on keyboard and mouse. The text reads 'code cat is on the job', lolcats-style (CODE CAT)
[personal profile] momijizukamori posting in [site community profile] dw_dev
So my workplace gives us a chance twice a year to work on anything we want for a few days, work-related or otherwise, and I thought I'd use some of my time to actually get the new API into a state where we can make it live. With that in mind! What endpoints would you like to see implemented? We're making this Swagger/OpenAPI-compliant, so everything takes JSON as arguments and return JSON formatted data. Stuff already on the list to do or partially done:

/api/v1/users/{username} - GET, shows info about the user (specific info TBD; subset of profile, probably?)
/api/v1/users/{username}/icons - GET, lists icons
/api/v1/users/{username}/icons/{iconid} - GET, returns icon data
/api/v1/users/{username}/journals - GET, returns list of journals with write access.
-- for now, returns only user's primary journal
/api/v1/journals/{username}/accesslists - GET, list of access lists for journal
/api/v1/journals/{username}/tags - GET, list of tags for journal
/api/v1/journals/{username}/xpostaccounts - GET list of xpost accounts
/api/v1/moods - GET list of moods
/api/v1/commentsettings - GET list of allowed comment settings
/api/v1/journals/{username}/entries - POST new entry, GET list of recent entries
/api/v1/journals/{username}/entries/{id} - POST edit entry, GET specific entry
/api/v1/journals/{username}/files - POST new file
/api/v1/spec - GET, returns a description of the API

(Mark and D, as usual, get the final say - some stuff people want may end up being security/privacy risks in non-obvious ways)


Oct. 11th, 2017 09:13 am
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
Second art assignment got a better grade and I found a way to do paid work that doesn't take up all my brain cycles. So, starting to feel better.
Today is for French cos gee whizz!

Have the urge to make a weird livestream. It seems like there would be several streams that aren't straightforward gaming/art/programming but I've no idea how to find them? My habit of wanting to see what everyone else is doing is probably a bad one tho, I should just do it. (After studying French)
venta: (Default)
[personal profile] venta
This summer, ChrisC went off to the Fringe in Edinburgh while I went to Whitby. Despite properly packing in the shows for five days, he still managed to miss a few things he wanted to see and we are slowly hoovering them up as they come to London.

At least, that was the plan. And it worked for me. ChrisC decided instead to be ill, and for two out of three I had to draft in an emergency replacement. (Thanks to Ebee, who heroically threw herself into the breach despite me being completely unable to tell her anything about the shows whatsoever.)

Ahir Shah @ Soho Theatre (Downstairs) )

Mae Martin @ Soho Theatre (Downstairs) )

Dolly Would @ Camden People's Theatre )

London Film Festival

Oct. 9th, 2017 10:13 am
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[personal profile] alobear
Every year, my brother creates a shortlist of films to see at the London Film Festival, and for the last few years, I have joined him in viewing some of them. Yesterday, we travelled between three different cinemas to see three very different films. We both enjoyed all of them, but I liked the first one the most and the subsequent ones slightly less each time, while I believe he had the opposite experience, which was interesting.

First up was Big Fish & Begonia, a Chinese animated film, about a realm in the heavens, where a very diverse range of people and creatures control the weather in the human realm. It tells the story of Chu, a sixteen-year-old girl, undertaking her rite of passage; namely, transforming into a dolphin and travelling to the human realm for seven days to learn about how the weather works. Most of the story, however, takes place in the period after her return. There's the inevitable teenage love triangle, and rather more reciprocal self-sacrifice than I would have preferred, but the story also set up several expectations that were then subverted. The animation was beautiful, particularly in the use of reflections, and the lack of distinction between the sea and the sky. The characters were well-rounded, and the relationships both complex and involving. It was very sad in places, and a little repetitive in others, but overall I thought it was really good.

Next was Gemini, written and directed by Aaron Katz, one of the founders of what is apparently known as Mumble Noir. This is a sub-genre of mumblecore, a type of film that focuses on naturalistc acting and dialogue. Gemini is a thriller, following the actions of Jill, the assistant of a Hollywood actress, after she discovers a murder. I found the relationships engaging and the story quite tense in places, despite the low-key tone. There was a very good range of very different and well-written female characters (interestingly, I found the male characters very one-note, despite the writer/director being male, but they did receive a lot less screen time) and it was funny and intriguing by turns. It also must have been quite well constructed, as all the clues to the mystery were there, but I didn't put it together until I was supposed to, at which point I felt very foolish for not seeing it all long before.

Our last film of the day was Manifesto, starring Cate Blanchett in thirteen different parts. I'm really not sure what to say about this. It was definitely weird, and it was definitely mostly beyond me in both artistic and intellectual endeavour. It was basically a series of scenes, in which Cate Blanchett engaged in a range of both weird and wonderful, and wholly mundane, activities, whilst reciting various artistic manifestos, either as voice-over, or within the actual scene. I found it quite difficult in most cases to really take in the words and their meaning, since it was a bit of an onslaught of ideas and theories, and I certainly didn't understand the significance of most of the visuals. Still, I didn't find it boring, and the range of different personas was both interesting and impressive. A couple of the segments were very funny (I have to admit those were the ones I found easiest to understand and enjoyed the most), but overall it was quite baffling.
[syndicated profile] exitgames_feed

Posted by Ken


Welcome to your weekly escape room rumour round-up with updates on new games, venues and media mentions.

This site is always on the look-out for new games or venues that are opening, references in the media or anything else that might be of interest to the readers, so please do send an email if you spot anything of interest. That applies to owners too – feel free to send me your news for inclusion here. Don’t be shy!

On to the news

That’s all I’m aware of. If any of the above is incorrect or if you’re aware of other news, significant discounts or competitions, then let me know via email or in the comments below and I’ll include updates in the next edition.

Thanks for reading!

Dear Yuletide Author

Oct. 8th, 2017 10:48 pm
morganmuffle: (yuletide alot)
[personal profile] morganmuffle
Well I wasn't going to but then that felt too weird so this is a placeholder for my letter...

Dear Yuletide Author,

To start with- please don't worry, I am really very easily pleased and several of my requests are properly tiny fandoms where I'd be hapy to receive ANY story even if you can't stay within my visions for the characters.

I'm not a big fan of overly marshmallow-y fluff type stories. Happy stories and in love stories or happy ending stories are all fine but I'd like there to be some kind of conflict or edge to show off the happiness. That said if it's set anywhere near Christmas my liking for fluff goes up hugely *g* When it comes to angst I'm particularly fond of the yearning wistful kind (with our without the resolution)

My requests this year are (as always) quite mixed, in the end I'm mostly interested in relationships between people and although I am a slash fan het, slash or gen are all good with me.

Oh and I always love a good Christmas/Yule/Hogmany theme though it isn't at all mandatory (or necessary)

My fandom specific requests/details )

Books, elephants & not enough time

Oct. 8th, 2017 08:05 pm
morganmuffle: (tea)
[personal profile] morganmuffle
Another month it took me a while to get going in. Time is moving altogether too fast and life is altogether too busy and complicated to allow for any self reflection at the moment even if it's just about reading habits!

Too busy for reading too if the number of books I read is anything to go by... though actually it's more that the first book took forever and I was stubborn and insisted on finishing it rather than moving on when I realised I wasn't entirely enjoying it.
  • London Overground: A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line - Iain Sinclair
  • Ironhand - Charlie Fletcher
  • The Paper Menagerie and other stories - Ken Liu
  • Prejudice & Pride: Celebrating LGBTQ History - Alison Oram & Matt Cook

September Reviews )

Last week I worked 7 days in a row but I didn't actually notice until the 7th day because I've been chopping my mental calendar up into weeks and not really looking between them much which is a mistake when you do things like accidentally work 7 days in a row OR, like next weekend, agree to cover something at 8am on a Sunday morning when you're going to a late night concert in London on the Saturday (oops?)

Anyway anytime I feel sorry for myself or too tired I just remind myself that my sister is currently walking to Jerusalem AND HAS SHINGLES /o\ I really don't know how she's doing it. Their latest blog entry is great fun though and involves an old school SimCity reference <3

Anyway tomorrow is relatively quiet other than having to cut up 20 milk bottles to make elephants and I can do that whilst watching TV so that'll be nice :-P


Oct. 9th, 2017 12:22 am
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
It took a long time (and a lot of blankets) but I got through the grief and am in a functional state again.

JFC what a badly-timed depressive episode tho, it's messed up paid work I was already struggling with. Shame you can't get extensions outside of uni. OTL


Oct. 8th, 2017 01:08 pm
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
Still wretched. Drew on cardboard with cheap oil pastels and felt a little better. Drawing people with them would be fun but I generally only draw people I'm interested in or admire (cos it's so difficult ww) and considering my last fandom wound up Legit Problematic, I'm feeling nervous about bikes ATM and [REDACTED] has squelched my sense of pride and self-actualisation like a slater bug, who the fuck then? (Ben Quilty? Lmao) (actually I've binged on Art Bites videos for uni and drawing artists would be at least something to do)

I want to go to MONA and see the poop machine I relate to it strongly rn

(Posts will probably be alarming for a while. Sorry.)


Oct. 7th, 2017 11:46 am
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
Rally today I promised to go to but that was before I realised I'm self-loathing morally invertebrate garbage. I must've been making alarming noises cos the housemate left chocolate outside my bedroom door last night.

I got the same (pretty mediocre) mark for the art assignment I busted my ass on and the French test I did literally no study for and answered by guesswork. On average this is still much better than most of my attempts at uni but *loud mouth farting noises*

Still having weird dreams. Still have a lot to do. Still can't bring myself to care.


Oct. 6th, 2017 12:38 pm
gb: (Default)
[personal profile] gb
I've been dealing with a stupid emotional situation for two days and had vivid, weird dreams. I feel numb. I think part of me died in the night.