darkness

(no subject)

This is my journal. Some posts are public, some are friends only. I'm usually quite happy to add new friends, as long as you're not one of those random people with a week old journal who's trying to accumulate a couple hundred friends for no good reason.

I do have a couple levels of filters to deal with a few topics, mainly to block out stuff that i think might be exceptionally boring or possible offensive to some people. If you're curious just ask and i'll tell you about them.

Also, i have a profile on G+ that i post to a lot. It's mostly just cross-posted stuff from here, but if you want to see it, here it is.

I also post other things on Twitter here.

I do keep _intending_ to get back into posting on LJ =/
books

Hugo Award Semifinals

Edit: I wrote this yesterday, not realizing that the finalists would be announced today. My speculations about who's likely to get nominated are moot, while my desire to promote people "not likely" to be nominated is even more fervent.

So here are the finalists: http://www.tor.com/2017/04/04/2017-hugo-award-finalists-announced/

Many things i voted for made it on, and many more that i voted for didn't! As you shall soon see! (/Edit)

Now that the deadline for the Hugo Award semifinals has passed and i no longer have to worry about accusations of slate voting, i'm going to share what i nominated.

Unfortunately i didn't spend as much time working on my ballot sheet as i did the past couple years, since i was on vacation a week prior to the deadline and before that was busy planning for the vacation.

However i did discover a couple online resources (a wiki and a google doc spreadsheet) people were using to compile lists of eligible works, which helped out a lot.

Best Novel
- All the Birds in the Sky; Charlie Jane Anders
- The Obelisk Gate; N. K. Jemisin
- Ghost Talkers; Mary Robinette Kowal
- Edge of Worlds; Martha Wells
- Wrath of the Great Guilds; Jack Campbell

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Best Novella:
- Every Heart a Doorway; Seanan McGuire
- The Liar; John P Murphy
- The Dispatcher; John Scalzi

And then pretty much immediately my nominations fall off a cliff, because i mostly read novel length fiction. This was actually a relatively exceptional level of non-novel reading this year! It certainly helps if two authors i love and one author i know all come out with novellas!

(I probably _ought_ to have nominated one of Lois McMaster Bujold's new Chalion novellas, but i haven't gotten around to reading any of the 2016 ones.)

Novelette:
- The Tomato Thief; Ursula Vernon; Apex Magazine

Best Short Story:
- Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies; Brooke Bolander; Uncanny
- A Trump Christmas Carol; Roz Kaveney, Laurie Penny, John Scalzi,
and Jo Walton; Uncanny Magazine
- Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands; Seanan McGuire; Uncanny Magazine

So i actually read a comparatively large number of short stories this year, mainly due to twitter and io9. Yes, three is a comparatively large number for me =P

(Well, i also read Ken Liu's "Paper Menagerie", and i think one other anthology? But by the time short stories come out in anthologies they're generally well past their Hugo expieration date.)

Best Related Work:
- IO9; Rob Bricken; http://io9.gizmodo.com/
- The Tingled Puppies; Chuck Tingle; http://www.therabidpuppies.com/

Again, i mostly read novels. I was originally thinking of nominating a Storify of Chuck Tingle's trolling of the Puppies from last year, but i couldn't find a good source. And then i saw "The Tingled Puppies" in the aforementioned spreadsheet. If i'd known before that Chuck Tingle managed to hijack www.therabidpuppies.com i must have forgotten about it. It's awesome, and it seems like a good alternative to the twitter trolling.

And since i was already nominating websites i threw in io9. Hey, they're responsible for some of the short story nominations above, so they probably deserve it!

Best Graphic Story:
- Oglaf; Bodil Bodilson; http://oglaf.com (NSFW)
- Homestuck; Andrew Hussie; http://www.mspaintadventures.com

That thing about mostly reading novels? That doesn't include graphic ones. So normally i have very little to nominate here. But i saw these both in the list, and i've read and liked both (though i'm not current on Oglaf and _very_ not current on Homestuck) so i figured why not? It's not clear from the category description on whether these actual qualify or not, but since i had nothing else to nominate, again, why not?

Best Dramatic Long:
- Rogue One
- Deadpool
- Kubo and the Two Strings
- The Expanse (season 1)
- Hidden Figures

Finally! Another category in which there were multiple things i could nominate!

Deadpool was silly but awesome, Rogue One and Kubo and the Two Strings were sad but awesome. The first season of The Expanse was awesome. Hidden Figures is maybe technically not SF, but still awesome :)

Best Dramatic Short:
- J.R.R. Tolkien vs. George R.R. Martin ; Epic Rap Battles of
History
- The Answer; Steven Universe
- Leviathan Wakes; The Expanse
- Salvage; The Expanse
Alcon Entertainment
- Critical Mass; The Expanse

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Best Series:
- Raksura; Martha Wells; The Edge of Worlds
- Pillars of Reality; Jack Campbell; Wrath of the Great Guilds
- October Daye; Seanan McGuire; Once Broken Faith
- Vorkosigan Saga; Lois McMaster Bujold; Gentleman Jole and the Red
Queen
- Temeraire; Naomi Novik; League of Dragons

And finally, one of the toughest categories.

Each year the WorldCon hosts have the opportunity to add one special category to the Hugos. Sometimes those categories are a hit and go on to become regular categories, and sometimes they just fade away.

This year Helsinki is trying out "Best Series." I love the _idea_ of this category, but the result is a bit of a mess. They did their best to try to limit the number of nominees, in particular by requiring that the series have an eligible work come out within the last year, but it's still a bit of a mess. A glorious mess, but a mess.

My inner-teenager reaaaaally wanted to nominate Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series. I also considered Brand Sanderson, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, The Expanse, Marko Kloos, David Weber, "Mira Grant", Gail Carriger, Diane Duane, and the other Jack Campbell series. And probably others that i've forgotten now.

But i love the Raksura series! (Were-dragons with a matrilineal society in a well developed and very interesting fantasy world!)

And i love the Pillars of Reality books (Conceptually a bit like Pern, except with magic instead of dragons, and instead of the external threat of Thread the internal threat of the people who had the technology or magic deciding that they ought to be in charge. Also it set out a "standard" epic conflict in the plot and resolved the whole thing in just six books all released within two years!)

And i love the October Daye series (Urban Faerie Fantasy, with lots of focus on actual faerie mythology.)

And i love the Temerarie books (*cough* even though i still need to read the last one.)(Napoleonic war with aerial dragon combat.)

And finally, i love the Vorkosigan series. (*cough* especially the middle books.)(Liberal space opera/military SF/intrigue/"murder" mystery/romantic comedy) This is almost certainly the last chance for the series to get an award (the last several books hadn't been _bad_, but they've definitely been off-peak.)

So there you have it, the stuff i really think people should have read/watched/whatever over the last year!
happy

It's alive!

*tap tap tap* Is this thing on?

So for those who don't follow me on twitter, yes i still exist! (For those who do follow me on twitter, sorry for spamming you with retweets!)

Since there's been a bunch of stuff going on lately that cannot be expressed adequately in 140 character chunks, i thought i might actually try reviving this thing again!

I'm not going to try and stuff everything in one post, but in short order, we went on a geeky cruise,my cat tried to kill me (probably because i was going on a geeky cruise,) I voted for a bunch of SF/Fantasy stuff for the Hugo Awards, and also a bunch of AMVs for the AMV.org Viewer's Choice awards, but it was kind of a rush job because the week before the votes were do i was going on a geeky cruise.

So no cruise is done, voting is done, and cat is (mostly) not trying to kill me, so i've got time to talk about it all!

Also, i need to digest the Russian-themed New User Agreement on LJ. Not sure entirely what i want to do/not do about it, except i think i'll finally try to make an effort to cross-post everything to DreamWidth as well as G+ =P
happy

Why You Should Vote

This CGP Grey video on the politics of power addresses it partway through (about 7:00 - 8:00).

https://youtu.be/rStL7niR7gs?t=371

This Cracked video on myths about voting hits it on the first item.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVDK0U4-YRc

TL;DW:

Politicians give rewards based on how much you can help them. This means that in Democracies they give (some) rewards to voters. (This is not a bug of Democracy, it's a feature.)

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If young people started voting in the same numbers as old people then for the next four years both sides would find reasons to start supporting things that matter to young people the same way they support Social Security and Medicare.

Finally, here's a "reward" for making it to the end!

The Epic Rap Battle Trump vs Clinton video! (Just in case you didn't already see the link i posted on Twitter =)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kbryz0mxuMY
Cons: AnimeExpo

Anime Expo

We went to Anime Expo last weekend, and had a great time!

Unfortunately i don't have a _ton_ of pictures, because despite (or perhaps because of ;) a ton of help i wasn't able to find a new camera in time beforehand. (Hopefully i can post some more details about that process later.)

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So aside from all that we spent a lot of time in the AMV room. We saw a lot of videos in a lot of different panels. There were a number that i intend to look up again but nothing that really blew my mind this year. The 25 Years of AMVs intro video was pretty awesome, and some of the videos in that panel were pretty great, but it was rather late at night and i started drifting off around the middle of it.

25 Years of Anime and Music | Anime Expo 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqBd3kWqw2s

Audience reaction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_PEaPgvh8g

The 2006 AMV Contest Replay had some good stuff, including one of my favorite AMVs ever (Between the Truth and the Lies), Rider4z's first convention showing (Fight For Life), and Wedding Rings. Gotta say though, looking ahead, the AX 2007 AMV Reshow is going to be EPIC! The Comedy panel was good as usual, the "Best of the Non-Finalists" was very hit or miss, also as usual. We weren't able to make it to the Rhythem panel (among many others) which makes me kind of sad. Along with comedy and "Best of the Non-Finalists" that would have been my best chance to find something new and amazing.

The best panel of the entire convention was probably the final AMV one, the "Sing, Clap, and Stomp Along" panel. Avalyn suggested they ought to do it at the beginning of the con to get everyone psyched up. Or maybe do it at the beginning _and_ the end. Or maybe the beginning and the end and in the middle. Or... :)

We did stop by the Dance at one point, but were only able to stay for about 20-30 minutes, because we needed to go get in line for an AMV room panel. (The 25 Years one i believe.)

So between a light sunburn on my arms (i did remember to wear a hat while outside,) walking all over the place, a little bit of dancing, four games of Dance Maniax, and a lot of enthusiastic singing and clapping, i was sore pretty much everywhere at the end of things, which is not at all a bad way to end a con :)

All in all though it seems like this is really just a post to say that i'm hoping to post some more stuff later =P
YouKnewThisWasComing (HAL)

Dead Camera

Many years ago (around 2003 or 2004 i think?) i bought a new camera just before Anime Expo so i could take decent pictures. After a minimal amount of review i decided to go with the Canon PowerShot A610.

I don't know if it was the best choice or not, but it served me well for many years. Then 3-4 years ago it started having trouble moving the lens in and out. Which might have been okay if it just meant no zooming, but it also meant that when you turned the camera on it had trouble moving the lens out from compact mode. Then the LCD screen got scrambled and would only work if i flipped it out, as opposed to flipped over and folded back. (Something was wrong with the rotation mechanism, when it got to the point where it would have had to flip the image upside down it just bugged out.)

It was still usable as long as i was willing to have the LCD flipped out or just use the viewfinder, but the problem with the lens movement gradually got worse. It never quite got to the point where i couldn't get it to work at all, because before that point the batteries inside exploded. In fact the leaking acid cause some kind of reaction strong enough to break the shutter button mechanism off of the main camera body (since it's located directly above one of the batteries.)

So some people these days say that all you really need is a camera phone, and after living a couple years on that philosophy it's not working out so well. I don't need a _great_ camera (as evidenced by my previous choice) but the phone on my camera really sucks. You can see noticeable differences in quality between my unlocked T-Mobile Moto X phone and Avalyn's Verizon Moto X phone. The zoom in particular is horrible and grainy. I'd be kind of surprised if there was _that_ much difference in the camera drivers between them, so i suspect there may be some kind of defect with mine.

So my phone is sorta okay if i need to snap a quick non-zoomed photo of something to post on twitter, but not so good for capturing good photos of events i'm at. Like Anime Expo. Which happens next week.

So here i am again, considering buying a camera at the semi-last minute, and i'm wondering if anyone has any advice.

I don't really want to spend more a couple hundred on it. I generally only use the zoom and brightness settings. The old camera had a couple automatic modes (indoors, outdoors, landscape, etc) but even with those i had a tough time telling which would actually be better in what situation. So moderately priced and simple is probably best. I think i _would_ like a little better zoom though. I think the old one was limited to 8x, which wasn't that great if i was sitting in the middle or rear of a concert. And of course as previously mentioned the zoom on my camera phone is practically useless.

Based on 5-10 minutes perusal of Consume Reports i'm leaning toward either the Canon PowerShot SX710 HS ($280-300, 30x optical zoom) and the Nikon Coolpix S7000 ($200-$280, 20x optical zoom.)

So do any of the people i know who do camera stuff have any opinions about either of those, or have something better to suggest?
blank

Brexit woes

I've got this irrational(?) fear that if Brexit passes Trump will win in the fall.

Because if Brexit passes one of two things will happen:

1) The economy will go down. In the worst case scenario the initial seed of financial disruption from Brexit passing will trigger the China debt default chain and cause a total meltdown.

But whether it goes down a lot or little in response to which Trump will blame the Democrats for the economy sucking, which isn't fair but historically the party in office has always caught the flak for a bad economy regardless of the causes.

2) The economy will stay stable or improve.

In which case Trump will say "Hey look, Britain followed the lead of a bunch of fascist, racist, idiots [okay, probably not in those exact words] and it worked out for them, so it will work out for us too!"

Come on UK, you knew how to deal with these types under much more trying circumstances when they were living on the other side of the Channel. Don't give up just because they've become a homegrown threat! You were strong then, you can be strong now!
books

Me vs Tolkien & George R R Martin vs Tolkien

First:

I wrote the rest of this post down on Friday and meant to post it this week. But then i checked YouTube today and discovered that the new season of Epic Rap Battles of History just started, and the first video is George R R Martin vs J R R Tolkien. And it is awesome. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAAp_luluo0

Second:

If you remembered to come back from the video, this is my interpretation of the Middle-Earth creation mythos[1]:

Eru, to the other gods[2]: "Despite some initial unpleasantness we've got the world mostly worked out now and filled with plants and beasts[3], so we should get down to the important stuff, the sentient races. Since I'm the firstest and bestest of the gods i shall create the Elves, and they shall be the Firstborn."

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Eru: ARRAAARRRAAAGHHHHHHH!!!!!! *retroactively smites Tom Bombadil from existence

And that children is why Tom Bombadil did not appear in the Lord of the Rings movies.

1: The bit about the Dwarves and the Elves seems to be generally accurate. Information about the nature and origin of Ents is vauge, the information about the Eagles is even vaguer, and the information about Tom Bombadil is vaguest.

2: Ainu, whatever.[4]

3: "Years of the Lamps" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Arda#Years_of_the_Lamps)

4: I'm sure steuard will correct me on all the whatevers.
mad

Maybe Sickish

Symptoms i have experienced over the last week and a bit:

Stiff and sore neck
Nausea and light vomiting (1 night only, maybe mild case of food poisoning?)
Sore throat (scratch)
Sore throat (unable to swallow)
Goopy throat
Stuffy nose
Goopy nose
Headache
Swollen eyelids
Pink eyes
Goopy eyes

Not all of these symptoms have been happening at the same time though, so it's hard to say which, if any, are linked by a common cause and which are entirely independent =P Do i have a single sickness? Or do i have several different co-dependently opportunistic sicknesses? I don't know! The stiff/sore neck has been the only one that's been consistent the whole time, and what started out the whole mess. It was pretty bad at first. It's gotten a lot better since then, but i still feel twinges if i turn my head too much.

The weird thing is that everything below my neck feels just fine. So i don't feel like i'm sick so much as i just have a bunch of problems with me head.

If i'm actually sick with something i wish i'd just get all of it at once, get _really_ sick, and just get it over with =P
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