Links and Accomplishments, 10/3/15 to 10/17/15

bittersweet
So pretty, and yet so invasive…

I’ve decided to do these only every two weeks — writing this up takes time I’d rather spend doing something else, and preparing two weeks doesn’t take significantly longer than one. Also, I bore you less often 😉

Links

My coworker Val turned me on to the joy of Craft Fail and Pintester, two blogs which are comfort food for people whose craft projects never turn out like the pretty pictures. (Protip: I am that sort of person).

10 Underrated Perks of Working for Someone Else. I think I like the title spelled out by the URL better than the final title 🙂 I’m pretty happy working for the Man most of the time.

Chivalry Isn’t Dead; You Just Don’t Know What the Fuck It is. Brought to you by Better Myths, the folks who offer entertaining explanations of many different myths and legends. Wise points about horses as medieval WMDs 🙂

Green Stain Fungus Fruiting. These are a lot smaller than TES IV: Oblivion led me to believe.

How Doctors Take Women’s Pain Less Seriously. You might have seen me share this on Facebook, but it made me so angry (and sad, and terrified) that I want to share it again. I want every doctor, every nurse, every person who has ever worked in healthcare, to read this.

Accomplishments

Reading
– Alpha-read the first four chapters of SC4 for Django

Other Media
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episode 32 and 33
– Listened to Writing Excuses episode 10.40 and 10.41
– Reached VR5 with Falanu in ESO

LARP
– Wrote my NPC PEL for 5G Wrathborn 2
– NPCed for Shadows of Amun game 10

Social
– Went to the RiffTrax Live of Miami Connection with Adina and Brian
– Went apple-picking and to lunch at the Rail Trail with Becky K et al

Health
– Had a cardiac calcium scan
– Had a stress test
– Did 11am/3pm office exercises x 8
– Did Hacker’s Diet Introductory Fitness Ladder workout (rung 1) x 1
– Did Hacker’s Diet Introductory Fitness Ladder workout (rung 2) x 3
– 40min walk x 4
– Walked to the Stop & Shop and back, carrying groceries (1.4m walk)

Links and Accomplishments, 9/27/15 to 10/3/15

snacking chipmunk
There was a little too much of this in my life last week…

Links

A couple of codepens I did to try out Flexbox: Challenge #1 (row-based)| Challenge #2 (column-based). At some point I should probably add these to my portfolio and/or do a more comprehensive post with Things Wot I Learned About Flexbox.

I unironically love pumpkin spice-flavored stuff, but I still think these are delightfully bad ideas: 16 Pumpkin Spice Products That Don’t Exist And Should Never Exist

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote the blog post “Starting my Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Re-Read”

Reading
– Read “Dying Young,” by Peter M. Ball, Clarkesworld, August 2015

LARP
– Wrote my NPC PEL for Shadows of Amun game 9
– NPCed for Friday night of 5G Wrathborn game 2
– Entered my info skill for 5G Silverfire

Other Media
– Watched the RiffTrax of Death Promise
– Listened to Writing Excuses episode 10.39, “Q&A on Plot Twists with Kevin J. Anderson”

Health
– Exercised 3-4 times? I was bad about keeping track last week, but I know I did a decent amount.

Crafts
– Made 70 packets

Rejection Log

Interfictions, 45-day form rejection for “Powder of Sympathy”

Links and Accomplishments, 9/20/15 to 9/26/15

Indian Summer in New England

Links

A little bit short on the links this week… I haven’t been goofing off on the internet nearly enough.

New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy. The title is a bit clickbait-y, but the content is good.

Accomplishments

Writing — continues to get short shrift in my life right now. ‘Tis the season.
– Wrote 262 words on Lioness
– Wrote blog post “Your quarterly reminder that I still play ESO”

Reading
– Read “Hair,” Adam Roberts, Clarkesworld, July 2015
– Read “Security Check,” Han Song, Clarkesworld, August 2015
– Read “The Servant,” Emily Devenport, Clarkesworld, August 2015. Highly recommend this one, if you dig stories about generation ships, class struggles, and the cycle of violence.
– Finished reading The Price of Valor, by Django Wexler

LARP
– NPCed for Shadows of Amun game 9
– Wrote my NPC PEL for Cottington Woods 3.3

Other Media
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episode 30 and 31
– Listened to Writing Excuses episode 10.38, “How Does Context Shape Dialog?”
– Finished week 3 of the Coursera course Learning How to Learn
– Finished the Rift Angler — and with it, the Pact Fisherman — achievement in ESO with Falanu

Social
– Had lunch with Alison at Welcome India

Health
– Made appointment with cardiologist (routine stuff, basically just to say, “Hey, I have horrid family history of early heart disease and arrythmias, what do?”)
– Walked x 3
– Did Hacker’s Diet Introductory Fitness Ladder workout (rung 1) x 1

Links and Accomplishments, 9/13/15 to 9/19/15

Links

“What the Living Do,” a poem by Marie Howe. I was turned onto this by a Captain Awkward post about suicide. It is the kind of poem I love, about the sublime mundanity of choosing to live, day after day.

Kameron Hurley writes brilliantly about The Traitor Baru Cormorant and why she loved it in What Will You Sacrifice? I’ve got my copy of Traitor, though I haven’t started reading yet (other than the three free chapters I read on tor.com)

Authoring Critical Above-the-Fold CSS. Inlining CSS is anathema to the separation of content and presentation layers — but apparently invaluable for page speed.

40 Free (or Extremely Low-Cost) Things I Genuinely Enjoy Doing – and You Might, Too. From The Simple Dollar, the only frugality blog I still follow.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote 242 words on Lioness (yeah, sad, I know)

LARP
– NPCed for Cottington Woods 3.3
– Finished my 5G Silverfire 2 PEL

Reading
– Read “Bones at the Door,” John Wiswell (VP17!), Fireside Magazine September 2015
– Read Without a Summer, Mary Robinette Kowal

Other Media
– Played Mansions of Madness x 2
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episode 28 and 29
– Listened to Writing Excuses episodes 10.36 and 10.37
– Finished the Eastmarch Angler achievement in ESO with Falanu

Social
– Attended Mac’s writing night

Health
– Had an annual physical
– Did Hacker’s Diet Introductory Fitness Ladder workout (rung 1) x 2
– Did Hacker’s Diet Introductory Fitness Ladder workout (rung 2) x 1

Links and Accomplishments, 8/30/15 to 9/12/15

Making up for two weeks here, since I was in the middle of the woods last Sunday, and this week has been crazy…

Links

No girl wins: three ways women unlearn their love of video games

Was going through old email and found this link someone I ran into at Readercon sent me about smut and libraries, and smut involving libraries: Checking Out

“I have never turned heads”: What it’s like when you’re not the object of desire. I relate to this in many ways. I leave it as an exercise to the reader precisely which ones.

No Excuses Craft Tutorials: “how you can make a perfectly good LARP costume for less than the price of a burger at the event.” Admittedly, my larp costume expenses can be measuring in teraburgers, but I still found this interesting.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote three blog posts:

– Wrote 2706 words on Lioness

LARP
– PCed Fifth Gate Silverfire game 2
– Wrote a (very tentative) character history for Crossover

Reading
– Read Vermeer’s Hat, by Timothy Brook
– Read “It Was Educational,” by J.B. Park (Clarkesworld August 2015)

Other Media
– Listened to Writing Excuses 10.35, “Breaking In, With Charlie N. Holmberg”
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episode 27
– Reached VR3 in ESO with Falanu
– Reached 35 in ESO with Br’ihnassi

Social
– Had dinner/went shoe shopping/book club with Jess

Health, a.k.a. Not Being Terrible About My Body
– Had blood work done ahead of my physical next week
– Sparred with Matt
– Walked x 2
– Did Hacker’s Diet fitness ladder workout x 3
– Went to the lake with Matt (not directly health-related, except maybe mental health)

Household
– Weeded by the side entrance
– Went shopping for supplies to finish the deck
– Put tar paper over the non-pressure treated bits of the deck (not by choice, mind… the crazy people who built this deck didn’t use pressure-treated lumber, and we can’t replace all of it without ripping the whole thing up. So we water-sealed and covered with tar paper what we could)

Crafts
– Finished chemise for Ianthe
– Hemmed Ianthe’s blue velveteen gown
– Finished cutting the pieces for a new Ianthe underdress mockup

Links and Accomplishments, 8/23/15 to 8/29/15

Links

Steve Brust’s post about Who Really Runs the Hugo Awards gave me a chuckle. It’s not the cabal you thought it was!

The two sets of instructions I smooshed together to make the chemise mentioned below (not noted as finished, because I still need to hem it): one from Reconstructing History, and another from elizabethancostume.net. I used primarily the RH one, which was as confusing as I usually find their instructions to be; thankfully, it’s not that hard to figure out how to sew together a bunch of rectangles.

Aside from some tangles with making the casing for the drawstring (I should have heeded source #2’s advice on adding the casing before sewing on the arms), it went together fairly easily, which was a relief after all the annoyances I’ve had with sewing recently.

I See Your Preferences, Wendig by Foz Meadows. I like a lot of Chuck Wendig’s writing advice, but I thought this was a good critique of some unexamined bias and taste preferences. Loved the use of The Goblin Emperor for examples, too, since it does break a lot of storytelling rules, but garners a loyal following nonetheless.

Also Foz Meadows, but writing for A Dribble of Ink: Fight Like a Woman, which is ostensibly a review of Django Wexler’s The Shadow Throne, but actually talks about all the reasons the women in his series are awesome. Which I’ve been saying since 2011, but we can’t all have been his alpha readers.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Wrote 2,754 words on Lioness

Reading
(I have lots of stuff in progress right now, but nothing finished this week)

Other Media
– Played Claustrophobia
– Listened to Writing Excuses 10.33, “Q&A on Pacing”
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin, episodes 25 and 26
– Watched lecture 3 of Brandon Sanderson’s 2013 SFF writing class at BYU
– Finished the Shadowfen Angler achievement in ESO with Falanu

Crafts
– Bought linen for a chemise (to go under new velveteen gown)
– Cut out chemise pieces

Links and Accomplishments, 8/16/15 to 8/22/15 (plus bonus Hugo meditations)

This was a very unaccomplished week for me, for many reasons. Ah well. Hoping to go into this week feeling rested and relatively sane.

Accomplishments

Writing
– Submitted “Powder of Sympathy” to Interfictions
– Wrote 397 words on Lioness
– Attended writing group meeting

Reading
– Read “ReMemories,” by (fellow VP17er!) Nancy S.M. Waldeman, in FantasyScroll magazine

Other Media
– Played Caverna for the first time (and won!)
– Played four games of Mansions of Madness
– Watched The Imitation Game
– Watched the livestream of the 2015 Hugo Awards (technically much of this happened on 8/23 East Coast time, but OH WELL)
– Listened to Writing Excuses 10.32, “Combat, with Marie Brennan”

Social
– Hosted a visit from my dad
– Drinks with Kevin

Rejection Log

If I’m going to be submitting stuff regularly, I think keeping track of this as part of the L&A is probably a good idea.

– “Remember to Die,” DSF, Aug 21st. Need to find my next market for this. Dark magic realism with cake and death, 700 words… any idea who would like this?

Links (Hugos edition!)

It was well past midnight, East Coast time, when the Hugos even started being awarded, but in case you are curious — it went well, from my perspective. Puppies got closed out in five categories (best related work, short story, novella, editor – long form, and editor – short form), where it was decided that No Award was better than any of the dreck they had nominated. I will for a long time remember the satisfied smile on Tananarive Due’s face when she read “The Hugo voters have decided that in this category there will be no award,” and the applause that went up in the auditorium when she did. (David Gerrold looked less happy about it — at one point he said, “Applause is acceptable; booing is not”).

Sadly, my beloved The Goblin Emperor did not win Best Novel, but from all I can tell, The Three Body Problem is a worthy choice. (I did not vote myself — I did not feel well-enough informed about the various options).

I know there are people on both sides of the controversy who are all like, “None of this matters, it’s just a stupid rocket.”

But, you know. That stupid rocket matters a lot to a lot of people, including me.

When I was just a young girl trolling the library for the (at the time, rare) SFF books, it mattered.

When I first started writing SFF, it mattered.

When I went to my first WorldCon (2004, in Boston), and saw Lois McMaster Bujold accept the Best Novel Hugo for Paladin of Souls, and give the shortest, most eloquent acceptance speech I’ve ever heard, it mattered.

It mattered when I first voted (2005, in LA), and it broke my heart that Kelly Link’s “Magic for Beginners” lost Best Novella to Connie Willis’ “The Inside Job” — though I knew they were both works of great value.

I’ll probably never win a Hugo (let alone get published), but it still matters to me. It’s something to aspire to. It’s something to believe in, as a symbol that our genre is more than just ephemeral stories we tell ourselves around campfires — more than just the flickering shadows of unicorns and rockets on cave walls.

Anyway. Next year I resolve to buy a supporting membership and nominate, in my small effort to make sure the system isn’t gamed again. Of course that means reading a lot of stuff that comes out this year, but that seems like a small price to pay.

* Which is kind of hilarious, because his Shadow Campaigns books are everything the Puppies (the sad variety, at least) pretend to like — military fantasy, a rip-roaring good story, etc. Except it has lesbians (and straight women, too) making effective choices and being badass in various ways — so you can tell where the Pups’ real priorities lie.

Links and accomplishments, 8/2/15 to 8/8/15

Links

Most of these links are about writing. HOPE THAT’S COOL WITH YOU.

100 Random Storytelling Thoughts and Tips, Starting Now. Some quotes I liked:

You’re a stage magician. Practiced in the art of illusion… One of your greatest skills is misdirection. You seed the truth of the magic trick early on in the story. Then you convince the reader that the truth isn’t the truth at all — until the time comes to reveal.

Reminds me very much of Uncle Jim’s enigmatic lectures at VP, exhorting us to read books on stage magic.

Pretend while writing that your job isn’t to tell a story but it’s to manipulate and emotionally injure the audience. Because that actually kinda is your job. You monster.

How to Write Your Character’s Thoughts. Seems simple, right? But I’ve been trying to shake up how I do this, because for me italicizing thoughts is the lazy path to over-explaining. I’ve been experimenting with Hillerich’s methods, and… in the immortal words of the MST3K movie: “I’m feeling a sensation that’s entirely new to me. And frankly, I like it!”

How to Choose What to Write Next. A neat little trick, in which you rate story ideas based on their potential for joy, growth, and marketability.

The Future of Work is Here and It Sucks. Yes. So much yes. Also makes me glad I don’t work in marketing any more.

Videos of a 2013 class on writing SFF that Brandon Sanderson taught at BYU. My first reaction to these videos was, “I know all this stuff.” But I find myself coming back to them, and thinking of how I’ll use them for future work, so I venture my initial assessment was wrong.

Fantasy of Manners list on Goodreads. It took seeing that I had read eleven books on this list (and loved many of them) to realize that, gee, Lise, maybe fantasy of manners is a Thing, and furthermore maybe that’s actually what you’re writing.

Accomplishments

I got a lot of reading done this week, as you’ll see — but to be fair, it was mostly finishing a bunch of books I had in progress.

Writing
– Wrote 2,487 words on Lioness
– Prepped and sent chapters 6 and 7 of Lioness to my writing group
– Imported Lioness (and notes) into Scrivener
– Wrote one blog post, a review of Sheepfarmer’s Daughter

Reading
– Finished Elizabeth Moon’s Sheepfarmer’s Daughter
– Finished Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor (this book is amazing, and a review will follow once I get past fannish squee)
– Finished Holly West’s Mistress of Fortune
– Finished Rachel Aaron’s 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love

Other Media
– Watched Columbo S2E3, “The Most Crucial Game”
– Listened to Writing Excuses 10.31, “How Do I Control the Reader’s Sense of Progress?”
– Watched lectures 1 and 2 of Brandon Sanderson’s 2013 SFF writing class at BYU

Front-end dev
– Used a developer self-directed day to teach myself Flexbox, and wrote up a Flexbox developer challenge for my coworkers

(I don’t usually put day job stuff in here, but I might share the developer challenge on my blog later on)

Social
– Had book club get-together with Jess at Solea in Waltham

Links and accomplishments, 7/26/15 to 8/1/15

I’ve decided to start keeping track of my weekly accomplishments, like my pal Phoebe does — she owes some of her incredible productivity to that metric, I fancy.

To temper it with something that’s not all about me me me (because no one but Phoebe wants to read that much about me), I’ll add some links to stuff I’ve found interesting throughout the week.

Accomplishments

Writing

– Wrote 1796 new words on Lioness
– Submitted “Remember to Die” to DSF

LARP
– Signed up for Silverfire game 2, and got in!

Media
– Finished watching season 7 of Psych (ugh. I hate the trope of “create conflict with a completely unlikeable character who makes the protagonists’ lives miserable.” I hated it in House, and I hate it here, with the Trout plotline).
– Watched the RiffTrax of Megaforce (the ascots! the uniforms!)
– Read “The Litany of Earth” by Ruthanna Emrys (highly recommended, as a subversion of the othering in HPL, overlaid on WWII paranoia)
– Finished the main quest in ESO with my character Falanu
– Listened to Writing Excuses 10.30, “Q&A on Middles with Marie Brennan”
– Listened to Happier with Gretchen Rubin ep. 22, “Creative Habits with guest Rosanne Cash”

Crafts
– Cut out the paper pattern and selected material for the mockup of a second Ianthe underdress

Cooking/Household
– Made SO MANY FRIDGE PICKLES
– Made beet, toasted walnut, and bleu cheese salad

Links

A lot of people have been talking about emotional labor lately — what it is, how it disproportionately falls to women, and what to do about that.

Surprising no one, I find this absolutely true and utterly fascinating. It reminds me of my recent post–I would argue, more eloquently today, that most of the things taking women away from creativity are emotional labor.

I’ve also realized that my defense of small talk, and its importance in human conversation, is a defense of emotional labor, too. Small talk is hard — it’s literally finding stuff to talk about with people you don’t know well enough to suggest topics of mutual interest — and many geeks (male geeks in particular) have never learned to do it.

(I’m currently reading the fabulous fantasy novel The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison, and it’s telling that the title character, having grown up in obscurity, never learned how to make small talk, and suffers for it when he rises to power. I consider this lack as great as his ignorance of the political current, and as narratively interesting).

Despite all this, I’m actually kind of rubbish at emotional labor myself, so many of the reminders about how are good for me, too.

On a lighter note, The Man’s Guide on How to Smell Better. Please, please, please take this to heart, oh nerd guys. It will improve your life to not smell like dirty laundry.

On my VPeep Beth T’s recommendation, I’ve been browsing 16th-17th century household guides — I thought I would find interesting stuff for Lioness in there. The Good Huswife’s Jewell is particularly intriguing. Mostly it has suggested terrible, wonderful things to put on the various Lucern tables we see. (Not lamprey pie, though. I’m leaving that all to GRRM).