Interesting

Apr. 9th, 2011 01:51 pm
misslynx: (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] jimhines:

The reasons behind the continued DDoS attacks on LJ, by a former LJ staffer who's now on Dreamwidth (but obviously still has some appreciation for LJ).

The link in the post to the New Yorker article on Alexey Navalny is particularly worth checking out.
misslynx: (Default)
The entries have been posted for Challenge #12 of the Last Author Standing writing contest I'm in. Both stories and voting post can be found here. We're down to six writers now, out of an original total of 50-something.

So, go read, go vote!

Usual notes apply: yes, one of them is mine; no, I can't tell you which (and wouldn't if I could). You need to choose one story as best and one as worst, though since at this stage everyone left in the contest is a good writer pretty much by definition, it's more like "least awesome" rather than "worst". (Though I suppose as one of the six remaining contestants I could be a little bit biased on that...) And you need to give some kind of brief reason for each choice.

The prompt this time was "Deception".
misslynx: (Default)

Support rape crisis centers and enter to win an advance copy of The Snow Queen’s Shadow, by Jim C. Hines.



Fantasy author (and all-around cool person) Jim C. Hines ([livejournal.com profile] jimhines) is doing an online fundraiser for rape crisis centres, in recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness month. You can donate directly to your local rape crisis centre, or to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, a US-based organization), and then send him an e-mail letting him know how much and to whom you donated. The initial prize is, as it says above, an advance copy of his latest book, but for every $500 raised he will add another prize. Further details via the above link.
misslynx: (Quote - brain dead)
Challenge #10 in the Last Author Standing contest I'm in is now open for voting. Stories (there are six) and voting post can be found here.

The prompt this time was the word "alpha", and people took it in a number of interesting directions...

. . .

In other news: I am incredibly tired, and even though I am not yet quite finished sorting out all the assorted varieties of fail that resulted from upgrading a fairly large and complex client site from Drupal 5 to 6, I think I am going to have to go to bed early. Today's plans originally included editing work at my dad's place, laundry, and going to the Freaky Fountain launch party, but absolutely none of that actually happened. The laundry, at least, will happen tomorrow, I suppose. Right now I don't think I'm up for much more than walking Kiska, some rooibos tea, and bed.
misslynx: (Default)
It's that time, folks - four weeks since the last one, rather than two, this time.

The entries for the latest challenge in the Last Author Standing contest, Original Fiction version ([livejournal.com profile] originalfic_las) can be found here, along with the voting post (I have belatedly realized that linking to the day in the community's archives gives you handy access to both posts in one place).

We are down to only six(!) entries now, which means, if I understand it all correctly, that after this one we will be in the final stretch where no one is allowed to use "skips" any more (basically, free passes that you get for various reasons that allow you to skip a challenge without being disqualified). I'm kind of pleased to have made it this far, considering that we started out with 52 entries in the first challenge. Though of course I am hoping to make it yet further... I guess we'll see.

Anyway: as before, voting is open to anyone with an LJ account, and no, I can't tell you which is mine (and would have preferred not to even if it was allowed, as I'd rather know that if I get votes, it's because people genuinely liked what I wrote, and not just out of loyalty). So: go read, go vote!

. . .

In other news, I have been in a huge work crunch for the past week or so, getting very little sleep - I am actually going to be going to bed shortly after posting this, and that will be the earliest night I've had in probably 9 or 10 days. And yes, it's 3:15 am. These days, getting to bed before the sun comes up feels like luxury.

Also, I would really appreciate it if my DSL connection would stop flaking out on me. All day today, it's been up and down like a yo-yo. Very annoying. Right at the moment it is down, but if you see this post timestamped tonight, you'll know it came up before I went to bed. If tomorrow, then apparently it didn't.

. . .

Also, random question: would anyone happen to know of any children's books with steampunk elements to them? By "children's" I don't mean "young adult" books written for teenagers, but books aimed at kids whose ages are still a single digit, and not necessarily a high one. The Lynxcub picked up a library book I had out recently which while geared toward adults, had a few illustrations sprinkled through it, and started asking me lots of questions about the pictures - in particular, about airships.

I did try just googling "steampunk children's books", but most of what I found was YA or at least geared toward considerably older kids than him. That said, he does sometimes like hearing stories that are meant for at least a somewhat older age range - I was able to read Alice in Wonderland to him - but there are limits. Among them, he still requires there to be interesting pictures in order for a book to hold his attention (preferably, at least one per double-page spread, otherwise he may get antsy and start trying to turn the page while I'm still reading).

So... any steampunk-ish books out there for younger kids?
misslynx: (Quote - clucking bell)
Note to Dog:

I hear the people in the hall. Really. Including the maintenance guy doing fire door improvements. It is not necessary to bark and/or growl to alert me every time you hear a sound out there. Especially when that sound is a power drill, I can hear it perfectly fine.

Note to Cats:

I understand that you two do not always get along well. I appreciate the fact that you fight much less than you did when Rosalind first came to live here, and I try to just put up with the occasional spats that still happen. HOWEVER...

On the occasions when you do still get into it, and decided to chase each other around the apartment with murder in your eyes, I would really appreciate it if the designated "home free" spot where the chasee can escape the chaser (whoever happens to be in either role at the moment) was NOT MY DESK.

Particularly not while I am working at it. And particularly not when you take a flying leap at the corner where my mouse pad is, while my hand is on said mouse, and land half-on-half-off it, sending the mouse flying in one direction and the mouse pad in three other directions (being as it is composed of three parts, and desperately grabbing at my arm with your claws in order to try not to fall. Neither the mouse, mouse pad nor my arm benefit from that kind of treatment, thank you.
misslynx: (Aidan - w/stick)
[livejournal.com profile] kettunainen already posted this one on Facebook, but it's definitely worth repeating:

"I could use special diseases that are in poo to get rid of the government."

She adds that they had been talking about landfills, with no mention of either of poo or the government before he said that.

When I told [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech about that one, she immediately asked where one could donate funding to that project. :-)
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
Shouted out gleefully at random while we were walking on a busy sidewalk: "When I take a bath, I don't wash my penis at all!"

Seriously, I have no idea what inspired him to say that - we were not talking about baths, or penises.

. . .

Later, in a conversation which did in fact in some way involve the topic of poo:

The Lynxcub: "I'm talking about actual poo, the kind that comes out of your butt!"

Me (confused): "Er... what other kind is there?"

Him (obviously delighted to know something I don't): "Actually, there is another kind. It's called well poo."

Me (even more confused): "Well poo? What's that?"

Him: "It's what Mama says when she can't find something she's looking for."
misslynx: (Aidan - w/stick)
Seriously, how many three-year-olds want to know about the atmosphere of Jupiter? )

And when gleefully typing random characters on my computer keyboard:

"I'm writing in a language a cell can't read!"

(reference to this video, where they describe DNA in terms of information being written in a language cells can read)
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
Of late, the Lynxcub has been completely obsessed with the DVD Here Comes Science, by They Might Be Giants. For those who don't know, TMBG have released a number of kids' CDs and DVDs, in addition to their usual quirky rock offerings. I'd originally introduce him to their stuff via their YouTube channel, but [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and [livejournal.com profile] optimystik ended up getting him that one on DVD, and he is so in love with it that he has insisted on bringing it along with him on several visits, and on the times he's forgotten to do that, insists on seeing most of the videos from it on YouTube.

He also likes many of the ones from Here Come the ABCs and Here Come the 123s, but it seems to be the science one that's really captured his heart, despite the fact that unlike the others, I'm pretty sure it's intended for considerably older kids than him. But then again, as anyone who's met him (or even reads my LJ regularly) knows, the Lynxcub is not your average three-and-a-half-year-old. It's really pretty awesome to hear him exclaim with delight "Oh look, it's the periodic table!", or draw squiggles on paper and insist that they're DNA. He has also solemnly informed me that he thinks Pluto is a planet, no matter what anyone else says.

And it was the same video that tackled the is-Pluto-a-planet question that led to the following conversation:

Lynxcub: I think I'm going to knock all those rocks in the asteroid belt out of the sky.

Me: Really? Why?

Lynxcub: I'm going to make them into a chew toy.

Me: (brief pause as I attempt to process that statement) Um... That's going to be a very large chew toy.

Lynxcub: (dismissively) That's OK, I'm going to use a machine.

Me: So, uh, who is that chew toy going to be for?

Lynxcub: I'm going to find someone who has a dog who doesn't have a chew toy.

Me: A very, very big dog?

Lynxcub: Yes. With big, sharp teeth!

. . .

I am actually very pleased with his TMBG-fanboy-ness. Their kids' songs and videos are pretty cool - a lot of the videos, especially, have really interesting artwork and animation (I think this is my personal favourite, though I have to warn you the song is an irresistible earworm - it will go through your head for weeks!). Especially in contrast to how stupid and/or annoying most kids' entertainment these days is... I would far, far rather have him watch TMBG geeking out over photosynthesis or paleontology than Spongebob Squarepants or something like that...

I really need to get that DVD - and their other kid's ones, for that matter. There really should be a "one of everything, please" bundle available. Also: this shirt, which is perfect for him since that's one of his favourite songs from that collection, and red is his favourite colour! The first time I looked at the site, I was disappointed because I thought they only had that one in adult sizes, but then I discovered that the kids' version was listed separately further down in the section. Oddly, it doesn't appear in their separate kids' store, but at least now I know I can get it in his size! (ETA: or not. Just noticed the sizes listed are YM, YL and S. I'm guessing the first two mean something along the lines of Youth Medium and Youth Large, but I don't know if the S is meant to be a Youth Small and just lost its Y*, or if it's an adult small. Or if any of these sizes are anywhere near the size 4 that he normally wears.)

. . .

And elsewhere in the world of entertaining Lynxcub moments, later in the same visit, when he was playing in the living room and I had my back turned making him a snack, I heard him say "I need to do this by myself."

Turning around, I asked what it was he need to do, and he replied "This art!" I looked at what he was doing and saw that he had gotten my blush compact out of my purse, and was carefully brushing blush onto the chest of drawers in front of him, with a look of great concentration, as though he was certain that he was creating a masterpiece.

Without looking up, he added in a tone of unmistakable satisfaction "When I'm done, there's going to be scraps of my art everywhere!"

Artistic as well as scientific - that's my boy!

. . .

* Presumably, the missing Y is in the Alphabet Lost & Found.
misslynx: (Brigid's cross)
For the 6th Annual Brigid Poetry Festival:

The Song of Wandering Aengus
By W.B. Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
misslynx: (Default)
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG - it finally happened!

Behold the results of the last round.

Eight votes. Eight votes. I'm not sure anyone's yet gotten eight votes. It might have taken me seven challenges to finally win one, but... holy fuck. I think I'm in shock.

For anyone who wants to read the story in question, it was "Away".

And I really, really hope that this isn't another spreadsheet error.
misslynx: (Default)
Voting's open for the latest round of Last Author Standing:

The challenge this time: "If this was my last day on earth..."

All previous info & disclaimers apply - yes, one's mine; no, can't tell you which; etc. Voting deadline: Sunday, 5pm.
misslynx: (Aidan & me - ravine)
Somehow or other, the topic of 911 (the emergency phone number) had come up in conversation, and it occurred to me that this was something the Lynxcub should learn. A while back there was some news story about a kid his age or younger who'd saved his mom's life by calling 911 when she had an accident or something, so I thought maybe we should talk about it. But the conversation did not go exactly as planned (seriously, do conversations with three-year-olds ever?)

Me: That's the number you should call on the phone if there's ever an emergency - if you're alone with me or mama or daddy and we have an accident or something and get hurt. You would just press nine, and then one, and then one again, on the phone --

Lynxcub (dismissively): If you were hurt, I'd just make you better!

Me: Well, if you couldn't, or if there was a fire or something --

Lynxcub: I'd put it out with the fire extinguisher!

Me: That's a good thing to know how to do too, but if it was a big fire, or you couldn't work the fire extinguisher --

Lynxcub: Then I would get a big ladder, and climb up it with a hand saw, and cut a hole in the ceiling to let the rain in, and that would put out the fire.

Me (somewhat exasperated): OK, I can see you've got everything under control, but if you needed some firefighters or paramedics to help you handle an emergency, then it would be good to know how to call that number!

Lynxcub (patient and long-suffering tone): I already know that number.
misslynx: (Me - w/ Kiska (on couch))
  1. Some dogs handle being tied up outside while you go into a store (or, in this case, the farmer's market) better than others.

  2. In particular, if it is a fairly nippy day, a long-haired dog of a northern breed (huskies and variants thereof, etc.) will probably be fine as long as they're not out there for too long, but a short-haired dog may be really unhappy about it.

  3. And temperament-wise, a mellow dog will just relax and enjoy the sunshine, while a high-strung/dependent dog will get incredibly agitated and bark and whine constantly until its humans come back. The latter should really not be left tied up outside if you can possibly help it. They will (a) be very unhappy, and (b) drive everyone else around them, canine and human, crazy.

  4. Similarly, a very young, energetic dog that can't hold still for more than 30 seconds is perhaps also not the best candidate for being tied outside for any length of time.

  5. There is more than one post/handle/railing/etc. that dogs can be tied to outside the Wychwood Barns farmers' market. Seriously. Look around.

  6. So, given all of the above, was it really fucking necessary to tie three other dogs, all of whom were varying degrees of short-haired, high-strung, unhappy, cold, over-energetic and constantly barking, to the same post Kiska was tied to, with all of them on short leashes so that they couldn't get away from each other?
FFS, people. By the time I got out there (and I wasn't even inside for very long), their leashes were tangled together into a near-impenetrable knot that took me probably longer to untangle than it had taken me to buy my veggies in the first place. I'm just thankful it hadn't yet degenerated into a full-on fight. Maybe you were thinking the dogs would enjoy each other's company and help keep each other warm. But it certainly didn't look like that was how it was working out.

On the bright side, I have rarely seen Kiska quite as happy as she was when I finally got her leash free so that she could get away from the other dogs...
misslynx: (Default)
Well, apparently I didn't actually get three negative votes after all! The moderator just let me know that it was a spreadsheet error - the negative votes for a different story showed up in my row instead. So I actually got two positives and no negatives, putting me in second place for the round rather than second-last place.

What a massive relief - I'd been wracking my brain trying to figure out where I went wrong!
misslynx: (Default)
Wow... My entry for the current Last Author Standing challenge got two "best" votes, like the previous one - but also three "worst" votes, which I really did not see coming. Well, at least it got noticed... But I missed getting voted out of this round by the skin of my teeth.

I'll be looking forward to getting the vote feedback and seeing the reasons for the negative votes. If the reason people disliked it was because it made them uncomfortable, as one person has suggested, I'll actually take that as a win (though I suppose if I want to stay in the contest, I should stay away from such triggery subject matter in the future - from the perspective of getting voted out, a negative vote is a negative vote, regardless of the reason), but if it's actually because they thought it was horribly written, I'll be disappointed. Still, all criticism is useful in helping one write better, so even if it does turn out people thought it was badly written, hopefully I'll be able to learn from that.

If anyone wants to read it, my story was The Monster at the End of This Book. Please note that it deals with child abuse, and is thus, as mentioned above, unlikely to be a comfortable read for anyone, and quite possibly very triggering for some.

BTW, the prompt we were given was: "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." — Friedrich Nietzsche

. . .

In other news: still sick, though not as much so. Most of the cold symptoms are gone now, but for some reason every bloody time I get a cold, it settles into my lungs and leaves me coughing and hacking for days or weeks after the rest of it is over. Sometimes to the point where I can't sleep at night, though last night was not as bad as the several nights before it. Hopefully this means maybe the cough is finally on the way out... Hopefully. Because I am so very, very tired of coughing.
misslynx: (Default)
The stories for Challenge #6 of the Last Author Standing contest I'm in have been posted, and voting is open. As usual: yes, one is mine. No, I'm not telling you which. Anyone with an LJ account is welcome to read them and vote.

Stories are here.
Voting & rules are here.

I should mention that the stories this time around are mostly a bit darker than in previous rounds, due to the specific prompt given this time: Nietzsche's quote that "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." That doesn't exactly lead to stories that are all sunshine and roses...
misslynx: (Aidan & me - w/ dandelion)
One small but awesome present I got for Giftmas, from [livejournal.com profile] lgbtech, was a set of 6-sided dice called Story Cubes, with pictures on them that you can use for various storytelling games. They were the source of much entertainment on an evening out we had with [livejournal.com profile] curgoth, [livejournal.com profile] mycrazyhair and several other friends. The idea was, according to the box, to divide the dice among all present and have one person start with "Once upon a time..." and the roll their dice for inspiration, and then continue around the table with each person adding to the story. But given that we were all somewhat under the influence of many and various interesting varieties of beer at the time, the story instead started with "No shit — there I was!" and the each-with-their-own-dice thing quickly degenerated into first grabbing dice from other people, and then eventually keeping all the dice in a big pile in the middle with people taking as many as they felt like using when their turn came. As you might expect both from the alcohol factor and the excellent company, things quickly became very surreal, and a certain point I felt compelled to start taking notes on my phone of some of the more... interesting things that were said.

Cosmic turtles, electromagnetic shoes, and a phone call from God )

Of course, the Lynxcub is also an enduring source of extreme creativity. So as the childhood sequel to the adult madness above, here is a conversation I recently had with him:

The Pirates of Prince Edward County )
misslynx: (Misc - Small Manageable Goats)
I happened upon the blog at Post-Punk Kitchen last night (that's the web site run by the authors of Vegan with a Vengeance, The Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, etc.), and when I went to add the RSS feed to my LJ friends page, apparently it didn't have a syndicated feed set up here yet, which somewhat astonishes me. So I made one for it - if anyone wants to have awesome vegan recipes regularly showing up on your friends page (whether or not you are actually vegan - most of these recipes look delicious purely on their own merits, and can probably be enjoyed by anyone), add [livejournal.com profile] theppk_blog.

In related news: despite my hair-raising adventures in baking stuff for [livejournal.com profile] the_moogie's Christmas party, I am filled with the desire to bake again. My spiffy new Serious Cupcake Pan demands to be filled again, and I am contemplating trying my hand at Irish soda bread as well (largely because unlike other forms of bread, it sounds relatively easy and nearly idiot-proof). Or cornbread, for which there is a tasty-sounding recipe in the Veganomicon.

I think I most desirous of making something that is not sweet first, because I have eaten a lot of sugar over the past few days. It is dangerous to send leftover cookies and cupcakes home with me, especially when the cupcakes are too sticky to hand out to random people as I did with a few of the cookies. Thus the idea of making bread or biscuits or something. But the directions for making yeast breads are terrifyingly incomprehensible to me, and sourdough bread (which I actually like better than yeast bread as a general rule) requires complicated microbiological voodoo. But soda bread pretty much just requires grade-school chemistry (put an acid and a base together, and presto foamy), which I'm pretty sure I can handle. And cornbread doesn't even require that.

Stay tuned for the further baking adventures of our intrepid heroine...

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