Reading Wednesday

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:35 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
What I've read: short fiction
Actually read this week:Some of the backlog (all DSF):

What I've read: long fiction

Banishment by M.C. Beaton, which is the first of six apparently-fluffy Regency romances about six beautiful sisters and a malevolent stately home, recommended as a Yuletide fandom (thanks [personal profile] ceb for the pointer!)  This one was indeed the promised fast, lighthearted read, in which the family lose their beautiful stately home and much of their wealth, and (some of them) begin to learn Important Lessons About Not Being Awful To Other People.  And the first of the beautiful daughters finds true love, etc.  The remaining five in the series are now on their way so I can find out just how malevolent the house gets ...

Bike light design

Sep. 20th, 2017 08:12 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
For a while I had the impression my back bike light remembered whether it was on or not when you removed and replaced the battery. And I wondered how that worked. A push-button that moved a physical toggle between three positions seemed implausible. But so did some tiny bit of persistent memory. My best guess is that there was a capacitor which held charge for a short time.

Now, I think I was completely wrong. I think that when you put the battery in, it *always* comes on. I just assumed that it would usually be off and didn't actually check that was true. So I got the impression it was lit *sometimes* on battery-connect, and connected that to the state it had before the battery was removed.

Wow, it's really easy to manufacture evidence for something even when you think you're avoiding that.

Presumably the "power on lit" is so that loose connections don't turn it off. OTOH, that would mean if it has a loose connection when it's being carried about, it might come on and drain the battery. Or maybe no-one thought about it and this just happened to be the case. Or maybe there's a regulation? I don't know.

Departure

Sep. 18th, 2017 10:38 pm
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
[personal profile] liv
I've never left a job before. I spent my 20s as a contract researcher, and when my project came to an end, I just... didn't work in that lab any more. So I didn't know how to give notice, how to do the tax paperwork, it was all completely new to me. Also, the people I've been working closely with for the past eight years were all actually sad to see me go and wanted to mark the rite of passage. That was new to me too, in a mostly touching but slightly bittersweet way.

last days )

I started my new job the following Monday. I need to work out how much I should talk about that in detail here; for one thing it's looking to involve somewhat more blogging and social media presence as my professional persona than the old job did. Also I am still adjusting to living in Cambridge full time, which is probably another post, and I'm up to my eyes preparing for the High Holy Days beginning on Wednesday, so I am going to stick with posting about leaving rather than about arriving for now.

Fitbit goal check

Sep. 17th, 2017 10:26 pm
highlyeccentric: A woman in an A-line dress, balancing a book on her head, in front of bookshelves (Make reading sexy)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Currently Reading: Alex Beecroft, 'Blue Eyed Stranger'; Griffith Review 36; misc other... stuff

Recently Finished:

Interpreter of MaladiesInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was an *interesting*, if unsettling, book. Some of the stories keep coming back in fragments in my mind: the perspective choice in When Mr Pirzada Came To Dine, to recount the Bangladeshi-Pakistani conflict through the incomplete perceptions of a child, was a particularly arresting one. The Treatment of Bibi Haldar left me with anger I was unable to properly defuse for some time - the girl with her under-treated illness, the it suddenly became clear she was being sexually abused, without the story ever specifying that because none of the characters even seemed to *think* of it. The titular story made me quite uncomfortable, but was intricately composed.

I think my favourite was the last, 'The third and final continent' - its characterisation of the boarding-house owner in particular moved me, for whatever reason.

Courting the CountessCourting the Countess by Jenny Frame

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Mmm, I just don't know how I feel about this one. It was compelling, and it was a nice change to see this rough plot arc played out with women (I see it a lot in m/m romance: career focused commitmentphobe meets some nice chappy who insists on commitment in red letters, angst ensues and we end with matrimony-like arrangements). But I found myself irked by the emphasis on Annie's lack of experience, and by just HOW heavily the 'the right woman will cure all your emotional traumas and then you marry' notes fell.

I found myself shipping the two supporting characters, Bridget the Vicar and Quin the Farmer, much more strongly than the main pairing. Apparently there's a sequel about Bridget the Vicar but it's not matching her with Quin the Farmer, so. I may or may not.

Spindle's EndSpindle's End by Robin McKinley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a delightful fairy tale, but like... inexplicable heterosexuality? I mean. The two girls were running around BREATHING THE SAME BREATH and there was TRUE LOVE'S KISS and everything. Narl was sweet, but note Our Heroine only fell in love with him when she suddenly thought he was in love with her best friend? And when her best friend suddenly and obviously fell in love with another dude?

Look Both Ways: Bisexual PoliticsLook Both Ways: Bisexual Politics by Jennifer Baumgardner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was a frustrating book. I learned a lot of interesting trivia about 90s pop culture, including that there were far more bisexuals in it than I thought. There were some occasionally well-phrased ways of expressing ideas I've seen before, but nothing particularly ground-breaking. Even taking into account that it's over a decade old, 'Closer to Home' is much older and MUCH more insightful.

This was... magazine-y. I've never read Ms magazine, for which the author used to write, but in Australian terms it felt like... Cleo: The Bisexual Special. Only with a weirdly uncritical Thing for second-wave feminist foremothers, without any of their depth. (One of the well-phrased ideas was that second wave feminist criticism did not actually equip the young women of the 90s to fully reshape or realise their relationships with men, but even that point turned into weird bitterness without offering an alternative. I wanted to smack the author upside the head and say READ MORE BELL HOOKS.)

For something subtitled 'bisexual politics' it's actually about 'bisexual female existence in a particular culture bubble', with limited political ANYTHING.


Also finished, to review later: Madhur Jaffrey's 'Vegetarian India'; Carolyn Larrington 'Brothers and Sisters in Medieval European Literature'; Aviolot 'The Course of Honour'; Alex Beecroft 'Trowchester Blues'; Catherynne M Valente, 'The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making'.




Music notes: Saw Back N Black, the Swiss all-girl AC/DC cover band I saw back in 2014. They seem to be going through Drama, and were filling out the ranks with dudes on second guitar, bass and drums, but it was still a pretty good show. I got showered in fake blood courtesy of BB, the lead guitarist. This was unfortunate for my new cream t-shirt, but I think I've go the stains out now.

In celebration I bought myself 'Let There Be Rock'. I actually only owned one accadacca album and a couple of stray MP3s, until now. Clearly an oversight.
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
Removing code is good! But everywhere I've worked has had a "pile of makefiles" build system, which have invariably had problems when you remove a file, because the .d files are still hanging around, and make chokes on a source file because it doesn't have the headers it needed last time, even though they're actually not necessary to actually build the file.

And it's a matter of culture whether it's "when you check out code, you often need to make clean or make undepend somewhere to get it to compile" or "when you check in code, you need to find a workaround to make it build cleanly even if you've removed files".

Do people with more recent build tools than "make" avoid this problem?

However, after thinking it through carefully I eventually decided on one of the ways to makefiles cope with this correctly.

The trick

You still do "-include $(OBJ_FILES:%.c=%.d)" or equivalent.

But when you produce a .d file with gcc (usually as a side effect of producing a .o file via -MMD), add an extra line at the end of the recipe, a perl script which edits the .d file in-place and replaces each "filename.o: header1.h header2.h..." with "filename.o $(wildcard: header1.h header2.h...)"

That way, if any dependency has *changed* a rebuild is forced as normal. But only dependencies that actually exist become dependencies within the makefile. (Deleting a header file doesn't trigger a rebuild, but it doesn't with the old system either since the .o file already exists.)

I can share the exact script if anyone wants to see.

Yuletide nominations

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:40 pm
jack: (Default)
[personal profile] jack
I nominated for Yuletide. After lots of "how could I possibly choose", I decided that I might as well pick three works I liked and thought would make good fic, and not feel like I had to pick the BEST three. I can probably dredge up more obscure things I loved, and would really love to see fic from, but I find it hard to bring to mind things I've not thought of for ages.

There's lots of things I love, things like webcomics and webfiction which might deserve attention. I eventually chose three I thought would make good stories.

Elements (experiments in character design), the tarot-like cards showing a character for each chemical element. They're just so pretty, each looks like it tells a story. I was sad the physical cards seemed to be sold out and never for sale. They were nominated two years ago, and I was sad to see not last year.

And two webcomics, Leftover Soup (from Tailsteak, the author of the awesome 1/0, ooh, maybe I should submit that instead), and YAFGC (Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, like Oglaf, very not safe for work, but sort of in a surprisingly wholesome way).

Did other people manage to nominate things?

I am also basking in the disconcertingly competent assumption that, I expect to be able to, just get a story done, without a whole lot of putting it off. I'm not at all used to signing up to something with a deadline and not assuming I'll panic but it's worth it!

I looked at my notes from last year for "what might I be interested in nominating next year". It was mostly the same sorts of things. Although one was, "Steven Universe, if it doesn't exceed the limit of number of works", I guess that must have happened now :) Although I find it really hard to predict. I went to look up Vorkosigan, the universe I was surprised was still eligible when I wrote for it two years ago, and it looks like there's more than a 1000 fics on ao3 from before that, am I misremembering how eligibility/search works?

Reading Wednesday

Sep. 13th, 2017 09:21 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
So, it has been nearly 5 months since I last did one of these.  This is necessarily incomplete because I didn't keep notes, and also because where I did keep notes (e.g. Daily Science Fiction stories), I have way too many to post all at once, so I'll dribble them out over the next weeks.

What I've read: poetry
I Speed Toward The Moon by Constance Hanstedt
At The Forestry Institute, Hanoi by Pepper Trail
Father Son Haiku by Kelvin River
Fallers by Alex Harper

What I've read: short stories
The Family Ghost by Jamie Lackey
Vervain, Grasshopper, Sun by Marissa Lingen
The Thing About Heisenball by Stewart C. Baker
Last Long Night by Lina Rather

While we were in Helsinki I noticed that Lois McMaster Bujold had another Penric novella out - and that it was in the middle of the existing novellas so she'd renumbered the series.  I enjoyed it very much, both for the plot in itself and for the additional worldbuilding about the shamanic and sorcerous magic systems. Then I reread my way through the entire series:
Penric's Demon
Penric and the Shaman
Penric's Fox
Penric's Mission
Mira's Last Dance


What I've read: long fiction
Bookburners: Season 1 by Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty and Brian Francis Slattery.  If I'd read this as it was published weekly at Serial Box, I'd probably have listed each episode up in the short-fiction section.  Instead I read one collected ebook with all 16 episodes. A New York police officer ends up getting drawn into a secret society of magical book collectors operating out of the Vatican, and joins the team in hopes of helping her brother.  The overall arc plot gets resolved satisfyingly while leaving an opening for more, and I note that Series 3 is currently unfolding on Serial Box.

I finally read A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and found it pleasant enough but less amazing than some of the hype had led me to believe. It's a good found-family series of minor adventures (in fact, in that sense it reminds me quite a bit of Bookburners) and I'm glad I've read it and will happily read more by Becky Chambers.  But it didn't grab me in the way that e.g. Ancillary Justice or All Systems Red did.

Bewitching Benedict by C.E. Murphy came out last week. It's a historical-romance comedy of manners, which I really enjoyed, especially the grand farcical climax. I am hoping it does well so that the author feels like writing the books to pair off the rest of the eligible bachelors she's introduced here.

Listen to the Moon by Rose Lerner is another in her Lively St Lemeston series, this time focusing on a valet and a housemaid who have lost their jobs due to events in the previous books.  There's a good job for both of them in the local rectory, but the vicar insists he only wants a married couple in post. Luckily they fancy each other like mad; it takes them a bit longer to figure out how to solve some trickier conflicts.

What I'm reading next
Well, now my degree is done, anything I like!  Ahahaha. 

A Taste of Honey by Rose Lerner just came out and is waiting on my kindle, which is what prompted me to read Listen to the Moon first. From my long-neglected physical to-read pile, I've pulled out The Scientist in the Crib by Alison Gopnik and The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. 

And DONE

Sep. 11th, 2017 07:22 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
I took my exam this afternoon, and unless I completely failed to understand the requirements, I should have passed comfortably.  So now it's all over bar the marking and formal graduation. 

Apart from the specific course content, I have learned:
  • I love to learn new things when I actually sit down and do so
  • I default to deadline-driven when it comes to other people's deadlines
  • but I can manage to do 'a little bit most days' and I'm happier when I manage that
  • blocking out specific times to get a little bit done most days works a bit more than 50% of the time
  • given the choice between producing 'good-enough' and 'truly excellent' work with 25% more effort ... I will do good-enough work and spend the 25% extra on something else
I have ceremonially deleted my recurring daily 'study' reminder.

Now for all the things I have been neglecting for the last few years, especially this last year ...

Fitbit goal check

Sep. 10th, 2017 10:54 pm
highlyeccentric: A photo of myself, around 3, "reading" a Miffy book (Read Miffy!)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Currently Reading: Mary Webb, Gone to Earth; Griffith Review, Millenials Strike Back; Cassandra A Good, Founding Friendships; Cathryne M Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making; and... more things. Too many things.

Recently finished: reviews still playing catch-up.

The GruffaloThe Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Re-read: small babysitting friend has this in his storybook collection now. Still a great read.

Meanjin Winter 2017 (Vol. 76, Issue 2)Meanjin Winter 2017 by Jonathan Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This issue was a mixed experience. I really enjoyed Margaret Simmons' essay on the future(s) of the ABC. Katherine Murphy's piece on work/life balance or lack thereof in politics was likewise great. Charlotte Adderley's memoir piece Ethanol, Eschar was beautifully written. Fiction-wise, AS Patric's Avulsion was creepy-fascinating. Both of Shastra Deo's poetry contributions were striking, but What Followed most of all.

On the other hand, I found Shannon Burns' In Defence of the Bad White Working Class infuriating. I have liked Burns' class-based criticism before, but this one seemed blinkered. He acknowledges that the suburbs he grew up in were never free of crime, but gives the white residents a free pass for feeling more hostile to asian gangs than white ones. That's called RACISM, folks. Also, we know this: we know that demographic change causes stress, we know that economically struggling groups have less access to positive integration experiences than the middle class, we KNOW that part of the solution lies in government and local government resources being poured in to lift *all* residents of an area. NONE OF THIS IS NEW NEWS.

The Science Of Discworld II: The GlobeThe Science Of Discworld II: The Globe by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Oh, a confusing reading experience, this one. On the one hand, I had not realised just how MUCH of my mental framework for thinking about, well, the build-a-human-kit is drawn from, or crystalised in, this book. I read it in late high school, and re-read it a few times during undergrad, and while I can express the concepts about the role and use of stories in much fancier lit-wank language now... here it is.

On the other hand, now I have degrees in premodern history and I want to set their rigid 'no science before newton' framework on FIRE. Oh my glod. Roger Bacon would like to talk to you, you fuckers. I could almost roll with it, except that I know a lot more about science now than I used to (thanks, Trojie), and their definition of science as experiment-driven rather than data-analysis also rules out MOST OF THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES. These authors are totally the kind of physics stans who refer to natural history as 'stamp-collecting'. Nope nope nope so much nope.

The Abyss Surrounds Us (The Abyss Surrounds Us, #1)The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


THIS WAS A GOOD. I mean. Captor/Captive scenario where they have a sensible conversation about power imbalances? Sign me the fuck up.

My major problem with this is that the protag's age was given as 17, and she just... isn't. There's a throwaway mention of schooling, but it felt wedged in. Everything else about her character felt post-high-school, maybe around 20: old enough to be in apprenticeship for her career, young enough to be bloody stupid. It felt like her age was lampshaded at 17 to make the books eligible as YA, rather than either a solid part of her characterisation or a book really written to that genre.

I also can't tell for the life of me if they're living on the planet we know, in a post-apocalyptic future, or if they're living on a terraformed replica of it.

In Other LandsIn Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


THIS WAS A RIOT. I loved 'Turn of the Story' and this is that, sewn together with 'Wings in the Morning' (the latter POV-flipped to fit TotS).

As a story: holy shit yes cannot recommend enough. I shrieked with laughter all the way through.

As a work, though? I am disappointed in the editing. There were typos still evident that had been in the online version of TotS. The join between TotS and WitM isn't as smooth as it should be. There are occasional POV hitches, where something should've been written out when flipped to Elliot's POV but hasn't been.

I loved this book very much, but I think the publisher did a lazy job on it - bought the rights to something already popular, and did a rush job on editing it because all its components were already well-loved.


I also re-read Spectred Isle on the plane to Chicago; given I only read it for the first time in late June, it doesn't get a second review/commentary.

Finished, yet to review: Interpreter of Maladies; Courting the Countess; Brothers and Sisters in Medieval European Literature; Spindle's End; Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics; Madhur Jaffery's Vegetarian India; The Course of Honour.

Up Next: Oh my. My to-read is overflowing, it's ridiculous. I need to finish some of the currently-readings. I have a book on bisexual geography on interlibrary loan. Who knows?




Music notes: there was a stretch of not buying anything new, because I've now set up a bribery system wherein I have a habit chart and I only get to buy music if I meet a target number of squares on the chart per week. So late August, after getting back from Chicago, was musically 'listen to stuff you already have', because it was also, habit-observance-wise, a washout.

But I ticked off 30 this week and consequently bought myself the EP 'Ameska' by the Taalbi brothers (best known, apparently, for a song in the Breaking Bad finale). The French competitor at the JGP Salzburg, Julie Froetscher, skated to the lead track, Ameska, in her short program, and I fell in love with it. I'm also really enjoying 'Tafat', which has a great percussion track.

I'm accumulating a list of 'figure skating routine music i like' and an awful lot of it is tango and flamenco. If i end up with a whole new musical generic interest I will blame the ISU. I already blame Shoma Uno for the fact I own an album of tango music played on accordion, of all things.
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