Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 01:10 pm

Gorgeous, sunny day today.

I really donwanna be at work.
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Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 11:00 am
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 04:00 pm


Jocelyn: I feel like Heroes is the equivalent of someone making you a full fourteen course meal and then putting the pot holder on a hot element on the stove and everything immediately setting on fire.  

Diana: And they’re like, it was gonna be delicious, I swear!

Jocelyn: Yes, because I was even reading that on Heroes rather than having writers do a full episode each they divided the writing up by character.

Kat: Which is an awful way to write a show. Don’t do that.

Jocelyn: It’s so awful. No wonder the show can feel so disjointed and all over the place.

Jon: My theory on Heroes, at least as it applies to probably season 3, is it feels like every episode is written by someone who hates the person who wrote the previous episode and just wants to undo all of their work.

Kat: It’s like the writers are doing an improv set and they’re “no and-ing”.

Jon: Every writer just says “no you’re not” to everything everyone says! Like a character will get superpowers as the ending of an episode and then get killed in the first scene of the next episode. None of it ever went anywhere and it’s the worst.

- The Hosts of I Hate It But I Love It on the Problems With Heroes

Listen to more episodes here or on iTunes.

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 10:37 pm
It's been so hot and my hair's so thick that I shaved most of it off this evening.
A selfie where I try to show off that the sides of my head are shaved. My dark hair is longer on the top and combed off to one side.
Feels much better now. But no doubt this means the heatwave is over. You're welcome.

It's the longest day of the year in this hemisphere, a bittersweet occasion for me because I'm sad to think the days are getting shorter now already. It feels like I haven't had a chance to get used to or appreciate them yet. It's been a real catastrophe curve of a year, so time passes without me noticing it.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 07:55 pm
Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock, which is a modern reworking of the Scottish ballad 'Tam Lin' as a suburban English adolescence, is one of my favourite books ever, so ever since someone mentioned Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, a reworking of the same ballad as the student experience at a Midwestern US liberal arts college, I've wanted to read it, and I finally got to the point where I wanted to read it enough that I actually ordered a copy a couple of months ago. (It isn't published in the UK, so there's no ebook version available, and I do tend to give more thought to purchases of paper books than ebooks.)

Dean's retelling covers three years and a couple of months of Janet Carter's life as a student at Blackstock College, pursuing a liberal arts degree with a major in English literature, building friendships, learning how to get along with a wide range of people and exploring romantic relationships, and at the same time investigating a book-throwing ghost and trying to work out why it is that everyone in the Classics department seems rather strange. Translating the plot of a ballad into a 450-page book leaves a lot of space around the plot for Dean to paint a picture of the college atmosphere, the pressures of studying and the delights and unreality of spending four years isolated from the world, surrounded by learning and other people who want to learn and share your interests. I found the liberal-arts college background familiar enough to make me rather nostalgic for my own student days, but different enough to be fascinating, and I liked the characters and their interactions a lot. I particularly enjoyed the way the friendship between Janet and her two roommates develops, from a very prickly relationship at the start (they have very little in common) to a real friendship and mutual support network, and the way that the college environment masks the very real peculiarities of some of the Classics students.

For me, this felt like the book I wanted Jo Walton's Among Others to be; a literate and literary study of growing up bookish, with a liminal fantastic element. Among Others simply didn't do it for me, but this did, and while I will never love it as much as Fire and Hemlock (which, interestingly, is also a very literary book - I read a lot of things for the first time because they were mentioned in it) I did like it a great deal.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 08:34 pm
Reading: Still Crime and Punishment which should be no surprise. However I had anticipated being further in than Chapter 5 by this point.

Listening: Stuff you Missed in History Class on William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman. So far he's invented a lie detector and is investigating women's emotional responses to bondage - suddenly Wonder Woman's lasso takes on a whole new dimension. He appears to have been both a feminist of sorts* and a polygamist. The former of which is, I gather, very evident in the early Wonder Woman comics (particularly his belief that the world would be a better place if run by women) the latter somewhat less so.

Watching: We have discovered Stanger Things. Very reminiscent of E.T. (it opens with a D&D game, is set in the 1980s and much of it is short from a child height viewpoint (a characteristic of E.T. according to B.))

*neither of his partners got suitable credit for their, in some cases considerable, input into his work.
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 03:35 pm
I think the argument boils down to two things: what you earn, and what you picture in your head as a rich person's lifestyle.

£70,000 is in the 95th percentile for personal income. This means that if you earn £70,000 you earn more than 94% (or thereabouts) of people. If you're earning more than 94% of your fellow countrymen, you ought to be rich, right? Like, if you're better off than the vast, vast majority of people, you should feel well off, or else how must the poor buggers on less than you feel?

The problem is, of course, that £70,000 doesn't actually buy that much these days. Like, it won't get you a mortgage on a decent house anywhere in the home counties. It won't buy you a new car and a couple of holidays every year after housing costs. It won't pay school fees for your little ones to go to private school once you've paid for housing costs either. £70,000 a year doesn't feel rich; and that's what the problem is.

If you look at the lifestyles our parents had, well, this is what my parents did in the 80s:
  • owned a home
  • bought a new car every two years
  • didn't go on foreign holidays but DID send me to private school
  • were in the pub three nights a week
etc., etc.

Now, I'm not saying they didn't work for that: they did. My dad had two full time jobs (mild mannered biology teacher by day, superchef by night) and my mum worked 9-5 too. They worked bloody hard. But the same amount of work in the same jobs these days would get you, if you were lucky:
  • a rented house that is one of three poky little Barratt boxes built in the back garden of the kind of house your parents owned
  • a second hand banger that you run till it dies, or a bus/rail pass
  • a cheap holiday for now, but only until brexit happens and then we have to pay visa fees and the exchange rate is knackered and oh look we can only afford Butlins
  • Pre-loading because the pubs are so bloody expensive, thank you alcohol duty escalator
Now most of the people I see arguing about this are either saying "£70k is mega rich, you're in the 95th percentile FFS" or "£70k is not that rich when you consider what you can buy" but not many are following both thoughts through.

How bloody scandalous is it that even if you're in the 95th percentile you are still struggling, and you are well worse off than your parents would have been on an equivalent income adjusted for inflation etc.? If 95% of the country is not getting a good enough income, that's a bloody disgrace and somebody ought to do something about it.

Anybody know any politicians?
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 02:45 pm
The relevant part (and the reason why I am posting this) will also be made bigger and bolder for those hard of thinking people. I thought I'd post the whole thing again though, just because it's periodically useful to do so.

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Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 11:00 am
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 10:16 am
... especially to all those of us who fear the filthy day star and can now look forward to inexorably encroaching cool soft darkness for the next 6 whole months :)
Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 09:23 pm


textsfromsuperheroes:

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Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 10:39 pm

I won't be in Finland for Worldcon, but I *will* be in Jackson, WY for the 2017 solar eclipse. If you look at the eclipse map for Wyoming, you'll see that Jackson is smack in the path for totality.

This is going to be very cool!
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Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 08:09 pm
While I was in Texas an old friend and his wife took me out for the day including a trip around Texas' Capitol





Piccies Under the Cut )
Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 10:03 am

I like the "On This Day" feature over on Facebook. It's kind of a near way to go back and look at what I was doing a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, or more.

8 years ago, I was up in New England for Conterpoint, that year's Permanent Floating Northeast Filk Convention. In 2012 I'd just come back from England. I was there for a friend's wedding and it was lovely! In 2014, I was also in England (not surprising, because I was living there at the time) and I was regretting the last pint the night before.

A year after that, in 2015, I'd just arrived in Stockholm for several days holiday before going of to Åland for Archipelacon. It was a great trip. really relaxing. Stockholm, Mariehamn, Turku, Helsinki. Had a lot of fun on that trip, both alone and with other people.

Some day I'll get back there.