And I'm not working tomorrow. And tomorrow seems as though it will be a lovely day. Y and Mr. Kid are going to run errands in the morning, which should give me a few hours to do my own thing, which is always appreciated. And then Mr. Kid is having a buddy over for a sleepover, which, w00t.
Also there is a fuzzy cat beside me. And the fire is glowing. And these are happy things.
Grim Fandango is a game that's about movies, specifically old-fashioned, hard-boiled noir films, but one thing I appreciate about it is for all that it evokes the tropes (the dim, slatted lighting, the smoking, the femme fatales), it refuses to rest on them, and instead crafts something smarter than that.
Okay, to give some context, Grim Fandango is an adventure game that first came out in 1998, recently re-released. It's also about death, because you kind of play a (Latino!) grim reaper and all the action takes place in the Land of the Dead. It's been hailed as a classic, the best of its genre, for decades now, and it's been super difficult to get hold of until now.
I've played it through once, and now I'm playing it through again to listen to the developer commentary and just soaking in the zippy dialogue and odd locations.
It captures something, I think, a weird mix between a cartoonish, kid-friendly(ish) world and a real adult sense of loss and regret. The heart of a good noir story is about good people trying to survive in an unfair world, and the game knows it and works it for all it's got.
The entire second act is a tribute to Casablanca so vivid that I immediately wanted to rewatch the movie as soon as I got there.
But it's not just the aesthetics, the little nods to classic film (the musical cue when any sort of bird shows up is pretty much a direct nod to The Birds). Due to the technical limitations of the time, the video game camera remains fixed, static, as your character weaves its way to and fro across the frame, and it completely changes your interaction with the character when there isn't a camera floating over their shoulder every time they turn around. There's also the placement of the camera in each area, which feels deliberate, cinematic. It'd be one thing if it was always placed horizontal to the floor, 5 feet off the ground, but it's not. It pulls out and up when moving into a larger space. It pulls in tight when you need to focus on the details. This can be both disorienting and really effective.
The puzzles of the game? Eh. Not my thing. I mostly forced my way through with a walkthrough. It would be easy to say that this means the game would be better off as an actual movie, but I don't buy that argument. Games are about exploring and interacting with a virtual space, and Grim Fandango is just so jam-packed with odd, interesting characters and weird, fun locations that it's always a pleasure to find someone you can talk to for a period of time.
In many ways, the game both shows its age and demonstrates its timelessness. There's just not a whole lot of people around, and the areas can feel rather small and sparse compared to modern video game environments. But the game knows how to use what it has, and make it work. The voice acting is really powerful. The writing is both funny and effective. I'm still trying to unpack everything the game is trying to say, about death and about life and about making amends for the mistakes of your past and the passing of time. I'm trying to figure out if it's actually what the game is saying or if it's just stealing those themes from better movies.
Anyway, here's Long Live Grim Fandango, which is a great article about the game and about the eventual remaster of it.
The only surprising thing about any of these articles is that they exist.
I imagine the tech writers are also weeping in a corner, or maybe getting drunk with the science writers. After all, a tech writer's job is to get excited about whizzy new gadgets, while elsewhere in the self-same newspaper that pays their wages, feature writers are wagging their fingers and sourly suggesting we all go back to semaphore and parchment to keep our synapses pure.
I buy the paper fairly often, but only for the crosswords.
ETA: In less grumpy news, I've swum 110 lengths this week, my fic is over 12,000 words, and I rented The Boxtrolls on DVD to show the boy. *beams*
But in grumpy news, I have a blister on the sole of my foot.
But in non-grumpy news, life is pretty good. \o/
Comment here if you want to play, and I will give you 3-6 couples or characters that I associate with you, and you make an entry in your journal talking about those couples/characters and fics that you wish the universe would write for you.
lilliburlero gave me the following prompts...
I like to think I'm a slightly restrained OTPer. Maybe I am? So on the one hand I can 100% get behind Hilary being a shallow surgeon with an early mid-life crisis and would read the hell out of an inevitable crash in a few years when Julian realises that Hilary does not *actually* recognise their Deep Spiritual Bond but was instead one of those terrible women who only wants him for his looks. Woe.
But really I ship it completely un-ironically. I want them to remain disgustingly and inexplicably in love, the sort of middle-aged couple who embarrass their teenage child, and no one else can quite understand what keeps them together because they apparently have so little in common. Also hair stroking.
On the other hand that doesn't seem a very inventive thing to ask the universe for; on the other hand I *do* want fic with wry/cynical/disdainful comments on the pairing from other parties, throwing total cold water on the Deep Spiritual Bond. Maybe this is the ideal way of squaring the circle.
There are a lot of pairings that I ship in a sort of unbalanced way. Most of them, really. (I care much more about Hilary than Julian, Scully than Mulder, etc.) But with Hilda/Elsa it's even more unbalanced. I'm 95% there for Hilda but this is mostly because Elsa, in canon, has only three identifiable personality traits: being Austrian, being very fond of food, and being a soprano. (That's a personality trait, right?)
They are nonetheless the most compelling butch lesbian composeress/dippy soprano muse pairing that you could hope to find in a 1950s British radio play. In fic I could be content for Elsa to appear, sing, bow and disappear offstage. Ideally she would develop more of a personality, which I tried to do in my own fic. (Probably the only fic where I would actually write an author's note saying "intentionally OOC," though I did end up forgetting to put it in.)
Elsa is also a great vehicle to satirise the whole phenomenon of artists' muses. More specifically, Hilda is obviously (in part) Benjamin Britten, so bring on the Britten/Pears inspiration! And all the mid-century butch/femme queer culture you can dredge up.
In short am in favour. Please.
I just want fic where Andrew is a complex person with a complicated religious faith that develops as he grows up. I want fic where he does not forever remain the nineteen-year-old who scrubbed floors in an EMS hospital. I could do with fic where he ends up with someone other than Laurie. But I'll settle for him not dying a virgin, OK?
Danny : CJ, I'm not staying in the penalty box forever. I have covered the White House for
eight years and I've done it with the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time
Magazine, and the Dallas Morning News! And I'm telling you you can't mess me around like
CJ : Danny, I just gotta tell you, that was - seriously - that was a turn-on when you said
that, though I don't know why you decided to be your most haughty on the Dallas Morning
News in that sentence.
...Yeah, that's me and Brubaker in this post. I REALLY LOVED BRUBAKER YOU GUYS. IT'S OKAY IF YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF IT. I DON'T CARE. IT WAS GREAT.
( I'm watching a lot of Robert Redford movies because reasons. )
( The last three I watched: Three Days of the Condor, All the President's Men, and BRUBAKER. )
Also I've decided, now that I'm down to seven movies on my Robert Redford list, that I should do a Meryl Streep project next. (I realized I've only seen a few of her movies despite her being, you know, Meryl Streep, and then realized that the total is, at most, five, and that's counting my quite vague memories of having seen Defending Your Life and Death Becomes Her sometime in the mid-90s. And the other three movies are Mamma Mia, Julie and Julia, and Into the Woods, soooooo. I have some catching up to do!
In fact this clip from Frasier (apparently s09e07) pretty much sums up my feelings about trying to pick out tiles.
Niles: What color is the new carpet?
Frasier: I'm going up a shade to Harvest Wheat.
Niles: I thought the next shade up was Buff?
Frasier: It used to be, but they've discovered a whole new color in between.
Niles: So now it's Tofu, Putty, Oatmeal ...
Both: ... Almond, Harvest Wheat ...
Frasier: ... and Buff.
Niles: That's going to be hard to get used to.
He's exhausted and in pain from the journey but so very very happy to be home.
They took one of the drains out at 1:00 and it stopped seeping pretty quickly. The other drain they didn't take out until 4:00 and that one is still seeping quite a bit. Hopefully it will stop by tomorrow or I might have to call them. (It's just clear fluid, not blood.)
Now it's just a matter of him not doing too much too soon... (not hopeful about that one - *sigh*).
Thanks again for all of your good wishes!!
A team of 21st-century explorers working for the Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler (HEK) project, based at Harvard University, are searching for exomoons using data from NASA’s Kepler mission and the Pleiades supercomputer at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center.
The discovery of exomoons—moons situated beyond our own solar system—would add to the growing list of celestial objects detected by the Kepler telescope that could potentially harbor life in some form.
In the quest to find the first exomoon, HEK astronomers led by David Kipping at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have devised a unique, systematic computational approach that requires 5.2 million processor hours on Pleiades. Using their in-house LUNA light curve modeling algorithm and a massively parallel sampling algorithm called MultiNest, the project team simulates billions of possible star-planet-moon configurations and compares the results to the actual Kepler data to look for a good match. So far, the team has surveyed 56 of about 400 identified Kepler planet candidates that could have a detectable exomoon.
Surveying the remaining 340 planet candidates would require about 50,000 hours of processing time per object and would take nearly a decade to complete on smaller computers. Utilizing NASA’s powerful Pleiades system—which performs over 3 quadrillion calculations per second—will speed up this computationally expensive process, reducing the processing time to 30,000 hours per object. Over the next two years, the team will survey the remaining candidates for exomoons by performing photo-dynamical analysis of the public data from Kepler, consuming about 10 million processor hours on Pleiades. Their results will be used to determine the occurrence rate of Earth-like moons.
For more information about the HEK Project, visit: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/HEK/index.ht
For more information about NASA’s Kepler Mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/keple
I keep having to remind myself that Australia didn't have Prohibition. And it makes me realize how, as an American, 20s costumes are inextricably linked in my mind with concealed flasks, speakeasies, and jokes about bathtub gin.
1) Wet down the area with COLD water. (Always, always use cold water.)
2) Pour enough salt on the stain to make a thick paste. Scrub the paste into the stain with the tips of your fingers. Set aside.
3) Fill the sink/an appropriately sized tub with cold water. Pour in salt until the water hits saturation point. Hang the item so the stained part is dangling into the water.
4) After 3-4 hours, drain the sink/tub/etc and rinse the fabric, scrubbing it against itself or with the tips of your fingers. If the stain isn't entirely gone, you can usually get the rest of it with a mild soap and some scrubbing.
(This method gets the edges of the bloodstain, not just the center of the bloodstain: the salt denatures the proteins.)
We got as far as the driveable road went, a gravel parking lot on the edge of a field full of wildflowers, and as we got out a yellow bird with ornate plumage flew in and gave us each a kiss of welcome; I had a camera up to my face because I was trying to photograph everything, so the first kiss landed on the lens, but when I lowered the camera I got another on my forehead.
We walked the rest of the way to our (remote) cabin, and there was a stretch where -- through some escheresque arrangement -- we were high enough on the peak that we were in definite snow zone, but the ocean was high enough that it could wash up overlapping the path; not big splashy waves, but the sort of crawling shallow in-and-out that you get on beaches at the very edge of the waterline. And the residue of water that got left behind with each retreat froze to ice, even though the moving water never did.
The whole setting was just ... very peaceful; everything was beautiful, and despite the whole snow and ice thing it wasn't cold at all. And I didn't hurt at all, or feel tired, and just felt like I could go on walking forever.
Meanwhile, Boss2, who isn't even here today, is being a pain in the ass. No, Boss2, I can't order your lunches on Monday, BECAUSE I WILL BE ON A BOAT. So I sent the menu to the person designated to do the ordering on Monday, and she's like, "We can't order from here, there's no turkey sandwich like Boss2 wants." IT'S A DELI. I'M PRETTY SURE THEY CAN SLAP SOME TURKEY ON SOME BREAD WITH SOME MUSTARD. (The first item on the menu is a turkey club! IJS)
Man, I will be so happy to be away for a while. Because people! How do you even function in the world like this?
In other news, I can only imagine that if Joe Manganiello is cast as Deathstroke, the incidence of Deathstroke/Nightwing will suddenly increase (especially if you imagine Matt Bomer as Nightwing). I don't ship it (I didn't ship Slade/Oliver either), but I can see why some people would (in both cases).
(I am not even capable of contemplating Jared Leto as the Joker. I don't even know, guys. I don't even know.)
Speaking of the DCU, Joan Watson is totally Batman, right? I had such a strong feeling she was going to say something like, "Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot!" in last night's episode, while she was all dressed up at that fundraiser.
( spoilers )
Lastly, unfitforsociety has been updated for January 2015 with 21 recs in 4 fandoms:
* 17 Avengers
* 2 Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
* 1 Legend of Korra and 1 Pacific Rim
I may post from sunny Florida tomorrow, via my iPad, but if not, arrivederci miei amici, and I'll see you on the other side. Try not to blow up the internet while I'm gone.
It's that time again! VidUKon 2015 registration is OPEN and will be running from the 12 - 14th June 2015, in Cardiff! We will, once again, be running a virtual convention for those unable to attend.
Details on the hotel, accessibility, current programming plans and other options are available HERE.
We hope to see you there either in person or at VirtUKon!
- GamaSutra presented a roundup of videogame criticism "on topics ranging from the 'ludocentrism' of games discourse to a different take on Eric Zimmerman's 'Ludic Century.'" The roundup of videogame blogging included a look at German gaming blogs, and a blog post by Maggie Greene that compares "Tales of Xillia to Chinese literary traditions. Specifically, she looks at multiple endings and the effort to capture both tragic compromise and fairy tale and fan-fiction happiness ever-after."
- Hoodline wrote about a bookstore's book fanfiction with local authors. "We pick a book every month, either one that we just love and is classic, or is just in the zeitgeist for whatever reason, and we assign each writer a character—they don’t get to pick. And then they write 800-1200 words of fan fiction about that character, or heavily featuring them or centered around them. They can do anything they want. Whoever wins gets to come back. The structure of the show is that there are six readers total, and they’re all read by our 'thespian in residence,'...and the audience gets to vote."
- At The Guardian, Katie Welsh posted about the best vlog reinventions of classic books. "[F]resh-faced teens and twentysomethings aren’t only vlogging about their own lives; they’re dressing up as fictional characters and telling modern reworkings of familiar stories into their webcams as YouTube adaptations of classic novels go viral. The teams behind them may be professional actors or simply fans of the books, and the quality of both scripts and production can vary, but at their best they could give the BBC a run for its money."
- The Otago Daily Times published a piece on cosplaying runners at Disney. "'I love the atmosphere,' said Lauren Harrell, 27, after she finished the November super heroes race in a hand-painted T-shirt and foam headpiece as Groot, the human-like tree in Disney's Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy. 'People are cheering you every step of the way. And nobody judges you for dressing in costume,' said Harrell, who had a speaker attached to her waist so she could dance and sing to the Guardians soundtrack." Other half marathons include Disney Princess or Tinker Bell themes.
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- At 90, She’s Designing Tech for Aging Boomers | All Tech Considered (January 19): “In Silicon Valley’s youth-obsessed culture, 40-year-olds get plastic surgery to fit in. But IDEO, the firm that famously developed the first mouse for Apple, has a 90-year-old designer on staff.”
- One Week of Harassment on Twitter | Feminist Frequency (January 27): [CW: harassment, misogyny, rape and death threats] “Ever since I began my Tropes vs Women in Video Games project, two and a half years ago, I’ve been harassed on a daily basis by irate gamers angry at my critiques of sexism in video games. It can sometimes be difficult to effectively communicate just how bad this sustained intimidation campaign really is. So I’ve taken the liberty of collecting a week’s worth of hateful messages sent to me on Twitter.”
- Reasons you were not promoted that are totally unrelated to gender | McSweeneys (January 27): [Humor] “You’re abrasive, for example that time when you asked for a raise. It was awkward and you made the men on the senior leadership team uncomfortable.”
- 7 Tips for Women at Science Conferences | Absolutely Maybe (January 18): “Make it easy for the people who want to know who you are: they shouldn’t have to drum up the nerve or time to track you down and ask. It’s not only polite, it’s in all our interests for women not to model self-effacement to other women. And notice how people cross-reference others too. When you’ve got the mic, you can use it to draw attention to others who don’t get enough of it. Breaking down the GOBSAT status quo (“good ol’ boys sitting around a table”) needs to happen at every level that creates those networks in the first place.”
- Tech’s High Barrier to Entry for the Underprivileged | Medium (January 25): “As a community, we need to make it less difficult for those from underprivileged backgrounds.”
- Lessons from a Night Playing Hearts with the Notable Women in Computing Playing Card Deck | Kickstarter (January 25): “The experience was clearly uncomfortable and confusing for the 3 guy friends at my party. They complained. Though they are good guys, as those are the only kind I feed my special mulled cider to, I do not think they had ever thought about how 71% of all face-cards are men in regular decks, or that Kings always beat Queens. I don’t think they have a lot of experience being out of power or outnumbered and I would not wish it to be a regular occurrence for them. It is not fun.”
- Gender Bias in Academe: An Annotated Bibliography of Important Recent Studies | HASTAC (January 26): “The often unconscious and unintentional biases against women, including in academe, have been well documented in the autobiographical writings of authors such as Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Patricia Williams, and bell hooks. But is the experience they document merely “subjective”? Several recent social science research studies, using strictly controlled methodologies, suggest that these first-person accounts of discrimination are representative, not simply anecdotal.”
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Thanks to everyone who suggested links.
Arp 230 is a galaxy of an uncommon or peculiar shape, and is therefore part of the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies produced by Halton Arp. Its irregular shape is thought to be the result of a violent collision with another galaxy sometime in the past. The collision could also be held responsible for the formation of the galaxy’s polar ring.
The outer ring surrounding the galaxy consists of gas and stars and rotates over the poles of the galaxy. It is thought that the orbit of the smaller of the two galaxies that created Arp 230 was perpendicular to the disk of the second, larger galaxy when they collided. In the process of merging the smaller galaxy would have been ripped apart and may have formed the polar ring structure astronomers can observe today.
Arp 230 is quite small for a lenticular galaxy, so the two original galaxies forming it must both have been smaller than the Milky Way. A lenticular galaxy is a galaxy with a prominent central bulge and a disk, but no clear spiral arms. They are classified as intermediate between an elliptical galaxy and a spiral galaxy.
European Space Agency
Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Flickr user Det58
4 Minute Window by Speranza
Bucky wants to take Steve away from his unhappiness. Natasha isn't sure about that. (I didn't really buy Natasha's behavior at the beginning, though.)
cross this river to the other side by defcontwo
Nicely done story about Steve recovering some letters from the Howling Commandos and using them to help Bucky get acquitted of the Winter Soldier's crimes.
A Day Without Rain (Or, How Bucky Barnes Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Mud Mask) by hitlikehammers
Bucky has a weekly spa date. This is adorable.
deep in this anatomy, buried by alcibiades
Long, thoughtful story of Bucky learning to live in the world again, and remembering how to be a person when Steve's not around. I especially like his friendship with Pepper in this.
The Health Benefits of Knitting by Niobium
Natasha takes up knitting and gifts the team with her work. None of them can say no. Hee!
holy city by tremontaine
Two stories (so far?) of super hot Steve/Bucky/Natasha.
The Most Adequate Christmas Ever by igrockspock
Tony gives Pepper the most adequate Christmas ever. This really gets at why they work as a couple. <3
Moving Down the Line by manipulant
Lovely story of Steve and Bucky's friendship throughout the years.
nothing goes over his head by fmo
In which Bucky gets knocked out briefly during a mission, wakes up fine, and then spends a day enduring strange hints, clandestine looks, and cryptic texts from his friends. Steve will never let him live this one down. Oh, ♥
an ocean so deep he will drown in his sleep by noharlembeat
"What do you think would have happened, if we hadn’t met?" Steve asked, once. Bucky doesn't like the answer to that question. oh my heart.
QuickPic by biblionerd07
Steve loses his phone and some private stuff gets made public. Aw, Steve. (note: some trouble punctuating dialogue.)
Reprise by domarzione
Peggy gets the news that SHIELD has found Steve. Oh my heart.
some frozen devotion by lanyon
Steve gets temporarily de-serumed. Bucky's the only one who knows how to deal with him.
There's a Better Way (For You and Me to Be) by askboo
Steve and Bucky come together slowly after Bucky gets his head together.
This, you protect by owlet
"The mission resets abruptly, from objective: kill to objective: protect." 50,000 words of Bucky transforming himself back into a person, with some help from Natasha, Jarvis, and the old people brigade. Oh my heart. This is SO GOOD. Highly recommended.
Your Lack of An Answer Is Kind of an Answer: Four Questions Natasha Asked Steve Rogers, And One Time Bucky Barnes Answered by Speranza
Natasha wants to know all about Steve's love life, including whatever it is he actually feels for Bucky.
You made a slow disaster out of me by lanyon
Bucky's a little upset that Steve is apparently sexting with Sam. Oh heart. This is fuzzy and adorable.
Icarus and the Sea by Unpretty
The story of Zhu Li and Varrick from their first meeting to their honeymoon. This does a great job with the voices (I laughed out loud a lot) and also with why Zhu Li would stay with him, and gets the emotional bits right too. Highly recommended.
Threnody by inlovewithnight
Mako and Stacker, before; Mako and Raleigh, after. Lovely.
And since I'm posting anyway, have a link to an awesome Canadian person who does actual illuminated manuscripts, now, with real techniques and materials.
Me: YES! ...oh, yeah, um.
I'm sorry. TV is making me cranky this month. I don't even know why, as it's not any worse than it usually is. I'm otherwise happy in my life, and things have been going really well elsewhere. For some reason I'm just unable to let the crappy bits of tv slide and let go enough to enjoy the good bits (Except when watching Sinbad, which is lovely), so everything is pissing me off, and thus your daily dose of cranky reviews from me. I'm sure that this too shall pass?
Femslash February in two days. I can't wait to get my bingo card.
I read a book that I liked!
Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer Hickam
Very similar to the film, for those who have seen it, though lacking the extra drama in the second act. Unsurprisingly, the book pulls most of its tension from Sonny's emotional state, not from external threats, which, when they pop up, are dealt with almost immediately. It worked in the book, and the prose is smooth and humorous. The author mentioned changing things around a bit for narrative flow, but it made a good enough story that it's difficult to mind.
All of the rocket building and explosions were fun, and I appreciated how clearly explained all the science was, but the core of the story is Sonny's family and life in a coal mining town just as coal is going bust. I loved the portrayal of Sonny's complicated relationship with his father, and the strength of his connection with is mother. I know there's a million coming of age stories featuring boys and difficult fathers, but the balance of being a competent and even heroic man and still kind of failing at human interaction really grabbed me here. I also liked that the labour politics were more nuanced than in the film.
It's very much a boys own adventure story, and while women aren't completely excluded or unimportant, you get a pretty strong idea that they were not going to get to build rockets any time soon. Nor were the black people down the way, given how heavily Sonny relied on his father's patronage and the town's support. Additionally, one has to wonder if the conversation regarding the ethics of hero-worshipping an ex-Nazi actually happened, or was added after the worst about Wernher von Braun came to light.
And my library list is down to manageable.
† Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, Translated by Julie Rose
Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in An Age of Anxiety by Ian McKay
The Treasure of the San José: Death at Sea in the War of the Spanish Succession by Carla Rahn Phillips
Inda by Sherwood Smith
Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal
† The Landmark Herodotus by Herodotus
The Last Wild Wolves: Ghosts of the Great Bear Rainforest by Ian McAllister
Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses by Sarah Gristwood (in transit)
‡ When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid (3 on 21 copies)
* Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente (2 on 2 copies)
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit (5 on 2 copies)
Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence by Karen Armstrong (7 on 10 copies)
The Back of the Turtle: A Novel by Thomas King (54 on 15 copies)
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay (21 on 2 copies)
What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe (43 on 3 copies)
† Probably mostly going to skim
‡ I don't know what's going on with this book. It came out, and they put it on order; it got nominated for a Governor General's Award (like the National Book, but Canadian) and it was on order, and I requested a copy; it WON the GG and it was on order; it got nominated for Canada Reads and they put more copies on order but hadn't yet gotten the first batch, and I still haven't gotten the book! It's baffling. I know it takes the library a while to purchase and process books so that members can borrow them, but this is a very high-profile book, and it's been out for MONTHS. Anyway, it's good for me in the long run, as I have (many) other things to read.
* Still on order.
Reader Lindsey H. sent me a copy of a book called Vaught’s Practical Character Reader, apparently published in 1902 and revised in 1907 by Emily H. Vaught. Also available on Amazon. The book can best be described as an application of the theory of physiognomy, which is the idea that you can tell all kinds of things about a “person’s character or personality from their outer appearance” (wikipedia). Some images from Vaught’s book:
The book is full of images in which the features stereotypically associated with Northern and Western Europeans, or the mythical Aryan race, are associated with sincerity, honestly, a work ethic, and every other positive character trait, whereas large and especially hooked noses and small, hooded, or almond-shaped eyes were indications of negative traits.
Here we learn that the broadness of a person’s face tells you whether they are vicious or harmless:
The text does not explain whether the implication is that all Native Americans are vicious and all Blacks are harmless, or if these are just examples and those races would have just as much variety as we see among Whites.
For those of you who are considering procuring yourself a wife, Vaught provides some tips on picking out a woman who will be a good mother (the same general head shape indicates a good father as well):
Avoid at all costs a man or woman with this head shape (notice the pointed nose, larger ears, and smaller eyes compared to the image above, in addition to the apparently super-important head protuberance):
Also, based on the illustrations, apparently men who wear bowties are good fathers but those who wear neckties should arouse your suspicion. There is also a section titled “How to Pick Out a Good Child,” which I intend to take with me next time I am child shopping.
The back page advertises other books available from Vaught’s press, including Human Nature Year Book from the Human Science School and the new Text Book on Phrenology, which addresses “Heads Faces Types Races.”
I have seen examples of physignomy and phrenology before, and images of their practitioners measuring people’s heads and facial features, but I have never before seen an entire book devoted to it. These pseudosciences were taken quite seriously at the time, with “experts” showing that Africans and African Americans, for instance, had facial features that proved them to be less civilized and intelligent than those of European descent and that Jews were inherently deceitful.
Thanks a ton for sending it in, Lindsey!
Originally posted in 2009.Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.
Someone who shall not be named told me she'd borrowed both a 12' and a 16' one, and would bring them both, since we didn't know what size the room was. The supposed 12' one was actually about 9' across, tiny, with wide pathways and exactly two turns in it. The supposed 16' one was *half of a 32' one* with velcro along one side -- and since it was a Chartres-pattern quarter-turn labyrinth, it made no sense at all to have half of it. It didn't fit into the room, either. So we had to go with the smaller one, which was inadequate. If I had known about this, I would have brought two rolls of masking tape and *made* one from scratch on the carpet; it's not hard to do and it would at least have been both accurate and the right size.
But it is now So Very Much Not My Problem At All, Thank You.
Posted on request from Liorah Golomb:
I am looking for a collaborator with computational linguistic skills for a project mining the dialogue of the U.S. television program Supernatural (CW Network, 2005-present). My goal is to demonstrate, through textual analysis, the originality of the dialogue, the breadth of words and phrases used by the writers, the way language is used to distinguish characters and reveal character traits, etc.The product of this project will be an article for publication in a peer-reviewed venue. Presentation at an appropriate conference is also a possibility.
A chapter that I’ve written about my exploration of this project thus far is forthcoming in Digital Humanities in the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, March 2015). That chapter documents my process of creating the corpora from fan-created transcripts, testing and selecting concordance tools, and examples of the type of results these efforts will produce. It also discusses the limitations of examining only the dialogue in a visual medium and my own limitations as a non-linguist.
My hope is that a partner with the skills I lack will be able to help me with linguistic concepts as well as determine (1) whether there is a way to codify non-verbal action and communication for analysis and (2) whether it would be useful to encode the text for analysis. Interest in or familiarity with Supernatural is a plus.
I am an academic librarian and Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma with a long history of publishing scholarly work. My CV can be found at ou.academia.edu/LiorahGolomb.
Please contact me to discuss this project further: firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: computational linguistics, digital humanities, fan studies, methodology, request, Supernatural, television, text mining
"$WORKNAME is fine, right?" Purple asked me. "For the paper?"
I reloaded the draft in the public folder of his server share and found my work-standardized legal name in the acknowledgements, tucked in with Mr. Bananas, his manager, lb, and a few other people. Yes, $WORKNAME is best because people can look me up by it. He got back online after getting home, and kept working on things.
It makes me quietly happy that I'm developing a few editing shorthand phrases that I can use with Purple. "Yoda" is one of them. Sometimes when he turns a sentence around, it turns out that he meant something entirely different than the first phrasing implied to me. Things like "it" and "this" sometimes have to get explicitly called, and sometimes, yep, different.
Azz: "Sounds good, Unit Test Jesus."
Purple: "I hope I don't find Unit Test Judas."
He got it submitted a comfortable hour-ish before deadline. By the end, I was able to say, "and it does not aesthetically offend me :)" He took that as the compliment it was meant as.
Azz: "unlike that combination of shirts :-P"
Purple: "that was the camel shirt with the fluorescent green shirt right?"
Purple: "Shame I don't have purple pants"
Azz: "... ... ... you fucking eyetroll <3"
I took a long time to get to sleep last night, so I didn't wake up in time for the presentation I wanted to go to. (Purple, for his part, decided that he was going to wake up slowly reading, and then got a fifteen-minute alarm chime for the presentation, so he dialed in because there is no way to physically make it from his place to work in 15 minutes, and in any event he had been in bed at this point.) Then I had to refuel Vash, so that took longer.
Today I remembered to bring the sack of sawed-off pool noodles to work. I debated bringing one with me to lunch for Purple, but instead brought one to the conference meeting for the chairs. I gave it to Researcher Polka-Dot, and told her that it was a sawed-off pool noodle, and useful for keeping order. She was delighted, and toted it with her for the next three hours of meetings.
It was a long day full of meetings. I am really going to have to see if D16 is unoccupied before the team meetings, because going directly from the committee meeting upstairs to the team meeting is really a pain as it is at the opposite end of the building from the elevator. Since my knees and stairs shouldn't even be in the same sentence, you can imagine how well this goes. (Also, I tend to need the bathroom every hour because I drink a ridiculous amount of water to keep everything else happy, especially in meeting rooms which are overheating, which introduces more time between meetings.)
So today was the off-week for the team meeting, but our (gulp) acting director tracked down one of the higher-ups steering one of the products the team does a lot of work with, and he introduced himself and had some things to say, and the team had questions.
I am not freshly up on all the latest testing methods and also jargon, but the guy said a thing about a testing strategy which I had never heard of before. I wrote it down, resolved to google it later, and asked what his thoughts/familiarity with unit testing was. He had no thoughts, being zero familiar. I hoped that we had not just met Unit Test Judas.
After all that, the (fairly substantial) committee set off for the location where we are to hold the (small) internal conference. Since we were leaving from the ass-end of the building, we went down the stairs. That was two stairs today. I am bad at stairs. Madam Standards looked for me and waited for me to catch up. She is beginning to doubt the concept that I just ~*appear*~ everywhere. I explained the usual method.
Shenanigans resulted in some running around where Madam Standards went off with the people who were going UP the STEPS, despite her plan to walk back with me because she'd forgot her badge. Then she went back but by that time I'd already gone up in the elevator, then we were headed back but she wanted to scope out the power outlets, and so we went back...
By the end of all that, I'd exceeded my steps by a few hundred. I complained to Purple a bit. He was ... "helpful".
Now that I was back at my desk, I shared the hope that this guy is not Unit Test Judas. We all googled the test thing that he had mentioned. Purple, who knows more about testing ideologies than I do, declared that it wasn't quite even a buzzword, as one of the major requirements for a buzzword is buzz. This testing ideology had about as many other supporters besides the clickbait bingo bandits who have their writeup paywalled off as there are other plaintiffs in Frank Chu's labor dispute against the 12 Galaxies.
Eventually it was time to go. This time, I was the holdup -- I'd decided to go ahead and book the conference room we were planning for the green room. It didn't say it was restricted in the calendar system, so I set up an appointment. Then I got the rejection message -- it was restricted after all. Drat it. So I would have to file two tickets: one to ask for the room, and one to ask that the room be named to reflect its status (in accordance with the standards).
I filed the ticket to book the room. In doing so, I discovered that there were two ranks of tickyboxes, none of which were relevant to my needs in booking, but both of which were required, with no 'n/a' selection. So I would have to file a third ticket about that. Then, upon submitting, I saw that the terrible green UI showed up blank, although the terrible blue and white UI showed the details. Fourth ticket.
Again, I was still swearing when Purple came to retrieve me. I thanked him for being supportive and listening while I wrestled with the fucking thing. We headed out by way of the kitchen -- I had grabbed some toast and hot chocolate earlier, and had a plate and cup to drop in the dishes -- but the kitchen floor was being actively washed. I left the plate on a nearby table, as this was the lesser inconvenience.
He didn't see my car at first. "Where did you park?" "Near you." We rounded whatever it was that was blocking the view, and he saw the little white sedan in the space right next to his car, and he mused that he had in fact been in to work a little later than he'd planned on, due to the presentation that morning.
We chatted for a while in the parking lot.
Purple: "And the guy was -- what's-his-name, British, in a lot of romcoms..."
Azz: "...Alan Rickman?"
Purple: *doubles over laughing* "You're certainly watching different things than I am!"
Azz, slightly defensively: "The only British [male] actors I know are: Alan Rickman, Bendydick Cummerbund, Sir Ian, Sir Patrick... Oh! And John Cleese! Eric Idle! Eric-the-half-a-Bee!"
Purple, howling with laughter: "ERIC THE HALF A BEE IS NOT A REAL ACTOR. HE'S A BEE. HALF A BEE."
Somehow (via "Bad Touch") we got onto the time I sprayed myself in the face with glitter, twice, as a result of being too tired to play with physics.
We hugged goodnight. We still had a few words left. Then I bent over a bit, exposing the top of my head to him. He scritched me gently on the head, then told me I was weird. :)
2. I had a nice day off today. I didn't actually do much, because my arm was hurting a lot, but we took a little walk and watched a bunch of old Simpsons episodes and just had a relaxing day.
3. I got new shoes today. My old ones were really falling apart and have been for a long time, but I'm always resistant to getting new ones. Carla's folks gave me money for Christmas to get new shoes, though, so I felt I should probably follow through and not just use the money for other things (it's taken me this long to get over to the shoe store, though).
4. Speaking of Christmas, I also finally used my See's gift certificate from my mom and got myself a box of candy. (It's right by the shoe store!)