"I know that there are people who think that this is odd. They take their comfort other ways -- from liquor or from God. Now sometimes prayer can call me or a drink helps get me through, But nothing is so healing as the days I spend with you." -- from "My Thousand Closest Friends" (1991) by Naomi Pardue
A) a micro version of MaNoWriMo
(like, not even the 30k mini version, but, like. Average of 100 words/day as a primary goal -- yes, that's only 3000 in the month, and I used to be able to do that in a day, but that's more fiction than I've written all year -- with 10k as a secondary goal (333) and 30k as a tertiary (1k/day). Or maybe 10k as the primary goal? I don't know.)
B) that is a remix of Disney beauty and the beast
(not with lyrics and shit, and I could just do a regular batb retelling, but I kind of want to take the Disney specific stuff, gaston and the west wing and the specific castle staff, and play with it and make it better. A few elements of the live version but mostly based on the animated one.)
(which is for one thing ridiculous because Disney version, and for another thing cheating for nano because pre-existing story, and for a third feels lazy and cop-out-ish and why would anyone read a 10k-word retelling of a fucking Disney movie, and all the rest of the bullshit that my inner critic likes to dump in my head whenever I want to do something)
I definitely don't want to nano the disabled-beauty/autistic?-beast story-of-my-heart, because it's too important for Nani treat,net, and I need something that means less. But.
Stupid idea? Good idea? Shut up and go back to crocheting?
"Don't push that button! Jesus, Ron!
Don't push that button! Or we're gone.
I know you hate the 'Russkies,' and wish they'd go away,
But dodging falling A-bombs would just ruin our whole day!
Don't push that button! Jesus, Ron!
Don't push that button! Or we're gone.
A war would be the worst thing our world had yet endured.
Destruction would be mutu'lly assured."
-- from "H
a Question" by Roger Clendening II (to the tune of Duane Elms' "Don't Push That Button")
Right. Offense. Junkertown. We're inside, but haven't been inside for long, on the last leg. I am in full-bore Manic Pixie Murder Machine mode, I end up with some very large and enjoyable kill streak that I card for, all that. That's all fairly normal.
But I've never been the greatest with Tracer's bombs, right? They're everybody's weak point because they're so damned random and often just won't deploy and even when they do sometimes they just don't go off. This has been seen in pro play, even. But today was not that day.
'Cause I've just killed their Mercy and their Hanzo and somebody else in their backfield (maybe their Junkrat? I forget who, I was doing a lot of backfield killing and they were not picking up on it) and their D.va comes charging by out of the shortcut just as I'm looking back towards my team and the payload to see what's up.
So I empty both clips into the back of her mecha a couple of times, getting her about, eh, 60% down or so? And just as she jets away, I follow it up with my Tracer bomb.
As I'm doing this, she hits her nerf. Her mech goes flying forward, into the rest of my team, and...
...my bomb goes off, and her self-destruct doesn't.
That's right. NERF THIS CANCELLATION MOTHERFUCKERS. She lost the ult completely, straight up cancellation, had to earn it back from scratch. In other words: nerf this? No, nerf this.
I didn't even think you could do that. I didn't know it was possible.
They didn't even give me play of the game. WRONG. I know who had play of the game. It was me.
eta: IT SHOWED UP IN MY HIGHLIGHTS AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA :D
"Oh, take your time don't live too fast.
Troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman you'll find love
And don't forget son there is someone up above.
And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand [...]"
-- from "Simple Man", written by Ronnie Van Zant (b. 1948
d. 1977-10-20) and Gary Rossington (b. 1951-12-04)
(Finishing up a few remaining posts before we start our next trip.)
On my first visit to Japan, with a friend, we had the best meal of the trip and the worst meal of the trip within 24 hours of each other. We'd gone to Koya-san, the temple complex, and stayed in a temple for two nights and
This is the sequel to last year's charming Flying. It's not a bad book, but it highlights the perils of sequels rather clearly. Flying has a clear emotional arc and core: Mana is figuring out what the heck is going on with aliens and enhanced humans and her place in the world, but her relationship with her mother and her friends is rock solid. In Enhanced, the central mystery is far smaller in scale. The basic facts of the world are known and we're down to figuring out the details. Mana's mother is out of commission, and her relationship with her friends is shaky for most of it.
Possibly worse, her combination of cheerleader and superpowered (enhanced, as in the title) individual really doesn't get a chance to shine for a full three-quarters of the book. Mana is scared, uncertain, and on the defensive--which is fine, but it's less fun to read about than Mana discovering, exploring, and kicking butt.
There are some new aliens, some new government agencies, some new developments in the world. But in general this feels like a little more of the same but less so. A de-escalation in some senses, a holding pattern. I still believe that Jones has somewhere to take Mana and her pals Seppie and Lyle, and this book is a fast read to get to the next step, but...we're not at the next step yet, and I don't really feel closer.
Please consider using our link to buy Enhanced from Amazon. Or Flying.
Sean B. Carroll, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. Evo devo is, generally speaking, bullshit, but Carroll is someone I heard at Nobel Conference, and he goes beyond Just So Stories; he is a good egg. And he talked in general in this volume, stuff that one could find anywhere and probably already knew if one had the slightest interest, but then also about insect wing patterns, and the insect wing pattern stuff was interesting, so basically: skim to get to the insect wings.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance. Kindle. I had had such smashing success with 19th century novels lately! (Oh my Middlemarch.) And this one is set in a Fourierist phalanx and I thought, brilliant, lovely, let's do that then, perhaps I love Hawthorne now too! Oh. Oh neighbors. No. No not so much. Poor Mr. Hawthorne. I read all the many many pages of Middlemarch, and North and South and Framley Parsonage and so on, and never once did I think, well, poor lamb, I suppose you can't help it, it's like being born before antibiotics. And yet with The Blithedale Romance I caught myself thinking that on nearly every page. Because it was the only way through, the other alternative was to shake him until his teeth rattled and send him to bed without supper, two punishments that would not occur to me without 19th century novelists, thank you my dear Louisa. So: he goes on at great length about how men have no tenderness really, and there is a bunch of maundering stuff about women's work and the purity of women and how bachelors have to obsess about whether the women around them have known marriage before (hint: nope, obsessing on this topic is completely optional), there is a Dreadful Secret, he abandons all interest in the Fourierist phalanx except as background noise...oh Hawthorne. Oh Hawthorne no.
Ursula K. LeGuin, Searoad. Reread. I first read this when I lived in Oregon. I keep learning things about characterization from it, how she creates a seaside town one person at a time, how the stories link and twine and inform each other. This time, thanks to a conversation I'm having with Marie Brennan, I thought about how differently it would read if the stories were in a different order, how a character is shown novelistically though the structure looks like short stories.
Carter Meland, Stories for a Lost Child. This is a literary science fiction novel in an Anishinaabe tradition; the way that Meland uses the rhythms and patterning of language are not at all the same as the way Gerald Vizenor does in Treaty Shirts, and having more than one is really nice, I want more, yay. Stories for a Lost Child goes forward and backward in time, contemporary teenagers trying to figure things out, a grandfather writing with stories previously barely dreamed of, a space program, past pure water, all sorts of elements that fold together.
Mary Szybist, Incarnadine. This is a poetry collection focused--not in a religious-inspirational way, in a literary way--on the Annunciation. The image, the idea of the Annunciation threads through these poems, beautifully. They are beautiful poems. I was beginning to worry that they were all going to be beautiful poems and none of them were going to be heart-touching for me--that I was going to nod along and say, yes, beautiful, well done, but never, oh, oh, would you look at THIS one--and then, and then there was Here There Are Blueberries, so: oh. Would you look at THIS one.
Carrie Vaughn, Bannerless. I had previously enjoyed some of Vaughn's short stories but not really been the target audience for the Kitty books, so I was really excited at what a complete departure this is. It's a police procedural of sorts, with flashbacks to the (sorta) cop's young adulthood. It's also a post-apocalyptic novel, with a catastrophe that has led people to seriously consider their resource usage. And it's also a relationship story that, because of flashback structure, allows the protagonist to grow past her teenage relationship, to change and be an adult. For a short novel, there's a lot going on, and it all fits together and wraps itself up by the end. Pleased.
I was fuckin' terrible today in lunchtime Overwatch. Well, as Widow, anyway. I was good as Tracer as always, and the weird thing is, the one time I wasn't terrible as Widow, it was in deathmatch, where I was surprisingly competitive against a pretty heavy set of enemies including three Pharahs and a D.va, which is not normally a recipe for competitiveness but I was.
So I was feeling pretty okay in warmup. But christ, go into quickplay and suddenly it's WHAT IS SNIPERS? and I can't hit a shot to save my life. (And that included while winning. So.)
This is in huge contrast to yesterday where I was not just playing well, but had another entire game of being the Widowmaker I want to be. Defence in Hollywood, 70% scope accuracy, eight criticals, golds in objective kills and objective time and silver in total kills, enemy Bastion got so sick of me that he tried being enemy Widow and yeah that did not help, enemy Pharah kept trying to go over the gate wall and I just kept one-shotting her out of the air until she got so mad that on their last serious push she apparently decided "y'know what, fuck the objective, fuck the game, I'm killing that fucking Widowmaker at least once" and went through the security office while I was busy with other people, jumped me from behind and let loose her one and only ult at point-blank range just for me.
Honestly, I felt quite flattered.
I guess the short form is I am still a work in progress, and it shows.
[Though I think taking it too far and living as if "I don't have to work toward this because it's already done," might be counterproductive. Still work to make the change you want catch up to you.]
(Resurrecting a post that’s been sitting in the Drafts folder for almost 2 years now, and testing a new crossposting plugin at the same time.)
We are not social people. Well, okay, we’re selectively social. We have our groups of friends that we see now and then, but we don’t generally seek out new acquaintances. This will become important in a bit.
But we do like to cook. When looking for things to do on this trip, Stephanie found this cooking class that covers several Japanese dishes, and includes a main dish of actual Kobe beef. We figured, “Sounds cool!” and signed up.
( Read more... )
Widowmaker brought herself in from the cold, one day, exchanging a list of Talon agents for sanctuary, and at first couldn't or wouldn't say why. Her first breakthrough in explaining herself came in a talk with Lena Oxton, who then helped her break through Angela Ziegler's insistence that Widowmaker was not really a person, and that Amélie Lacroix could yet be recovered. But despite that truth, sometimes, some of Amélie's last memories - mostly but not always tightly compartmentalised away - trouble the spider, and this is one of those times.
This is the sixth in a series of stories set in the It is Not Easy to Explain, She Said continuity, a timeline largely compliant with known canon as of July 2017 (pre-Doomfist/Masquerade), which is when I wrote and posted the first story. It is not part of the on overcoming the fear of spiders AU.
"Do you remember what it was like?"
Lena held Widowmaker's hand, gently, as they sat together, otherwise alone, mid-afternoon, in the smaller canteen at Gibraltar. She drank tea, cream, two sugars. Her counterpart drank obscenely hot coffee, unsweetened, strong, and dark.
For the most part, Amélie's memories stayed safely in their place, out of Widowmaker's way, but there were a few, occasionally, at the border between her birth and the previous woman's death, that picked at her, at times. Dr. Ziegler suggested that was because of the emotions around them - emotions could, perhaps, last long enough, even if the thoughts themselves didn't, to become Widowmaker's emotions as well.
"A little," said the former Talon assassin, after some delay. "Not very much, thankfully. I do not think she was making new memories very well, by then. But there are some."
Lena shuddered a little. "I can't even imagine it."
Widowmaker shook her head. "For her, it was not even the fear of it happening. It was..." She pondered a moment. "It is not easy to explain."
"I can't imagine it would be."
"She would feel, and think, one way, one thing, and then, she would find herself thinking another way, a different thing, a thing like I would think, sometimes, but she would be thinking it, and not me. And sometimes it would be something neither of us would think, but something they very much wanted her to think. And she would believe what she thought, and what she felt, but she would know, she would remember, moments before, thinking very differently about the same thing."
"And she'd fight it," assumed Tracer, "and that would hurt."
"No - but yes? Both would feel like it was her. There was nothing for her to fight. But the difference in the two... that, she found horrifying."
Lena let out a long breathy hoo sound, and took another sip of her tea, before continuing. "So they were making her think... their thoughts, then."
"My thoughts, at least, at times." She leaned her elbows against the table. "Or, to be more correct, the kind of thoughts they wanted me to think. About... how lovely, how beautiful, how perfect it would be when they put her back, and she killed Gérard. And she would believe it, because she could already feel it." The assassin smiled. "As I do, when I kill."
Tracer shuddered. She knew, she knew that the assassin enjoyed her kills - that for a long time, it had been all she lived for. But making Amélie feel that, and Amélie knowing they made her feel that... "Was it you, then? When they did it?" she asked, hoping for an unlikely yes.
The blue assassin laughed, a sound that still made Lena's heart ring every time it happened, no matter the context. "No. I could hardly have imitated Amélie so well for so long. I'd've been discovered, almost immediately. No - it was still her." She took a sip of her coffee. It had cooled a bit, but remained hot enough for her tastes. "That's why it took her two weeks to strike."
"So in the end..." the teleporter said, voice distant in her own ears, "Amélie killed Gérard. And enjoyed it."
Widowmaker nodded. "In a way. They were never above to achieve everything they wanted with her, but they were able to recondition her enough to kill - at least, for a time. And so, she assassinated Gérard, but being torn between the grief and the guilt and the ecstasy..." She shook her head. "That all but shattered her. When she returned, as programmed, they took her apart completely. And built me."
"But you feel some of her... emotions, from then? Her conflict?"
"I do," she said, a tinge of sadness in her voice. She put down her cup. "It was the only death about which I felt conflicted, until Mondatta, and the fight with you."
Lena put a third sugar in her tea. She needed something sweet right then. "D'ya ever wonder," she said, as she refilled her cup from the teapot, "if they'd done a better job sealing her off, if you might not've started to, y'know, think on your own?"
"Internal conflict as the source of self-awareness? Dr. Ziegler has suggested that idea as well." She shrugged. "I do not know. But let's say it's true - in which case, Talon did me yet another favour. They..." she picked her cup back up, sipped at the coffee, and put it back down, "left me open, on accident, to you." And she smiled again, just a little, at the side of her mouth.
The Overwatch teleporter let out her breath, and her eyes softened just a bit, as she looked into those metallic eyes. "Aw, luv. That's..."
"May I kiss you?"
Lena blinked, putting down her tea. "...you... care about..." She shook her head, just a little. "...things like that?"
"I don't know." The spider shrugged again, this time with something artificial in the nonchalance. "But I am finding I... may. At least, with you. Shall we find out?"
Lena wasn't sure what she expected. Would she be cold? Would she feel wrong, would she feel like some dead - and then no, she did not, she was not, she was none of those things, she was cool, yes, but not cold, cool like the first breezes of autumn, like the first hints of snow off the mountains, not chilling, but invigorating, and Lena returned the kiss, almost involuntarily, herself warm, no, hot, like summer sun, like the last day at a Spanish beach before the turning of the weather, and Widowmaker was just as surprised, finding herself melting just a little bit more, and she gasped, pulling away, panting, looking down at her coffee, thinking, How can she be so warm?, before looking back up at the one who had reached past her eyes of molten gold, and finding she had no words then at all.
"Blimey, luv..." managed Lena, after a moment. "You're... only the second woman ever to make me feel like that with a kiss."
"For me, you," breathed Widowmaker, eyes wide, "...are the first."
"I hope it don't make you feel like killin' someone," Lena half-laughed, half-serious, half-joking, a lot nervous and a little afraid, and if that made more than a whole, so be it. "Chiefly, me."
"Never." Widowmaker reached across the table, grabbing Lena's hands with both of her own. "Do you understand? Never. I could not."
She pulled Lena forward, close, quickly, knocking the teacup across the table, shattering it on the floor, and the smaller woman gasped, startled, but did not flee.
"I do not know why, and I do not know how, but..." The spider kissed the teleporter, again, the meeting short but intense, "...I have found someone I could never kill."
Hooooooo, thought a part of the teleporter, unexpected emotions swirling around her mind, throwing her into responding before she even knew she was doing it. This is not gonna be easy to explain, to... to anybody.
However, quite often people who have made me sad, angry, and/or disgusted with their behavior write books that are too dreadfully written to bother to read, and this is not the case with Vallista. This is another entry in the Vlad Taltos series, and like the others it is not doing exactly the same things as its predecessors. It is expanding the universe of the series, it is messing with everything that has gone before and recasting it. It is definitely not an episodic "like this one, but more of it" entry in its series, and the trap-building nature of the vallista comes satisfyingly into play.
What was less satisfying for me this time around, and this may well come into reviewing the author rather than the book as I am trying not to do: everyone has tolerance limits on the First Person Asshole voice. It's no surprise that a substantial portion of a Vlad Taltos novel is written in First Person Asshole. Some people's tolerance is about a page and a half, some infinite; mine is, at this point fifteen books into the series, fraying. (I would also like it a lot if someone would write a study of how FPA voice shifts in a long series so that it always feels contemporary and therefore includes very mild contemporary phrasing that's almost but not quite invisible and ends up being the prose tic version of a long mystery series looking like it only spans two years and yet starting with the protagonist using pay phones and ending in them using smart phones. Someone who is not me should do that using several authors as reference. Thanks.) But Vallista also has, for very good plot-related spoilerific reasons, forays into other prose voices than that, which made it a lot easier to read just when some of the "look at me I'm clever" bits of narrative voice were not feeling quite as clever as hoped and had repeated the not-clever multiple times just to make sure you had a chance to not-laugh at it again. I liked...hard to describe for spoiler reasons...pieces of other prose voice, and the reasons why they were there.
There is quite a lot of Devera in this book. If you're here for serious forward momentum on ongoing plot arc and for Devera: here you go, this is the one you're looking for. Relationships among other characters in the series, a great deal less so, but there's a great deal of "can't have everything" going around in the world, inevitable that some of it would end up here.