Craig Tooley and Amy Ruegg trained their cameras on a strange-looking black fungus, which turned out to be Velvety Black Earth Tongue, Trichoglossum hirsutum.
In David Arora's book "Mushrooms Demystified," he states that they are common in our area, which doesn't explain why I've never spotted one. He does go on to say they are hard to spot, making me feel a little better. Possibly edible, but Arora says they are much too tough to eat. The velvety texture, Arora writes, comes from hundreds of minute hairs.
Thanks to Craig and Amy for allowing me to share their photos with you here. To see much more of Craig's wildlife photography, here is his website: www.ruffimage.com
The Question Ever by Wendy Videlock (though I feel the urge to note that 'glove' and 'of' do not rhyme in my accent)
Diss by Makaila Dean
Upon Receiving My Inheritance by William Fargason
What I've read: short fiction
Nevertheless, She Persisted - a collection of 11 flash fiction pieces for International Women's Day
For me, the standouts were:
Heart Stitch by Jose Pablo Iriarte
The Redshirt's Daughter by Evan Dicken
Attending Your Own Funeral: An Etiquette Guide by Erica L. Satifka
Bride by Mistake by Nicole Helm (novella-length romance)
Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Penric & Desdemona 4). This just happened to show up when I was checking Hugo-eligibility of the previous two Penric & Desdemona novellas. While the first three had quite long gaps of time between them, this one follows almost straight on from the previous, and leaves more than one plot thread unresolved by the end.
What I've read: long fiction
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch (reread)
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch (reread)
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
I had a couple of days where I really was too ill to do anything but doze or read, and inhaled these latest three. The endings all struck me as particularly abrupt on this read through, the general destruction-level is getting ridiculous even with authorial lampshading, and there are really a lot of loose threads in play now. (But I still enjoyed them all very much.)
The Long List Anthology Volume 2 edited by David Steffen - I was surprised just how many of the short stories collected within I'd read - and surprised by a couple I'd not read but really should have. Anyway, the quality level so far is excellent.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I am ... not enjoying this as much as I expected. It is feeding my thirst for more information about Dorothy Vaughan (in particular) and the other women from the film and NACA/NASA more generally, but its style is both a bit too chatty and a bit too florid for my liking. Or possibly having two bad colds in three weeks is making me bad-tempered and uncharitable. Listening to the audiobook version doesn't seem to wind me up the same way, so I'm going to try listening the rest of the way through.
Bride by Mistake by Nicole Helm
Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
Tony bought Digital Divide by K.B. Spangler, which has been on my radar for a while, so I may sneak a read of it. (And/or go back to working through A Girl and Her Fed by same.)
I preordered Provenance by Ann Leckie (out in October) and The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch (out in September).
- My phone, that I bought only half a year ago, is broken (not my fault.) Still covered under warranty, but still, ugh.
- We now have shelves in our kitchen! For cookbooks, and because we don't have enough yet there's also space for plants and fandom stuff. I'd take a picture, but see above re: phone being broken (and I'm too lazy to search for my old camera.)
- I wanted to go see Eddie Izzard in Bratislava on Saturday, but missed the bus. I was so mad at myself that I went running and completely overdid it, my knee still hurts.
- Last week we found out that our third roommate is moving out, so we're looking for a new one again. *sigh*
- So, so many terrible things in politics. So many. I know that world-wide there are much larger and more serious issues, but that our foreign minister and minister of the interior are huge dicks and the chancellor is ceding way too much ground to the conservatives is just the shitty cherry on top.
By now I have a few thousand words of unsorted thoughts on the last ~25 Critical Role episodes and I'm too lazy to clean them up and post them yet, but I feel the need to express my feelings about episode 83 RIGHT NOW.( spoilers )
I watch a lot of horror movies. However many you’re thinking right now, I regret to inform you that you have woefully underestimated the number of horror movies that I have watched in my lifetime. I watch a lot of horror movies. My earliest cinematic memories involve horror movies—Alien when I was three years old, sitting on my uncle’s lap in the living room of our old apartment; The Blob after a midnight trip to the emergency vet to have a cattail removed from my cat’s eye; Critters in my grandmother’s living room, elbows buried in the plush beige carpet, dreaming of marrying the handsome red-haired boy in the lead role. So many horror movies. The only form of media that has arguably had more of an influence on me than the horror movie is the superhero comic book (which is a whole different kettle of worms).
The standards of horror have changed with time, of course. The things we’re afraid of now and the things we were afraid of fifty years ago are not the same, and neither are the avatars we choose to face those fears. We’ve gone from jut-jawed heroes to final girls to clever kids to slackers who somehow stumbled into the wrong movie, and when it’s been successful, it’s been incredible, and when it’s failed, we haven’t even needed to talk about it, because everyone knows. But there’s one ingredient to a really good horror movie that has never changed—that I don’t think ever will change—that I think we need to think about a little harder.
There’s a point in Creepshow II where a beautiful girl has been grabbed by the oilslick monster that lives on the surface of an abandoned lake. It is eating her alive. She’s awake, aware, and screaming. Her friends are freaking out, because that’s the reasonable thing to do under the circumstances. But none of them are refusing to commit to the moment. The monster is there. The fact that the monster looks like an evil pudding doesn’t change the fact that the monster is there.
There’s a moment in Slither where the mayor of the small town under siege by alien invaders loses his temper because there’s not a Mr. Pibb in his official mayoral car. He has seen people die. His own life has been threatened. He may not last until morning. He just wants his Mr. Pibb. It’s one of the most fully committed, most human moments I have ever seen in a horror movie, and it did more to sell me on the terror of the situation than all the overblown confessions of love in all the sequels in the world.
Sincerity. Completely committing to the situation, no matter how silly. Whether chased by giant snakes (Anaconda), or super-intelligent sharks (Deep Blue Sea), or a flesh-eating virus (Cabin Fever), or even Death Itself (Final Destination), sincerity can be the difference between a forgettable Saturday night special and something that you’ll find yourself going back to. “So bad it’s good” is a phrase most often applied to horror movies with the sense to be sincere.
I find this is true of most mediums. The Care Bear Movie holds up surprising well, because it had the guts to completely commit to its source material; so does the original V. Some newer material falls apart on re-watching because it never figured out how to be sincere. Fully committing to the topic at hand, on the other hand, gives you something worth revisiting a time or twelve.
We scare because we care, after all. Caring counts.
This article originally appeared in the Tor/Forge newsletter in April 2016. Join the mailing list here.
Seanan McGuire is the author of the October Daye urban fantasy series, the InCryptid series, and several other works, both standalone and in trilogies. She lives in a creaky old farmhouse in Northern California, and was the winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. In 2013 she became the first person ever to appear five times on the same Hugo ballot. Her novella Every Heart a Doorway is available from Tor.com Publishing; its companion, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, publishes in June 2017.
About ten years ago, compilerbitch posted a photo she had taken of doseybat leaning on a balcony and looking out over... a seascape, I think. It was black-and-white and had a grim look to it. Then I happened to see the colour original, and was astonished at the psychological effect the blue sky in it had on the feeling of the photo.
That gave rise to an Idea (which, like all of my best ideas, sat around in the back of my mind for years before becoming reality), of making a similar photo, in which like clouds drifting past, patches would drift across the photo, only these would be patches of full colour on a greyscale background; and then eventually one would come that was large enough to encapsulate most of the photo and bring life to it before departing again.
Doing this idea proper justice, i.e. at a high enough frame rate to look smooth, would involve convolution matrices and be at the limit of my technical ability. It would also involve more time than I am going to have this side of my wedding; so here, to give you a taster for what it would be (and probably scratch my itch enough that the full thing never happens now) is the work of most of an evening instead:
( See piccy )
Why on earth does anyone care what Bernie Sanders thinks about the Democratic Party?
HE IS NOT A DEMOCRAT.
If he were, he'd probably know that many of us are already represented by Democrats who aren't "rigidly" supportive of reproductive rights or gun regulations, but then again, if he were a Democrat, he probably wouldn't have sued the party in the midst of a primary.
To be utterly blunt, Bernie Sanders ran a disorganized, deceptive campaign that was disastrous for the Democratic party. I haven't forgotten the Politico article by Gabriel Benedetti and Edward-Isaac Dovere that detailed Bernie's damaging decisions:
It was the Vermont senator who personally rewrote his campaign manager's shorter statement after the chaos at the Nevada state party convention and blamed the political establishment for inciting the violence.
He was the one who made the choice to go after Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after his wife read him a transcript of her blasting him on television.
He chose the knife fight over calling Clinton unqualified, which aides blame for pulling the bottom out of any hopes they had of winning in New York and their last real chance of turning a losing primary run around.
And when Jimmy Kimmel's producers asked Sanders' campaign for a question to ask Donald Trump, Sanders himself wrote the one challenging the Republican nominee to a debate.
And let's not forget this gem:
But more than any of them, Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect — all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention.
Bernie Sanders was hoping that Hillary Clinton would be indicted.
This is not a man with the good of the Democratic Party in mind.
Recall that the 2016 primaries were Bernie Sanders' first primary. He's run as an Independent in the House and the Senate, but enjoyed a cozy arrangement with Democrats since 1990. He benefited from the overt intervention of the DCCC against a Democrat in 1996. In fact, I have written previously about the many, many times Bernie Sanders has been happy to have the Democrats genuinely "rig" their process--on his behalf. But when it came to actually running in a contested Democratic primary, he couldn't seem to do it. As I wrote previously:
Maybe an actual Democratic Party primary DOES feel unfair to Sanders. After all, he's never actually had to win one. He's always gotten his name on the D-ticket, effectively, without having to compete.
There's definitely someone in this race who is used to showing up and getting a coronation from the Democrats. Someone who is totally out of their depth when faced with a very liberal opponent who is not taking this for granted. Someone who is acting hugely entitled and freaking out because they actually have to follow the rules of the party whose nomination they want.
And that Someone is not named Hillary Clinton.
To be utterly blunt, Sanders proved that he doesn't understand how a party actually works. He utterly failed to follow the First Rule of Democrat Club: Don't damage your opponent—or the party—so much that it hurts in the general.
Now, to be fair, perhaps in another year without Russian bots and trolls amplifying every bit of Democratic Party drama, and without Wikileaks releasing nothingburger-but-much-hyped emails, it would have been different. But this wasn't that year.
Instead, we had Bernie Sanders, so unaccustomed to being challenged from the left that he thought being pressed on his gun records was an unfair attack, and couldn't handle being called on his sexism:
Since the first debate, Clinton, also without naming Sanders, has pushed back on his assertion there that "all the shouting in the world" would not fix the country's problem with gun violence.
"I've been told to stop shouting about guns," Clinton said at a rally in Virginia on Friday, a line she repeated Saturday during her remarks at the J-J dinner. "Actually I haven't been shouting, but sometimes when a woman talks, some people think it's shouting."
"We'd be very happy to have a straight-out debate on issues that matter to people and confine it to that," [consultant Tad] Devine said. "But if they're going to have a campaign that attacks Bernie on gun safety and implies he engages in sexism, that's unacceptable. We're not going to stand for that. We're not going to sit here and let her attack him. We're going to have to talk about other things if they do that. If they're going to engage in this kind of attack, they need to understand we're not going to stand there and take it."
Welcome to the Democratic primary, Mr. Devine and Mr. Sanders! Where sexist bullshit isn't welcome, and where your liberal cred is not beyond fair dispute, and where pointing out that you are not a Democrat is a fact, not an "attack."
Why would anyone give a Trumppence, let alone Ronpaulbuxx, about the opinion of Bernie Sanders, the man whose campaign improperly accessed proprietary data from a rival campaign and then sued the party in order to avoid the consequences of their actions?
Yeah, that sounds like a guy with the best interests of the Democratic Party at heart. Here's what the staffers did, by the way:
Another person familiar with the investigation also told NBC News that a total of four individuals affiliated with the Sanders campaign appear to have accessed the data, including Uretsky and Deputy National Data Director Russell Drapkin.
A series of documents outlining an audit trail maintained by the database company, obtained and reviewed by NBC News, shows that the four individuals spent a total of about 40 minutes conducting searches of the Clinton data. Those searches included terms that point to Sanders' team gaining access to proprietary lists from more than 10 early voting states of Clinton's likely supporters as well as lists for Sanders backers. That data was saved to personal folders.
It also appears that Drapkin "suppressed" two folders after the database company became aware of the breach.
To be clear: Sanders sued the DNC after it temporarily suspended his campaign's access to a system they had flagrantly misused in order to access data they had no right to.
Am I missing something? We're supposed to think he gives a shit about the party after that?
And let's not forget the role of Sanders and Weaver in keeping the lie alive that leaked emails "proved" some kind of improper bias against Sanders during the primaries—the "rigged" claim. This never made sense if one bothered to look at the dates of the emails. DNC staffers snarked about many things (probably unwisely) but the comments about Sanders same from emails late int he game, after it was clear he couldn't win. Per Eichenwald at Newsweek:
According to a Western European intelligence source, Russian hackers, using a series of go-betweens, transmitted the DNC emails to WikiLeaks with the intent of having them released on the verge of the Democratic Convention in hopes of sowing chaos. And that’s what happened—just a couple of days before Democrats gathered in Philadelphia, the emails came out, and suddenly the media was loaded with stories about trauma in the party. Crews of Russian propagandists—working through an array of Twitter accounts and websites, started spreading the story that the DNC had stolen the election from Sanders. (An analysis provided to Newsweek by independent internet and computer specialists using a series of algorithms show that this kind of propaganda, using the same words, went from Russian disinformation sources to comment sections on more than 200 sites catering to liberals, conservatives, white supremacists, nutritionists and an amazing assortment of other interest groups.) The fact that the dates of the most controversial emails—May 3, May 4, May 5, May 9, May 16, May 17, May 18, May 21—were after it was impossible for Sanders to win was almost never mentioned, and was certainly ignored by the propagandists trying to sell the “primaries were rigged” narrative. (Yes, one of them said something inappropriate about his religious beliefs. So a guy inside the DNC was a jerk; that didn’t change the outcome.) Two other emails—one from April 24 and May 1—were statements of fact. In the first, responding to Sanders saying he would push for a contested convention (even though he would not have the delegates to do so), a DNC official wrote, “So much for a traditional presumptive nominee.” Yeah, no kidding. The second stated that Sanders didn’t know what the DNC’s job actually was—which he didn’t, apparently because he had not ever been a Democrat before his run.
Bottom line: The “scandalous” DNC emails were hacked by people working with the Kremlin, then misrepresented online by Russian propagandists to gullible fools who never checked the dates of the documents. And the media, which in the flurry of breathless stories about the emails would occasionally mention that they were all dated after any rational person knew the nomination was Clinton’s, fed into the misinformation.
And here is Jeff Weaver, breathlessly repeating Russian propaganda about the emails' content:
Weaver said the emails showed misconduct at the highest level of the staff within the party and that he believed there would be more emails leaked, which would "reinforce" that the party had "its fingers on the scale."
"Everybody is disappointed that much of what we felt was happening at the DNC was in fact happening, that you had in this case a clear example of the DNC taking sides and looking to place negative information into the political process.
Apparently, Weaver was upset someone in the DNC called him a liar. I WONDER WHY THEY WOULD DO THAT.
I could go on and on, but the point is: Neither Bernie Sanders nor those most closely associated with him in his campaign really seem to have given a fuck about the Democratic Party, nor put much forethought into how their attacks would weaken the Democratic case in the general. And that goes for Tad Devine, as well—long described as a "Democratic" political consultant. Devine was the one who convinced Bernie to run as a Democrat, but I seriously question why any Democrat would go near him ever again if he was really behind the DNC lawsuit:
The biggest transformation for the campaign started out as a kind of nightmare. Everything changed when staffers woke up the Friday before Christmas to stories about the Democratic National Committee shutting them out of the party voter file after a Sanders staffer had used an opening in the system in an apparent attempt to swipe piles of Clinton campaign information.
The 8 A.M. campaign call started confused and frightened, but Devine and Longabaugh cut everyone off. What they should do, they said, was fight. They wanted to sue. In a smaller follow-up call—Devine and Longabaugh sitting next to each other on a plane about to leave Reagan National for Burlington, Weaver in the campaign office, Sanders and his wife at their home—they agreed
That's the same Tad Devine who, with Paul Manafort, had no problem working for ruthless Ukranaian politician Victor Yanukovich. You know, the guy who tried to kill his rival with dioxin poisoning.
Somehow, I can't be arsed to care about Tad Devine's opinions on the Democratic Party, either.
It's not that the Democratic Party is without flaw. But asking Bernie Sanders what it needs to do to fix itself is asking a guy who inflicted plenty of the damage from which it's now reeling. He and his campaign were the unwitting dupes of Russian propaganda, but they also made up their own damaging myths about the party—that there were too few debates, that it was unfair for his campaign to be held to account for stealing data, that Clinton had done something indictable, etc.
If Bernie Sanders wants to help with the Trump resistance, I welcome that. If the Democrats are willing to work with him, I welcome that too. But I don't welcome the opinions of someone so hostile to the party, and to its base of nonwhite voters, and so unwilling to own the damage he's inflicted.
Over and over, Sanders has made it clear: He does not like or respect the Democratic Party. And he's welcome to that opinion, but it doesn't really qualify him as a good faith advisor on its future.
You want me to care what you say about the Dems, Bernie? Then you can start by joining the party.
P.S. If you want to see a most righteous takedown of Bernie being ready to deal on women's bodily autonomy, but Wall Street not so much, then don't miss Imani Gandy's amazing tweets.
I'm reblogging this quote for truth. When I started becoming aware of systemic injustice is when I started being held at even more of a distance. My family and church didn't know what to do with me, and could only tell me to "stop reading those things." Individual people would come up and thank me, sometimes, after I spoke up on others' behalf in Institute, or tried to make sure that someone was okay. But to anyone who had any kind of power or privilege in White Mormon culture, I vanished except as an annoyance.
On the plus side, most White Mormon people are kind of boring anyway, except when their scandals show up in the newspaper. Being around other trans women and "woke" friends has been very good for me.
(About the word "woke:" Arinn notes that it has been appropriated by white people to mean "sensitive and aware," when it was originally used by black people to mean "alert to potential danger." She discusses the need for such a term, in a society that's even more hostile to people with black skin than it is to me personally.)
In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!
As I write this, the control box has just given us the fifteen minute call. The rest I wrote earlier today; these lines I left until now, for immediacy. I have to go and talk to my cast. Nerves must be settled, egos massaged, quirks and querulousness calmed and general encouragements dispensed.
I’m directing an amateur production of Jessica Swales’s Blue Stockings. We’re entered in Bangor Festival, one of eight plays competing for glitz and glory and places in the Northern Ireland and All-Ireland Finals. In Ireland, amateur drama festivals are a Thing. The All-Ireland makes the news in Dublin. There are daily reports on RTE Radio. Standards are vertiginously high. Competition is Darwinian. To paraphrase the late, great football manager Bill Shankley: “Amateur drama isn’t a matter of life and death; it’s much more important than that.”
This will be our fifth performance out of six. We build set, light, and perform a complete show all in one day. We’ve been rehearsing since November 2016—three nights a week—and this is my second directing role for our group, based in North Belfast. I like big shows, and I like plays that deal with issues: Blue Stockings does both. It’s the story of the class of 1896 at Girton College in Cambridge—the then-all-women’s college—at a time when women couldn’t graduate from Cambridge University. I’ve got a cast of nineteen, ranging in age from 16 to I-dare-not-say, and in experience from seasoned thesps and semi-professionals to complete novices stepping out under the lights for the first time. I have a crew of four, two tech and a Stage Manager, Production Manager, Music Director, Choreographer, a Fight Arranger and an informal Assistant Director.
You wonder where I find the time to write.
So do I.
I’ve been involved in the world of amateur drama for twelve years now. Sometimes performing (though I don’t enjoy it very much because I hate dressing up in costumes), sometimes lighting or designing video, sometimes just shifting carrying and building, mostly cheering.
It’s the opposite of the writing life: co-operative, collaborative. I’m a very private writer—the thought of beta readers horrifies me. Dramatics is different. We don’t do auteur theory. Your degree of control is very small. You compromise and adapt on the fly. You expose and conceal yourself as you do in writing, but in different ways. Your work is ephemeral. Each performance is unique and one-off. Books are set, unchanging. Plays are moments: a night, a shared emotion, a communion between performers and crew, and that and audience. So much work, for a couple of hours that will never be repeated again.
I believe there are exchangeable skills between acting and writing. They lie in the relationship between life and page. As a writer, I take life and fight it down on to a page. I make it small but vital; concise but rich. I strip humanity back to simple descriptors and dialogue. An actor does that in reverse: takes the page and turns it into life: into embodiment, into physicality: from the realm of the timeless to the timebound. These unchanging words, spoken and expressed in this moment. Words written perhaps four hundred years ago, filled with breath and life in 2016.
Two—if we rank well, three—shows and we’re done with the festival play. There’ll be a bacchanale of a wrap party at our place, then on to the next project, our low-comedy summer theatre, which we take up for four days to a seaside resort on the north coast, and which bankrolls the rest of the year. One acts, readings, and the painted ponies will go round and round again to next year’s Festival Play. I won’t be directing. Honest. It’ll take twelve months to recover from this one. And I’ve got books to write. But tonight, we put on make-up. We dress up right. We light the lights. And for a couple of hours, we work a particular, intimate, unrepeatable magic.
Top image: Muppet Vision Theater in Walt Disney World
Ian McDonald was born in 1960 in Manchester, England, to an Irish mother and a Scottish father. He moved with his family to Northern Ireland in 1965. Ian McDonald is the renowned science fiction writer behind River of Gods and the Everness sequence. His most recent book, Luna: Wolf Moon, is now available from Tor Books. He has won the Locus Award for Best First Novel, the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Novel, and the Hugo Award for Best Novelette. He now lives in Belfast. He is on twitter as @iannmcdonald.
At my viola lesson last night I managed to work out much of why I've been having so much trouble with my left hand. On cello the left hand ought to be in a perfect C shape, fingers more or less perpendicular to the fingerboard and only touching the neck at the fingertips, thumb resting on the neck behind the second finger. I've mostly-unconsciously carried this over to viola, where it's almost entirely wrong. I end up supporting the viola with my thumb, leaving my hand extremely tense and having trouble reaching the lower strings. It worked well enough as long as I stayed mostly in first position, but now it's making it exceedingly difficult to shift.
So I talked to Tegen about how I couldn't figure out how to relax my hand, or to keep my thumb off to the side of the neck like she's been telling me, or to generally have any kind of flexibility and suppleness to my left arm. And between us we got my left hand into proper position: base of the first finger resting on/below the neck, so that that's where I'm supporting it; fingers bent at sort of a 30-degree angle instead of straight on to the strings. This is going to take some amount of practice to get in the habit of, but will almost certainly make my life much, much easier.
Now if I can just find more than a couple of nights a week to practice.