ann_leckie: (AJ)

So, I’ll start this out with a disclaimer: Adagio contacted me and offered to give me some tea for free if I would review it on Twitter. I am not one to turn down free tea, and I already buy tea from Adagio more or less regularly. And they’re the home of the Imperial Radch Tea Blends, so.

I had a gift certificate to work with, so I actually got three things–one that’s already a favorite, one that wasn’t the sort of thing I usually get but what the heck, and one that I threw in on impulse before I checked out.

I’m not much of a white tea fan. I mean, I don’t dislike it, but it’s usually been not my fave–usually it just tastes like faintly leafy hot water to me. But I got a sample of a white tea with my Manual Tea Maker No 1, and either that tea was particularly good and/or the gaiwan style brewing really brought some nice flavor out. So I’d been meaning to try another white tea in the Manual and see what I thought.

This is Adagio’s White Symphony. The flavor is very delicate–I found I got best results using a touch more than I would have for another kind of tea. I tried it just in an infuser for 3 minutes, and then I tried it in the Manual. It definitely stands up to multiple steeps, but it wasn’t noticeably more interesting in the Manual. This is also the first tea that I’ve found doesn’t do well with my tap water. I was unhappy with the first cup, which was the old “faintly leafy hot water” thing. Then I tried using filtered water and the results were much better. It tasted like a very delicate tea, instead of hot water pretending to be tea. Seems like my problem with white tea might be more about my tap water, and I’m looking forward to drinking more of this one.

This is the sort of thing you’d sip and think about how it tastes. It is not, IMO, a great choice for a hearty cuppa, or for waking up in the morning.

This is Adagio’s Fujian Baroque. It’s a reliable favorite of mine. It has a sort-of-maybe sweet, faintly almost-chocolatey flavor, with no astringency. If you find ordinary grocery store orange pekoe or black tea too bitter or astringent, you might want to give this a shot. This is one of a couple of black teas I try to keep around. (The other is PG tips, because sometimes you just want a strong milky hit of tea.) I personally wouldn’t put milk or sugar in this, but I do find that it’s a good first-thing-in-the-morning tea.

And the third tea!

This is Chestnut flavored tea. I was clicking around and saw some reviews for this. The idea struck me as somewhat improbable, and by and large I’m not that much into flavored teas, but the reviews were good, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong throwing a sample package into my order. It’s really nice! It has a sort of toasty, nutty flavor that complements the black tea really well. I will certainly add this into my regular rotation, because I like it a lot.

(Adagio has one or two improbably flavored teas–I ordered some Artichoke back when it was available and…it was odd. But I read the reviews–it had its fans. Also Cucumber White, which I used in one of my blends. That was interesting, and actually maybe I need to revisit it now that I’ve discovered that white tea is better with filtered water.)

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

Some Books I’ve Read

Apr. 28th, 2017 11:06 am[personal profile] ann_leckie
ann_leckie: (AJ)

So, there are a lot of books that strike me as interesting and I want to make time to read them, and also I get sent quite a few books by folks hoping I’ll read them in time to blurb them. Spoiler: I rarely am able to read things in time for the blurb deadline! But I still like to say something about books I’ve enjoyed reading. Here’s the latest batch!

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

This won the Clarke last year! So I figured it’d be good.

It is good! I enjoyed this a lot. The last remnants of humanity find a terraformed planet! It was supposed to be seeded with primates who would be infected with a virus that would uplift them. There was an accident, though, and the primates never arrived. But the spiders were already there, so…

I enjoyed the onworld stuff from the spider POVs more than I did the stuff with humans on the ship. A lot of that was, I think, due to the constraints of setting and worldbuilding. I think I’d have some difficulty balancing those two settings, while also definitely wanting the inherent contrast they presented (heck, I’d probably want to set it up that way so there was that inherent contrast, to be honest, but the spiders were so cool that the ship humans were going to have to work awfully hard to compete). I highly recommend this book, even if you’ve got a thing about spiders. (Yes, actually, I am not a fan of spiders. I mean, I’m glad in the abstract that they exist, they eat bugs yay, the webs are pretty, biodiversity is good &c &c but on the level of the concrete and the specific, they have too many legs and are buggy and I would like them to stay far away from me please, thank you.)

Amatka by Karen Tidbeck

This isn’t out yet! You can read it starting June 27, and I recommend that you lay your hands on a copy. I managed to just miss the blurbing deadline on this, sadly, sorry!

This is a weird little book. Brilars’ Vanja Essre Two is assigned to visit the colony of Amatka to research what kinds of hygiene products they might want to buy. Nothing too weird about that, right? Except Vanja’s name, but it’s quickly clear that this is a setting in which it’s vitally important that everyone agree on what everything is and call it what it’s supposed to be called. Because otherwise…well, that’s where things start getting weird. I’d say more, but this is one of those books where the gradual unfolding of what’s going on is part of the effect and I don’t want to mess with that. It’s compelling and disturbing and totally worth reading.

Pilot Down Presumed Dead by Marjorie Phleger

All right, this is kind of cheating. This book was published in 1963, and I got it as a gift when I was 9 or 10 and I loved it. Read it multiple times. I mostly read SFF at that age, and was largely uninterested in non-SFF books, but this one was just super gripping. Basically, small plane pilot Steve Ferris gets caught in a storm and is forced to put down on a little uncharted island. Wrecks his plane and spends the rest of the book surviving, trying to get the occasional passing ship to notice him, and ultimately attempting to get back to the mainland under his own power. In retrospect, I think it shares a number of features with the SFnal books I was already reading–much if not all of the plot is problem-solving and/or bits of exploration and exposition.

A friend of mine is a Montessori teacher and a while ago we were talking about how she’s always looking for cool things to read to her Lower Elementary kids and I remembered PDPD and suggested that it might be just the sort of thing she was looking for. SPOILER turns out the kids are loving it.

I picked up a used copy–my original copy is long gone–and gave it a read. Took me maybe two hours. Its written very simply, but the descriptions are vivid enough that some of the images have stayed with me for forty years. If you know a ten year old (or thereabouts) who’s looking for a good, engaging read, this book is a good bet.

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

balsamandash: Abed Nadir (Community) making a face and a strange hand gesture, walking away from friends (com] get out there and dance like an idi)
My hair is now blue, and I am waiting for my mother to get in touch to figure out what the hell is going on today. I am so tired. So, so tired. And also so rambly. I don't know why.

3. A song that reminds you of summer

Oh Shit, It's the Faeries -- Parnassus

It reminds me of Midsummer, that counts, right?

--Okay, I have way more songs that make me think of winter/autumn/cold weather than summer for some reason, and despite living somewhere that's basically summer for 2/3rds of the year, I don't have anything that brings up strong summer memories -- trying to think of something that sounds like summer to me brings Sight of the Sun (fun) and Flyweight Love (Vienna Teng) to mind, but I could not tell you why.


The rest of the meme. )

(no subject)

Apr. 28th, 2017 07:06 am[personal profile] synecdochic
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
Someone is vigorously bathing in my lap to make sure she looks lovely for her new human. :)

furiously grooming!

Barring disaster, we'll be transporting her in two weeks! And then she can get as much petting as she wants:

Thea getting lap scritches

Catching up on TV feels

Apr. 28th, 2017 12:20 am[personal profile] sholio
sholio: Cisco from The Flash with hand out (Flash-Cisco)
I am just poking my head up from massive, massive book edits. Even proofreading a 130K book takes forever. WHY DID I DO THIS TO MYSELF. It should be out early next week, though.

So, a catchup post on various recent TV-related stuff.

First of all, a vid rec: Fringe - Walter - 1985 by [personal profile] jmtorres. I never, ever would've thought of using 1985 for Walter, but it's such a hilarious and perfect song choice for him. Now I have Fringe feels.

This week's Flash: was certainly an episode of TV that happened. Spoilers )

This week's Agents of SHIELD: continues to be my favorite thing on TV right now, and I STILL can't believe I'm saying that about THIS SHOW. Spoilers )

This week's Supergirl: made me have conflicted thoughts about my least favorite character(s). Spoilers )

(no subject)

Apr. 27th, 2017 06:29 pm[personal profile] balsamandash
balsamandash: (s] cause it's honest)
All I wanna do today is listen to music and ignore the world and it is a problem. Anyway, have a thematically appropriate meme continuation:

2. A song you like with a number in the title

1941 -- Klaypex
Follow the beat and let it ring

...So every other song to jump to mind for this was horribly depressing, but this one is like the exact opposite; it's move music. Also I first found it through a goddamn beautiful Agent Carter vid that is in my top-five-ever favorite vids list.

The rest of the meme. )
karzilla: a green fist above the word SMASH! (Default)
We are planning to do a code push late this weekend, at approximately 8pm PDT / 11pm EDT / 3am UTC on Sunday, Apr 30 (or May 1 for you transatlantic types.).

I don't have a list of changes for you yet, but most will fall into the following categories: things users have complained about to support volunteers, things support volunteers have complained about to developers, things [staff profile] denise has complained about not working the way she expects them to (and as we all know, The Boss is Always Right), and things that were printing warnings over and over in the production server logs, making it hard to spot when less frequent, more urgent errors were being printed. Oh, and also all the unused code I ripped out at the roots, which if you notice that, I did it wrong.

To sum up: we are rolling out a bunch of requested changes, so thank you all for your feedback!

If you're new to Dreamwidth and interested in tracking our development process, our commit logs are published to [site community profile] changelog and [community profile] changelog_digest, and every month or so, one of our volunteers will translate those often-cryptic entries into witty, informative code tours! The most recent one was published on April 1, so we're about due for a new one. Hint, hint.

We'll update here again to let you know when the code push is imminent!

YAY YAY YAY

Apr. 27th, 2017 05:06 am[personal profile] synecdochic
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
We have found a possible home for Thea and, although it's not definite, it's pretty likely and it looks like it will work out WONDERFULLY for everyone involved. \o/
balsamandash: (* hide in the open)
That's totally the saying, right?

Answers to the movie quote guessing meme, including a couple of pitches for lesser-known movies:

Quotes! )


Aaaand now another meme! A music meme! This one yanked from [personal profile] forests_of_fire. It is much more longterm, so let's see if this gets me to post a little more regularly.


1. A song you like with a color in the title )

The rest of the meme. )

In other news, tonight we are dying my hair, or at least bleaching it to dye tomorrow, and I am getting back to work for the first time after this long, kinda fucked up month. It's not the best day ever, but it's better than the last couple. I really hope this continues, but I have to see my mother this weekend, so who knows.
rionaleonhart: final fantasy xiii: lightning pays intense attention to you. (speak carefully)
The final boss of Final Fantasy VI was a nightmare. He kept killing people in one hit! He kept muting my entire party, and I was quickly running out of items to cure it! (It's possible I didn't prepare very well.) I was convinced for a while that I was going to lose, and I'd have to fight through that entire sequence of pre-final-boss bosses again. But I made it! If the fight had gone on for a couple more minutes, I'd have been doomed.

So, yes, I finished Final Fantasy VI! I'm fairly certain I snapped this game up when it first became available in the UK, back in early 2002, so it took me, er, fifteen years and two copies. But I got there! And I wrote a fic, so revisiting this game was a highly successful endeavour. Even if it landed me with a new rarepair.

(At the ending, on the airship, there's a bit where Edgar tries to flirt with Celes, and she walks off to stand next to Sabin instead. I'M JUST SAYING.)

I'm starting to spot a pattern in some of my pairings: two people are part of the same group of friends. They're not close friends - they don't necessarily spend time alone together - but they move in the same circles. The group goes through some major, traumatic experiences. These two find themselves isolated, with only each other, having lost contact with the rest of their friends. I start 'shipping it immediately. It happened with Celes/Sabin, and with Mike/Sam in Until Dawn. I think my fondness for Hope/Serah in Final Fantasy XIII-2 comes from the same place; they're not alone, but they've lost touch with everyone who really knows what they've been through.

Even if Celes/Sabin is what really caught my attention on this playthrough, I also have a slight fondness for Celes/Locke, and Celes/Terra, and Leo/Terra, and everyone just cuddling in a big pile, including the yeti.

I've criticised some aspects of this game, but it has a huge amount of charm. The cast is delightful, and the tiny sprites are surprisingly expressive, and the battle system is one of the best from the ATB era; all the different battle abilities do mean that characters have wildly varying levels of usefulness, but they also make things varied and fun!

My preferred team was Celes, Locke, Edgar and Sabin, although I'd have swapped Edgar out for Terra if I wanted it to be a team of my four favourite characters. The Tools function was too useful to give up! Plus I liked the idea of the brothers fighting side by side.

Celes is the best. I wouldn't have stood a chance without her in the final battle.
balsamandash: (com] ace of hearts)
So I spent all yesterday in pain and feeling like shit, and today I still feel grumpy and awful, but there is work to be done and I'm trying to make myself do it.

In mostly unrelated news, every member of my family older than me is exhausting to deal with this week, and I am about ready to yell at them all.

However, Bast is amazing and I am lucky they're willing to not only deal with my grumpy and sadness but try and help me get my shit together and actually get stuff done. Even if I fail at actually doing so.

This space may turn into a ta-done or to-do list later. For right now I am just waving tiredly at everyone.

EDIT: ... I somehow fucked up the computer trying to plug in my headphones and I had to fuck with it trying to get to the battery. I got it up again, but it was like an hour, it was stressful, I still have to do work which is also stressful, and I really just want to either nap or burrow in distractions for the day.

Fuck today, man.

Hugs would be really appreciated.

(no subject)

Apr. 25th, 2017 10:50 am[personal profile] thesilentpoet posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
thesilentpoet: (Default)
Hello all!

Once upon a time, I was active in this community, and much more so on Dreamwidth. Then I took what ultimately became a years-long sabbatical, and these days, flitting on the edges.

One of my goals for 2017, is to write more, both professionally and personally. Long story short, back in November, the husband and I moved to Pittsburgh, and had to dip into our savings to pay for moving expenses. Money has since been weird.

To that end, I have started a Patreon as a way to supplement our income with my writing. Primarily, I am posting on my Urban Fantasy novel, and occasionally, poetry.

Http://Patreon.com/srmaclin

Pledges start at as little as $1/month. There's some nifty perks and stretch goals in place.

Plus! Let me know you linked from Dreamwidth, and there will be a welcome perk thrown in!
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
EDIT: We have found a Very Probable Home for Thea! Go internet.

(Click any photo for a larger version!)

Hello, internet! I'm Thea. Here I am in my favorite spot (somebody's lap):

Thea in my lap looking up at the camera sleepily

I'm a female dilute calico, and the vet and the vet dentist think I'm about five years old. I grew up on the streets of Baltimore, but it's cold and lonely out there and I like people too much, so now I need a forever home! I'm an absolute sweetheart who'll be in your lap or draped over your shoulder the minute I meet you, but there's one catch: I need to be an only cat.

Thea asleep up against my legs

More about me! And more pictures! )

Does it sound like you could be my human? If so, leave a comment with your email address, and the humans will get in touch with you. (Or, you can email [personal profile] synecdochic at synecdochic@dreamwidth.org.) Anonymous comments are allowed; you don't need a Dreamwidth account. I'm in Baltimore right now, and the humans would prefer somebody within a few hours' drive or somebody who's willing to come pick me up themselves, but if you're the absolute right person to take me in, they're willing to talk about flying me to you, especially if you can pay for some or all of the costs. (Having all my teeth pulled wasn't cheap!) [EDIT: The humans have a friend who might be able to put a flight on frequent flyer miles for me, so they're willing to escort me outside the immediate area for the right home!]

I'm looking forward to finding someone I can help with everything, drape on top of, and sleep on!

(Please share this with your friends! For the first round of looking we'd prefer not much further than friends-of-friends, because we'd like to know the people she's going to or know someone who knows them, but if the first efforts don't pan out, we'll try again with a wider reach. We also already know the rescue organization we'll turn to if we can't find her a home through word of mouth, so you don't need to research rescue options for us!)

MCU AU Fest placeholder letter

Apr. 24th, 2017 10:44 pm[personal profile] sholio
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
My AU Fest letter will go here when I finish it. This is a placeholder so I can finish doing my signup. :D
umadoshi: (kittens - Jinksy - looking up)
Tomorrow I head to the office and I'm already behind on emails and comment replies. o_o At least I got a decent chunk of work done today, and spent the latter half of the evening curled up with The Obelisk Gate and Jinksy.

In lieu of a real post, linkspam.

Fannish/Geeky Things

I've yet to read or see any of The Expanse, but for those who have, [dreamwidth.org profile] kayim just launched [dreamwidth.org profile] rocinante.

Fox is bringing us another round of The X-Files (ten episodes this time). I... I don't think I can do this again. I'll keep an ear out and see what those who do watch it think, and I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised, but after how appallingly awful last year's new eps. were, I doubt I'll be touching this without some strong recommendations.

From that link, I skimmed through "Fall TV pilots 2017: The full list". Let's see. I assume I'll give Inhumans a try (barring Iron Fist levels of nearly everyone recoiling in horror as soon as the advance reviews/reactions started); S.W.A.T. doesn't sound like my thing, but FYI for Criminal Minds fans, Shemar Moore's headlining it (and EW staff writer, your blurb is literally two sentences. How did no one notice that the first sentence begins with "Inspired by the film of the same name" and the second sentence, in its entirety, reads "Inspired by the film of the same name"?); Alan Cumming being the lead in Instinct could be enough to tempt me into giving that a shot, although it likewise doesn't really sound up my alley; Untitled Marvel Action-Adventure Series stars Amy Acker, so that's a no-brainer for me; and Reverie has Sarah Shahi and sounds potentially interesting (Sendhil Ramamurthy is in the cast too, if that's of interest).

"Mike Colter Describes Jessica Jones Season Two As “Dark And Heavy”".

Via the link above, "Kevin Feige Doesn’t Know If The MCU Will Get A Phase 4".


Photography

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] sovay, a website of photos of naked actors (mostly British) posing with fish. Here is Gillian Anderson wearing an eel.

"PHOTOS: Your Pics of California’s ‘Super Bloom’".

"Colourised Pics Of Russia’s Female Snipers Who Terrorised Nazis, Including “Lady Death” With 309 Kills".


Miscellaneous

"The Snarling Girl: Notes on—and against—ambition". [Elisa Albert on Hazlitt] Wow, I really liked this.

"EFF Releases Spying on Students Ed Tech Report: EFF Survey Reveals Gaps in Protecting the Privacy of K-12 Students Using School-Issued Devices and Cloud Apps". [Electronic Frontier Foundation] (Note: I haven't read the actual report, just the overview here.)

"Trans Singer Records Duet With Himself Pre And Post Transition".

"Londoners’ delight as world’s first crow café comes to capital".

"I ATE THREE EGGS EVERY SINGLE MORNING FOR A WEEK - HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED".

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] cofax7, "31 Vintage Posters That Demand You Pick Up a Book". [LitHub]

"How to Become a Deadly Misandrist Fairy Vampire" [Autostraddle]

"A dad took his 2-year-old's most memorable words and illustrated them beautifully".

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