beatrice_otter: Cameron Mitchell, bored with a stack of files (Schoolwork)
It's that time of year again.  As some of us are frantically writing Yuletide stories, there comes the challenge of finding betas for obscure fandoms that we don't normally write in and so don't have a beta for.  There are several ways of finding betas, but one of them is to ask a hippo in the Yuletide chat to find someone for you.  (Hippos are matchmakers to help people find betas without compromising their anonymity as authors.  Here's an instruction manual and explanation, if you're interested in joining chat or learning more.)  And usually, they can!  But sometimes even the hippos in chat fall short.  There are currently several beta requests, a couple that have been open for a couple of days, so I thought I would try to publicize them.  If you can help with one of them, you can either go into chat yourself and talk to the Hippo there (if they're online), track them down some other way, or ask me and I'll hook you up.  The hippo will then send you the contact information.


Hippo: prinzenhasserin
Fandom: Dangan Ronpa 3, 10k words

Hippo: prinzenhasserin
Fandom: Trails of Cold Steel, 13k words

Hippo: kinetikatrue
Fandom: Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (TV) 27k words (gore warning)

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
The FBI and the Department of Justice are trying to put through a "small rule change" about how warrants that would have a big effect.  The Justice Department is using an obscure rule of federal criminal procedure – called Rule 41 – to sneak this expansion through.  Right now, when an FBI agent wants to hack computers of potential suspects or innocent victims of malware attacks, it has to get a warrant from a judge where the crime occurred.  That gives government hacking clear judicial oversight to make sure our Fourth Amendment rights aren’t violated and stops the FBI from hacking whomever it wants. But if the DOJ’s “small change” goes through, the FBI can shop around until it finds the right judge to sign just one warrant to hack any computers related to their case. That could mean hacking millions of computers all over the world with just one warrant.  And Congress hasn’t even held a public hearing to debate this expansion of government hacking and its potential consequences for the American people!

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is trying to stop this with a bill called the Stopping Mass Hacking Act (S.2952).  This wouldn't stop it completely, but it would require Congress to actually talk about it before letting it pass.  You know the drill.  If computer security and government snooping are important to you, please call your congresscritter and talk to them about it.  http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ and http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Here's a handy script:

I believe that the federal government already has too much ability to pry into the lives of US citizens and spy on them.  The Department of Justice is trying to greatly expand that with a change to their rules for warrants, so that they can hack large numbers of private citizens on suspicion that they may be related, without needing to justify each hack.  This is unlawful search and seizure.  Congress should stop this, or at least talk about it before letting it go through.  Please support the Stopping Mass Hacking Act bill, so that Congress and the rest of America can talk about what judicial oversight is appropriate to protect Americans from over-zealous government hacking.

beatrice_otter: Delenn--We are Starstuff (Starstuff)
As I was going through the Yuletide signups looking for treats to write (no, my main story isn't done yet, this is a form of cat vacuuming*), I realized that the fandom I had noticed with excitement on the signup sheet was not, in fact, what I thought it was.  I thought "Official NASA Journey To Mars Posters (2009)" were the same posters as the Space Tourism Posters NASA put out this year.  But, in fact, they are not.  There are two sets of cool retro posters!  My day is brightened!  But it's a good thing I noticed this before picking a prompt and starting to write.

*Cat vacuuming is a term thought up by my favorite writer, Lois McMaster Bujold, of that stage of writing where one is desperate to do anything to avoid sitting down at the computer and actually putting words down.  After one has cleaned the whole house top to bottom, done all the yardwork, made dinner and cleaned the kitchen, run all one's errands, organized the garage, and has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LEFT to do besides write, one is very tempted to shrug and say something along the lines of, "well, I haven't vacuumed the cat yet," and try that instead.

beatrice_otter: Radek Zelenka--sometimes what you need is a scruffy man with a flashlight (Scruffy man with flashlight)
My personal laptop is old and has problems.  Not with the actual computer part of it; with the power and big cracks in the case.  As in, big chips of plastic case come off every so often, and while the power cord itself works fine the place it plugs into only works intermittently.  If you can find the exact right place, and not jiggle the laptop or the cord at all and hold the whole thing perfectly still, it charges fine.  But it's really annoying.

So I was going to replace it.  It's Windows 7, and I use Windows 8 and10 at work.  They're both faster, but 7 is SO MUCH EASIER to use on a laptop.  (8 and 10 assume that a tablet is your primary way to use the OS, or at least a touchscreen laptop.)  So I wanted to keep it, since it's still being updated.  I bought a refurbished Windows 7 laptop online, tried it out, it worked fine.  I was getting ready to load all my programs and transfer my files (a huge bother), when a techie friend said "hey, it's so much easier and quicker to clone it, why don't you do that instead?"

Okay, great.  Fine.  I read some articles online so I know what I'm doing, download a cloning software and clone my old hard drive onto my new one ... and it won't boot up.  Try it again, same thing.  Now, at this point, I would like to just go back to how I started and manually transfer programs and files, but I don't think that's possible because it's been formatted a couple of times--doesn't that wipe out the OS?  So I download another cloning software and try that one.  Same problem, except now at least I can get it to run System Repair.  Which says there's a problem I can't fix.  But the System Image Recovery options are also available now, and I go there.  Yes, I can use the backup of the original laptop I made before trying to clone anything (I am no fool).  But!  In order to do that, I need a system repair disk or a Windows installation disc, neither of which I have.  It will make one for me, all I have to do is put in a blank disc! ... which I don't have.  Nothing in town is open on Sundays, and I'm not driving an hour to the nearest city where I know there will be a store open that would sell blank cds, it can wait until Monday.  At least my original laptop is okay.
beatrice_otter: Sarah Connor kicks ass--made for me, not shareable (Sarah Connor kicks ass)
I went in to the doctor this morning for a routine checkup and to get some warts on the soles of my feet removed.  But one of them, I wasn't even sure if there was a wart there any more, or just a big callus.

See, one of the things that many autistics do is rub or pick at any irregularities in their skin--scabs, dry skin, calluses, zits, etc.  This is a form of stimming and can be anything from no problem at all to really damaging, depending on several factors like how often and intensely you do it, what type of things you're picking at, etc.  (If you do it so that it's dangerous--regularly breaking the skin and thus bringing the risk of infection, for example, or preventing wounds from healing--you can sometimes get the same satisfaction out of letting glue or nail polish dry on your skin or nails and then picking at that.)  And I've always been one to pick at things, though never to the point it became a problem.

This is relevant because, about a year ago when one of the warts was coming in, there was a flap of skin or something sticking out.  And this is on the sole of my foot, it was really bugging me.  So I started fiddling with it, and eventually yanked, and this core of stuff came out of my foot leaving what looked like a deep puncture.  Well, I disinfected it and bandaged it, and when it was healed up there was still a callus there but I thought that might have been the core of the wart, right there.  Sure enough, the doc said I was right--it was nothing but callus left.  So I only had to have two warts frozen off, not three.  Yay!  Less pain!

Also, the doc knew like nothing about autism or how an autistic person might react to stuff in a doctor's office.  Like, the fact that we have sensory processing issues was complete news to her.  So now she knows, and hopefully will take this into account for her other autistic patients.  (At roughly 1 in 70 people being on the spectrum, I guarantee I'm not the only one of her patients who is autistic, whether they--or she--know it or not.)
beatrice_otter: A Beatrix Potter illustration of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Lucie having tea. (Mrs Tiggy-Winkle)
Apparently the autocomplete in my phone doesn't recognize the word "persnickety."
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
Me, at a meeting yesterday: gives information about someone that's going to be published in the paper.

Guy writing the article: so it was x?

Me: no, it was y.

Article guy: so I can put down x, then?

Me: no, it was y, let me explain how x and y are completely different and it was NOT x, it was y. No x at all.

Article guy: okay, gotcha. Y, not x.

Me, reading the paper today: ... he put it in the paper as xy.

Friendly reminder, folks, of how often it is that things in the news are less than completely accurate. Take this case: the guy writing the article has no horse in the race, no stakes, he genuinely wants to get this right because he takes pride in his work. And it wasn't a case of a man just not listening to a woman; I've worked with him for years, he does not pull that kind of crap. But he thought he knew what the deal was, and even though I corrected him (and he understood at the time and took notes), this was one detail of a larger article and we had a lot of stuff to cover so I didn't want to derail the whole meeting to make sure he really and truly understood what was going on, and I don't proof-read his stuff. I'm pretty sure what happened was that he understood at the time, but by the time he got around to actually writing it, he didn't remember all the specifics of our conversation, and so he defaulted back to his earlier understanding. No malice, no trying to massage the truth, just a case of previous assumptions hanging on even after being corrected.

If it happens even in a case like this where there are no stakes either way except a pure incentive to be accurate, imagine what the processes are when you are competing for viewers/readers, etc.
beatrice_otter: Finn holding a blue lightsaber (Finn)
Movie poster for Birth of a Nation

Saw Birth of a Nation tonight (the new movie about Nat Turner, not the 1915 KKK one).  SUCH a good movie, I still had chills an hour later.  There's violence and gore and a sad ending (though not as down as I expected, given what happened), and much is made of Nat's Christian faith in really interesting ways, so that's something to consider before watching.  But OMG is it awesome!
Spoilers and mentions of sexual assault )



beatrice_otter: WWII soldier holding a mug with the caption "How about a nice cup of RESEARCH?" (Research)
I have been carefully curating my playlists since the early 2000s when I went off to college.  All music I owned was ripped to a series of laptops and put into playlists based on my own personal preferences, which were then loaded onto an mp3 player.  Some of these playlists are fairly short; some are thousands of songs long.  When I play them, I want a shuffle that is truly random, where I have the same chance of hearing everything on the playlist.  It wouldn't be ON the playlist, and I wouldn't be playing THAT playlist, if I didn't want to hear it!  I don't want the algorithm trying to figure out what I want, because it always goes "she's listened to these twenty songs in the last week, so obviously they are her favorites and she should hear them again."

When I listen to music on my phone, here's what happens.  Say I want to listen to my musical theater playlist.  The phone says, "aha! she listened to Hamilton yesterday, so when she puts on the Musical Theater playlist, she doesn't want to listen to all of it, she mostly wants to listen to Hamilton!" and cycles through the Hamilton songs with the occasional other show tune thrown in.  Which, no.  If I wanted to listen to ONLY Hamilton, I would be listening to the Hamilton playlist.  I would not be listening to the musical theater playlist!  So instead of putting the phone on shuffle and just driving down the road bopping along to my favorite show tunes, I have to worry about skipping through the stuff I just listened to yesterday.

Alas, I have not been able to find a music player app for android that doesn't do this.  And since my old MP3 player isn't really functional anymore, and I don't want to buy a new device for something my phone can do quite well, I'm frustrated.  I know that I am an old fuddy-duddy, and most people don't manually curate their own playlists anymore, just let the app do it for them, but I do--I've got twenty years of music exactly how I want it, and it's super simple to keep in order as I add music to it.  There has to be an app somewhere that will do what I want, where "shuffle"="random shuffle through the playlist" and not "let me try to read your mind and horribly fuck it up."

beatrice_otter: Supergirl Victory (Supergirl Victory)
I do not have cable; I watch most things on Hulu Plus and Netflix and Amazon Prime, with the occasional thing on a channel's website.  For example, CBS doesn't let most of their shows on Hulu at all, so I watch CBS shows on CBS.com (which I hate with the power of a thousand burning suns, so it has to be a REALLY GOOD SHOW for me to be willing to do so).

Last year, that show was Supergirl.  But The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow were all on Hulu.  So I figured, the one good thing about Supergirl joining them (Cat as no longer a series regular, :( that sucks) was that Supergirl would also go on Hulu and I could watch it there!

But it does not seem to be on Hulu.  Does anybody know anything about this?  Will it be there, just delayed?  Will it not be there, and if so, WHERE CAN I SEE MY SHOW?
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
That was quick!  Matching must have gone really quickly this year.

Anyway, while it's not the BEST yuletide assignment I've ever gotten, it's pretty close.  We only match on one fandom, but that one has some great prompts that I think I can have fun with.

Which also means that when the early rounds of pinch hits go up, I can snag any that look interesting without going "no, not until your actual assignment is done," because the chances of me having problems finishing my assignment (and thus needing exclusive focus on it) are pretty small.

Fun, fun!
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
I had to keep reminding myself, when signing up just now, that an important question is not just "can I write this character?" but "can I write this character the way the fandom as a whole views them, and as they are most likely to be requested?"

Because that's not always the case.  Prime example: Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen.  Fandom tends to have a lot more sympathy for the Crawfords and think that Fanny and Edmund are boring and overly-priggish and everyone would have been better off/happier/more interesting if they'd married the Crawford siblings instead of each other.

I disagree on all counts.  I think they're very interesting as written, and may be a bit naive but have a good deal better understanding of the social mores of their day and why they mattered than most readers today, and that neither of them could have been happily married to their respective Crawford, long-term.

Would I happily write a Yuletide story with my interpretation?  Would I love to participate in a ficathon with others who share my views?  Yeah.  But I would be very hard-pressed to write a happy Edmund/Mary or Fanny/Henry fic.  Chances of that being what my recipient wanted: high.

So I don't sign up for Mansfield Park.

beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
DON'T PANIC.

This is a very long letter with lots of stuff, but DO NOT PANIC.  I'm actually fairly easy to please; I am very rarely disappointed with a ficathon story.  I write long and detailed Dear Author letters because I find such things helpful when I'm writing for other people; if you are like me, here you go!  If your style is different and a detailed letter makes you feel hemmed-in, feel free to do what works for you.

The most important thing for me in a fic is that the characters are well-written and recognizably themselves.  Even when I don't like a character, I don't go in for character-bashing.  If nothing else, if the rest of this letter is too much or my kinks just don't fit yours, just concentrate on writing a good story with everyone in character and good spelling and grammar and I will almost certainly love what you come up with.

One thing: I do have an embarrassment squick, which makes humor kind of hit-or-miss sometimes.  The kind of humor where someone does something embarrassing and the audience is laughing at them makes me uncomfortable because I identify too much with the person getting laughed at, so instead of being funny it is squicky.  On the other hand, the kind of humor where the audience is laughing with the characters I really enjoy.

If you want to make me the happiest recipient ever, here are some other things to keep in mind (not all of which will apply to all fandoms):General Preferences )

Cat Pictures Please - Naomi Kritzer )

Random Harvest (1942) )

Metropolis: The Chase Suite - Janelle Monae )
Caprica (TV) )

beatrice_otter: Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert (Javert)
As someone who knows a bit about history, there are a few things that most historical fiction (pro or fan) gets wrong ALL THE TIME, and it really drives me batty.  So I will be writing a few primers about basic details that people get wrong a lot, on an irregular basis.  It will not be a systematic "everything you need to know" basis, but rather "these are the things that bug me the most."  Unless otherwise specified, all these primers will refer to European and European-American culture and history.  (So, for example, your standard Regency AU.)

My first primer was on Corsets and Undergarments.

Today we're going to talk about class, titles, and formal modes of address!

You've all read this scene.  It's set in a different time period with really significant class differences.  Our Hero is a noble/really rich, and talking with a servant/lower class person, and the servant uses their rank or title, and Our Hero feels uncomfortable!  It's so stuffy and formal and weird!  And so they tell the servant/lower class person to just call them by their first name.  This is how you know that they are Egalitarian and therefore Good.  (Often the villain, if there is one, is very insistent on maintaining the visible elements of the class structure.)  And when the Good Egalitarian Aristocrat/Rich Person tells the Low Class Person to call them by their first name and treat them like they're friends and equals, the Low Class Person is happy with this and they become fast friends.

This is what we call projecting modern views on history. )

Now, if you want to completely ignore all this and have your Regency AU just be modern people in weird clothes, that's cool.  But if you actually want it to matter that they're in the past for anything more than "oh, fancy parties, cool," please keep this in mind.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
I'm pretty sure I offered to nominate a Star Trek novel for someone.  Vulcan's Glory, I think?  But I can't remember for sure.
beatrice_otter: Cover of Janelle Monae's Archandroid album (Archandroid)
There is a short story by Naomi Kritzer called "Cat Pictures Please" that is ABSOLUTELY HYSTERICAL.  And it's really short, but the worldbuilding is AWESOME.  It's about an AI who ... well, I can't tell you because that would spoil it, but you really need to go read it right away.  (It got the Hugo for Best Short Story this year, and boy did it deserve it.)

I read it like three times in a row and then promptly sat down thinking up plot bunnies.  Hee.  There is SO MUCH room for exploration.  I want to know What Happens Next, and What the Humans Think about all this, and what other stuff the AI has been up to, and just EVERYTHING.

There is not enough CAPSLOCK to express my squee and joy.

Please go read it and squee with me over it!

beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
This month, the United Nations General Assembly and President Obama will each host a summit to address the global refugee and migration crises. On September 19, the UN will be hosting a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants. The next day, President Obama will host a Leaders’ Summit on Refugees to encourage global leaders to make significant new commitments towards increasing financial support, resettlement, education, and employment opportunities for refugees.

More details and a script to call your senators and representatives with. )

Support for an overhaul of the criminal justice system surged this year after months of calls and pressure from advocates like you across the country. Decades of harsh and overly unfair prison sentencing policies have devastated communities. From overcrowding in prisons and skyrocketing federal detention costs, to countless families unnecessarily separated for small nonviolent crimes, reform is urgent now. More information and link to an email you can send your Senators about it. )

A few notes on why this is important. Politicians do not, by and large, pay attention to online petitions. You see, they long ago figured out that huge numbers of people who sign online petitions either a) don't live in their districts or b) aren't going to vote anyway. Young people are more likely to sign petitions like that, and pass them around; young people are the demographic least likely to vote. Why should a politician care about what someone who isn't going to vote thinks? Answer: they don't! But people who call their office or email them directly, those are a horse of a different color. Particularly those who talk about specific bills and whether they should or shouldn't support them. People who do that? Those are the people who are absolutely going to vote. Those are the people who are paying attention and holding them accountable. So those are the people they listen to. Do you want politicians to listen to your opinions? Then call or email them directly about specific policies, and follow it up by voting not just in national elections, but every local election too. This does not guarantee that they will do what you want all the time, or that people you agree with will get elected. But at least you have a shot this way.
beatrice_otter: Yuletide (Yuletide)
They're going to be opening up nominations for [community profile] yuletide fandoms, and I have no idea what to nominate.  There is no fandom that I passionately want a story in that I can only get through [community profile] yuletide.

Partly this is because of my great good fortune last year.  I have, since I first started participating in [livejournal.com profile] yuletide a decade ago, requested Donovan's Reef every year.  And last year, [archiveofourown.org profile] Damkianna heard my prayers and wrote me an excellent fic, we floated there along with the clouds.  It is an excellent fic, and I love it.  But it does sort of leave me at lost ends.  I could ask for it again, of course (if one fic in a fandom is good, two would be better), but that seems sort of ungrateful.  And it is lovely!  But Donovan's Reef--nominating it, requesting it, knowing that I wouldn't get a fic for it but living in hope anyway--was the one unchanging aspect of [livejournal.com profile] yuletide for me for a decade.  Everything else changed, but not that.

Partly this is because I'm sort of between fandoms at the moment.  I mean, I'm still reading a lot of fanfic, but I don't have any canon that I've consumed recently that has really gripped me with the need to know more, big or small.  I'm drifting away from MCU; haven't gone to see one of their movies since Age of Ultron.  (Which was why I couldn't participate in [community profile] marvel_poc--I didn't know enough recent canon, and you can't say "oh, yeah, I'll write Nick Fury, but only as relates to the first Avengers movie and Cap: Winter Soldier!"  I loved the new Ghostbusters, but I don't have any fic bunnies for it; it seemed complete to me as it was.  And the latest Star Trek was by far the best of the three (so far) reboots, but mostly spurred me to pull out my half-finished sequel to The Desert Between, rather than read or write something based on the latest movie.  I love Supergirl, but little of the fic really seems to appeal to me; TFA, ditto.  I feel restless, fannishly; I've always been polyfannish, with more than one fandom I'm participating in at any one time, but usually at least one (if not more) of them really grip me, taking pride of place.  And that then forms the scaffold around which all else rotates.  And now there isn't one.

As for YT-appropriate fandoms, I've read and watched some over the year, but none have grabbed me and said you have to request this next year.  My list of Yuletide prompts (I keep a list of possible Yuletide fandoms and prompts, because otherwise I'd never remember what I intended to ask for) hasn't changed since last year.  And, you know, most of them are old staples, moderately large (for YT) fandoms where I would be genuinely happy to get a fic, but don't have a really pressing need for it.  I like having a balance--a couple of prompts that REALLY GET ME GOING (one of them the Donovan's Reef prompt that I knew wouldn't get written, but hoped for anyway), and then some from more common fandoms that I'd be happy to get.  So I wouldn't be impossible to match, and I'd be happy no matter what, and had a chance of getting something REALLY AWESOME OMG.  And this year ... the old staples that I'd be happy to get are all I really have, but nothing I'll be secretly hoping for more than any others.

It's kind of a let-down.

beatrice_otter: A horserider with a glowing blue sword--from the cover of Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword (Blue Sword)
North and South (3846 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Aravis/Lasaraleen, Aravis/Shasta | Cor
Characters: Aravis (Narnia), Shasta | Cor, Lasaraleen, Aslan, King Lune (Narnia), Ram the Great
Additional Tags: Immigration & Emigration, Bisexual Female Character, Female Character of Color, Canon Character of Color, Canonical Character Death, Original Character(s), Religious Imagery & Symbolism
Summary:  Aravis left her heart in Calormen.

This is a fic for the Seeing Color fic exchange, and it's one of the best.  Lovely, lovely look at Aravis, and how leaving Calormen was a bit more complicated than the book delved into, and her relationship with Lasaraleen.  Beautiful, and it made me cry.

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beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
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