james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll



The Order of Truth's Aeon Priests have resurrected our May 2014 Numenera Bundle, featuring the tabletop science-fantasy roleplaying game Numenera from Monte Cook Games. A billion years in the future, explore the Ninth World to find leftover artifacts of nanotechnology, the datasphere, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange devices that defy understanding. The inspiration for the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment, Numenera is about discovering the wonders of eight previous worlds to improve the present and build a future.



Bundle the first and bundle the second

NIF: eps 15-16 Lanterns and Swords

Jul. 25th, 2017 08:57 am
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
[personal profile] sartorias
These are transitional scenes in that they flash to the past but are building toward a coming confrontation. But on repeated viewings, we can see deep groundwork being laid for even bigger stakes.

And oh, the emotional moments are riveting.
Read more... )

Walked to the library

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:15 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Saw a squirrel hop into the back of a pickup truck and wait, giving every impression it was waiting impatiently for something. Does it know trucks move? Is that how it got to the library?

Wild Summer Storm

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:28 pm
kevin_standlee: (Snow Day)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
Lisa had cause to be on the roof of the travel trailer yesterday and noticed that the seal on the forward skylight was failing. We did not have any of the roof goop sealant, nor did Big R stock any, so after work today we drove into Reno to buy a tube of it from Safari RV. Thunderstorms were in the area, so Lisa went up and put some plastic sheeting over the skylight to fend off the weather.

It being Monday (off peak) and with no big event in town (Hot August Nights happens while we're traveling to Worldcon), we decided to return to the Peppermill, where (thanks to our locals discount) we got two excellent buffets for less than half what we paid the Atlantis for meals that made us sick. Lisa went to the manager and told her about us being "unfaithful" and that we'd returned to the fold.

Even better: we won $65 playing keno, which paid for the meal, tips, and had some "profit" left over besides. We praised Keno Bear for his keno-playing skills and gave him extra fish.

We had no further errands, and it was a work night, so Lisa drove us home after dinner. We started picking up rain as we headed east. Around Painted Rock, Lisa and I both were mystified by the white residue on the highway thrown into contrast by the tracks of the big rig we had been following. A few minutes later when we got home, we figured out what had happened.

Not a Snowstorm, but the Remains Looked Similar )

The white debris through which we had been driving was obviously accumulated hail from one of the bands of thunderstorms hitting the area. While it has cooled things down a little bit, there also has been a lot of lightning in the area as well. We hope everyone stays safe and that there are no more fires. We've had more than enough this summer.

Two questions

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:55 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
I wonder how long it will take the shadowy figures behind the Dragon Awards to count the votes?

I wonder to what degree the award has been gamed by the puppies?

Please explain

Jul. 24th, 2017 12:39 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The logic of requiring pedestrians to press a button for the pedestrian crosswalk sign to change, rather than just linking it to the traffic lights.

concert reviews @Menlo

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:01 pm
calimac: (Haydn)
[personal profile] calimac
Life goes on, for those of us lucky enough to be alive.

I'm still occupying much of my time at the Menlo festival, where workers are rolling the artificial lawns back onto the gravel, fortunately. My review of last Saturday's first concert, the Italian Baroque one, is up, and I see the Daily Journal has entirely redone its archives. All my past links here to my articles there are dead, though I have redone all the ones on my own webpage list of my journalism.

The second concert of high classics I already mentioned here; and here's the third, Thursday's covering the cusp between Classical and Romantic. That Mendelssohn not only was already composing before Beethoven died, but had heard his late music and was inspired by it, is something I've noted before; and Spohr's octet - which Menlo has played before - was also a then-new work Mendelssohn had heard and absorbed.

In theory I could go on like this - concert 4 with the Schumann/Brahms circle (nothing by Clara, but it does have Joachim) was tonight and tomorrow, and I'd love to attend, but no; my assignments have ceased for the moment and I have other tasks to attend to. But I'll be back later.

In the meantime I did get to the first young performers' concert (10 to 18) on Sunday, including all 3 groups I'd heard Gilbert Kalish coach on Thursday, and I may get to one or two more of those master classes.

I did get to one more lecture, violinist Aaron Boyd's eccentrically-spoken encomium to Fritz Kreisler. His worshipfulness of Kreisler is so great that someone asked if Kreisler had made any recordings that were less than perfect. Well, yes, Boyd admitted, that during Kreisler's last couple decades when he was totally deaf he did make some he should not have; but then Boyd went on to describe how even the deaf Kreisler was so great a player he moved other violinists to tears.

He didn't mention my favorite Kreisler anecdote: the one about the hoax Kreisler pulled by attributing concert pieces to then-obscure Baroque composers, raising a furor when he revealed that he'd composed them himself. Here, for instance, is the concerto he ascribed to Vivaldi. This was written in 1927 when few people had heard much Vivaldi, whose works were only then being unearthed, and didn't know what he sounded like. This sounds more like Bach, or perhaps Handel, to me, except for the final eight bars which must be a total put-on that don't sound like anybody.

Re-Tired

Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:45 pm
kevin_standlee: (Rolling Stone)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
It's a good thing that I didn't need to go down to the Bay Area to work this coming week, because late last week we discovered that the right rear tire of the Rolling Stone was flat. On Friday we learned where the jack and lug wrench are hidden in the storage compartment. We could have used the tools Lisa has around the property (they're a little easier to use), but Lisa said (and I agreed) that it would be better if I learned how to do it myself on the road without support.

The jack is a screw type (not hydraulic), and you need to have some boards to put under it, because it doesn't really have enough lift to get the tire clear. My arms were very sore once we got it up to where we could remove the tire. The lug wrench was relatively easy, and I was able to break loose the eight lugs that hold the tire in place and get it off. I wrestled it into the back of the Astro and we took it to Big O Tires in Sparks where we bought the tire in the first place.

The immediate problem turned out to be a nail in the tire, which they fixed; however, they also told us that the wheel rim must have failed and it would not hold air. We took the wheel and unmounted tire back home with us, because with that diagnosis, we would need to buy a new wheel. When we got home, Lisa put some boards under the tire-less wheel and lowered it onto the boards, as pictured below.

Taking the strain )

Yesterday, Lisa examined the wheel rim and said that the diagnosis must be wrong, because the piece they said had failed isn't something that holds air anyway. It's a solid one-piece wheel, not the two-piece type used in some vehicles. We could have taken it back to Sparks tomorrow and asked them to remount it under the tire's warranty, but instead I took it Hanneman Service down the street and paid them $17 to remount it. This evening, we put the tire back on and we'll let it sit for a while and see if it holds air.

It's a good thing I don't have to drive it as often as I did when we first bought it. However, even so, we know that the vehicle (repairs and all) has more than paid for itself versus the cost of even cheap-by-Bay-Area standards hotels, when the fleabags in Fremont are charging $99/night and selling out. Nevertheless, even though I'm now officially 100% Work From Home, I have commitments (medical and dentist appointments, SFSFC and Worldcon meetings) that will take me to the Bay Area several times a year, so we'll need to keep the Rolling Stone in "warm storage" and run it periodically to keep it usable when needed.

If I do get a flat out on the road, I may well call AAA though. They have jacks in their trucks that are easier and faster to use. I'll only resort to the hand-crank jack in an emergency.

Fig and Ibid still need rehoming

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:40 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Jasmine provided me with a very apt description for Ibid and Fig: the feline answer to Pinky and the Brain.... So if any Waterloo Region and adjacent people would like a cat who spends a lot of time thinking and one who spends a lot of time ... not thinking, let me know...

(also open to suggestions for rehoming them, because what I am doing isn't working)
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
[personal profile] sartorias
The next three episodes are a minor arc: the first two end mid-conversation. This is the arc that got me obsessed with the show—not only was the emotional dimension compelling, but I was catching Mei Changsu in the act of greatness, showing us how he does it. And the conversations about the past, about political expediency and loyalty and so forth resonated to the backs of my eyeballs, all the more considering the daily news here, focused on politicians from whom absolutely nothing can be believed or trusted, whatsoever. Nothing. It’s such a horrible, helpless feeling as we watch the limits of democracy tested, that watching a show in which people with good intentions slowly gain agency to the benefit of the innocent pretty much took over my life for the duration.

And it helps that the actors are all so gorgeous, the clothes jaw-droppingly beautiful, the sets all places I would dearly love to live in myself.

Anyway, Marquis Xie is shaping up for a major power play, thinking that he is maneuvering behind the scenes while his targets fumble in the light of day. But as yet he doesn’t know that he is quietly being outpaced, step by step . . .
Read more... )

Dur

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:03 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Of course I can review the Kobo Aura. It just never occurred to me I could until someone suggested it.

Short Cuts Make Long Delays

Jul. 22nd, 2017 09:16 pm
kevin_standlee: (Family)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
For reasons related to some property management, I need to so see my mother twice a year, in January and July. It has to be done in person. Today was my day for getting it done. Lisa didn't have to come along and elected to get extra sleep. I got started later than I would have liked, having told Mom I would be there at Noon. Instead, it was well past 1:30. She'd left me voicemail, but I didn't hear the call come in and didn't notice the message until I was already at her place and had to wait for about an hour for her to come back from the farmer's market, where she can gone, having given up on me.

Old Home Week )

After Mom got back from the farmers' market, we dealt with business, I gave her a list of all of the places I would be (and how to contact me) during the Europe trip, and we talked for a while. It was about 3:30 when I finally left. The idea that I could be home in time for a 6 PM San Jose Worldcon committee meeting call was fading fast.

Not a Short Cut at All )

My mother's house is less than 120 miles from my home. I left at about 3:30 and it took me more than five hours before I got home, albeit that I did stop several times, including long enough to buy some groceries in Reno that I figured Lisa would want.

I made a separate mistake of not putting on any sunscreen. My face is redder than usual tonight. I'll put ointment on it before I go to bed and hope I don't peel too badly.

What if for 2018

Jul. 22nd, 2017 08:53 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
My Friday reviews rotated between four long running series? Say, Vorkosigan, Kitty and two others?
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
[personal profile] sartorias
In this next arc, we see the powerful Marquis Xie moving toward securing more power through the oblivious Crown Prince. But he’s not merely the usual rug-chewing bad guy, which makes him so much more interesting. And also unpredictable.

Meanwhile, we are getting to know Xia Dong, Princess Nihuang’s bestie, who still refuses to speak to Prince Jing. She is loyal and honest and a fierce warrior. (And she has a very, very bumpy ride ahead of her.)

Finally, Princess Nihuang is confused and intrigued by this reclusive scholar who has the power to send military aid to a province on the other side of the continent, and yet who refuses to set foot in a falling-down house . . . and we see the building emotional cost to MC when spending more time with the princess and with Jing.

The next few eps are the midpoint of act one, and reach a climax I thought really intense on the first watch. I couldn’t believe that the intensity was going to scale upward exponentially—but it does. And by intensity I don’t mean climbing body counts, which enervate me fast. I mean real, personal stakes. Emotional cost. Political layers with real cost. So much intensity, so much beauty.
Read more... )

Summer brain

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:29 am
sartorias: (desk)
[personal profile] sartorias
Another book seems to be trying to grab me, so while I veer between ongoing projects and escaping the unrelenting heat with tv watching (more NIF later today) and reading, I'm writing notes and watching the tetris pieces fall and interlock. If they fuse, well, then, that's what I'll be doing.

In the meantime, an interesting discussion, which I hope to wring another BVC blog post out of. (It's getting hard to figure out something to write, but I committed to it, so . . . besides, it's good for me to test my ideas against others. Too easy to get locked inside my head.)

Anyway, the discussion subject was words you don't use. I don't necessarily mean cuss words you avoid, but words that have too much freight for whatever reason. Like, the discussion got started when someone mentioned that when we were growing up, nobody ever said the word 'cancer' or wrote it. Sick, ill, other euphemisms, but she felt that there was this tremendous fear around the word because it was always a death sentence, especially as the constant cigarette atmosphere around us started catching up with people at not very old ages. Saying it was impolite, like saying pregnant (expecting was the word back then), but also there was a kind of superstition like mentioning it would invite it.

Another person said she refuses to use the word 'literally' because she hears it so much, usually used wrong, that is, as an emphasizer, which she sees as sloppy language.

A third person at that discussion said that that was weird, and why avoid any word?

Thoughts?

Local Politics

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:01 pm
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
As is our wont, Lisa and I went to the local Fire Board meeting. The first part was nice: the district holding "badging" ceremonies for the newest fire-fighter to pass his probationary period, followed by the formal badging of the department's first-ever captains. They managed to figure out how to budget for three captains so that the Chief didn't have something like thirty direct reports (an untenable situation IMO). After the ceremonial stuff, which ended up delaying the start of real business for close to an hour, they got down to work. But the Main Event item was being presented by one of the more boring people I've met, and even though he admitted up front that he "talks in circles," the Chair of the meeting didn't tell him to get to the point when he rambled along. After nearly an hour of this rambling, abetted by the board members failing to stay on point themselves, and everyone simply repeating the arguments over and over again, Lisa and I gave up and went home. This is too bad because there were other things on the agenda about which we were interested, but at that point it looked as though they were going to be there all night arguing about whether to grant the local raceway a permit to hold a "fire lantern" festival.

My hours don't allow me to stay up late on weeknights. We walked home and I went to bed, possibly going to sleep faster by envisioning the ongoing drone of repetitive debate.

When I preside over the Business Meeting, if a speaker is going in circles, I've been known to intervene and say something like, "Could the member come to a point?"

It was the meeting-induced sleep that led to me not posting anything yesterday, which is a rarity for me because I do try to post something daily if I get a chance.
Page generated Jul. 25th, 2017 08:48 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios