wherein Liz plans a dognapping

Aug. 17th, 2017 10:08 pm
edenfalling: stylized black-and-white line art of a sunset over water (Default)
[personal profile] edenfalling
Greetings from New Jersey!

I drove down from Ithaca this afternoon in order to kidnap my parents' dog, mwahahahaha!!!

Or, in less dramatic terms, to pick up Dottie so she won't have to spend the next two-plus weeks in a kennel while Mom and Dad are off gallivanting around Norway. (Dad is giving a paper at the 11th International Conference on the History of Chemistry in Trondheim -- his conference papers are often their nominal excuse for trips to interesting places -- but they will spend most of their time on general tourism stuff.)

We went out to dinner at Charlie Brown's, I have washed a bunch of laundry, and tomorrow I will head back north through A) rain, B) far too much roadwork, and C) god only knows how many families flooding into Ithaca to drop their kids off at Cornell for the start of classes on Monday the 21st.

And then I will have a temporary dog. Yay dog! :D

(no subject)

Aug. 18th, 2017 01:44 am
roga: coffee mug with chocolate cubes (Default)
[personal profile] roga
I've been back from North America for a week that's been chock full of events, which is partly why I'd set my return date for August - a bachelorette party and birthdays and goodbye parties and my dad's 60th bday (which, thank you for all of you who helped me either record messages or cajole strangers across the US and Canada to record birthday messages for him!).

And I am posting to mark for posterity and with great happiness that tomorrow evening my cousin is getting married, and it's a combination of strange and exciting and emotional. This is my cousin from my mom's side of the family, which is the side we grew up close with, in neighboring towns. My cousins from my dad's side are all older than me and have been married for a while now, and my sisters and I have always had a more distant relationship to them due to age differences and geography. (This is the part where you guys are allowed to laugh, since the ones who live farthest away are still less than a two-hour drive away from my hometown; just over an hour with the new roads, really. But my mom's side live ten minutes away! So. An hour drive is far okay everyone [here] knows this.)

Anyway - O, the bride, is a few years younger than me, the fifth youngest of us six cousins, and the first on this side to get married, which means my 86-year-old grandmother gets to be in at least one of her grandchildren's weddings, which just by default makes me happy, that she'll get to experience that. I don't think she's ever put pressure on any of us to get married - certainly not on me, and I'm the oldest - but I'm really glad she'll get to have that experience anyway.

Weirdly, I guess I'm kind of used to the fact that my cousin's not a baby anymore - I guess at some point you just get used to all these milestones in people's lives happening. The last time I mentioned her was in this post from almost ten years ago where I was clearly shocked she was, like, almost a grown up or something, but it has since sunk in.

It's going to be a Friday night wedding, which already tells you it's not very religious here (and not, technically, legally binding; they'll fly to Cyprus to get married over the weekend for the legal part), and it's going to be at a music club and involve some kind of concert. Which means two concerts for me this weekend, since sisters and I are also taking my dad to Regina Spektor for his birthday, a day later.

And that, I believe, will cap my August of, uh, Things Happening.

MEANWHILE, I've been spending the past few weeks on and off (mostly on) listening to The West Wing Weekly podcast and I am 1) in love with it, 2) specifically in love with Hrishi Hirway's voice and entire being, and 3) highly recommend any West Wing fans (and esp if you were in the fandom) to listen because it will give you feelings, man. Starting at the beginning is pretty great, but you can also listen to episode 1.6 (Mr Willis of Ohio) for Josh/Donna feels, episode 1.10 (In Excelsis Deo) for Richard Schiff crying feels, and episode 2.22 part II (Two Cathedrals) for a little bit of Sorkin talking about the Passover Sports Night episode which I know is of interest to some of you :-) Anyway, it is a lovely podcast with great banter and both love and criticism of the show and I just want Hrishi to narrate my entire life basically.

Also I filled some prompts yesterday for a meme! It was basically 'send me a ship and a line and I'll write the next five' meme, but more importantly it was the first writing prompts I've actually filled since, I want to say, 2015 or something, so yay for that. Writing something at least! Fills are here (MCU, DCU, GK). Now if only I could translate that to actual decently sized fic hmmmmmmmmm.

Face Off through 1.5

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:47 pm
yhlee: hexarchate Andan blue rose (hxx Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
Note: I've been spoiled for the winner of S1 because I started with 2.1-2.2, both of which I rewatched tonight because the Dragon wanted to watch the show with me, and she wanted to skip S1 because she couldn't stand the backbiting. The Dragon loves art (she's in Talented Art in school) and I think it's really good for her to be exposed to this show since she's enjoying it, and I hope she finds the discussion of aesthetics inspiring. But mostly we're watching it for fun. =)

Read more... )

Meanwhile, in happier news, guess which household's preordered hardcopy of Starfinder RPG arrived today?! =D =D =D I'm not convinced by most of the class/character artwork (some of the gun designs are atrocious--why the fuck would you make a scope design that undulates?!) but the environment/matte painting is gorgeous. I oohed and ahhed over the illustrations for the different homeworlds in particular.

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 05:42 pm
skygiants: the princes from Into the Woods, singing (agony)
[personal profile] skygiants
It's hard for me not to unfavorably compare every Isabelle Hollington Gothic to Trelawny, the one with the identical non-identical constantly-swapping twins, but The Marchington Inheritance runs a reasonable second for batshit plot resolutions.

Our Heroine is a children's book illustrator named Avril, which would be fine if she were not ALSO notable for her family reputation as a Strung-Out Sulky Counter-Culture Fight-The-Power Teen Rebel with constant Rage Against the Preppy machine, which meant that I had "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" stuck on rotate in my head for the entire duration of this novel. THANKS, ISABELLE HOLLAND.

spoilers are full of hilariously plausibly annoying children )

World Fantasy 2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:57 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
The World Fantasy Convention (http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/) is November 2-5, 2017 in San Antonio, TX this year.

Headliner guests are Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Manchess, David Mitchell, Gordon Van Gelder and the toastmaster is Martha Wells (me!)

The con has posted the preliminary list of program topics:

Alternate Africas: The Growing List of Fantastic Alternate and Secret Narratives Set in Africa
Beards and Intrigue: Queering the Historical Fantastic
Calamity Jane Defeats Conan: The Persistence of American Folklore in Fantasy Literature
Exceptional Characters in Horrible Times
The Fiction of Mildred Clingerman
Gender Fluidity in Fantasy
History — Secret, Hidden, or Otherwise
Keeping Texas Weird
Kitsune and Dragon: Thoughtful Approaches to Alternate Eastern Asias
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: Still our Modern Prometheus
Metaphors and Metadata: Libraries in Fantasy Literature
Molly Weasley Was a Bad Ass: Aged Protagonists in Fantasy
New Twists On Traditional Myths & Archetypes : What are the Pitfalls?
The Old West: Not Entirely Wild but Always a Fantasy
Once More Around the Bloch
The Other in Fantasy when Everyone is an Other
Place Matters: Geography’s Influence on Fantasy
Pulp Era Influences: the Expiration Date
Putting Historical Persons into your Fantasy
Religions of the African Diaspora: Beyond Zombies, Ancestors, and Giant Apes
Research, Research, Recherchez: History is Easy to Get Lost In
The Role of the City in Fantasy Settings
Small Presses that Open their Doors to the Unusual: Past and Present
Urban Legends in the Age of Fake News
What’s the Difference Between Dark Fantasy and Horror

The list of Award Finalists is here: http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/awards/2017-world-fantasy-awards%e2%84%a0-finalists/

The convention rules state that it can only sell 850 memberships, and right now there are only about 140 or so spots left.
ann_leckie: (AJ)
[personal profile] ann_leckie

So, Provenance will be out in a bit more than a month! I can’t wait for folks to read it, honestly.

Not long ago, you had a chance to read the opening, oh I’d say half first chapter, for free online. And maybe that just whetted your appetite and now you have to wait until nearly the end of September for the rest?

Well, if you sign up for my newsletter, you can get all of Chapter 1, plus chapters 2 and 3! You might see a black banner across the top of my website asking you to sign up for the newsletter, with a text box for entering your email. You can use that, or if you’ve dismissed that click this link to go to a form you can fill out–a text box for your email, and then under that are checkboxes for which newsletters you’re signing up for. You want to check the “Ann Leckie” one, and you might or might not want to check any of the others, depending, but it’s the Ann Leckie one that will get you the chapters.

Here’s the deal–I hardly ever use my newsletter so I guarantee you won’t be spammed. What it does get used for is things like this. And for announcements of upcoming publications and such. Folks who are already signed up probably already have the chapters in their inboxes. If you aren’t signed up yet, you’ll get the chapters when you do. So, if you want to read the first three chapters early, there you go!

Mirrored from Ann Leckie.

Face Off

Aug. 15th, 2017 11:30 pm
yhlee: rose in a hexagon (hxx emblem Andan)
[personal profile] yhlee
I have watched Face Off 1.1-1.2 and 2.1-2.2 and plan on watching more. It's a SyFy reality? show in which special effects makeup artists are given challenges, and one is eliminated each week/episode until there is a winner.

I'm loving this show, but I will say that this is pretty much the first reality TV show I've watched much of? And the part where someone is eliminated and has to go makes me sad even though I know it's inherent to the format. I turn into a marshmallowy ball of sad over this. So far I have also seen them work in teams and backbiting start due to the stress and to the fact that even if you work in a team only one person gets sent home, so people fight over this, and that turns me into a marshmallow ball of sad too.

But! Special effects makeup is something I know nothing about and that I am finding extremely cool as an art form and as a technical discipline--casting molds, working with materials, coming up with a concept, just blending body paint or makeup...so much! I'm loving that aspect of it and learning about how it works. I also often can't tell what's good or bad on aesthetic or technical merits, which is unsurprising--I know zero about this discipline, while the judges are award-winning experts, so listening to their critiques is so enlightening. :D

Episode 1.2's main challenge involved body-painting completely naked models (with naughty bits blurred out) to match/complement a preassigned painting. When the models dropped their robes on the hostess's command, I swear they were smirking at the contestants. And why shouldn't they be? They're getting paid, and they're not the ones who are getting eliminated, and they're beautiful Hollywood people, getting looked at naked by an audience probably is no big deal to them. :p

I also learned based on one of the contestant's behavior during 1.2 that I seriously judge contestants who are rude to their models! >:( I don't care how stressed you are, there's just no excuse. :(

I don't know if they changed this for S2, but I hate the S1 thing where the challenge winner consults with who gets sent home, but that may be because I hate conflict. :]

Book Recs on Tuesday

Aug. 15th, 2017 10:11 am
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)

(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)


* The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
The earthshaking conclusion to Jemisin’s powerful postapocalyptic Broken Earth trilogy (after The Obelisk Gate) finds the fate of a damaged world in the hands of a mother, who wants to save it, and her daughter, who wants to destroy it. Essun believes she is the only person left alive who has the power and skill to open the magical Obelisk Gate and wield its power to save her cataclysm-rocked planet, the Stillness, which is being torn apart by an ancient experiment that got out of hand. But she is caught between that duty and her need to find Nassun, her 10-year-old daughter. Nassun’s father killed her brother and took her away because both children shared their mother’s dangerous talent; he hoped to “cure” her, but instead she has become incredibly powerful. Essun’s search grows urgent when she learns that Nassun is being guided by a dangerous mentor with plans of his own. Jemisin draws Essun and Nassun perfectly, capturing a mother’s guilt and pride and a daughter’s determination to survive on her own terms. The Stillness, where ancient science is powered by magic, is unforgettable. Vivid characters, a tautly constructed plot, and outstanding worldbuilding meld into an impressive and timely story of abused, grieving survivors fighting to fix themselves and save the remnants of their shattered home. PW review


* Biketopia edited by Elly Blue
This is the newest volume of the Bikes in Space series: A highly imaginative collection of sci-fi stories with a feminist bent.


* Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
The journey will take eons. In order to maintain the genetic talent of the original crew, humankind’s greatest ambition—to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy— is undertaken by clones. But a clone is not a perfect copy, and each new generation has its own quirks, desires, and neuroses. As the centuries fly by, the society living aboard the nine ships (designated Convoy Seven) changes and evolves, but their mission remains the same: to reach Reggie’s mysterious star and explore its origins—and implications.


* Volatile Bonds by Jaye Wells
When the Magic Enforcement Agency is called out to the scene of a dirty magic lab explosion, a body with a bullet wound is found in the smoldering ruins. As Detective Kate Prospero and her partner, Special Agent Drew Morales, hunt down the killer, they uncover evidence that a dangerous new coven may be operating in the Cauldron.


* Ex Libris: Stories of Librarians, Libraries, and Lore edited by Paula Guran


* Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett
Dayna Anderson doesn't set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn't the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.


* Vanity in Dust by Cheryl Low
In the Realm there are whispers. Whispers that the city used to be a different place. That before the Queen ruled there was a sky beyond the clouds and a world beyond their streets. Vaun Dray Fen never knew that world. Born a prince without a purpose in a Realm ruled by lavish indulgence, unrelenting greed, and vicious hierarchy, he never knew a time before the Queen’s dust drugged the city. Everything is poisoned to distract and dull the senses, even the tea and pastries. And yet, after more than a century, his own magic is beginning to wake. The beautiful veneer of the Realm is cracking. Those who would defy the Queen turn their eyes to Vaun, and the dust saturating the Realm. From the carnivorous pixies in the shadows to the wolves in the streets, Vaun thought he knew all the dangers of his city. But when whispers of treason bring down the fury of the Queen, he'll have to race to save the lives and souls of those he loves.


* In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
Sometimes it’s not the kid you expect who falls through to magicland, sometimes it’s . . . Elliott. He’s grumpy, nerdy, and appalled by both the dearth of technology and the levels of fitness involved in swinging swords around. He’s a little enchanted by the elves and mermaids. Despite his aversion to war, work, and most people (human or otherwise) he finds that two unlikely ideas, friendship and world peace, may actually be possible.


* A Song for Quiet by Cassandra Khaw
Deacon James is a rambling bluesman straight from Georgia, a black man with troubles that he can't escape, and music that won't let him go. On a train to Arkham, he meets trouble — visions of nightmares, gaping mouths and grasping tendrils, and a madman who calls himself John Persons. According to the stranger, Deacon is carrying a seed in his head, a thing that will destroy the world if he lets it hatch.


* Buried Heart by Kate Elliott
On the run from the murderous King Nikonos, Jessamy must find a way for her beloved Kalliarkos to take his rightful place on the throne. Only then can he end the oppression of the Commoners by their long time Patron overlords. But Kal's rise to power is fraught with manipulation and shocking decisions that make Jes question everything they promised each other. As their relationship frays and Jes's family and friends beg her for help, will she cast Kal and her Patron heritage aside? Will she finally join--even lead--the rebellion that had been burning among the Commoners for years?

[story] A Benefactor

Aug. 14th, 2017 08:54 pm
yhlee: Korean tomb art from Silla Dynasty: the Heavenly Horse (Cheonmachong). (Korea cheonmachong)
[personal profile] yhlee
For M.J.D.
Prompt: Sejong Taewang [Wikipedia], "time travel"

Author's Note: I apologize for any infelicities in the setting; it's been some six years since I've visited South Korea and I'm not up to date on the culture, although I did, indeed, drag my mom to Kyobo Mungo as many times as she would stand for it.

===

Eun-hee's friend Bora was supposed to have met her at Kyobo Book Center fifteen minutes ago. Late as usual. Eun-hee tucked herself between two shelves of excruciatingly tedious-looking monographs and texted Bora, just to be sure. A harried woman glided past her, then frowned at Eun-hee until she made way for the woman to peruse the shelves' offerings.

Grumbling a little, Eun-hee gave up on lurking between the shelves. She texted Bora to meet her near the area selling stationery supplies, then strode off, dodging a giggling group of students and a couple not much older than herself. She could always use more notebooks, and she liked the cute little erasers that came in every shape imaginable.

Eun-hee browsed the notebooks on offer. Humming happily to herself, she picked out a selection with adorable drawings of flowers and fruits, or cartoon animals, and erasers to match. She was considering restocking gel pens when it occurred to her to check her purse to see if she'd brought enough money.

Frantic digging turned up her transit pass, that grotesque (and hopefully fake) turquoise-dyed rabbit's foot an English tutor from Stateside had given her, a sad assortment of loose change, a crumpled memo note from her mom reminding her to restock on ginger, that green crystal earstud she had thought she'd lost, but no wallet. Eun-hee cursed under her breath, furtively set down her pile of loot on one of the counters, and began digging again, just in case she'd missed it somewhere obvious.

"Excuse me," said a gravelly male voice.

Eun-hee looked up at the ajeossi in dark turtleneck and slacks who had come up beside her and who was rubbing his chin as if he wasn't used to it being shaved. "Oh, I'm so sorry," she said, and began to scoot out of the way.

"No, no, Miss," the ajeossi said. He was smiling at her, not in a creepy way, but like someone who had discovered a hilarious secret and wanted to share it. He dug in his pocket, then held out three 10,000-won bills. "I have more of these than I could ever possibly make use of. It's like the supply is infinite."

Eun-hee blinked. Was he offering her money? And what did he mean, infinite supply of 10,000-won bills? She was too flabbergasted to be offended. "No, it's all right," she said, as politely as she could manage. "My friend will be here soon. I can borrow some money from her."

"Please, Miss," the ajeossi said. "I can't think of a better use for a few spare 10,000-won bills. I like to see someone with a love for writing." He deposited the bills on top of the pile of notebooks and smiled again, then walked off, soon vanishing into the crowd.

Eun-hee snatched up the bills and started after him, only to be blocked by shoppers. While waiting for the foot traffic to clear, she smoothed the bills with her thumb and examined them more closely. Maybe he'd been trying to pass off counterfeits?

Her gaze snagged on the portrait of King Sejong the Great at the left of the bill. Wait a moment...Mentally, she subtracted the facial hair and reimagined him in modern clothing, like a turtleneck. The face was a perfect match.

Well, if the inventor of the Korean alphabet wanted her to have some notebooks and study hard, who was she to say no? Shaking her head in bemusement, Eun-hee retrieved her stack of notebooks and erasers and headed for the counter to pay up.

your daily catten

Aug. 14th, 2017 07:42 pm
yhlee: kitty using bullet journal as pillow (bullet journal)
[personal profile] yhlee
It's been a while but I decided to try to resume doing daily sketches...



Cloud, lounging on the floor.

Ink: Montblanc Burgundy Red
Pen: Conway Stewart Churchill in Red Stardust. Honestly not my first choice of sketching pen because it's a bit heavier and larger than what I usually prefer, but man does it have a smooth nib.

(no subject)

Aug. 14th, 2017 08:12 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

Ways To Give:

Anon linked to a fundraiser for Mike "Mictlan" Marquez, one of the MCs in the rap co-op Doomtree (featured several times on Welcome to Night Vale's weather reports). He was recently diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes and like many artists is uninsured; he's expecting significant expenses for treatment he's already had (an ER visit and Diabetic Ketoacidosis) as well as ongoing treatment. You can read more and support his medical fundraiser here.

[profile] demond119 is raising funds with husband Jeremy to help with after-care costs of his heart transplant; he's currently on the waiting list at the Mayo Clinic, and once he has the transplant, he will need an extended stay at a transplant house (Gift of Life) for several months. You can read more and reblog here and support the fundraiser here.

[profile] emeraldonyxdragon is raising funds to support herself while studying in London this fall. She was accepted to a graduate program there but her savings have gone to help her parents with debts; in joining the program she would also be able to escape an abusive household. To help raise awareness, she is holding a contest -- reblogs and likes on her fundraising post could win you a fanfic of your choice. You can support the fundraiser directly here.

[tumblr.com profile] rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.

Activism

We're all aware of what happened in Charlottesville this weekend; there are some concrete ways to take action here and orgs to support here and just in case you need a little encouragement here is Asiatic Clam Man to remind you that you can do it.

Buy Stuff, Help Out:

[tumblr.com profile] magpiesmiscellany has a selection of tree-of-life pendants in various shapes, colors, and sizes for sale, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and the National Immigration Law Center. You can read more and purchase them here.

News To Know:

Leverage Big/Mini Bang signups are open! I ran RFM items letting people know about the Bang for a few weeks, and now you can register to participate. You can read more and sign up here (sign up links are at the bottom of the post -- at least on my screen they don't actually look like links but they are, I promise!)

And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.

Dice Tales

Aug. 13th, 2017 05:50 pm
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
I was delighted when I heard that Marie Brennan ([personal profile] swan_tower) was releasing her series of essays on storytelling and RPGs (tabletop and LARP) in ebook format. I've enjoyed these essays, but I am rather terrible at keeping up with essays on websites/blogs, and having them all in one place where I can read them in one fell schwoompf--to say nothing of being able to pay the author to encourage her to write more ;)--was very appealing.

Dice Tales discusses the RPGs and LARPs from several interlocking perspectives: that of the writer, that of the GM, that of the player, and that of the anthropologist. In terms of writing, Brennan talks about ways that the roleplaying experience has informed her writing and v.v., and ways in which storytelling differs between the media. There are also handy GM tips (I am all about handy GM tips, as a GM of limited experience) and exciting player anecdotes. And I have no background in anthropology at all, and Brennan was explicitly studying RPGs while doing anthropology, so it was very cool to hear about them through that lens.

Essays include discussions of what an RPG is, why the mechanics matter, the phenomenon of house rules, how GMs find leverage over their players and ways to use rather than abuse player trust, positive and negative uses of metagaming, the uses of costuming (mostly in a LARP context), when character death is appropriate, the question of consent in games, railroading and GM responsiveness...really, there's a ton here, and it's a great read all the way through.

I found this read especially timely because I am currently GMing a DW comm RPG, [community profile] hexarchate_rpg. Dice Tales doesn't explicitly address play-by-email or forum formats, but a lot of the GMing advice applies anyway. I personally find text media more comfortable because I am not a fast thinker and I have a terrible memory, so text gives me time to think up responses and plot things out and refer to previous moves, notes, etc. I am also shameless--I'm okay asking players directly what plot hook they want out of X development.

The anecdotes of great RPG/LARP experiences sound great, and I find myself envious--in GNS terms, I have rarely gotten to experience Narrative-focused play, which is right now what I prefer. (I used to be a split Narrativist/Simulationist in high school and college. I legit got into Fidonet arguments over whether AC represented damage reduction or damage avoidance. *facepalm* Then I grew up and realized that if you care about simulationism, you shouldn't be using AD&fuckingD in the first place.) When Joe ran his Eberron campaign back in Pasadena (notable for being maybe the only campaign I've been in that ran through to completion, in about a year meeting weekly), my very favorite session was the one in which we didn't even do combat, and I don't think there was a single dice roll. We had been handed the magical equivalent of the plans for the atomic bomb and had to decide what the ethical thing to do with it was, and we spent the entire session as a party discussing how to deal with it responsibly.

On the other hand, I can't help but reflect that I'm not good at tabletop (and would probably be even worse at LARP). As I said above, I'm not a fast thinker. I usually end up spending all our Pathfinder Society sessions being unofficial designated party notetaker (I have fountain pens and I like to use them?) and sketching randomly until someone tells me we're in combat and it's my turn to Power Attack. I can't act my way out of a paper bag, and usually by the time I've thought of a contribution, the play has moved on. So I just have to accept that I'm never going to be particularly useful in a live roleplaying situation. This thing where advanced roleplayers stretch themselves by playing different character types is basically unimaginable to me. I usually ask Joe to design the easiest viable character, mechanics-wise, to play, which is why I ended up with a barbarian in a team feat barbarian (me) + blood rager (Dragon) + skald.

My most successful experiences GMing tabletop/in-person were (a) a one-shot using Over the Edge, a very rules-light system (and even then, I used very few dice rolls and let people freeform most interactions since with a one-shot there's no reason not to) and (b) the Hidden Emperor L5R AU campaign that Joe and I co-GM'd; I handled most of the description and Joe handled the mechanics. :]

(It's hilarious how much I hate crunchy systems. I have a B.A. in math, for God's sake. But I want the math to...mean something? And most systems just feel like they get in the way, for me, because as a writer I'm effectively used to freeforming the hell out of everything.)

Still, even if I'm not a good gamer, I like reading about gaming, and I find different gaming systems and anecdotes (my God, the gazebo story!) inspirational as a writer. :)

Anyway, enough personal maundering--this ebook is a lot of fun, and it's available from Amazon (and probably a couple other places) or Book View Cafe in mobi or epub. Recommended.

[hxx] [story] Irriz the Assassin-Cat

Aug. 13th, 2017 05:04 pm
yhlee: sleepy kitty (Cloud)
[personal profile] yhlee
For: [personal profile] vass
Prompt: Shuos Zehun, "assassin-cats"

It was one hour and fourteen minutes past bedtime in the Hragoshik household, and the youngest of the little ones, four-year-old Piri, would not go to bed.

Zehun had just arrived twelve minutes ago by shuttle from the starport, bringing a modest travel bag and, as usual, the friendliest and most genial of their cats, Irriz. Sometimes people looked oddly at Zehun for traveling with a cat--a cat on a harness and leash, at that--before they realized who the cat's owner was. When it came to travel, Zehun was a pragmatist. It wasn't true that they ordered retaliatory assassinations if people insisted on delaying them during their rare visits to family, but if their reputation allowed them to skip the lines, why not?

Besides, Irriz, like all of Zehun's cats, was named after a notorious Shuos assassin. Specifically, Shuos Irriz had, in an earlier century, succeeded in assassinating all of a particular Andan hexarch's children and siblings, and had been working her way through a crowd of cousins when she'd died tragically (?) young of unexpected allergic reaction. Whether Irriz the cat would die the same way was an open question, considering how much she liked to try to eat the hexarch's snacks.

Zehun's second daughter, Verissen, was one of Piri's mothers. Verissen, too, had never been particularly good at falling asleep at times convenient for parents. Zehun enjoyed a moment of delicious generational revenge as they listened to Verissen trying to bribe Piri with, alternately (1) an additional bedtime story, (2) shadow-figures against the wall, or (3) extra bits of shredded chicken in Piri's breakfast porridge. Piri wasn't having any of it. In the meantime, Zehun removed the harness, then provided food, water, and a litter box for Irriz, all of which the cat availed herself of.

Irriz made her way to a black velvet armchair on which her splendid white hairs would show up magnificently, raked it with her claws for good measure, then flopped onto it. Fortunately the velvet would heal itself. The hairs were another matter. The velvet was supposed to eat detritus, but for some reason it always choked on cat hairs.

Satisfied that their cat was content, Zehun poked their head into the room where Piri was sitting up in bed with her face screwed up and her blankets kicked to one side. "Why aren't you getting one of the household servitors to put her to bed?" Zehun asked Verissen.

"I usually do that," Verissen said, tugging on a lock of hair straggling loose from its braid, "but I thought we should spend more time together. Of course, I also thought she'd be asleep by now so I could catch up with you properly. I don't know what the problem is!"

Zehun crouched down to bring themselves eye to eye with the little girl. "Hello, Piri," they said softly. "Remember me?"

Piri snuffled. "Gran! Gran, there are too many shadows."

Zehun glanced at Verissen. "You take a break, Rissa. I'll see to the little one."

Verissen didn't even argue, just patted Piri on the head and beat a swift retreat.

Piri snuffled some more. "Gran, I looked under the bed and there are shadows there."

"That means the candlevines are no good," Zehun agreed, "since they're only on the walls. Do you want candlevines under the bed, too?" Probably a nuisance to get the servitors to do it tonight, but it could be managed with the aid of the household matter printer.

"But I won't be able to see anything under the bed," Piri said, with perfect logic, "so how will I know it's working?"

Zehun considered this. "I think I have a solution," they said. "Come with me."

The two of them emerged into the living room together. Verissen was talking to one of her wives about a dinner party she had planned for next week. She opened her mouth to protest, then closed it when Zehun looked at her.

Irriz the cat was still sprawled on the black velvet armchair, having festooned it with numerous long white hairs. Zehun scooped her up. Irriz mewed in protest, but Zehun had long practice avoiding claws.

Zehun and Piri walked back into Piri's bedroom. "You remember Irriz, too, don't you?" Zehun said to their granddaughter.

Piri nodded and reached out for Irriz's tail.

Zehun smoothly diverted Piri's hand to the cat's head, and Piri obediently began scritching Irriz behind the ears. "Irriz is a very special cat," Zehun said. "Irriz is a Shuos cat, and beyond that, Irriz is a Shuos assassin-cat."

Piri looked at Irriz wide-eyed.

"That's right," Zehun said. "And furthermore, since Irriz is a cat, Irriz specializes in assassinating shadows. She will"--this part was even true--"spend the entire night chasing shadows if you let her."

"She'll chase the shadows away?" Piri asked, her voice trembling just a little.

Zehun nodded.

Irriz purred, which probably had more to do with the scritches than the promise of delicious shadows to pounce on, but who knew?

"Go to bed, Piri," Zehun said, and this time Piri did just that. Irriz clambered into the bed and curled up next to her, ready to go shadow-hunting at the slightest provocation.

(no subject)

Aug. 13th, 2017 03:04 pm
yhlee: Korean tomb art from Silla Dynasty: the Heavenly Horse (Cheonmachong). (Korea cheonmachong)
[personal profile] yhlee
I'm looking at some Twitter account Tweeting about me in Hangeul for whatever reason (it's nothing bad) and realizing that Korean cheats on Twitter! Because Twitter has that 140-character limit...but each syllable-block of Hangeul is apparently counted as a "character"! So Korean can fit more actual words into a Tweet! That's hilarious.

I bet you get even better with Chinese and Japanese...I'd never thought about that. :D

I'm still bemused that because of the transliteration, everyone seems to assume my family name is 리. It's not! It's 이! :p Sorry, Dad...