Scholarly woman ends happy!

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:48 am
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[personal profile] heliopausa

It's Vietnam Women's Day today (International Women's Day is also celebrated, but in March, as everywhere else.)  So to mark the day, here’s something about one of the many notable women in Vietnam's history.

Nguyễn Thị Duệ was born in the late sixteenth century, under the Mạc dynasty.  I don't know her parentage, but her name suggests that she was from an undistinguished family - Thị Duệ  (pronounced, roughly, tea zway) means more or less "ordinary worker's daughter".  (It's possible, though, that this was a name given to deflect unwelcome attention - a name to go unnoticed by?) 

At the age of about twenty, she adopted another name, Nguyễn Thị Du, in order to sit the mandarin entrance examination, disguised as a young man.  The name Thị still has something of a female ring to it, but the history definitely says she was disguised when so called, and women did not at that time enter the exams or serve as mandarins.  Anyway, back to the story: 

Statue of Nguyen Thi Due in temple
Statue of Nguyễn Thị Duệ in her temple in Chí Linh District of Hải Dương province.— VNS Photo Bạch Liên

Of her poetry, I have struggled with the translation of just two lines.  I like it very much, but I can't say it neatly enough in English.  Here, in fourteen words, she gives a picture of a young girl (nữ nhi) straining to just barely touch the strings (lề) used to bind together the books of her time, and predicts with certainty that the girl who can do so much will advance, first to the humble copy-card used to learn characters (thiếp), and then to take her doctorate (trạng nguyên).

Nữ nhi dù đặng có lề

Ắt là tay thiếp kém gì trạng nguyên

She who uses all means possible to just touch the book's binding
Advances to spell out the words, and to win her doctorate. 

(Not literal, but I promise you a heck of a lot closer than G****** translate.)

a day of less argh :)

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:47 pm
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[personal profile] edenfalling
I triumphed over the never-ending stack of leases, after which it was a slow-ish day. I showed two apartments and I think some of the people who went on the tour will come in tomorrow to rent an apartment, so that's nice.

I also got a raise! Only a small one, but even so. And what's nicer is that it's retroactive to June 1 (because our owner is an organized human being, really, I swear...) so I have a paper check I get to cash tomorrow. Yay unexpected extra money!

In news from my other job, today I finished one of my two tax update courses, and have registered for three live in-person continuing education classes, one of which is tomorrow night. The other two are next week, and I need to ask Miss Cactus whether she's willing to swap my Tuesday shift for her shift on either Monday or Friday, since the courses all start at 6pm and I work until 7pm on Tuesdays. (Failing that, I will ask Mom Boss if I can leave early that day.)

Continuing education requirements for tax preparers are 18 credit hours per year, allocated as follows: 13 federal tax law, 2 ethics, and 3 tax updates. You can, of course, take more than the minimum. I have currently finished 2 credits of tax law and 2 credits of tax updates. The three live courses will knock off another 9 credits of tax law, I have the second 2 credit tax update course ready to do whenever (probably Friday or Saturday), and the ethics and another 2 credits of tax law won't be too hard to knock off.

Then, of course, there are the New York state requirements, but I will deal with those in November. :)

wherein Liz has a day of argh

Oct. 17th, 2017 10:43 pm
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[personal profile] edenfalling
So my work day started with two tenants coming in to say they'd locked themselves out of their bathroom, continued through twenty million leases to process, and ended with another tenant coming in literally one minute before closing to say they thought they had to fill out a form, maybe...? which was actually three forms, one of which I had to generate specially and then highlight the relevant sections because nobody ever fills it out correctly otherwise. *headdesk*

I mean, at least I will get paid for the extra twenty minutes I stayed? But holy gods, argh argh and above all, argh.

(The bathroom, incidentally, was an easy fix. All it takes is a judiciously applied paperclip! But I had to go apply the fix in person because apparently tenants are bad at comprehending verbal explanations at 9am when they really need to pee. (To be fair, I probably would be as well.))


On the bright side, I got a two-hour tax continuing education course finished before Mom Boss dumped the never-ending leases on me, so that's something.

Wet weekend and the Water Temple

Oct. 15th, 2017 08:47 pm
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[personal profile] heliopausa
We have been having very heavy rains of later, in short bursts - so heavy that it seems amazing that so much could have been up there to start with.  Of course, this means floods and landslides and much loss and sadness in the mountain areas, but here in the city there's very little flooding, and blessedly no buildings collapsing that I've heard of (not that I'd expect them to, but the city is built on river delta land, not on solid rock, so it's possible, especially where people might have built their home themselves, piecemeal). 
The wetness has been a pleasure to the three quiet toads who live in our garden, at least.  They are Big, Middle and Little, and like to lurk under damp things - leaves or the edges of the old lily-bowl.  (Garden is a bit of exaggeration - there's a small paved yard, and in the corner a quadrant of earth, about a metre/four foot in radius.  Not big, but big enough for three toads.)

There was a break in the weather on Sunday, and we took advantage of it to take a walk through the back lanes, and as it happened, found ourselves passing the Water Temple complex - it's not a big complex, but one with a long history, and with two temples, and multiple side-altars and shrines.  It was marking a great day of some sort - the day wasn't in itself especially auspicious in the general calendar, so I think possibly the festival ceremonies were for particular community or family occasions, such as an upcoming marriage - there was a young couple front-and-centre in the side temple - but then again it's just over a week since the birthday/translation day of Princess Steadfast Jade, who is linked (if I've got my history and translations right) to this temple, and possibly it was just her celebration happening late.  (It may have been two different events just happening in both temples at the same time, too.)

Anyway, everything was very splendid, with big paper horses and paper elephants and slightly smaller paper boats with dragon prows, and multitudes of paper guards and attendants, some with swords and some with cymbals, and of course real people as well...  :)   Most of the horses were lined up in front of the central temple, but the side temple had one horse and one elephant and one boat; the paper attendants were too many to count (ie while behaving properly, as opposed to standing up and craning!) in both places.  In the central temple there were preparatory prayers going on when we first arrived, and then later the shaman/priest began to embody different personas, with different costumes and characteristics - the Forest Princess who dances, the General who declares, with swordplay, his determination to see justice, and so on.  Meanwhile, in the side-temple, a scholar/priest was reading and chanting and striking a wooden bell, while people sat quietly and listened. 

And here are some photos!  :)

The elephant stands proudly with eight horses in front of the central temple.  Every horse has a groom, but the sage elephant stands alone. :)

Mandarins and Generals and advisors as attendants in the side temple.  (The thing that looks like an airconditioning duct is a snake - snakes wind around through the rafters.)

Musicians and ladies-in-waiting and a Queen (?) stand in attendance on the left-hand side of the side-temple; the side-altar is like a cave because the Mother-Goddess devotion is very nature-linked, very much seen in terms of mountains and forests.

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[personal profile] edenfalling
[personal profile] rosaxx50 said: I would love something for Karen & Foggy & Matt (or ot3!) + libel! Something about how vigilante/law/media deals with a case of libel in some way. (400 words exactly)

Note: Three months late, but look! I wrote a thing! :D Also, insofar as this has a canon setting, it's in a happy future sometime post-Defenders.

With Only Mild Complaining )

And now I will go eat lunch. :)

cat fight

Oct. 13th, 2017 10:03 pm
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[personal profile] edenfalling
I heard the most godawful noises coming from outside my window around 9:30pm, whereupon I went outside and discovered Wilson (my diagonal neighbors' cat) in a standoff on the porch railing with an unfamiliar tailless, all-black cat.

Wilson then dived off the railing and under Upstairs Neighbor E's bicycle, where he proceded to make continuous upset noises while the stranger prowled silently along the railing and scented my windowframe.

I attempted to see if Wilson wanted rescue, but he swiped at me. Then I attempted to shoo the stranger cat away, but it swiped at me in turn.

Wilson was very polite about the swiping -- soft paws, no claws. The stranger made me bleed in seven places.

I went inside to clean and disinfect my wounds, after which I returned to see if Wilson was feeling any better/safer. The stranger cat was gone, but Wilson was still on edge, and swiped at me even though I approached very slowly and never got within two feet of him. So I went back inside again and applied a bandaid to the one cut that hadn't stopped bleeding.

When I returned to the porch a third time, Wilson was once again feeling relaxed. He came into the foyer as I opened the door, meowed in greeting, and asked for petting. So I scratched behind his ears for a couple minutes, before he decided it was time to head upstairs and find his people.

I've heard similar noises from the porch occasionally over the past month, and now I wonder if this is an ongoing conflict between Wilson and the stranger...

Celexa update

Oct. 12th, 2017 10:13 pm
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[personal profile] edenfalling
I started my increased dose of Celexa on Sunday. For whatever reason, it is not technically possible to get a 30mg pill of Celexa (or generic), so our choices were either take one-and-a-half 20mg pills, or take three 10mg pills. Splitting pills is a pain, so my doctor and I went the second route. The pills are so tiny, I always feel like I'm going to lose them in the gaps between my fingers no matter how tightly I press them together. *hands*

Anyway, I have been absurdly exhausted this week, but as always I am unsure how much of that is the medication and how much is my generally terrible sleep patterns. However, I have noticed that I've been sleeping... not badly, exactly, but more lightly/less deeply? Also having more weird dreams, or at least more weird dreams that I remember because I'm just awake/aware enough to notice them as they happen. And I am pretty sure that part is a medication side-effect.

Anyway, I am trying a new policy of going the fuck to bed by 11pm every night. I have not had great luck imposing bedtimes on myself in the past, but I think part of the problem is that my previous bedtime attempts have been more in the nature of "if you are still up at this hour, something has gone Terribly Wrong and you must initiate Emergency Sleep Protocols immediately" and by the time I've reached that point, I am so tired I can't make good decisions anymore so I just stay up even later. I figure 11pm is early enough to avoid that pitfall, and also making my cutoff happen before midnight avoids another mental pitfall of "oh well it's tomorrow already; I might as well stay up another hour." So fingers crossed, I guess.


Tangentially, today I failed to give blood for the second month in a row, because I am a little bit under the Red Cross's minimum acceptable hemoglobin levels -- not to the point where I'm medically anemic, but still. I wonder if that might be a medication side-effect as well, and/or if it's contributing to my tiredness. I have been having some minor gastrointestinal issues that could mean I'm not getting as many nutrients from food as usual, in which case supplements might be worth looking into...

Magic time

Oct. 12th, 2017 03:25 pm
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[personal profile] domarzione
(Originally posted to tumblr, which is the worst possible medium for bloviating.) 

The worst job in Hollywood right now isn’t damage control at The Weinstein Company. It’s publicity at DC/Warners.

The Justice League promotion junket is starting its rollout. Trailers, television appearances, etc. The movie’s got a lot riding on it – will it be able to build on the momentum of Wonder Woman or be more of the same darkly-lit confused murkiness from the earlier films? How will it fare against Thor: Ragnarok, its competition by proximity, and then against the canon of the MCU? Will it make the Superhero Movie Fatigue meme return in force? It’s a big deal.

But instead of simply trying to turn Gal Gadot’s SNL clips viral, the PR department is instead handling this:

‘Game of Thrones’ Star Jason Momoa Grilled on Twitter for 2011 Rape Joke

With his own ‘Access Hollywood’-like videos, Ben Affleck is proving our worst assumptions about him

Hollywood is very good at making stuff go away. It’s why we have a Harvey Weinstein problem in the first place. But there are some problems that can’t be made to magically disappear and, right now, at this very moment, Males Misbehaving Toward Women In Hollywood is magic-proof.

Momoa’s rape joke isn’t new news, but it’s relevant now in a way it wouldn’t have been up until last week. Remember Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans being dickish dudebros during the AoU junket? It was a tempest in a teapot, over in a flash. While Renner and Evans apologized (or ‘apologized’ in Renner’s case), there wasn’t even a consensus that they’d really needed to – women just can’t recognize a joke and obviously they’d been joking. Up until last week, Momoa had benefited by the same standards because he, too, had obviously been joking. Now… Now there is work to do to make sure Momoa’s Q-rating doesn’t dip too far that it can’t recover before next month. Gadot can’t be the only one movie-goers actually like.

(Affleck, as usual, is in a shitstorm of his own making. And Jennifer Garner doesn’t have to waste any more of her capital cleaning it up unless it touches their kids.)

If the last couple of days have done anything, they’ve highlighted how much more actresses have to put up with than unequal pay. And they have started to turn the spotlight from H Weinstein to all of the men, big shot and small fry, who have benefited from a system where their privilege was so thoroughly baked in that they didn’t even see it. Or, why so many never noticed any bad behavior that was probably happening in their proximity.

All of a sudden, deeds count as much as, if not more than, words. The internet never forgets, not con appearances that were filmed on a phone camera or outtakes of long-dead cable shows. And the women who’ve suffered don’t forget, either. “I have to be a feminist, I have daughters/sisters/female friends” doesn’t get your Ally Card punched anymore.

Dear Yuletide Writer 2017

Oct. 8th, 2017 08:23 pm
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[personal profile] edenfalling
Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hi, and thank you in advance for writing a story for me! I'm pretty easy to please -- unless you write a context-free sex scene, I'll be thrilled just to get a fic in one of the fandoms I asked for. *grin* But I realize that's not terribly helpful, so here's the (very!) long version. (I am sorry for the tl;dr, but I like to talk about things I love and I figure more details are better than fewer.)


General Information )

Okay. On to specific fandoms.


The Lions of Al-Rassan )

Saga of the Skolian Empire )

Daredevil (Comics) )

The Dispossessed )

And that is that. Thank you again, and happy writing!

Dear Yuletide Author

Oct. 8th, 2017 03:35 pm
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[personal profile] transposable_element

[Assignments went out earlier than I expected, so this isn't quite finished. Please check back in a day or two. Sorry for being flaky!!!]

[Update: Okay, it's ready now!]

First, thank you! I'm looking forward to this so much, and I hope you'll have fun writing.

As for what I like and don't like, there are very few things I would say a flat-out no to: graphic torture; prolonged graphic violence; incest; rape. What I really don't like to see is violence and cruelty normalized or justified. My attitude about explicit sex depends on the fandom, as noted in the prompts. In general, I prefer sex not to be the raison d'être of a story.  

Things I especially like:
  • backstory, for both characters and setting
  • underdogs
  • outsider perspectives
  • characters being in character
  • appealing but flawed protagonists
  • a setting that feels rich and real
  • unexpected or incongruous friendships
  • romance that goes against gender and/or sex stereotypes
  • actually, anything that goes against gender and/or sex stereotypes
  • non-sentimentalized parent-child relationships
  • people working through difficult problems together
  • respect for the original source (which can include being critical of it)
  • slice of life stories
  • endings with a sense of forward motion
  • good grammar and spelling
  • things I wouldn't think of myself (like what? I don't know!)
Most of all, I hope you write a story that you like and feel excited about.

Notes on specific prompts:

I know I put "see dear author letter for more details" on each prompt, but in fact I don't have a whole lot to add. I hope the above guidelines give you enough to work with.

Yuletide Letter

Oct. 8th, 2017 10:34 am
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[personal profile] rthstewart

First, thanks so much!  I really appreciate you writing for me and I hope that you find something that inspires or interests you.  Despite the character-centric match up, the fact is, I’m pretty agnostic as to characters.  Whatever we've been matched on, don't worry because I like just about anything and what I don't like has to do with tone and characterization, not particular characters.  

 If you have any questions, feel free to leave an anon request.  GAH, I tried to make this short and it keeps getting longer!

What I love (totally optional):

  • UST; witty banter and snark; politics, finance, history or military strategy; World War 2; worldbuilding; gap-filling; culture clash**; natural history, healthy, normal, romantic relationship between consenting adults; someone being extraordinarily clever and getting out of a jam; anything sly, wry, and silly; rapid fire dialogue; a delightful sense of the absurd; madcap adventures
  • A satisfying ending, delightful characterization, and to laugh at least once
  • Pagan and/or mythological influences;
  • I prefer humor over angst
  • Cross-overs, AUs, and Fusion Fics! 
  • Big monsters like sentient dragons, zords, dinosaurs, kaiju, transformers
  • I’m an old lady liberal, so if you go political, which is totally cool and I really enjoy, please lean left, even. 
  • As my list indicates, I generally prefer the ladies and/or POCs over the guys;

  **A word about culture clash, which a number of things on my list share:  I love characters, often out of time and place, sharing a different, more inclusive view, and often gently or more aggressively schooling (and possibly enlightening) those around them.  It’s why I love Temeraire’s radical point of view (why can’t dragons vote?), Rufus and Lucy in Timeless (no time is better than the one I’m in now), parts of the Chalion verse, and Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park, “We can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.”    

DNW:  it's a short list but pretty strongly held:  excessive angst, gore or violence; any dub-con whatsoever. I have a strong preference for humor over angst and romance/sex rather than violence.  For Yuletide, I’d prefer something that’s safe for work, so nothing explicit please.

 Character death is harder -- I don't have a problem at all with loved ones long gone, for example Desdemona or Temeraire grieving for past riders. 


As mentioned, this is an OR request, Rufus or Jiya, or both.  I had a really hard time picking characters here.  Feel free to include any others, and it does not have to be a Jiya or Rufus-centric story or Rufus/Jiya.  So many things interest me about the show and I love (practically) all the characters.  WHAT is up with Jiya -- super powers?  What are Jiya and Agent Christopher (love her very normal family life) up to while the others are gone?  I really LOVE the show's exploration of racism, sexism (Lucy's, you wouldn't want to drink my coffee), bigotry (see, I'm invisible!), and same sex phobias, and other isms so anything you can do there would be wonderful, or highlighting overlooked women/POC in history and having Time team fangirl and pep talk them. For Timeless I'd prefer gen rather than sexy times but Rufus/Jiya awkwardness is adorbable.  Only caveat, I’m not that interested in Rittenhouse and Flynn. 


I LOVE Desdemona.  Feel free to include anyone else in the Chalion timeline but Desdemona is a must! Before Penric, during Penric, after Penric.

 Indiana Jones

Anything with Marion doing her thing without Indy.  Give her some backstory; where did she live? How did she end up in Mongolia? What did she do after she and Indy split?  Smelly camels and donkeys, cursed tombs, loyal dogs, and finding lost cities and new species, and being good friends with the locals, drinking lots of gin and quinine to ward off malaria.  What happened after her father died?  Indy was in the OSS, was about Marion?  Was she a spy -- she'd be a great spy!  Invent a gal pal with some fem-slashy goodness on the side.  She accidentally discovers Themyscira and learns a zillion languages.  She becomes a Nazi hunter.  She works with Peggy Carter.  Handwave away Mutt if you need to.  She becomes an eccentric professor and teaches the next class of lady adventurers.  Most of all, have fun filling in the big gaps!

 Jurassic Park

Ellie because she's awesome and the other guys are fine, too, no problem.  Dinosaurs.  Or Kaiju.  Or Dragons. More dinosaurs.  Or Ellie kicking creationists from one end of the geological timeline to the next.  "Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth."


Even Temeraire himself is optional, so long as there are dragons.  OCs are terrific here, too!  Dragons, dragons, dragons.  Dragon mythology.  Famous dragons in history.  Dragons and AU history, dragons and wars, dragon politicians post League of Dragons, dragons and xovers, dragons and fusion fics.


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