Rats and Books

Sep. 18th, 2017 08:21 pm
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
We've been hearing noises in the wall between our house and the garage for a while, and got confirmation today that it was rats. Apparently they chewed their way in through a hole at the end of a rain gutter and got in the garage attic, then got in and have been hanging out under the bathtub. So, not fun. But someone at the university recommended a wildlife removal company that specializes in rodents, and I think that's exactly what we need. (We're also infested with geckos, but that's actually a good thing.) Anyway, it's going to be expensive, but not nearly as bad as I thought.


Fireside Fiction has set up an ebook Hurricane Relief Bookstore. 100% of the profits go to hurricane relief funds in Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean. My book Wheel of the Infinite is available there, with lots of other cool SF/F novels, magazines, and anthologies:

marthawells: (Atlantis)
[personal profile] marthawells

Now that the cover (by Jaime Jones) has been revealed, more preorder links are available. (I really, really appreciate preorders, wherever you shop, not just the links here.)

Note: Artificial Condition is a novella, around 160 pages. It's a direct sequel to All Systems Red and begins not long after that novella ends.

Description: It has a dark past -- one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself "Murderbot." But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don't want to know what the "A" stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks...

Available at:
Barnes & Noble, Amazon US and all other Amazons, Mysterious Galaxy, BooksaMillion, Book Depository, and from a local independent bookseller through Indiebound.

ebook (DRM-free): Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, iBooks, Amazon Kindle, Kindle UK, Kindle Canada, Kindle France, Kindle Germany, Kindle Spain, and all other Kindle retailers.


SECUNITS DON'T CARE ABOUT the news. Even after I hacked my governor module and got access to the feeds, I never paid much attention to it. Partly because downloading the entertainment media was less likely to trigger any alarms that might be set up on satellite and station networks; political and economic news was carried on different levels, closer to the protected data exchanges. But mostly because the news was boring and I didn't care what humans were doing to each other as long as I didn't have to a) stop it or b) clean up after it.

more )

A few words about clothing and color

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:30 pm
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Posted by Naomi Parkhurst

I was reading a book about making clothes the other day and stopped short when it started being bossy about how to wear colors that don't suit one. Now, maybe it's just that I'm not a particularly fashionable person, but this made me cranky. I wanted to throw the book out the car window; fortunately for the book, it came from the library.

I happen to be pleased that the colors I like to look at are the same colors that other people tell me I look good when wearing. Ultimately, though, I think what's important is that my clothes should make me comfortable and happy, should be well-made and last a long time, and should ideally have been made in ethical circumstances. (I don't manage the last as much as I'd like, for a variety of reasons, but I try not to beat myself up over it.)

This goes for you, too: if a given color makes you happy, I'm not going to argue that you shouldn't wear large quantities of it. In fact, if you’re a friend of mine, I’ll give you things in that color because I know you like it, whether or not I think it “suits” your complexion, and whether or not I like the color in question. If it makes you happy, it suits you, end of story.

I feel this way about a lot of things, really. My motto about knitting styles is that if you're getting results you like (or are getting better), and you're not hurting your hands, then you're knitting correctly.

Movie: California Typewriter

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:57 pm
rem: Girl-type Ranma emerging from spring (Default)
[personal profile] rem

If you like California and you like typewriters, you're going to enjoy California Typewriter. Heck, even if you don't like California, you may enjoy California Typewriter.

This movie is a nostalgic look at the typewriter through the eyes of celebrity enthusiasts, a collector, an artist and a store that sells and repairs typewriters, and is the source of the movie's title

While I'm not a typewriter fanatic who owns several and types on them all the time, I do have an appreciation for typewriters. I can also relate to the enthusiasm for vintage technology which works just fine, thank you very much, even as the rest of the world moves on. This was a great documentary.

ETA: One day later, xkcd puts out an appropos cartoon.

Movie: Killing Gunther

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:30 pm
rem: Girl-type Ranma emerging from spring (Default)
[personal profile] rem

Those of you who've desperately wanted to hear Arnold Schwarzenegger sing country western can now rejoice. as your fervent prayers have finally been answered.

Killing Gunther is about a group of assassins who reach the conclusion that the only way to raise their status -- and become the best -- is to kill the best assassin around, a fellow named Gunther. Each attempt to take Gunther down goes wrong, making the group -- or at least its leader -- even more determined to finish the job once and for all. I'm reminded of a moment from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:

Khan: Kirk! You're still alive, my old friend!

Kirk: Still, "old friend." You've managed to kill just about everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target!

While I ultimately liked this movie, it was a mixed bag. It's listed as "action, comedy" and that's certainly true, but it felt like as the movie progressed, the universe in which it operated became increasingly surreal (or decreasingly realistic, if you prefer). I'm all right with any part of the spectrum, but I would have preferred the movie (or its creators) to pick a spot and stay there.

Book: Cress

Sep. 17th, 2017 04:39 pm
rem: Girl-type Ranma emerging from spring (Default)
[personal profile] rem

Cress is the third book in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, directly following Scarlet. This book wastes no time introducing its titular character who is a shell and a programmer but is not, as I would say in jest, a shell programmer. In this case, "shell" is a word describing Lunars who lack the ability to glamour. As for the word "programmer," as used by Lunars, I would classify her a hacker. She's been imprisoned on a satellite in orbit of Earth for many years, spying on the planet below. Recently, she was tasked with locating Cinder and her band of rebels. An technically, she did. But rather than report their whereabouts to her master, she's been using her talents to keep them hidden. They might be just the right people to help her escape. Meanwhile, Cinder and company are working to disrupt the wedding of Emperor Kaito and Queen Levana. Once they're married, no one will be able to stop Levana from taking over the planet.

Can the wedding be stopped? Will Cress escape her prison?

I normally stop reading a book after about four weeks if I haven't finished it. I spent more than that reading this, partly because it's noticeably longer than the previous two books and partly because I had some issues going on which limited my reading time. But it was worth it. These are great characters, whether split up or working together.

OTW Chat

Sep. 17th, 2017 03:59 pm
marthawells: (Reading)
[personal profile] marthawells
Here's the transcript for the Organization for Transformative Works 10th Anniversary chat: https://www.transformativeworks.org/transcript-for-otw-10th-anniversary-chat-with-seanan-mcguire-martha-wells/
marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells

* Excerpt: http://www.marthawells.com/murderbot2.htm

* Interview on The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/16/16315474/science-fiction-author-martha-wells-murderbot-robots-interview

* And we're coming up on the time for the OTW Chat: Today 9/17 noon to 2 EST, me and Seanan Mcguire will do a guest chat for the Organization For Transformative Works 10th Anniversary https://www.transformativeworks.org/today-is-the-otws-10th-anniversary/
[syndicated profile] wwdn_feed

Posted by Wil

Tabletop’s Eldritch Horror Pt. 1 was released this week.

Speaking of horror, I think I mentioned that I had this idea for a 1970s-style ridiculous, bloody, Grindhouse horror film. I thought it was just a silly story exercise, but the more I thought I about it and the more I did the story work for practice, the more I wanted to do the story work to make it into a real thing. So I’ve been working on that. It isn’t on cards just yet, but it’s on the whiteboard and it has its own file of ideas and beats and characters and stuff. I don’t know if it’ll get made, but at the very least I’ll have a script to publish.

I’ve been using that idea as an excuse to watch a ton of actual 1970s ridiculous, bloody, Grindhouse horror films. I’ve thrown some classic exploitation films into the mix, and learned a lot about how those movies were made. Some of them are terribad, but most of them have a sincerity that is utterly charming and worthy of emulation in my own screenplay.

I’ve been leveling up my understanding of story and character construction with this book called The Anatomy of Story. It’s densely packed with information and examples, and it’s slow reading for me because I keep going back to review, and I’m making a ton of notes in my notebook, but I’m pulling in tons of XP with each chapter. If you’re interested in writing and want to understand how to build your story, I highly recommend it.

The Deuce is as amazing as I hoped it would be. I am hoping so hard that the series lives up to the pilot (which is a thing I never say, because pilots are generally not that great, since they have to introduce a ton of characters and information.) Franco has always turned me off (it’s not him, it’s me), but I fucking LOVE him in this show.

Blood Drive was not renewed by the network formerly known as Sci-Fi, which makes me a little sad, because Colin Cunningham and Christina Ochoa are brilliant in it (Christina should have had top billing and Colin should win awards), and I would watch them as those characters forever. But! It always felt like it should be a miniseries, and the last four episodes weren’t nearly as compelling as the first eight. I felt like they had to bail on the premise — each episode pays homage to a classic exploitation trope — to set it up for multiple seasons. There was so much great stuff in it, though, and I sincerely love that SyFy gave the project the greenlight. It was a risky project, to say the least, and it’s so cool to see a network that was profoundly risk-averse when I worked for them take the chance.

I read a bunch of short stories from Charlie Jane Anders when I was on vacation last week, and I loved them all. So I went to the bookstore yesterday to pick up All the Birds in the Sky, and while I was there, I browsed the tabletop game section. My finger is ten miles from the pulse of tabletop gaming right now, but I took pictures of some games there that looked promising to me:

Have any of you played any of them? I’m just looking for fun games to add to my collection, not necessarily games that are candidates for Tabletop, as Tabletop’s future is uncertain.

Also, not that it matters, but getting Twitter off my phone and mostly out of my life has been a really great choice. It turns out that not being kicked in the face by infuriating bullshit dozens of times a day is a pretty neat idea.

So that’s a bunch of stuff I want you to know. What do you want me to know? I’m enjoying these posts, because it reminds me of the early days of my blog, when you who read it and I who wrote it would interact more than we seem to these days.


marthawells: (Miko)
[personal profile] marthawells
The cover reveal for The Murderbot Diaries: Artificial Condition, plus an interview with me, is on The Verge:

[syndicated profile] everythingsysadmin_feed

Posted by Tom Limoncelli

This month's NYCDevOps meetup speaker will be Seth Thomas talking about "Habitat in Production".

  • Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2017
  • Time: 6:30 PM
  • Location: Stack Overflow HQ, 110 William St, 28th floor, NY, NY

Space is limited! RSVP soon!


Couple of Things

Sep. 15th, 2017 09:00 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
* On Sunday, September 17, Seanan McGuire and I will be doing a guest chat for the Organization for Transformative Works 10th Anniversary. The topic is "fandom and fantasy."


* I have a story out in a new anthology: Mech: Age of Steel Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

My story is "Birthright" and it's set in the Three Worlds, about the crew of the wind-ship Escarpment.

transit and mode share

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:29 pm
mindstalk: (Earth)
[personal profile] mindstalk
I've been reading a bunch of kchoze posts the past couple days. This one is on the economics of transit, and transit efficiency.

'if transit is economically inefficient, why are third world cities dominated by transit and not by personal cars? Why do the Japanese pay 10% of their income on transport versus 20% for Americans and Canadians?'

There are some numbers, and discussion of cost per mile vs. cost per trip. But there's one thing which I sort of gut felt that he spells out: transit friendly cities are denser, so they're more walkable as well.

Let me spell that out. In a sprawling car-centric city, up to 100% of trips may be taken by car. Actual numbers are more like 90%. [Caveat: that's share of trips to work, not all trips.] But you'll never see a city that's 90% transit mode share. (Some cities listed do get up to 70% transit, but again, that's commuting to work.) A city that has lots of transit is a city with lots of walking, too, especially if uses are decently mixed.

(I'm sort of imagining a degenerate case where there's no point to walking around one's residential neighborhood, not even for groceries or school or church, and having to catch transit elsewhere...)

So the reasonable target is not getting transit share really high, but car share low, with the slack being taken up by a mix of transit, walking, and bikes.

This has an extra economic effect: in Sprawlville, the cost of cars (roads, parking, cars, gas...) can be spread over almost all trips. Naively, the cost per trip of transit is doing to have a smaller denominator, only 40% of trips rather than 100%, even though the other non-car trips are part of a coherent dense system that must include transit.
[syndicated profile] wwdn_feed

Posted by Wil

It was an incredible honor and privilege to contribute a story to this anthology. We were given the opportunity to write a story about a minor character in the Star Wars universe, and I chose the guy who watches ships fly away from the rebel base.

My editor pointed out that one of the guys (who I call Rebel Base Bucket Guy, because that amuses me) is already named, so my Rebel Base Bucket Guy is a different guy. I have to point this out, because the Star Wars Nerds are going to force choke me if they think I renamed their canonical Rebel Base Bucket Guy.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to write, and I titled it for my friend, Laina, who is best known for her hilarious YouTube videos.

[syndicated profile] chefnathanlyon_wp_feed

Posted by Chef Nathan Lyon

Bacon makes everything better…

white bean

Rosemary White Bean Soup with Smoked Bacon


Yield: 4 servings


1 bunch curly kale

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

3 slices smoked bacon, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices (3/4 cup)

2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small (2 cups)

5 large garlic cloves, peeled andminced (1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons)

3 (5-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary, bruised with your fingers

5 sprigs fresh thyme

2 dried bay leaves

2 (16-ounce) cans white kidney beans (cannellini beans), rinsed and drained

6 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ teaspoon red wine vinegar, plus more to taste

Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving


Strip the tender leaves from the tough stems of the kale; discard the stems. Rinse the leaves, then chop roughly. You should have approximately 6 packed cups of kale.

Add the bacon and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a small pot. Place over medium-low heat and cook for approximately 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until much of the fat has rendered off, and the bacon is just beginning to get nice and crispy.

Add the onions, stir occasionally, and continue to cook until soft and translucent, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Using a piece of butcher’s twine, tie together the rosemary, thyme sprigs and bay leaves; toss the herbs in the pot.

Stir in the beans, kale, and stock.

Cover and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the beans are soft and the kale is cooked through.

Remove the tied herbs and discard. Add the vinegar and season to taste with salt, pepper and additional vinegar.

Serve in bowls. Shave some Parmigiano-Reggiano over the soup with a vegetable peeler, then top with a drizzle of olive oil and some pepper.

Filed under: All Recipes, Entrees, Gluten Free, Pork, Potluck / Party, Soups Tagged: Bacon, Chef Nathan Lyon, Easy, Fiber, Gluten Free, Great Food Starts Fresh, Healthy, Nathan Lyon, protein, Recipe, Soup, White Beans

Murderbot Update

Sep. 13th, 2017 11:24 am
marthawells: (Default)
[personal profile] marthawells
I've finally finished a final draft of the fourth Murderbot Diaries novella. It's due on Friday, and for a while there I didn't think I was going to make it. All Systems Red was written pretty quickly, in about a month, including a few days I had to take off because I had a back injury and fell in the bathtub. Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol were both difficult and each took about two months, including many false starts and complete plot-ectomies, but with this one I probably wrote more than 60,000 words to finally come up with the final 35,000.

Part of the reason it took so long was stress from that monstrous thing inhabiting the White House and everything he's brought with him, part of it was just wanting to get the story right.

I've seen the covers for Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol and they're gorgeous. And I've heard the narrator for the audiobooks, and I'm pretty excited about who they picked. I can't say anything more about all that yet, but hopefully there can be official announcements soon.

In other news, we got a new dishwasher because the plastic parts rotted out of the old one, and we think squirrels have somehow tunneled into one of the walls of the house. So, nothing particularly unusual there.

Name five female...

Sep. 12th, 2017 06:26 pm
mindstalk: (Default)
[personal profile] mindstalk
Writers? Trivial for me.

Singers? Not hard.

Instrumental composers? Uh no, though I don't know that many composers period, especially living ones.

Visual artists? If comics and webcomics count, I can do it.

Painters? Haha no.

Three sentences about 2017-09-11

Sep. 10th, 2017 10:37 pm
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
A very good day at work today, lots of progress on Omni stuff, and some more this evening too. Shopped on the way home, and made tacos for dinner, yum. A bit of kids in the evening, including a difficult part of Hat Full Of Sky (upsettingly cruel bullying), but they kids didn't seem too upset by it, and we had some good conversation about it afterwards, so yay. Now it's gotten late and I gotta sleep.

Approximately weekly diet report )
[syndicated profile] stringgeekery_wp_feed

Posted by Naomi Parkhurst

This is a continuation of my Help post from before, this time with a lace stitch based on the word help. If you like it and use it, please consider donating money to a group working to assist after natural disasters. As I discussed in my previous post, local donations are usually best, but if you don't have much time, I think it's hard to go wrong with Doctors without Borders.

I'm not familiar with the right groups for the flooding in South Asia or Africa, or the earthquake in Mexico. This is all highly discouraging, but remember to look for the helpers!

Help: a free lace knitting stitch pattern


  • This is a stitch pattern such as might be found in a stitch dictionary. It is not a pattern for a finished object. You will need to add selvedges or some other form of knitted stitches to either side.
  • Help is a multiple of 18+18 stitches and 12 rows.
  • I’ve made a stitch map for it.
  • Designers, please feel free to use this stitch in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.
  • If you like this post, please donate what you can to disaster relief.


  • 1/1 LC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at front of work, knit 1, then knit 1 from cable needle.
  • 1/1 RC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at back of work, knit 1, then knit 1 from cable needle.
  • CDD: centered double decrease: slip the next 2 stitches as if to knit 2 together, knit the next stitch, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the third.
  • DSD: double slip decrease; ssk, slip the resulting stitch back to the left needle, pass the next stitch over, then slip the result. (Right-leaning double decrease. Substitute knit 3 together if desired; they are similar but don’t look quite the same.)
  • k: knit.
  • k2tog: knit 2 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning decrease)
  • p: purl.
  • sk2p: slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over. (Left-leaning double decrease.)
  • ssk: slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (Left-leaning decrease)
  • yo: yarnover.

Row 1 (RS): k1, 1/1 LC, k2tog, yo x 2, DSD, yo, k1, *k1, yo, sk2p, yo x 2, ssk, 1/1 RC, k2, 1/1 LC, k2tog, yo x 2, DSD, yo, k1; work from *, k1, yo, sk2p, yo x 2, ssk, 1/1 RC, k1.
Row 2 (WS): p4, (k1, p1) in double yo, p3, *p3, (k1, p1) in double yo, p8, (k1, p1) in double yo, p3; work from *, p3, (k1, p1) in double yo, p4.
Row 3: k2, k2tog, k2, yo, ssk, yo, k1, *k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k2, ssk, k4, k2tog, k2, yo, ssk, yo, k1; work from *, k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k2, ssk, k2.
Row 4: purl.
Row 5: k1, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, cdd, k1, yo x 2, *k1, cdd, yo, k2, yo, ssk, k2, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, cdd, k1, yo x 2; work from *, k1, cdd, yo, k2, yo, ssk, k1.
Row 6: p8, *(k1, p1) in double yo, p16; work from *, (k1, p1) in double yo, p8.
Row 7: k1, yo, sk2p, yo x 2, ssk, 1/1 RC, k1, *k1, 1/1 LC, k2tog, yo x 2, DSD, yo, k2, yo, sk2p, yo x 2, ssk, 1/1 RC, k1; work from *, k1, 1/1 LC, k2tog, yo x 2, DSD, yo, k1.
Row 8: p3, (k1, p1) in double yo, p4, *p4, (k1, p1) in double yo, p6, (k1, p1) in double yo, p4; work from *, p4, (k1, p1) in double yo, p3.
Row 9: k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k2, ssk, k2, *k2, k2tog, k2, yo, ssk, yo, k2, yo, k2tog, yo, k2, ssk, k2; work from *, k2, k2tog, k2, yo, ssk, yo, k1.
Row 10: purl.
Row 11: yo, k1, cdd, yo, k2, yo, ssk, k1, *k1, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, cdd, k1, yo x 2, k1, cdd, yo, k2, yo, ssk, k1; work from *, k1, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, cdd, k1, yo.
Row 12: p9, *p8, (k1, p1) in double yo, p8; work from *, p9.

Three sentences about 2017-09-10

Sep. 10th, 2017 01:29 am
irilyth: (Default)
[personal profile] irilyth
Day full of playdates today! In the morning, I picked up a friend of Junie's (Cl), and took the two of them plus Quentin over to Joey's Park. We'd also invited along Quentin's friend I, but he couldn't make it, alas. I spun the kids in various combinations on the tire swing, gave boosts on the zip line (although frankly the eight-year-olds are too big for me to be pulling them back and sideways for extra boosting power), threw frisbees around, and even flew a kite for a bit. That was a little harrowing, because Cl was doing the flying, and I was somewhat distracted with Q, and before I knew it, Cl had it probably fifty or a hundred feet in the air, without having a great sense of safety about it, e.g. when it came down, the line was running across a big field that wasn't super crowded, but did have other kids playing on it. Nothing bad happened, but next time I'm gonna make sure to give the kite safety lecture before letting kids fly it, especially if I might not be standing by while they're doing it. Anyway, we dropped Cl back off at her place, and then headed home for lunch, after which Junie had a second playdate planned with another friend (Ch) at Hardy -- and, Q's friend I was also planning to meet us there. Unfortunately, Q was feeling rebellious, and managed to piss both me and Amy off to the extent that finally Amy left with Junie, and without him. He was *really* sad about that, but I managed to comfort him some, and we had a long talk about feeling like everyone's always telling you what to do, and not having enough control over your own life, and how yes this is no fun but it's even more no-fun to throw things at people, even if that is a way you can exercise some control and make people react to you instead of the other way around, and even if it's very satisfying in the moment, it's not safe or respectful, and also won't get you what you want. We eventually texted Amy, he apologized for throwing a thing at her, and she apologized for calling him a mean name and said that it'd be ok for him to come join them, so I walked him over there, and then back home to nap. Got up in time for dinner (a big bowl of spinach, and then one of carrots, to start, and then Amy made pasta), showers and bedtimes, a somewhat late evening but a good end to a pretty good weekend.

February 2017

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