(also open to suggestions for rehoming them, because what I am doing isn't working)
I actually like my AmScope. It's not exactly precision-manufacture and god only knows what glass it uses, but it's durably made, fairly ergonomic, and works well for the price. Only one regret: The camera port is damned near useless.
For some reason, Chinese stereo scopes mostly appear to be clones of old, low- and mid-range Olympus designs. That planted the Olympus bee in my bonnet.
You've probably heard that Nikon is a world-class optics manufacturer that just happens to make cameras. Well, Olympus is a world-class optics manufacturer that just happens to make microscopes.
Looking for no-holds-barred top shelf stereo optics, the current top of the Olympus stereo line is the SZX12. Which is awesome and even broken surplus parts are so far out of budget it's not funny. Mostly the same for the SZX10, its slightly less featureful little brother.
But it turns out the very top of the discontinued predecessor line, the SZH10, is similar enough that it takes many of the same accessories and was every bit as good a scope. And the SZH10 was just a minor feature tweak of the earlier SZH.
And the SZH line is so gloriously 1980s. I mean, just look at this ad. It's not a stereo zoom. No, it's a *super* stereo zoom. And raytracing is involved somehow. And lightning. This here 'scope is obviously real wrath-of-god stuff.
Anyway, the rest is serendipity: There just happened to be enough cheap-ish parts on eBay to hopefully piece together a complete SZH with no major flaws.
Parts have arrived, so here we go...
Bitch | Out of Control | Everybody's Moon | One More Time to Live | I'm Going to Go Back There Someday | Cloudy | No Rain | Live to Tell | Kiss Off | It Just Won't Quit
( I bought this one when it was on the charts; still have the album on vinyl. )
3 of 5 stars
This book constituted a break from my usual diet of SF and fantasy. I've never heard any of Amanda Palmer's music, or participated in her Kickstarters and Patreon, but I have followed her blog for years, after meeting her via Neil Gaiman (to whom she's married). This is a combination of a self-help book, an explanation of how she manages her free-for-all Internet business and musical presence, a discussion of Life and Art, and a memoir. The writing style is very freewheeling and stream-of-consciousness, so if you don't like that sort of thing, be warned.
The Senate health care repeal FAILS the Byrd Rule, according to the parliamentarian. In its current form, to misquote Gandalf, it shall not pass.
Trump's infamous Voter Fraud Commission asked for public comment. They got it.
There's this exhibit of what is purported to be a replica of Noah's Ark in Kentucky. According to the people running it, it's a nonprofit ministry. But it's run now by a for-profit group, in order to get tax incentives from the state. So the Ark project is
now no longer eligible for the tax rebates. How much are we talking? $18 million over the next 10 years.
Stop erasing women's presence in SFF.
The public editor's club at the NY Times, as told by the six people who were public editors. The job no longer exists.
Jeff Sessions authorizes highway robbery by police.
Red state North Dakota is trying an experiment in humane imprisonment for its prisons, based on the way Norwegian prisons are run. I will be very interested to see how this goes. One item in the article caught my eye:
...By 2015, Bertsch was ready to ship excess prisoners to a private facility in Colorado. In Norway, though, she learned that the farther a prisoner is removed from his home community, the less likely he is to have visitors. And that’s a problem, because multiple studies suggest that inmates who have regular visitors are less likely to reoffend later...
It makes me wonder if anyone was paying attention to the NYS prison system's stupidity in sending New York City felons to Dannemora, above the Adirondacks, or Attica. Each of those is hundreds of miles from where the violators' families are in the City. But when I look at the photo of the women in charge, it seems to me they're not old enough to remember the violence at either place -- though I have to say that much of the violence at Attica came from the police and National Guard sent to quell their requests for better food and medical care. I was living perhaps 10 miles from Attica; I noticed, and I remember it.
Now, you go speak truth to power, in regard to this:
From Democracy Now, a transcript of an Amy Goodman interview: Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are supporting a bill that would criminalize criticism of Israel or Israeli political/military actions. Further info ( behind cut )
More info here on how boycotting Israel would be considered a felony.
On free speech grounds alone this should not pass. Please write your Senators to oppose it. Here's the contact list for every Senator, with email, phones and more.
Teenaged girls in Austin, Texas, staged a wonderful quinceanera protest at the state capitol -- in their fancy gowns -- to protest the vile anti-immigrant law. And yes, they met with their elected reps afterward, to deliver the message in person. In case you don't know, a quinceanera is a big formal party on a girl's 15th birthday, to signify she is now an adult and no longer a child in Hispanic cultures.
Speaking of a different form of vile, the attempt to create a narrative of shame and regret for women who choose to exercise their own control over their bodies and futures, someone has come up with an abortion-pill reversal drug.
And damn right, tampons should be free for women in prison.
Tending tenderness and disrupting the myth of academic rock stars.
Six types of essays you should know.
Look at the women you have named as heroes -- not at their actions, but at the qualities of character that propelled them to do these actions. What are the core -- deeply held -- values behind what they did?
Why do these resonate with you? What in you responds to them?
You are a hero also. Your life may not be as dramatic as theirs, but it contains heroism. Which of your own core values match those of your heroes?
(I'd love to read your comments; you need not address all of this in them.)
I got to bed at 11 last night (I meant to go to bed earlier, but zoned out in front of the TV and didn't realize how tired I was until I got up to do something). I finally got out of bed at 9:30 this morning. With a couple of delays and some minor interruptions (How do some people *still* have fireworks?!) that was about ten hours of sleep, the last four in one solid block. (The rain helped with that.)
I have said more than once that if I can just get enough sleep I can recover from anything. More likely, once I'm finally in recovery mode I'm better able to sleep well.
I just wish I had done this a couple of days earlier, so I could have made gaming last night.
Telltale Games have announced several new titles and release dates for upcoming episodes of their currently running series.
Episode 3 of Guardians of the Galaxy, More than a Feeling, will be released on August 22nd, 2017. Episode 2 of Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 2 is expected to be released in the same month.
Speaking of August, a sequel to Batman has been unveiled, titled Batman: The Enemy Within. Said sequel will follow up on the tease from the end of the last series, where Bruce Wayne's mysterious and unhinged ally(?), John Doe, escaped from Arkham. Episode 1, The Enigma, is stated to come out on August 8th, 2017.
After three seasons and two spinoffs, 2018's The Walking Dead: Season 4 will be Telltale's last venture into their popular The Walking Dead video games. Series regular Michelle Hutchinson will return to voice recurring protagonist Clementine.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Telltale have revealed they're working on a second season for their critically acclaimed The Wolf Among Us, based on Bill Willingham's Fables. Not much is known so far beyond the release window, but Adam Harrington and Erin Yvette will reprise their roles as Bigby Wolf and Snow White, respectively.
And all I can focus on is this story that Sean Spicer stole a mini-fridge from junior White House staffers.
Things without deadlines (fun):
* Stroll in the Botanic Gardens (I didn't do this but did go read in the park near our house)
Things without deadlines (productive):
* Celebrate the 1st anniversary of Story Hospital (!)
* Call insurance company about that bill
* Call doctor's office about that prior auth
* Remake OT appointment for next week
* Do a family Readercon debrief/postmortem
But okay; I do actually have a playlist of "early childhood" songs, so I can grab a few from there. Even though several of them are TV show theme songs.
...omg, there's a whole generation who doesn't understand how nerve-wracking it was to watch them never get off that damn island.
Tom Dooley | I Wish I Was a Teddy Bear | Ballad of Gilligan's Island | Seasons in the Sun | Welcome Back | Queen of the Silver Dollar | The Aba Daba Honeymoon | Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow
( Manah Manah was not my favorite back then. )
I'm not going to embarrass them in public because they do try so hard and are quick to fix broken things when I bring them to their attention.
It's just that, by now, I'd hope they'd just email me, "Hey, Siderea, we'll be fucking up your email at this future date and time. We'll be around on Twitter until this subsequent date and time. Please be available during this window to exercise your account and let us know what we've broken this time."
Instead, I email them in response to the planned outage announcement and say, "Hey, what can we do in advance to make this work?" and they're like "nothing, it's all going to go perfectly!" and I'm like, "ooookay, when exactly will you be flipping the switch, (so I know when to check on you, but I don't say this part)?" and they're like, "oh, sometime on that weekend." *throws hands in the air*
(I miss nyip.net so hard.)
Also noting that Star Trek: Discovery is being carried outside of the US and Canada by Netflix.
One of the supporting cast ships in the new series is USS Shenzhou NCC-1227.
Wondering if the dedication plaque will credit the Dalian Yards in mainland China for that starship. Dalian is where mainland China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaonang, was refitted to their navy's requirements.
One of the things that has been making me furious about sexual harassment lately–secondary to all the other things that make me furious about it–is the attention tax it imposes on women. The time spent figuring out whether there’s enough evidence for us to be taken seriously this time, whether the people who were in the “surely you misinterpreted” and “that doesn’t mean what it blatantly means” camp last time will finally take us seriously, the time spent recovering from someone shouting in our faces and someone else grabbing our asses, the time sharing stories and pooling information and cleaning up messes and figuring out what to do, what we can do, what we have the power to do. That is time not spent on other things that are frankly a whole hell of a lot more interesting.
When it’s in convention terms, the time spent discussing who did what and what to do and letting the adrenaline settle and coping is time not spent on ideas for books and stories and where to go with them. It is very directly a tax on attention that could and should be going toward work. And it makes me exhausted and resentful, and then I try to corral my attention back to my work, because that is a far, far better place for it to be. I have directly observed that when I am at a con where people are dealing with an ongoing situation of this type, I come back with far, far less in the way of inspired notes for new projects–not just coming away drained instead of energized, but the specifics of what business are we doing here, where is our attention going.
I’m lucky. I know a lot of good men. I know a lot of good straight, white men. One of the benefits of this is that when a straight, white dude is an asshole, I am clear that it is artisanal assholery that he is hand-crafting by choice, not a trait he can’t avoid by his demographics. And a lot of good straight, white men have been stepping up to share the work of dealing with sexual harassment on a community level. I appreciate it. I do. But that is a choice they are making. Statistically, on average, the nonconsensual part, the part where you have to cope with the fallout of being harassed again, the part where it happens several times in a row and then it’s on your mind and you go into the next professional situation having to have a plan for how to cope–that’s a drain on your time and attention that you cannot have back, that other people can help with structurally but not in the moment. They can donate their time but not hand you back yours, not give you back those hours and days of working on the situation and processing and coping. It can happen to men. It does happen to men. And as one woman I know never loses an opportunity to point out, it does not happen to every woman. But statistically, on average, it is an attention tax that falls much, much more heavily on women, for things that we did not ask for and cannot change.
It’s not just sexual harassment. This is not the only attention tax, and I don’t mean to talk as though it is. Racist bullshit and the people who visit it upon people of color? That is, among other worse things, an attention tax on those people of color. Having to cope with accessibility issues and prejudice against the disabled? Attention tax. Homophobia and other forms of anti-queer assholery? Attention tax. Navigating the world while neurodiverse, even in ways that do not feel like a disability internally, among people who are going to be utter jerks to any hint of non-neurotypicality? Attention tax. And while I’ve talked about men and women above, the amount of attention tax that falls on gender-nonconforming and non-binary people gets mind-bogglingly larger the more gender-policing the subculture they’re interacting with gets. One of the fundamental questions is: how much jerkitude are people going to blithely shovel on you for being you and then skip along with their day, and how much will that pull away from the focus you need to do your stuff that you do.
Do I imagine I’m the first to observe this? Hardly. But “show don’t tell” is hardly new advice, either, and writers get blog posts out of that several times a year. What I’m saying to you is: this is affecting the work of people you know and care about. All the time. It doesn’t have to. It is literally all entirely voluntary. The thing I said above about artisanal bullshit: last month I got very tired of people saying “so that’s a thing that happened” when they were describing a choice someone made. So let’s not do that. Let’s not ascribe to fundamental forces things that are actual bad choices people are making.
And also: people who are doing work through all these attention taxes, who are managing to push it aside and fight their way through to focusing on making something awesome: I see you. I appreciate you. I’m sorry it’s like this. I keep hoping that some of the draining work will gain us some ground and it will be long-term less necessary. But in the meantime, thanks for clawing back some of your own in the face of it. It’s so hard, and it matters so much.
And now for something completely different. A digital-only title from Kodansha Comics, Wave, Listen to Me!, from the creator of Blade of the Immortal. Enjoy, especially if you wish to see something not superhero related or fantasy-based. Just something human.
The first chapter is available to read for free, thus the amount of pages below. Feel free to check them out on the site here though.
( Read more... )
is another excellent meta-post from brainwane. Links to ~twenty think pieces on how we can hold each other accountable with as much love as we have for a better future.
And the comments are excellent.
On the downside, one of my suitcase's tiny TSA-approved locks had gone missing. My brother had advised me to take along an extra one or two-- I should have listened! Ah well. I used a bit of wire to secure the now-unlocked compartment.
( Cut for images! )
As part of my continuing effort to justify the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription I have, I’ve been playing with my Audition audio software and learning how to use it. Today I learned how to make a multitrack file! Go me. I also played with the various filters in the software to distort and shape sounds.
All of which is to say I recorded a song today and it is very very noisy indeed. It’s “Here Comes the Rain Again,” which is my favorite song from the Eurythmics. Here it is (and no, it’s not actually nine minutes long, I don’t know why the media player says that. It’s, like, five):
Yes, that’s me singing. No, Annie Lennox doesn’t have a thing to worry about.
In case you’re curious, every noise on that track either comes out of me, or out of an acoustic tenor guitar. Audio filters are fun! Let’s just say I let my Thurston out to play, and if you get that reference, congratulations, you’re old too.
No, I’m not giving up my day job. Relax. But I do enjoy playing with sounds. This is fun for me.
In any event: Enjoy the noise.
The trailer is below and while it does, quite justifyibly, have an initial heavy focus on Wonder Woman, I thought it had a couple of really promising glimpses of Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash in action. Best of all, they all feel epic in what they can do. So here's hoping this movie manages to catch the League of Gods feeling that made JLA so unique.