rj_anderson: (James Morton - Bake-Off Xmas)
Having now binge-watched all seven seasons of The Great British Bake-Off, S2 and S3 of the Australian, 1x01 and 02 of the Irish, most of the Great Holiday / American Baking Show and half of S1 of the South African, I feel somewhat qualified to rank the various English-speaking versions and make some observations about which ones are definitely worth watching, which are just OK, and which ones you might as well give a miss.

First, though, I want to talk about what makes the original Bake-Off and its derivatives special in the first place. Feel free to skip this bit if you already know )

Anyway, here's my personal ranking of the various Bake-Off shows I've watched so far:

GBBO and its spin-offs rated from 'bleh' to 'YEAH', with accompanying reasons )

* * *

There is much more that could be said, especially about my favorite contestants and bakes over the seasons, but I wouldn't want to spoil the fun for those who have yet to watch and enjoy the delights of Custardgate, Selasi's unflappable cool, or the Amazing Bread Lion for themselves. (I can totally be induced to burble about those things in comments, though, if you're a fellow fan.)
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
I have been outrageously busy at work this week and I don't have the brain to string these together into a proper narrative. My apologies. So: Have a series of happy photos from the past week or so.

20170617_171856
[Keiki with freshly dug potatoes in his fist, ready to deposit them in one of the two white bowls in front of him.]

We ate our first potato harvest tonight. Yum!

+6 )

Farm share, week 3

Jun. 22nd, 2017 05:04 pm[personal profile] magid
magid: (Default)
  • a bunch of purple kohlrabi with greens
  • a bunch of kale (I was lucky and got one of the few lacinato ones)
  • two heads of lettuce (I chose a red leaf and a Boston, and was given a third, another Boston)
  • a bunch of scallions
  • 5 ounces of garlic scapes
  • a bunch of cilantro (traded for more scapes)
  • two pickling cucumbers
  • two small summer squashes (and was given a third)
  • six ounces of yellow oyster mushrooms

First thoughts: green salad, of course (I'm bringing one to Shabbat dinner tomorrow night). Cook the kohlrabi greens and kale with sweet potato, maybe some soy sausage. Sauteed summer squash with mozzarella, maybe a bit of tomato sauce. Kohlrabi-carrot slaw with mustard dressing, also scallions.

Gyms are live!

Jun. 22nd, 2017 10:02 pm[personal profile] ephemera posting in [community profile] pokestop
ephemera: celtic knotwork style sitting fox (Default)
Iiiiiiiiinteresting!

I like the new battle pre screen, and the animation of fights.

New battle scoring on the one hand slows things down (you eat away at the defenders will to fight rather than 1000 points per win) on the other hand I like how the "injured" pokemon gets weaker. Also having revive and health available inside the gym interface

Winning a gym = getting a badge, but just claiming a gym slot does not, and nor does spinning a gym picture, which is what the text suggests.

No sign of coins for having pokemon on a gym...

How is everyone else getting on?

festathons

Jun. 22nd, 2017 02:42 pm[personal profile] isis
isis: (fangirls)
First off, signups for the 2017 Multifandom Drabble Exchange are closing tomorrow. This is a small low-pressure exchange, and it was a lot of fun last year when it was on Imzy.

Second, Night on Fic Mountain is live! My gift is Witcher fanart, a scene of Ciri getting the better of Geralt in a wrestling bout as Yennefer sips wine and looks on, amused:

Tap Out (0 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Wiedźmin | The Witcher (Video Game)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon & Geralt z Rivii | Geralt of Rivia
Characters: Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, Geralt z Rivii | Geralt of Rivia, Yennefer z Vengerbergu | Yennefer of Vengerberg
Additional Tags: he was definitely asking for it, Fanart, tag yourself i'm the one with the wine
Summary: All educators anticipate that glorious moment when the student surpasses the teacher.

The artist obviously paid attention to my general list of art likes, incorporating interesting perspective and background scenery detail, and it's just a fabulous piece overall, really, just beautiful, and you don't need to know the fandom to appreciate it as art, so go admire it!

Actually, there's a lot of nice art in this collection. I particularly like Clouds and Skie (Dragonlance, which I'm not familar with but there is a DRAGON!) and A Slothful Interlude (Master and Commander, which is a fandom I love, and there is a SLOTH!) but if you sort the collection works page by length and start at the shortest, you'll find all of them.

And there's some great fic, too. Some recs from my reading so far:

The Road To Anywhere But Here (3323 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Road to El Dorado (2000)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Chel/Miguel/Tulio
Characters: Chel (Road to El Dorado), Miguel (Road to El Dorado), Tulio (Road to El Dorado), Altivo (Road to El Dorado)
Additional Tags: Post-Canon
Summary: These shoes weren't made for walking.

Ahahaha this is hilarious. The character voices are perfection and the plot is simultaneously plausible (in-universe) and completely goofy.

War-Chants (1088 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Ancient History RPF
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Hannibal Barca, Scipio Africanus
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Eurovision Song Contest, Crack
Summary: [edited]Two frenemies talk trash over chat about the most important event of the premodern world: EUROVISION!!!

This is crack of the most delicious sort! I giggled mightily throughout, particularly at the historical references twisted into dudebro chat.

Why Darwin Discovered Evolution (1114 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jack Aubrey & Stephen Maturin
Characters: Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin
Additional Tags: London, Evolution, Moths, Night On Fic Mountain 2017, Night on Fic Mountain 2017 Treat
Summary: [edited] 1815: Napoleon surrenders, and is exiled to St Helena. The British Navy, after seventeen years of war, retires ships, crews and captains. John Barrow, Second Secretary to the Admiralty, begins a programme of exploration which will last until 1845 and will include, in 1835, Charles Darwin's five year voyage of discovery in the Beagle. // In England, Jack Aubrey languishes on the Captains’ List, and Stephen Maturin chases moths.

This is lovely. The language is so perfectly canonical, as are poor Stephen's warring impulses, between that of his calling as a naturalist and the calling of his truest friend.

City of Futures (4558 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Divine Cities Series - Robert Jackson Bennett
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Turyin Mulaghesh, Tatyana Komayd
Additional Tags: Post-City of Miracles, the effect of legacies, poorly-expressed grief, bad life choices
Summary: [edited] The most curious miracle of all was that of briefly-miraculous events centered around Ashara Komayd, former Prime Minister to Saypur. // Though, of course, there was a lot more to it than that.

I beta-read this, so I'm biased, but I love Mulaghesh, and she's at her delightfully cranky, profane, investigative best here.

fountain pens!

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:38 pm[personal profile] yhlee
yhlee: wax seal (hxx Deuce of Gears)
I did an essay for Tor.com, The Beauty of Physical Writing, on fountain pens! There's a photo of some of my fountain pens over there.

From left to right, for the curious: Waterman 52V, Webster Four-Star, Scriptorium Pens Master Scrivener in Red Stardust, Conway Stewart Churchill in Red Stardust, Aurora 75th Anniversary, Nakaya Naka-ai in aka-tamenuri, Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir with #3 adjustable nib, and Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight.

Meanwhile, I swear I am writing flash fic right now. This caffeine is taking an unholy amount of time to kick in...
andrewducker: (Default)
At 2:06pm on Sunday I posted my feature request for the Lothian Transport app.

At 3:14pm the following afternoon I received an email saying
Sorry, street names and localities should have been added to the search screen before now. I’ve sent an update to the Google Play store just now so you should have an update available in the next few hours.
and about 45 minutes later my phone automatically updated to the latest version and I could see this:


I emailed back saying that this was awesome, but wondering why one of them just said "Edinburgh", and got this in response:
Unfortunately sometimes we can’t control what we get back from Google’s Places API. If Google decides that a place doesn’t need to have more than the town/city listed, then that’s all we get I’m afraid. We also mix in Foursquare and Google Geocoding data where appropriate as well.

It helps to include a bit more in your search, such as ‘Morrisons Granton’ or ‘Morrisons Ferry Road' rather than just ‘Morrisons’. The more you type in, the more accurate the results. It also takes into account your current location – typing in ‘Morrisons’ while you’re near Hyvots Bank will give you results geared towards South/West Edinburgh rather than North/East Edinburgh.

As to your other point (distance to search result) - at the moment, showing distance isn’t possible. We use Google Places to match search queries: that service is great because you can type in anything - ‘Morrisons’, ‘Tesco’, ‘pizza in Leith’ etc. and it comes back with accurate results. However, it doesn’t give the app the location of each place. Instead it gives the app a ‘Place ID’ - once you’ve tapped on a search result, the app sends the Place ID to Google which sends back the exact coordinate of the search result. If that changes in the future, we’ll be sure to include distance as part of the search result.


Which was a fascinating look at how their systems work in the background.

If only more places were so responsive to users taking an interest.

Posted by Andrew Bleiman

1_Porcupettes 8

Cotswold Wildlife Park is celebrating the birth of the first Porcupine twins in the Park’s forty-seven-year history!

The as-yet-unnamed and unsexed twins were born recently to first-time mother, Stempu, and father, Prickle. The newborns are currently on show in the enclosure they share with a trio of inquisitive Dwarf Mongooses.

According to Cotswold staff, the twins are perfect miniature versions of the adults, even born with a full set of quills, which begs the question visitors have been keen to ask keepers: “How does the female give birth without injury?” After a gestation period of approximately one hundred and twelve days (the longest gestation period of any rodent), the female gives birth to offspring covered in soft, moist and flexible quills, enclosed in a thin placental sac. Immediately after birth, the quills quickly harden in the air and become prickly. The babies, also known as Porcupettes, are also born relatively well developed, with eyes open and teeth present.

2_Porcupettes 11

3_Porcupettes 2

4_Porcupettes 20 (5)Photo Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

African Crested Porcupines (Hystrix cristata) are the largest of the twenty-five Porcupine species. They are also the third largest rodent in the world, behind the Beaver and Capybara.

Their Latin name means, “quill pig”. Porcupines possess a spiny defense that is unique among rodents: approximately thirty thousand sharp quills adorn their back. Contrary to popular belief, they cannot fire their quills at enemies, but the slightest touch can lodge dozens of barbed quills into a predator’s body. Quills are modified hairs made of keratin (the same material as human hair, fingernails and the horn of a Rhino). Each quill can boast up to eight hundred barbs. If threatened, Porcupines reverse charge into a predator, stabbing the enemy with its sharp quills. The resulting wound can disable or even kill predators including Lions, Leopards and Hyenas.

Section Head of Primates, Chris Kibbey, commented, “Dad, Prickle, and mum, Stempu, were introduced in October 2016, and it wasn’t long until love blossomed and keepers were delighted to recently discover little Porcupettes running around the enclosure. The babies are born about Guinea Pig-sized and although are born with quills, they are soft at birth, making things considerably easier for mum. The twins are doing really well and have already developed their mother’s habit of stamping their feet, indicating their frustration at keepers disturbing them.”

Four-year-old Stempu is notorious for her feet stamping (her name means ‘stamp’ in Swahili), and she protects her first litter with great ferocity. Her pups were recently caught on camera stamping their tiny feet. Three-year-old Prickle (also the collective noun for a group of Porcupines) is far more relaxed and both are proving to be formidable parents.

Another area of great curiosity from visitors is: “How do Porcupines actually mate?” Mating is a ‘thorny’ challenge due to the spines and quills of the participants, but the answer was discovered in the first scientific study of its kind (published in the Italian Journal of Zoology in 1993*). The nineteen-month study into the mating habits of African Crested Porcupines found that the male prepares for mating by ‘stepping’ with his hind legs on the spot, followed by the female raising her tail onto her back, relaxing her quills, anchoring them firmly against her body and raising her rear. This enables the male to mount her without risking injury from her quills. The male’s forelegs do not hold onto the female’s back at any point. He clasps her sides with his front paws and carefully balances on his hind feet. The study also uncovered that this monogamous species showed an exceptionally long mating pattern (one to five minutes), compared to the known mating behaviors of other Porcupine species.

The African Crested Porcupine is found in Italy, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. The Romans were credited with introducing this species to Italy, but fossil and sub fossil remains suggest it was possibly present in Europe in the Upper Pleistocene (approximately 11,700 years ago). They have been extinct in heavily settled parts of Uganda since the 1970s.

African Crested Porcupines have been found at altitudes of 11,480 feet on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Porcupines are formidable opponents. In addition to piercing a predator’s skin with their barbed quills, they hiss, growl, click their teeth, stamp their feet and rattle their spines in warning when threatened. The crest of spines and quills can be erected at will to make the animal look enormous and threatening.

This Porcupine species feeds on a variety of roots, bark, bulbs and fallen fruit.

They are currently classified as “Least Concern” by the IUCN. Because they eat cultivated crops they are seen as agricultural pests, and farmers use dogs to hunt them. Farmers are also known to illegally use poison to kill them. They are also killed for their quills, which are used as ornaments and talismans. In North Africa, they are killed and sold for use in traditional medicine.

5_Porcupettes 6

6_Porcupettes 7

7_Porcupettes 20 (7)

8_Porcupettes 18

9_Porcupettes 20 (2)

10_Porcupettes 20 (1)

Porcupine Papa, "Prickle":

11_Porcupette dad Prickle

12_Porcupettes 13

13_Porcupettes 14 Prickle and baby

oneiriad: (Default)
I keep being a bit late with this meme. Bad me.

Apart from reading, well, there's life. I went on the summer work excursion with my department today. We headed back home to my old town of Elsinore, had a very nice lunch at a couple of centuries old restaurant, then headed out to Kronborg, where a former colleague now works and gave us a short tour. It was nice.

Apparently they now have free-ranging actors in Shakespeare mode wandering around Kronborg. Including Andrew Jeffers as Polonius (I did not immediately recognize him - my brain went: "You look exceedingly familiar. Have I threatened you before?", but it took me a bit to place him. Guess I'm used to seeing him in a dress). Guess that's one thing the Crazy Christmas Crew gets up to during the times that are not Crazy. (Which reminds me - I should make a post with a doodle soonish, shouldn't I?)

Also still playing Pokemon Go. Keeping an eye on all those new gyms that seem to be getting ready for - something. (I'm a little annoyed that the pokestop that I could reach from my work desk is now a gym, because that means I can't spin it right now...) I'm not entirely convinced I'll love the raids and legendary stuff, from what I've been reading. Eords like "most dedicated players" (or something similar) makes me less than enthusiastic.

Anyway, this was supposed to be a reading meme.

What I've recently finished reading

Gerður Kristný: Drapa
The story of a woman who was murdered by her boyfriend, retold in the strictest of old Norse poetry forms. Not as engaging as I'd hoped, but interesting.

Marjorie Liu: Monstress: Awakening
Pretty and pretty horrible. I'm not quite sure I'll remember to look for the next volume, though...

Marie Brennan: In the Labyrinth of Drakes
Cute. Not deep literature - and I think I've managed to spoil myself for something that's going to happen in the final book - but cute and fun and an easy read.

Martin Jensen: Kongens thegn
And so it ends. Hmmm. That series had its ups and downs, and I found myself disliking Winston more and more as we went along. But it's well-written and has an excellent image of the England of Knud the Great. Now - to pick a new medieval mystery series to read, because I'm not quite medieval mysteried out (actually, already decided I want to try the one set in Elsinore.)

Robert Venditti & Van Jensen: The Flash: Savage World
Why does everybody want to eat Barry?

Hans Gregersen: Mads Lange - kongen af Bali
I thought I should read something about Bali before going there, and since a Dane played a brief, but important role in their history, I thought I'd read about him. Maybe I should have picked one of the newer biographies - this is one is pretty dry and illustrated with black-and-white photos from the author's vacation to modern (well, mid-90s) Bali - and I was still left wanting a tv series.

Mike Mignola: BPRD: The Warning
And we're back in the present - I liked the former volume's trip to post-war Berlin better.

What I'm reading now

Siri Pettersen's Råddenskab, which now has Hirka Tailless running around in our world, The Long Utopia by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett (mostly Stephen Baxter, I suspect), and Eifelheim by Michael Flynn.

What I'm reading next

Probably A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe. Probably.

Total number of books and comics read this year: 109

thank you in my whole body

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:07 pm[personal profile] alatefeline
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
Warning, contains emotions in tumbling mixed up words Read more... )

Senate Healthcare Bill

Jun. 22nd, 2017 03:25 pm[personal profile] jimhines
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)

Senate Republicans have finally released what appears to be the draft text of H.R. 1628, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.”

It’s 142 pages, and to be honest, I’m having a hard time deciphering it all. (Not a lawyer or a legislator.) But here are some things that stood out at me…

Elimination of the individual and employer mandate. (Pages 10-11)

Tax repeals on medications, health insurance, health savings accounts, etc. (Pages 25-29)

This includes the “Repeal of Tanning Tax” on page 29.

The continuing attack on abortion rights.

“Disallowance of small employer health insurance credit for plan which includes coverage for abortion.” (Pages 8-9)

“No Federal funds provided from a program referred to in this subsection that is considered direct spending for any year may be made available to a State for payments to a prohibited entity,” which is then defined as an entity providing abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is in danger. (Page 35)

#

According to a USA Today analysis, this bill would:

  • Reduce or eliminate most subsidies for individuals and families
  • “Eliminate the ACA’s requirement that insurers can’t charge older customers more than three times what younger customers pay for the same coverage. Instead, those in their 60s could be charged five times as much, or more.”
  • Eliminate penalties to large employers who choose not to offer health insurance. (Elimination of the employer mandate.)
  • Make it easier to drop coverage for things like maternity care and mental health issues.

CNN points out that the bill would also:

  • Defund Planned Parenthood for a year.
  • Require coverage of preexisting conditions. However, it also lets states “waive the federal mandate on what insurers must cover… This would allow insurers to offer less comprehensive policies, so those with pre-existing conditions may not have all of their treatments covered.”

A PBS article says the bill would:

  • Cap and reduce Medicaid funding, and allow states to add a work requirement for “able-bodied” recipients of Medicaid.
  • Provide $2 billion to help states fight opioid addiction

Fox News, unsurprisingly, focused on what they saw as positive in the proposed bill:

  • It preserves health care for people with preexisting conditions (with the potential exceptions noted in the CNN bullets, above), and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance plan through age 26.
  • It expands health care savings accounts.
  • It provides a short-term stabilization fund to help struggling insurance markets.

The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release their report on the senate bill next week. The CBO estimated that the House-passed bill would result in 26 million fewer insured Americans by 2026, and would cut the budget by $119 billion over the same time. (Source)

#

Nothing here is particularly shocking. I’m glad I and my family can’t be kicked off our insurance for our various preexisting conditions…though some of those conditions might no longer be covered, which sucks. It would hurt the poor, the elderly, women, and the mentally ill, among others. None of my readers will be shocked to hear that I think this is another step backward. The ACA was far from perfect — it’s like a patient with a broken leg, but instead of trying to fix the broken leg, we’ll just throw them through a woodchipper, because hey, it’s cheaper!

It looks like this may be a tight vote, which would make this an excellent time to call your Senator.

Please keep any comments civil. I’m angry about this too, but I don’t have the time or the spoons to moderate fights and nastiness today. (Which probably means I shouldn’t have posted this in the first place, but I never claimed to be that bright…)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Dear Rare Pair Writer

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:57 pm[personal profile] maeve_of_winter
maeve_of_winter: (Default)
 

Dear Rare Pair Writer,

 

Links to my fandom pages:

 

Maeve of Winter on AO3

 

Maeve of Winter on Tumblr

 

Maeve of Winter on Dreamwidth

 

WhimsicalNixie on LiveJournal

 

Maeve of Winter on Fanfiction.net

 

 

Wishing you well! This my first time participating, and I'm very excited!

 

I should say right off the bat that my prompts are only here for guidance, not as anything you are obligated to right for me. If you have your own idea for the pairing that fits with my likes, it’s more than okay with me if you want to write that.

 

Also, feel free to mix and match my prompts with different pairings and fandoms. If it’s somewhere in my letter, it’s something I’m okay with receiving for any canon or character.


alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
So to provide a little more context for my last post…

CW: discussion of death and dying, major illness, family ties, travel uncertainty

Read more... ) Neighbor crow, I am listening. Uncle, I love you.

Fuck the Ghostbros.

Jun. 23rd, 2017 12:54 am[personal profile] alisfranklin
alisfranklin: Lain by neogeen. (Default)

Fandom has changed dramatically in the last ten years, and it feels like having your old neighborhood change around you. At first you think that the new shops and new residents are pretty cool, that things are getting better, but then you wake up one day and find yourself a stranger in a strange land. This street is where you grew up, but you don’t recognize any of the houses. The community you had is gone. I feel like many of the nerdy properties that I grew up with, that gave me comfort in hard times and that inspired me to take chances in my life, have been coopted by people I hate. And I find that all the cool people – the real nerds, the sensitive kids, the outcasts and weirdos and misfits – have moved to a new neighborhood where I don’t feel as comfortable. As the stuff I loved all my life has gone mainstream the real nerds have found ever more obscure niches to set up camp, places where they can keep being unique and obsessive without having to share space with the assholes who conquered Gen X fandom. I’m kind of jealous, and sort of wish I could get into Steven Universe, but them’s the breaks.

Devin Faraci on Ghostbros ruining his childhood.

This is only one paragraph in a much longer op-ed about asshole bigots ruining fandom, but I think it highlights something important. Because, for the most part, (Western) Millennial fandom–and, at 29, Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar both is a Millennial and creates content primarily for Millennials–looks very different to Gen X and, in particular, Baby Boomer fandom. There’s something in that, and it’s something I don’t see discussed very much.

Personally, I know my relationship with a lot of (again, Western) Gen X-era pop cultural products is… dicey. I find they’re often seeped with a kind of apathetic nihilism I find extremely off-putting; if you’ve ever heard me say I don’t like something because it “feels mean”, this is that. When it’s DARKER and EDGIER it’s DARKER and EDGIER and hopeless to boot. It can also often be extremely essentialist, in that you’re defined by what you are, not what you do; think Buffy‘s obsession with souls, for example, or the houses of Harry Potter.

Millennial cultural products, on the other hand, often retain the DARKER and EDGIER bent of their Gen X predecessors–for kids’ shows, things like Adventure Time and Steven Universe are dark af–but also seem more… hopeful. They’re absurdist; the universe is awful and uncaring and life has no meaning but what we imbue it with… so we may as well imbue kindness. This hope is something I’d argue is a remix of Boomer-era media–remember the first Star Wars is literally subtitled “A New Hope”–albeit with its own special twist. Millennial pop culture is also often more existential than essential; think the grey morality of Homestuck ((I know this is fudging a little; Hussie is technically a Gen Xer, though I’d argue that his fanbase is almost exclusively Millennial, and he’s a lot closer to them–and thus more responsive to their likes and dislikes–than most non-indie creators.)) or, like, the entire premise of Undertale.

Obviously, these are extremely broad strokes, and there are exceptions (Dan Harmon comes to mind), but… hmm. Something to ponder more, perhaps, particularly in the context of the causes of that tonal shift (I’d be listing “influence of anime/manga” and “videogames”, for what it’s worth).

Let’s be real, though: it’s never too late to get into Steven Universe.

Mirrored from alisfranklin.com.

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