lizbee: Speech bubble from NextWave: "Zomg. Boom." (Comics: ZOMG BOOM)
I know there's a strong element of shutting the barn door many, many years after the horse took off, but I'm very much inclined to delete my LJ account outright in a week or so. My stuff is all backed up here, and I only use LJ to follow a couple of people who haven't migrated elsewhere -- if I have to, I can just follow them via RSS and hope they've enabled anon comments.

(I am rather amused by the notion that my blogging has EVER been covered by the First Amendment, and I doubt there would be any issues for me using a service based in Russia, but, you know.)

Most concerningly, this observation from [personal profile] mme_hardy:

LJ no longer allows access to its https site when browsing/posting, which means that any information you send to that site is readable by every other site that cares to eavesdrop. This means that anything you post under friendslock is still being read by any site that chooses to spy on Livejournal communications; you can safely assume that at least one Russian-government entity is.

I just double-checked, and the payment page *is* protected by https, so that at least should be secure.


I really hope the Russian government enjoys my thoughts on Nickelodeon cartoons, YA fiction and the weather, and I hope they'll find a way to cope without my input.
lizbee: (Default)
Which should come as a surprise to no one whatsoever, given its dysfunctional code, obnoxious advertising and -- most importantly -- the fact that it's owned by Yahoo. It's not going to disappear overnight, obviously, but like a lot of people, I'm suddenly thinking about the need for back-ups.

A lot of the stuff I post there is ephemeral, but some of it might be worth keeping ... or at least, I might look back at it one day and smile. So I'm going to go through my archives and reblog stuff with my "and dreamwidth" tag, that triggers the IFTT crossposting recipe.

Accordingly, people on Tumblr are going to see a lot of old stuff from me, and should blacklist "and dreamwidth" if that's going to be tedious. And people on DW and LJ ... well, I'll go in and add cut tags to longer posts.

I'm not sure of the etiquette of crossposting reblogs, whether text or other people's fan art. Thoughts?
lizbee: (LoK: Lin and Tenzin (back to back))
(via [personal profile] sqbr)

Automatic Dreamwidth to Tumblr crossposting.

I'm not sure how much I'll use this, since I tend to mostly use DW for locked posts and Tumblr for random flailing and No Award for actual coherent content, but I like to have the option.

Actually, a widget that cross-posts selected Tumblr posts to DW would be handy also. Get on that, technical geniuses!
lizbee: Screencap of Azula in "The Beach" wielding blue fire (Avatar: Azula (blue fire))
One for the researchers: is the ease of reblogging on Tumblr facilitating the spreading of unfounded stories in the name of slacktivism?

I wonder, as [personal profile] tree_and_leaf casts doubt on the heartwarming banned books locker library story, and last week saw the return of the old "Australian government makes transgendered people go on sex offenders register to get hormone treatment" story that was debunked two years ago. 

On the other hand, the ease of reblogging on Tumblr also lets one see at a glance which of one's friends secretly think less of you for being religious*, which is convenient.

* Or at least, such is the logical conclusion to be drawn from their reblogging of tired old anti-Catholic jokes, devoid of any meaningful content beyond, "Christians! SO STUPID!"
lizbee: (Default)
1. HARVEY IS BACK. I went out into the kitchen this morning and heard a strange squeak.

"That sounds like a cat," I thought, but I've been hearing phantom cat noises for weeks, so I told myself it was just the washing line.

Then I heard it again.

"No, definitely a cat."

Then again.

"I know that voice," I thought, getting excited. "That mixture of imperiousness and desperation is pure Harvey!"

So I opened the door and there he was.

I have no idea where he's been for the last month, but the bandanna on his collar has faded a little, and he is very, very thin. He was weighed at six kilos a week before he vanished, and now I'd guess he's about half that. And he's become very thin. In fact, I don't like picking him up, because he's so light and bony he feels very fragile. But his fur is still thick and bright, and he's eating normally and seems like his usual self -- only thirty times as affectionate -- so I'm sure he'll be okay. But we're taking him to the vet tomorrow just in case.

A special message from Harvey:

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Switching tracks, the Legend of Korra panel has been transcribed. (Note: the title for the Tumblr contains the word for female genitalia that rhymes with "shunt", and I strongly recommend running the page through the Readability app if you want to actually make out the text.) Anyway, this non-spoilery quote made me laugh:

Over the years we’ve gotten a lot of fan mail which is always great and a lot of fun to read but uh sometimes, you know, it’s pretty bossy, someone telling us what to do, and I have to admit that we’ve been working so hard, we’re all really busy, and I’ve uh stopped opening the fanmail because like, two out of three letters, was like WE DON’T WANT KORRA, stop making this series! So we appreciate the enthusiasm for our work but I just had to stop opening the mail. So don’t send those kind of letters.

Fandom, you are your own worst enemy. Seriously.

And now that LJ is back up, here's a reminder that I can also be found on Dreamwidth and Twitter (same user names), and on Tumblr as Squiddishly (which is my back-up user name)
lizbee: (Avatar: Mai (shuriken))
I just bought a new laptop! (Compaq, running Windows 7, basically the current version of the very first laptop I ever bought, only that was $999 and this was $400. Technology is great!)

So now I'm back in Windows (though still running Ubuntu on my very excellent desktop, but we've found it handy to have at least one Windows PC in the house, and I actually like Windows 7, so!) and I'm wondering, what's the cool LJ/DW client these days? Still Semagic?

Meanwhile, you can sync Chrome. This is exciting! It's like the future!

ALSO, UNRELATED (except to the extent that I'm about to start editing on this laptop) - does anyone want to beta my AU Big Bang? (Avatar, it's the AU where Zuko and Katara don't survive the battle with Azula, and then there's, like, 100 pages of angst and a little bit of plot.) [personal profile] weaverandom has been reading as I've written, but I think I'd like the opinion of someone whose first introduction to the story is through the final(ish) version.

There is a deadline - I'm pretty sure that the final drafts have to be submitted by 5 August, so that's a couple of weeks for reading, comments and my edits - and the fic is approximately 27,000 words, or 99 pages.
lizbee: (Random: Book hat!)
The other day I tweeted, "Never before have I read a YA novel with a hilarious parody of Richard Dawkins in full anti-religion strawman mode. You go, girly romance!" and a whole lot of people answered, "WHAT IS THAT BOOK I WANT TO KNOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!"

So, it is Winter of Grace by Kate Constable, and I wasn't going to read it, and then I read it, and I was still not sure why I liked it, but I liked it a lot despite some niggles.

Why wasn't I going to read it? Because it is part of the Girlfriend Fiction line, which is a tie-in to one of those tedious pre-Cosmo magazines for teenage girls, and when they first appeared at work, I assumed they were as trashy and dull as the similar Dolly Fiction line that existed when I was a teenager.

Also, Winter of Grace is about a girl who discovers that the boy she likes is a born-again Christian, and she becomes a Christian, and I could only imagine the whole thing collapsing under the weight of bad writing and didactic evangelism.

Why did I read it? First, skimming through them at Borders revealed that they were well-written, had a strong emphasis on friendship between girls, and were written by a mixture of new and established Australian YA authors.

Secondly, someone on my flist (and I can't remember who, but if you read this, please stand up so I can read your post again) posted about Winter of Grace, and made it sound more interesting and sophisticated than I had assumed.

Thirdly, [profile] sajee rhapsodised about it last Saturday, and I was intrigued.

Why am I still not sure why I liked it? Talking about religion makes me uncomfortable. It's a good thing I'm Catholic, because if I'd been raised in an Evangelical family, I would have died of mortification long before I reached adulthood.

Why did I like it a lot? Because it was SOOOO GOOD. I mean, okay, yes, it squeezes in a journey from agnosticism, through various flavours of Christianity and into [spoilers] in 165 pages, so that's like, a journey of many years in a short space of time. And it's very much concerned with a white, middle-class Australian brand of religion, though as [profile] sajee says, that's true of the entire line of books. Hmm. Perhaps these points should have gone in the above paragraph? Anyway. Actual reasons I liked it:

The lead character, Bridie, is a familiar and likable sort of girl. Sixteen years old, smart but not a genius, feels like she's still in the shadow of her rather domineering best friend, Stella, even though Stella's family have sent her to a Catholic girls school this year. Her narrative voice is very real -- one moment incredibly articulate, in other moments, not so much.

In the opening scenes, Bridie and Stella are attending a peace rally, pretty much lifted straight from early March 2003. They rescue a handsome boy from being bashed up, and befriend him. This is Jay. He's a born-again Christian, and he thinks that, just as Bridie saved him, he can save her. Bridie initially goes to his church -- your standard issue megachurch, where worship is best expressed through dollars -- out of curiosity; she stays because it's a welcoming community, and she's first puzzled, then enthralled by the concept of God.

This inevitably causes conflict: most notably with Stella, who is coping with life at Catholic school by becoming obnoxiously atheist; her mother, who has her own reasons to hate God. And at the same time as Bridie wants more and more to withdraw into the world of services and youth groups and the safety of unquestioning belief, she finds herself assailed by doubts and questions, and the only answer Jay's church offers is to pray them out of her. Matters come to a head when Bridie's mother, a biologist, is invited to speak at a forum on atheism, which is being attended by a visiting professor from England who is famous for his witty anti-religious bigotry. Oh yes, and the Christian youth group are planning to picket it in monkey suits. Needless to say, HILARITY ENSUES, right before the story punches you in the gut and then kicks you a few times to make sure you're really down.

In a short space, we're given a series of vivid character portraits -- Bridie's family (grandmother: Very Catholic; father: kept the social justice, ditched the religion; mother: airy fairy New Age hippie type), Bridie's mother (a type-A personality whose parents belong to a thinly-veiled version of the Exclusive Brethren), Jay and his older brother Elliott (a youth leader who is committing the ultimate born-again sin of having doubts). I kept laughing, recognising fictional versions of types of people I've met in real life.

Okay. I think I've figured out why I liked it so much!

What are my niggles? Stella is one of those characters who, while I was friends with girls like her when I was Bridie's age, now I just want to sit her down and tell her to get over herself, because she's just not interesting enough to justify that level of borderline sociopathic self-absorption. Buuuuuut, maybe she just hit a nerve. You know. Maybe.

Also, there are lots of moments where characters spouted opinions that should have turned them into OTT strawmen, and I'm thrown out of the book. Then I remember seeing someone actually express [deeply ridiculous opinion] in seriousness, and I try to return to the narrative, only I'm a little bit put out by the reminder of actual stupidity.

So, yes. Winter of Grace. I would not recommend it to fundamentalists of any stripe, nor to people with no interest in the travails of a Christianity-centric middle class white girl. But, you know, that still leaves a lot of people. No idea if it's available outside Australia, but some kind of arrangement might be worked out if anyone is particularly keen.

ALSO, I BOUGHT A KOBO THE OTHER DAY. It is wee and full of books! And, I admit, not very fast at start up, but the super-long battery life means I only turn it off at night.

Right now, I'm reading a PDF document instead of a proper epub book. This is a nifty feature, although I confess the PDF format loses a lot of options for things like changing text size, and page turning is not so convenient as with an epub. So probably, if I want to read fic or something on Kobo, I am going to have to find an epub editor for Linux. Which, I'm told, exist, I'm just far too lazy to actually do things. Case in point: this entry has taken me three days to type.

BUT YES, KOBO. People scowl at it on the train, knowing that it and I are singlehandedly destroying publishing as we know it, etc. Well, screw them; at home, I'm reading a biography of Mary Tudor that's printed on paper. Only it's not very good, but you can't have everything.
lizbee: (Random: KGill is purdy)
1. Not to take away from the genuine hilarity of the OP ("I was reminding myself this morning that it's a sign of weak character to take long showers. Anyone who does this is a soft sister -- a person looking to hide inside the warm amniotic fluid of his mother's womb, which is what a nice hot shower feels like. This realization goes back to when I was in my early 20s. If I happened to notice that a roommate or some guy or girl who was staying over was taking ten- or twelve-minute showers (or worse), I would instantly write them off."), but for me, the lolarious part of this wank is the multitude of comments saying, "But I could never get clean in less than ten minutes!" or, "For the purposes of saving water, I keep my showers down to six minutes."

To which I say, I SURVIVED BRISBANE'S LEVEL 4 WATER RESTRICTIONS AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS INCREDIBLY EFFICIENT SHOWERING ROUTINE. Which reminds me, we need a new four-minute shower timer. I used to have, like, five lying around, but I think most of them vanished in the interstate move. And Melbourne is a city of water-using weaklings who think level 3 restrictions are a crime against humanity, so I'm not sure if the councils here give them out like candy. Investigations shall take place.

2. In preparation for the House o'Squid's upcoming move, I have filled an entire granny bag with clothes that no longer fit. GO ME! Of course, now I actually have to get it out of the house and down to the Salvation Army, but, you know, one step at a time.

3. MESH.

4. Nail polish that cracks within an hour of application: unimpressive.

5. Borders Australia has brought out Kobo, the Kindle killer. You guys know I ♥ ♥ ♥ ebooks, right? Sometimes I read them on my EeePC (which is better than nothing, but not as portable and quick-loading as you'd want for an ebook) and sometimes I read them on my iPhone (the backlit screen is tiring for the eyes, and the tiny screen means frequent page-turns). I've been keeping an eye on the eReader market for a couple of years, but devices have been slow to come to Australia, and prohibitively expensive. (I think the Kindle starts at $375? Which is a bit OTT for something that can only read Kindle-formatted files; for that kind of money, it could at least be a bit versatile. Not to mention Amazon's increasing tendency towards evil.)

Anyway, Kobo is $199, light, small (approximately the size of a comic book), uses e-ink technology, and reads PDFs and ePub formats. (Which are widely available, and it's easy to convert an ebook from, say, .lit to another format using Calibre or similar.)

Along with Kobo, Borders has launched the ebook store, and an iPhone app carrying same. Oddly, the iPhone version of the store is much more user-friendly and better-organised than the web version, but I'm hoping that will change soon. As it is, a bit of digging turned up, for example, a book I've been meaning to buy from Amazon for a couple of years. And I'm sure any decade now, the libraries will implement an actual ebook-loan system, instead of just linking to online databases and calling them ebooks.

Frankly, it's almost enough to make me wish I still worked at Borders. Rumour has it -- because I still have a lot of industry blogs on my feed -- that Borders America was all, "Oh look, Borders Australia's putting out it's own version of the Kindle. Isn't that cute? Let's all point and laugh." Which sums up why the American company lurches ever closer to bankruptcy, while the AU parent company just posted a record profit for the quarter. Apparently Kobo is selling out all over the place. And, since between the impending move and being (as usual) stone broke, I'll be living on instant miso soup for the foreseeable future, I shall have to wait before I get one. #firstworldproblems

6. I slept until ten this morning. But a nap would be might nice right around now. Hmm...
lizbee: (DW: Tom 'n' Lalla (Shada))
Yesterday, after a slight hiccup where I kept grabbing my Windows 7 installer disk, then wondering why it was trying to install Windows instead of Ubuntu, I made the switch to Ubuntu-land.

Here's a screenshot! )

So last night, I watched Whale Rider, about which proper thoughts shall come, and it was such a beautiful movie that I was immediately inspired to find me some vidding software and keep going with the Amy Vid of Doom. (And, once I get that done, I can go back to the Delenn Vid of Doom And Pain And Agony.)

(Actually, what I really wanted to vid was Whale Rider, but I don't yet have a song, and I feel like it's something that will require more than 20 minutes of thought, being a story centred around a tribal culture with which I'm not all that familiar, and also it's from New Zealand, and we Australians have this tendency to appropriate all the nice bits of NZ for ourselves. And, um, Russell Crowe. So if I'm to vid Whale Rider, I need to know what I'm talking about, and do it really, really well. Anyway.)

I've been reading a lot about vidding in Ubuntu, and [personal profile] beccatoria left some helpful comments that sent me back through her own posts about switching OSs. These are the applications I've tried so far:

- PiTiVi is the default editor that comes with Ubunu. It's very much in its early stages, and lacks even basic features. I may give it another look in a few updates' time.

- OpenShot is widely recommended as the ideal Ubuntu equivalent to Windows Movie Maker. As it froze as soon as I opened it for the first time, I'm inclined to agree with that assessment. It seems like a solid, basic program, and has an impressive array of effects. Unfortunately, these don't include fade in/out, which I overuse at every opportunity. Nor does it do that thing WMM does, where it automatically breaks your imported files up into smaller clips. That feature was the entire reason I stuck with WMM so long, dammit! I'm keeping OpenShot around in case the effects come in handy, but at this stage, I don't want it to be my main program.

- KDenLive is a non-linear editor with a heap of features and effects, which I may some day understand. It's currenly the contender for Liz's New Vidding Program, on account of how it's highly functional and not totally counter-intuitive. On the other hand, it also doesn't do the handy clip-cutting business. I LIKE MY CLIPS TO COME IN HANDY BITE-SIZED CHUNKS, DAMMIT! Anyway, as far as I can tell, to clip an episode into bits, you have to first put it on the timeline, so really, what you end up with is a timeline full of crap. This vaguely offends my sensibilities, and seems difficult to manage. Not impossible, I presume, since the world is full of people who have successfully mastered Video Editors That Aren't WMM, but dammit, learning things is HARD, and the tutorials are not entirely helpful.

On the plus side, it does have a really handy feature where you use a slider to determine just how much you want to alter the speed of your clip. No more Benny Hill-style double speed shenanigans for me! I think that once I get this clip issue sorted, I'll really enjoy this program.

In other, totally separate news, the cat is currently trying to bury himself inside my bag of fresh laundry. He's purring like a motorboat as he attempts to excavate a nest inside a pile of socks and knickers. Is it because they're warm? Or was he just offended that I removed all the cat fur from my black shirts?

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