July 26th, 2017
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
We rolled into Vilnius, Lithuania just before 10 pm last night after a four-hour long bus ride. It was pouring rain, which is typical for here (apparently the weather is awful in one way or another at least 60% of the time), and late, so we grabbed dinner at a vegetarian bar and crashed out at the hotel. Today, it was supposed to pour--our cab driver assured us that this time, the entire city would be flooded--but our luck held and we were able to do a walking tour of the Old Town and the Republic of Užupis.

Vilnius has a messy, dilapidated charm. I think, perhaps, my lack of bonding with Riga was due to the fact that it's kept in such good repair; letting a city crumble a bit is much more aesthetically pleasing. It's slightly less Westernized--people here speak Russian as much as they do English, though mainly Lithuanian--and just, well, weirder.

photos )
alias_sqbr: Asterix-like magnifying glass over Perth, Western Australia (australia 2)
posted by [personal profile] alias_sqbr at 02:11pm on 26/07/2017 under ,
Prime Video Now available in Australia with a free 7 day trial!

A different 'Amazon Prime' site that seems to list the same stuff if you want to check it out without signing up

I signed up, poked through the fairly limited database, could only find one thing I really liked the look of (American Gods), watched a bit, got bored, and cancelled the trial. So, not a ringing endorsement from me. But hey, it was free and filled some time.

(People outside Australia may not understand how exciting it is to have streaming tv here at all. Thanks for the tip [personal profile] lilysea)
July 25th, 2017
jesse_the_k: Macro photo of left eye of my mostly black border collie mutt (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jesse_the_k at 05:12pm on 25/07/2017 under , ,

I've just finished an anthology written by folks who work in higher education. I've noticed an ubiquitous and peculiar stylistic fillip that didn't appear in my textbooks when I was in college.

It appears most often as the bridging sentence between paragraphs, in the form:

[Things concluded & proven] comma then comma [introduce this new concept/approach/fact]

Where did this come from? Does this "comma then comma" replace an earlier rhetorical move I didn't notice?

How can I make it go away?

alias_sqbr: the symbol pi on a pretty background (Default)
sabotabby: (doom doom doom)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 04:41pm on 25/07/2017 under , , ,
Here are a few last glimpses of Riga before we hop a bus to Vilnius. We went to the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, the Art Nouveau district, and I shot a few more pictures of the hotel.

under here )
July 24th, 2017
sabotabby: (sabokitty)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 10:12pm on 24/07/2017 under , , , ,
I don't have a ton of spoons left over tonight for a long post, so have some photos around and about Riga.

After the aesthetic exuberance of Odessa, Riga seems much more restrained, even dour. It's impressively old (founded in 1201, and there were settlements well before that) and lovely, but also more orderly, less lively, less organic. And, of course, much more expensive: welcome back to Western Europe.

This said, it's gorgeous and fun. Everyone speaks English here, which is relaxing. I don't mean this in a chauvinist way; mainly that I don't need to bother Anya to translate everything. Actually, where we're staying in the old town, it doesn't seem like anyone other than people working here are from here; it's pretty heavily touristy.

Which also means that it's incredibly easy to find vegan food. Including an entire vegan restaurant. I was like, "GIVE ME ALL THE PROTEIN."

The most important story I learned today was this: There were two powerful guilds in Riga. One was for skilled craftsmen, and admitted every eligible craftsman who applied to join. The other was for merchants, and only admitted Germans. A wealthy merchant from Riga applied to join and was rejected on the basis of his nationality. Accordingly, he built himself a giant fuck-off house across the street from the guild building and put black cats on the roof with their asses facing the building, as if shitting. The guild immediately sued to have the cats removed, but because lawsuits take time, WWI broke out, and no one gave a shit about cats' asses. The cats were mysteriously removed anyway in the 1920s, and replaced just as mysteriously in the 1950s, this time facing towards the guild, as it is now the home of the Riga Philharmonic, and no one has any quarrel with them.



photodump )
sabotabby: (lolmarx)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 12:47pm on 24/07/2017 under , ,
Just arrived in Riga, Latvia. Thought, hey, this hotel is teh cute!

Anya is like, "This hotel is familiar."

I realize that this is of interest to probably no one else reading this (sadly it would be if I were cross posting to LJ, where there is a teeny community for such things), but I'm staying in the hotel where they shot Seventeen Moments of Spring (as well as parts of the Soviet Sherlock Holmes.) And if you think I'm not geeking out like mad over this, you don't know me at all.

Fortunately, Anya is the person who introduced me to the series so she is also geeking out and is equally pleased that Stirlitz is watching over the beds in our room, judging whether or not we have adequately sacrificed and fought for the cause of anti-fascism:


Here's the view out the window:



(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here is my screenshot recap of Seventeen Moments after I watched it and decided that everyone needed to see it. Minus the image hosting, unfortunately; I'll need to fix that at some point.)
July 23rd, 2017
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 09:07pm on 23/07/2017 under , , , ,
So the performance sucked so hard we walked out. Like, possibly the worst thing either of us have ever seen, which is saying an awful lot. The tickets were suspiciously cheap, but tbh most things in the Ukraine are suspiciously cheap. But in this case I think it was because they knew it was terrible. We'd actually gone in to see if we could get a tour or just wander around the opera house, but the lady said that there was a show that night, so we decided to give it a shot.

She described the show as a sequel to The Nutcracker but also a crossover with War and Peace, and a musical. A "wonderful spectacle," in fact. I have to admit that we were basically morbidly curious, and it would get us inside those gorgeously ornate doors.

Anyway, we made it two songs in. The thing was in Ukrainian so we don't know what it was about but I don't think it would have made a lot of sense even if we did understand the language. It was kind of embarrassing to listen to.

But! It meant that we got to sneak out and take unobstructed photos of the glory that is the Odessa Opera House, and that was worth the ticket price alone. I hope you appreciate how hard it was to narrow these down. They don't half capture the actual, real spectacle that is this building, but I've given it my best.

pretty! )
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 01:17pm on 23/07/2017 under , , ,
We went to the Odessa Opera House, one of the most famous and beautiful opera houses in the world.

behold! )
July 22nd, 2017
hederahelix: General Organa looking skeptical and asking "Really?" (really?)
jesse_the_k: Dreamy photo of playground roundabout in rosy foggy light (lost youth)
https://www.metafilter.com/167493/Distinguishing-character-assassination-from-accountability

is another excellent meta-post from [personal profile] 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.
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 11:13pm on 22/07/2017 under , , ,
I did it! I got a picture of the unicorn.

click here )
hederahelix: Hermoine enthusiastically shoves her hand into the air to answer a question she knows. (know this one)
alias_sqbr: (happy dragon)
Remix Revival 2017 A fanart/fanfic remix exchange with signups closing on the 30th. I think this is the first panfandom remix exchange allowing both, I'm pretty excited!

[community profile] drawesome A fanart community that has had some fun prompts

Let's Make Games and Drink Responsibly: A gathering for people in the local games community, it was a lot of fun and I had some really interesting and inspiring conversations. Cam came along and it was perfect for him, as someone who is really interested in discussing and making games but isn't working on anything right now. Also Scott Ludlum was there! (I was too shy to talk to him but he said he was happy to be among friends, which was nice to see) It's apparently going to be monthly, best way to follow it right now is probably the Let's Make Games Facebook group.
July 21st, 2017
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
posted by [personal profile] staranise at 10:10pm on 21/07/2017
Ah, that feels better. Mom came downstairs to oversee me dealing with my email, and while I did that she Happened to my apartment--it's all picked up and neat, clean dishes drying in the sink, and I could pull things apart and sweep and scrub bits that really needed scrubbing. And also get the emails and paperwork done.

Talk about my Mom's employment situation, which includes talk of politics and racism )

Media I'm consuming: the Holocaust, and politics in the Balkans )
jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)
posted by [personal profile] jesse_the_k at 04:36pm on 21/07/2017 under
Today I learned that the original handle grip tape was sting ray skin. That's cause I went to a stunning exhibit of Samurai Weaponry at a local art museum. The design and crafting of the armor and swords was exquisite. The helmets have face guards, which look like they're molded from the wearer's actually face. These face guards also sport mustaches and soul patches. Altogether delightful. Also clear that "Art Deco" in the West was 90% ripping off 16th C Japanese design.
sabotabby: (coffee)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 11:09pm on 21/07/2017 under ,
I feel like this needs to be a separate post from the OMG ODESSA IS SO PRETTY post. For one thing, these were taken on my shitty cell camera and not my iPad. But also they're pictures I've taken when I've seen something hella weird and immediately need to inform social media.

Let's just say there are some, uh, cultural differences between Ukraine and everywhere else I've ever been that take a bit of getting used to. FOR EXAMPLE:


What is this, some kinky sex thing? Maybe in that masochist bar that we didn't get into because your kink is okay but not my kink?


No! It is the café in the Lviv airport. Why do they have chairs like this? No one knows. But to answer a few questions:

1) Yes, we sat in them.
2) Yes, they are actually quite comfortable.
3) No, no one else seemed to think they were out of the ordinary in any way.

To answer a question no one asked:

1) Yes, the Americanos in that café are quite good, especially by airport standards, would totally recommend. Though, granted, it was like 5 am and I would have drank lighter fluid if it would have woken me up.



Our hotel in Lviv, while cute, had no elevator--a problem, since our room was on the 5th floor. (I may be an obsessive step-counter who never goes on an escalator when there's the option of a staircase, but at the end of the day when you've been walking/carrying bags? Less fun.) We were relieved to see that this hotel does have one. In fact, it has all of the regular floors you would expect to see in a building, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, and crab.

1) Yes, I know what's on the crab floor.
2) No, you'll have to wait and see until tomorrow if it's any good.
sabotabby: (magicians)
posted by [personal profile] sabotabby at 10:33pm on 21/07/2017 under , , ,
Sorry-not-sorry, but you will be getting a load of pictures of Odessa because it is fucking magical. My intention at the moment is to retire, sell my house, buy one of the dilapidated old buildings and restore it to its former glory, learn Russian (it's another city where most people speak Russian, not Ukrainian, much to our joy), and wander around the glorious streets at night in a fashionable dress, drinking an open bottle of champagne.

Life goals, amirite?

In all seriousness, though, not for nothing is Odessa called Paris on the Black Sea. It has all the architectural splendour and literary tradition you could hope for, it is cosmopolitan and fashionable, and it is lit. I have never been to Paris, granted, but from what I understand Odessa is much cheaper and not as crowded. In Kiev and Lviv, people are pretty much the same as anywhere else, except with a penchant for wearing poorly translated English t-shirts bearing inspirational but nonsensical slogans, expressions of general hatred towards anyone viewing the shirt, or just vague weirdness (my favourite so far was a picture of a cat made out of ramen noodles sitting in a bowl with the caption "Pet Food").

Here, though, everyone looks like a model. The women are all tall and thin and wear flowing striped dresses, and the children prance around in tutus at all hours of the night. The streets are alive with music and performers and what I'm pretty sure is a unicorn (i.e., incentive to look at the pictures under the cut).

plz appreciate how much I had to narrow these down )
frandroid: A large sandworm in front of the fremen invoking him (Dune)
posted by [personal profile] frandroid at 06:46pm on 21/07/2017 under ,
Because I'm procrastinating. A bit on the cutesey side but whatever.

Wait, DW doesn't have a rich text editor?? I mean I usually prefer to enter my HTML manually, but here I could really use it. Motherfucker...

...

bold the ones that apply.

1. You currently own more than 20 books.
2. You currently own more than 50 books.
3. You currently own more than 100 books.

4. You amassed so many books you switched to an e-reader.
5. You read so much you have a ton of books AND an e-reader.
6. You have a book-organization system no one else understands.
7. You’re currently reading more than one book.
8. You read every single day.
9. You’re reading a book right now, as you’re taking this book nerd quiz.
10. Your essentials for leaving the house: wallet, phone, keys, and a book.
11. You’ve pulled an all-nighter reading a book.
12. You did not regret it for a second and would do it again.

13. You’ve figured out how to incorporate books into your workout.
14. You’ve declined invitations to social activities in order to stay home and read.
15. You view vacation time as “catch up on reading” time.
16. You’ve sat in a bathtub full of tepid water with prune-y skin because you were engrossed in a book.
17. You’ve missed your stop on the bus or the train because you were engrossed in a book.
18. You’ve almost tripped over a pothole, sat on a bench with wet paint, walked into a telephone pole, or narrowly avoided other calamities because you were engrossed in a book.
19. You’ve laughed out loud in public while reading a book.
20. You’ve cried in public while reading a book (it’s okay, we won’t tell).

21. You’re the one everyone goes to for book recommendations.
22. You take your role in recommending books very seriously and worry about what books your friends would enjoy.
23. Once you recommend a book to a friend, you keep bugging them about it.
24. If your friend doesn’t like the book you recommended, you’re heartbroken.
25. And you judge them. A little bit.
26. In fact, whenever you and a friend disagree about a book you secretly wonder what is wrong with them.
27. You’ve vowed to convert a nonreader into a reader.
28. And you’ve succeeded.
29. You’ve attended book readings, launches, and signings.
30. You own several signed books.
31. You would recognize your favorite authors on the street.
32. In fact, you have.

33. If you could have dinner with anybody in the world, you’d choose your favorite writer.
34. You own a first-edition book.*
35. You know what that is and why it matters to bibliophiles.
36. You tweet, post, blog, or talk about books every day.
37. You have a “favorite” literary prize.
38. And you read the winners of that prize every year.
39. You’ve recorded every book you’ve ever read and what you thought of it.
40. You have a designated reading nook in your home.
41. You have a literary-themed T-shirt, bag, tattoo, or item of home décor.
42. You gave your pet a literary name.
43. You make literary references and puns nobody else understands.
44. You’re a stickler for spelling and grammar, even when you’re just texting.
45. You’ve given books as gifts for every occasion: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, graduations, Tuesdays...
46. Whenever someone asks what your favorite book is, your brain goes into overdrive and you can’t choose just one. You end up naming twelve books.
47. You love the smell of books.
48. You’ve binge-read an entire series or an author’s whole oeuvre in just a few days.
49. You’ve actually felt your heart rate go up while reading an incredible book.
50. When you turn the last page of a good book, you feel as if you’ve finally come up for air and returned from a great adventure.



*: Most books are "first (and only) edition", so by that measure I own several; but for the sake of this question I'll assume that's a first edition of a book with multiple editions, where this edition has a higher market value.
frandroid: Hammer and sickle logo, with the hammer replaced with a LiveJournal pencil (lj)
posted by [personal profile] frandroid at 11:25am on 21/07/2017 under
I wish DW/LJ had a thing where there is no default icon and you're forced to choose one to make your post. I keep forgetting to pick one and then I don't want to trigger a useless edit notification for whoever is on the thread post-facto.

I went to take a look at the DW source. It's perl. No wonder no one wants to work on it. They should just restart from scratch. :P

ETA: So you can choose "no default" but instead of forcing you to choose, it picks none, and puts a DW logo watermark in the logo spot. *faceplam*

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