Friday, October 20th, 2017 10:48 am

It's Vietnam Women's Day today (International Women's Day is also celebrated, but in March, as everywhere else.)  So to mark the day, here’s something about one of the many notable women in Vietnam's history.

Nguyễn Thị Duệ was born in the late sixteenth century, under the Mạc dynasty.  I don't know her parentage, but her name suggests that she was from an undistinguished family - Thị Duệ  (pronounced, roughly, tea zway) means more or less "ordinary worker's daughter".  (It's possible, though, that this was a name given to deflect unwelcome attention - a name to go unnoticed by?) 

At the age of about twenty, she adopted another name, Nguyễn Thị Du, in order to sit the mandarin entrance examination, disguised as a young man.  The name Thị still has something of a female ring to it, but the history definitely says she was disguised when so called, and women did not at that time enter the exams or serve as mandarins.  Anyway, back to the story: 


Statue of Nguyen Thi Due in temple
Statue of Nguyễn Thị Duệ in her temple in Chí Linh District of Hải Dương province.— VNS Photo Bạch Liên


Of her poetry, I have struggled with the translation of just two lines.  I like it very much, but I can't say it neatly enough in English.  Here, in fourteen words, she gives a picture of a young girl (nữ nhi) straining to just barely touch the strings (lề) used to bind together the books of her time, and predicts with certainty that the girl who can do so much will advance, first to the humble copy-card used to learn characters (thiếp), and then to take her doctorate (trạng nguyên).


Nữ nhi dù đặng có lề

Ắt là tay thiếp kém gì trạng nguyên

She who uses all means possible to just touch the book's binding
Advances to spell out the words, and to win her doctorate. 

(Not literal, but I promise you a heck of a lot closer than G****** translate.)

Thursday, October 19th, 2017 09:48 pm
I went downtown yesterday early enough to have time to return things to the library and to pick up my holds. I had a little more than forty minutes before the bus I needed to take to get to Skyline. I got out to the school about fifteen minutes before the final bell. Cordelia was a little worried about where to meet because I wanted to give her geometry teacher some Puffs as a donation (the district no longer provides tissues for teachers to put out for the kids who have colds/allergies).

The fundraiser stuff was in two smallish boxes, one of which only contained a beef sausage thingy and so didn't weigh very much. I told the cab dispatcher where we'd be waiting, but he neglected to tell the cabbie. Fortunately, he guessed the front entrance, and we'd positioned ourselves where we could see cars on both loops approaching that (there's one for buses and one for parents dropping off/picking up, but when there aren't buses there, cars can use either).

We had friends over to play games last night. We played a cooperative game called Star Trek Five Year Mission that Scott's planning to run at UCon. We missed a lot of details the first time through. I didn't play the second game because they wanted to do the timed version. I didn't want to deal with that. Instead, I took a short walk and recaptured the Ingress portal down the street. I managed to get a silver (second level out of five) badge for making fields.

I had intended to go out this morning, but Scott's sister texted me with an invitation for Cordelia to go out to a concert this evening, and I spent quite a long time trying to coordinate that (including reaching Cordelia to make sure she even wanted to go). I can only assume that my niece intended to take a friend and had that friend cancel at the last minute. I didn't ask.

I've written 1200 words today, just not on any of my established WIP. Because I needed a new, half completed story. Really, I did.
Thursday, October 19th, 2017 09:02 pm
Dear Hockey Holidays Writer,

Here is my letter! It is maybe a bit long in the tooth, but I have tried to be thorough. I have tried to include both holiday-themed and non-holiday-themed prompts for each of my requests. I've also included some general holiday prompts, but don't feel that your story has to center around the holidays. Feel free to mix and match prompts if something in my requests catches your eye for a different pairing.

rest of the letter below the cut )
Thursday, October 19th, 2017 11:38 pm
Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl, whose name is Adele, moves to small town to help care for her agoraphobic aunt who won't leave her room, befriends and then falls for local girl Beth who suggests she shouldn't spend her life locked inside an old mansion taking care of a relative she doesn't even like, and so she starts to neglect her duties and skimp on the shopping and medicine for the ungrateful old bag...

Very short at 76 minutes, especially since the ending comes very abruptly and I'm not sure it works. But up until then it's got a really nice gothic mood, washed-out New England winter and smelly shuttered rooms, lots of little details that makes me want to rewatch and look for clues, and a growing sense of unease and unreliability that seems to be going somewhere really good until it... doesn't. A pity. 15 more minutes and this could have been really neat.

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Thursday, October 19th, 2017 12:54 pm
(Somewhat belated due to AWESOME Nick Cave concert yesterday)

Another classic: Sleepaway Camp is one of those movies I have to rewatch regularly, because it's just so fucking weird. I'm still not sure if it's in a good way or a bad way.

I'm pretty sure you couldn't make this movie today, which is probably a good thing. The actual young teens (star Felissa Rose was 14) playing actual young teens in not-very-appropriate situations, the camp staff who openly lust after their charges without anyone raising an eyebrow, the wild overacting, the queerness that's so overt that everyone missed it in 1983, THAT twist at the end ... And at the same time, the twist works (maybe just once, but that one time it's brilliant), the kills are inventive, and the sheer oddness of it does create a pretty disturbing atmosphere.

There are a couple of sequels which actually aren't half-bad, starring Bruce Springsteen's little sister if you'll believe that. But the original ... it's something else entirely.

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Thursday, October 19th, 2017 12:35 am
Silks class #4 is the day after tomorrow, so I guess if I'm gonna muster up any semblance of a post about weeks 2 and 3 I'd better do that.

Week 2 )


Week 3 )

Three classes done, five to go. My feeling at this point is that this was probably unrealistically ambitious for someone who hasn't taken any physical classes in a long, long time or really done any focused exercise since I stopped climbing several years ago, but despite almost none of it coming naturally, I'm mostly enjoying it. I'm kinda hoping it'll give me a push to taking some kind of class after this (like barre!) that's more suited to where I currently am physically.

It's also probably just as well, in one sense, that (so far) I'm not in love with silks, much as I think they're incredibly cool. The sad reality is that evening classes are rarely feasible around Casual Job, so finding a level 2 (or beyond) timeslot for something as specific as silks that'd actually work for me logistically seems...unlikely. But we'll see. And meanwhile, "enjoying it well enough" is not a bad place to be.
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Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 08:20 pm
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Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 07:31 pm
It seems like it's been ages that I've posted anything substantial and non-FMK here (which I knew was a risk; I have enough social media XP (extroversion points) to keep up with approx. 1 DW post a week, that is well-established). So here is a 5 things to break the monotony:

1. Pokemon Go will not let me install the latest update (It gives an error message that says "we hates your phone, precious" [paraphrase] and then won't install.) So instead I have been playing Magikarp Jump, which the app store always tries to tell me pokego players will enjoy. So far:

This is my fish. There are many like it, but this one is mine. )


2. Also I finally won the last boss level in Alphabear, so until I got my fish game, I was totally at loose ends for mindless phone games, and started looking for ports of the ones I played as a kid. HOW IS AN ANDROID PORT OF GODDAMP CATERPILLAR 11 megabytes? I coded that from scratch on my TI83 when I was a kid! In, like, about 100 lines of code! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

(I also coded a text adventure with a gender-ambiguous protagonist on that calculator, actually...)


3. I finished cleaning my bathroom yesterday! It only took me about two weeks! It is so nice to go in there and have it be clean! clean ALL the things )


4. So last November I kind of went into power-save mode for awhile, quit using Habitica and also quit a bunch of the things I had been doing on a regular basis (tag wrangling, practicing piano, working on Spanish and Icelandic, writing on a regular basis, using Tumblr...) But my sister got me back onto using Habitica again, and now that all the cat-related tasks are gone (and I trimmed some other stuff) it's a much more reasonable list of dailies.

I had forgotten how very motivating it is to get to tick the thingy. Now I am debating whether to use my Orb of Rebirth and start over or not (And whether to try to get together an active party with more than just me and my sister and a bunch of inactive accounts.)

And I'm trying to get back to doing some of the other things I stopped, too. I gave Tag Wrangling an un-hiatus notice, so I'm committed to trying to be less fail at that, and I pulled out a piano book for the first time in months (I found a copy of the very first one I learned out of, The Joy Of First-Year Piano, to warm me back up) Og ég er að læra íslensku aftur. Þótt jurtabókin er erfitt. Það er of mikið um illt kaffi í bókinni. Y yo hablé español a una clienta hoy! Un poco español, pero un poco es más que nada.

The only thing I gave up that I haven't missed at all is Tumblr. *shrug emoji* (even that's not true, I have a secret backup tumblr to which are added a couple people who post mostly personal stuff and also a bunch of nature and solarpunk and library special collections photos, and no politics or fandom, and it's still fine.)

5. One of the things on my habitica dailies is to post an AO3 comment once a day. Another one is to do something with politics once a week. I got my wires crossed in there somewhere and realized that if I don't feel up to actually engaging with politics I can just send one of my (excellent) congresspeople an email that literally just says, "Hi staffer who reads these, you are fighting the good fight, keep holding the line, thank you", just like when I want to leave an AO3 comment but don't know what to say, and it STILL COUNTS.

Also, people are trying to get public outcry going toward Congress passing the nonpartisan bill Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) which would make it so the US President could not launch a nuclear first strike without a declaration of war. TBH I can't think of ANY reason why that should ever have been possible, but ESPECIALLY now. So write your congresspeople or spread the word to #PULL THE FOOTBALL

/me crosses off "do politics" for this week
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 07:47 pm
I triumphed over the never-ending stack of leases, after which it was a slow-ish day. I showed two apartments and I think some of the people who went on the tour will come in tomorrow to rent an apartment, so that's nice.

I also got a raise! Only a small one, but even so. And what's nicer is that it's retroactive to June 1 (because our owner is an organized human being, really, I swear...) so I have a paper check I get to cash tomorrow. Yay unexpected extra money!

In news from my other job, today I finished one of my two tax update courses, and have registered for three live in-person continuing education classes, one of which is tomorrow night. The other two are next week, and I need to ask Miss Cactus whether she's willing to swap my Tuesday shift for her shift on either Monday or Friday, since the courses all start at 6pm and I work until 7pm on Tuesdays. (Failing that, I will ask Mom Boss if I can leave early that day.)

Continuing education requirements for tax preparers are 18 credit hours per year, allocated as follows: 13 federal tax law, 2 ethics, and 3 tax updates. You can, of course, take more than the minimum. I have currently finished 2 credits of tax law and 2 credits of tax updates. The three live courses will knock off another 9 credits of tax law, I have the second 2 credit tax update course ready to do whenever (probably Friday or Saturday), and the ethics and another 2 credits of tax law won't be too hard to knock off.

Then, of course, there are the New York state requirements, but I will deal with those in November. :)
Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 05:30 pm
this excellent post from [personal profile] rosefox's [syndicated profile] story_hospital_feed — does anyone have thoughts on what warmup exercises for writers might look like? I've encountered the concept, but not at length.
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Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 08:02 am
Today is going to be kind of stressful. I have to meet Cordelia at school when the school day ends because the choir fundraiser stuff is coming in. I didn't see any way for her to be able to carry it home on the bus, so the best option seems to be me going there and then us getting a cab back.

Some of her teachers have requested Kleenex donations, so I can take those at the same time.

Cordelia has an appointment at 5:45, so we won't have time to waste on the way home. I wish the bus website was actually reliable about the bus that goes between Skyline and downtown. There are two or three different route variants (I've seen the A and C. I'm assuming there must be a B).

We'll get home from the appointment just in time to have friends over at 7:00.

I need to figure out a way to get myself to bed earlier in the evening. Scott and Cordelia really, really want me to watch TV with them which pushes getting ready for bed to 9:00 at which point, Cordelia generally wants to shower. I think that what I need to do is to get a second tube of toothpaste and to keep that and my toothbrush and bite splint in the kitchen so that I don't have to wait for her to get to done to be able to deal with that bit of my routine.

I still have the problem that 8:00 or 9:00 is the point when my writing brain suddenly turns itself on with great enthusiasm. Given that I can't get my body to nap, I have a choice between sleep and writing that's pretty frustrating.
Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 10:43 pm
So my work day started with two tenants coming in to say they'd locked themselves out of their bathroom, continued through twenty million leases to process, and ended with another tenant coming in literally one minute before closing to say they thought they had to fill out a form, maybe...? which was actually three forms, one of which I had to generate specially and then highlight the relevant sections because nobody ever fills it out correctly otherwise. *headdesk*

I mean, at least I will get paid for the extra twenty minutes I stayed? But holy gods, argh argh and above all, argh.

(The bathroom, incidentally, was an easy fix. All it takes is a judiciously applied paperclip! But I had to go apply the fix in person because apparently tenants are bad at comprehending verbal explanations at 9am when they really need to pee. (To be fair, I probably would be as well.))

...

On the bright side, I got a two-hour tax continuing education course finished before Mom Boss dumped the never-ending leases on me, so that's something.
Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 07:40 pm
Last week's winners were not what I expected! But F goes to The Red Tent and K goes to The Magicians (which is WAY more hated than I had realized! For good reason apparently.)

How FMK works, short version: I am trying to clear out my unreads. So there is a poll, in which you get to pick F, M, or K. F means I should spend a night of wild passion with the book ASAP, and then decide whether to keep it or not. M means I should continue to commit to a long-term relationship of sharing my bedroom with it. K means it should go away immediately. Anyone can vote, you don't have to actually know anything about the books.

I pick a winner on Friday night (although won't actually close the poll, people can still vote,) and report results/ post the new poll on the following Tuesday, and write a response to the F winner sometime in the next week.

Link to long version of explanation (on first poll)

This week's theme: I have no idea what this book is about, I'm pretty sure I only have it for the title.

Poll: Bail, Capote, Carey, Collins, Connors, Corliss, Ericson, Galloway, Gould, Morse, Shann, Shreve, Townsend, Wodehouse )
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Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 07:33 pm
For some reason I felt like watching something about creepy young Austrians. So it was either this or re-watch Funny Games, and I'm not doing that to myself.

Goodnight Mommy has twin brothers, about 10 years old, living alone in a remote country house with a mother who's evidently had some sort of surgery to her face since her whole head is bandaged. Also, something is different about her since the surgery, at least that's what the boys tell each other. And who can you trust if not twins in a horror movie? They just want everything to go back to the way it was, after all.

Where is our real Mommy?

This is the sort of movie that spends a long time not letting you in on what's going on except that there's something very wrong. Against a mountain backdrop straight out of the Austrian Tourist Board the house has walls covered in blurry photos, skulls in the picturesque root cellar, and of course the cockroaches. It's a slow burn to a rather disturbing finale that's not necessarily for the weak-stomached, and there's one or two twists that are telegraphed way too early, but I like it. There's something dark at the heart of every pastoral scene of the gallant south.

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Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 12:18 pm
I must have done something yesterday, but I can't for the life of me remember anything. Somehow, time is getting away from me.

I posted a story for [community profile] weissvsaiyuki today. I still have four WIP that I would love to complete for the challenge, but I don't know if I'll manage any of them.

Title: One More Folded Sunset
Fandom: Weiss Kreuz
Rating: T
Pairing: Crawford/Schuldig, background Crawford/Manx
Tags: Implied/referenced rape/non-con, Implied/referenced torture, Alternate universe - canon divergence, Alternate universe - dark, Ambiguous/open ending, Amnesia

//Brad, where the fuck are we?// Once he was sure he had a connection to Brad’s mind, he opened his eyes. He felt safer that way.

//Schuldig? I wasn’t— No. That’s not true.// Brad sounded uncertain, fragmented even, in a way that scared Schuldig even more than the odd landscape and his inability to stop walking. //The hill doesn’t look that big, but it will probably take you another half an hour to get here. Things… stretch. Sort of. You’re being watched. She can’t hear when we talk like this, but she’s watching, and she’ll hear if you speak out loud. I’d come to meet you, but… I can’t. I’ll explain when you get here.//

Schuldig knew Brad well enough to know when he was lying. You’re not going to explain anything. Well, we’ve been there before. I’ll get it one way or another. He rubbed his face with one hand. Why don’t I remember anything to explain this?

The story at AO3.